Connect with us!
 
"Start believing in your destiny. All the great ones do. If you can't, 2012 will be just another year." (from my husband's Men's Health magazine!)

Don't know about you, but my destiny is to radiate my divine uniqueness that makes me...me. I believe with all my heart that when I do this, life blesses me abundantly. I venture to guess the same holds true for you!
Picture
 
 
Picture
Would you believe me if I told you that you already posses the greatest gift you could ever ask for? Don't get me wrong, that red, embossed patent leather Coach iPad case is a forerunner on my list of the greatest gifts for 2011, and it would sure make me happy! But really, I already have everything I actually need that has the power to make me happy. And I always forget about it and take it for granted. It's my breath.

Your breath is an amazing thing. Other than the obvious, that you wouldn’t be alive without it, your breath is the key to capturing the moments of the holiday season. Our lives unfold in moments. Your holiday weekend/ season unfolds in moments. Peace, calm, and joy (all the things our holiday cards tout) are found in moments. When you catch your breath, you catch the moment.


TUNE IN

“To use your breathing to nurture mindfulness, just tune in to the feeling of it…the feeling of the breath coming into your body and the feeling of the breath leaving your body.” (Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn)

With the holidays upon us, try to tune into your breath when:
  • the kids are ripping into their presents. Just sit, watch them, and focus on your inhalation and exhalation for just a couple breaths.
  • you are standing at the stove preparing dinner. Stir, chop, mix…and focus on your breath. You can be actively paying attention to what you have to do and still catch your breath.
  • you are sitting in the car en route to your holiday party. Catch your breath, look around at nature, listen to the music on the radio, hold your partner’s hand. 
  • you are lighting the menorah. Focus on the flicker of the flame and catch your breath.
  • you are sipping (or gulping, as the case may be) your wine, coffee, cosmo… sip, breath, sip, breath, sip, breath (and repeat as often as needed)
  • you are picking up all the shredded wrapping paper off the floor. As you clean, catch your breath. 

STEP IT UP

Now, if you want to take your breath to another level, repeat simple mantras when you inhale and exhale. I’ve already decided that for this weekend my mantras are going to be, (inhale) “I am still,” (exhale) “All is well.” Try it. Make up your own. I promise, you will be amazed at how much these simple mantras and catching your breath changes your relationship with your reality!


ALL IN ALL

As you can see, you can catch your breath in any single moment you’d like. Catching your breath will do 2 great things for you: diminish your stress, anxiety, and worry because you are focusing on the present moment and allow you to enjoy and revel in the ordinary moments of the holidays. In being present for the seemingly “ordinary” moments of our lives, we find the fullness, happiness, and contentment we so desire. 

Your breath is your greatest gift. 

Happy Holidays! 

Picture
 
 
Coming to you today via Mindful Moms TV!!

(note to self... next time do vlog, shut the bathroom door so that people don't see toilet in background.)

 
 
(err, I mean…letting them release you!)

INTRODUCTION
“We can refuse to think certain thoughts.” 
(Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life)

Do you believe that? 

If you do believe it, what’s holding you back from living the life of your dreams, and by extension, mothering from your Truth? (By that I mean mothering in such a way that you are not constantly comparing how you mother to the unrealistic standards and expectations imposed by others.) 

If you don’t believe you can refuse to think certain thoughts, answer this: Have you ever refused to think/believe a positive thought about yourself (Hay)? If you answered “yes” to this question, then I am afraid you have just contradicted yourself. 

See, our beliefs are simply thoughts, and we can literally refuse to think certain thoughts.

THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS (Oh, really??)
Have you ever caught yourself saying the following in some way or another while shrugging your shoulders:

“After having kids, you just can’t lose that extra weight. Your body changes, and the weight is impossible to get rid of. That’s just how it is.”

“My life is crazy, overscheduled, and hectic because of the kids. That’s just how it is.

“I just knew that when my kids were very little and before they were in school full-time, there would be no time for me. That’s just how it is.

“Now that I’m a parent, I don’t have the luxury to switch jobs and follow my dreams. As a mom, I can’t do that. That’s just how it is.


What about you? What is your, “that’s just how it is” belief? I know you have one! We all do. We all have misinformed beliefs that we make up based on our interpretation (not the neutral facts) of a situation. 

For example, pretend you are newly preggers, and during these 9 months, you encounter several moms who lament about their truth of not being able to successfully shed the baby weight once their babes were born. Now, pretend you truly believe that your body will never return to its pre-baby weight after having a child because you allowed their interpretations to influence your thinking. Guess what actually ends up happening? You manifest this "truth"--a post-baby bod that is holding onto those darn extra 15lbs for dear life. 

Why? Well, you actually psyched yourself out. It's almost as if you set yourself up to think, “What’s the point? It’s gonna be too hard to lose the weight, so why even try.” Then consequently, you (either consciously or unconsciously) neglect to eat well or work out regularly. Your actions followed suit with your beliefs whether your realized it or not. 

(Pisst-- Please rest assured that I, a woman who birthed twins, am in no way attempting to suggest that achieving your ideal weight after giving birth is either easy, impossible, or anything in between. All I want to do is get you thinking about how your thinking impacts your journey to manifesting your unique, magnificent post-baby bod!)

THE ART OF LETTING GO
When you realize what is true FOR YOU, negative thoughts and beliefs let go of you. You don’t let go of them. Yes…you read that right. 

Before a negative thought or belief can release the death-grip it has on you, you must become aware of it first (Step 1). Once you become aware of a negative thought, Step 2 is all about inquiring deeper about it. One way to do this is to consider this question posed by Byron Katie in, Loving What Is:

Who would you be without that thought?

This is a very powerful question. It’s powerful because the moment you begin to envision what you or your life would look like without that thought paralyzing you, you create a new vision to work toward. Remember, one of the most powerful ways to manifest anything in your life (even your ideal weight) is to envision it in your mind’s eye first and then believe that it is true for you.

YOUR PRACTICE
Are you up for trying something fun and transformational? Okay, if you are with me, you are going to shine the bright light of awareness on ONE lie you keep telling yourself that keeps you from living your best life and/or mothering from your truth.

First, choose a belief that is causing havoc in your life or your mothering
--If you need a little help to get started, chose one from our "that's just how it is" list above. My favorite (not listed above), which I have totally become aware of, and it has let go of its grip on my life is: “Life is hard. That’s just the way it is.”

Second, (here's the fun part) picture what your life would look like if you didn’t have this belief. What would you do differently? 
For example, last December, when I questioned the authenticity of my belief that “life is hard,” I created a new vision for my life. I envisioned what MY joyful, peaceful, and “easy” life would look like. And I bet you’d never guess it had something to do with expressing my creativity through writing, having a flexible schedule to raise my girls, and inspiring moms to live their best life. 

(It's no coincidence that as I write this post, I am sitting in the exact same spot at Starbucks as I did last year at this time. Except last year, I was a full-time doctoral student, and it was exam time.I was juggling writing a 30 page literature review and analyzing bivariate relationships to determine if I was going to run a multiple regression model on my nominal variables for my final stats paper. That was thrilling stuff, as you might imagine. But what I am writing and thinking about today is much more….me. And that’s what it is all about.)

Next week, we'll do the next step; talk about how to turn around a negative belief and replace it with one that is truth for you.

So, take a little time to pick a belief that is just annoying the hell out of you and visualize what your life would look like without it. See how it feels. You might just feel empowered!! Yay.


Mindfully yours,
Jen
 
 
Part 1: Becoming AWARE of your mothering beliefs

INTRODUCTION
We’ve talked about beliefs before, ladies. And we will continue to talk about them because they are essential to illuminate if we want to move forward on our path of inward development and self-awareness. In What Goes Around, Comes Around (11.13.11), we discussed two things-- how our current beliefs come from how the adults in our lives reacted to us as children (Louise Hay) and how influential our mothers’ beliefs and actions were in shaping our belief systems. Since we want to keep the focus of our attention in the “NOW,” let’s not get too caught up in identifying where certain beliefs came from. Let’s not ruminate about a past we can’t change. We can’t change how the adults in our lives reacted to us when we were young, so we have to practice the art of letting go here. But we CAN change our current belief system if we so choose. That’s the power you and I have.

BREAKING THE CHAIN
I love Bethenny Frankel. I know; she’s loud, in-your-face, and very opinioned. You either love her or hate her. What I love about her is that she makes no excuses for who she is. That’s cool.

I recently read her book, A Place of Yes, and the chapter, "Break the Chain," fits perfectly with our discussion today. In terms of beliefs, she says, “…every family enacts its beliefs about you on you, and of course, in many cases, you believe them. That’s where the noise begins, when you start telling yourself stories about who you are based on your childhood instead of your inner-voice.” 

Since we are all about aligning our lives with our inner-voice as our guide, we need to exterminate any and all beliefs that don’t serve this mission. We need to be aware of the noise these beliefs cause in our lives; noise that drowns out our inner-voices. For this “noise keeps [us] entrenched in habits and patterns” that don’t work for us (Frankel). The great news is that we can break the chain of continually re-enacting these beliefs that keep us from mothering from our center, our infinite wisdom.

The first step is awareness. We have to be aware of the patterns and habits we are unconsciously or consciously carrying forward in our lives that don’t align with our inner-voice (when it comes to ourselves and our mothering). As Bethenny models, we can choose a different route! 

OUR BELIEFS, OUR MOTHERING
Let’s get down to it. And we’re gonna start simple here, moms. Changing your beliefs is a gradual process. You can’t change them all at once. They are too entrenched in your habits of thought. But, habits can be changed with deliberate attention and action. So let’s start small. And let’s start by altering one belief you have about mothering that you’d like to change. 

For the next several posts, we’re going to take it step-by-step. Today, we’re going to start with becomingAWARE of the beliefs we have about mothering that don’t work for us anymore. 

STEP 1: Identify ONE belief you have about mothering that you learned (either from how you were mothered or society) that you feel doesn’t serve you and your mothering that you’d like to change.

Need some ideas? Here are few to get you thinking:

~“I believe that other moms have everything together and figured out. I’m the only one not on the right track.”

~ “I believe that a good mom does it all. Asking for help shows weakness.”

~“I believe that as a mother, it’s important to put other’s needs before mine. That’s what good moms do.”

~“I believe that I should shelter my kids from as much pain and disappointment as possible.”

~“I believe that I am responsible for my kids’ happiness.”

~“I believe that being in total control is necessary. If I let other’s help, things won’t get done like I know they should be done.”

~“I believe that a good mom stays home with her kids full-time. A good mom should always be at home.”

~“I believe that I should be the perfect mother and wife all the time. I’m worthless if I slip up in either area.”

~“I believe it’s important to be critical about how I mother, otherwise, how will I grow if I don’t continually remind myself of my faults and imperfections?”

~ brainstorm one or two of your own…..

Okay…I know, these are pretty blatant. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, I don’t think that,” when in actuality all your actions point to the contrary. If you want this to work for you, you are going to have to be brutally honest with yourself, I’m afraid. For instance, you might think, I don’t believe I am responsible for my kids’ happiness, yet you go out of your way to over schedule them, buy them gifts often, and/or feel like you have to continually entertain them when you are home. So, perhaps you do believe it, and (the worst part) you don’t even realize it. I hate it when that happens!

YOUR PRACTICE
This week: Cultivate Awareness

Personally, I think it can be challenging to identify what I believe. I mean, my actions on a daily basis reflect my beliefs, but I can’t easily say, “I act this way because I believe X.” A lot of the time, we aren’t even aware of what we believe (especiallly when it comes to the negative stuff). But, this is the first step in changing the course of our mothering for the better. 

For your practice this week, the first step in identifying mothering beliefs that don’t serve you is watching your thinking and actions as you mother. What patterns do you notice either in terms of your thinking or actions? Do you notice that you continually feel like you must do everything yourself, thus your actions follow suit, and by the end of the week, you are so burned out that you can’t even muster an ounce of energy to do something for yourself? 

Perhaps you never considered yourself to be a perfectionist parent, but now that you are paying attention, you notice that you get upset when your kids don’t look like they stepped out of a J.Crew Crewcuts ad when you are going out or that the snacks you prepared for your preschooler’s snack time look like Martha Stewart magically appeared in your kitchen and whipped them up herself.

All I’m saying is-- watch yourself like a hawk. Then question why you think what you think or do what you do. It’s the first step.

Next post we’ll discuss STEP 2: Releasing Old Beliefs

See you soon!