This month, I’m happy to share my fifth interview with a mentor that is one of my best friends. There are many that challenge us to understand ourselves, grow our spiritual practices and cultivate our lives. This series is to share with you a few of my own personal mentors that whether they are aware of it or not, have made a huge imprint on my life, love and world.
: a person who you like and enjoy being with; a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)
First, a little bit about our friendship. It started through her husband, an elementary school friend of mine. Mike Pasalacqua was in a band called Bogged Down, and let’s say I was a “big fan”, pretty much groupie status. As I made it to the front of the stage every show, I was surrounded by all of the girlfriends of the band. They made me feel like I was supposed to be there. This show experience created an instant sense of community through music, which became a valuable tool of mine. Every year, our friends come together to travel to the Catskills to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. Bridget and I have bonded through music, growing as individuals, food, gardening, loving life and building our lives everyday. She’s my soul sister.
What has been your journey into what you do?
In hindsight, becoming a nurse was more of a calling than a choice for me. I have worked in several nursing settings such as geriatrics, med-surg and oncology. My mother is a nurse as well and her work ethic is inspiring. Advocating for those in unfortunate situations, is a privilege. Today I am working, as a Case Manager, with an incredible and intelligent team of Registered Nurses and Social Workers. Many are also mothers. The support and life experience they provide is an essential part of doing my job. The obstacles our team faces vary from social to financial issues. Treating each case individually and holistically is key. Working as a Case Manager has opened my eyes to issues in health care such as, the complicated world of health insurance and the economy’s impact on health care.
What have you cultivated along the way?
Witnessing a multitude of health problems in patients has led me to cultivate a strong connection with nature in order to maintain my health and the health of my family. Living in harmony with the seasons by seeking local produce and honoring natures gifts is very important to me. I have observed the chaos of modern day living and its affect on our health as individuals and society. I have found that actively seeking a mind-body-spirit connection is a beautiful way to live. I too lose myself in the fast passed pressures of life. Cultivating healthy relationships, recipes and body image is a priority. Even more so now that I have a daughter.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by art, music, nature and inspired most by those who stand up for what is right. By this I mean those who seek truth and aren’t afraid to point out problems as long as the next step is a solution. Together we can do anything! I am blessed to have so may inspirational people to look to. From well known role models such as Jane Goodall to those closest to me such as my husband He manages to work a full time job, come home and work in the garden, brew beer and bee keep to keep us connected with our food and its healing properties. That’s inspiring. The look on my daughters face when she discovers something new, that’s inspiring. How we live is how our children are taught. There is nothing that inspires me to live well more than my daughter.
What are the biggest things you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that if you feel passionately about something whether it is art, music, food, the environment, social-economic issues go with it. Follow it. Discuss it. Support it. Perhaps not only are you seeking it but it is seeking you.
What are your intentions?
My intentions include making this world a better place for our children. I intend to teach the importance of being connected to and respecting our environment. I intend to practice supporting local farmers, businesses who support fair trade and environmentally friendly products. I intend to support progressive ideas rather than regressive ones. I intend to act out of love rather than fear. I know my daughter is watching. Just the other day I caught her mimicking my yoga poses and deep breathing. She is only 16 months old! I intend to celebrate life with music, good food and friends. I intend to speak out against corporations that continue to put harmful ingredients in our everyday products. Awareness is key. I intend to do all I can to help patients have safe transitions home and will do all in my power to provide them with affordable medications and services. We live in a time where often the best treatment is erroneously unaffordable. I intend to do all I can to make sure everyone has access to quality health care.
How do you feel about your energy?
As far as my energy’s goes, if you read the last paragraph you might say its intense. For the most part I feel that my energy is good. I try to be aware of it and I do hold the belief that it is directly responsible for what comes back to me. In physics energy is a property of objects that can be transformed. I find it interesting that it doesn’t die. Energy can only be transformed. I like to combine science with my spirituality. I suppose that’s part of being a nurse. Our energy is the most important element in shaping our lives. This is why how we fuel it is so important. Conceptualize food on a cellular level. Is the energy provided by an animal that was raised in a small cage or crowded pen and fed GMO wheat with antibiotics equal to the energy provided by an egg laid by your neighbors chicken who roams freely and eats pesky grubs? Choose your fuel. Make no mistake, I will be buying eggs from my neighbor.
What is your relationship with food?
I have become very connected to my food. I seek whole food without strange, unpronounceable ingredients. Time spent in my kitchen experimenting with recipes is sacred. Sharing food with friends and family is a blessing. I have made a habit of baking vegan cookies for my daughter. She enjoys watching and licking the spoon and they make a great on the go snack. I don’t partake in supporting the industrialization of our farms. I wasn’t always this way. In the 90s I was all about diet coke and fat free foods. I was overly concerned with being thin and body image. When we step away from commercialized products and seek real nutrition, our lives and energies improve tremendously. I have never felt better. This is a direct result of my relationship with food. Many say, “I cant afford to eat like that”, referring to the avoidance of processed foods. The truth is, we cant afford not to. The long term affects of consuming processed foods and industrialized animal products are devastating not only for the individual but for the environment.
What’s your favorite meal to create for yourself or others or both?
My favorite food to prepare goes with the seasons. In the spring its roasted asparagus. Summer comes and its Swiss chard and fresh eggs, strawberries in salads and blueberry cobbler. In the fall its apple crisp. Winter comes and its savory stews.
Who are your favorite teachers? why?
The best teachers are the ones that lead you to the lesson but do not tell you what to think. Bonnie Jefferson is a retired BSN, RN and Patient Care Director that I had the privilege of working under. I believe that we hold many of the same beliefs. She taught me that kindness is more effective then sternness or the infliction of feat will ever be. She is a great leader and role model.
What is your vision board for 2016?
I plan on remaining true to myself and enjoying the remainder of 2016. Time with family and friends is most important. I plan on watching my daughter grow and learn. I plan on learning with her. What’s better than seeing the world through a child’s eyes? If time provides blogging about being a working mom while homesteading is something I am interested in.
What’s your favorite book and why?
As far as reading goes, I wish I did it more. My favorite book right now is, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It was introduced to me by Mary Jo Feresten an RN Case Manager that I admire for her class, intelligence and kindness. She has raised some very successful children. It is a book about eating with the seasons and is written with passion. I keep, Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das at my bedside. A friend, Evan Small who is spiritually focused and lives a lifestyle that most can only dream of, let me borrow it over ten years ago. I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my father who believed that, “Jesus was hip to Buddha.” When my father died, my husband, then boyfriend gave it to me. It really brings the reader inward. I enjoy anything that is thought provoking.
How do you balance your life?
Finding balance is challenging. I work 32 hours as a RN Case Manager and have a home, two acres, 16 month old, wheaten terrier, multiple gardens and bees. In order to maintain any kind of balance I must plan ahead. The most important part of my day could very well be that short window of time I’m up before my family. That’s time for coffee and meditation. It helps with balance. Staying inspired also helps keep me balanced.
How do you practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness and balance are two things I’m constantly striving for and admittedly not always able to achieve. Being mindful definitely takes practice. I try to stay present and live in the moment. If my mind spends too much time in the past or future I find myself losing balance. Incorporating yoga and/or meditation into my daily practice has proven to be beneficial. Mindfulness is a daily practice.
What are some thoughts you’d love to share with others?
I would like to thank my dear friend, teacher, road trip, live music companion and local food enthusiast, Nicole Cormier RD, for providing me with the opportunity to answer some of her questions. She is a constant inspiration.
Connect with Bridget:
Thank you for letting us Spread the Love with this month’s inspirational interview. Look forward to next month’s interview with love from, Shawn Vecchione. Let’s learn to love and be ourselves with the help of each other!