Momcation - a vacation from being a mom (every mom needs one every once and a while)
I love my children from the bottom of my heart. They are my everything. They make my life and my heart full of love. But as a single mom, I also know how important it is to take a break.
This was not an easy lesson. When I was married I ate, slept and breathed being a wife and mother - as I look back, maybe not so healthy. I was constantly tired, always on the go and never really feeling like I was getting ahead. The only self care I did was crawling into bed when I was sick or injured, but even this was minimal. Everyone else came first. I came last. End of story.
As a single mom I quickly realized I could no longer function this way. There was no one around to pick up the slack when I hit the preverbal wall. Therefore self care became crucial. It was not a choice to learn the lesson, it was a necessity.
It really wasn't that hard to figure out once I put my heart into it. I started small. I made the pledge that bed time was sacred. Kids were put to bed on time and that is where they stayed till morning. Sleep is important and so is me time.
After they go to bed at night I spend a short time cleaning up from the evening, but then I take time doing something I enjoy - taking a hot bath, reading a book, yoga, meditation or just go to sleep. As time went on, I let go of my mommy guilt and even get a sitter sometimes to go to a yoga class, do a workshop or go out with friends.
Most recently I took a momcation. My kids went to their Dad's and I went away to the Yoga Conference for 4 days. I slept in a hotel bed, ate delicious take out, did what I wanted and was not called Mom for 4 whole days. It was a divine break for the soul that ultimately makes me a better mom.
Taking the time to take care of your mind, body and soul is important to EVERYONE! It doesn't matter if you are a mom or a dad, husband or wife, single or not, young or old. Everyone needs to honour their body and soul with self care. So take a momcation or a vacation to rejuvenate yourself!
We all have those days when we want to scream "Stick IT!" to the world. Those days when we want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over our head. Those days we just want to disappear.
It is on these days that it is most important to do something. Even if it is the tiniest thing to break your mood. One little thing leads to the next little thing, that leads to a bigger thing and in no time you can be feeling better.
Raising your vibration and your mood is simple. Spirituality is simple (well that's a whole other blog post). Start with something easy like getting out of bed, petting the cat or dog or making a cup of tea. Then take another step ... have a shower, call a friend (one that will lift you up, not let you wallow) or just poke your head outside for a few minutes.
Gratitude is a great way to raise your vibration and my favourite go to. Give thanks for the day, for your bed that held you while you slept, for the cup of coffee that got you going this morning or the for the soul sister that always knows exactly what to say.
It never ceases to amaze me how saying thank you makes me feel lighter. It is an instant pick me up, that didn't cost anything nor has any side effects like eating, caffeine, alcohol or drugs do. It's about getting high on life! So next time you are having one of those days, instead of saying stick it try saying thank you for the lesson and move on to bigger and brighter things!
Faith Trust and Pixie Dust!
There has been a common theme in my readings and my own life over the last few weeks of trust, surrender and positivity. Something I have not been able to ignore. Something I have instead chosen to embrace, moving through this period of learning with as much grace and ease as possible.
We are finally settling in to the energy of 2014 which moves much quicker and is more demanding than that of 2013. This new energy is forcing us to look at those parts of our life that need healing and releasing and to truly do the work necessary to get this done. There is no more dragging our feet. The Universe is not standing for it. Each time we deny what is happening the Universe creates more drama or pain to enforce the need for change.
Messages and signs are coming swiftly and in multiple ways. Things are unfolding rapidly and we are being asked to stand in a space of love and self-empowerment. Letting go of old habits that have held us back in our career, relationships and life. This will not be easy for some.
For myself I have had to be conscious and aware at each moment with each message sent, each action taken allowing me to see where it originates from – Fear? Love? Habit? Trust? Control? Taking the time to do this has granted me sight. Open eyes to see where my actions have come from in the past. How moving from a place of fear and control has created the outcomes I did not want. How moving from a more conscious place of trust and surrender has changed that. This is not easy or comfortable at moments, but the long term effects are worth it.
We all have our own “demons” to face. Things we know that no longer serve us. Things that have long needed to be released. New ways of being that need to be embraced. Always know that you are not alone on this journey of self discovery. There are many here in the physical and in spirit who stand beside you with love and support. So remember, all you need is a little “faith, trust and pixie dust”!
Are you listening?
Growing up a dancer I was often given the message to push past the pain, to keep on dancing, stretch a little further. Much emphasis was put on the esthetics of the movement and not necessarily the structure of it. Not that my teachers over the years were not conscious of injury prevention, they paid attention to a certain extent to this (usually this was stronger from the ones who sustained injuries their selves). It became ingrained into my body that pain was normal and OK.
What I didn’t realize was this was spilling over into my emotional life as well. I was allowing myself to be in pain to make others happy. Putting my own feelings or emotions aside to put others first and I had been doing this for years! Wow! How did I miss this?
Again it is my Yoga Teacher training that has given me a deeper understanding of this issue on a physical level to reinforce the healing at a mental level. (Everyone said “Get ready, YTT will emotionally shake up your world”) My teachers have a deep understanding of yoga being mind, body and soul, as well as the physical injuries that can occur by pushing ourselves past our bodies comfort point. My history teacher, states the body will not willingly hurt itself, it is the mind that pushes the body past what it is capable of to a place of injury. Oh the mind! How can you be so helpful and so hurtful all at the same time.
Here on my mat I have allowed myself to quiet my mind and listen to my body instead. This has brought my practice of yoga to a whole new place. Greater alignment has been found in many positions just by simply listening to where my body has landed in a posture then gently correcting it. This has granted me deeper inner awareness within each pose as well. I no longer force my leg higher where I think I should be. Now I take it to where it feels good then just beyond to “work” the posture. This is a place of strength instead of frustration of my old ways.
The word asana is loosely translated into pose or posture, but it really means calm, steady seat (the first posture was a seated one). This is where the magic happens…each asana being done with the purpose of calm and steady takes us to a place within, a place of strength, a place of power. Here in this magical place our mindfulness, rather than being filled with shouts of anger - higher, deeper, I can’t do this, I am falling over, just hold it a minute longer, oh ya breathe. It is here I find deep inner peace. It is here I
remember that I must honour myself – mind, body and soul.
This is not something totally new to me, but just refreshed. I know can see this with new eyes. My awareness is heightened. So today and forever more I will pay closer attention to my body and what it has to say. I will also listen carefully to the whispers of my heart and soul too honouring my feelings knowing pain is not the answer, a place of calm steadiness is. No longer will I sacrifice myself, I am important. I am worthy of abundance and happiness. Namaste
A Journey Within
This story begins last Friday night at Yoga Teacher Training. It was a delicious practice of hip openers, dim lights and Katie’s soothing voice talking us through deep, long held stretches on our backs. A practice which appeared should be simple, yet in turn was difficult for me.
Quickly I found keeping my foot against the wall for support impossible. My leg positions not where I would like them. My hip popping out of alignment as I forced my body where I thought it should be instead of where it belonged. My mind wandering to “What have you let this body become? You use to be able to stretch more. Remember your dancing body and how flexible it was? Where did it go? Have you cared for your body at all? What have you been doing with your time?” The monkey mind was cruel. I felt uncomfortable (as my body was already dealing with aches and pains I brought to class, on top of the ego bullying going on). I was desperately seeking my sacred place usually found with ease on my yoga mat – my sanctuary. But tonight the usual practice of yoga – mind, body and spirit was at best disconnected.
Feeling defeated driving home, my ego continued to berate me until an outpouring of tears brought it to an abrupt end. Emotionally cracked wide open I reminded myself that I AM what I AM. I must dig deep to love my body the way it is right now. Letting go of the past and forgiving myself for what I did or didn’t do. As I continued driving I remembered the empty house awaiting my arrival (not even a smiling yorkipoo to greet me as she has gone for sleepovers too on this busy week-end). No one there to share kind words, a hug, a smile or an “I love you”. Here I realized I must love myself and that had to be enough. The love of another has no meaning if I do not love myself first. This love is much deeper and more profound than any I will feel from another. This is the unconditional love of self. From this moment on I can no longer go back to that place of emptiness and alone. Knowledge keeps me from this place. Knowledge has taken me to a place greater than I have ever imagined before. Tonight a new journey of love begins within me where deep peace is found. My arrival home found me emotionally spent, exhausted and ready for bed.
Saturday morning brought a feeling of heaviness and fog. Determined to move through this to a lighter place I spent my hour drive to Hamilton with positive self-talk, love and reassurance of an amazing day to come and that is exactly what happened. I found myself in Steve’s hot yoga class hearing exactly what I needed to. Validation of self love from the teary yet, enlightened drive home the night before. He spoke of honouring our bodies. Breathing through the experience of each pose only taking the body to where it wanted to be. Not forcing, but allowing yourself to be present. Listening to what your body was saying, what your breath was saying, what your practice was saying. Deepening awareness. Bringing my practice back to that sacred place I know and love. The class left me sweaty, balanced and loving me deeply once again. I was ready for another day of teacher training.
This theme continued through the day’s YTT class and into Sunday’s too with the words of each teacher and even my fellow classmates. I am grateful for the connection between us all, a freedom felt allowing for honesty and authenticity amongst the group. A place sharing of self occurs. A place where I feel not as alone on my inward journey.
Later this week as I spoke of my experience with a yogi friend, she shared some interesting information about the poses of my Friday night-crack-me-wide-open yoga class. As I hope you know, yoga is more that exercise. Each asana also affects our subtle or spiritual body as well. Our back is our spiritual side or universal consciousness which was being allowed to rest in this practice. Our front is our emotional side or individual consciousness being exposed during practice. Finally, we hold a lot of emotion in our hips, so doing hip openers allows for the emotions to be released and stretched out of us. Everything was making even more sense. Everyone said yoga teacher training would crack you wide open emotionally and no one was kidding!
Although this may seem like a fairy tale ending, I know this is going to be maybe one of the hardest legs of the journey because with knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. A responsibility to myself to always love me unconditionally. The power to share this incredible lesson with others, especially my children. This knowing allows me to move forward never looking back at the place of emptiness and alone I once lingered in. With love of myself I no longer visit there. This love doesn’t guarantee life will always be sparkles and rainbows, but it does promise love in the darkest of moments and in the brightest of moments. It will always be there, I just need to remember. So do you!
A season of change … the trees turning shades of yellow, orange and red. The air turning crisp. Wrapped up in cozy sweaters and scarves. Picking apples. Pumpkins nestled on porches in preparation for Halloween. Cravings for hardy meals laced with spices, warming tummies. Soft mittens worn on cool morning walks to the bus and watching your breath appear like magic in
the air. Going for long walks in the woods with a pallet of colours strewn across the forest floor and the sound of leaves crunching under foot. The giddy anticipation of costumes and trick-or-treats from my kids. This is my October. Bringing the season of fall – my favourite time of year!
The fall awakens a fire deep within me; warming me from the inside out in preparation for winter, the season of rest. My heart ignites with fall colours dancing before me, a beautiful sight to behold. (Feeling blessed living in a climate with 4 seasons.) My soul also ignites with the return of
cooler weather, reminding me to be present in my body. Fully present feeling the touch of cold on my face, the warmth of my scarf or the tender hands of a child being held as we walk to a familiar destination. Igniting trust in what this change brings. Releasing old feelings and patterns like the trees surrendering their leaves. Shedding the old then resting in preparation to give
birth to new life once again.
Perched on my mediation pillow I plunge deep into contemplation of what this season of endings brings. This year has brought many ups and downs. Many lessons and moments of learning. Realizations of things that must be surrendered, things that must be welcomed into my being once again. A true sense of trust in my path and knowing that all is unfolding as it should. I welcome the feelings and emotions to rush over me with each thought and each release. Above all I welcome the love of self – authentic, sincere and deep. To love oneself in a moment of quiet and alone is to love freely. To love oneself in the dark moments of release is unconditional. To love oneself in the moment of surrender is bliss.
So I welcome you to love yourself – truly and deeply love yourself unconditionally for the beautiful soul you are. Celebrate endings in your own fall meditation releasing all that no longer serves you. Inviting in the changing of your own colours. Hello October! Welcome Fall! Namaste
That Dirty 4 Letter Word... FEAR!
Yes, we are all guilty of uttering this word on occasion. Feeling it melt through your courage turning you into a pile of goo – immobilizing your body with its sheer magnitude. Your heart beating out of your chest with anxiety. Watching it devour our self esteem and our sanity pummelling us into a place of desperation or complete stand still. Blocking our positive thoughts eating them up faster than we can spit them out. Counter attacking with thoughts of the ego and of fear itself, spiraling you deeper into the pit of your stomach where you are not sure if you want to scream or throw up!
Familiar place for you? I know it is for me. There was a time after my separation when fear ruled my being so strongly I was unsure if I would ever be free from its grasp. Petrified of the changes that were occurring in my life. Feeling fear taking over my body allowing it to do things my usual sane self would not allow. Stupid acts of insanity born from a place of desperation and fear, which usually cause more harm than good. The moment of sadness or anger when I realize I fell victim once again to fears power. But I broke free and so can you because living life from a place of fear is not living at all.
This was a hard lesson. In daily life I functioned – that is the best word I have for the way I felt in the weeks after my husband left. I pretended to be a happy for my children’s sake, but on the inside I found myself obsessing over what was happening and how I could fix it, never realizing I had little control over what I wanted to change. In fact, I had no control at all. I could not force my ex husband to return to his duties in our family. Acceptance of a new normal was the only choice. This was the moment in my life when my counselor drilled deep into my being the serenity
I must have uttered these words a million times in my head and out loud as I went through my day. Determining control or not over each thought. Slowly letting go of my insane thinking and those things I had no control over. I started to focus on what I did control. What I could change and did.
No overnight project, but months of hard work. I saw the moments fear took the lead leaving me feeling empty and defeated blocking what I wanted most – happiness. Versus moments I was in full control, standing strong in my power, feeling radiant and divine. Learning how to sneak in a left jab against fear, knocking it out. On occasion taking a hit, but mostly giving it. Reaching out to my support system, keeping me in this place of peace. I am grateful for friends who offered words of wisdom, energy healing, support and most of all hugs! With them this journey was much more
So I challenge you to live your life fully. Let happiness take the lead. Need help? Reach out for help. Start with being invested in your healing process and in letting go of fear…I can help. I did it. So can you!
Today I am sharing some of my story … Six weeks postpartum I awoke at 4am shaking and sick. Four days later, it was decided this was more than just the flu and a visit to the Urgent Care was made. After spending a good part of the day, 3 bags of IV fluids, potassium pills and an ultrasound, I was sent home with instructions that if the pain and fever did not cease I should come back. 2 days later, that is what I did. Much worse this time with severe pain through my entire body, a high fever and shortness of breath.