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How to Reflect & Bring Peace to Your Daily Life

In my life, I work to bring my yoga practice into my daily life. As I have said in my bio, I found yoga poses 10 years ago. Since then I have wanted to learn more about the philosophy and the other 7 limbs of practice as outlined in the Yoga Sutras.

I have a few things I do daily that has really improved my mental well-being. I have a consistent meditation practice, I use affirmations, and I reflect to help balance out my daily experiences.

What is Reflection?

Reflection is a self-analysis and it is a wonderful tool to add to your bedtime routine. Use the analysis to remember the events of your day and take note of any repeating patterns. note repeating patterns of emotional ups and downs, my cycles of procrastination and activity, and the kinds of people I keep encountering. This practice is a great tool and can be done either mentally or on paper.

How to Practice Reflection

Before going to bed at night, find a comfortable place where you can sit up straight and alert. It is fine to sit in a chair, or comfortably on the floor. I have a bolster and blanket in my bedroom.

Take a moment, close your eyes, and remember back to the beginning of your day. Visualize all of the activities, events, or encounters you had during the entire day; see it all step-by-step as your day progressed. As the memory of your day unfolds, take note of emotional periods. Note them down and recognize if they were negative emotions or positive emotions.

During the period of recollection, find one moment in your day that felt very beautiful. Hold the feeling of that moment in your mind and then send that feeling back out to the moment, person, or situation. Then send that feeling back to yourself, allowing it to bless your own body and mind. Then take the feeling and visualize sending it out into the entire world.

The next step is to choose the moment that was most negative or irritating. Try to reflect on it from a different perspective, see it through a different lens. Try to see it through a lens that is logical and rational. Then send loving thoughts to that person or situation.

Reflecting with a different perspective is sometimes difficult. Many times the mind wants to rebel or resist seeing the situation differently. We often want to argue our side of things or only see it from our personal perspective. I like to diffuse an emotionally balancing essential oil or apply one to help combat the resistance. Some good choices are Surrender, Release, Clarity, Valor, Present Time, or even Frankincense (there are so many to choose from and I typically just grab what is convenient and close or that I am intuitively drawn to).

The Benefits of Reflection

The benefit of this practice is that you will become aware of emotional patterning and will be able to clear and balance them and feel a stronger sense of peace and freedom.

Practicing this daily makes it easier to let go of thoughts more easily in the moment. You will be able to notice when a habitual thought pattern starts nagging you. Just having awareness and seeing things from a different lens can assist in releasing negative emotions before they take over and steal precious moments of your day.

I know that I have often lost a lot of my day solely due to emotional discord. Being able to shift my perspective and emotional state allows me to use the energy I would lose on healthier alternatives.`

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Mama-Nesting: Tidying Up to Clean out the Mental Junk

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No. I am not referencing Marie Kondo in this post! I am nearly out of my second trimester, it seems time is flying these days. I generally feel ready for Mira’s arrival and I am not stressing about preparations. I haven’t even read a pregnancy book. The weekly growth reminders from my app are all I need.

It is kind of weird to be in this space. Naturally I am a planner, but somehow this pregnancy is letting me go with the flow more than I ever have in my life. I mentioned in a previous post the personal work that is required of me at this time. I wanted to expand on those thoughts a little more.

Identifying the Clutter

When I wrote Integrating the Mama, I identified the types of thoughts that have negatively occupied my mind. This is the first step in healing any type of wound. Identify the problem, know how you react, what the mind does when you think those thoughts, and consiously change your behavior.

Just as you walk through your home (my Marie Kondo insight) and feel if your things spark joy, you do the same with your thoughts. Thoughts are things, and holding on to negativity will create a negative outcome in life. So, if a thought doesn’t spark joy– release it, change it, get rid of it!

Catch 22

Yes, it is easy to say stop thinking “bad” thoughts. Actually doing it is something else. We are creatures of habit. We have been told many things that are not always in alignment with our true nature, and we’ve started to believe it. We have maybe been abused or endured a trauma that has left its mark. Maybe feelings and thoughts around those events creep back in more than we care to admit.

It all becomes a habit. The emotions we are “comfortably uncomfortable” with are easier to dwell on than the joy we can create. Trust me, I speak from experience.

I think the definition of my habitual attitude is “brooder”. Merriam-Webster defines that as someone who worries about everything, lol. I will brood about something that happened 10 years ago and feel nothing will ever be “right” when everything within my grasp IS right. You see quite a catch-22.

Owner/Victim Choice

A few years ago I was pointed to this audio by Steve Chandler. It is totally worth your 30 minutes to listen! He outlines two very different outlooks on life, the choice of being a victim or an owner of life. I was a victim, who had a glimpse of ownership. An owner is someone who sees life as a gift and uses life as an energy source to create what they want for themselves. A victim is someone who is lackluster, feels that life is unfair or a burden.

I was raised by victims. My main influences were people who were defined by their negative circumstances and often blamed their problems on those circumstances. A very common thought in my family was that something bad happened 10, 20, or even more years ago, so today is doomed. This is why my childhood was riddled with addiction.

My parents and grandparents fell victim to their emotional pains, so they would reach for a substance or choose an action to numb those negative feelings. They could not name the thought, claim it, and tame it. I had (and yes, it still sometimes reappears) tendencies to lean toward some of those thought patterns.

Becoming an owner is to recognize it and know that I have complete and total control of how I think and feel. Each and every day it is my choice to wake up and choose to be happy. I believe life is a gift and there is beauty all around, so my to-do list each and every day is how am I going to recognize this beauty and express it to the world around me?

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Weed and Seed

There are many techniques for changing our mental habits. To truly tidy-up the mind you have to make a commitment to yourself to make a mental change.

To begin my “weeding” process I take an inventory of things that I engage with that are either fulfilling or draining. What am I listening to? Who am I spending time with? What am I watching on tv or engaging with on social media? Being aware of what is nourshing points you in the direction of what you need to do more of.

Consciously program in all that’s GOOD. I do this by listening to something inspiring in the morning and reading something positive as I end the day.  I do not spend a lot of time reading rants on the internet or diving too deeply into politics.

Spend time in nature. This is another big one for my well-being. Connecting with nature and taking in the beauty allows my mind to relax and feel expansive rather than constricted. Too many days without doing this exercise can really change my mood, and not for the better.

Surround yourself with a tribe of good people! Just a short coffee break with a friend or a playdate with a wonderful mama is a great way to nourish and keep yourself uplifted. It is easy, especially as a mom of young children, to stay inside and sweep up crumbs. Take time to nourish yourself and your relationships!

These are the tips I use to keep myself in a positive mindset, and something that I am making a habit of during these last months of pregnancy. I am keeping the garden that is my mind clear of the weeds, and planting plenty of good seeds that I can nourish and grow as I move into this next phase of life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Integrating the Mama

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In my path of personal development, gaining control of my mind and emotions is always at the top of my list. Since becoming pregnant with this little girl, my commitment to ridding myself of some intense thoughts/emotions that I have been carrying is at the top of my list. I have mentioned in some past blogs that I grew up in a severely abusive/addictive household, which forced me to grow up quickly.

I took on the adult role at a young age but held on to the scared, sad girl piece of myself well into adulthood.  Why is this pregnancy sparking some motivation? With each kid, I can see where I have grown and where I need to grow, so adding another life (and a female) that is dependent on me and my strength as a woman really puts things into a different perspective.

My childhood experience was severe. I watched my mother battle her pains, and lose to drugs and alcohol. I intensely craved her love, stability, and support and I know that the mother/daughter experience I craved is gone– but I do have the ability to be whole, complete, and present-centered for my children.

 

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Carrying Childhood Wounds into Adulthood

The broken, fragment, little girl piece of myself caused me to seek out codependent relationships and friendships. Being in this type of relationship was all I knew, and what I felt was “normal”. Somewhere along my path, at age 35, I “got it”. I woke up, realized where I was at, what I had been choosing, and how my physical and mental health was affected by these types of relationships and choices.

After I made the “break” from my old life, I quickly moved into a good space. Things changed very fast. New town, new marriage, a new baby, and on and on. The funny thing about it was that I had this new life and really wrestled with the fact that it was “real”. I feared that I was repeating old patterns, that it was all going to disappear just as it unfolded for me. My entire pregnancy with Ezra was plagued with fear that he would have to endure the same pain that Keenan and I did, that surely things were not as good as they seemed.

My poor husband has had to endure interrogation, judgment, and moodiness all based on my fears. My oldest and I have butted heads. He lived with me in the pain, watched the transformation and has had to gain trust along the way.  I have struggled with finishing projects, pursuing my passions, and just living in the present moment from those old wounds. Three years later, and old thoughts have the power to ruin a whole entire day.

 

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All of Life is But A Transformation

The past is the past. This is something that is sometimes difficult to accept. Making a decision and commitment to myself has been where my relaxation and “change” is coming from during this next phase of life. When I live by the old images or stories I forget where I am committed to going. The life that I am creating for myself and my family and the impact that my change can have on our entire society.

My exercise during this pregnancy is to recognize when I am headed into the constrictive space of recreating pain (in my mind). I lose valuable time during those moments, and the toxic thoughts can actually create tension and physical toxicity which is not an ideal environment for a growing baby (or the children who have to live with a negative vibe).

Over the years, I have used many techniques to change my patterning. During this phase, work and exercise are the most effective. Putting all of the mental energy that I would put into a negative thought stream is now going into something constructive or productive. Fulfilling a goal, finishing a project, truly doing and sharing my passions.

Just like I hate wearing uncomfortable clothes, I hate carrying around uncomfortable thoughts– so the choice is mine. Do I choose to continue carrying pain, or change into those comfortable yoga pants and get it done?!

 

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.” Dean Jackson

 

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Maintaining a Healthy Body Image During Pregnancy

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Body image is something I struggle with during pregnancy. Especially during the first and third trimesters. I am in the stage right now where I definitely look like I’ve packed on a few. However, not quite a baby. You know the stage where maternity clothes aren’t quite right but regular jeans are not comfortable?

This time around, it hit me rather hard. With our new dietary habits, I reached a weight I have not seen since my 20’s. I was feeling good about my body, and new pregnancy hormones swiftly added the bloat and emotions right on top of it!

Watching the numbers on the scale increase 5 lbs in just a few short weeks is always a bit perplexing. The scientific part of it is sensible and I’m very happy my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The psychological aspect can still trigger some negative self-talk.

My husband is such a wise champ. He always has words of wisdom to help me gain control of my hormonal rollercoaster. His advice was to enjoy every second of this pregnancy and to be grateful that my body knows what to do to support the growth of our daughter.

I write affirmations on sticky notes and place on my bathroom mirror. This is to remind me of the “truth” as I look in the mirror. I have also been finding some transitional wardrobe pieces that make me feel comfortable and look presentable and continuing to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine helps alleviate the negative self-talk I tend to do.

I may never be a photogenic pregnant woman who documents every week. I can be a pregnant woman comfortable in my skin as I stay present and enjoy these short few months of pregnancy.

I have complete confidence that my body is working as it should”.

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Maybe the Best Present is to Be Present?

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We have been home from our family vacation/pilgrimage to Maine for about 2 weeks. I was essentially unplugged for the duration of the trip. Travel and family vacations are such a romantic idea. Seeing the world, eating wonderful food, making memories. I wish I could approach travel with that ideal. Although I make memories and see beautiful sites, a piece of me stresses about sleep, bathroom breaks, itineraries, expense, and food additives.

I have done a lot of study on personality types. Colors, Gems, Shapes, Enneagrams. I have taken all of the tests, and it always concludes that a big part of my personality is a green, an emerald, a square– or in other words, someone who likes routine and structure. I tend to get stressed about 3 days before we travel, then I have fun until it is time to start planning the return. My husband and I are opposite personality types. Following his lead in many ways has really helped balance my uptight-ness, and loosen my desire for control.

I have written a few times that I grew up in a chaotic home, and that is why I developed this personality trait. It gave me a feeling of security and control. I found order and success in my chaos by planning, knowing what to expect, and living somewhat as an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, connecting, AND having fun– I just require a certain amount of quiet to recharge my batteries.

Softening the rigidity of my personality is something I have been reflecting on since our return. Learning to go with the flow while running a business, and managing a family, as well as maintaining a balanced amount of discipline and structure is huge in my mind since returning from our vacation. Historically, summer stresses me out. My older son travels and spends many weeks away, we attend convention, and make a few other stops during June and July. I feel my entire schedule has to be written in pencil, which is difficult for someone who prefers permanent marker!

I am not bad-mouthing this quality within myself–being structured and disciplined can get a lot accomplished. I had the realization that I utilize a lot of mental intensity on thoughts of whats next? or why? or how? All of these questions are future based and by putting so much energy into trying to control the future, I often miss the good, or am not fully present to that which is right in front of me. Being present centered and not stressing about the past or future creates space to recognize the blessings in what I have created thus far, and allows me to see the beauty of all of my surroundings. This keeps my nervous system balanced and grounded, reducing stress by not putting energy into the unknown. I will never be a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, however I will allow myself to feel safe and secure so that along life’s journey I can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.