I KNOW you will love using The Yin/Yang Panner.
I am deeply saddened about the tragic loss of life and property during the recent fire and mudslides in Montecito, CA. Many families in this community, including my own, were directly impacted and it's likely that you are one of them or know someone who was. My thoughts, prayers and offers of support go out to you. Please reach out to me if you need support.
When tragedies strike (and it is a fact of life that they will- so this applies to all of us, including those who were not affected by THIS tragedy), it is extremely important to not let our adult anxieties and concerns find their way into the world of our children. According to Kim John Payne , author of Simplicity Parenting, "children need to know that they have a place in a good world, and a future of promise" (190). He goes on to say that most children do not understand the concepts that adults are discussing, but they do tune in to the "current of emotion" running through the words.
This is not always easy. Despite my own efforts to keep my grief from my kids, I know that they are feeling it energetically. But, as always, I will continue to do my best to protect them!
As intentional parents, we all strive to provide our children with a place to learn and grow under our thoughtful guidance. We want them to have a sense of confidence in the justness of the world. This helps them trust the world and their own growing sense of competence. This does not mean, however, that we are in denial about the realities of the world or that we are acting in an overprotective manner towards our kids regarding those realities.
One way to support our children during difficult times, according to an article from Susan Weber, Director of the Sophia’s Hearth Family Center, is by protecting them from "information that they cannot comprehend or digest – saving our adult conversations for later, turning off televisions and radios in their presence." And I would like to add that putting our phones aside while with our kids will allow us to be more present with them, in all ways.
If you would like to get some more suggestions on ways to support your children during difficult times I encourage you set up a free dream catcher session with me where we can strategies together!
My deepest prayer is that hope remains strongly rooted in our hearts. It’s in dark moments that the strength and infinite goodness of the human spirit shines even brighter. To all the first responders and rescue services, working tirelessly day and night, you have my infinite gratitude. And to mamas who are experiencing their own dark night of the soul, you are not alone! Reach out for help.
You are worth it!!!
We have a lot to Celebrate today: Happy New Year, Happy Monday, Happy Super Full moon (A Super Full Moon looks around 12% to 14% bigger than its counterpart, the Micromoon, and up to 7% bigger than an average Full Moon), and Happy Day 1 of the #ICANuary challenge!
Click here to learn more about the ICAN Method!
I am super excited to lean into 2018 with you. I have to admit, I've been a little MIA lately as I like to use this time, Winter, to go inward and hibernate. While I still plan in doing that for the next few weeks, I will slowly be following the sun (I’m a Leo after all) as we inch closer to the Spring equinox by showing up little more for you all.
To start us off on the right foot, I have created a Freebee for you guys and would like to invite you to participate in a little challenge I am doing- Prizes await your if your join me 😃
Since today is the first day of the challenge and the first day of "CANuary", I am inviting you to join me in lighting our own CANdles by starting a compliments file documenting the nice things people say about you. I like to think of this as a way to turn on our inner lights. When the darkness of January begins to seep into our bodies, emotions, and relationships we can go back to this file and receive a little spark. When I have done this in the past, I love how it reminds me that I am deeply loved and cherished by so many people.
Those of you who complete all 7 of the challenges this week (You can get the full month of challenges here) will receive a little prize in the mail from me. And I’m talking snail mail! (It’s a good one, I promise!!!) So, for today, to prove that you have lit your little inner CANdle (more on that in a bit) please post something in our Facebook group or on Instagram using the hashtag #CANuary and tag me @isabelleboesch. This could be a picture of the file you are keeping your compliments in or even a quote of a compliment someone gave you recently. I’m excited to get started!
As we approach the New Year I want to introduce the idea of CANuary with you. This is a method that I have developed and used myself with great success and am really excited to share it with you. During the month of January, I invite you to join me in a challenge where I will help you get clarity on your true desires and how to manifest them. Each day of January I will be offering a challenge (to see them all at a glance you can get the calendar here.)
Do you believe in miracles? I do! But I also believe that the precursor to a miracle is a combination of clarity and gratitude.
I use the ICAN Method on all sorts of things and it’s very empowering to know that I now have this tool to create everyday miracles in my life. I like to offer this tool at the beginning of the year because it sets the year off to a great start in a very Feminine way. Rather than setting New Years Resolutions or goals, the ICAN method asks you to set intentions based on how you want to FEEL.
So what is the first desire you want to use this method on?
Do you believe that you can have it, do it or be it?
CLARITY on how you want to feel:
If you are having trouble coming up with something, think about what you have been complaining about lately. Maybe it’s, “I’m tired of not making getting along with my partner,” then obviously you want to focus on reconnection. You want to focus on ways you can manifest the relationship that you DO want. If you feel stuck, think of what you have been complaining about. That is a great place to start!
There is no right or wrong thing to desire. Your desires all start with something you want (or don’t want.) Then, they turn into an intention. An intention is so much stronger than a want. Think about a garden. Some gardens contain weeds or plants that we no longer want. To get rid of the weeds we need to get our hands dirty and pull them up. Often the weeks grow back though so we need to repeat the process. Also, we need to think about what we INTEND to grow in our garden. Some people’s weeds are another person’s medicine. It’s all relative.
As you start to consider what you desire, and as you imagine having it, think about whether your thoughts are positive or negative. For example, if you think, “I want to buy a house,” but the thought comes up, “but I can’t afford a house.” Let that thought be without judgment. For now, just take note of it. In fact, welcome it. All thoughts are welcomed in the beginning. Breath as you become aware of your thought patterns.
Now, imagine that you already have the house that you desire. Picture it as if it stands before you. You can even decorate it the way you want. Consider what it looks, smells, and sounds like to be inside this house. See yourself walking through your house. What does it FEEL like?
The feelings are very important because they are the end result. Now that you know what it feels like to be inside this house you can notice when you already feel that way in your current life. You will notice that, when you visualize your desires on a regular basis, you begin to live as though your desires were already a part of your reality.
I’m challenging you to visualize your intentions on a regular basis, because when you do, you will begin to attract the thing you want into reality. It’s really that simple.
The ICAN Method will certainly help you achieve more of your desires, but you are already quite abundant. You are already very successful. You are already doing far better than you imagine. One of the best ways I know of attracting more into your life is by being grateful for what you already have. I suggest you stop right now and make a list of 5 things that you are grateful for.
Remember, you get more of what you focus on. So, when you focus on gratitude you will get more of what you are grateful for. It’s just psychology 101 really. One place to start looking for things to be grateful for is your physical body. Find something that pleases you- maybe your eyes or hair. What do you love about your body? Then, look at your home. What do you love about the place you live? Maybe a comfy chair, or your TV, or the view out your window. Then, look at your family and friends and continue the process. You might also want to consider past experiences and call up some wonderful times in your life. Maybe something that made you laugh till your belly hurt. Other areas: work, travel and recreation, finances, children…) Be grateful for this moment even. Let these thoughts well up and really enjoy them.
Go on, do it now:
When I began my own gratitude practice I cured my postpartum depression, saved my marriage, and began living a life that felt immeasurably pleasurable. And it was SO easeful (notice that I didn't say "easy!") It did take effort and intention, but once I realized the keys of clarity and gratitude it actually didn't take much effort.
All I did was stop (slow down), look around (become mindful of my surroundings), and ask myself, “What am I grateful for in this moment?” This gratitude begin to wash away all the negativity that had previously eroded my self-confidence and joy. My gratitude practice also made me realize that my “now” was actually a pretty cool place to be and I stopped wishing for a better future. Without even meaning to, I began to attract people, experiences, and things into my life that I thought were only possible in my dreams.
Now, if you have had a gratitude practice for a while and you still aren’t seeing results I’m going to ask you to become a detective. Because my hunch is that there is an unconscious “counter intention” as the culprit. We can’t just intend to stop biting our nails and then expect a life long habit of nibbling at our fingertips to end. I know this one well because it was my personal nemesis for as long as I can remember. While I deeply wanted to end my habit I also had a counter belief that was more powerful than my intention. Every year, for 15 years, it overrode my resolution.
So how did I clear that belief? I became a detective. Overtime I noticed a regular thought pattern, “oh, let me just fix this one peeling nail, then I’ll stop biting,” or “what does it matter if I bite this one little nail,” or “I’m so nervous right now and biting my nails helps me stay calm.” When I heard those beliefs pop up I began to question them.
So what belief is standing in the way of you having what you desire? I want you to fish for evidence of your own belief by asking yourself, “Do I really believe that?” You have two ways of answering this question: 1) “No, I don’t believe that.” In which case, it’s probably not that triggering of a belief and I’m going to ask you to keep digging. Or 2) “Yes, I do believe that.” If this was your answer there is no need to berate yourself. Simply ask, “Why do I believe that?”
What we are looking for is a foundational belief, that probably came from your parents or some other significant character in your early upbringing. My foundational belief related to my nail biting was, “Things have to be just so or I won’t be loved and accepted."
In my next post I will be sharing what each letter in the ICAN method stands for- It's an acronym. :) Until then...
What is your limiting belief?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2017 was a whirlwind of a year for me. I have a lot to celebrate (My sister got married, I started a business, Grace began 1st grade...) and some things to mourn (I had a friend "break up" with me in a really devastating way, fires ravaged two of my favorite places- Sonoma and Santa Barbara, and politics took a real nose dive...) But today, in this moment, I choose to feel gratitude. I honor everything that happened in the past and I let it go, remembering that the only time I can really live my life is NOW.
I can already feel that 2018 is going to be an amazing year and to start it out with a bang I have a gift for you: the ICANuary calendar. Many people use this time of year to set goals for the new year. I choose to set intentions for how I want to FEEL. During the month of January the days are slowly getting longer. As they do my intention is do slowly allow my inner light to grow as well.
During the next month I will be Facebook LIVING strategies for making 2018 the best FEELING year EVAH! If you have not joined our Facebook group yet, you can do so now.
If you would like to connect with me about receiving support in the New Year you can:
- Schedule a free dream catcher session with me
- Fill our the 360 Life Assessment and remember that the questions are meant to light you up, just fill in what applies and matters most to you!
- Settle in for a 30 minute chat where we will brainstorm how to create a life you love!
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I can hear the first line of this poem reverberate through the hearts and minds of mothers everywhere. This poem has particular resonance for me at this time, when I feel hyper aware of our left brain, disembodied culture.
I love the way Mary Oliver encourages us to see the natural world as our guru, our source, and a continual reminder of our cyclical natures. She reminds me to come home to my own animal body. To be intimate with and connected to all things!
Be The Witness
Mary Oliver describes herself as an intense observer of life. "I consider myself a kind of reporter- one who uses words that are more like music and that have a choreography. I never think of myself as a poet; I just get up and write." In her poem Mindful, she gives us another way to see our meditation practice:
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
"Mindful" by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005.
Doesn't that just get you?! As a yoga teacher and life coach, I have often seen my students soften and drop deeper into themselves through the encouragement of her words.
My question to you today, dearest mama, is: how does she do this? And my answer is also what I wish to cultivate right now in my life: simplicity and dedication. Mary abhors fluff, excess, and anything that gets in the way. She is a ruthless editor. Most of the time she avoids being very personal and at the same time encourages US to be intimate with ourselves.
As mothers and householders, we often are required to do work that may not be very inspiring. In fact, it might be problematic if your job is super interesting, but you also want to be a present mother. Mary's clarity around the potency of the early morning and her protection of that time is the same energy most of us need to bring to our own lives.
But life wasn't always safe for Mary. There was a time in the 80s when she admits how her personal challenges directly influenced her work. She was abused as a child and the poem "The Journey" was, in part, a result of processing her trauma. I personally feel that this era of her poetry is the most powerful and feels very relevant during these times of #METOO!
Ebb and flow
Mary Oliver has been a close friend to me when I am struggling to remember what is "true." (Although I have of course no personal relationship with her!) She gives just enough, to drink in through my senses a more tender way of being. I love her constant reminders of who I am
I'd love to hear who inspires you
Below I will share my most favorite poem of Mary Oliver's:
“The Journey” Text
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Sometimes I feel like I am a warrior going up against a huge dragon. Of course all warriors get scared when faced with the hot breath of their opponent, especially before going into battle.
Parenting can be equally as frightening. But, with a shaky, tender heart the warrior mama acknowledges that she is about to step into the unknown, and then goes towards the dragon. Notice that she doesn’t use her fear as a sign to run away from the dragon. She knows that the dragon is nothing but unfinished self work, and that it’s fear that really needs to be worked with.
You've probably seen this passage a million times by the famous German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (when he was all of twenty-seven years old). What you probably haven't read is the little bit that follows. Written as a letter in 1903 to an aspiring young poet, the passage contains a universal truth that speaks volumes to all of us. It is as terrific reminder as I've seen on how to embrace what we fear.
"Dear sir, Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now see the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living; train yourself to it - but take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of your inmost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing…" - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Translation by M.D. Herter Norton. New York: WW. Norton & Company, Inc., 1954
Whether your personal dragon is house work, a tantruming toddler, miscommunications with a partner, feeling unloved or jilted by a loved one or anything else, my challenge to you is to let Rilke's advice sink in and "take whatever comes with great trust."
Can you work WITH your fears and struggles rather than running away from them?
I’d love to hear your comments on this somewhat controversial topic. Feel free to continue the conversation in our facebook group.
And if you would like to participate in the "RELAXED MAMA CHALLENGE," where you will get more tips on how to meet your fears rather than run from them, you can sign up at mom-mecircle.com/relaxed-mama-challenge
This morning I got a text from one of my dear friends (let’s call her Lisa.) It said, “How did you get a handle on your anxiety?” My heart immediately went out to here because I know what it feels like to hold the weight of the world on my shoulders and not know what to do to get relief. So, this goes out to all the Lisas in the world. Today I will be sharing with you what I have learned on my journey with anxiety.
Anxiety is one of these very non specific terms and yet 15% of people are taking medication for anxiety. Very often there is a somatic components and because I am a yoga teacher and not a doctor, I will be focusing on home remedies that have worked for me.
Vulnerable moment: After I had my daughter, 6 years ago, my anxiety went through the roof. I thought I was the only one having such a hard time so I didn’t reach out to anyone and just barely managed to make it through my looooong days with a newborn. My personal brand of anxiety was accompanied by insomnia and obsessive compulsive tendencies. When some of the closest people in my life suggested I go on medication I hid my struggles even more because I didn't feel like they wanted to understand me, they just wanted me to not be so "crazy." Medication IS the answer for some people, but not for me. Much of the problem I have with the quick fix of medication for anxiety is that most medications come with significant side effects and risks.
What if there were some simple things you could do that would relieve your anxiety?
GOOD NEWS! There are!!!
But before we go into that, let’s look at some of the ROOT CAUSES of anxiety. (While you read them take a mental note to see if any of these might apply to you.)
MAIN ROOT CAUSES OF ANXIETY:
-Blood sugar imbalance
-Wheat and Dairy sensitivities
When I learned this I decided to challenge myself with going after the cause of my anxiety rather than just the affects.
Here are three things that I did that gave me relief:
1) I let go of the coffee and other stimulants.
After having a baby and struggling with insomnia I thought coffee would be my friend. WRONG! Pretty much every time I drink coffee if gives me a stomach ache and the gitters. Do you drink coffee? Consider what you love about it if you do. If it’s the buzz, there are other ways to get caffein with green or black tea. Maybe it’s the flavor you love. Dandelion root tastes a lot like coffee. It also comes in a tea and has lots of great health benefits. Or maybe coffee is just part of your routine. If so, why not drink some hot water with lemon instead?
2)Get your bone broth on!
I like this one.
And here is the recipe that we use in our home:
ROAST CHICKEN STOCK
1 Leftover Roast Chicken Carcass
Vegetable Scraps (celery leaves, onion trimmings, carrot peels, garlic etc)
2 Bay Leafs
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
Pick the chicken carcass clean of useable meat and reserve that for another dish. Add the chicken carcass, vegetable scraps and bay leafs to a crockpot. Pour filtered water over the carcass to cover. Add cider vinegar. Cook in your slow cooker on low heat for 24-hrs or longer. By adding water to the cooker, you can continue to cook the broth until the chicken bones become flexible and rubbery. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and pour into mason jars. The broth should gel, but it is not necessary.
You can also take gelatin capsules and add them to soup or stew if you aren’t into broth.
3) Breath based meditation.
Start with one minute of being aware of your breath. You can also listen to any of these FREE guided meditation if you are a beginner.
Being a mom I can be an overwhelming job, full of inner and outer pressure. It is my hope and prayer that these tips have been helpful to you in lowering your anxiety. If you would like more tips. Please sign up for my 5 day relaxed mama challenge, which begins Wednesday, November 1st. Click here for more deets.
We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.
ROALD DAHL, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Time inevitably makes me think of change, aging, and how I want my future to be different from my past and present. My daughter, Grace, just started 1st grade and my 2 year old is talking in full sentences. How did this happen so quickly?!
Today I am going to talk about how to use time to create the life of your dreams using habit hacks.
The human brain and body are designed to live IN time. So rather than fight against Mother Nature let's work with her. Below are 7 TIME habit hacks that will gain you a clear and sharp mind, dynamic relationships, and intention inspired actions.
1. Link your desired habit to an already existing habit (pick a trigger.)
For example, you want to keep a tidy kitchen. This tip encourages you to link a habit you already have that takes place in the kitchen… making tea with your new desired habit. So, your impulse to boil some water would be the trigger for tidying. For the 5 minutes it takes to heat your tea water you would be sweeping your floor or washing dishes, or emptying the dishwasher.
2. Batch your habits
For example, you want to take your medication every day. Batching this habit with giving your kids their vitamins, and your dog a treat will help you remember to do all three. (Just make sure you don’t accidentally give your dog a kid vitamin by mistake!)
3. Set aside time to worry
For example, you want to create a habit of getting more sleep. While the intention is valid and you are going to bed early you just can’t seem to turn your mind off. (I know lots of moms who struggle with this.) Several hours before bed you will set aside some time to worry, plan, strategize... Creating this habit will allow you to relax in the future. When your mind tells you that it can’t relax right now because it has to ______________ (worry, ruminate, remember, think about…) you can remind it that you have set aside a designated TIME to do this and NOW is not that time.
4. Schedule your habits rather than set goals. In other words, put it on the calendar.
For example, you want to workout 5 days a week. If this were just goal you might join a gym and expect that that will get you to work out. But if you are anything like me, that’s not enough. You need to put your habit on the calendar so it is more likely to get done. (Go, do this right now, I’ll be here when you get back.)
5. Ride the wave of inspiration when it hits you.
For example, you want to write on a weekly blog. This habit encourages your to act upon the energy of your inspiration NOW (and rid it to the end of its course.) When you do, you’ll find that you can create more meaningful posts in less time because you are being internally/divinely guided. When you make a habit of “following your bliss” time begins to stand still. Acting upon your inspiration will also enhance your ability to relate to your kids because this is how they live every day.
6. Use the Kaizen method to make incremental improvements- daily or weekly.
For example, you want to take a family vacation for the Winter Holiday. The Kaizen method teaches you to be very, VERY specific. So, rather than say “I want to take a vacation with my family.” Say, “I want to go to Idaho to visit my in laws with my husband and two kids on December 16th. Be specific about dates and numbers, and give yourself a deadline so you can work backwards. The next Kaizen step is to break it down into big steps first. In my example, that might mean I need to decide how we are going to get to Idaho, what we want to do when we get there, and who do I need talk to about our trip (Dog sitter, neighbors, babysitter…) And the last Kaizen step is to use baby steps. In my example that would mean putting todo items on my calendar so that they actually get done (see tip #3.)
7. Accept your current NOW experience and have compassion for yourself when your intentions don’t manifest into actual habits.
For example, you want to make more time for your relationship with your partner by having regular date nights, but it just isn’t happening. Rather than shame yourself, I invite you to notice what is happening right NOW- become mindful of your body and thoughts. Next, open up for connection with others who might be feeling the same way. Acknowledge that you are not alone in your struggles. Then, be kind and gentle with yourself when intentions don’t manifest into tangible habits. And lastly, return to tip #1 if and when you are ready.
(Note: Research shows that a self-compassion practice is intensified if you add a gesture of tenderness. A recent client has had great success with putting her hand to her heart and saying to herself, “I’m feeling really stressed out right now. I’m not alone, other moms feel this way too. I’m OK, I’m going to get through this. What do I need right now to meet my own needs? Do I need to lie down? Take some deep breaths? Or eat some protein?”
I hope this was useful to you in some way. If it was, please share it. Also, leave a comment on a time hack that has worked well for you.
Somehow you change and somehow you’re still the same.
When I was pregnant and then a new mom, everyone told me that my life would never be the same. When I heard it, I felt so much resistance! On the other hand I kept hearing: „You’ll be you, just with a baby.” Well, both of them were true in my case. At least some of it was true. My life did change and I’ve changed but then, I didn’t.
My baby is 10 months old now. I’ve learned how to take care of him, how to feed him, how to play with him and how to love him. It was all a process. New skills. New person. New relationship to build. Of course, I loved him from day one, but as with any relationship in my case, it took time to get to know each other, find out what we do like and what we don’t like. It took time to build connection.
What has changed? Our family is now a group of 3, not of 2. We changed the way we spend our time. I take it slow. Slow is good for now. I give myself time to made a choice. And when I decide, then I take action. Most of my time is dedicated to my baby. I can focus so much better. I work less and get my job done faster. I’m so much better with boundaries and focus. I can focus like a pro.
What hasn’t change? I’m still me. Just in a new phase of my life. I’m still Kat, a person who enjoys deep conversations about life, reading books, watching movies, eating good food and cuddling with my hubby. I’m still me, loving shopping, beautiful things and decluttered space. I’m still me, chatting with friends about spirituality, femininity and newest shade of lipgloss or clothes collections.
So some new things have been introduced into my life. I’ve let go of some. And that’s okay. It’s another chapter, in which I play one more role - a role of a mom.
What do I really want NOW?
This journey to motherhood was not an easy one for me. I work as a Life Coach and I wanted to be prepared for becoming a mom. And I truly believed it is possible ;) So I’ve read books, talked to friends, I journaled like crazy, meditated, and still, when they brought me my little boy, my first thought was: „So what should I do with him now?” They didn’t include the manual.
I’ve tried plans, no plans, schedules, no schedules, tips and tricks, going with the flow, you name it, I’ve tried it. And still I felt really lost. I wanted to enjoy motherhood but many times I felt too tired. I wanted to come back to coaching because I love what I do, yet all I could think of was sleep. Not a good place to be in. Of course I compared myself to others! To my fellow mom-preneurs who took only 3 months of maternity leave and came back to their businesses. But it wasn’t my path. I needed much more time.
So I’ve decided to do what I do best. I coached myself out of this sad space. I sat down with my journal (one of many) and I’ve asked myself: „What do I really want NOW?”
Not what I think I should want or what other women want as moms and entrepreneurs. Without comparison, just me. What do I really want from life at this point? In this stage of my life? And the answers begun to flow.
I wanted to spend time with my baby and enjoy it. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to have some alone time. I wanted to have some just-us-time with my hubby. I wanted to simplify my life (goodbye old clothes, books and all the clutter). I wanted to give myself a break. And come back to coaching only after I felt more rested and really ready. And I gave myself time until my baby was 9 months old. I had some clients up to this point, but it was only 1 or 2 people at the time.
When I felt the moment was right, I started to invite more people to work with me. And guess what? It feels awesome.
I wanted to be inspired. So I started to listen to podcasts and recordings during my daily walks with my baby. It boosted my mood tremendously.
I wanted to look gorgeous in my new body. So I donated 90% of my clothes and bought new ones - only those who scream at me „wear me!” every time I look at them :)
I wanted for my business to feel exciting. So I’ve tapped into my spiritual guidance for fun clues what to do next.
I wanted to have some time for myself. So I hired a nanny.
All of this from one simple question: what do I really want now? And allowing myself to want what I want and ditching the idea of what I should want.
Bring your power back
All of this has helped me to feel really empowered. You also can feel this way. I know as moms, we literally think we don’t have any time. And self-reflection is a luxury. In my opinion it’s a necessity.
Otherwise, we can’t change what we don’t like because we don’t know what feels off in the first place.
So, please pause for 5 minutes and ask yourself:
- What would be so awesome to do today?
- Wouldn’t it be nice if…?
- What do I really want now?
- What kind of support I’d like to have?
And then little by little, step by step, start to make it happen.
In my case it all started with a long cry on my husband’s shoulder that I’m exhausted and miserable and please do something. Of course, not productive at all :) But has worked for 5 minutes :) I knew he couldn’t do anything because it was my inner job. But you know, it was a start, so I’m not judging my-3-months-ago-self. I knew something was off. I knew I needed more insights. So when my baby was napping, I started journaling. Then I made a plan. Then I hired a nanny. And little by little I got my power back.
So, my dear, fellow mama - what do you really want right now?
BIO: Katarzyna Morzewska is a Mentor Masterclass-certified Life Coach who helps women change their lives by getting clear about what they really want. Through her signature process she helps you make big life choices with ease, feel whole and empowered NOW without waiting for having it all figured out. Say goodbye to confusion. She opens people up to possibilities. Find out more at www.katarzynamorzewska.com
What is your relationship with sleep?
"Sleep research shows that below the surface of a peaceful snooze, a complex physiological process is taking place…While we sleep, sophisticated sequences of brain waves transform our inert bodies into humming power stations that produce intelligence, alertness and discernment… Surrendering to slumber does more than just restore the ability to function efficiently - it actually generates that clear and transparent state of mind we call wakefulness."-Veronique Vienne, The Art of Doing Nothing
So many of my clients (me included!) have struggled with or are currently struggling with insomnia or an inability to sleep soundly.
Often, our lack of sleep not because our kids are waking us up. I’ve heard many stories where the whole house is peacefully sleeping, but mom is wide awake and can’t get her mind to shut off.
Raise your hand if you have experienced any of the following:
- racing thoughts at bedtime or during the night
- repetitive thoughts that cycle like a tape through your mind
- frustration when not being able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of being in bed
- anxiety provoking thoughts about you sleep (at any time of day)
- stressful thoughts about other areas of your life that show up at bedtme
- a belief that you are not capable of sleeping well
- worry of any kind
Just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s ok.
The thing is, we all know the health benefits of getting enough sleep. We all know that these human bodies require 7-9 hours of sleep at night. And even if we WANTED to get this much sleep we just can't go the !@#$ to sleep! We have used medications and herbal remedies to help us sleep- to no avail.
The trouble is not necessarily biochemical (although sometimes it is!) quite often, the issue is closer related to our thoughts and less related to our bodies.
"Appreciation and self-love are the most important tools that you could ever nurture. Appreciation of others, and the appreciation of yourself is the closest vibrational match to your Source Energy of anything that we've ever witnessed anywhere in the Universe." -Abraham-Hicks
Today I want to give you a gift: 5 minutes of pure relaxation. Even if you don’t fall asleep, you will rise feeling much more rested.
Simply close your eyes and listen to this guided meditation
After listening to this guided meditation you can answer these questions in your journal:
- When I am truly and deeply relaxed, I feel______
- What gets in the way of my getting deep rest is______
- What I can do to cultivate more rest in my life (starting today)______
Was this helpful? If so, please consider joining the relaxed mama challenge, which begins October 1st.
"If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine if it’s not something that could better be changed on ourselves.” -Carl Jung
What I love about this quote is that it pretty much encompasses why I created Mom-ME Circle: to educate, empower, and elevate mothers so that they first know the value in putting on their own oxygen masks first and second, how to actually DO IT. In other words, I teach moms that in order to help our children, we need to take a step back and be mindful of how we take care of ourselves despite and often BEFORE the compelling needs of our kids.
Notice if the above quote increases your guild or shame. It’s not meant to, but if it does- that too can be used as grist for the mill. In the past, when I experienced negative feelings around my parenting it often led to self denial and painful self criticism. Neither of which were actually helpful.
So how do we create lasting change in our children’s behavior (when they are annoying the sh*t out of us?
-More self care (not less!)
-More mental calmness and composure.
The payoff of all of these things is the ability to take our children’s behaviors (and our partner’s, parent’s, friend’s…) less personally.
Science tells us that children’s brain waves synchronize with ours. So, if we are experiencing anxiety, very often so are our children. Jung’s words are proven to be very accurate indeed.
Summertime is one of those times for me when I experience increased anxiety. There is this huge expanse of “free time” and so many things we want to do. I actually find myself busier then ever despite the desire to “just relax.” I notice that my kids hone in on this feeling of overwhelm and react by sharing their own overwhelmed feelings with me.
Rather than putting them in a time out (which doesn’t really work the way they are supposed to anyway- a topic for another time), I put MYSELF in a time out. I’ve learned that pushing forward and doing more doesn’t actually bring the desired effect.
When I find myself wishing that my kids were different I use it as a trigger to add more self care into my every day. For me that looks like:
-Spend some time in nature, without my phone
-Increase my physical activity, like yoga, walking up hills, or dance party in the kitchen
-Get more sleep
-Eat more slowly and mindfully
-Play and laugh with intention
-Create moments of stillness
-Connect with those I love on a regular basis
Miraculously, my kids DO change their behavior without me parenting them differently. Although, I probably DO parent differently, it just doesn't feel HARD the way it use to. Try it for yourself and let me know what you discover!
Sleeping in… (haven’t done this in a while), with soft sheets, and the perfect pillow. Sipping a fabulous cup of chai tea in a sunny window seat surrounded by my loved ones. Taking time to do something for myself that makes my heart sing. Saying no and not feeling guilty afterwards. Taking a hot bath with sea salt and baking soda. This video:
These are a few of my favorite things because they make me feel complete, unadulterated joy.
The list could go on for quite some time. Today, I am choosing to indulge in the sweet scent of my neighbors rose garden. These roses instantly give me a joy jolt whenever I pass them. Maybe it’s because they remind me of all the other people who pass by and enjoy them, including my kids. And maybe it's just because I love my neighbor and her enthusiasm for her roses is contagious.
According to an article I read a while back, “shared joy" has been scientifically proven and is now the basis of a study published in the prominent British Medical Journal. In it Boston Globe reporter Carolyn Y. Johnson writes:
"It seems obvious that your closest friends might influence your mood, but the study found that…the happiness of a friend of a friend of a friend boosts your chance of being happy."
The ripple effect of happiness that these roses bring is such a gift and I want to share it with you today. (Can you feel your joy rising already?!) I even made some delicious rose tea with the petals and I call it JOY TEA because that is how I imagine joy would taste. (Recipe below.)
Here are some of the similarities I have found between growing roses and growing joy:
- Strong roots. There is this invisible connective tissue of thoughts and feelings that binds us humans to each other just like the root system of a rose bush. We need to tap those roots by connecting with our tribe if we want to get the biggest joy jolt possible. Join the Mom-ME Facebook tribe today.
- Self-Care. If we are aware and awake in your human body and open in your heart, like a rose opening to the sunshine, you will know joy. To do this we need to be well tended to (knowing when and how to step in and when to step back/ let go.) For more on this see last week's post.
- Miracles. As to the happiness study, I'm not sure we really need one to measure or prove that joy is a miracle. Forces beyond our control make a thorny branch produce roses and a well lived life produces both pain and pleasure- both of which can be joy enhancing when used as grist for the mill.
BACK TO YOU:
You don't have to take my word for it. Conduct your own JOY experiment in the weeks and months to come. Notice if your sense of ease, peace, or joy has any effect on your home, family, a neighbor, colleague, friend, or even a loved one living on the other side of world!
- Spend a few minutes in a place that feels cluttered, unloved, untended, dark, congested. Notice your breathing, mood, energy level. (Some suggestions: where your garbage cans are kept, an untended garden, or the messiest room in your home.)
- Repeat the exercise in a space that feels harmonious, tended, light-filled, sparkly, clutter-free. Go outdoors if you have to. Notice your breathing, mood, energy level.
- Be mindful of your energy body. How do you feel during and afterwards?
- Compare the two experiences. How does each space feel physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Is it possible to compare without judging them as good or bad?
After you've had a chance to experience two different environments, record your impressions in your journal using the prompts below:
- Sitting in a space that feels unloved, untended, dark, congested, and cluttered makes me feel [physically, mentally, emotionally]______
- Sitting in a space that is harmonious, tended, light-filled, sparkly, and clutter-free makes me feel______
- One small thing I can do today [this week] to change the way my home feels is______
Fresh rose petal tea
- 1 to 2 cups of fresh, pesticide-free rose petals (Be sure to choose petals that are organic.)
- 3 cups of water
- Honey or other sweetener, optional
Clean the petals in a colander placed under running water.
Place the 1 to 2 cups rose petals in a saucepan filled with 3 cups of water.
Boil for five minutes. Then strain and pour into cups or mugs.
Sweeten with honey or enjoy as it is. Easy Peasy.
Notice how your state of being affects the world around you, and how the world, in turn, mirrors you back to you.
The what, when, how, and why of self-care
I love this Anne Taintor card of a woman lying in bed in her silk nightgown, looking out at nothing in particular, contemplating her exquisite and uncomplicated life.
The caption reads: “I dreamed my whole house was clean."
1950's glamour aside, this card says it all on so many levels. How often do we feel remorseless about taking time to do something that feels good (sleep!?) - just for our selves? Or have the courage to opt out of doing something that feels like a "should" and might disappoint someone?
An over arching theme in many of my coaching calls with moms is that they desire to really feel their feelings to their full and natural completion. The thing is, if we don't feel safe and secure in our self worth, we will naturally push away any “dark” feelings because they feel too overwhelming. What we need is a container that allows us to feel safe enough to let go… For me, that container is called self-care. So, today I will be sharing 5 FACTS about self-care with the intention of making it difficult for you NOT do indulge in it.
FACT #1: Self-care is NOT optional if you want to live a full, joy filled life. It is not an extra-curricular activity. It is not something to do when you're sick or everyone else in the house is taken care of. In the world of “moming," self-care is right up there with breathing. You wouldn’t stop breathing just because your child had a need. In fact, it would be much more helpful to your child if you took a deep breath BEFORE helping them. Just one calm, slow breath is an act of self-care.
Fact #2: The "self" part of self-care means precisely that: by yourself, for yourself--not for your spouse, mother, child, dog, neighbor, best friend…! We cannot possibly be of service to anyone when we are overextended and our circuits are fried.
Fact #3: You can give yourself a little nudge (this is especially crucial if you are a new mom or have recently entered into a transitional period) by adopting one or more of these ways to choose self-care instead:
WAYS TO OPT OUT GRACEFULLY:
- Decline graciously with "Thanks for asking, I'm sorry it's not going to work for me this time."
- Turn it over to voicemail: Put a message on your voice mail letting callers know that it may take a few days to return their call.
- Add an away message: Put an auto-responder message on your email service saying that you will not be replying to any emails for a while. If their email is important, ask them to resend it after a certain date.
- Unsubscribe to email lists that no longer serve and support you; cancel your subscription to the newspaper or a magazine that you never read.
"I live by the truth that 'No' is a complete sentence." -Anne Lamott, O Magazine
For more creative ways to say "no" check out this link.
If you're still too attached to being in control, or needed (I know I often am) remember to keep it simple: no fuss, no guilt. And if you do feel twinges of "missing out" or remorse, use them as an opportunity to embrace them.
Fact #4: Self-care can sometimes feel uncomfortable. Every time you step out of your comfort zone to take care of yourself before you take care of someone you care about, you are bringing in more light, moving more energy, and triggering the fight-or-flight response. Like an acupuncturist, you are "agitating" stuck energies - on purpose - as a way to move and release them.
Self-care is the "yin" to the "yang" of motherhood (more on this in and upcoming post.) It works to calm down your nervous system, help you feel safe, and bring you back into balance.
Fact #5: Practicing self-care is deeply and soulfully nourishing. It is like a lotion or a balm that soothes and smoothes the parts of yourself that may still feel a bit raw, jangled, and not quite ready to embrace the lighter energies of living clear. It also helps you tap more joy.
Your turn: When was the last time you put your needs first over the needs of others? And how did it feel? What is one act of self-care that nudges you out of your comfort zone?
Is it taking a nap in the middle of the day? Is it watching one of your guilty pleasures on TV without having to apologize for it? Is it letting a family member sort out a problem on their own because you don't have the time or the bandwidth to help them?
Today say yes to self-care and no to anything that does not serve and support you.
(And allow the squirmy monkey mind to not like it one bit.)
Tomorrow, I launched my first virtual Mom-ME Circle. For 5 weeks we will be doing a deep dive into how we can take care of ourselves so that we can better serve those we love. There are still a few spots left, but not for long! If you would like to join us you can register here: mom-mecircle.com/virtual.
Being a mom is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life. I am called upon in so many ways that I had never anticipated before I had my children. Recently, a childless friend of mine and I were leaving a yoga class and I was telling her all the things I planned on doing with my kids when I got home. Awe struck, she asked me “How do you balance it all?” And I appreciated her awe because so often I don’t get any acknowledgement for my effort. And she also made me realize how similar “momming” is to balancing in a yoga pose. The pose that reminds me most of motherhood is TREE pose (Vrksasana). You know, the one where you are standing precariously on one foot while your other foot is pressing against your opposite leg and you arms are reaching for the sky.
Normally, when we talk about balance, we think of time management. But that’s just surface level stuff. The more dynamic feats of balance, the more breathtaking postures we take, are the emotional yoga poses we, as mothers, balance in. They are teetering poses that leave us feeling unsure of how to handle a certain type of behavior and insecure that we have what it takes to get these kids what they need. It’s not easy to stand on one foot, negotiating the middle- not too far forward or too far back. But when we yogini mamas have found it, we know the peace and joy of balance.
Balance on one foot at a time
As mothers we know what both a factory line worker and a philosopher feel like. We are concerned with concrete questions like, “How many hours did my baby sleep last night?” and philosophical questions like, “Will my child be kind?” The scope of our job is both so large it feels like a dense forest that we will never find our way through and so small that it seems like an utterly insignificant kernel (and sometimes very boring.)
It would be easy to wallow in the minutia of it all: wiping butts and noses, folding laundry, putting away dishes… (…………….) I’ve had days when I look around and say, “I was busy all day, but what in the world did I accomplish?!” And I can bet you have too. We can all remember moments when all our “doing” leaves us feeling like hamsters on a wheel. But I don’t know a single mother who finds joy or purpose in cleaning marker off the walls or picking up the same mess for the 1,000,000th time.
So, how do we balance OUR needs with THEIR needs?
Let me set the scene: My 6 year old Daughter, Grace, comes home from school in a horrible mood. She stomps into the house, throws her lunch box on the ground and kicks her shoes into the middle of the room rather than putting them away in the shoe bin. Her 1 year old Brother, Ben, wants to play with her but she can’t be bothered. I ask her to pick up her shoes and she slams her bedroom door in my face. Is this what I have to look forward to in her teenage years?!
Being the human that I am, I start to doubt myself. What have I done in my parenting for her to think this behavior is ok? I’ve created a little self centered brat. I’m a horrible mother. I also become angry because she is old enough to know where her shoes belong. I’m not her servant who runs around cleaning up after her. When is someone ever going to clean up after ME.
You might be able to see what my problem is already because you are looking at it from the outside. On the inside I am feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and totally tapped out because I am striving to live a question without an immediate answer. You, insightful mama, might even know what my sweet little Gracie needs.… An after school snack and a hug (two things that won’t actually be that hard to deliver.)
When I can take a step back and a deep breath I too can see this. But when I don’t I am an angry monster who tears though the house demanding that my needs get met NOW.
So, this is where balancing her needs with my needs comes in. I have to meet my own needs first. This might not be a popular view point, but stick with me. If I don’t take the time to breath and center myself there is no way I can take her needs into account. It’s just not possible.
And wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes of breathing, a cookie and kiss on the head did just the trick. It turned my witch of a daughter into an angel. After her snack she quietly and without prompting picked up her shoes and put them away.
Balance doesn’t always look like doing everything at the same time. First I balance on one foot, then I shift my balance to the other. (Make sense?!)
Find a drishti
Just like in yoga, the more intentionality you put into mothering, the more you get out of it. The most balanced yogis I know jump in and DO the pose. They don’t live in a retreat center nor have most of them devoted a full time career to yoga, but they have transformed none the less. They do something that I greatly admire, they focus on what is right in front of them.
Finding the balance between my needs and their needs can be easy, with practice. Allowing my daughter’s negative emotions to flow freely without taking them personally takes practice just like teetering in a new yoga pose does. The more often I do it the better I get. And sometimes I will fall. That’s ok, I will have plenty of opportunities to try this balancing act again.
I have also found that intentionally focusing on one thing makes the balancing act so much easier. In yoga, every pose has a prescribed gazing point called a “direct” which is designed to bring the mind to a calm, concentrated state. In “momming" it can also be helpful to focus on what really matters- we love this little bugger. Every outburst can be seen as an unmet need or call for love rather than a direct insult to us. If we intentionally focus on the feelings we want to cultivate it is actually easier to get everyone’s needs met.
Lately, I've found myself thinking about who I was in college, when I was ME unattached - and trying to be that ME again. That makes me try to listen more (because I used to be a good listener). That makes me take time to go dig in the garden or take a yoga class because those are things that are balm to my soul and since becoming a mom 6 years ago they've been buried.
That makes me remember that once upon a time I liked "child-like" qualities such as walking in the rain and taking a walk in the dark and finding joy in blowing dandelion clocks (instead of worrying that I'm getting wet, it's past my bedtime, and weeds are the enemy to be conquered)... It's been nice to remember ME and realize that I'm still there, buried under layers of spit up and motherhood – and that when I unearth and nurture that real ME, everyone benefits.
We mothers are poised between giving our children our best and giving our children our all. I'm not saying there are limited resources inside me that I can either give them to my kids or keep for myself. Self-nurturing and growth and the nurturing and growth of our families need not be in competition. Rather, with a little thought and effort, we can figure out how to do both at the same time. Through mothering deliberately, I get to discover things about myself that surprise and delight me. It's not "me-time" I need as much as "meness”—an opportunity to find the things about myself that get brushed off in the rush of the day or are hidden until my children help me uncover.
How do I search out and build on all that motherhood is building in me? First, I need to take time to FOCUS on the ways that motherhood has expanded me. I’ve seen a kinder, gentler version of myself emerge from motherhood. I’m stronger than I thought and more creative than I was. As I lose myself in motherhood, I find more “me” coming back, if I’m willing to grab it. And then I grab it by spending some time doing the things that interest me, too.
Listen to your intuition (aka your gut)
We mothers can get so down on ourselves and so focused on the times we got it wrong, that we forget that our biggest strength is right here, inside.
A while ago I had a yoga teacher instruct me to ground not from the soles of my feet, but from my core. And that has always stuck with me.
My children need the real me, not some superficial idea of who I wish I was. Similarly, my yoga poses need to come from a place deep inside of me if I’m going to stay balanced in them.
It is only when I tap into this place of deep understanding and intuition that I can know what's best for my kids. The trick is to listen to it. When we tell my daughter about the day she was born, we always end with, "And, incredibly, both your body and my body knew just what to do even though neither of us had ever done it before. We were a great team because we both listened to our bodies!”
As new parents, Brandon and I didn't know how to survive the night with a crying baby, but we knew to love her and protect her and treat her like a person who would be in our lives forever. We knew to approach parenting thoughtfully and patiently. We didn't know exactly when to start her on solids and we weren’t that great at swaddling but we could feel that it was right to hold her a lot and to sing to her and to trust ourselves and to look for help when we needed it.
There are so many wonderful resources for a mother. You can surround yourself with good mothers and fathers, grandparents, friends. You can find a plethora of free and wonderful ideas on the internet. You can read great books. You don't need to go it alone. There is so much collective parenting wisdom out there. Don't ignore it. But there is also a lot of bad (or just not-right-for-you) parenting advice out there. And when it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s ok to not follow it.
Something you will always have, not matter where you go, is your gut. That place inside you that DOES know what to do. And it is up to you to listen to it or not.
As with all of our feats of balance in motherhood, we keep doing what any inspired yogini does: We open our arms wide and gaze forward. We keep our weight over our own two feet. We breathe deeply and balance on one foot at a time. When we feel ourselves falling to one side, we try to right ourselves by focusing on ONE THING at a time. And when we get it right because we have listened to our intuition, we are a thing of beauty!
I'm feeling a little nostalgic these days after my parents announced that they have finally sold my childhood home in Santa Barbara. Even though I haven't lived there since I was in high school, it still feels like a huge loss.
My parents downsized over a year ago and have been trying to sell the "the big house" ever since. So, a few months ago my family (my sisters, parents, and our significant others) went up to the old house and said our good byes. We cried, shared memories, and my dad OMed.
We moved to Santa Barbara after our home in Los Angeles had been destroyed (while we were in it~ a story for another time) in the Northridge earthquake in 1994. I have so many memories in that home. I learned to drive while living there, I had sleep overs and birthday parties there, and most memorable of all- I got married there on July 7th, 2007. I learned about myself, about what it means to be part of a family unit, and about life in that home.
In no way was this a "normal" house. It stood on 20 acres and had a tower. But it really was a home and that's because we, my family of 5, made it one. I remember seeing the house for the first time and my sisters and I ran wildly through the halls. We each picked our bedrooms and the fact that there was no fight over who got which room was a sign that this was the place for us.
Of course, our 20 plus years there had their fair share of ups and downs. Someone lost a toe on the diving board, I broke up with my boyfriend in the back yard, and our dog died in our arms on the laundry room floor. I got bruises, made bad choices, and had unfulfilled expectations in that house. But that is what makes my nostalgia even more poignant.
Oprah once said, "we all know the truth when we hear it."
Here is my unavoidable truth: hands must be emptied before they can be filled anew. It is the same with our hearts.
The feeling of being "at home" wasn't sold when my parents sold my childhood home because the feeling comes from my relationship with the energy of the home and the people living there, not the actually physical space. Like other relationships, this house shaped me just as I shape it. And the new owners will feel the presence of love that remains in that place even though the Bridges family not longer resides there. At least, I hope they do.
Here is what my grief over selling my childhood home has taught me:
- As long as I clutch to anything- a house, a rail, or a relationship- my hands cannot open or reach for anything else.
- I must risk putting down the thing I'm grasping in order to build or touch something new.
- As long as I cling to the history of our old house I can't embrace that my parents are in a new lovely home that we will continue to make memories in.
What is something you are grieving right now and what open-ended statement(s) could you pose to yourself that might reveal the essential truth about yourself?
If you're having a little trouble coming up with something, try sitting quietly and breathing in this one phrase:
My grief is here to heal me.
-Sit quietly and bring to mind one thing that you are clinging to
-As you exhale, open your hands and try to let the feeling loosen in your heart
-Practice using your hands to open your heart
When you allow yourself to drop into the truth of why your heart aches and why that matters you have real opportunity for growth.
And sweetheart, I feel your pain. Missing someone or something is REAL. You are not alone.
"Having children is like planting seeds from an unmarked packet. You vaguely believe you'll get daisies, but instead you get roses, morning glories, iris... all wonderful and beautiful, like you."
Right now, our veggie garden is in full bloom (is it still called "bloom" if it's not flowers? Maybe I should say "full veg"?!) and my kids are loving it. So am I.
I love that when I plant strawberries I get strawberries. The certainty of it is so rewarding.
So what happens when weeds start sprouting up around my precious veggies, pushing them aside and taking nutrients from them? Some people see weeds as annoying and something to dispose of. Others think of them as plants they haven't yet to found a use for. And yet others feel they are the right thing in the wrong place.
Side note: did you know that dandelions are actually quite nutritious... and delicious!? Their leaves are edible, the roots can be used to make tinctures that help with digestion issues, and their flowers make sweet little crowns or necklaces for our children. And my personal favorite part of the dandelion: the beautiful puff ball of seeds that I can blow as I scatter my wishes into the universe.
So, how do you view the "weeds" in your own life? What happens when you are peacefully working in your garden of life, planting seeds of healthy kids, throwing a party, or plugging along on a work project and something unexpected happens... WEEDS? The kid gets sick, it rains on your parade or your business partner doesn't keep her end of the bargain.
Here are my top 5 ways to deal with weeds:
- Stop settling. Decide what you want to bloom in your garden and plant THAT. What do you really, REALLY want? The more comfortable you become owning you power, the clearer you'll become on what you truly desire. Then you can start enjoying your harvest.
- Let the sun shine. Most of us are more afraid of our own light than of our shadow. When weeds show up, be willing to take a risk and let others see how talented you are at continuing to shine despite the unwanted growth.
- Practice being more assertive in your communication with others. Notice how others respond to you when weeds pop up in your life. Do you feel good about the way your communicate during challenging times? If not, can you find a way to communicate your needs and desires that is more direct?
- Stop caring what others think about the weeds. Who would you be and what would you do if you didn't care what others though of you? (This is a life long practice!)
- Make self-care a priority. This is my go to tip when anyone I care about is dealing with weeds. It is the best way I know of to validate self-worth and send a message to yourself that weeds do not need to define who you are. Nurture yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Are you quick to pluck the weeds and throw them away or can you use them not only as grist for the mill, but also as densely nutritious material that can make your life more full and complex?
Think about it and share in the comments :)
On July 7th, Brandon and I will have been married for 10 years. We are both partners in life and in parenting and I love him more than I thought it was possible to love someone.
Right now, while our kids are still little (6 and almost 2), we have decided to divide the workload so that he does the lion's share of business outside the home and I do the lioness's share of the child-rearing (while maintaining a Life Coaching practice on the side.) That is our arrangement and while it works for us, sometimes it feels like our "worlds" are miles apart.
Last week, while Brandon was on a "Mancation" (a vacation with his man friends), I was home solo with the kids. Typically, this would have been fairly simple and easy because we have a good routine, but it just so happened that THIS week we got the flu. I'm talking fluids exiting the body from all directions type of flu.
It's shitty to be sick even when he's around, but single parenting sick kids while also being sick myself was SUPER SHITTY! Then, I got my period.
Needless to say, I felt very distant and disconnected from Brandon during this time.
But the truth is, despite our differences in experience and our distance in miles, we actually were VERY connected. The strange thing about this time is that almost every time I had "an episode" Brandon would inevitably call me. And while I couldn't pick up the phone, because I was otherwise occupied, I was comforted by the fact that he some how *knew* that I was in distress.
The longer I know Brandon the more I realize that, if I remain open, our love and connectivity can continue to evolve and things are not always as I once thought they were.
"We all want to feel connected. That idea is more powerful than any magic I can do." -David Blaine
So, in honor of our upcoming anniversary, I thought I'd spice things up here on the blog (and maybe bend your mind a little) today with a YouTube clip of magician David Blaine demonstrating a simple concept with some of Hollywood's A-listers.
What I love about this clip is that you see these actors as real people (and trust me, actors ARE real people.) I also love that it's no trick. This video is a terrific visual as I've seen of inter-connectivity of the human mind. If you still need proof that our mind is not localized between our ears, this might help.
So next time you feel disconnected from your partner or think a worry thought that you weren't experiencing moments before, could it be that, maybe, just maybe, it might not. be. yours?
Just a thought.
The song tells us that "Love Hurts." Well so does parenting!
As moms, we are called upon to provide a safe, positive, comforting home for our children. But at what price? Are we also expected to give up the careers that we love, the relationship with our partners that made us want to have children in the first place, the nice and sometimes breakable possessions that fill our houses, AND our sanity?! In other words, are we expected to give up all pleasure now that we are moms?
NO! HELL NO!
I don't know about you, but sometimes the weight upon my mothering shoulders feels like too much. My back literally hurts with all the responsibilities that I am carrying around with me. So, rather than walk around like a crazy person who keeps adding more and more and MORE to her load, I'm deciding to take off some of the weight. This might mean that my kids eat mac n cheese out of a box tonight- something I would never had allowed to happen had I maintained my "perfect parent" facade. And my 1 year old might have to deal with a poopy diaper for more than 5 minutes so I can finish a phone call with my sister. A little diaper rash won't kill him, but being isolated from my loved ones just might kill me.
And really, who my children become, the innate talents and challenges and other details of their lives aren't really mine to choose nor are they helped by me trying to control every aspect of their lives. I can't save them from experiencing pain no matter how hard I try. This truth sucks. But that doesn't make it any less true.
Am I the only one whose back needs a break?
I think not!
So today, I want to give you permission to put down your load. (If not all of it at least some of it.)
What can you let go of today? Right now?!
Yes, we have work to do as mothers. Yes, we need to make sure our kids are clothed and fed and get enough sleep and outside time. Yes, we need to comfort them when they fall and encourage them when they are trying something new. But while we are doing that we can also TRUST that the rest will happen in accordance with out child's destiny.
So if trust is the balm that can ease some of your mothering pains where do you start?
You can begin at the beginning- your child's birth. From all the work I have done around my own birth stories as well as the birth stories of my clients, I can honestly tell you that we are actually not in charge of what happens. Most of us had a birth plan and most of our babies did not come out according to the plan. Thus begins a life long dance with flexibility and trust.
Not only is parenting painful, it is also exhausting! Physically, emotionally, and spiritually- we are tired! AND... there is a balm for this one too (and it has nothing to do with coffee!)
MANAGE YOUR THOUGHTS
Maintaining a positive attitude about your child's life and possibilities, especially during times of challenge or hardship, is one of the best ways I know of to avoid total exhaustion and fatigue.
TRUTH BOMB: Thoughts impact the nature our our reality.
However, the only way we learn the nature of our thoughts is by honestly looking at what had happened in our lives.
While it's sometimes true that "parenting hurts," "positive parenting" doesn't have to. Choosing to think in a positive way creates a mood of joy in the home and everything is just easier when joy is present.
I can hear you asking "So how do I parent in a positive way when it's already so painful?"
Here are my tips for moving from pain to pleasure:
- Consider and choose with intention what qualities you appreciate (if any) in a power greater than yourself. For our children, the adults in the home are the image of a higher power, so it's important to emulate the qualities that you deem worthy.
- Know, for yourself and your child, that the world is good. Remember that your thoughts and emotions which embody this picture serve your children's development (and your own.)
- Do your best. Be prepared with songs to ease you through transitions and meal plans to make shopping and cooking more simple and a regular schedule so that your child knows what is going to happen next. And when this all goes awry, which it will, know that you have done your best and give yourself grace. Also, remind your child to do her best and forget the rest.
- When you begin to worry do one of two things: 1) let it go or 2) DO something. Worry and regret only create more of what we fear. As mothers, there are many things we have control over and there are many others that are outside of our control. Our efforts can only take us so far, the rest is worked out the way it is meant to.
- And when things work out the way you had hoped, say to the Universe "Thank you, more please!"
In what ways are you morphing parenting pains into parenting pleasures?
To explore your pain points more please check out this free worksheet.
Spring has sprung!
And so has my desire to simply my life. Not just the THINGS in my life, but also the thoughts in my head, my daily routine, and the way I do things.
When I look for role models in the simplicity department the first one that comes to my head makes me grin in remembrance of my childhood: Mr Rogers. Do you remember this guy? He send a powerful message to my generation that the world is good and that our surroundings deserve our respect and care. He conveyed this message with such simplicity with his calm demeanor and regular habits that I remember really wanting to be his neighbor. It was his simple ways that gave me a sense that everything was going to be ok. He responded to situations (rather than reacting to them) in a way that was slow and steady. Now, as a grownup and parent, I STILL want him to be my neighbor!
The following, written by Lex Breckinridge, reminded me why Mr. Rogers was a part of my life. He offered light in a simple way.
“Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” This off-the-cuff observation was made by Fred Rogers, better known as “Mr. Rogers,” creator of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the longest running series on PBS. He said it to a young man named Benjamin Wagner during a conversation about Wagner’s job as a journalist and a producer for MTV, a job that Wagner regarded with much ambivalence. Rogers turned to him and said, “You know, Benjamin, I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Mr. Rogers died not long thereafter, and Benjamin, who said that this comment haunted him for years, set out on a journey of discovery to get to know the real Mr. Rogers, to seek out the neighbors who knew Mr. Rogers best, to see what that seemingly offhand comment might really mean.
The results of this search may be seen in a beautiful, moving documentary film called “Mr. Rogers & Me,” now showing on PBS. Benjamin discovered that Fred Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister who was in later years a faithful Episcopalian, was exactly the same warm, compassionate, caring person in real life as the character he played on his long-running children’s television program. He was completely sincere when he would say face-to-face to one person what he said to millions of children, “I like you just the way you are.”
In the documentary we see the late Tim Russert saying that Rogers was “… forever taking advantage of every moment to tell people that it is important that we respect one another and love one another.” Linda Ellerbe observes that Rogers believed that everyone “… had this wonderful person inside who was just dying to get out, and he was going to open the door for you, and then help you open the door for others. That’s pretty simple and pretty deep.” A life’s work spent affirming the goodness of individual human beings, honoring their dignity, and teaching and encouraging them to pass that respect and love along to others. That sounds positively counter cultural. It certainly goes against the grain of our noisy, hypercompetitive world. In fact, it sounds like the gospel, and it sounds like Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to go spread the good news. Deep and simple, indeed.
We work diligently to make our lives complex. Do you feel as if your life is overscheduled? If so, chances are it is overly complex. Yet, all this complexity gets in the way of true human encounters. Anything and everything we do that does not affirm the worth of another human being or that ignores or overlooks another person who is as much God’s Beloved as we are probably indicates a degree of complexity in our lives that is life-denying rather than life-affirming.
Fred Rogers seems to have lived life with very little stress. He was an extremely intelligent and gifted person, so it’s not as if he were not paying attention. The pursuit of material things was also not a priority for him, although he clearly had all that he needed. His low stress life was a result of placing others first. In everything he did, and in every human encounter he had, he “sought to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving his neighbor as himself,” as the Baptismal covenant puts it. Seems like a pretty straightforward prescription to reduce complexity and thereby reduce stress in our own lives. Summer is a good time to begin this practice, a time to make every human encounter a valuable one, a time to see Christ in one another. Deep and simple. -Lex Breckinridge, Rector at St. Thomas Epicsopal Church Medina (from the June 2012 Collect)
So how do I bring Mr Rogers, or at least his values, into my own home?
My #1 tip for creating a simple life: PREDICTABILITY!
Being calm, consistent and caring in all aspects of our lives (work life, finances, living environment, personal growth, health, community, family life, and spiritual practices) is key to creating the kind of effortless, spacious MAGIC that Mr Rogers exuded.
I know that when I make simplicity the main frame in my parenting everything else just seems to fall into place. So, yes I am doing a major decluttering of my home this spring, but I am also decluttering our schedules so that our weekends are spacious and unplanned, meditating before bed so I fall asleep with a less full mind, and being intentional about how many trips we plan this summer.
Our children cannot differentiate between themselves and the outside world that causes us parents to be stressed and anxious. They take our hurriedness extremely personal because their senses are so unfiltered. It is my job, as my kid’s mom, to show them that the world is good. (There is enough time, later in life, to learn about the dangers of the world.)
Regular habits in daily life allow children to build a solid foundation of security. Likewise, multi-tasking and novelty create insecurity in kids because they don’t know what will happen next or who will pay attention to them. So, for the sake our your children (and your own sanity) I urge you to SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY! I have created a worksheet to help you think about ways you can simplify different areas of your life.
Here are a few ways I am simplifying my life right now:
- Make sure I get enough sleep. This often means saying “no” to evening requests or at least limiting them to one night a week.
- Eat a balanced diet. This requires some planning ahead so that my pantry and fridge are stocked with nourishing foods.
- Exercise regularly. This is usually just a walk to a local coffee shop with my dog. It’s not much, but the fact that it is simple and easy ensures that it gets done.
- Go to the doctor, dentist, chiropractor… on a regular basis. If I stop caring for my body it makes everything else harder so I just make this a priority.
- Schedule time for recreation, such as going out with girl friends, reading a good book, or seeing a movie with my hubby. If it’s on the calendar it gets done.
- Have a healthy rhythm that allows enough time to do what I have to do so that I’m not rushing. This usually means I need to drop some activities from the routine so that I have enough time and spaciousness for the ones that are truly important.
- Observe nature and its changing beauty. Mother earth always reminds me how joyful and peaceful simplicity is.
- Stop and just watch my children now and then. I’ll just sit and watch them as they go about an activity rather than engage with them. It sometimes takes my breath away how beautiful they are and how I miss these breathtaking moments when life is complicated.
- Allow myself time to reflect on what is happening. My journal is my happy place. 😃
- Carefully choose the information I take in by being intentional about the books I read, movies or TV I watch and people I spend time with.
- Listen to my inner dialogue. A friend recently shared this quote with me by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I feel it also applies to my thoughts. If they aren’t useful or beautiful they don’t belong.
Remember, making mistakes is a natural part of learning and that simplicity is a practice.