A REFLECTION ON MOTHERHOOD

As the time has drawn nearer for the celebration of Mother’s day, I have had the opportunity to reflect on many things. First on my own personal experience of being a mother of four children, 3 girls and 1 boy; and remembering the abundant joy I felt with each new baby and acknowledging this amazing new life who had just recently come from heaven be placed in my care.  

I think of all the things that I messed up on. I wish I could erase some things and paint in a new and upgraded version. Times when I was too impatient and allowed my frustration to get the better of me. When I was too involved in my own self-absorption to see the pain and hurt my children were experiencing. When I was too overwhelmed to enjoy the sweet and quiet moments. When I was too tired from working all day to put a healthy meal on the table or a kiss on a cheek. But even with my imperfections and misguided actions, I now have the opportunity to stand back and marvel at the amazing and wonderful adults they are. These, who once were children, are now all productive, caring, talented, gifted, thoughtful, service-oriented, motivated, creative, kind, and generous adults that have made positive contributions to this world. It wasn’t anything that I did, but it was because they were amazing spirits way before they ever came to this earth; they are strong and valiant even with an imperfect mother.

I think of my own mother, who came from a meager upbringing, who lost her father when she was only in her early 20’s. I think of her many years of hard work and perseverance, how both she and my father sacrificed to provide for their five children (I was the youngest) and made sure that we had all we needed. She didn’t work outside the home, but made home a heaven filled with the waffling sweet smells of homemade bread, cookies, and cinnamon rolls. Sunday always included church attendance and we were rewarded with a delicious meal of roast beef, potatoes, gravy, corn and homemade rolls. We lived across the road from the elementary school I attended and without fail, she was waiting with a delicious warm meal and a treat when I came home for lunch. When school was out, she was always waiting and ready for me with a yummy snack before going out to play or finishing homework. It may be what some would call an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ way to grow up, but I have come to understand the important and stable foundation it created for me in my life. I might be thinking too simply, but I believe that many of the world’s troubles today could be solved by having a loving and nurturing mother waiting at home to embrace you and welcome you back in to the safe sanctuary of home with a plate full of cookies.

I am so grateful for my two older daughters who have taken the uncommon path to leave their careers and stay at home with their little ones. They are brave and courageous to stand their ground while making this sacrifice knowing it is what’s best for their children. It’s a tough choice to make in our modern world as our current culture tries to convince us that our identity and worth is based on our profession or how much money we make. Motherhood, something that ought to be revered, is scoffed and diminished. 

I think of Eve, the mother of all living, who made the courageous decision to eat the fruit so that we would have the opportunity to come and experience this mortal life and be given the opportunity to have experiences and choose. I think of the many other amazing and dedicated women throughout history that have made significant contributions through following their purpose and mission of being mothers. I think of those of you who have never had a nurturing, loving mother while here on this mortal journey and for this Mother’s Day and many days to come, I pray for you to experience peace.  

A Little Laughter

This last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing Yoga Retreat held at the Mountain Air Retreat Center in Malta, Idaho by a talented and gifted friend and Yoga teacher, Rayette Barendregt and another amazing, inspirational, and trusted friend, Marnae Hobson. I invite you to take time to check out the other awesome and transformative retreats and trainings held at Mountain Air Retreats.  Visit the website by CLICKING HERE.

Saturday morning I woke up pretty early and was enjoying a moment of reflection and meditation when the beautiful laughter of women from the room above mine filled the air.  It was the joyous, merry and cheerful giggling kind of laughter that delights the soul and I marveled that I was so blessed to be awake to witness this moment. I thought back to the time when as children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, just like my dear granddaughters do, but now as adult women, we have become more serious and our laughter is much more infrequent. So to now be hearing the beautiful peals of laughter and giggling coming from the room above me, caused me to smile and just enjoy the moment while leaving me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

As I laid in bed I pondered, “How would life be different if we were to allow more laughter in it?

So I did what many of us do when we wonder about something…I googled it! Articles spoke of research projects confirming that laughter boosts our mood, strengthens our immune system, can protect us from the damaging effects of stress, and can even diminish pain. Laughter relieves tension and relaxes our muscles for up to 45 minutes after. It triggers the release of endorphins from the brain which promotes an overall sense of well-being. Laughter can bring balance back to the mind and body, inspires hope, lightens burdens, and keeps you grounded and focused.

Surprised? Perhaps you already knew about some of this, but knowing this, why don’t we laugh more?

Is it because we were told too many times when we were young to quit acting so silly and settle down? Or is it because growing up meant being serious? Or has life become so hard and difficult that we can find no laughter in us?

What if we were to make a different choice? What if we were to consciously create more laughter in our lives?

Here are some ways that I have brought more laughter into my life:

  • Create happiness within.
  • Count my blessings.
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Smile within and then extend that smile to others.
  • Put the electronic devices down and start connecting and smiling at others.
  • Don’t take myself so seriously.
  • Laugh at myself.
  • Do something silly.
  • Keep a toy on my desk and in my car.
  • Find my inner child.
  • Make time for fun and enjoyable activities.
  • Attend a “laughing yoga” class. (still want to do this one)
  • Don’t go a day without laughing. I consider this as valuable as exercise or eating healthy and spend 10-15 minutes each day laughing.  

I have found that as I have become more cheerful and fun, I have attracted more playful and fun people into my life. Laughter draws you closer to others, just as I experienced while at this retreat. Sharing laughter and humor is one of the most effective tools we can use to keep relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing can create strong bonds, but the sharing of laughter adds vitality, joy, and resilience to those relationships. Playful communications will strengthen your relationships and allows you to be more spontaneous, authentic, express your true feelings and let go of negative emotions such as resentments, criticism, and judgements. Laughter assists to unite people during difficult time.

But by seeking out more opportunities for humor and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness and even add years to your life.  It’s fun, free, and easy!

I’d love to hear about your stories and experiences.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The 4 Words Men Dread

Years ago when I would say to my husband, “We need to talk about our relationship”, I truly had the belief that if we would just sit down together and he would just listen to all the reasons why I was unhappy, things in our marriage would improve. I wanted to talk about it and was quite convinced that this was the answer to cure all ills, solve all problems, and mend all fences. I didn’t understand or comprehend how the words, ‘we need to talk affected him even though time and again I would try this approach and receive defensiveness, irritation, anger, distance or complete shutdown.

I would like to say that I quickly learned from this experience, but unfortunately I did not. Later, as my son was growing from boyhood into manhood, I continued this same unsuccessful pattern. When there was a need to correct or discuss his actions or some other concern, and I began the conversation with ‘we need to talk’, I would be met with guardedness that often led to him reacting in anger or shutting down.

It wasn’t until I was able to set aside my pride and started asking questions that I was able to see things in a new light. I found that many women are like me. We want to talk about the relationship because talking about it makes us feel better and helps us move through our upset. Talking helps us sort through the layers of emotions that we experience. When we are in a state of upset and resentment, we feel disconnected. And often, beneath the disconnection, we have a fear of being alone and unloved. Because we find connection through communication, we believe the upset will be relieved by talking about it.

Men don’t want to talk because talking about it doesn’t make them feel better and often makes them feel worse. When a man chooses to marry, he does so believing that he has the ability to provide what will make her happy. In these ‘we need to talk’ conversations, our dissatisfaction and unhappiness makes him feel like a failure. Beneath the thoughts of failure lurks their own fear and shame. I also learned that for some men, just using the words, ‘we need to talk’ can take him back to those experiences as a child where he was called to task by his mother and punished – again inciting thoughts and feelings of failure.

Understanding and honoring each other’s vulnerabilities and fears can create new possibilities and ways to create more connection and partnership with one another. The best thing we each can do to create the connection we desire, is to work on our own personal inner remodeling. Begin by making peace with your own demons and fears. Seek to understand the fear beneath the emotions you feel and the ways you react. As we gain better understanding of ourselves, we are better able to honor another person’s feelings and fears.

What has been your experience? I would love to hear your thought. Please comment below. I also invite you to subscribe to our newsletter by completing the information below or you can choose to follow our blog by clicking the box to your right.

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  1. I really enjoyed this! So true that laughter is something we should do more- joy is all around it’s our…

THE WAR RAGES ON

A few months ago I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.  Yeah, I didn’t know what it was either, let alone spell it or pronounce it.  Come to find out, it is a chronic, slowly progressive, inflammatory auto-immune disorder that interferes with the normal function of the parotid (salivary) glands and lacrimal (tear) glands resulting in a significant reduction in moisture in the mouth and eyes. Even to the point of no production at all.  Secondary challenges include cavities in teeth, chronic inflammation, sinus issues, skin rashes, nervous and gastrointestinal complications, and on and on.

As a nurse, I have been aware of autoimmune diseases but up until now, no one in my close family had this experience. For those of you who may not be aware, autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues. Multiple sclerosis, Diabetes, Lupus, Vitiligo, Addison’s, Endometriosis, Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome are just some of the more than 100 autoimmune diseases out there. Interestingly, the literature indicates that there has been a 4-7 percent increase in autoimmune disorders diagnosed each year and those affected by it are getting younger and younger.

So the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues because it mistakes them as foreign invaders….okay, but why? No one knows why. Why does your body go from being in peace and balance to staging its own war within itself? And what does this have to do with relationships?

As I became more aware of this new diagnosis, I couldn’t help but reflect on my past and other wars I have raged on myself. The body-image war; one that still rages on although there are longer periods of cease fire and resulting peace. The inauthentic/authentic war trying to please others so that I feel loved and wanted. The I-don’t-know-how-to-get-out-of-this war so contemplating ending my life seems like a great idea. The I’m-not-good-enough/not-pretty-enough, not something enough (you fill in the blank) war.  I’ve been at war with myself way before my body started flashing the blue light letting me know that it’s needing my attention.

I would like to hear from you. Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder? Do you have a history of or are still currently experiencing negative body-image thoughts? Struggling with authenticity? Contemplating self-harm or suicide?  Or in any other way, experiencing conflict within yourself? Please share your story and leave your comments below.  Let’s figure this out and create new hope!

Empowerment

Many years ago, I fell in love with the products of a cosmetic and skin care company and I have been a dedicated and satisfied consumer since. Their original, brightly colored, sassy named, girly packaging so resonated with me that before I knew it, bursting shopping basket in hand, I was mindlessly propelled to the smooth-skinned and brightly lipped cashier. Later I happily discovered that what was inside the packaging was equally awesome…especially my favorite, the mascara, and that has kept me a happy and returning customer all these years.  

Recently I became aware that this skin care company has made the decision to make significant financial contributions to Planned Parenthood. Let me be clear, I applaud and admire companies who choose to support and donate funds to worthy causes and I honor their right and choice to do so. But I also choose to honor my own personal values and beliefs and find that I cannot, with consciousness, choose to continue to purchase items from a company who funds an organization that wholly conflicts with my own personal values and beliefs. I share this experience with you because it prompted thoughts and ponderings about empowerment.

The word “empower” gets hurled about and misused in our current culture, being flaunted like a flag of triumph over a defeated enemy. Persuasive efforts are targeted at convincing us that we can take it, or be handed it, like some commodity waiting on the shelf. But I believe that we will never experience the truth of empowerment if this comes at the cost of harming another; whether sought through the emasculation, condemnation, or criminalization of men; objectification, mistreatment, or desertion of women; exploitation, abandonment, or abuse of children; termination of the life of an innocent, unborn child; neglecting the vulnerable; or causing harm to defenseless pets and animals.

It is easy to get caught up in the surge and for a time you might experience what you believe to be power, but when held in truth and light, it is counterfeit and not sustaining. It is incomplete and insatiable; constantly demanding and consuming. The result is conflict, counterforce and polarization and requires constant justifying and defending.

To truly become empowered requires each of us to recognize that it can only be found and nourished within ourselves. It cannot be taken, demanded or given. Empowerment is characterized by principles that unify, uplift, dignify, and ennoble while recognizing and supporting the significance of life itself.  To be empowered inspires, energizes, contributes, supports and honors self and all of human kind.

David R. Hawkins teaches, “Every act or decision we make that supports life, supports all life, including our own”. Eventually, we will all have to take accountability for all the choices, thoughts, and words that we have generated while here in this earthly experience. Empowerment creates the momentum to move forward in nobility of life’s purpose, sustaining our earthly mission, and preparing us for the next life to come.