Mindfulness and meditation are gaining in popularity. The science that backs the benefits is becoming mainstream, launching new level of awareness for the general population. Being raised by hippies, meditation was always a part of "my world" yet knew that it wasn't a "normal" thing for my peers and their families.
I'd estimate that 80% of the mothers I work with identify self-care as the 1st area that needs their attention for their health and well-being. As that area gets attention, we identify the gaps and brainstorm ways to support her choices toward her ideal, happy and healthy Self. As women learn to tune into themselves to see those areas in a light that can support them (rather than just seeing the glaring gaps), meditation has proven a useful too.
There are A LOT of meditation apps, programs, courses, and methods. Recently, I heard feedback online in a Facebook feed where a mom was frustrated by her attempts to meditate. The thing is, you can't "do it wrong". She was trying a breath focused meditation and felt like it added pressure to breath a certain way which only added stress to how she was feeling instead of releasing it. My encouragement was to try a word, phrase, or sound instead of her breath. Start with 1 minute instead of trying for longer...it's a brain muscle that needs to be warmed up and like exercise, you wouldn't go for a run if you haven't run in 20 years, you'd start with a walk.
Regarding those pesky, interrupting thoughts, consider this perspective. You're currently living IN YOUR BODY and you have to stay connected to form. Imagine the mantra as a vehicle connecting to the Heavens, but our bodies need oxygen so our thoughts bring us back to Earth in an atmosphere our bodies can live in. We can notice and release our thoughts, return to the ship (mantra) connecting to the Divine and go again. Each experience building on the one before and over time, we can travel for longer with fewer breaks between. Increasing our capacity and stamina takes time...like the "pray without ceasing" practice. We return to worry, fear, fret, frustration less and less when we intentionally surrender, submit, participate and choose Love, trust, grace, patience, etc.
Mindful, intentional, present moment living forces Higher level of participation and awareness. Functioning with this greater awareness helps us to make wiser choices, releasing what is no longer serving us, our culture, our minds, our bodies, and family stories.
May we all become more gratefully aware this season.
Especially big endings challenge us to reflect, yes? Experiencing and processing my mother’s passing since last spring has challenged my relationship with the impermanence of “this world”. The moment she left her body, I felt a wave of her Spirit pass in me. Just hours before, my daughter sent a video to my phone where we heard the heartbeat for the 1st time of my grandson, a new life that will arrive within the month now. Gratefully, “Life does go on”. Often it is with great heartache though that we release what was to come to accept and embrace the next seasons.
Grief is a mysterious emotion, isn’t it? The companion of loss is still washing over every aspect of my life though the waves come with varying impacts. Some are gentle and others knock the wind out of me. Those enormous ones catapult me into depths of introspection and then the outburst of emotion that come from having allowed the vein to be tapped. Over the summer months, in moments of my deep reflection, during the especially “darker” ones, I found myself asking “what’s the point of living if it’s going to pass and end anyway?” On a simple, not heavy scale, the question could easily be asked why to decorate for fall holidays if they’re going to end? Why participate?
The asking was far more important than answering for me. Asking made room for my grief and its spectrum of emotion to surface. That needs to happen.
Answering was a pep talk, a positive spin, a way to tidy up my thoughts before returning to the day to day and week to week participation with “my world” and the people I do Life with. The pep talk tethered me back to the commitments I’ve made and the work I’ve agreed to. Recently, I heard Dr. Bernice King refer to the work we’ve agreed to as “our assignment”.
The inner dialog sounded something like “Well, silly, the same reason you make your bed, wash your dishes, or brush your teeth. It’s the same reason you decorate for the holidays then pack them up for the next one; participating well with the season that is currently presenting itself.” Could we ever question the seemingly small act of supporting Life by changing a diaper or feeding a child simply because they’ll be hungry again later? Life goes on and we’re still called to participate. Even the night before mom died, she brushed her teeth and tended to the Life remaining as she could.
In the darker moments, my eyes close and the struggle is real to release what was. The CHOICE to return to what IS, accepting the impermanence, change, and loss has sometimes has felt like an emotional wrestling match of sorts. Opposing emotions, sometimes reacting or pausing to assess and counter with a worthy and effective move to gain leverage in my actions and behaviors.
When I’m challenged, I try to simplify the big picture using coaching techniques on myself. I wonder and get curious. I ask questions and look for lessons to support my processing. More often than not, simple examples usually present when I’m trying to wrap my head around an experience I’m having.
Recently, I was trying to untangle my iPhone earbuds to call my sister while I drove to an appointment. The temptation was to pull and yank, forcing the cords free from the tangled mess they had become. Pulling only tightened the knots, creating more work and frustration, adding to the time it would take to resolve my little challenge. My little challenge offered insight to honoring the bigger beast I’m facing as I move and participate with the “knots” in me.
For me, a healthy shift in my processes came when I paused, looked more closely, and notice the needed moves.
I paused, noticed that what I needed in that moment was:
My sister said, “me too”.
When put together, these two words become incredibly powerful. Next to the phrase "I love you", I'm not sure what else ranks as high. I'd suggest that this is partly why support groups are so effective.
Knowing that we are not alone facilitates our processes with a safe somebody to reflect with. Engaging with our needs; identifying them and taking responsibility to meet them affects our future. As individuals and collectively as humanity, we are impacting the Life that DOES GO ON.
Like with so many other hard bends in this journey, “going through” is required to arrive on the “other side” of loss. I choose to participate well with the Life that is still IN ME, engaging well with the Life around me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t take breaks to grieve, process, reflect, renew and restore. Losing Mom was a catalyst for me to embrace impermanence. At a new level, I am allowing change instead of resisting, making room for Peace and participation that shifts the experience enough.
My processes (and the results of them) are both impermanent and imperfect. I'll change again.
A dark moment still can come and say, “what’s the point then?” Sometimes I still sit in the dark where I wrestle then submit. Ah, but Light comes because the dark moment can’t last either…and Light shines again, forcing the growth from the buried, dark space, inviting me to say “yes” again; participate well so that the reflection FROM ME to what I leave behind is good too.
What grows out of the dark moments takes time; the sad, dark, grieving moments are also impermanent. They have already changed so much. Another will return, inviting me to participate well with it too. Waves…they do retreat, they go under and out, they leave their mark, washing away a layer of what I “perceived” to reveal a Truth; a treasured knowing more deeply, that the one thing immune from impermanence is Love (aka God).
This truth reminded me of the Bookmark Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila
Let nothing upset you,
Let nothing afright you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills all her needs.
I can allow (vs. resist) the parts of Life that aren’t as I might design them; I can grow my imperfect patience, and accept the imperfect parts of myself and others. I can represent the best I can today…and not expect any more of myself (or others) than that. We’ll keep changing because that is the way this impermanent Life works.
Life does goes on. Love lives on. My mother’s love lives on IN ME and many. I know more completely in my core, in the bones and fibers of my body, that I am to Love well in my impermanent and imperfect state.
I have kids in Elementary, Middle and High schools again this year, all respective "seniors". The innocence of kindergarten days are left for my growing grandchildren. Social Media is a territory that my mother couldn't have prepared me for in respect to the technology, but she (with the help of others) did equip me well with a heart to reflect my responsibility and value on this planet.
Some learning curves are steep, aren't they? Learning our worth, our "being enough", embracing and BEing with our perfect imperfections are tricky.
A friend wrote the following poem, sharing some thoughts on taking selfies. With school starting and my kids getting more deeply knit into networks, groups, and social pressures, I thought a valuable reminder of the compassionate space I want to "hold" for my kids ...and the parents that are walking in this hard season of navigating the ever changing social media scene. It's easy to get "off my map" and act from fears, comparisons or become uber sensitive and vigilant to the "rules" and tools instead of courage, trust, faith, hope, and Love.
I'm honored to have walked with clients through intimate moments as they learn that they're the only ones who expect themselves to be all things to all people and that they are, in fact, enough. As a sweet perk to my work, the lessons they're embracing further and deepen my own and so more importantly, increase the space they can hold for their children to learn too.
When I can look at mySelf with love and compassion, I can more easily hold that for my kids, their peers and the confused culture that is trying to figure this "all" out too.
You are enough, Mom. I pray you know it....and that your kids will too.
Posted On Instagram · November 1, 2016
.by Julie Wilson
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Are Lonely
And We Have Not Been Seen
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Are Beauty
But We Find It Hard To Believe
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Are Here
And It Feels So Damn Important
To Document Our Being
We Take Our Pictures
Because Our Sadness Is Heavy
And Our Portraits Suspended
Outside Of Ourselves
Lessens The Load
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Are Scared-
We Are Afraid Of Being Alone
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Are Sacred
We Are An Offering
And A Prayer For Grace
We Take Our Pictures
To Pin Down Our Memories
Vaguely Knowing That So Many
Have Evaporated Away
We Take Our Pictures
Because We Wonder
How Much Do They See?
How Well Do I Cover My Flaws?
And We Keep Taking Our Pictures
Because We Have Been Convinced
Over And Over Again
That We Aren't Quite Enough
I often start a client sessions by asking what the BEST MOMENT was since we talked last. Because the client anticipates this, it has helped them to scan their days for good parts and stay open to moments that might qualify as one of the “best”. Many times, the answers to my question come with a feeling and experience that interestingly, lands us “on the map” of their best version of themselves. This “map” is something we created in their 1st session and morph as we traverse and explore the terrain.
When I first began this practice for myself, I could quickly and easily identify my “NOT MY BEST MOMENTS” (off the map of me at my best). Practicing intentional observation, usually with patience and Grace, I began to ask myself how those “not best moments” could have been “on my map”. Because learning and growing is on my map, the observation of “not my best” began to shift to be another lesson, feedback, insight and reminder of where I desire change to take place. Instead of being “outside” the boundaries or off the grid, I welcomed the moment as a gift that elevated my awareness. I began to enjoy "my map", realizing that I AM living a life I desire to live. Phew...what Peace I can embody with that awareness. Often, there needed to be an apology to myself or another because the behavior I had observed as “not my best” contradicted what I knew was kind, loving, patient, etc…all those qualities I hope to bring to my part of the planet.
Driving one of my sons to school, reviewing the list of “did you do this that and the other?”, I found myself frustrated and using a tone of voice I wouldn’t want to be talked to in. I know that my frustration largely stemmed from my own list of responsibilities that morning; from neglecting to plan well, adapt to and negotiate the unexpected, and prioritize the wants and needs of the day. All too quickly, we were at the front of the carpool line and it was time for him to get out. Ouch, wait, I just dumped on him...shoot…I'm sorry...another morning feedback session. Bless that kid who received my apology during the car ride home that afternoon and forgave me. He also seemed to have been able to have a great day despite my attitude and we chatted about how we don't have to take on someone else's "bad moments". What if my "not best moment" actually facilitated one of my better ones? So then was it a "bad moment" after all? That morning car ride made room for one where we talked about, extended and received Grace
Throughout the day, moment to moment, life season to life season, shifts take place that can engage and grow us. Especially as mothers, we spin a lot of plates, having so many areas we are dedicated and desire to give ourselves to. When we create order, anticipate needs, and what unfolds looks different that the "plan", we must edit and adapt. This is Life. Shifting into new growth can be uncomfortable (labor transition, anyone?) yet bring the next level of awareness and participation.
That statement alone covers volumes of thought and years of living…there is Grace enough.
What was your best moment last week?
Having a daughter changed the role I was embracing as "mother".
She was placed in my arms, only 8 lb 8 oz, little compared to her brother...and a female…who I was called to mother, to train up to be woman. I had to more than mother her, I had to model "woman" for her.
This child became, with or without me; she was and IS AMAZING. (They all are, btw.) Watching the growth, the struggle, the suffering that brings life forth, the hard lessons that grow self-awareness and self-discipline, the laughter and tears, the asking and receiving, the Powerful expression that impacts FAR BEYOND her knowing.
Our kids become…we became. We are all still becoming…and there is much to be grateful for in that.
Do you hear them too? I've felt as if they scream at me and say "PAY ATTENTION TO ME. GIVE ME YOUR ENERGY AND TIME!" along with the concert of other voices and areas I desire to give mySelf to, improve, turn beautiful, and invest in.
I'm not sure when the shift happened. I imagine it began from seeds my people planted in me. It was certainly cultivated by reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach decades ago and nourished through recovering from loss and adjusting expectations of how life "should look".
At some point it happened though. Instead of being frustrated by the mess my life makes, I chose to embrace it...usually and mostly (not always). My dirty dishes means there was food for them...whoever I'm feeding. The laundry meant there were resources to clothe them and that they had a day to adventure in them.
There are parents who would give their lives so their children could dirty dishes and laundry. I know too many of these parents. Often, it's simply the progression of them moving into adulthood and they're not home to dirty your dishes...and you only see the laundry when they visit. No matter, the time is fleeting and precious....and I'm grateful for dirty dishes...and I hope to teach them well so they can wash them too, prepare good food for others and be thankful for the opportunity to commune at the table.
We have MUCH to be grateful for. I hope when you look at your sink, you can smile instead of frown. I hope you can see the pile with gratitude and maybe invite a companion near to help you...
I'd love to see your comments with pictures of your sink...
Widely known for her passion, dedication and commitment to supporting the expression of potential, Lisa is famous for inspiring patients, especially mothers. With nearly 3 decades of service in chiropractic, she easily communicates the value of wisdom within. Her experience has been used to create a safe, effective, and reflective coaching model for mothers without the judgement, comparison, and crippling overwhelm that often inhibits change for families. To learn more about Lisa's work and contact her, please poke around the website.
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"OptiMOM Expressions of ourselves"