When I feel not 100% me, I realize I am not being 100% grateful, I notice that I am looking outside of myself and trying to fill a perceived void (need a job, need more X, need more X) but in reality the void can be easily filled by recognizing everything I have is already here- within reach 100% of the time.
Gratitude. It brings me back to 100% me every. single. time. When I focus on all I have and all the inspiration abound, I am completely and utterly fulfilled.
I leave this one short today because it's just a stream of consciousness - a burst of ideas - a point to remember and recall time and time again.
Come back to gratitude. And be inspired by those around you. Only look for inspiration and gratitude. The daily practice.
I spent this past weekend visiting what I sometimes think of and often refer to as my home, Ann Arbor Michigan. It's where I grew up and lived from 1985-2003. It is where my parents both still live. It is still a home base where many of my best friends' parents live, so we all return to for holidays and events - like this weekend's bachelorette party. It was a great time seeing friends and family who I miss greatly and it was time to focus on just me, as I left my sweet little family (husband and baby girl) at my other home in Austin. So over these three days amidst the time reconnecting with friends and enjoying family time, I ruminated over the complicated and wonderful concept of home.
I do think I will always consider Ann Arbor my home, it is the city where I feel most comfortable navigating, the place where I have the most people I love, and I love the feel it gives my heart. It is completely and utterly undeniable.
But Austin is also my home because it is where Kevin and I have chosen to build a home and a life. We are the family that we create and we are creating a home for our daughter together here. And it is beautiful, and vibrant and fun and great for us. Having been here less than a year I still doesn't feel completely settled - but we're getting there. We have a beautiful neighborhood and loving neighbors and a few friends. We're still working on the friends thing. It's harder my not working and it's even more difficult for Kevin who travels Monday through Thursday.
And then we have our other home in northern California, where the other part of our family lives, where Ana was born and where I'm sure my husband feels at so greatly home.
On the plane ride home (see, there I go again, home is Austin) I watched Human Flow, a documentary about the worldwide refugee crisis. It got me thinking even more. Does it matter where I consider home? Not really. What really matters is that we have loving people in our lives, near and far. And that we have a home. We have that security. We are beyond lucky and I am forever grateful.
According to the moving and difficult-to-watch documentary, 65 million people around the world are refugees.
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. -UNHCR
65 million people have had to flee their homes, the places where there children grew up, the places where they feel comfortable, the places where they have built a home, built a life, can communicate with others... and it goes on and on. It is absolutely heart breaking.
And what's worse is that around the world there are these people, our human brothers and sisters, who have no where to go because countries are closing their borders and saying, "No thank you, you do not belong to us, and so we cannot help you or take you in. We do not want you here." In the film it was stated that in 1989 only 11 countries had border walls or fences. Yet today, over 70 countries have constructed barriers to keep refugees from entering their countries.
What have we become? How have we so lost our humanity that we are turning away our human brothers and sisters? How can we look children in the eye and say, "Go back to your country where your house was bombed and you have no shelter, no doctors and have lost everything."?
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. -Mother Teresa
So where do we go from here? That I do not know, I do not have the answer. But I do know that I will tell people about what I have learned and I will encourage others to watch this documentary. I will be calling my Representatives again and watching their actions (or lack of, in Texas) around policies surrounding asylum seekers and refugees.
And, I will continue to be grateful and even more so now for my many homes that I have had and still have in this life.
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. -Maya Angelou
I'm one of those "everything happens for a reason" people- not necessarily thinking everything is out of our control, but more so we can always learn something good from something challenging- or if we come up against a roadblock or obstacle, we are actually being directed toward a better path. So when I fail, my character and my beliefs are truly tested.
Thinking about it today, I've decided to not only look on the positive side of this failure, but to speak to myself as if I was my daughter. Give myself all the love and compassion and grace that I would give her if she had just failed. So here is what I would say to Ana, but instead, I'm saying it to me (over and over until it sinks in, until it sticks in my ribs):
Girlfriend, I hear you. I feel for you. I see you are disappointed, you feel like a failure. You extended yourself, put major work and energy into something you had high hopes for- and it didn't work out as you had hoped. You didn't get what you expected. That is no fun. In fact, yeah, that can really suck.
You feel upset, confused, annoyed, defeated. These emotions are okay, feel them and let them flow through you. It is okay to feel disappointed and even shed some tears if you need to- emotions are your energy in motion and girl, let it move.
But you must know, and you do know actually, that you are not a failure. You are amazing and you have wins and joys everyday. This detour is not you and does not define you. It did not happen to you, it happened for you. It happened for you to experience, to witness and from which to learn.
It is not easy to dust off the disappointment, but you've done it before and you've already begun to again- I can see it and feel it, and you can to. Take time to reflect, enjoy what you have, love on yourself and set your intentions even clearer, for the next opportunity - the right opportunity- is just around the corner.
You prayed for the right path, to be directed toward what you are meant to- and this is just a part of that prayer being answered. Say thank you, and keep going.
See, I'm already feeling better. We should all treat ourselves as we would our daughters, or our sisters, or our best friends.
If you're still reading at this point you might wonder what it was I failed at... well, it was a job I applied for and went through about 5 rounds of interviews and experiences over the past month. (Part of the reason I haven't had a second to stop and blog, or haven't taken the time). I wanted it, I thought it was perfect, it started in August, was flexible, work from home, in education, a non profit. It seemed right. Today I got the call I didn't get it. I was confused and upset. I was, in fact, more than qualified and I worked my a$$ off for it.... but it didn't turn out how I expected. Now, I see it wasn't right. And as much as I wanted to quickly dive back in to just applying for a million and one jobs, I'm listening to my gut and my heart and going to take a step back. Again.
Thanks for reading #nowitslikethis
If it doesn't serve you, let it go... This basically sums it up.
I signed up for the Austin half marathon in July. I did so for a few reasons:
- I thought it would be fun
- I thought it would motivate me to get back in shape postpartum
- While I don't love running, I hoped it would be a huge goal I would be get excited to conquer
I even wrote a whole blog post about it here.
I haven't really been keeping to my training schedule, but I had been keeping up my long runs. Last week I was up to 7 miles straight, I ran 10 minute pace miles and I didn't stop once. I was feeling pretty confident I could do this. The marathon is about 5 weeks out now.
But, none of the reasons I signed up ring true to me right now. The training isn't fun- its giving me more anxiety and stress to think about the race- and even planning my weekends around my long runs is stressful. And I'm not able to consistently run during the week, basically because I don't have a strong desire to. I'm not excited to get out and run- even though it has helped me carve out some much needed me-time. As a mom, and as I'm at home with our sweetheart Monday-Thursday alone while Kevin travels, this has been really important. I just don't have a desire to get out there and run- especially longer than 4-5 miles. I much rather be taking advantage of my me-time in other ways.
So on Friday I sat with myself and thought hard about what I want. Me, my soul, my gut. What is it telling me? Am I listening to my true nature? When I tuned in, I told me exactly what I needed to hear:
"Rebecca, quit now. Give yourself some grace and let yourself let this go. It is not serving your soul and it is not your path. You do not need to do this for anyone. You do not need to prove yourself to anyone or even to yourself. You are complete, you are full, you are amazing. Screw the 13.1 miles. It means nothing.
Instead, use that time you would be planning, preparing or running and give your soul and body what it truly craves... Yoga."
Bottom line, I needed to tune in. Once I did, it was completely clear. It always is.
So instead of my long runs on the weekend, I'm choosing to go to a yoga studio instead. This week it was amazing- it filled my soul and challenged my mind and body. And instead of worrying about when I will get my runs in during the week or stressing over skipping a run, I can roll out my mat in my room, do yoga, meditate and read while my little Analise sleeps.
I am not bowing out of the run completely, I think I'll switch my distance to a 5k. I do love the fun excitement of races, the energy and all the cheering. And a 5k or 10k is just perfect for me. I can run that without any more training, and no more stress on my mind or my knees :)
By simply coming back to my center and giving myself some grace, my heart has never been more happy nor my mind more at ease.
...oh and my new 2018 goals in place of the half marathon are - daily yoga and weekly hikes <3 Here is hike #2 from week #2 of the year:
I’m not gonna blame all the touchy people for her first virus ever.... but I’m gonna let her face tell you how she feels:
I understand why everyone wants to love on this baby- she’s cute, happy and has the most beautiful checks and eyelashes you’ve ever seen. And the touching never ends- kisses, hugs, grabbing her hands (which she puts in her mouth!). I know most people mean well, they are just too excited...
But, just because you want it, and because you feel all happy about it, that doesn’t mean she does.
And, she’s still building up her immunities.
She has no way to say “no” and is still learning boundaries.
You can love on her from afar, I promise she will still appreciate it (probably moreso). Wave, smile, blow kisses. Unless I place her in your arms, keep it to that.
And, if you really can’t hold back, ask the parents first. Thank you to those of you, friends and family who have asked me, “Can I hold her?” And “is this okay?” BEFORE grabbing her hands or kissing her.
I will be glad to tell you if she likes to be touched, held, hugged or kissed (unless you are her mom or Dad she really doesn’t right now). We are happy to help be her voice and to let her guide the way.
She did contract her first ever illness this week. Likely, it was the multiple plane rides that did it. But, either way, I’ve been thinking about the touchy/grabby thing for a while- so this post is overdue.
Here is a fantASTIC resource I came across on how to handle touchy people. I especially like #7 Touch the Person Back and #2 Interrupt their behavior. I plan to use both in different circumstances. Check it out here- 9 Ways to Tell Someone Not to Touch your Kids and Respect their Space.
You mean we’ll, I get it. You love her, I get it- just ask first. Please and Thank You.
This weekend Kevin & I returned from a beautiful wedding in Cabo, we're still adjusting back to the norm and my head is still spinning (mostly because Analise seems to have had a sleep regression since I've been home!) Our first mommy & daddy getaway was a great one- but it definitely did not come completely easy. It was important for us, however, and I'm glad we went. Here is a recap of the trips ups and downs, and how I'm feeling today.
I packed all the pumping supplies, as that was my main concern. Keeping my milk supply up. Though, I only "pumped and dumped" rather than save the milk because it was too difficult to plan to save it and bring it all back. I have a large supply stashed up here in our freezer, so it wasn't necessary. I still have mixed feelings about this because it seemed like such a waste and I know not so many women are blessed with an abundance of breastmilk and extra supply as I have been... that being said, I promised myself I would pump extra over the next few months to save and donate to the Austin milk bank (which I hear is the largest in the US!). Pumping was a pain, especially with the electric pump and it made my me way more sore than I remember, but it was worth it to keep my supply going to resume back to normal here at home, which we've done quite easily.
Not only was it actually painful, but it made me very emotional and sad, especially in the evenings when I love our nursing time the most. The nights were the hardest away from Analise. I decided 2-3 nights is the absolute max I can do away from her. Now I know how Kevin feels every week he has to travel for work- this longing to be close, this absence, this emptiness.
We were able to enjoy ourselves, however, and so much great adult time with a few old and wonderful friends- and meet so many new friends as well. This is what I love about the good people in our lives, they are connectors and they have other good people in their lives- so when we have joyous occasions as this, we can open up to new people and expand the circle of love. In addition to the connections and deep love, there also was time to relax and have (ahem) perhaps a few too many drinks- but it was nice to feel "off the hook" and not responsible, even for a few days. I think it was great for both Kevin and I to have this off-time. At the same time, I'd give up all that adult-time and even the views and relaxation just to hold Analise. I have such mixed feelings about it all. Luckily we didn't have to choose. We get both. We get to be parents to the sweetest and we get to enjoy adult time. We have it all.
I feel such gratitude to my mom and Alan for flying to Austin and staying with Analise and Louie for us this weekend- we owe them so much. And, I'm so happy that they could have the bonding time with her. Living so far from family is so hard sometimes, but it also makes you appreciate these times together even moreso.
This morning, I woke up groggy and bummed. Part of that was due to the fact Analise seemed to have a sleep regression since I've been home. She threw a fit last night at 1:30am and I even had to resort to breastfeeeding at 3am- two steps forward, one step back. But most of the sadness was due to the fact that not only did Kevin leave back to work this week, but Mom and Alan also flew out on the early flight. Just Analise, Louie and I remain.
On the upside, we have 3 beautiful new hand-made stockings hanging on the mantel, a new grill outside and so many memories and love to fill us through the new year. We truly have it all.
It was two nights ago that he miracle occurred. Okay, maybe "miracle" is a bit of an exaggeration, but over 12 hours of her sleeping with barely any fussing and no needed of mama to get up sure felt like a miracle. I'm sharing more about it here to remember for next time- and for any of you interested in my approach. (note: I'm no expert, this isn't fool-proof and even last night we didn't get 12 straight hours since I think her teeth were causing her pains)... but, I'll share anyhow!
Last week after Analise's 9-month well child check up I decided it was time to night wean. Analise is in the 77th percentile in weight, clearly happy and healthy, so she doesn't need nursing at night even thought I was still feeding her when she woke pretty regularly at both midnight and 4am. And I was ready to get more sleep. I consulted facebook, as we do (hah), for advice and words of wisdom, and went for it.
My plan was as follows: nurse her as normal at 6:45pm/7pm right before bed. Then no milk all night. I would get up with her and hold her, calm her down by rocking/singing, maybe even offer a pacifier (which she intermittently takes), just no milk. I realized how quick the plan needed to change when she woke up and threw a major fit at midnight. Picking her up made it worse, so did trying to give her the pacifier. So instead, I stayed next to her crib, sang and said "shh shh shh" until she self soothed. I also covered my boobs by hugging a pillow, since I've heard (though unsure if true) that babies can smell the milk- maybe a pillow helped cover it?! It took around 35 minutes at midnight and a little less the second time around 3am. The next night, I tried the same routine. It was less painful and a shorter fit. By the third night, she only needed me in her room one time for less than 10 minutes to self soothe!! I thought we were almost there....
Then Friday occurred. Several things changed, which could have contributed to the set back. We had friends in town staying with us and she (unbeknownst to me at the time) was beginning to start another round of cutting teeth- 3 in fact, all on top! So both Friday night and Saturday night around midnight-2am we had 1-1.5 hours of a screaming and unhappy baby. This made for very cranky and unhappy parents... I'll spare the details but we were both at our wits end, especially with one another... one of us just said "Just feed her!" and the other of us said, "You're not helping!" and well, we were not very good at handling that. But we fixed it later. I realized later that I hadn't done a very good job at explaining my approach to Kevin and making sure he was 200% on board before I just dove in to this on my own. Even with Kevin out of town 4 days a week, we are still a team, and I need to communicate like it. Lesson learned.
So set back Friday and Saturday... then get to Sunday. The miracle day. Here are the things that I think helped contribute to the full 12 hour sleep - good morning and afternoon naps (consistent rest), one extra nursing during the evening (fill up the calories during the day hours), and a bit of infant advil at bedtime (Kevin and I noticed she was unusually fussy at bedtime and contributed it to the three teeth she is cutting up top). Unfortunately, neither Kevin nor I were able to fully enjoy the over twelve hours she got because Kevin gets up at 4am for his Monday morning flight- but I actually felt insanely rested at 4am when he was getting ready and leaving. I'm so happy she showed us she could do it, however, and that she is on her way to more consistent and persistent sleep all night.
Last night (Monday) she woke up at 3am and cried for about 20 minutes before I went in to get her. I gave her a bit of medicine again because she was inconsolable even after I walked her around for a bit. I sure hope these teeth make it through and we can maybe soon get another 12 hours straight... (either way, I know I'll get some uninterrupted sleep next week as Kevin and I have our first overnight trip planned away! I'm excited and nervous at the same time, more on that later...)
All in all, I know it's a process and I know progress won't be linear. But we're all learning and growing and doing it together as a family. What an amazing experience!
Last night I was inspired to write a love note to myself.
I took on this assignment given to me by Chelsey Korus, via a social media group I’m a part of. It was a greater challenge than I anticipated. But I did it. And I am proud. I will not share it here, because it is for me. It is handwritten in the front of an inspiring book I own. It was a great experience and made me want to start back up on my journaling. Writing daily. Goals.
Have you ever written a love note to yourself? You should. You deserve it. We all do.
“I see you. I love you. Keep going.” -Chelsey Korus
ditto to the above,
Things are flowing, I feel like I've got a flow right now. It feels like the universe is conspiring in my favor- isn't that the best feeling? Like not everything is perfect, but everything seems to be coming at me right when I need it, just at the right time. Books I need to read just land in my eyesight, experiences I need for my soul jump in my hemisphere, potential jobs and projects are finding their way to my inbox, people I need to hug pop up before my eyes.
So, we still might be riding the struggle bus with teething, sleep struggles, etc. but motherhood is feeling also just so spot on.
Today we took a mama-daughter trip to the Austin Wanderlust108 mindful triathlon and it was a "wanderful" day to have together. Bringing this wide-eyed little human to an open field with like-minded yogis and positive energy was just what we both needed. An escape from the house, an expansive experience for our souls and bodies, joy and excitement were in the air and it couldn't have been better.
As a woman, my intent has always been surround myself with high vibrations and positive people, to become a better person myself. But now as a mother I am realizing a huge part of my job is not only to be a great person for Analise, but also to help her come into contact with the best people possible. In particular, I want to give her many experiences surrounded by joyful, confident and loving women- so that she can grow to be the strong girl that she is meant to be. Today was the perfect opportunity to do so, and I am on cloud nine after sharing the experience with her. While I am still building my network of joyful, confident and loving women here in Austin- I am lucky enough to have a good friend Samantha who joined me today. And we luckily ran into one of my great inspirations, Chelsey Korus, for Ana to meet (and for me to hug!). And everyone at the festival was just full of positive energy and loving joy- you could feel it everywhere. It was just what I needed, right when I needed it.
It's mid-November. We are almost in the full-swing of the holidays. And it seems to have come up out of the blue. How we got here, I don't know. But it feels just right. The perfect time for me to feel this joy bursting from every corner of life- the perfect time for me to feel (and really know) that the Universe is conspiring in my favor (and always is, in fact). Gratitude, my perfect prayer, I will come back to you daily. Because that is all I need to feel fulfilled and joyful.
Chelsey's mantra, that she so graciously shares with us is "Now it's like this." Simple. Perfect. Profound. Now, it's like this- this season of life, this day, this moment- it is as it is and I am grateful for it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
The world is a crazy place lately.
Forest Fires out West
Earthquake in Mexico
Mass shooting in Las Vegas
...and, yes, I am very well aware that the list above are just the terrible happenings from my personal westernized, American, liberal, white, privileged point of view. These are all the things that have lately stood out to me personally - they have felt too close to home, shaken me a bit awake.
This morning reading of the shooting in news headlines on my phone felt especially jarring. I had several friends visiting Las Vegas this weekend (all safe thank goodness) and my husband is travelling there in 2 weeks. It immediately struck fear into my heart. I was afraid for my friends, my family and myself- we could be anywhere and could get shot or killed in some horrible random terrorist act, or by some mentally ill person with a gun. Or in a car accident or plane crash...if you let your mind get going there, the list could go on and on.
I could live my life in fear- we all could. Especially us mamas- how easy it is to worry and be fearful for our little babes. But I know that life is not about that. Life is meant to be lived from love, for love- only love.
So what to do. Again, as always, come back to my center. What is important in life- what matters and who matters. Focus on the present moment, be grateful and dwell only in love. I feel like I've been here before. I've told myself this and I remind myself this again and again overtime. Why does it feel like it doesn't always stick or that I fall away from it? I let things pull me away from my center when all I want to do is stay there.
But at this moment in my life it all feels deeper and I think it's because I'm a mom of a precious little girl. Analise hasn't yet been hardened by the world of today or the negative energy that is out there - and I want to help guide her to stay in love. And I know in order to help her best I need to serve as a good example.
Being that I am currently a stay at home mom, with a husband who travels Monday-Thursday for work, I don't have a ton of adult interaction throughout my day. So sometimes, I admit, I turn to social media to fill that void. Thankfully, on Instagram especially, I follow only positive influencers- lots of mamas, yogis and just really wonderful people - hoping to build upon the power of love and intention. Today I found some real gems that stood out and are helping point me in the right direction. I share them here in the hopes I grow from them, and that anyone reading my blog may also find peace, hope and a love-filled way forward.
Do not be dismayed from the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world awaits in darkness for the light that is you. (L.R. Knost, shared by Ferny Barceló. Find her on IG at FernyATX)
"...pause in the pain. Let it seep in. Let it break your heart until you feel deeper than you ever have before. Let it crack you open until you find the quiet place inside where compassion lives... Let it shake you to make room for those who repel you so that you start to close divides. Let it startle you from your righteousness and judgement and separatist views. Let it make room for LOVE..." (written and shared by jana_roemer)
So this afternoon after I let this all sink in I thought, what can I do to love and enjoy this day? What can I do to show Analise love and joy and hope. So we went to the park. And she went in the swing. And smiled.
Find me and my journey to my center on IG at meditated.mama