Have you ever been so tired you felt like you couldn’t function? I’m feeling a little bit like that today, and yet here I am, working on this blog. Hmmm, right?
You may be wondering if I practice the self-care that I preach! You’re right to wonder. But you see, as much as I want to go lay down for a nap right now, my desire for something else is stronger.
I want connection.
Deep, fun, loving connection. I want to be in a room with all of you, sitting around with a cup of tea and some candles and just chatting. About life, love, kids, teens and their refusal to wear boots when it snows(!), favorite recipes, places to travel, and how we can make a real difference in the world. About favorite lessons learned and who’s watching what on Netflix. About our fears, hopes and what’s working (and not) in our lives.
You know, the kind of soul-full sharing that refuels us, replenishes us, connects us.
Anyone care to join me? 😉
It’s really no surprise that I’m willing to postpone my nap in lieu of writing to you because we are hard-wired to seek out connection.
Feeling connected helps increase our immune systems, lower stress and anxiety levels, and even helps us feel more confident! And writing to you is the next best thing to being in your company right now!
This article goes into more detail about why connection is so important to our well-being. It’s worth a read when you have a chance.
So? Why the emphasis on connection today?
Because it’s the word and feeling that I’ve been experiencing the most these last few weeks.
My workshop on Nov 3rd….connection. It’s the word most of the women who came used to describe our afternoon together. We created an environment for connection to take place; a connection to ourselves, a connection to each other.
My birthday party….again, connection. I invited my two main friend groups (who didn’t know each other) and they connected beautifully. In fact, multiple people told me how many lovely conversations they had with new people.
I want to explore this feeling and concept with you further! How do you like to stay connected to others?
It’s so easy for us to get swept up into our busy lives and lose those connections.
Who else is thrilled to stay home in their pjs on a Saturday night instead of heading out because it often feels too much?
As people with full and jam-packed lives (and for us introverts especially), we need time alone, in quiet spaces, to recoup from the busyness and noisiness of life. Right?
Sometimes this is legitimate self-care and boundary setting. Sometimes this time alone and being away from others is about reconnecting to ourselves or being with our families.
But what do we lose out on when we say No, one too many times? (read that twice!)
As you know, if you’ve been keeping up with these newsletters, I’ve been emotionally a bit up and down this year.
At my party on Saturday, a friend asked me, “How are you? You seem so happy!” And for the first time in a long time, I genuinely said, “You know what, I am happy!”.
Yeah, so this whole connection thing is real people. LOL!
Less hiding and introverting and more connecting. That’s my motto for this new year in my life.
Do you need a new motto about connecting? Or are you happy and satisfied with the amount of social connection in your life?
What are your tips for staying connected? Let us know!
So, our family dynamic has been somewhat challenging these last few weeks/months. Like, it’s not feeling all that fun, easy, flowy, exciting. We’re in a bit of a rut, you might say.
Lots of things are probably contributing, like the age difference between my kids (enjoyable family activities seem harder to come by these days), my husband’s current workload (which is a blessing for many reasons!), my teen’s desire for distance and her somewhat confrontational attitude with her little sis, my weird digestive issues…
Let’s just say, it’s not our best time as a family. It kind of feels like the lights are dimmed.
And that’s okay.
As the quote above says, it’s okay to just be OK. And I’ve been realizing lately how little we actually tell the truth about how we are. When people ask me how I am in passing, I want to respond with my usual “great, wonderful, super, fine! Ça va bien!”
It’d be easier, but it wouldn’t be honest. I want to be honest. I know honest is the way forward. I’m not afraid of honest.
So I’m responding with, “OK.”
And it throws people off. Which makes me feel a little mad, confused, ashamed, and regretful that I said anything in the first place. Hmmmm. We are so not used to this, are we?
See, here’s the thing though.I know we’ll find a better groove again. This is just a dimmed out phase in our long lives together. I am seriously OK with this. I have hope, faith and the tools to help us work through these up and down feelings and frustrations.
But in exploring how I speak about the fact that I’m “just OK”, I am learning how often we avoid this simple level of honesty.
So when I get the questions that follow my “I’m ok” response (because people assume the worst!), I assure them I am really and truly fine. I am just OK. Not super, not fabulous, not great.
When we allow our feelings room and we then give them the respect they deserve (by not hiding them from ourselves and others), we give them space to move and be heard. To move through us so they can eventually move on. They don’t stay trapped inside. THIS IS CRUCIAL.
And it’s crucial because it works. I am starting to feel a shift. I’m closer and closer to getting back to “good”. Who knows, maybe my birthday next week will bump me into feeling great again?
Either way, I’m OK.
How do you feel about being just OK? Can you relate to this feeling and the social stigma around it? Do you ever feel like “something is wrong with me” for feeling just OK?
Motherhood. It ain’t easy all the time, is it? The hardest aspect of being a parent for me so far, 13 years in, is the cooking/meal planning etc. It never ends! Like….neeeeeever.
Breakfast, lunches, dinners, snacks. The endless choices! The endless demands! The endless preferences. I like this! I don’t like this!
The actual crying.
I mean, WTF? I cook you a nice meal and you have the audacity to cry!?
Clearly, I am failing as a parent if my child cries at the sight of a rice bowl.
At least, that’s where my mean-spirited mind goes when I want to hold someone accountable for the mess of my child, crumpled on the floor yelling, “I want pizza!” at the sight of the healthy meal I prepared with love and care.
How can I be raising such an ungrateful little shit?
I actually threatened to quit being the family chef the other morning after some snarky comment from my youngest. Honestly, sometimes I just want to say, “F*&% this! Cook for yourselves you thankless, spoiled brats!”
Well, that’s not actually true. I have lost it on them before. Like, major expletive-filled freak out!
But now I know better. I know the signs my body gives me. I know my limits. I know how to handle this particular challenge.
And here’s what I did recently when I almost quit being the chef:
Ok, so I am guessing most of you know already the importance of breathe work as a tool to calm yourself and I’m just a little late to the party. But in the event you are not already utilizing the amazing, calming powers of breathe in your parenting, this is for you.
If you do anything to care for yourself, I highly recommend you do this!
When every single ounce of me wants to explode into a fury, I take a breath. And then another. And probably about 10 more. I remove myself from the room, if needed, and I breathe it out until I’ve calmed down enough to not lose my freaking mind.
And just why is this so powerful? Well, for starters because most humans don’t like feeling out of control. And most kids really don’t like seeing their parents out of control. But really, breathe and the act of breathing in and out deeply and slowly calms our nervous systems, almost instantly. It’s works so well! It’s like a magic pill, minus the pill.
For a more scientific explanation on why deep breathing calms us down, click here.
The important takeaway here is the scary “oh my god, here it comes outburst” that rises in my gut and my chest has been deflected.
No scary outburst = a safe, loving environment for my kids to be kids and for me to be in control of myself, my emotions, and my communication. Not to mention how I am modeling for my kids how to manage tough emotions, thoughts, and the like. They see me inhaling deeply, exhaling deeply, walking away, and they instantly become more aware of the what’s going on around them. It actually takes them out of their meltdown and into empathy.
We’re human, not robots. No one is seeking perfection here. We’ve all had many-an-outburst with anger that erupts into a violent tirade! Hell, it still happens occasionally. As I said, no one is perfect. But I hate the way it feels. It’s awful.
Yet when we can notice the urge to scream and catch it just before it happens and choose to transform the frustration or pain by releasing it through our breath, we can then better articulate why we’re so pissed/annoyed/frustrated. We can better listen to our kids. We can show up as the parent that is responsive, not reactive, which feels so much better for everyone.
So for all your screamers out there, are you game to try it? Get yourself super close to losing it…and then take a breath. And then another. And keep going until you feel the volcano inside you subsiding. And see what happens next.
I’d love to know it goes or if you have other tricks you use to calm yourself down when all you want to do it quit.
What does it mean to be nourished?
Fulfilled, satisfied, content, happy?
Full of what, exactly?
Energy, vitality, motivation.
Stillness, quiet, calm.
Movement, forward motion, hope and faith in the future.
Love, acceptance, time to dream and time to be.
Learning, being challenged, feeling safe.
These are some things that come to mind for me.
Here’s what the Cambridge dictionary has to say about the verb Nourish:
- to provide people or living things with food in order to make them grow and keep them healthy:
- If you nourish a feeling, belief, or plan, you think about it a lot and encourage it.
So my recap is:
To provide people with “sustenance” in order to make them grow and keep them healthy.
To think about the beliefs and feelings you need to support the dreams (growth and health) you desire.
What is your form of nourishment for your body? Your mind? Your Soul? And even your home?
What do you feed yourself on a daily or weekly basis to keep you growing and healthy?
Organic…veggies, meats fish, milks? Everything? (At least as much as possible?)
You make an effort, right? Because you care about your health, the health of your family, and the environment. You do your best to choose wisely and consciously and when you know better, you do better.
But what about the thoughts and feelings you feed yourself?
How healthy are they?
Are they nourishing you with what you need to grow and keep you healthy?
We spend so much time, money and energy on buying our organic foods and, yet, let the quality of our thoughts deplete us into exhaustion, overwhelm, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
We spend time every single day thinking about the food we eat or want to eat or shouldn’t eat or can’t eat…
Yet we spend very little time noticing our thoughts.
And why should we care about this?
Because our thoughts run the show.
What if I told you that you don’t have to believe everything you think. Did you know that not everything you think or even believe is True?
I know; it’s incredible when you realize this. In fact, it’s life changing!
Instantly, you find your power! But so often we forget that we have this choice in the first place. We stumble along with our icky thoughts and let them ruin our day, stress us out, and leave us feeling depleted and less than.
One of the best ways I know how to challenge my beliefs is to ask myself if what I am believing/thinking is actually true, like unequivocally true.
Sounds simple, I know. Because it is.
But let’s try it out. Here’s an example:
I suck at marketing.
This thought has some pretty deep grooves in my brain since becoming a mostly online entrepreneur. The beliefs that feed into it go like this:
There’s too much to know. I’m not an expert. I’ll never learn it all. Online marketing changes all the time. I have no idea what I’m doing. Why should I bother?
And these all lead me back to: I suck at marketing.
When I believe this thought, I feel defeated, unmotivated, sad, low energy, and even angry.
When I’m feeling like this, I basically procrastinate, feel sorry for myself, keep busy doing other things other than my work that I want to be marketing, and feel pretty shitty at the end of the day as I didn’t accomplish what I wanted…you get the idea.
So let’s find out if this thought is actually true. Do I suck at marketing?
Well, my instinct is to say, Well, yes, I do suck at marketing.
But when I go a little deeper, sit with the question for a minute and ask, Is it absolutely 100% true that I suck at marketing?…well, a brief window opens up in my brain that it may not be true 100% of the time.
A-ha! This is what I want. This is what I want for you. To at least see that there is a possibility of something that is actually truer than the painful belief I am currently letting run the show.
When I dig around for a truer thought, I find this:
I am new to marketing and find it overwhelming and I’m doing the best I can with what I know.
Um, wow! I instantly feel better. I feel relief in my chest and my gut. I feel a sense of pride that I am trying to figure things out. I feel compassion for my overwhelmed, insecure self. I have more energy, focus and a sense of purpose.
So here’s what’s important to know: the Truth (yes, capital T) always feels more peaceful than the Lie.
If you’re feeling like shit, check your thoughts. Find the thoughts that bring you closer to peace and know that those are the ones that are closer to what’s true for you.
So back to this concept of NOURISHMENT.
I suck at marketing does pretty much nothing to help me grow or be healthy. And it’s not a belief I want to think about often or encourage, for the obvious reasons stated above.
(And to all you “tough love” junkies out there who think that using derogatory and insulting language is the way to motivate yourself to do better, I encourage you to check how your body feels when you say those things to yourself versus when you speak with kindness and understanding.)
Giving myself the opportunity to believe, I am new to marketing and find it overwhelming and I’m doing the best I can with what I know, most definitely gives me the compassion and grace to move forward into a healthier version of myself that allows for growth.
So next time you pick out your organic strawberries or kale, use it as a reminder to see what other ways you can nourish yourself, from the inside out.
Interested in learning more about how you can tackle those negative beliefs? Sign-up for a Complimentary Discovery call here. No sleazy sales stuff, I promise!
If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty much thrilled when the summer comes to an end because the kiddos head back to school.
Yes, our hearts are full of wonderful summer memories made, but our nervous systems are shot from the overstimulation and constant “being on” that kids and summer requires of us during summer “vacation”.
So this year I did something crazy just as school started up again: I found my courage, ditched my family, and gifted myself a Labor Day weekend completely alone.
Why might this be courageous, you may be wondering? Because I could have found a zillion excuses as to why this was a bad idea. I could have let guilt wash over me, “Good moms and wives don’t ditch their families for 3 nights to go be alone right at the start of back-to-school”. But I didn’t.
In giving myself this gift, I took my frazzled, over-stimulated self into a place of quiet so I could come home rejuvenated and ready for the new year. I knew this. My husband knew this.
Except I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen.
But before I go there, let’s recap some of the highlights from this experience:
- Being alone (duh, isn’t that enough? I know!!)
- Not having to take care of anyone else (do you know how good this feels for a change?)
- Eating when I want (following my own natural schedule)
- Eating exactly what I want without anyone complaining!
- Not being interrupted while enjoying my coffee, wine, journaling, reading, creating, sleeping, showering, shopping, cooking, and just being there in silence…
- Feeling freer and more authentic than I have felt in months and months!
- Feeling playful and goofy and 100% untethered
- Feeling completely in spiritual alignment
- Noticing the nature around me like never before: butterflies, birds, ladybugs, leaves, trees, the wind, the smell in the air
- Moving as slowly or as quickly as I wanted throughout my day
- Being able to sit in silence and not worry when it would end, when my peace would be disrupted or interrupted. I could really be in the moment more fully without this anticipation. It was so interesting to notice how in anticipating the arrival of a child home, the questions, the demands, the noise, the beautiful energy of our kids…it all plays into how we can live “on edge” to a certain extent…always “ready” to be in response to someone else.
What I wasn’t expecting in all of this glorious alone time was in discovering how unconsciously we live “in anticipation of” being interrupted, being asked to adjust our plans, not having things work out as we hoped, having to intervene, having to slow down, etc. In and of themselves, none of these are bad. To the contrary, we need to be able to go with the flow if we want to have any semblance of “succeeding and enjoying” parenting.
My surprise was more in the awareness I developed while being completely alone that I live in this unconscious way most of the time. And I’m guessing you do too. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s normal. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It just is.
But this confirms my belief even further that when we’re alone on our own, we reconnect to our deepest selves. We reconnect to our own rhythms that aren’t dictated by anyone else. We lower the noise, amp up the quiet, and are able to hear the whispers of our own needs and desires.
So let’s just acknowledge how differently we can experience life when we’re not living unconsciously “in anticipation of”. When we can live for moment after moment in a state of being. I feel calmer and quieter just typing that! The question now becomes, how do I bring that into my “regular” life?
My weekend away nourished me like nothing else I have done in a very long time. It allowed me to stop being Mom and reconnect to me, Marieke. My own desires, wishes, dreams, and schedule. It was total and utter freedom.
Our hearts and lives are so beautifully entangled with our children’s. We wouldn’t trade the love and experience of motherhood for anything.
But trading in the caring of others, even for a short time, to focus solely on yourself is life changing. And frankly, it’s also a declaration that says, “Hey, my own needs matter. My connection to myself as a complete woman (not just a mom) matters. I matter!”
I came home so radiant that my husband suggested I do this every quarter. Didn’t see that one coming either!
I think the most beautiful thing to come out of this experience is that not only am I coming home nourished and replenished, but my family reaps the rewards from my experience as well. I am modelling for my daughters how to ask for what they need and that no one else is responsible for my needs but me. I’m my best advocate and it’s up to me to make sure my needs are met, even when it means taking a “leave of absence” for a few days from my life as Mom.
And the cherry on top is that in caring for myself, I can ultimately care for them even more deeply. And that fills my soul right up!
Here’s a selfie video I took while away on my weekend alone. It’s about giving ourselves the permission to want to be alone and that nothing has to be wrong in your life to want alone time! Go get it, as I say! 😉