"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it". -Maya Angelou
For some of us, this comes naturally.
For others of us, this is a tall order. It could feel impossible.
For all of us, it is not only possible but the whole premise of life.
It seems we go through life seeking the holy grail of "success". The truth is, success is subjective. Your idea of success might be to create and build a company, go public, make millions, and be famous. Others find success to be seeing your child graduate high school. And yet others are successful if they can just coax themselves out of bed every day to live a "responsible" life after years of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. The common link in all of this is coming to a place where you feel you're meeting a meaningful goal; you're accomplishing something that takes inner strength, courage, and great effort. It is also about integrity. Some may accomplish a goal that seemed like "what they wanted" only to be unsatisfied, finding out that it was filled with inner conflict, guilt and/or shame. Integrity is key. These common links basically come down to: liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.
With that foundational, simple yet profound goal or mantra in mind, make choices in life that help support this measure of success. Use it to discern what matters to you and how you can support yourself to focus on those things. What activities, practices, ideas, beliefs, steps, connections, intakes, and other uses of your time and energy help you live in this success. Yes, LIVE IN IT, not reach for it. The mastery is within your NOW and living with Presence. It will get progressively easier and more automatic with the commitment or it can be a struggle each day until the switch flicks. You may slip back and forth into self-sabotage and self-esteem until its more esteem, less sabotage. This process -- if you can recognize that you are in it -- is part of that success. It is YOU living the journey itself conscientiously that can be liked and loved. What an adventure you are living! Keep going with compassion for yourself.
BE in your success.
Like yourself for living all your ups and downs.
Feel full within yourself.
Years of shifting to a more meaningful and deeply-connected life, my city-girl Self longs to become more connected with nature's rhythms and lessons. One aspect of this connection is in building meaningful, spiritual rituals to celebrate the shifts in Earth's seasons, such as the Winter Solstice. Especially as a parent creating guideposts for my children, I know such connections to be a healing and magical celebration for the soul. (For this reason, I am eternally grateful to have deeply-meaningful rituals built into their school life for celebrations such as Winter Solstice).
What a wonderful year to truly hone this connection to Winter Solstice-- though perhaps coincidental to fall on the same day.....such is the year of 2020! --with a possibility of seeing the Star of Bethlehem for the first time in 400 years! My mind's eye evokes images of wise men journeying to Jerusalem following that miraculous star and finding the baby Jesus. This is a celestial event caused by the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn-- the two largest planets --appearing to shine as one brilliant star (or Christmas star), that we may be able to witness shortly after sunset, low in the southwestern sky. A bit of kismet to bring 2020 to a close and to kick-off a wondrous depth of spirit that is the Winter Solstice.
Here is my short list of ways I am honoring the Winter Solstice:
Plus, leading up to this day, the yoga studio where I teach spent 11 days guiding our clients to connect with their inner sun-energy, their warmth and extrovertedness, and their inner digestive fire. Movement along with an embodied concept of our own inner fire (through meditation) sparks the warmth and wisdom innately within each of us. "Everybody is a candle, but not everybody is lit". --Karena Virginia & Dharm Khalsa in Essential Kundalini Yoga.
Happy Winter Solstice, Friends!
I would love to hear your Winter Solstice stories and traditions. And let me know if you see the star tonight!
Much love, peace and gratitude for our amazing, natural world!
On more than one occasion, when my children were toddlers, I would ask our pediatrician specific questions to which he would answer, "You're the mom, you know best."
“Ummmm, YOU are the doctor. What the *$@! did I come to you for?”
While I didn't say this out loud, I do remember thinking "Whaaaat?" I was confused! My next thought was a mental pleading, “Please, please just tell me what to do. Please”. Yet, all that came out of my mouth was, "I know but do I know best?"
He was certain, but why wasn’t I?
After awhile, spending some time being a bit pissed off at my useless doctor*, I calmed down and tried. To know best.
First of all, I specifically picked this doctor because he was pro-breastfeeding and generally a parent-supporting doctor, meaning he supported your decisions even if they were off the mainstream medical trail. But I didn’t pick this doctor so that he can tell me to go get my own answers. Seriously, how the *&@! was I supposed to know what to do, especially when facing challenges I couldn't have even imagined previous to becoming a mom. Unless you have an experienced child expert living with you, you can’t have all the answers……. Can you?
The answer? Yes, yes you can.
It’s the most annoying answer in the world but it’s true: the child expert is living within you. The problem is, this expert isn’t always answering your questions, or even listening. As a parent, your job is to learn how to access this inner wisdom when you need help. Furthermore, to learn how to cultivate trust and confidence in this voice.
You can gain perspective by reading parenting help books and blogs or attending parenting workshops, meetings or playdates. But in order to strengthen your relationship with your personal child expert, you need more than perspective and knowledge. You need a clear connection. It’s like calling your very own 311 operator for helpful information from your current and ancestral life’s experiences who knows exactly how you want to raise your child, what variety of experiences informs your decisions, and whether to go right or left.
To establish a clear connection with your personal child expert, you start by learning to connect with your breath and to quiet your mind. Remove the static so you can begin to hear. Use simple tools to practice keeping this connection open and learn how to trust by taking action. Through experience and cultivating this relationship, you will find that you are able to respond to situations as a confident, decisive parent.
Get to know your inner guide and it’ll take you down a path that will not only help you parent better but will help you to BE better. A whole human being…. that happens to be an amazing parent.
I use my connection with my own personal child expert as well as my experiences as a certified kundalini yoga instructor and mom to empower parents to listen to and trust that voice inside of us. Through coaching, meditation and practice, your own personal child expert will grow in confidence, as will your faith in your abilities to be that parent you always dreamed you would be.
*Note: my doctor was amazing and gave me the first step towards believing in myself. He essentially lifted up parents to trust in themselves even if that meant he saw his patients less. So grateful for people like this.
Last Sunday in my kids yoga classes, we became gardeners-- or rather, we figured out that we are gardeners already......of our individual gardens called Self. To take care of that "Self", we eat healthy, drink water, get sun, sleep, eliminate, brush teeth, play, do yoga, etc. Another main component of a healthy garden: Love. When we chant or sing in yoga class, this is a radiant way for us to infuse Love into our gardens.
Then we got our hands dirty and learned from our Master Gardener how to grow microgreens, starting with rooting ourselves with a grounding chant. What a treat to see the children planting themselves metaphorically and then delve into the whole microgreen-gardening work. The kids wisely chimed in with gardening tips, showing us clearly that they know how to care for plants!
We began with the soil. We know: a healthy soil needs nutrients and oxygen, water and sun, and a well-maintained microbiome free of harmful stressors. This soil provides the infrastructure to support and nurture plants which in turn provides oxygen for our Earth and all living beings. This activity got them involved in every aspect of planting from preparing the soil, to watering, to planting the seeds in a special way involving pressure from their hands. In a couple weeks, we will harvest together with the kids and taste the fruits of our labor. It will surely be delicious with the extra kid-love poured in!
Mamas, consider that WE are the soil for our children-- who are like our plants. And our body’s microbiome is influenced by external inputs such as our diet, the environment, and stress factors on our physical-spiritual-emotional well-being. (Dads, this applies to you as well yet I focus this writing on our maternal nature--the nurturing, mothering side of all of us).
Do we provide healthy soil to support and nurture our children? In order to BE healthy soil in which our little ones can set roots and from which they can grow and blossom, consider how a gardener tends her land: with love, wisdom, attention. So, we parents must tend our own lands so that our kids can grow strong and connected, and in turn, bless our world with their fruits, their gifts.
This is called self-care. Essential for mamas. Essential for All.
What does this look like for you? Is your soil rich or depleting of nutrients? Is this something you’ve consciously built into your life, to consistently tend to the foundations of your growing garden? Do you make time to water, feed and weed? Or do you struggle with putting your own care first? Do you feel supported in caring for your soil…..your soul….. YOU?
As moms, our gardening is often focused directly on the plants themselves-- our beautiful children. It can be hard to see below the surface that issues most often lay in the health of the soil, the health of our own Self. We know how important the soil is for our trees and our Earth. As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm. Treat all with loving care, and begin with you.
Need help with your self-care plan? Don’t know where to start? Click here for a mudra-in-motion mantra meditation to call upon your nurturing, strong, divine feminine energy, or your Mother Power: the Adi Shakti mantra. For consult, reach out to me or find a coach or mentor with whom you resonate.
The plants we nurture from our own healthy soil help us to breathe, and all, in turn, create and inspire healthier gardens for a peaceful Earth.
I am the Essential Soul Mama. I am a mama, a soulful-spiritual teacher, an intentional storyteller, and a lover of stories of all kinds, in all forms. I write about parenting, natural health options, mind-body-soul connections, and anything that elevates our lives.