Learning, transcendental meditation, wellness

My Stay at the Raj (Part 2): Transcendental Meditation

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Lawrence Sheaff painting at The Raj

The impetus for finding the Raj was a google search of “transcendental meditation retreats”. I have not meditated regularly in the past; however I have felt a strong pull towards it. Last spring I read The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson. This was an excellent parenting book, and in it they talked about transcendental meditation (TM) and how beneficial and life changing it was for them. Google search (yep, I’m a google girl!) led to all kinds of amazing information about this well-researched form of meditation.

During our time at the Raj, my mom and I worked with dear TM instructor, Amy Ruff. She carefully selected our mantras, helped us learn to use them, explained the process the brain undergoes during TM, explained the role thoughts play in meditation, uplifted, encouraged, and laughed with us. My main goal in learning meditation was to relieve anxiety. My first day home, one daughter commented I looked thinner, the other said I had a much calmer energy. I replied “Thank you” to the first, and “Oh my gosh, really?!” to the second.

I am still at the very beginning of my journey, but I am anticipating my practice becoming richer and more positive as I proceed. I highly recommend TM for everyone! To find out more information and find a meditation center near you, go to: https://www.tm-women.org

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Learning, magic, nature, wellness

Awakened, Playful, Kind Woman

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Just listened to one of my favorite podcasts (www.awakenedwomanselfcare.com ) as I weeded my garden. Their guest, Asia Suler (www.onewillowapothecaries.com ), was talking about the capability we all have of connecting to plants on a healing level. I have not explored this intimate level of relationship with my plants, but I am open to the idea.  They are, after all, living things. And I certainly feel a consistent sense of calm and peace when I am among them that is hard to replicate in less natural settings.

Asia also highlighted the importance of playfulness. A sense of fun, doing silly things, thinking funny thoughts, smiling, laughing all are an important part of who I am, and how I need to relate with the world to feel happy and balanced. I live with two teenage daughters. If you don’t have teen girls, they’re a pretty serious group, at least ours are. My epic jokes and clever witticisms are usually met with groans and eye rolls. I remember being their age. I was not very playful (at least with adults), but I am grateful I am now.

Another important idea Asia discussed was the concept of “nice girl” vs. “kind woman”. This was intriguing to me. A perennial “nice girl” myself, I know the trap of people-pleasing and dis-empowerment enveloped in that characterization. Asia offered an alternative of being a “kind woman”. It’s a subtle shift, maintaining the integrity of the essence of “niceness” (kindness) without allowing others to take advantage of you. And of course, the acknowledgement that a person is an adult is respectful and empowering.

Thank you Christine, Emma, & Asia for sharing your conversation with us. If you have not checked out this podcast yet… I invite you to do so. No need to listen in chronological order. They vary greatly, so if one guest is not holding your attention, I urge you to try another. Here is a list of my favorite episodes to date:

Living in Alignment With the Magic of Earth

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Creative Boundaries and Balance

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Nurturing Kindred Spirits as Self Care

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The Magic in Creative Self Care

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Mastering the Art of Dreamboarding

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How Pain and Grief are a Portal to Purpose

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How to Work in a Holistic Vibration

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Sacred Exploration of Female Sexuality

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Tapping into Self Care
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Learning, parenting, wellness

Motherhood

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Mother’s Day and my youngest daughter, Lara, turning thirTEEN this month have me reflecting on my parenting journey.

I am lucky enough to have an extraordinary woman as my own mother. Like all of us, her mothering story has not been without turbulence (some created by her, some by me and my sister). I think what smooths out all the bumps in the road is I always knew she loved me.

Like her, I am fiercely devoted to my daughters. They honor, humble, teach, delight, and (I won’t lie) horrify me daily. During a study of world religions in elementary school, my oldest daughter, Sage, came home and said, “I know what religion you are, Mom.” (Though a spiritual person, we do not attend church, so I was curious to hear her thoughts on the matter.) “You believe in love and mothering,” she decreed. I was grateful she knew that truth.

If you know me in person, you know I am a very involved parent. I fear the girls’ teachers groan inwardly when they see me approaching. I know the girls groan when I ask my tenth question of the day! And recently my sweet Lara, gently suggested I stop being quite so hovering in my parenting. I asked her what I was to do with all my extra love and energy. “Love yourself,” she wisely advised.

Was she the first person to ever tell me this? Of course not. Is it super powerful to have your child, whom you’ve been pouring your love and attention on tell you this? It was for me.

I am thoroughly enjoying the taking-care-of-myself phase I am entering. After decades of nurturing others, I must say, I am quite the accomplished nurturer. And after decades of ignoring my own wants/needs it feels quenching to have those depleted parts of me tended to.

Reminding myself there is value in pointing out my inevitable mistakes and the steps I am taking to remedy them; I apologized to the girls for setting such a poor example of self-care. I urged them not to follow in my footsteps, but to maintain their own well-being even when there are important people in their lives that they want to show care to.

Like me and my lovely mother before me, my kind-hearted girls are not going to be the mythical “perfect mother”. They might not even chose to be mothers. However, I think that if love flows through their intentions in their relationships with others, I will have imparted the philosophy of love that is so important to me.

Happy Mother’s Day and LOVE

to all the mamas and care-givers

past, present, and future!

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