Social Connection

This month, our theme is Relationship and Belonging. Love and connection are two of our basic needs in life. In this season of togetherness full of parties and gatherings, let’s dive into what it means to connect with others.

We’re going to start with how we can connect with strangers. How can we connect with strangers that we might not even talk to? And why would we want to?! Watch the video to find out!

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Love and belonging is a NEED

This month's theme is "Love and Belonging."

Love may be a very splendid thing, but for us humans it also has an entirely non-romantic function: perpetuate the species.

Just imagine if the emotion of love were to disappear tomorrow with nothing equally powerful to take its place. The human race would eventually go extinct.

Proof that love and belonging are NEEDS and not just "wouldn't it be nice to haves":

  1. Children are born in a state of extreme dependence, unable to provide for themselves. They have no alternative but to rely on others to meet their needs.

  2. As mothers, we all know how substantial a newborn’s needs are. They require investments of every tangible and intangible resource that we can give them. (Sleep, food, holding- just to name a few!)

  3. Their period of dependence is significant. This means that they require our ongoing commitment of resources.

  4. Something must significantly motivate us mamas to make the substantial and long standing investment that ensures our children’s survival.

  5. This motivating factor is LOVE. We willingly give our kids everything that we have. Then we give them some more. We do this for the deceptively simple reason that we love them so much.

Have you ever seriously questioned WHY you take care of your kids?

As a society, we reserve our harshest scorn for those who neglect, abuse, or otherwise break the covenant to love and protect our young ones. But we also harshly judge a mom whose child is having a meltdown in the grocery store or who packed the same sandwich in their child’s lunch every day this week or who looses her sh*t at her toddler when she wakes the sleeping baby.

Rather than judge that woman- LOVE her. That is what she NEEDS- your love.

Here’s the rub… If our children have this need to be loved and cared for SO DO WE! That need for love doesn’t just drop away when we become moms.

Just like nourishing sleep is one of our basic needs (and also a need that is often side stepped when we become parents), one cannot survive without meeting our need of love and belonging.

Love and belonging is just as much a human need as food, water, sleep, shelter...

No matter what the specific need, there’s a minimum requirement necessary for our survival. Fail to meet that minimum and we will perish from starvation, thirst, exhaustion or whatever specific threat the basic need addresses.

So, I invite you to ask yourself, “Is my basic minimum requirement for love and belonging being met right now?”

Rate your need on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very low and 1- being very high.

How has your need for love and belonging changed since you became a mom?

Let’s continue this conversation over in our Facebook group and let us know your strategy for getting your need for love and belonging met.

Break the Rules

Often, what begins as unpopular becomes a trend. I am on a mission to make prioritizing our own needs and MUST on our todo lists.

Personally, I rebel against the norm when it comes to to mommy guilt. Perhaps this is because I witnessed the struggles my own mom (and many others) had with guilt and I’m not willing to put that on myself or my kids.

While I admire many of the parenting choices that my mom made I wish she hadn’t been such a martyr when it came to taking care of us kids.

When I tell my friends and clients that I take regular time away from my children guilt free they often look at me like I have three heads, shocked that I could do such a thing AND consider myself a good mom, which I do!

What each must seek in {her} life never was on land or sea. It is something out of {her} own unique potentiality for experience, something that has never been and never could have been experienced by someone else.

-Joseph Campell

I like to think of myself as a trendsetter. My need to be liked by MYSELF far outweighs my need to be liked by others. All of our great thinkers were considered nuts before the scales tipped in their direction, even at the risk of loosing it all. So, today, I urge you to think from a place of self-invention, even if it’s just for the next 24 hours.

Who would you be if it didn’t matter to you what anyone else thought?

One way to find out is by taking part in the Happy Mama, Happy Holidays Challenge, which begins Dec 1st. During the challenge you will learn proven strategies for creating a life and holiday in which you thrive as a mom, a partner, and a self.

I hope you’ll join us!

How can I have more confidence as a Mom?

Embrace the following statement… You don’t have to be a PERFECT mother to be a confident mother. Building confidence as a mother requires time, so be kind to yourself as build your confidence.

In this video, I discuss how you can get past societal barriers to reach confidence and how much time you should dedicate to a parenting strategy before switching things up.

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Boundaries

Once you have strong personal boundaries, they become more porous, and love and caring flow more easily between you and others.

Sophie, a professional woman and mother to 3 children under 6 and a member of my weekly Mothering Circle, repeatedly feels taken advantage of. After listening to her describe a painful episode in which a friend had acted inappropriately during a visit, I told her, “you need to work on improving your emotional boundaries.” She was surprised by my comment. “But the teachings of Buddha (our topic that week) say we aren’t separate” Sophie said. “So why would I need boundaries? What am I protecting? Isn’t the whole idea to not be attached to the needs of my ego?”

This prompted Rachel, another mom in our circle, to reveal that she and her ex-husband who share custody of their child were working on boundary issues with a counselor. “We never worked this out while we were married,” he said. “We thought being in love meant you weren’t supposed to have boundaries.” After class, these mothers shared stories about boundaries being violated— sometimes unknowingly.

In my observation from leading mothering circles for the last few years, poorly defined or inappropriate boundaries are the cause of much suffering—and that suffering is compounded for some people by confusion regarding the teachings of oneness, selflessness, and non- separateness. If you’re struggling with these questions, you’re in good company. After all, you’re part of a culture that isn’t always clear about boundaries. Moreover, your sense of them changes dramatically as you mature and your inner life deepens.

Even if you’ve done a lot of inner work, you may still allow others to violate your boundaries or you may violate those of others. You may know people who chronically disrupt boundaries, but have never realized it or deny it. You may even be enabling their behavior. Fortunately, you can dramatically improve in this area through conscious practice, honesty, and patience.

Beware, though, of underestimating the challenge of setting and maintaining healthy limits. Boundary issues are more complex than just inappropriate language or action, and their complexities are revealed only after you have some clarity. Mastering the issue of boundaries does not happen all at once; it’s a gradual process that eventually leads to a more authentic and powerful you.

EVOLVING BOUNDARIES

Interestingly, the language of personal boundaries mirrors that of property rights. The word “boundary” is used to define a parcel of land that can be bought, sold, insured, or taxed. Likewise, when used to describe emotional space, it most commonly defines the self; which has unique rights that others should respect. Abuse counselor Pia Mellody, in her book Facing Codependence (Harper San Francisco, 2003), refers to boundaries as “symbolic force fields” that allow you to have a sense of self.

Today we take for granted the right to have our physical body remain inviolate, but throughout much of history many people—children, women, prisoners, serfs, slaves — did not enjoy that right because they “belonged” to a parent, spouse, or ruler who “owned” certain access rights to their bodies. We now view physical and even some emotional boundaries as part of a person’s innate dignity and sanctity. This “human right” is considered more intrinsic than a constitutional right. But this view has only recently come into existence (and not all cultures share it), and it continues to evolve.

It can take years for what may seem like an obvious personal boundary to be accepted as a civil right. For example, only recently has unwelcome touch by a boss or coworker been defined as illegal sexual harassment. It’s still being debated whether the air around your body is protected and, if so, if you have the right to be protected from smoke. And now there’s a debate about public cell phone use being an intrusion on our individual and collective space—a boundary that involves the right to peace and quiet.

Physical boundaries represent the right to be free from intrusion by others, and only when they are fully respected can emotional boundaries be dealt with. Violations of this physical right include torture of prisoners of war and criminals, rape, child abuse, and physical assault. In each instance there is also an undeniable emotional violation, which underscores the fact that emotional boundaries are as tangible as—and are fundamentally linked to—physical ones. Honoring physical boundaries is essential. Otherwise justifying mistreatment of someone’s body implies that such boundaries are conditional, not innate. This slippery slope leads to abuse by all sorts of violators, including police, governments, corporations, and those acting in the name of God. Eventually you and those you love will be affected. Any time our culture is complacent about such violations, all our personal boundary rights are under threat.

If you are ready to create some boundaries in your life right now I invite you to sign up for the Happy Mama, Happy Holidays challenge where we will be diving deep into this topic (and more!) It begins December 1st.

How do I prioritize my own needs?

As mothers, we’re constantly aware of the needs and well-being of our children. It can be easy to prioritize their needs above our own. However, YOUR needs and well-being matter too!

We cannot serve others, even our children, from an empty cup. We deserve to get our needs met and deserve to prioritize the values we hold dear to us.

In this video, I talk about how you need to have insight to what feelings you desire so you can make them a priority.

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How Can I Be More Assertive?

Hi there mamas! For the rest of the month, I’m taking part in Perspectives Panel, an opportunity for viewers to understand and learn the value of life coaching. I will be answering a series of questions on their channel each week along with some other amazing life coaches. You can follow along by subscribing to their channel: Perspectives Panel

Being assertive can be difficult when it involves standing up to loved ones. There are some very useful and simple tips to make sure that you're asserting yourself in a calmly so your needs aren't pushed aside.

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Time Management Part 1

Do you find yourself struggling to find a flow? Perhaps you’re all over the place and need to find a rhythm that is right for you. Maybe you’re too flowy and find yourself missing important things in your life and desire some structure.

In this Mom-ME Moment, join me and my two co-hosts as we talk about the 4 Ds to help you become a better manager of your precious time.

To learn more and to schedule a Dreamcatcher Session with Belle, visit: http://www.mom-mecircle.com/contact.

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Trust Your Season

Do you find yourself hoping for Spring when it’s the dead of winter? Or perhaps you’re waiting for whichever season is your favorite.

Motherhood also has seasons and it’s important to understand how to trust the season you’re in rather than trying to force yourself into another season or desperately waiting for your current season to be over.

In this Mom-ME Moment, I share some of my own struggles that I experienced during the seasons of my motherhood journey. Join me as I talk about how you can learn to trust your season.

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Do you ever feel like a bad mom?

Do you every feel like a bad mom? If the answer is a resounding "YYYYYYEEESS!!" you are not alone, my friend. So do I.

Believe it or not, there are things you can do to remember that you are the best mom you can possible me.

"Really?!?!?"

Yes! And I'll tell you how...

1) Clear Limiting Beliefs
This is one of the steps in my 4 part ICAN method. You can learn more about it here...

The first step in clearing a belief is to identify what you’re telling yourself. Self-talk is a powerful tool that can be used to create a positive or negative reality. If the script running through your head all day long is that you aren't good enough or that you should be different than you are, you are bound to feel bad about your mothering skills. You can shift this internal dialogue by listening to your self-talk.

What are you telling yourself throughout the day? Notice your thoughts and how they make you feel. For instance, you might find that you tell yourself, “I lost my cool and shouted at my two year old, I'm a terrible mom.” Saying this makes you feel even worse about raising your voice.

2. Call a trusted friend or family member and ask them to just listen to you express your feelings. 
When you find yourself caught up in negative thoughts about your mothering abilities, reach out to a loved one like a sister or best friend. Preface the conversation by telling them that you don't need them to fix you, you just want to be witnessed.

  • Say, “Oh, Julie, I feel horrible. I’ve been so tired. I haven’t had any energy to play with the kids. They’re been binging on cartoons. I feel like I'm the worst mom EVER”

  • You may be surprised to find that just saying your feelings out loud allows you to see how untrue they really are. This reminds me of the bumper sticker that says, "You can't believe everything you think."


3. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. 
Every mom, at some point, feels like she's not doing a good enough job. That’s right, even those moms who seem to have it all together have bad days. So, dear mama, I beg you to give yourself a break and comparing your insides to other mothers outsides. If you’re always caught up in what your friend or sister does for her kids, you will continue to feel worthless.

  • Why? Because you actually have no idea what her life is like. When you meet other moms at events or see snapshots of their lives on facebook, you aren’t seeing the ugly parts. They aren’t putting their bad days on display. (At least not most of them.)

  • When you find yourself wanting to compare,say to yourself, “Just because I don’t see her bad days, it doesn’t mean they don’t happen.”

  • Consider having a media free day once a week and notice if it helps with your experience of compare and despair.

  • Don't get involved with a moms group that doesn't feel like a good fit and holds you to higher expectations than you can maintain. Instead, look for a more suitable group. If you haven't joined the Mom-ME Circle FB group you can do so here.

 Shame is a garbage emotions that doesn't deserve any space in motherhood!

Coping tool box

This month, in our Facebook group, we are talking about coping skills. I hope you'll join the conversation!

Here is a brief peek into my personal coping tool box:

- Stop (or at least slow down for long enough to become aware of what is happening.) FEEL all the feels. And notice the thoughts.

- Connect to my inner wise self and take charge of those thoughts in an empowering way.

- Shift away from fear and move towards love.

More to come!

 

What's in your coping tool box?

Overcome Self-Sabotage

We can be our own biggest critics. Why do we self-sabotage ourselves by hiding behind our fake selves? It's ok to stop pretending and be yourself. Here are some ways you might be self-sabotaging and how to overcome it.

You don't have to compare yourself to anyone else either. Learn how to recognize this in my past video: Overcoming Comparisons

You can also learn how to handle people in just can't deal in this video: How to Deal with People Who Don’t Get It

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To learn more and to schedule a Dreamcatcher Session with Belle, visit: http://www.mom-mecircle.com/contact.

The 4 principles of Mindful Movement

When I look back on my journey to self-empowerment, it's no surprise that my return to work that was personally fulfilling coincided with my first born starting preschool. There was finally time, space and energy for something else... ME!

It felt like I had weathered a very long storm and the clouds were parting. 

As my energy stores began to rebuild I could sense that it was time to take a look at my physical shape... and so I embarked on a journey to find mindful movement routine that worked for me.

A little reminder before I tell you about how I got myself back (notice I didn't say "how I got my body back!"): whatever changes you make, aim to make them long term. Take small, steady steps to moving in a way that encourages a healthier, happier you.

Grand, sweeping changes just aren't sustainable.

The 4 Principles of Mindful Movment:

  1. Move for mental health- It's not just toning your core and thighs. Mindful movement will also boost your clarity of thought and creativity, release your stress, and helot you make better decisions. Remind yourself that this isn't a selfish indulgence, it's an essential part of your self-care routine.
  2. Keep it fun and varied- Sustainable commitment to mindful movement is all about finding a way of moving that is intrinsically enjoyable to you. So, I encourage you to cast aside the notion that mindful movement needs to hurt to be effective. In fact, the whole reason to be mindful in your movement is to avoid getting hurt. Challenging your mind and body in different ways will keep your motivation fresh and prevents your physical results from plateauing. 
  3. Plan ahead- Get your mindful movement routine organized by spotting windows of opportunity. Change doesn't happen without some effort so if you want something different to happen you need to be prepared to DO something different. Get your kids and friends involved and make it a priority to move your body EVERY DAY!
  4. Work with what you've got- Even just 10 minutes during your kid's nap is better than nothing. Mindful movement has a cumulative effect, so keep investing in YOURSELF.

Remember, we need to do the things we have to do to feel the way we want to feel!!!

 

Quick Relaxation Stretches

It’s my birthday, and my birthday wish to you is to relax.

Whether you’re at your desk, kitchen table, or out and about, it’s good to have some tips to help you relax. Here are some of my favorite tips to ease tension in your body and get into a state of relaxation.

When you have time, I really encourage you to go through these methods with me in the video. You can pause and replay the video as you need. I invite you to participate with me through the video to receive some self-care.

 

To begin, start off by being in the moment. Find alignment in your body, whether you’re sitting or standing. Think of a line going straight up from the floor. Place both feet flat on the floor, align your shoulders above your hips, and tuck your chin slightly. You might notice that your shoulders will relax a bit when you’re ready. Your breathing may slow down.

Here are some simple stretches you can do.

The No Stretch

This stretch can remind us that it’s ok to say no and hold boundaries.

Move your entire head as you look over your shoulder from one side to another. Do this at whatever speed feels good to you. Notice any kinks in your neck. You can linger.

The Yes Stretch

Consider what you want to say yes to while doing this stretch.

Inhale and lift your chin toward the sky, keeping your spine straight. Exhale as you bring your chin toward your chest. This can be done at whatever speed is comfortable for you and can be repeated as long as you’d like.

The Maybe Stretch

As you do this stretch, consider the maybes in your life. What are you not super passionate about, but it’s not a “no”?

Take one ear and begin lowering it towards your shoulder, then return it to the center. Repeat this going the opposite way. Keep your jaw nice and relaxed. Take note if one side is tighter than the other. You can do this in a fluid motion without stopping in the center.

Shoulder Circles

Move your shoulders to make circles. Rotate them forward towards your chest, up toward your ears, down behind your back, and return to your resting position. Circle them as slowly or quickly as you’d like.

If you’d like, feel free to grab your favorite relaxing essential oil and rub it between your palms before you start. You can add a drop to some water to drink or drop a bit directly in your mouth to relax. I love the smell of lavender, and a recent favorite of mine is Cherry Plum by BA.

 

Avoiding Comparisons

Do you find yourself comparing your children, your parenting, and yourself to others? Making comparisons develops from an early age and can make us stress more than we really need to.

Learning the signs of comparing ourselves to others is the first step to avoiding this practice. Once you’re able to recognize these signs, I invite you to engage with several strategies that can replace comparing with curiosity, so we can be who we are and not who we think we should be.

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Yoga Mudras

Hands are more than just functional in caring for our loved ones; they are an energy map of our consciousness and health. Each area of the hand corresponds to a certain area of the body and to different emotions and behaviors. By curling, crossing, stretching, and touching the fingers and palms, we can effectively talk to the body and mind.

The position the hand takes is called a "mudra" and is a technique for giving clear messages to the mind-body energy system. The mudra used will stimulate that desired energy, and there are over 100 mudras to choose from. Mudras can take anywhere from one minute to a few hours and be done sitting or standing.

This mudra is very comforting and holds you in your heart center while reminder ourselves of our connection with the earth. It allows us to feel physically grounded and provide a peaceful moment in the now. You can find yourself in the center of the storm of life.

Just as letters are combined in a multitude of ways to form different words, so can the fingers build an array of mudras. Below you will find two of my favorite mudras. Let me know if you have any questions at Mom-MECircle.com/contact.

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Pose #1 (Gyana Mudra):

Place your thumb and fore finger together and place the back of your hand in your knee. This can be done with one hand or both while sitting on the ground or in a chair. Close your eyes if you like. Take some deep breathes.

This mudra helps us feel centered, especially near our belly.

 

Pose #2:

Place you right hand over your heart and your left hand on the ground next to you. Take deep breathes. Feel the rise and fall of your chest with each breath.