The Sisterhood of Girlfriends

“Mom, you have friends?!”

It was my 5-year-old’s innocent response to me mentioning my girlfriends. Since having twins five years ago and then another son, I don’t get a chance to chat with, let alone see, my girlfriends as much as I would like. Yet, they still carry an important role in my life.

Girlfriends help each other carry their burdens, celebrate each others’ accomplishments and bring joy to each others’ lives. Girlfriends also have a keen sense of intuition. Despite miles of distance and months without communication, girlfriends are there when we need them most.

Take for example a dear friend who called me out of the blue as I was just beginning to miscarry my first pregnancy. Or another girlfriend who popped up on Google chat one day when I was having a terrible time coping with my son’s developmental delays. On two of the worst days of my life, these women
helped put everything into perspective.   I hope I’ve been there to do the same.

Mom Jessica

When the teeter-totter of life drops you square into a puddle of mud, it’s usually a girlfriend that climbs on the opposite seat and lifts you back up (then helps you shop for new pants). As women we naturally care for and nurture others, and through the sisterhood of girlfriends we give that nurturing back to ourselves.

Today’s author is Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editor of St. Louis Sprout & About (www.stlsprout.com).

You Can’t Give Away What You Don’t Possess

Regarding self-sacrifice as a badge of honor comes from our very best intentions. We’ve been told that when we put others’ needs first, we’ll feel so good about ourselves that our needs will diminish. While this is often true about our desires, it is dangerously incorrect about our needs.

Our primary need is for love. Conditioning taught us to look for others to meet this: parents, siblings, friends, lovers and even our children. This dynamic would often require our significant others to suppress their needs in favor of ours. This can’t be love. Furthermore, there is nobody who can love you
the way you need to be loved — with one exception: YOU!

Love is best demonstrated with time and attention. We must give ourselves all the time and attention we need, so that our soul is overflowing with love. We can’t contain it.  We must give it away!  Free from unmet needs, your loved ones will sense the pure joy you derive from the relationship. They’ll neither feel defensive about disappointing you, nor will they act out in order to get your attention.

Real Mom Laura Nash

Only you know what you need. Only you can provide it. Take the time to check-in with yourself.  Discern your wants from your needs.  Extend love to yourself through self-care and your soul will soar.

Today’s author Laura Nash is a consultant and Chopra-certified meditation instructor who teaches individuals and companies “peace of mind” skills.  Visit her an http://www.lauranash.com.

Free Yourself to Be Yourself

To continue the theme of examining your life from last week’s post, we wanted to share a favorite poem “The Journey” by Mary Oliver in which she describes how ultimately we must abide by our “inner voice” if we are to survive. Imagine our delight when we discovered this is also Maria Shriver’s favorite poem which she presented for National Poetry Day at the 2011 Women’s Conference.

So sit back, relax (well maybe) and enjoy the following rendition of “The Journey.” Then let us know what you think. Is this too radical to imagine or not? If so, what may be standing in your way? What would it take to free yourself to be yourself?

Mindfulness: Make Each Day Count

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) used worldwide to improve health and enhance wellness defines mindfulness as “Paying attention to the present moment on purpose as if your life depended on it in a non-judgemental way.”  It is slowing our lives down to notice what’s happening as its occurring instead of worrying about the future or  dwelling in the past.

Research indicates mindfulness contributes to improved physical health, greater immunity, less pain from chronic health conditions, shorter recovery times from surgery and many other mind-body benefits including decreased stress and better moods.  All it takes is time and consistent practice for it to work.

Here’s a fun way to practice.  Take a good piece of chocolate, and mindfully eat it.  To start, observe the chocolate and how it appears.  Then sniff it and notice the aroma.  Feel the texture and surface of it.  Pay attention to the sounds your body makes as you draw the chocolate near.  Finally, put it in your mouth and savor the flavor, texture, taste and total sensory experience. Mindfulness in action. Likewise, you can use a raisin or grape or slice of apple. It’s up to you.

This week dedicate 10 minutes daily to pay full attention to the present moment: playing with your child, sitting/walking outside, sipping coffee/tea, washing the dishes or showering.  Any activity is an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness as long as you are fully aware of it with all your senses.  As Kabat-Zinn suggests, treat it as though “your life depended on it” and you will succeed.

This week’s mantra: “When I bring my attention to the present moment and savor my experience, I can improve my health and feel better.”

Back in the day before electricity lit our lives up year round, fall’s longer nights and cooler weather prompted us to move indoors and spend less time engaged in the hubbub of daily life. It was a time of rest and restoration. Harvest was ending and families huddled together preparing for winter’s onset.

Today we’re often too busy to even notice the leaves turning but we can change this. This week, take 15 minutes to go outside in the morning to smell the fall air. Notice the the trees, their leaves, and how effortlessly they let go. If you live in the city, pay attention to how outdoors feels different than last month. Stop to reflect on nature slowing down.

Then choose another day to write down what you’d like to let go of. Put each on a  slip of paper. Maybe it’s guilt over a mistake or pushing yourself too hard. Just write whatever comes up without judging or censoring. At the end of the week, take all you’ve written and burn them one by one, releasing them from your soul. Fall is an excellent time to release the old to make way for the new.

You can also do this with your family/friends. Give each person slips of paper to note what they’re ready to discard and burn them together. Reflect and reconnect with yourself and others, creating space for what you do want to enter your life like the trees shedding their leaves for new growth.

This week’s mantra: “I can shed my outworn beliefs and let go of what’s no longer good for me.”

Into The Woods

I’ve been talking a lot this past week about Stephen Sondheim’s most excellent Broadway musical which was made into a movie with Meryl Streep this last year and how meaningful it is. I have been surprised at how few people saw the movie when it was in the theater because of its description as “a musical about several fairytales”. While it is that, the story is about the journey of life and going “into the woods” or as Pema Chodron says “the places that scare us” and discovering what we need to know about ourselves and the world around us in order to journey through life with greater clarity and skill.

There are many valuable life lessons, and Sondheim’s score and lyrics tell beautifully. He reminds us that what we wish for my not turn out to be what we want, that the choices we make always have consequences, and that being nice is not the same as being good. I love this film and it’s it’s made such a big impression on me, that I wanted to share it with you

To hear an excerpt from “Into the Woods,” please click here.

And as always, let us know what you think.

Namaste.

Recover from the Holiday Weekend: Attend GN2GB in STL

In need of self-care? Most of us are, much of the time. I did not have a crazy weekend but I’ve been recharging anyway because that’s what I need. As Wayne Dyer says, “We are human beings not human doings.” Periods of energy expenditure must be followed by energy restoring activities. What this means is that all the prep and energy you invested in your family’s Passover or Easter weekend need to be offset by some me-time and self-care. Fortunately, Girls Night to Give Back in STL, is what this doctor prescribes.

GN2GB is a fundraiser on this Thursday, April 9 from 5:30-8:30pm at a cool, new venue Feed Your Vitality, 1821 Cherokee. There will be a fabulous dinner, wine and beer, a dessert buffet, smoothies, tasty treats, live entertainment, giveaways including a 60-minute massage, free yoga classes, wine tasting for two, and beauty products and all to benefit a great cause-PSI Missouri which provides free phone and group support to moms with pregnancy, postpartum and early parenting anxiety, depression and other health issues. Ticket cost is only $3o.

To learn more about this event or register, click here- http://girlsnighttogiveback.eventbrite.com. Make certain to enter the coupon code 10LESS to get $10 off the original ticket price of $40. Please bring any family, friends and colleagues who want to recharge with a fun and relaxing evening.

Now, sit back and listen to the Whiskey Raccoons who will be performing live. Remember, whatever you do this week do something restorative for you. You deserve it.

Namaste.