The other night I read an article on Positively Positive, called "5 Rules for Life-Altering Dreaming". The only thing I didn't like about it was the word "rules" (me and rules don't mix so well anymore ;-)
I thought it was actually really relevant to my last post about telling kids you "can't always get what you want". I have lots of thoughts on the word "realistic" too, but that is for another day.
Anyways, the "rules" are actually outlining steps to a really powerful process for clarifying and declaring your dreams. So I did it right away.
The first time I wrote it in my journal this is what I said:
I dream of living in a vibrant, supportive community filled with loving people who share my values. I dream of working together, growing food, raising children, playing together, cooking and eating together, laughing and crying.
As I read through the 5 steps outlined I realized that I was missing a very powerful part of the process. Writing my dream in the present tense. So I rewrote my paragraph to this:
I live in a vibrant, supportive, growing community. We value peace, the earth, and compassion. We work and play together, cook and eat together, laugh and cry together. We grow together.
Whoa. Just reading that makes me feel so good. When I was looking for a picture to add this to I found this one of my kids raking leaves with our best neighborhood friends last fall. It felt like the perfect image to add the words too. Writing my dream in the present tense was so powerful. Remembering that I already DO have many of these things is even better. I am a powerful creator in my own life. I can create the community I crave wherever I am. Yes I dream of even more - more community, more togetherness, more support, but appreciating what I already have while creating "more" feels even better.
I highly recommend trying this! It's fun and powerful. And letting others know what your dreams are is an essential step towards actually achieving your dreams. If you don't let people know then not only are you stopping yourself from taking steps towards your dream, but you may also be keeping away people and opportunities that you haven't even imagined yet.
So go big! Declare your dreams. It feels good, I promise.
Ok well let me begin by saying that my hands are clammy (yet cold) as I type this, and I certainly have some reservations about writing this publicly. But I'm also giddy and almost giggling out loud. AND I really believe that when we feel like we are about to jump off of something really high (like a cliff) and are trying to talk ourselves out of something... well that might be the most important time to do something.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking (just a little bit) about what some people might think about this post. But I'm guessing (hoping?) the most scandalized (or judgmental) will be too embarrassed (or polite) to bring it up. And in the end there are bigger more important reasons for this post then myself and what others think about me. Besides, it's my blog... and they're my boobs, so there. (grin)
Deep breath. Ok so here we go.
I took a shower this evening. It was necessary - it had been a couple days. And as I looked in the mirror I looked at my breasts and I thought, "I love my boobs. I wouldn't change one thing about them... I wouldn't 'enhance' them (even if my husband might like that), or erase the stretch marks, or take them back to their pre-nursing days..." Ok, well I didn't think *all* of that, but it was more like, "I love my boobs, I wouldn't change them" and then I just *felt* the rest.
So then I wrote some more in my journal a bit later thinking maybe *some day* it would make a fun blog post. Here is some of what I wrote:
My breasts have helped feed my babies for 6 1/2 years now - for 1-2 years they alone kept them alive.
I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to! Kids are so funny.
Back to the deep thoughts (about boobs). I was thinking as I showered how weird it is that in our culture we are all worked up about breasts. I mean it is skin. They're part of our body. And they do something really amazing. In a way, I kind of wanted to put an actual picture of my breasts in all their glory at the top of this post. But I'm not quite there yet (and as it is, my husband may think I've lost my mind!) But really, it's just so mind-boggling to contemplate how our culture regards breasts, breastfeeding, and women's bodies in general. And women want to change themselves all the time. Why?!
So this is my way of fighting back. With my boobs. Some may think I'm looking for attention (by using my well-loved, very-used mammary glands) but really this just struck me out of the blue tonight. And I'm going with it.
And now I'll probably go to bed and not get any sleep because I just posted for the world to see that I love my boobs. And I'll wake up to find that everything is just going on as it always does... but that's ok.
I hope some day all women can love their bodies for the amazing, wonderful, life-giving and sustaining entities that they are. Love your boobs ladies. They deserve it.
I've been reflecting on this year and what meant the most to me - what accomplishments, what new habits, what fun times and treasured memories. Here's what I came up with.
Meditation: I started the practice of meditating. Before this year I had never tried meditation. I participated in three free 21-day meditations from the Chopra Center and LOVED them. I'm working now to keep up the practice, if not daily then at least several times per week.
I also started using affirmations and mantras with deep breathing regularly.
Hypnobabies: I taught 5 series and 17 couples this year.
Writing: I took an e-course from Jess Morrow of Invincible Summer, started writing my book, had my blog's first Blogiversary and celebrated by giving away 6 books!
Cooking and Food
Mike bought me a Vitamix for my birthday - I love to make green smoothies several times per week now.
I made Winter squash soup a couple of times when my mom gave me squash from their garden.
Gerry and I mastered Zucchini bread, making it almost every week for the last few months.
I made avocado fudgsicles over the summer and they were pretty yummy!
Foods Already in the Repetoire but still steadies in the rotation:
I had so much fun going through pictures from this whole year and making a few collages. I stayed up way too late, but it was worth it!
Adventures near and far
Loads of family time - two trips to Florida (February-March and December), Ohio in April, two visits to NY (June and July-August), and Thanksgiving in Minneapolis, as well as family visits to our home.
First family beach vacation in the Outer Banks - and first time inviting friends to join us.
First Family Nascar Race!
Hosted 3 Parties - Memorial Day Weekend/Treasure Hunt, Marisol's 6th Birthday, and a Holiday/Halloween party (Well 4 parties if you count last year New Year's eve!)
Time with Friends
Finally... some favorites, just because I'm having fun!
Whew! What a year. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't change a little thing, even if I could. It was so much fun to look back and see all that we did. Even more important is what can't be seen in pictures - how much we all grew and changed, and how we overcame challenges.
I'm feeling more Clear, Confident and most importantly, Comfortable than I ever have before. I began 2012 with the word Embrace as my guidepost for the year. Looking back I can see now how I did just that. Now I'm ready to dive into 2013!
When I saw the topic for this month's blog carnival I was stumped at first. "The Best Thing"... hmmm? What is the *BEST* thing? I've been pretty high on life for quite some time now, so to pick one thing seemed daunting. But then one night cuddled up in bed Marisol whispered to me, "I love my life" and I thought, now *that* is the best thing. Hearing my daughter say that she loves her life is such a beautiful affirmation for me and all of these "unconventional" choices that we are making. Hearing that she loves her life in spite of the fact that she is sometimes bored, and even though she has been having some rather intense emotions lately, well that to me is THE best thing.
It's even better than hearing her say she loves me every day, and better than hearing her say that I am the best mama EVER, or that "This is the BEST. DAY. EVER." The contentment that I can hear in her voice, the love that exudes from her, her excitement to plan a new week, and watching her learn new things every day makes every challenge worth it. Even better? I can honestly say that I can 100% agree and shout in unison with her, "I LOVE MY LIFE!"
I tend to wear certain jewelry for a period of time and not mix it up much. I like to travel with very little - one pair of earrings (sometimes two when I'm feeling extravagant), a bracelet, and a necklace. It makes it easier to keep track of.
On our latest trip up to New York I traveled with the above jewelry. Every time I put each of the above pieces on I get to think of very special people in my life and relationships and ideals that are important to me. I began to think of them as my Talismans that gave me strength and protected me.
So I have to admit, I wasn't really sure what the word "Talisman" meant, so I looked it up and this is what Wikipedia says:
a talisman must be charged with magical powers by the person creating it. It is the act of consecration or "charging" that gives the talisman its alleged magical powers. The talisman is always made for a definite reason
Wow, that's pretty cool! I mean I am definitely the one who has infused power into my jewels - well along with the people who gave them to me. And the reason I gave them power? It feels good to have beautiful, physical reminders of the people who love and value me. I am reminded of the love in my life and the values I hold dear and by having these concrete objects present consistently, I am reminded daily of all I have to be grateful for. Pretty awesome!
Here they are one by one:
This beautiful necklace was a Christmas gift from my husband last year. It has our children's first initials and their birthstone. So every time I wear it I feel like I have my whole family with me.
These earrings were a gift from my Mother. I love the colors, and surprisingly (or maybe NOT so surprisingly) they seem to "go" with a lot of my favorite clothes. I have gotten many compliments on them. I didn't wear them a lot right when she gave them to me, but now they are my favorites and I love thinking of her every time I put them on.
My sister gave me this cute little bracelet for my birthday this year. I know she thought of me because of: 1) the peace sign and 2) the color blue. I also love that it says "be happy" on it's little charm. She actually got me another gift (a tee-shirt) to give me the next time she saw me because the bracelet only cost $6. But to me that shows how something doesn't have to be expensive to be valuable. I love that she thought of me, I love that every time I put it on I think of our bond, and, in fact, I just plain love this little bracelet!
When I first started thinking about my talismans, I only thought of these three pieces. Then all of a sudden I though, "Oh my goodness, how could I forget my wedding rings??" But I think that this shows how we OFTEN take for granted the most important and steadfast things in our lives. I almost never take my rings off (good thing too, because I would probably lose them! Just ask Mike ;-) They are part of me just like Mike is part of me and my every day life. They go with me everywhere and are a constant reminder of his love.
Do you have any special Talismans? Who or what do they remind you of and what are their powers? If you don't, can you think of something you might "make" into a Talisman?
I love that it is 1:30 am and I can't sleep. I love that I was hungry so I got up and ate pancakes with butter and syrup and drank milk. I love that my daughter is my teacher even though everyone thinks that I am hers. I love butter. I love food. I love hearing my son's laugh everyday and watching his whole face light up with joy. I love that I will probably be tired tomorrow and maybe even grumpy, but that I've noticed I am less grumpy since I've started writing. I love that now when I can't sleep I try doing different things.
I love sunny, breezy days. I love seeing friends and impromptu play-dates. I love going for a walk with a neighborhood friend and her dog. I love syrup. I love knowing that even when things are really hard, they will get better. I love that when I feel alone, there will be a time in the near future when I won't. I love to say the word FUCK in my head - still not out loud, but it's fun to write too! I love people who curse and OWN IT. I love people who never swear and don't need to. I love learning every day. I love trying new things and going to new places. I love carbs. I love giving birth. I love helping other people prepare to give birth. I love that my kids like watching birth videos. I love that Gerry has put baby dolls through a model pelvis. I love the cherry blossoms in the spring. I love Christmas carols. I love Wubbzy songs....
Lyrics: Bob Boyle / Music: b. Mossman
Life is filled with treasure
For everyone to see
Having fun with every day
That’s the way to beThere’s no map to show the way
Find the treasure in every day
There’s no X to mark the spot
Find the treasure in what you’ve got
Yes! Life is filled with treasure
It’s everywhere you look
It’s in a piece of chalk
And it’s in a comic book
Ah! Life it filled with treasure
Just listen and you’ll hear
A happy singing bird
Or your friend approaching near
The treasure has been found
Now that we know:
There’s treasure all around!
Life is filled with treasure
There’s no need to dig
It doesn’t have to be of gold
It doesn’t have to be so big
Oh! Life is filled with treasure
It’s not hard to find
Animals of every kind
You can find it under a rock
Or in a dirty sock
It might be a piece of string
‘cause there’s treasure in everything
Oh! Life is filled with treasure
And the treasure never ends
You can feel it in your heart
And share it with your friends
Yes! Life is filled with treasure
Life is filled with treasure
Life is filled with treasure!
So the synchronicity continues. Through a new friend on Facebook I was led to another awesome new blog. The first post I stumbled onto is here. It spoke to me deeply. This woman has a way with words and I felt like she was writing about me (I guess really great writers do that!) Also she used the word "synchronicities" in the second paragraph.
So I explored Jess Morrow's Invincible Summer some more and found this post that includes an awesome give-away. I just found this last night and the deadline is tomorrow. We are out of town - in Ohio to celebrate a cousin's graduation. But this idea grabbed me so here I am trying to fit in a blog-post on the road.
The give away is for a spot in her summer e-course and the instructions were to:
1. Rearrange something/create some space. (Think creatively: is this physical space or mental? Or something else?)
2. Try something new.
Since I stumbled onto this late and the week is almost up I had to take some creative license (isn't that something a writer would do??) with the directions and think about things that I have been doing recently. I can't help thinking that it was meant to be for me to find Jess's give away - I am so excited when I read her description of her e-course.
My new space is definitely this blog/website. This is very new for me - writing, writing consistently, and really, REALLY enjoying it. I actually have that urgent feeling that I have heard other writers talk about - like I *have to* write (or what? I guess my brain might explode!). It is evolving in ways that I could never have guessed when I began last fall. It is both a physical and a mental space. It began because I finally felt ready to share my voice, and as I have begun to share I am discovering more - about myself, and the world, and the world that we can create if we believe enough to follow through. I have a big dream of writing a book and it actually doesn't seem that far-fetched. Beyond that I am not sure. But I feel something tugging at me and Jess's direction would be an amazing place to begin answering my heart-tug.
Besides this blog I have been exploring a lot of new territory mentally and spiritually. I started meditating during Lent and it is now an almost-daily habit. I don't have words to describe how meditating is transforming my life - the way it is grounding me and helping me live out my ideals in my every day life - I hope that Jess can help me begin to tap into powerful, beautiful words that can describe this experience. And of course affirmations. Another very new practice for me that is proving to be life changing.
I am reading books (Louise Hay, Deepok Chopra) that are inspiring me to take my life to another level. I am comforted by their wisdom (Louise mentions both that people these days want things NOW, and that truly good things take time. She also didn't really know where she was "going" when she started out, but she trusted and kept taking steps - and now look at her!) and I'm inspired by their consistently positive attitudes.
I have also reached out to two authors and one has responded. She is willing to speak to me on the phone! I am looking forward to my first "interview" and writing it up later this Spring.
Jess's course appeals to me for many reasons. The first is finding my voice. I think that is a huge part of Why I'm writing here and I know I'm getting there, but I think I'll get there quicker with help. Also the Manifesto that I linked earlier speaks so much to my heart - saying what others may be afraid to (like here), dreaming big (like having Mayim Bialik write the forward to my book!), and just following my heart so I make sure to soak up all the beauty in this life meant for me.
I guess that covers it. I am creating space. I am doing new things. And I'm ready for the next new thing.
"Synchronicity is an ever present reality
for those who have eyes to see." ☼
This is going to be a rambly, stream of consciousness post. I was thinking of this word "synchronicity" today and not even sure if it was the word I thought it was. Then I opened Facebook tonight and my friend Angie had posted the above picture and quote. All I can say is: Holy Synchronicity.
It is so weird how these things seem to keep happening. I feel so connected lately to so many people that I've never even met in person. It's pretty amazing. I'll be thinking about something, or have a question, and then I read a book or a blog or a quote on facebook and it is like the Universe read my mind.
Here are some recent examples. The other day Gerry was playing with my phone and handed it to me. Somehow he had opened this video on You-tube.
I liked it a lot and posted it to Facebook. (I realize I am often slow to pick up on things - this video has almost 4 million hits and 40,000 likes. What can I say, I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I'm not exactly "up" on the cool music). I like this song so much, I've been listening to it a lot this past week.
Then twice more this week "friends" of mine have referenced this song: Here and here. Call me strange or stalkerish, or whatever else, it made me feel close to these women whom I only know through the internet. Music is cool like that - it connects us. I am also realizing how I need to incorporate music back into my daily life. It is such an important part of who I am and that I have lost touch with since my kiddos were born.
Ok, so synchronicity. Was it just a crazy coincidence that Gerry opened that You-tube video? I don't know, but it wouldn't have meant as much to me later when other people mentioned it.
What else? I've been interested for some time in learning more about essential oils. Several of my friends from my Hypnobabies training use them and talk about them. But I haven't had the time to really look into them more. Then Tara Wagner had a free call about them and I learned more and it spurred me to buy some. I can't wait to get them and try them! I couldn't help feeling the synchronicity of the circumstances - something I had been vaguely wanting for a while and then an easy way for me to access it literally popping into my path. One of my good neighborhood friends is into essential oils too, and we have been talking a lot and she lent me a book to learn more about them!
Something else that has been on my mind is forgiveness. Specifically the process of it. I get why we should forgive others - that is necessary to our own well being to let go. That if we cannot and dwell on the past, that we are only hurting ourselves in the present moment. The thing that I personally struggle with is the "how". How to let go and stop dwelling in the past? I put the question out there - literally - in a forum of amazing women that I am on. I haven't gotten any responses. Maybe they're not sure how to do it either.
Then this evening I just happened upon another website that looks super-interesting and it included a post called "How to Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You".
And *then* I saw this in my Facebook newsfeed:
"Just as a truly courageous person is someone who knows fear but acts bravely in spite of it, a truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion." ☼
- Martha Beck
In the words (or word) of my friend Angie, "BAM!"
I've been wondering a lot lately if all this feel good stuff I've been writing about - affirmations, positive thinking, etc. etc. - is only really relevant when you already have it pretty good. It's a question in my mind. Like, yeah, sure it's all good and well for me to "think positive" when I am already blessed with so many things. But what about people who aren't so lucky? Life keeps answering me again and again. I see so many beautiful, strong examples of people who overcome tragic circumstances in their lives and are saying the same things. Louise Hay and Immaculee Ilibagiza immediately jump to mind (and Immaculee is a truly inspiring example of forgiveness too, her books are amazing).
If you have a question, let it sit, the answer will likely come to you. Other people have the same questions. Here is a clip of Deepak Chopra answering a similar question to mine on Oprah's new show. Every day I am seeing how we get in life what we are looking for. I certainly didn't look or feel inspired today, in fact I was drained. But instead of feeding into the tired feeling with negative thoughts, I really didn't think much at all. The kids and I stayed in all day. We rested. Then we made it outside and saw some neighborhood friends, had dinner, and a nice evening. The house even got picked up a bit. I am slowly learning to allow myself to be tired and do nothing and not feel bad about it. I know that my energy will pick back up if I just let it happen. This weekend we are traveling to Ohio for Mike's cousin's graduation. So my next post may be later next week. Until then, look for the Synchronicity in your life. I promise it's there.
"All coincidences are connected by meaning, but synchronicity happens when the meaningfulness is relevant to our personal evolution." ☼
- Dave Richo
Shared via: SoulfulLiving.com
If you can't tell, I'm kind of in love with affirmations right now. They are my newest "awakening". I have noticed an immediate positive response in my life - who wouldn't love that? Last night I was half-jokingly telling Mike he needs to try some affirmations. Not jokingly because I don't think he should, jokingly because I know he probably thinks it's (more than) a little silly. He asked me, what do you say, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." (Saturday Night Live anyone?) We both laughed. But it really isn't too far from the truth. So I thought this morning I would share a few that I'm using and what they are helping me with.
Probably the best one to start with for anyone is
"I approve of myself."
In Louise Hay's book, "You Can Heal Your Life," she recommends starting to say this many (and by many I mean hundreds or even thousands) times per day and week. It is great if you have any negative self talk or guilt about anything (in other words, it is good for everyone!). If you really want to add some power to it, say it out loud while looking yourself in the eye in the mirror (I haven't done this a lot yet, but intend to start doing it more). Even people who think they are very "positive" probably have areas in their life where they are not kind to themselves. This is definitely true for moms who are constantly bombarded by messages of what a "good" mother is and does.
I have never thought of myself as a morning person (a perfect example of my thoughts creating my reality - what we think and believe becomes true). My first act in the morning is to get myself a cup of coffee. Now when I wake in the morning I start right away with some affirmations. Even as I lie in bed waking up with Marisol I begin:
"Thank you bed for a good night's sleep."
"I love life and life loves me."
"Only good lies ahead of me."
"Today is a new day, filled with fun and learning new things."
Most of these I took directly from Louise Hay's work, but I'm beginning to make my own too.
Some general affirmations that are helping me with specifics throughout the day:
"I feed my children and myself nourishing food."
"I listen to my kids and respond to their needs with love."
"I choose to move my body in ways that strengthen it."
"I will get enough rest throughout the day."
This morning I even thanked my coffee maker when I made my coffee. So Mike might laugh, but as I told him last night they're working - I feel great, I'm making better choices, and I'm doing more for my family and myself.
Even (or maybe especially) if you are skeptical, try it! Of course affirmations are most effective if you do them often (like all the time). Basically you are training your mind. The affirmations are the nourishing "food" it needs to run optimally. Repetitions are like exercise. The more you do them, the easier it gets and more automatic they become. Soon you begin to notice any negative thoughts and immediately respond by replacing them with positive ones. In hypnosis terminology, you are giving yourself "waking suggestions" and the repetition is called "compounding".
Pretty soon thinking, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me," will bring a warm, internal smile of love instead of cynical giggle and a roll of the eyes. And you'll know that you are training your mind in the best way possible for the "Life Olympics."
Can you add any of your Affirmations to my list? Begin with areas in your life that you know you could use a shot of love and optimism.
Happy Monday everyone! Have a wonderful week.
Today something really remarkable happened. Well if you were watching my house it would have looked entirely UN-remarkable because what happened was completely inside of me, hidden from the outside world.
Marisol is a little under the weather - headache, a little feverish, leg pains, and all around tiredness. She didn't sleep that well last night and today she has a runny nose too. So we had a very relaxed day. We stayed in all day, largely in PJs, lounging on the couch, watching TV, reading books, and cuddling. Friday is normally dance class but I had a feeling she wasn't up for it. As the time approached when we should leave, I asked her again what she thought. Since she wasn't terribly ill I think she could have gone if she wanted to, but I left it up to her. She didn't feel up for it. So I let it go - it was probably the wisest choice as she hadn't eaten that well in over a day and also so we didn't spread whatever she had to other classmates. Plus I really trusted her to make the decision that was best for her.
So that was cool. But not the remarkable thing. Normally on a day like this I would have been feeling quite "blah" by the end of it. We didn't get outside; indeed, we barely moved today! I read a lot on the computer and a book that I got out from the library. But when Mike got home from work and Gerry woke up from nap (around 6 o'clock both!) I was actually able to move on with my day without any sign of the blahs. (This to me is the epitome of the blahs - losing motivation to do ANYTHING)
What was different?
I'll tell you what's different - it's the power of affirmations and using our minds for good in our lives. I just finished reading my second Louise Hay book, "You Can Create an Exceptional Life" (coauthored by Cheryl Richardson). It is great, no - unbelievable - stuff. For example, I'm not known for being a morning person (Ask my dad! He got to see me at 6 am a lot growing up as I worked for him on our family golf course). But I'm changing that now and it's not even hard, it just takes practice. In the morning I've been starting out with positive thoughts - how I'm going to approach my day, what nourishing food I will provide for myself and my kids, how I love life (and life loves me!) I know it sounds hokey, but you should try it because it works!
I've always thought of myself as an optimistic person and I believe most people who know me would describe me as such. But the truth is that many, MANY of the thoughts that run through my mind on a daily basis are NOT positive. When I'm feeling bad about what the kids and I have done all day, when I'm feeling not good enough or running through my list of "shoulds", none of those thoughts are kind towards myself nor are they even helping. We often think that we can motivate or will ourselves to "be better" with these negative thoughts, but I'm learning this is not the case. Instead, by affirming what we love about ourselves and what we want in our lives we create the space - mentally, physically, emotionally - for change to occur.
So this evening I was able to get off the couch, feed Marisol, play with Gerry and let go of the idea of getting out for a walk when it became clear it wasn't meant to be, easily and with love. And I don't feel blah at all! That is REMARKABLE!
And now that I am slowly learning to reign in my mind, to retrain it to think only positive, loving things, I want to learn to still it when I want or need it to quiet. To actually NOT think at all. That's my next step, it may be even more challenging but I'm sure with some affirmations I can do it!
There was so much in this book that resonated with me, I highly recommend it. It's a quick and easy read. See if your library has it - what do you have to lose? Nothing says I, and everything to gain! ;-)
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.