Mindful [fill the blank]

I am sat here, well, sick as a dog actually. I’m aching for a nap, or at the very least just to kick back and do absolutely nothing, but my mind is being pulled towards the work I have to do, the fact I should be doing anything more soul nourishing than this with my two year old and now I’m typing this blog on my phone.

On Saturday I took part in the Auckland Mama Markets up in Milford and had a wonderful conversation with Trish Martin Baby Coach.

She was looking at the Biozen and we were discussing the risks of EMF to children and babies and she mentioned how she had never seen as much technology as we use today, often inches away from a babies head. She also mentioned how she often sees mothers breastfeeding with their focus on the phone and this really resonated with me because that is exactly what I used to do too.

I decided to dig into this phenomenon because it is truly unhealthy. Why can’t we breastfeed and focus on breastfeeding alone? Or be present playing with our children? Or be present in anything? Why do we feel compelled to check social media or chat to a friend when our beautiful creations are lay in our arms. Why is the washing more important than play? Aren’t our children the most beautiful things we have ever seen? Don’t we want to treasure each moment like it were our last? Why is what is happening on Facebook grabbing our attention?

If I dig into my own experience it was the feeling that something needs to be done that pulled me out of most moments. And the feeling was that it needed to be done now because my to do list was never ending. I had way too much on my plate. I recognize right now that my plate is overloaded again. We are moving house, my business is booming and clearly my immune system and mind has taken a hit. What are you feeling as your attention moves from baby to your phone (or whatever)? Identify that feeling because its roots have control over your mindfulness and you can take the control back. I like to think of it like becoming the boss of your own thoughts and I’d like to teach you how to do it in simple steps because doing it myself has changed my life.

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.

Buddha

Of course, I still have my bad days like today, and it’s important on those days that I look at what has changed. My lack of mindfulness is my mind’s way of telling me to take stock. So the first thing I can do is listen and respond. If I keep ignoring the signals my body is giving me I will end up in a worse place (I have done that too.)

So if we go back to the example of the mother breastfeeding and on her phone, what is the need being filled here? It could be something as simple as boredom, or it could be something deeper like a need for connection. I can help you discover those needs if you get stuck. My need was for order in my life. I thought constantly “doing” would bring that when in fact I needed to declutter my life.

The next thing to identify is what is keeping your mind from being at peace? What emotions are at play? In my experience it was stress and anxiety caused by the lack of order in my life. For you it might be sadness, or worry. Start to observe your emotions in the moment that your mindfulness slips, just as you are observing your body’s signals to take stock. From here you can begin to retrain your mind and rewire your brain.

 “We are what we repeatedly do.”

We are also what we repeatedly think. Over long periods, our patterns of thinking become etched into the billions of neurons in our brains, connecting them together in unique, entrenched patterns. When certain brain pathways – connections between different components or ideas – are frequently repeated, the neurons begin to “fire” or transmit information together in a rapid, interconnected sequence. Once the first thought starts, the whole sequence gets activated.

We can change that sequence. We can literally take control of what we think.  We can replace negative beliefs with positive affirmations, we can change our environment so we are surrounded with positivity to support positive thoughts and we can give up habits that negatively influence us, like excessive amounts on Facebook at all. Over time, we can begin to change the wiring of our brain so our prefrontal cortex (the executive center, responsible for setting goals, planning and executing them), is more able to influence and shut off our rapidly firing, fear-based amygdala (emotion control center). And, this is exactly what brain imaging studies on effects of mindfulness therapy have shown.

Loving ourselves deeply and nurturing our needs is a big part of the puzzle.

My schedule was out of control because I was knee deep in the emotional suffocation of not paying myself enough attention – period.

It took me a long time to understand self love, my limiting beliefs holding me back from it and what it actually means in terms of tangible actions I can take every day, but when I figured everything out I found this unbounded space in my head that allowed me to be present in a way I had never experienced before.

I also rediscovered my true authentic self, became physically healthier and emotionally stronger and found my purpose outside of #beingmum.

If self love is something you need a little help with I run a programme over 16 days, which costs just nz$16 and it will help you take a big step forward from where you are now. That’s just a $1/day and it’s all done online through email or Facebook messenger, whichever you prefer. To get started, click below:

 

16 Days of Self Love

NZ$16.00

If you’re having trouble being mindful you might also enjoy this blog by Spiritual Alchemist, Debbie, with a 1 minute meditation you can do anywhere at any time.

Much love x x

Motherhood, Muddles and Mindfulness

As I get close to launching my ultimate 8 week experience, Design Your Life, I drilled down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day.  At the centre of it I found myself.  Specifically a version of myself where I spend time filling my cup.  So I decided to use my next few blog posts to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums.  Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side.  I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.

Meet my second guest blogger, Debbie.  She is a Spiritual Alchemist with over 20yrs experience in the mindbody field.  I spoke to Debbie because I have experienced that it is terribly hard to be mindful when you are a mum.  We are pulled in so many different directions that I reckon our brains actually rewire to always thinking about the next thing we have to get done, instead of enjoying being in the moment.

In this blog Debbie shares her experience and a 1 minute meditation you can do anywhere at any time.

debbie

Mindfulness is a term bandied about frequently these days. But what is it?

It is consciously putting full focus and attention on what you are doing or engaging in.   Being present in the moment.

With its roots in meditative practices, Buddhist teachings see mindfulness as a path to enlightenment as one discovers that our mind is the cause of all our suffering. One then works to master the mind through being present and the noticing of the Monkey Mind or the mind‘s need and desire to be attached – to outcomes, behaviours, beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and stories.

There are many studies that confirm the positive impact of mindfulness on our well-being and our worrisome minds. Sounds like a panacea for today’s world and the holy grail of calm huh?

It certainly is, but how does that fit for a mum who is struggling to juggle motherhood, business, finance, relationships, while still making sure the washing’s done and dry, dinner’s nutritious, cooked and eaten, the kids are happy, well and confident, and the house is not sinking under a foot of dust and grime?

How does it fit, when we feel like we have nothing left to give? And don’t know where to turn?

Less stress and topping up the tank

Taking a minute or two can more ‘space’ to breathe and be more of the mum you want to be – an empowered mum with more love to share. It helps our mind settle. Read – Less stress hormones = Happier mum → Happier children → Happier family → Happier community → Happier world!

We all know of the truth of making sure we top up our tank first as mothers, but it can be incredibly hard to do so. Our instinctive, unconscious actions are to attend to children/family first.

But remember the adage of the oxygen mask in a plane crash? We are no help to our children (or anyone else), if we have no oxygen and die. Implementing mindfulness practices are one way to support ourselves – giving our souls oxygen if you like, so we can support those we love in the chaos, muddle and joy of motherhood.

To help meet the challenge of everyday pressure combined with the overlay of motherhood try my micro-meditation here. This meditation is one way to top up your tank and your soul. It is easy to implement, short – under a minute, and with the exception of driving a vehicle, can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime!

Expand time, create space; take a moment

By putting our full attention on what is directly in front of us, we potentially create more space and time. I know it doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.

Think back to a time where instead of finishing a task and then giving your children attention, you did it the other way around. I remember trying to complete some university papers when my son was one or two, and saying hang on, hang on as he vied for my attention. The times I stopped what I was doing and sat with him (and Thomas the tank engine!) for 10 – 15mins then gave me a full half an hour (magic!) to get my words in place for submission. You may have had a similar experience of giving your children full attention for ten or fifteen minutes which then freed up half an hour for you to get those accounts done or phone calls made.

As a mother taking a moment whenever you can, to be present, creates an opportunity to come back to centre. And sometimes we need to take it whenever and wherever we can. I remember taking an extra moment or two in the toilet to sit and centre as sometimes this was the only time I had any space when my kids were younger!

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What might mindfulness look like for an Empowered Mum?

  • Planning time to be fully present when the kids come home from school or kindy so their well is filled with your compassion and attention (even 5 – 10 minutes each child will work wonders)
  • I have found one of the keys to mindfulness is to surrender. Surrendering the shoulds, musts and need to’s
  • Exploring your ability to expand time by intentionally focusing on and enjoying the task at hand – yes even the dishes, cleaning the shower!
  • Try my one minute micro meditation to bring yourself back into centre regularly throughout the day

Further resources you might find useful:

Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle are well-known proponents of the power of now and being present and are the authors of many books.

Sarah Napthali has written several books on Buddhism and motherhood which may also be of help.

Mindfulness is a growing movement and there are many mindfulness/meditative groups worldwide. Check out the web for something close to you.

See more of Debbie at her Facebook page!

 

Why Can’t I Just be At Ease?

One of the things we are taught as Coaches is to interrogate an existing reality with view to changing it if it doesn’t make us happy.

One of the things I hate as a mum is the constant need to feel like I’m always doing something. It takes me out of the moment, it robs me of precious moments with my children and it tires me out. I check myself on it constantly and have to remind myself not to be that way. How does it serve me, therefore? Frankly, it means I get stuff done.

This simple statement is really revealing to me and helps me to understand why I am constantly on the go, if not physically, then mentally, even though that isn’t the mum I want to be. When I think back to my younger days spent ambling, hanging out, reading, imagining, playing I feel grief that I have lost the ability to just be at ease. This was the intention of my rollerball of the same name. Unlike the other blends in the range that have helped other mums so much, this particular blend of oils really helps me to turn off the mental chatter and just be still, physically and mentally. I use it when I feel my mind wandering during play.

This ability to be fully at ease is so important to me. I don’t want to regret down the line not having just been able to hang out and play with my children, or really seen them without distraction, or heard them, not just listened with my mind on other things. I don’t want my girls to fall into the same dangerous pattern and lose their beautifully innocent ability to just be in the moment.

This drive creates a more useful feeling – excitement – at how I get my presence back. Fully. I’ve already become so much more mindful by decluttering my physical and mental space and becoming more organized. I think the answer lies in why my existing reality serves me, but I have many questions left to ask.

What is your experience? Do you suffer in the same way? I think this would be a powerful subject for a group coaching session; would you be open to exploring this with me?

Drop your comments below because I would be interested in reading them. I think this could go somewhere, but that is a question I am yet to fully address… Who is the mum I want to become?

Much love X X

I am an Angry Dinosaur

This is me sometimes.  More times than I like to admit when I am stressed, tired or just over parenting for whatever reason.

I hate admitting this out loud!  This is probably the biggest cause of my mummy guilt.  I have yearned to break free from the hold anger takes in the moment.  One day it struck me that there is always an emotion underlying the response I have to whatever triggers an inappropriately loud or short, or just far out crazy response and when I identified that I started using my coaching skills to peel back the layers of the emotion and put strategies in place to respond/react differently.

And there, bazinger, came the feeling of being empowered!!!  And Mr Angry Dinosaur is taking a back seat to a calmer, kinder and more focused me.

I would like to share this feeling of empowerment and help you to be calmer, kinder and more focused with your children.

Let’s encourage our Angry Dinosaur to chillax back there in the “not of current service” to our lives box, deep in our brains!

I am going to be holding 4 group coaching sessions for mums each Wednesday from the 21st September, across 4 weeks. $20/person in a small, intimate, safe group at my new home in the Greenhill Health Centre, 253 Pakuranga Rd, Pakuranga, Auckland.

Please complete the form on my Workshops & Group Coaching Page to register for the next course.  If you would prefer a one-on-one session, these are also available.  Please call me on 022 1084 165.  Or email nzessentialmum@gmail.com.

Much Love x x