Offline Retreat (Momma style)

Hello Lovelies:

I will be offline from December 19th until January 4th. I will complete the year with stillness, calm and restoration. I am intending to reset my body and mind and gain more clarity on my biggest intentions for 2016. I have lots of fun plans but wanting to “be” with them more and go deeper in order to feel what resonates the most on a soul level.

During the next 2 weeks I plan to go at an even slower pace, sleep more, be more mindful, do less reading and writing and more meditating and resting. I’m still following my Brain & Body Optimization Game too. My sole intention is to care for my family and rejuvenate as much as possible. A Momma style staycation. 🙂

I share more about why I’ve chosen to do this in the video below:

Here are the resources that I talked about in the video:

  • Vipassana meditation – 10 day silent meditation. No talking, no writing, no reading. You meditate for 10 hours a day, sleep, walk and eat. That’s it. It’s intense and amazing! I am going to do a super modified version of this. 😉
  • Let’s talk about mold post– I share about how the mold impacted my brain and what I’ve learned.
  • Amen Clinics – We did a brain scan + QEEG with Daniel Amen and he saw some ways I could optimize and heal my brain even more. Love his work!
  • Neurofeedback– I am doing this to help balance out my left and right hemispheres. The QEEG actually showed that my brain is doing pretty well with one spot on the right hemisphere that needs a little bit more love.
  • EMDR therapy – This helps people “heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences”. Daniel Amen noticed some subtle things on my brain scan that could have been from emotional upset. He recommended I do it, so I am doing some sessions.

Alrighty…I am off! Kinda nervous (hehe). But, I also know it’s going to be awesome! 🙂

Happy Holidays and sending big love,

alex_signature_pink

How motherhood is deconstructing my hurriedness

I sometimes feel the bubbling of impatience as I mother. I observe myself and other parents wrestling with this desire to hurry up and get our little people to go where we want them to go. Children move at a slower rhythm and our prodding and pushing can disrupt their natural flow.

When I feel into the natural pace of children and then adults, there is a huge disparity between the two. This can cause a lack of harmony which usually results in unnecessary struggle. I don’t believe we need to force or coerce our children to do daily tasks. I see it as a partnership. I often ask myself how I would want to be treated.

For example: let’s say I am fully engaged in something I love like writing, reading or exercising. I am in my flow and someone comes up and jumps into my bliss and says: Hurry up. Let’s go. We are leaving right now to go do (fill in the blank). It would feel jarring and disorienting. Why would this be any different for our children? Yet, we expect them to just go with our pace and tempo.

One of the best pieces of parenting wisdom I’ve received was from the late Magda Gerber; her recommendation was one simple word: Wait! Silently repeating it to ourselves if needed. Wait…Wait… Wait... When we make a request…pause, wait, and give our children space to process. When we feel the urge to push our children to do something like put their pajamas on,  change their diaper or brush their teeth. Remember to wait.

Create more space in your mind and your life so you can give the gift of spaciousness. A natural flow will emerge, even if it feels counterintuitive. There can be a concern that by giving them more space they’ll never actually do what we are asking, but that hasn’t been my experience. Usually, I am astonished at how just a few minutes of patience can create so much more peace.

This may sound easy but it’s a monumental task to feel the rise of frustration and choose to wait and breathe. This doesn’t mean we are permissive with our parenting and let them do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. It just means giving more time and presence in order for them to move from their center.

Our role as parents is to create a safe haven for our children to thrive and also hold strong boundaries so they learn how to be a collaborator within the family. Treating them with respect and love and trusting that just because they are smaller and their brains aren’t fully formed that they understand, because they do. Their knowing may not always be an intellectual understanding. Most of the time (especially when they are young) this knowing is an energetic transmission.

The mother sets the tone, rhythm and culture for the family. We must be centered and attuned so we can create a flow that works for everyone. Sometimes this means there are time constraints we must honor in order to create harmony within the whole. This may upset our children’s desire for play and exploration which may include upset and tears.

This doesn’t mean something’s wrong. It just means we need to hold more loving space for them as they integrate the emotions that are arising. We all have these emotions and children just express them more fully and outwardly than we do. If we can hold space and allow their emotions to flow like a river they will move right through them.

It’s a constant dance. It’s vital for us, as mothers, to honor our desires and also our children’s. When these desires conflict (as they often can), I usually get down on my knees or pick my son up so we can connect eye to eye. Then, I say: I see that you want this and I want this. Let’s make a deal.

We talk about creative ways we can both get our needs met. Some days this goes smoother than others and sometimes we need to re-negotiate deals again and again. The simple practice of slowing down enough to listen, connect and be in relationship with my child makes such a big difference.

The reality is that children go slower than adults. They explore, they’re curious and ask questions, they see and experience the world with completely different eyes. If we are going to authentically connect we must tune into their level of absorption and focus…their enthusiasm for the ordinary. This isn’t easy for most of us.

Our culturally conditioned adult minds tend to move faster. Much faster and disembodied. Life is a full embodied experience for children — mind, body and spirit. So-called grown ups can tend to be distracted with future thinking about what’s next, where we need to go, what needs to get done.

I continually play with the rise of hurriedness I feel sometimes. This urge to hurry up. When I notice myself projecting into the future while I am at the park with my son or thinking about the dinner I still need to make, or wanting to be doing something more interesting, etc. I stop the mental chatter and ask myself to come back to the present.

I inquire into how can I sink more into this moment so that I can find the joy right where I stand. I ask: How can I be fully engaged with my child? Learn from him? He knows presence way better than I do. In many ways in the pursuit of adulthood I’ve unlearned the simple joys of living. Being with him helps me settle back into my natural soul pace.

The art of motherhood fascinates me. It’s a completely different pace and reality than most of the world. I wonder if this is why it can feel so challenging to be a modern mom? The email, the iPhones, the technology moves at the pace of electricity. Children don’t.

Our relationships don’t move in this way. They need space to explore and to feel and to rest in order to flourish. There is a rush we feel when we work, or are engaged with adults because most of the time the vibe is higher and faster. It feels more in sync with our racing minds. If we want to experience joyful parenting we can’t try to operate our home in the same way we would if were leading a meeting, managing a business, or trying to get 100 things done in a day.

There are days I wish for more excitement in my daily life. More burst of electricity and less of the mundane. Then, I step back and see. I see that motherhood is calling me deeper into myself and deeper into life. Which is what my soul wants more than anything. I want to live deeper. I want to feel more. I want to experience more. I want to feel the pulse of life running through my veins. This takes patience and practice. It’s not glamorous and it can be challenging. But, what could more powerful than returning to my natural essence?

Motherhood is changing me in ways I could’ve never imagined. I am grateful because it’s calling me home in a way I’ve been desiring for a long time. I just didn’t think it would look like this. I thought it would be more graceful and more easeful with more sparkles and joy. Not there aren’t a lot of those moments…because there are. But it’s…well, a whole lot harder than I envisioned.

I imagine it’s easier for some. But, for me it’s been a deconstruction phase where I’ve challenged my beliefs about time, love, joy and success. I continually choose to create the sacred in the ordinary again and again and again.

This has opened up space for a whole new re-invention of self that I wasn’t even aware existed. I could have missed this call for transformation but I’ve done my best to stay present to what’s real and true for me. Even during those times I wish things felt easier I hear the emergence of my true self whispering to keep on…there’s more unfolding you just can’t see it right now.

It’s all a work in progress. I am no zen priestess but I am slowly learning there is no need to hurry. I can sit for a bit longer. I can rest in the moment a bit longer. I can enjoy the sun on my face and feel the joy in my heart as I watch my son completely and fully be himself.

Why would I want to hurry this? My desire and practice is to be passionately present and engaged and connected. My son is my teacher on this one. His natural pace and essence is guiding me to a place I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have experienced if I wasn’t his mother.

The hardest part of stepping into motherhood was the feeling that I lost some of my spark, my creativity, my freedom. Now, I smile (most days) because I know that’s not true. I am finding an even more authentic voice and spark and an internal freedom. Transformation takes time, persistence, diligence and a willingness to see the light even as we navigate the unknown. And, motherhood is the definition of flux.

May I be present to the magic that is always unfolding. May I trust in the flow of life. May I rest in the joy that is always available. May I be engaged and present. May I be willing to slow down and go at a completely difference pace than the collective. May I move from a place of rest, ease and grace. May I continue to honor the sacred duty of being a mother.

Here’s a little free flow blissitation to support you in resting today:


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Daily Bliss – November 9, 2015

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  Howard Thurman

Affirmation: I feel enthusiastic, energized, radiant, powerful, and joyful!

Nutrition:
* 7:30 bulletproof decaff coffee w/cacao powder/coconut milk/mct oil/stevia
* 10:00 power smoothie (homemade almond milk, steamed spinach, blueberries, maca, stevia leaf, collagen)
* 12:30 handful of plaintain chips (planned on a juice but the place was closed)
* 3:00 chicken dipped in primal kitchen mayo (love this stuff)
* 6:00 butternut squash soup with sauteed chard and ground beef topped with avocado + few bites of a persimmon

Movement: 5 minute walk at 6:15 w/ E to walk the doggie + 20 minute strength workout (pretty light but did get heart rate up) +10 minute walk + 10 minute walk + 10 minute family walk

Meditation: 20 minutes + 45 minute napitation and listened to this 4 minute Blissitation: Power Strength & Courage:


Book Love:
I recently finished these books:
The Loving Diet. This one’s about going beyond paleo into the heart of what ails you. I really loved it because it’s about choosing to love yourself and life no matter what your physical ailments are. Jessica, the author, focuses on the autoimmune protocol in her practice but she also brings a lovely heart centered approach to healing that I really dig.

Kale and Coffee. I’ve known about Kevin Gianni (The Renegade) for years. His book is all about his journey to finding health, happiness, and longevity. I enjoyed reading his story because I was pretty intense (like him) with the vegan (high raw) diet. I appreciated his honesty, courage and willingness to explore all avenues of health to see what works best for his body even when it challenged what he believed to be true.

Notes from a Blue Bike. It’s another memoir all about the the art of living intentionally in a chaotic world. Tsh is a wife and a mother to 3 kids. I love reading about how other mothers are creating their desired lives. It takes courage to create sacred boundaries in order to live the lives we most want. She’s a great writer and it was a fun to travel around the world through her eyes.

Body Goodness: I’ve been slowly getting off the bulletproof coffee. I liked the potential health and longevity theory but I didn’t notice any big benefits. And, I feel like a green smoothie/juice would probably be a better choice for me. Happy I tried it though.

Dr. Amen gave me some Serotonin Mood Support to help optimize my brain from what he saw on my brain scans mostly my limbic system being a bit overactive and signs of some trauma (from the last year with mold, our dog being killed and our best friend’s death). I think I notice a difference. I start my moon cycle in the next few days and I don’t feel the slight irritability + heightened emotional sensitivity that can come up for me at this time. Go serotonin boost! 🙂

Mind/Heart Goodness: I am inspired to simplify even more and to keep refining my essentials and rockin’ the simple habits that add the most power and joy to my daily life. I get *really* excited about a lot of habits and things I want to do and can tend to want to do them all (now!). 🙂

I’m bringing in my focus and only picking a few. This feels a bit challenging but I also know I will master more habits in the long run doing it this way. The question that is at the forefront of my mind is: What is most important now? What will have the greatest impact on my life today, next month, next year? What would it look/feel like if I did these habits every day? Simple wins and creating sustainable success!

Gratitude & Appreciation: I am grateful for the blue sky and clouds. They seem extraordinarily beautiful today as we walked and played outside. I am grateful for the abundance of yummy fruits and vegetables we have access to every week. I am grateful for books. Every day so much gratitude for books and the awesome people who wrote them! I am grateful for all the sweet little interactions we have with people around town. I am grateful for everyone who helped built the new park by our house. I am grateful for the Internet and all the amazing people I’ve met because of it, including my husband! I am grateful for the life and family we’ve created together.

Oh, and I won the day for my Brain & Body Optimization Game! Woot! Woot!

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Meditation + Dance Party (w/ my son) = Joyful Momma

be-still-in-the-now-picture-quoteMy son said he wanted to make me feel better today. He got out his healing glove and told me to come into his hospital and lie down on the bed so he could help me. He’s really into firetrucks, hospitals, doctors and caring for me these days. So sweet!

He “buckled” me in and then got some legos along with a few other toys and put them on my belly and touched my head with his glove. I laid there for a few minutes and then said I was going to get up. He said: No Mommy don’t get up. I’m not done yet. Be still. Don’t move. 

I laughed and said: Yes, good advice. Be still. I took a deep breath, laid back down and smiled. Who says you can’t meditate with a child? I had a whole 5 minutes of deep breathing plus a “healing” session. How does it get any better
than that? 🙂

In the last few months I’ve occasionally awoken before E (we co-sleep) and I’ll be meditating in bed when he wakes up. I tell him I’m meditating and he can sit with me if he’d like. Most of the time he comes in and cuddles up in my lap and patiently waits while I “practice.” Sometimes he’s ready to get up and I flow with that too.:) The more I slow down, listen and be still the easier life becomes. In the stillness I can hear the voice of silence gently guiding me towards peace, love and freedom.

After our healing meditation he wanted to listen to some music. So we turned on the “Let it go” Pandora station and rocked out to: Part of your world + Uptown Funk. Love me some dancin’ and singin’! (You can find a 5 minute video on how I make dancing a workout HERE).

The lesson I am remembering today is there is always time and space to do whatever nourishes our soul. We just have to keep our intention at the forefront so we can see the opportunities when they arise. Otherwise we miss the joy hidden in the mundane because we are off to the next thing.

So…my fun challenge for you, SuperBetter style, is to take a minute or five to be still, breathe and tune into your innate awesomeness and pick one of your favorite songs and dance and sing your heart out. Dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth. — William W. Purkey

Now, I’m off to make dinner!

Dance on Goddess,

alex_signature_pink

P.S. I’m always on the look out for new songs to rock out to. If you feel inspired share some of your favorite tunes in the comments below.

Bliss Diary – July 20, 2015

Functional medicine is about causes, not symptoms.
It is getting to the root of the problem. —
Mark Hyman, MD

Nutrition is on my mind today. As I said in yesterday’s post I am thinking about doing the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet with some GAP principles for the whole family. The more I dive into nutrition the more I learn. I wish I would have known this stuff 15 years ago. It seems like there has been a lot about gut health come out in the last 3-5 years.

I remember when I was probably about 6 months pregnant with little E. We were having dinner with Dr. Junger and the Clean team and I was talking to him about my skin breaking out. He said that gut health was the focus of his upcoming book and I should test to see if I had parasites/bacteria/viruses in my gut. He sent me home with a stool test. The results showed I did have some gut issues, mostly candida.

What about the hubby? He was super sick as a kid with ear infections and allergy shots, lymph nodes removed, migraines, etc. And, in the last 3 years his health has greatly improved since we’ve taken out grains, limited carbohydrates and added animal products back into our diet. But, with his health history there is no doubt that his gut has be compromised for a long time and would benefit from a healing protocol.

The little guy? He was born naturally and healthy at home. He had a posterior tongue tie that took me 3 months to figure out and I was so grateful for all the people sharing their stories, especially the Mommypotamus’s blog posts! He didn’t have any vaccinations and he will be 3 years old in 2 months and he has never been sick, never had to go to the pediatrician for anything. He eats better than most adults I know. He’s vibrant and creative and an absolute joy. So why would I have him do an AIP diet?

A few things. One he did have some red rashes that appeared on his face/arms/legs when he first started consuming anything with almonds (butter, raw nuts, bars). It was a process to figure out that it was the almonds that were causing the rashes. His skin completely healed within 2 weeks of taking them out. Skin issues usually represent something off in the gut. I also noticed he has waves of tiredness that could be gut related (and of course maybe just part of growing a ton). He poops a 2-4 times a day but sometimes theyBSF-with-highlight are more in the type 2 or 3 and once in awhile 1’s on the Bristol stool chart. It’s ideal for our daily bowel movements to be type 4,5,6 which he does have plenty of those!

I did a stool test for him and there wasn’t anything major off and our pediatrician said he thought it was all fine but…Momma’s intuition tells me that there might be some imbalances. I’ve learned to trust myself with this whole process. I don’t want to go looking for problems but I also know that both Brian and I had gut issues when we conceived little E and from what I’ve read we pass our microbiome on to our children. So, if that’s the case he could use a little healing support as well.

Emotional side of this: I am happy that I know what I know now and also sometimes feel flashes of irritation/frustration that I didn’t know this before I got pregnant and throughout my pregnancy. I recorded my whole pregnancy journey (just like I am doing now on this blog). I was so committed to having an extraordinary pregnancy/home birth…and I did, it was amazing. I believed I was doing the right thing with as an almost veganism diet with the addition of 3-6 eggs a week. I was still eating gluten free grains and more fruit/carbs than is ideal. I know this because I did a genetic test to see what is optimal for my body. I did the best I could. I ate a whole foods organic diet and lots of salads, cooked greens, avocados, green juices, etc. But, I would have done things differently had I known what I now know. When I think about all of this it fuels the fire of inspiration and desire to support other families to be as healthy as possible.

Affirmation/Intention: I am a powerful Goddess. Choose from an empowered place.

Nutrition:
7:00 morning delight tea
10:00 16 oz green juice
11:00 4 sweet potato/egg muffins w/ turmeric coconut butter
3:45 cucumbers, carrots, chicken dipped in garlic lentil dip
6:30 salad with some hard boiled eggs

Movement:
* 45 minute adventure with toddler
* 35 minute rebounding

Meditation: 25 minutes + 50 minute napitation (felt sooo good!)

Sleep: 7.5 hours – Bed at 9:15 and woke up at 4:45 feeling good so I meditated before the little guy woke up. A few months ago I would sleep for 8.5-10 hours every night and still wake up tired, so this feels awesome!

Declutter Challenge: I starting a decluttering challenge/habit of doing something every day to keep things organized and moving forward. This is what I did today:
#1 organized and decluttered all bathroom cabinets and drawers. The goal is to just have a soap dish, air spray and 1 thing of lotion on the counter!
#2 called to set up an appointment to have someone check on our dishwasher/stove top (totally been procrastinating on this one)
#3 cleaned and organized my desk. The goal is to only have these things on my desk: journal, mom’s one line memory book, 1 book, 1 pen, family picture, a baby picture of me at 1, computer and I just added a 1979 United States dollar coin with  Susan B. Anthony on it that my hubby gave me.

Gratitude & Appreciation: I am grateful for my clean desk. I am grateful for my clean bathroom. I am grateful for little E’s help with organizing. I am grateful for all the fun and tender moments I have with him everyday. I had a moment today while we were sitting on the floor at his little table eating our carrots/cucumber/hummus/chicken and chatting away and laughing…I thought I am a Mom. Wow. I got tears in my eyes. It was one of those moments where it hits you that with the help of God, we created a human being. #AMAZING I am grateful for my incredible husband and all of his support and love.

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Bliss Diary – July 17, 2015

My general formula for my students is “Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and dont be afraid to follow it. —
Joseph Campbell

Intention/Affirmation: Have fun! 🙂

Nutrition:
7:00 chai tea w/coconut milk, ghee, cinnamon, maca, collagen, stevia
8:30 4 muffins w/turmeric coconut butter
1:00 big goddess green salad w/ salmon + handful of plantain chips
4:30 16 oz green juice
5:30 bowl of scrambled eggs and mashed cauliflower w/ some blueberry/coconut/ gelatin “jello”

Movement:
* 30 minute toddler paced adventure though creeks, over trees and up hills.;)
* 10 minute walk pushing stroller
* 10 minute walk pushing stroller

Meditation: 15 minutes + 30 minutes napitation

Body Goodness: Things are changing for the better with my hormones and body. I can feel it. Super empowering. I am in the completion phase of my cycle and moving into the analysis next week. I am noticing a difference in my thought patterns and emotions as each phase shifts. It’s fascinating. I am still a newbie at this but I can see how much better it is to flow with our feminine cycle instead of against it.

Mind/Heart/Spirit Goodness: Following my bliss. This has been my intention and passion for the last 18 years. I’ve had such a clear vision of how I want to live  and very little tolerance for not following my heart and passions. I am getting to the next phase of my journey and tuning into what I really want. Digging deep to see what my current desires are and asking how I can do it. Sometimes I make excuses, especially with my responsibilities of motherhood. But, there is always a way to live our purpose and passion. We just have to get creative and be willing to ask for help and have patience.

Gratitude & Appreciation: I am grateful for the fun day at the creek with my Momma friend and her son. I am grateful for my awesome chat with hubby. It’s super helpful to be married to a super powerful masculine guy!:) I am grateful for the way he thinks and I am grateful for the way I think. I am grateful for our friends awesome online store: Raw Food World and the sweet hook up they give us! I am grateful for another gorgeous summer day! #thankyou

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