Exploring Meditation

Meditation has been shown to be helpful for treating depression in clinical studies conducted by mindfulness Hopkins University. In fact, 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s important to know that meditation only should not replace meds or other treatments for anxiety and depression. In the world of psychology, treatment is multi pronged. Also, what works for one patient, may not work for another.

This John Hopkins study found that “mindfulness meditation”, a form of Buddhist self awareness designed to focus precise, non judgmental attention to the moment at hand–showed promise in alleviating pain symptoms as well as stress.

If you are new to meditation, or have been doing this for a while, a good app to use is Headspace. Headspace offers guided meditation courses, you can customize the length of each meditation session as well.

In the world of personal development, Gabby Bernstein is an excellent coach in meditation. Head over to her website here and download a free guided meditation. Her books are pretty great too. I just finished ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ and loved the advice.

You can meditate anywhere. At home sitting in a chair, at work, on the subway, the possibilities are endless! I usually sit cross legged on the floor. I feel more centered when I am sitting on the ground. Some people light candles, or play music. Whatever gets you focused.

When starting out in meditation, I find that listening and focusing on my breathing helps keep my thoughts from wandering. Close your eyes, breath and just listen. It’s hard since our minds want to wander. But just practice re-directing your thoughts, and pretty soon, you’ll be meditating.

What Mother’s Day Means to Me

This is the second year I spent Mother’s Day without my son. Granted, last year I was homeless and broke. This year I was just too broke to drive to Naples to see him. He did send me a text message today with a picture he drew for me. I will speak to him on the phone today, which is great. My own mother lives hundreds of miles away in Wisconsin. We Facebook messaged each other this morning, wishing a happy mother’s day. Group texts were sent with co-workers wishing each other a Happy Mother’s Day. My Instagram and Facebook feed were filled with Happy Mother’s Day memes, memories of mom’s that have passed away, and pictures of kids piling on top of mom in bed.

What does Mother’s Day mean to me? A mother is a woman who has had some sort of presence raising you, or guiding you to become the person you are today. A mother does not necessarily mean biological, can be aunts, grandma, family friends, cousins, etc. Mother’s Day is a time we set aside to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and joy we make in our child’s life. Motherhood is not easy, or even fun at times. But to me, motherhood is the most rewarding and life changing event that has happened in my life. Motherhood changed my perspective of life. What really matters is life, living as authentic as you can, and that there is something out there bigger than yourself.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

An Attitude of Gratitude

These past few weeks have trying to say the least. At home, dealing with a pre-teen child who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. At work, with an ever-increasing workload and seemingly endless amount lately of rude patients. It’s frustrating and I get angry. But I read in my personal development this week about having an attitude of gratitude.

When we are in a pissy mood, down and just want to complain, remembering the things you are grateful for can be uplifting. I usually take time in the morning to journal and always write a list of five things I am grateful for. I’ve been through a lot this past year and remembering gratitude shifts my perspective back to what matters most. It’s so easy to complain about what we lack.

Five things I am grateful for: Having a car, Having a job, Having a place to live, My son and Family, and my boyfriend. Those may seem like trivial things to be grateful for. But I was homeless last year for several months, without my own vehicle, job, and a place to live. I could easily be thrown back into that life at any moment if I lost my job.

What things are you grateful for? Do you shift your mindset to positive thoughts when you are feeling pissy or down?

 

Discovering Myself With Human Design

Since I have been on my path of self discovery, I came across Human Design. According to humandesign.net Human Design is basically how to consistently make the right choices in your life. It is a way of allowing your body’s intelligence to guide you. Making decisions based on what is fixed and reliable in you as opposed to making decisions from your mind. The mind is always influenced by the outside environment and doesn’t reflect your uniqueness. It can show you how to live not according to rules, advice and opinions of others, but as an original human being, as yourself.

Human Design uses your birth time and place to calculate your personal Human Design chart. In this calculation, the positions of Sun, Moon and planets at the time of your birth play an important role. Astrology also uses the birth time and place to generate your natal chart, but it interprets the data differently – and Human Design is not astrology.

This may sound kinda “Woo Woo” to some, but I did complete my bodygraph chart and it does make sense on my personality and how I respond to conflict. For more information on how to complete your bodygraph and human design, click on this goop.com article.

After I completed my bodygraph, I found out that I am a Manifesting Generator. Has anyone else experimented with finding their Human Design?

 

Helping Your Socially Awkward Tween

Being the parent of a socially awkward tween is difficult and heartbreaking. I was a socially akward kid all through school, and to see my son experience this social awkwardness is hard to deal.

My son’s name is Michael. He is 11 years old and in 6th grade. Michael, or Mike, as his father and I call him, also has developmental delays which categorize him with ASD. Needless to say, social situations have always been tough. His father and I are guilty of sheltering Mike in the past, not really going out for fear of embarrassment. Mike had a tendency in the past to just blurt out observations of people in public. Usually these observations involved morbidly obese persons in restaurants. Flash forward to now, the social blunders are lack of eye contact and one worded responses to questions. Also, just flat-out ignoring people.

Now that Mike is a tween, and being in middle school, the social pressures are just getting worse. My son has mentioned in the past he had no friends at school. When asked why, he just said he didn’t like anyone. Once I dug deeper with my questions, it was that he is incredibly shy and scared of rejection. Ok, so what do we do about it?

I turned to my trusty reference Google and searched for ways to help socially awkward tweens. Here is what I found out and what I am going to discuss with his father to implement:

  • Get your child involved in activities with other children where they can develop their gifts and strengths. These include the obvious, like team sports. But if your child, like mine, is not athletically inclined, there are tons of other activities, like Martial Arts, Book Clubs, Summer Camps, 4-H, Community Theater, Art Clubs, Running Clubs (athletic, but not team sports), Music clubs.
  • Don’t be afraid to check out other clubs through non school agencies, someone told me about meetup groups for teens, but I haven’t really checked it out yet.
  • Help your child develop friendships with like-minded kids outside their classroom or school, like church, or other places of worship.

Another thing I noticed with Mike is that he has low self-confidence. With the lack of friendship and having a ‘tribe’, loneliness sets in. It’s hard to be self-confident when you are sad and lonely. I am guilty myself of this and as parents, we need to watch our own self talk.

If your child’s anxiety with meeting new friends and being in social situations is severe, it may be helpful to talk with a counselor to see what the root issues are. Mike is currently seeing a therapist and it has been helpful to at least figure out what is going on. Mike’s father and I feel like we need a crow bar just get our son to open up. I challenged Mike this week to talk to other shy kids his age. Because more than likely, they are feeling how he is feeling. Being welcoming and kind is a great way to get to know others.

Since I was a socially awkward kid myself, I find it helpful to share my stories with Mike about what I went through in my younger years. Sharing in a way that is entertaining and funny is a way to help lessen the anxiety of your child.

Since kids are incredibly perceptive, they are watching us as parents. I am going to ‘practice what I preach’ to set a good example. Meaning, making small talk with the barista at Starbucks, or complimenting someone.

What issues have you had with being socially awkward as a tween/teen? Do you have children that are socially akward? What action steps did you take to help your child?

It’s a Nutrition Plan…Not a diet.

I hate the word diet. It is such a limiting word. I prefer the word nutrition, which brings up an image of health and longevity.  I started my nutrition plan a couple of months ago and wonder why I waited for this all my life!

It’s so simple to follow and I feel so much more energy. No supplements, cleanses, or shakes are required. Just water and veggies most are the requirements. That’s it.

water

I was so used to feeling deprived on other plans. Remember Slim Fast? Having to drink that cup full of chalky  nasty? I tried Weight Watchers, counting points, counting calories, measuring my food. I even tried portion controlling cookies into baggies, but then ended up eating 5 bags in one sitting! I also have tried Adkins and Keto, losing weight, but then gaining it back.

The plan I am currently on is so sustainable, and flexible. Drink at least half your weight in ounces of water daily. More water=more weight loss. Also, style your plate to eat veggies most. In fact, you can eat as much non starchy veggies as you wish. I have found that I am #obsessed with cauliflower rice. That stuff is incredibly versatile. Try to substitute cauliflower rice instead of regular rice in your next recipe and your mind will be blown.

I also love this plan, because recipes are incredibly easy and don’t involve tons of ingredients. Veggies are so versatile, you can eat them any way you like on this plan. (Just don’t eat fried veggies all the time).

But my ultimate favorite part of this plan is that not only have I lost weight, I also feel incredibly healthy. My hair and skin are in great shape. I have more energy. The incredible simplicity of this plan is great!  And if you want to have dessert, eat it!

Then name of the plan is 2B mindset. If you are interested in learning more about this, just let me know. What nutrition plans do you follow, or have tried in the past? I am curious to see what others have tried, failed, or had immense long-lasting success.

Miracle Mornings

Morning routines are tough. I used to wake up every morning with just enough time to get dressed, make a smoothie, and head out the door to work. I kept feeling that my morning was rushed. I dreaded getting up in the morning. I felt tired. I felt directionless.

I started working with a wellness coach and in our Facebook group, she mentioned this book called ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod. Check out the link here. This book is a serious game changer if you want to start your day with intention and achieve your goals.

Basically, the ‘Miracle Morning’ is getting up at 5am and working on personal development for about an hour. This helps prime you for your day. I have revamped my morning routine, starting each day spending 10 minutes on the following: prayer/meditation/silence, affirmations, visualizations, journaling, reading personal development, and working out.

You don’t have to spend 10 minutes on each category, 5 minutes, or 1 minute is fine. The goal is to get your mind focused and ready for the day so you can crush your goals and live your best life. I have done this routine for about a week now and I love it. I feel more awake in the morning. Getting my workout completed first thing in the morning is great!

At first, it feels weird and almost torturous to wake up at 5am every morning. You need to make this a habit. Hal states that to develop a habit takes at least 30 days, not the 21 days we have been told in the past. So get some coffee going and get up at early. Make your day a success. What morning routines do you follow?

Co-parenting Conundrums

This last weekend, I made a road trip. I drove my home in Orlando to Naples to pick up my son for the weekend. My ex-husband and I have joint custody of our 11-year-old son. At this season in my life, my ex is the custodial parent, and I pay child support. It wasnt always like this. I was the custodial parent for about a year and half. Then my son had behavioral issues and it was recommended by his psychologist that he needed to be with his dad. So my son moved to Florida to live with his father about a year ago. I ended up moving to Florida myself a little under a year ago as well.

It is nice to be close to my son. I can say, in all honesty, that if I was still living in Missouri, I would probably not see my son. Travel is so expensive. Trying to get off work for several days at a time each month to visit is almost impossible.

Even though I live in an expensive area, and rent is outrageous, I don’t regret moving down here. The trip from Orlando to Naples is about four hours. I pick up my son, turn around and drive back home. Last weekend, my air conditioner in the car stopped working. So this trip was made in the 90 so degree heat, with just the windows down. Again, no regrets! We spent a great weekend together, swimming, watching golf, movies and relaxing.

Those brief weekends, those few hours of time together, I cherish. Even if they are not weekends full of amusement parks and dining out. Just feeling like a mom again gives me so much joy. To see my son smile and hear his laugh this weekend playing in the pool, was priceless.

You see, I suffer from “mommy guilt”. Modifying the custody agreement to let my ex-husband be the custodial parent was like a punch in the gut. Things are better now, but I still have the nagging voice in my head wondering why I can’t be with my son 24/7 like it used to be. Like it used to be during my marriage and shortly after.

Is it selfish to feel this way? My son is living with his dad and step mom, who are financially stable enough to send him to one of the best schools in Collier County. They live in a gorgeous condo, with many opportunities for recreation. I am grateful for his dad and step mom. They stepped up as parents.

I still get mildly irritated when I have to text back and forth with my ex regarding weekend plans. It’s always something. Dates don’t work, times dont work. My son showing up missing half his clothes for the weekend due to last-minute packing. The usual.

It’s all worth it to see your child. I thank God that my ex and I have enough of a cordial relationship that we put our son first.

Who has some co-parenting stories like this? Do any other parents out here feel like I do sometimes?

Family Ties

I love Game of Thrones! Last night was the start of Season 8, the final season. What I love most about Game of Thrones though, is the strength and loyalty of family.

When it comes to my family, I only know my mother’s side. My father was adopted when he was 13. Over the years, I have had various illnesses and wondered about my family history. I also was curious about where I came from. Its pretty obvious, that I am a typical white woman. But how “white” am I? All I know is that I cannot tan, no matter how long I stay in the sun. And that is a bummer, living in Florida. About 5 years ago, I signed up for ancestry.com DNA kit. It was pretty easy to complete, just swab the inside of your mouth with a big q-tip and drop it in the mail.  A few weeks later, my results were emailed to me and up on my ancestry.com profile. Here are the findings:

Ethnicity Estimate

  • England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 67%
  • Ireland & Scotland 26%
  • Norway 4%
  • Germanic Europe 3%

Additional Communities

  • Northern Arkansas & Middle Tennessee Settlers
    • Tennessee Upper Cumberland Settlers
  • Tennessee & Southern States Settlers
    • Upper Middle Tennessee Settlers
    • West Tennessee, Arkansas & Northeast Texas Settlers
  • Lower Midwest & Virginia Settlers
    • Missouri Ozarks & East Tennessee Settlers

This is crazy! Considering I spent most of my life in southwest Missouri!

And yep, I’m pretty white, and it is apparent after my sunburn this weekend!

I really like using ancestry.com, my DNA results were matched with other users who completed a DNA kit. I have found several extremely close relatives I have never met. Has anyone else tried home DNA kits? I see commercials on TV for 23 and me. Has anyone tried this? What do you think?

Being Authentic in a Digital Age

I’m pretty new to Instagram, otherwise known as “the gram”. Sure, I’ve used Facebook for about 10 years, but never really posted much due to fear of what others will think. “What would they think if I posted that selfie?” As I am currently in my new season of life, my mindset, beliefs, and way of living have changed. I am more confident IRL, but online, I am not.

It’s so easy to be completely overwhelmed by all content on IG and Facebook. It’s all about like and followers. We try to mute our true feelings, hopes and dreams, fears and failures. As if being a “normal” person is such a bad thing. Why is that? Do we want others to think we ‘have it all together?’. What if our fails and real lives inspire others? What if we can make a difference in others lives by just being ourselves?

There has been a gradual shift it seems in the past several years of folks being authentic, body positivity seems to be all the rage. Is this going to be a permanent thing? I hope so. No longer are posts about other people’s highlight reels, and one-sided political posts. It’s now sort of gravitated into the good and bad. We see people now for who they are, not who they want to be. This authenticity, I believe, gives others who are not so confident, the extra boost of hope they need to be their best selves.

So sit down and “clean up” your social media. Unfollow those people or businesses who make you feel like crap about your life. Take a social media fast for a day or so. Then come back and start living your authentic life.