LIFE OUT LOUD
Camden just learned how to give the sign "I love you" and in doing so, he's been spreading love all over the place (at Chipotle, at the grocery store, at the doctor's office, you name it and he's signing). It's a simple gesture that we give to each other when we leave. I'm pretty sure he thinks it's just an awesome shape to make with your hands, but I also know he is innocently sharing love with everyone he sees. Because he's almost 3 and as toddlers do, he has no reservations.
What would it be like if every single person he signed to was completely open to receiving this energetic love? Are you open to receiving love or joy from a stranger? Or when things get rolling (and maybe scary) are you opening your heart or only letting a little in because of fear? I know I'm not always open and when things get scary, I have allowed my personal limiting beliefs to run the show at times. But lately I've been reminded of the power I have within me - because parenting a toddler and infant is no easy task and more importantly my growth as a mama has taught me more than I could ever imagine. I have the ability to control my reaction, thoughts, words and action as I attempt to set a good example for two little humans.
If this energetic talk is all too much, just try this on for size... The next time you notice yourself retracting, closing off, or retreating to comfort, try remaining open and repeat:
"I am enough. I am worth it. I am open to receive."
From The Untethered Soul , "Your inner growth is completely dependent upon realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself". We have the ability to control how much energy, joy and love flows through us, so get out of the way!
Emotions. What an interesting relationship you and I have.
In my younger years, I bottled them all up inside of me and prevented ANY emotion from coming through. Mostly because I had no idea how to handle them and also because I had convinced myself that it was necessary to protect myself.
I'll never forget when one of my dearest friends told me she had never seen me cry. She was right. It was then that our relationship changed. It was at that moment that I broke open... we're talking floodgates. Everything that was bottled up inside for over a decade, came rushing out... I couldn't help it. And at that moment I needed to create a new relationship with these (at times scary looking) emotions.
Fast forward a few years and life lead me into the corporate world. Working in high intensity, high stress and fast paced environments. I was in over my head. Why did everyone hide how they felt and why was it that the harder on the surface you were (especially as a woman) the more seriously people took you? Why was there so much drama behind the scenes, which was where people talked about how they really felt? Don't get me wrong, I understand that business decisions need to come from a place that is less about emotion and more about strategy. I understand that your best decisions are made when you can disconnect yourself from the outcome and work through the process. But I didn't (and still don't) understand why it is seen as a fault if you are emotional. Is everyone just secretly afraid of dealing with emotions? We are human after all.
I'm a woman. I'm emotional. Is that so wrong?
And then I hit another turning point. My director told me I was too emotional in my annual review. He said I was too connected to my emotions and I needed to hide them a little more in order to climb the ladder. Really? That's the perspective? No thank you.
Fast-forward a few more years to taking myself off birth control (hello natural hormones!) and pregnancy (hello random floodgates). And now I am raising two little boys and trying to teach them to talk about their emotions. How can I show up for them without showing up for myself and having a relationship with my own emotions?
Moment of truth. I'm still figuring out this relationship thing with my emotions, but I'm now at a point where I have more tools at my fingertips than I know what to do with.
So I invite you to come with me along this journey. I know many other people out there have these experiences, who have bouts of highs and lows due to various circumstances, and so I've put together a collection of my favorite things (mantras, yoga and essential oils) to get through some of the deepest emotions.
You are enough and you are perfect just the way you are.
This year, the new year hit me hard for some reason. I felt this great amount of pressure on myself to have 2018 figured out. To have it all planned out, personally and professionally. So naturally, I went to Target, shopped the planners, got new pens and starting planning... what I told myself would be a grand 2018!
But then I found myself getting into that comparison cycle over and over again... "oh my goodness, I need to have all of my events in order, I need to have some BIG intentions set for the new year and I need to share my intentions with the world! She's sharing them... do I need to do that too?!" and on... and on... We're two weeks in and you can imagine how that ended.
Listen, I LOVE the new year! I love the energy that everyone emits. It's this lightness of new beginnings, freshness and ease after the holidays. It's a time to reflect and a time to honor the growth that happened over the past year. The yoga studios are booming and classes are full of breath - we see it every year and I LOVE it!
So why was I taking myself so seriously this time around? The only thing I can seem to nail down is that when life feels out of control, I seek out control. And this was my control... so I thought. Little did I know though, I wasn't being of service to myself, caring for myself or my family and certainly not LOVING myself (which is my intention this year). I was actually driving myself (and my sweet husband) crazy.
So I let go.
And am still letting go (because I'm not perfect and this is a constant practice). I am choosing to step away from my own inner pressures to plan an elaborate 2018 and am working to surrender into trust. Trust that my own efforts, energy and path is just how it's meant to be. And if I mess up? I'll try again. And if I fall? I'll pick myself back up again. THAT I can control.
Cheers to 2018 - you're a BOLD ONE alright!
The holiday spirit hit me this week (hooray!). It happened after an in depth and very necessary conversation with my hubs about.. slowing the "F" down. Hey, whatever works, right?
We have been in a constant hustle of moving forward for the past almost 9 months and it's been a roller coaster of fun and also of challenge. There have been plenty of times when I have stopped and looked down convinced that the floor was going to come out from under me! But... it never does. A belief of mine is that we are given all that we can handle. It's funny how it's necessary to hit that wall sometimes in order to wake up and see what is happening before you. I have known for a while now that this is what I was craving, what I needed and what was necessary, but my own personal fear of saying "No" to too many things has gotten in my way.
"FEAR IS A NATURAL REACTION TO MOVING CLOSER TO THE TRUTH" - Pema Chödrön
Truth. Thank you Pema. So in short, we've decided to say "No" to more things (and please don't take it personally). What if you celebrated someone every time they said "No Thank You"? They're likely honoring what they need most.
So with all of that - Happy Holidays! May this season be filled with slowness, peace and ease for you. You deserve it!
Do you remember life before social media?
I vividly remember the days when you could only have a Facebook account if you attended university and only certain universities participated. I also remember it taking hours to upload photos... I would get my computer all set up, start uploading (from my digital camera of course), go to class, and come back in hopes it worked. Quite exclusive and complicated in those beginning stages nearly 14 years ago.
Now... things revolve around social. Social media has given us things at our fingertips. It has allowed many of us to connect to people, movements and inspiration we ordinarily wouldn't find or have access to!
I love the things that social media brings into this world! I have personally been positivity impacted by the influencers and leaders I follow through social media. I also know that it can have an impact on the way we view our own experiences or actions. A gentle reminder everyone - social media captures just a snapshot of reality. We get to wear any mask we choose (thanks for the reminder Lewis Howes).
Most recently I was inspired to take a digital detox because I was feeling all consumed by social media, TV, email, and outside influences. I was out of touch with my own thoughts, my own feelings and my own experiences. I didn't do this because I think there is harm in all of these things, but I do know there is power in moderation... as with everything.
There have been moments over the last few years that I felt pulled to take a break from social media to focus on SELF... after having babies, after the election and in moments when I felt disconnected to my purpose and truth. This time around, I wanted to take it deeper than just social media, which is why I chose to cut out digital in total.
side note: If you know anything about me, you know that I preach about self care. This is because I teach what I need to learn most. Because when I'm feeling out of balance and not cared for, I know it starts with self care. I've seen the impact time and time again.
What did I do?
Took 1 week to detox. I set parameters for myself and committed to myself. This included:
What did I notice?
It took a few days to break the habit of going to my phone for things, but I quickly began to observe and notice:
What am I going to do about it?
This time around was so much more transformational than I expected... which means it needs to continue. So I've committed to:
So what does this all mean? I'm not here to bad talk the digital world, I ask you to notice where are you in your body, mind and spirit? What's in alignment and what's out of alignment? If things stem from your time being spent on digital, would it be so bad to step away for a moment?
Today and every day.
What's the last thing you told yourself?
Was it something you would say or think about someone you love unconditionally? Or was it a little harsh? Without judgement and in all honesty, think about it.
If someone else spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, would you keep them around? What would your relationship look and feel like? I am one to encourage others to surround themselves by people who make them better. To keep the people who lift you up in your community. But that is also true about ourselves, right? Yes. How can we lift ourselves up if we are constantly putting ourselves down? It's not really possible.
This idea of self compassion came out of a class I was in last week and it has continued to evolve over the days. I have taken the time to closely observe my own thoughts. I've observed what I tell myself when I am around my kids, my husband, and my dear friends. I have noticed the patterns that come up and with awareness of this humanity, I have introduced a stronger practice of self compassion. And day by day I am trying my best.
I wouldn't say that I was in a pattern of constantly putting myself down, but moment of honesty: doubts, guilt and negativity creep in from time to time. We're our own worst critic. So with that, how can I teach others (and mainly myself) to constantly lift up? To raise our own vibration. How can I inspire and teach my sons to always have compassion and love for themselves. As someone who experienced years of low self esteem and confidence, this has hit a chord with me. So here comes the practice.
Try this on for size: each time you brush your teeth, look in the mirror and say something positive... about YOU! Bonus? SAY. IT. OUT. LOUD. Awkward? It'll get easier. Manifestation comes from our thoughts.
I'll be there right with you, putting this practice into play!
1 active toddler
1 move later...
and we are still transitioning.
For some reason I had (unrealistic) expectations that things would slow down after our sweet little Gray was born, or that life as a family of 4 would fall right back into place as it was when we were a family of 3. I often believed that after my pregnancy, I would regain all of my energy and my body would bounce right back into balancing on my hands. Then we decided to move into a larger home (which I am so grateful for) and I felt like things would simmer down once the move was complete and all of our belongings were into place. Wrong again.
Why did I believe these things? Because if I didn't, I'm sure I would have scared myself out of moving forward. I would have 2nd guessed decisions and stayed with what was comfortable. Our mind has a way of giving us beliefs (true or false in the moment) so that we can push through the hard stuff, so that we can keep focused and so that we can keep growing.
I have called this TRANSITION. And while I'm ready for life to slow down a bit, I trust that all of these major changes are part of the process. That if we stop transitioning (in any way, shape or form) we stop growing. This, for me, has taken 6+ months of solid work and acceptance and to be honest, I'm still working on it.
Life changes, it gets uncomfortable, it gets scary, but DAMN it's all worth it. This life is joyous and this life is a blessing.
So please keep letting yourself, your business, your relationships and your life change. And then give yourself a little "thank you" when you come out stronger on the other side.
I've contemplated A LOT on whether or not to write this post. Whether or not it was "appropriate" or just plain out exposing.
Through the back and forth - I came to a realization and understanding. If I don't at least put my story out there, then I can't help one person who can relate. If I keep this all bottled up inside of me, then this doesn't support the healing process. If I am ashamed of what I have to write, then I haven't fully accepted that this is what I'm going through.
So I made the executive decision. I'm going to write about it.
I'm going to make my story available and my sincerest intention with doing so is to help at least one fellow mama know that she is not alone. This isn't a call for help. This isn't a desire to receive sympathy. This is a process of healing and a desire to try out this vulnerability thing (YIKES! thanks Brené Brown).
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT?
Postpartum Depression. What I have coined as Postpartum "Transition". Why? Because depression is intense and for me, the thought of this being a transition vs. a concrete diagnosis has helped me through the process. Call it what you want though, they are one in the same.
WHERE IT STARTED
I won't bore you with all of the details of my journey over the past 2.5 years, but to sum it up, I had a hard time transitioning to this new stage in live.... MAMAHOOD. From the outside it seemed so glamorous, joyful and easy - RAINBOWS + BUTTERFLIES if you will. When I stepped inside however, it felt terrifying, difficult and hard to identify with.
Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than life and wouldn't change ANYTHING. I want nothing but the best for them and love them truly and unconditionally. I am beyond grateful for what they teach me every single day.
So what's the big deal? For me it was identifying as a "MAMA". That's a big word in my eyes - a title with a lot of expectations, power and pressure. I didn't want to lose who I was when becoming a mom and that turned to be my biggest obstacle and fear. Will I be good enough? Will I ever have alone time again? Will I get lost in only catering to the needs of my kids? Will my marriage suffer? Will I be able to teach something that I'm still learning so much about?
I brushed these feelings under the rug with the birth of my first son and powered through. BAD IDEA. It all came back (and then some) with the birth of my 2nd son. I knew these feelings and emotions of fear, sadness, exhaustion and loneliness were all too familiar the second time around. I consider myself to be a mindful person, someone who is incredible in tune with my feelings and body, but what I was experiencing felt far outside of my control. I knew I needed to talk with someone. So after weeks of contemplation - I reached out for help.
We talked. I cried. I took a standard questionnaire. I was officially diagnosed with mild-moderate postpartum depression. While I knew this was likely the case, the reality was still a tough pill to swallow. Depression?! After giving myself 24 hours to feel sorry for myself, a shift started to happen. I felt RELIEF. Finally an answer to what I was feeling and PFEW now it was time to work through it.
THE JOURNEY TO GET THROUGH
Over the years, I have come to embrace this new chapter of life - MAMAHOOD. This certainly hasn't happened overnight, though. There are still days of highs and lows, but what I find comfort in is knowing that it's temporary. That I am actively working through it and making it a priority with intention of getting to the other side and back to my truth. This is my choice. It shows up when I feel defeated during a run, when I'm alone nursing in the middle of the night, mindlessly flipping through social media, in my yoga practice and at other random times. So, I'm learning to identify those trigger points and turn to my toolkit.
I am aware that there are many different severity levels out there and that other mamas experience postpartum transition in different ways. So my hope is not to compare or discount what each of us goes through. My intent is to share my story and to provide comfort for another mama to know that she is not alone - in however her experience may shape out. We are all individuals and experience this life in our own unique way. From that, we have a choice each and every day in what we do with this life.
This has been my saving grace. Identifying what works for me and staying in tune with my body has helped me to identify when I need more support and when I'm seeing the progress. On days when I turn to my husband and say " I'm not feeling great today" - we hit the toolkit hard and heavy! On days when I feel more like myself, I attempt to still find a moment to incorporate each of these into the day.
"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out" - Robert Collier
This is my story. The journey is not complete, but each day there is progress. To everyone out there who is also trying their best. THANK YOU. You make this world a better place.
With Gratitude - xo
We welcomed sweet little Gray into this world on March 25 and have been smitten over here as we watch him explore life on the outside and as we watch Camden step into the role of the most loving big brother.
What have I been reminded of in these last two weeks?
Face that crazy fear that comes up and ask for help. Newborns are incredibly amazing and beautiful little miracles! They also introduce a bump in routine, sleepless nights and a need for extra patience. The stubbornness in me has always told me that asking for help is a sign of weakness. FALSE FALSE FALSE. Knowing when to ask for help and being vulnerable enough to do so is something that I am continuing to work on and when I do it - damn it feels good!
There is comfort and strength in community. It's simple - surround yourself with people who make you better and who are there through the good and the bad. A strong sense of community is a powerful thing that helps contribute towards overall well-being.
Transitions are uncomfortable... and our opportunity to grow. If we were to stay in our comfort zone our entire lives, where would that put us? The universe throws us curve balls, forces us to get uncomfortable and never lets a single moment replicate another for a reason. These are our times to shine, HAVE FUN and laugh amidst the chaos!
Pure gratitude is a beautiful thing.
Essential oils continue to amaze me in their power. I used oils through my entire pregnancy, labor, delivery and now postpartum and I am continually grateful for how supportive they are. Physically, mentally and spiritually they have been my foundation during this time. More to come on specific ways I've used them...
These bodies are incredible vessels, so take good care of them. The days of 20 minute nightly rituals, morning meditations and 3-4 yoga classes/week have come to a screechinghault... for now. Self care, however, is still discovered in small moments throughout my day. Whether it's five minutes of yoga on the living room floor [with crying babies and climbing toddlers] or 10 deep breaths to calm my mind or a quick face mask before my evening shower, self care is crucial and I'm finding my way back to it. One day at a time.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out and supported us through this time - I am forever grateful.
And at the same time, through the discomfort, I feel incredibly amazed each day that my body has the power to grow a human...one day at a time. That I am creating life and carrying two spirits at once. This is powerful.
I'm not here to tell you all about my pregnancy [don't worry!]. But I am here to share my experience with using breath to get me through the discomforts of pregnancy, labor and parenthood - because there are parallels in all that we experience in life.
B R E A T H E T H R O U G H T H E D I S C O M F O R T
Pregnancy, labor and parenthood are all things new to me in the past two years and they are also things that have naturally happened for thousands of years -amazing! There is no "right" or "wrong" way to approach either of these, but a constant between all of them is that when we step away from our foundation, disconnect from our breath, we lose our base.
I was reminded of this when my son was born. I made a choice to have a natural childbirth [with the support of my husband] and used my breath to guide me through the ups and downs. Each time I experienced fear, doubt and anxiety [which happened thousands of times!] I brought my focus back to my third eye and dug deep to find a sense of ease in my breath and to rediscover my power.
This holds true for all that we go through. WE ARE POWERFUL human beings. And sure there are other resources that help to support us through these experiences as well, but remember... our breath is one hell of a powerhouse!
So where does the fear continue to come from? The unknown. Where does our doubt come from? The inability to see our own individual power. How do we get through? Breathe. Through the discomfort, pain, fear, anxiety and chaos.
Take a few extra deep breaths today. Why not? I plan to be there right along side of you - breathing through the discomfort.