Are you under a dark cloud, too?

Are you under a dark cloud, too?

Most of the people I know who are honest enough to admit it told me they’ve had an impossibly shitty week.  Did you have an impossibly shitty week?

I did.

There’s nothing wrong about a stretch of bad days, of course.  We all have ’em.  No matter what kind of  a happy face someone puts on, and however much you think they have their lives all neat and together, they still deal with stuff.  We all have bad days.

The trick is to recognize how we react to these bad stretches.

When I felt a black cloud descend over me a few days ago, I got scared and immediately said to myself, “You shouldn’t feel this way. You know better.  Don’t give into this.”

Fortunately, I recognized this voice as not very nice, and so I did what I tell my coaching clients all the time.  I recognized the tightness in my gut and took a nice deep breath, then another.  And then another.  I said to myself, “I’m sorry I’m should-ing on you, honey.  Tell me, how are you feeling and what do you need?”

A flood of emotions came up.  Overwhelmed.  Tired.  I need a break from the kids.  I need to spend some quality time with my husband.  My dark cloud feelings had been a signal to tell me that I was out of balance.

When I was able to witness my feelings and needs from a compassionate, sane perspective, the dark cloud lifted.  A little.

 

So I want to ask you this: How are you talking to yourself?  How do you relate to your own feelings that you label as difficult?  Do you shut them down?  Tell yourself you shouldn’t feel this way?  Push through them by distracting yourself with food, internet, TV, work?  Are you stuffing your feelings, belittling yourself for feeling the way you do, judging yourself harshly?

How’s that working for you?

Probably not very well, at least not in the long term.  I’m an expert in this, since pushing through, stuffing down and criticizing myself were my number one coping strategies for most of my life.  This way of showing up with myself created depression and adrenal burn-out, and let me tell you: it wasn’t pretty.

Fortunately, I learned to recognize the signs of being mean to myself and what this does to my body, mind and spirit.  Although I still go through dark phases, I come through them faster, and they are less severe.

One thing I know: I’m a good mother and a good friend.  I’m a Mama Bear, and when I learned to turn that mothering side towards myself, towards the younger self inside of me, things really shifted in a big way.  When I take all the compassion I show for others and turn it towards myself, a create a safe container for my feelings – good ones and “bad” ones.

That’s where it’s at, Mama.

If you need help with this, contact me for a free coaching session.  You are not alone, you can 100 percent change your old patterns, and you can transform the mean way you talk to yourself.  I promise!

 

Book a free, no-obligation 45-minutes discovery session on the phone or skype to see how I can help you achieve your intentions and transform you life

7 + 5 =

Mothering isn’t for the faint of heart

Mothering isn’t for the faint of heart

I picked up the phone at 3 am, while Easter morning hadn’t dawned yet, instantly awake.  All I heard on the other end was panting.  Then a pain-strangled voice: “It’s time for you to come.”

So I stumbled my way out of the dark bedroom where my husband softly snored, got into the car and navigated the primitive, windy, very dark road to my friend’s house.  Her long-awaited phone call had summoned me in the middle of the night, so I could support her in labor and giving birth.

Just as I did with all my three children, my friend chose to give birth at home. We live at the edge of the wilderness, with the closest hospital an hour away, so it was extra important to have an experienced midwife and a birthing assistant (me!) to help. The midwife was the same midwife that delivered my own three children, and it was amazing to be present at this birth, where I didn’t do all the heavy lifting (or should I say pushing), got to watch the midwife work her magic, and witnessed my friend’s incredible strength, commitment and courage in birthing her baby naturally.

I’m still flying high from this.  It was a difficult birth, with the baby positioned “sunny-side up”, and the poor Mama needing to work extra hard to get the baby out.  But despite the intensity of it all, it was a beautiful, beautiful experience.

Dear Mama, let’s face it: giving birth is one of the hardest, splitting-apart, soul-bending experiences we  women will ever have.  Giving birth stretches us, literally, to our limits.  It’s not only flesh and bones that are being stretched, but our minds, our limits, our stamina.  It’s frigging hard.

For me, giving birth three times were the most spiritual, empowering experiences I have ever had, and watching my friend go through it just reinforced this feeling.  I am so awed by us women.  I am so deeply touched by the strength and reserve we have to find in the face of so much pain and seeming impossibility of getting that baby out of our body.

Whenever something hard happens in my life, something so big and difficult that I’m scared I can’t bear, I feel back into the space I was in when I birthed my babies.  And I say to myself, “I could give birth, so I can do this as well.”  And it’s true.  There’s always deeper to dig, more reserves to be reached for, no matter how dire things seem.

Please let me say this: even if you didn’t have a home birth, or a natural birth, or even if things went wrong and you didn’t get to have the birthing experience you envisioned, you still grew a baby inside of you, got it out somehow, and have been nurturing it ever since it got born.

No matter what happened, you still created a being that relied on you for nourishment, nurturing and guidance.

Wow.  It’s a big job, this mothering.  It ain’t for the faint of heart.

I am proud of my friend, whose brow I wiped, face I stroked, and legs I supported when she pushed and pushed and pushed.  I am proud of myself for the way I gave birth to my own babies.  I am proud of you, too, no matter what kind of birthing experience you had, because the fact is: you are a mother.  You are doing it.

One more thing: I am incredibly lucky to be married to a man who supports me 100 percent.  He’s kind and sensitive and strong, and I wish that every woman had a man like mine by her side.  He supported me during my labors, and he did it well.

Many men don’t know how to handle the intensity and helplessness they feel when their woman suffers, and when they can’t make it better for her.  It’s hard for a man when she moans and yells during labor, when she tells him not to touch her in a particular way because she has to concentrate so hard during a contraction that she can’t stand anyone’s touch on her skin.

My husband was right there with me every single minute of labor, anchoring me to my body when the contractions threatened to sweep me away, communicating through his eyes the immense love he felt for me, even when I yelled at him not to breathe into my face.

I saw the same commitment on Easter morning, when my friend’s husband held her while she leant on him.  The quality of his gaze and his commitment to be there for her was just as I had experienced years earlier with my husband.

When the baby was born and settled in with mama, he and I stepped out of the room to fetch some things, and I told him how well he did supporting his wife.  He told me he felt like he didn’t help much, but I told him the truth: “You were her rock, and you were there when she needed you.  Believe me, you made all the difference.”

So here’s to us, Mama!  Here’s to our strength and resilience and willingness to do the work, even when it’s hard beyond anything we could have imagined.

Here’s to the people who support us, be it a husband, friend, sister, mother… no matter who we lean on, it takes a village.

Now it’s your turn: In the comments below, tell us about your birthing experience. What did you learn?

The Mama Show – Get healthy and sane! I’ll show you how. Also: goat babies.

The Mama Show – Get healthy and sane! I’ll show you how. Also: goat babies.

Dear Mama,

So many of us mothers are dealing with stressed adrenals and thyroid.  You might not even know you have adrenal or thyroid problems, but you probably do if you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms:

  • Chronic emotional and mental stress
  • bad sleep
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • overwhelm
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • auto-immune diseases
  • hormonal imbalances
  • weight gain.

In this little movie, I show you the cure: get baby goats.

No, I’m just kidding!!!  I mean, snuggling baby goats does help me, but there are other ways to heal yourself.

Watch this movie, and if you want to get the book I mention, click here to order the book.

When you are done watching this, let me know what your experience is with adrenals and thyroid in the comments below!

The best muffins I ever made – without refined sugar

The best muffins I ever made – without refined sugar

I know it’s hard to fathom, even for me, but I haven’t eaten refined white sugar for over four years.  I am one of the biggest sugar addicts I know.  I imagine it’s like heroin – highly addictive and fun, with a lot of negative side effects.  Not that I would know this heroin thing from personal experience, mind you.

One thing I know: not eating refined sugar and instead reaching for healthier alternatives that taste just as good (or better) than the white stuff has made me healthier and more even-keeled emotionally, which is a good thing, believe me.

Just ask my husband.

My kids love these muffins like nothing else.  In fact, when I want to spoil them or get them on my good side, I bake these yummy breakfast morsels in the morning and have them ready for when they wake up  There’s nothing like the smell of these freshly-baked muffins to rouse my teenagers from sleep.

They are super easy and fast to make, so let me show you how you, too, can get on your kids’ good side.  Food bribing works.  Ahem.

Servings: 16 muffins

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B (Grade A works fine too)
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Softened unsalted butter, for greasing the pan, or paper liners for muffins (optional)

 

Instructions

 

Preheat oven to 400°F and put rack in middle.

In a large bowl, combine all the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and melted butter.  Whisk in the milk, then the egg and egg yolk.  Add this to the dry ingredients and whisk until it’s just smooth.  Stir in the walnuts and blueberries.  The berries can be fresh or frozen.  Or leave out blueberries and add a whole cup of walnuts instead.

Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.

Grease the muffin pan with softened butter, or place the muffin paper liners in the cups.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins til they are almost full.  Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for about 15 minutes more, or until the muffins are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the pan. Serve warm with butter, or place on a rack to cool.

Good luck waiting that long.  My kids grab these muffins as soon as they come out of the oven.  Well, okay, I admit it, I do the same thing, too.

 

Pleasure breaks

Last week, I felt myself get shaky.  Shaky in an emotional way, where overwhelm hits you and you get all adrenal-y.  Does that ever happen to you?

I was launching my new website, homeschooling my three kids, getting the garden ready, coaching my clients, and trying to crank out some reasonably healthy meals in the meantime.  I mean, how often can you serve Mac and Cheese for dinner?

The stuff I was doing is all stuff I love doing, but I realized I had pushed myself too hard getting this website done.  I’m a nature girl, and sitting in front of the computer in all my spare time wasn’t doing much for my sanity.

Fortunately, my friend sent me an email with the perfect reminder, and I want to pass it on to you.

How about this idea: Take pleasure breaks every hour.

Now if that sounds like too much effort, too much luxury, too much work even, hang in there with me for a second.

I’m not talking about taking a long bath, or getting a massage, or going on a coffee date with a girlfriend. Although this would be nice, I’m talking about something much, much simpler, and much quicker.

Here’s the deal: Every hour, take one minute (or more!) to do something that brings you pleasure.

So of course now you need to figure out what brings you pleasure, which might not be too hard to figure out.

What makes you smile?

What feels good to you?

What raises your vibration?

For me, it might be getting up from the computer to take a nice, deep breath and stretch, yawning loudly, wiggling my bootie, possibly belching out the tune to “Sound of Music”. Yes, it results in strange looks from my family members and dogs, but who cares?

It might mean stepping outside, taking a nice gulp of air and looking at the mountains.

Maybe it’s recalling a fun memory and basking in it for a minute.

How about giving gratitude? That’s a big one for me. When I feel particularly whiny about having to do laundry (which I hate, hate, hate to do), it helps to acknowledge the sucky feeling that comes up when I have to do yet another load of &%#@ laundry, and then give gratitude for having a washer and dryer, and indeed, for having a roof over my head to house the washer and dryer in.  And running hot water is nice.

Another sure pleasure-inducer is petting my little woofy dog and kissing him up. He likes it, too, so that’s a plus. Mama wins, pooch wins.

There are lots of scientifically validated studies out there to prove the effectiveness of this (not just about petting dogs, but the whole pleasure break thing).

Taking pleasure breaks boosts your seratonin and dopamine levels, decreases stress, enhances your brain and increases productivity and happiness.

Damn! Right? So if you have to set your timer to go off every hour, go for it. For the technologically more inclined, you will even find an app for it.

So can we all try to do this, maybe just for one day? See what happens.

Also, if you want to go really pro on this, make a collage or vision board of what brings you pleasure. Cut out stuff from all the magazines you don’t have time to read, draw something, write stuff down.

And for an extra bonus, leave a comment here to tell us what kinds of things you are going to do for your pleasure breaks. It will be fun getting ideas from you!

Have a great week!

Onward, with pleasure!