The Pep Talk

grouppic

 

Over the last few days, I’ve been feeling like someone of importance has announced that a meteor is on a course for earth and will inevitably collide into our planet, causing insurmountable damage and destruction. Not the case, but the tone in messages from almost every media source is either peppered or overseasoned with fear.

 

 

Truth is: It’s March of 2020. NASA has photos of Pluto, taken billions of miles away. Trump is president. DNA can be edited with CRISPR. Toilets are still amazing inventions. It’s springtime in Wisconsin. Kenny Rogers died of natural causes. And there’s a virus. It spreads easily. Most people who catch it are fine, some don’t even know they have it. It can make a small portion of the people who catch it really sick and sometimes causes death. I’ve seen estimates that after running its course, if it continues on a current trajectory, that anywhere from 200,000 to more a million people could die from Covid 19 out of 7.8 billion on planet earth. Social distancing and staying home impacts the trajectory.

 

Being human means we are naturally scared of getting sick, of seeing our loved ones get sick, of seeing the health care system push its resources to the max, causing impossible ethical decisions to be made like who gets to use equipment and who doesn’t.

 

Viruses have been around for millions of years. We’ve evolved in partnership with them. But death is scary. And right now the whole globe is in the midst of an existential crisis.

 

The things that support and drive our society’s functioning like: public schools, access to income, access to child care, social connections, human touch, church gatherings, group celebrations, and any number of other countless ways we feel value in our lives, has been stripped fairly bare.

 

Big systems and ideas are under the microscope. Death! Ethics! Science! Government! Education! Transportation! Trade! Finance! Poverty!

 

I’ll name all the ways we have earned the right to feel stressed the fuck out with what’s been happening, but first I wanted to note that given what you’re seeing each day in the media, just as easily headlines could read:

 

 

Humanity Bands Together!
Governments Finally Listen to Scientists!
Humankind Make Drastic and Rapid Changes to Assist Loved Ones and At-Risk Strangers!
Pollution Slows and Humans Spend Time in Nature!
Hard-working Truck Drivers and Grocery Store Clerks Celebrated as Heroes!
People Cook at Home for their Families and Eat Meals Together!
Teachers Find a Way to Get Shit Done, As Usual!
Technological Communication Proves Its Value to the Human Race!
United Global Effort Slows the Spread of Virus!

 

There are reasons to celebrate being human here, for sure. But there’s also uncertainty and worry. Alot of it. I’d like to pause for a moment to acknowledge the shitstorm of anxiety we’re either seeing in our own selves or witnessing in others.

 

 

Why is the media spraying fear everywhere about this? In part because scientists want people to take action now in order to avoid the calamity of overriding our health care systems. As my Dad once said, “Death is a great motivator.” The thinking is that if action is taken quickly and extensively, like yesterday, it will slow the virus down and buy time.

 

We are essentially buying time because any number of positive things can happen to the trajectory of the virus’ effect if there is simply more time. More time=more resources. More time=more research. More time= more knowledge.

 

So….fear-based messaging. Would anyone have changed any bit of their lives if the message was, “There’s this bug going around. Most everyone will likely be fine but not everyone. Maybe wash your hands more?”

 

Fear causes action.

 

And in the best sense, this action, even if motivated by fear, shines a major spotlight on what we hope is true for all of us. That we care deeply about the well-being of our fellow humans. We are willing to give up our jobs, our comforts, our routine, our church, our education, our timeline, our plans, and our income if it means we can save lives. That’s pretty remarkable don’t you think?

 

But I don’t want to ignore the fact that for some families and individuals, social isolation for weeks or months will cause such a strain on their mental and emotional health that avoiding one health crisis may create entirely new health crises. Not to mention financial crises along the way.

 

Everything in my perspective on mental health is partially influenced by what life was like in the midst of debilitating panic disorder in my 20’s. If I were experiencing that at this time, with such a whirlwind around me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep, or calm down, or leave the house even if I wanted to. I needed people back then to help me name what I was feeling so I could work my way out of it. So here in this post, I wanted to spend a few moments to name what’s happening for a lot of people in the emotional world and to give some hope and resources.

 

 

Being stormed by the recent challenges has brought a lot of our human frailties and tendencies to light:

 

 

1. Rapid change is not something we as humans usually prefer. In a matter of weeks, most of us have changed our daily routine, work schedule, family schedule, financial schedule, and relationship patterns all at once and very rapidly.

 

2. Genetically, our minds evolved over millions of years to activate our fight or flight response when we perceive ourselves to be in the face of threat or danger. Financial uncertainty and a pandemic, particularly how they are presented in the media, are grabbing the attention of our subconscious panic buttons.

 

3. In modern society, most of us have become somewhat disconnected from our own emotions, particularly when we grieve or lose something or someone we love. Fear of loss looms large in in part because we are not comfortable feeling our feelings, and loss hurts.

 

4. Being directed how to live our lives, even temporarily, and having restrictions placed on our freedoms is a tough nut to swallow for most of us who live in a country where we are generally free to do as we please.

 

5. Many of us are carrying around the energy from unresolved traumas from our past: and any or all of the above can be triggers for past painful events we haven’t processed yet.

 

6. Feeling like our daily connections to our loved ones and the simplicity of human touch are being taken away, at least temporarily, can cause us to feel deep loneliness.

 

7. Feeling the risk of being yourself and owning your opinions is really active. There is a stigma of disagreeing with the practice of social distancing. The fear of losing friendships and family relationships and the love of your community because you, despite hearing the best scientific arguments for social distancing and sheltering in, just plainly disagree- fear of being outcast is an evolutionary fear, whether your reasons are religious, mental health based or otherwise.

 

These are BIG fucking deals. Mental and emotional health are equal in importance to physical health, as anyone who has ever suffered from PTSD, clinical depression, or debilitating panic can tell you.

 

And I feel the need to say that it’s natural to feel all the things right now: overwhelmed, pissed off, restricted, helpless, afraid, cautious, uncertain, powerless, anxious….we are entitled to feel every single bit of what we’re feeling.

 

Not that anyone asked me, but I’m cool with following guidelines of social distancing if it will save lives, of course, as long as we can also keep an eye on what happens to mental and emotional health when people can’t be with each other, go to work, get respite from caring for kids (with special needs in particular), earn money, exercise when they need it, be touched, and are inundated with messages to panic throughout their days.

 

As long as someone has their eye on that ball, great.

 

Pep talk time. There is an “other side” to this- you know, it’s the one we’ll get to and come out on. Some of my best spiritual teachers have advised that in difficult times, you use your prayers as a montage of what things will be like on the other side. This is why Einstein said imagination is more important than intelligence. It can take you places your mind needs to go in order to lift you through difficult circumstances and literally generate a new reality into existence.

 

You can get through this. You will emerge on the other side having used the tools you have and having learned new tools for self-care and stability. You will not be the same. You’ll be an elevated version of your current self, with a deeper appreciation for every aspect of your life including your relationships. You’ll notice things about yourself you hadn’t known, you’ll discover more about who you truly are.

 

People will smile more often at each other, feel grateful just to be together, and see clearly who matters most to them. Old, ineffective systems will show their wear and transition into more effective ones. People will discover they want leaders who respond efficiently and with wisdom and compassion. Communities will discover new ways of coming together and supporting those in need.

 

So what about the day to day? How to get through?

 

Visualize what your positive outcome looks like when this has calmed down. Are you closer to your family? Finally writing that short story you wanted to work on? Have a laser-like focus on what your finances look like? Managed to clean out the clutter in your home? Or just feel deeply grateful for what really matters to you. What does the world look like after going through something like this collectively? What do our systems look like when they’ve had to reshape due to the strain? Visualize best case scenarios…and then make them even better in your imagination.

 

Calm your nervous system. There are many tools to calm our systems down as we navigate the massive changes we’re in. You already know my favorites: meditation and breathwork. But there’s more: trauma release, qi gong, and pranayama to name a few. I’m going to share some links at the end of this post that are awesome resources for acute and low-level anxieties.

 

Feel your feelings and forgive yourself. We’ve been asking alot of our minds, bodies and emotions over the past few weeks. Given all that, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, OF COURSE YOU ARE. It’s ok to feel anything during this kind of uncertainty: helpless, enraged, terrified, lonely, powerless, disengaged. Your system is responding how it needs to and it’s ok to feel what you feel.

 

Discover what heals you. There are parts of us we neglect entirely in our daily lives and parts of us we don’t even realize are within us that are looking now to come online. Massive change fuels growth. Art, movement, nature, yoga, meditation, music…use the tools that work for you to hear that inner voice and be willing to listen.

 

Cultivate flexibility. That saying “people never change” is bullshit. People change all the time. We are constantly evolving. By letting go of things you thought you needed, you are paving the way for all kinds of creative new energies to emerge.

 

Hope.  Hope is underrated. It’s a doorway that guides us forward and highlights the best parts of our humanity. Let your hope become so strong that it actually serves as a stabilizing force.  Let it create freedom within you.

 

 

I’ve got a new podcast series running called Meditate Elevate. You can find it on apple podcasts, stitcher, or spotify . To search, just type in Kris Adams Meditate.  If you need a laugh or want to hear inspiring stories in the meantime, check out Solving Everything.

 

You can find some meditations I posted on youtube here:

 

If you want more, just click on my name and you’ll see links to more.

 

You can find a cool qi-gong immune boosting quick routine here:

 

If you are feeling wired and need help releasing some stored anxiety, check out Trauma Release Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26zoFKZzbQc
and there are people in Madison who offer TRE at Red Beard Bodywork.

 

For a very cool look at how to piece apart the different aspects of yourselves to discover there is a calm wisdom within, check out this 2 hour meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n22a1Hf4rjk

 

And in the coming days I’ll be posting a Nidra meditation soon on that new podcast, so check back for that.

 

Here for you. And as always, sending love.

GROW Podcast: Interview with Ali Brooks, Social Worker, Artist, Goddess, Leader of Girls Empowerment group

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Ali Brooks does amazing work! She leads an empowerment group for girls with Maureen Cassidy right here in Madison. She is also an amazing artist and social worker who works with women who have experienced trauma. Find her website here: Medicine for the Heart and find the link to her girls’ empowerment group here.

 

 

Ali

 

GROW Podcast: Interview with Lori: business owner, adoption advocate, Reactive Attachment Disorder specialist, cancer survivor, and more.

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My sister and I both fight the urge to be analytical to the extreme. We are armchair experts at therapy. But this interview is so much more than us analyzing the ins and outs of growing up Midwest “nice” with an emotionally challenged atheist Dad in a home where a lot of feelings got buried. Where does all that unexpressed anger go? How do we know when our feelings aren’t totally irrational?

 

And other questions like do you trust destiny when your life is on the line? We discuss surviving Stage 3 breast cancer, the violent rage that sometimes comes with Reactive Attachment Disorder and how to protect your other children from it, a miracle pregnancy, anxiety, depression, quantum physics and more. We started off by picking up the thread of a chat we had already been having… How we filter our own emotions…. to see if it’s valid before expressing it and then expressing it in a way that won’t ruffle feathers. WAKING UP is hard sometimes. This conversation details the inner process we all at some times go through to give ourselves permission to feel. Check out Lori’s work at Red Thread Learning.

 

 

krisloridearborn

 

Here’s the breakdown:

 

2:40 Emotions…when are we being unreasonable?
5:00 A brain on a stick..when our minds and bodies aren’t connected
6:45 Letting our emotions past the gate of analysis: is the feeling warranted?
7:25 Which emotions are we repressing? Joy is a big one
9:00 Would you rather have a life filled with big highs and lows or something stable in the middle without any extreme highs?
10:30 Seasonal depression, welcome to thinking about mortality and DEATH
12:00 Having a baby brings thoughts about mortality
14:00 When your parent raises you to live life afraid
14:20 WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS AND RIPTIDES
17:20 My mom could maybe use some safety precautions
19:30 We want to know our feelings and experiences matter
22:00 A submarine of women on their periods is not bound for doom
22:30 Does it matter if a person’s unreasonable since you have to deal with it either way?
24:45 There’s usually a need under the anger
25:30 Fear is the flip side of anger and our survival used to depend on being accepted by the tribe
27:00 When even admitting or expressing that you’re angry is a problem
28:00 Birth Story and the back story starts here
28:30 What happens when you discover stage 3 breast cancer when you have a one year old and have just moved overseas
30:00 Life turns upside down
31:30 Docs say breast milk does not contain cancer from the breast, but chemo passes through breastmilk
32:15 Dad with some supportive words
34:00 Going into surgery thinking you’ll have both breasts coming out, but things don’t always go as planned
34:30 Lori is told that getting pregnant would kill her
35:00 Lori starts thinking of adoption: the oncologist doctor says – you shouldn’t think about the future because you probably won’t be here- thanks Doc
37:30 Two international adoptions and Lori gets those tubes tied
40:00 Miracle pregnancy
43:30:00 We don’t know if it will kill you..it might, we don’t know
45:00 Being pro-choice does not make the decision of abortion easy- even when death is on the line
49:00 Faith v. logic….winner=faith
51:00 Telling Dad about a pregnancy he didn’t approve of…my sister gets hung up on
53:00 My dad couldn’t have been any worse at this and, by the way, NEVER tell a pregnant woman she’s not thinking clearly because she’s pregnant
56:00 Unthinkable to make others angry
58:00 The stress of the possibility of recurrence sticks around
58:30 It’s ok to lose a breast if it means you’re alive
59:30 No pressure, but your babies brains are affected by the state of the mother during pregnancy.
1:1:30 Concern for who’s carrying the baby in adoption and Red Thread
1:3:00 Illusion of control during pregnancy and the process of adoption means letting go of some control
1:5:30 The invisible Red Thread – we are connected to the meaningful people in our lives past and present and future
1:7:00 Sorrow that adopted kids can feel the pain of not being with the birth family even if you feel you were meant to parent them
1:09:00 Lori came to earth with an outline
1.09:30 Parallel universes, free will, and destiny
1:13:00 It’s possible Kris is nuts
1:14:30 Quantum physics and there are multiple realities existing
1:16:30 All things are connected
1:20:30 Anger
1:21:00 Attachment disorder: when your child becomes violent
1:22:30 Sacrificing your emotions to maintain peace and keep everyone safe
1:26:30 If you come close to me (to bite me), I’m going to assume you want a hug
1:27:30 I am pretending to be calm even if the emotional house is burning down
1:29:00 PTSD, stifling anger messes up the stress response
1:30:30 Trauma informed caregiving: getting professional training because of how attachment disorder was disrupting the home
1:35:00 Where do you feel emotions in your bod? Focusing and saying yes.
1:38:00 It’s impossible to be triggerless and yet sometimes we do it
1:39:00 An uncomfortable feeling is just a thought in your head and a sensation in your body
1:40:30 Depression – accepting it when it happens

 

GROW podcast: Interview with 3 wise women.

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In this episode, you will hear the voices of women who have over 230 years between them walking this planet. My mom and two Aunts join me in a conversation that will inspire and surprise you.

If you don’t have any women in their 70’s and 80’s in your life, give a listen. We talk about everything from growing up in a rigid Catholic household and how it affected sexuality, to why we still want to please our parents even when we have our own kids, to living with an alcoholic who was a hero of the community. Oh, and doctors refusing to prescribe birth control to married women. !! We talk about my aunt’s non-profit (avisionforcleanwater.org)  to get remote villages clean water and a family member who chooses a life as a cloistered nun with little contact with the outside world. Here’s a juicy quote from my mom during this interview regarding the church:

“I was livid at myself for having allowed myself for that many years to rely on somebody else to make my moral choices”

aunts
Enjoy.

2:00 Kris gives some background for why she wanted to podcast and hear women’s stories

5:00 Introductions

7:00 My Aunt MJ: retired at age 78, high trauma emergency/surgery nurse in inner city Detroit

8:30 My Aunt Eileen starts a non-profit: A Vision for Clean Water avisionforcleanwater.org , helping 400,000 people

10:30 How do you take a step toward doing what you really want to do?

12:20 Vision boarding and Master Mind groups

16:30 I get masterminded!

18:30 Where did MJ get her positive thoughts from? What happens when all of a sudden you can’t live your life. Recovery International with Dr. Lowe

19:30 Panic attacks and not functioning

23:30 Do you know the root of mental health issues when they happen?

24:30 When external expectations from parents affect you

26:00 Church every day, rosary every night on your knees,  3 times a day pray out loud to the bells of the church ringing, visitors had a choice of getting on their knees to pray or leaving

28:30 My grandmother was a college graduate in 1931

29:30 What passes through generations?

31:30 Living with an alcoholic parent who was a great man and beloved community member

37:30 Sin. Sexuality. Makeup is called barn paint in a strict household.

41:30 Strict rules vs. Total freedom for your own kids

42:30 Finding your own way in parenting

43:30 You keep the good from your upbringing and drop the rest

45:00 Someone says to my aunt, “You taught me how to love somebody who doesn’t follow my rules”

46:00 Radical compassion may be more important than old models of morality based on rules, religious expectations, etc.

50:30 Common traits of grandchildren

52:30 Virgins getting married, consequences could be eternal fire or getting disowned?

53:30 A snowstorm creates an sexual ethical crisis

55:30 Doctors refuse to prescribe birth control to a woman getting married

59:00 A priest causes an existential sexual crisis

1:00:30 Living in denial: when you let other people make your choices

1:01:00 My dad almost wipes a shoe full of shit on a priest’s desk

1:03:00 In 1968: Vatican 2 includes the idea that personal conscience is a factor in how to make your own choices

1:04:00 If a system doesn’t support your beliefs, you leave the system

1:06:00 Cloistered Nun life: Linna.Sister Maria

1:25:45 The letter about Communion to the mother of the atheist husband to be

1:28:30 Trying not to lie to your mother even as an adult

1:30:00 Why don’t you speak your truth to others

1:31:00 Girls in the 40’s getting their periods

1:38:30 Birthing in the 1960’s and 70’s

1:42 Skin to skin…not a thing in the 70’s,  and, by the way, let’s do that epidural at home

1:43 The trauma of a birth when the birthing woman is not supported and the wishes of the couple not respected

1:46 Kris tries not to get furious

1:49 When you feel excluded from having a say in your birth

1:51 Being mistreated in birth affects your entire life and your ability to trust

1:52 Bonding is something than can happen at any time

1:54 How therapy can help repair any missed bonding opportunities

1:56 Letting go of systems

1:57:10 The power is with the mother birthing: yes, MOM!

1:58:30 The benefits of hospital birth

2:00:00 The benefit of a doula

2:05:00 Sometimes you need intensity of connection in childbirth (This interview has flipped: Kris talks about her birth stories)

2:08:30 This childbirth class is bullshit

2:10:00 Childbirth is big and what about postpartum

2:11:00 Childbirth is spiritual

2:13:00 Postpartum depression when no one is talking about it

2:17:00 My Aunt gives me a dose of reality

2:19:00 Kris forgets to pick up her child from school

 

Breakdown of minutes soon to come.

A Mother’s Rights #15: You have the right to change your priorities.

Maybe before you became a mom, you were a fucking lion at work and hammered out 12 hour workdays, ate leftover Indian for dinner and got weekly massages. Maybe you spent most of your monthly budget on lingerie and had Outlander-style fantasy sex with your partner every day.

Then after holding a sweet heavenly baby in your arms for the first time, your world underwent a seismic shift. You stopped caring about the things that were happening at work. Instead you hid behind your desk skyping your baby and knitting booties. You abandoned beautiful lingerie for whatever bra worked best for pumping. You got sad being away from home and couldn’t eat Indian food anymore because it gave you heartburn. And every time you had sex, you peed a little because your pelvic floor was a like a stretched out old rubber band someone left in the sun.

Amidst all this change in your life, it may occur to you that your priorities have changed too. You may be looking around and saying: “Well, who the fuck am I now?”

 

prioriites

 

Goddess, yes, things are changing. Your life is changing. Your body is changing. Your priorities are changing. YOU are changing. It is tempting to hold so tightly to the way you used to be that you cannot see the gift of who you are becoming.

Who you are becoming is someone with different priorities. You have to be. There’s a person now or more than one person who requires you for bonding and play and learning and care and sustenance. We are important.

To move deeper into the majesty of ourselves, we need to let go of who we thought we were just a little bit and little bit more. Because motherhood changes us in every way and it is 100% ok to let motherhood change you. To allow your desires and preferences and needs to slowly or suddenly shape your life into a new thing.

Maybe you taper down to 8 hour days at work or maybe you use your savings to stay home for the first year. Maybe you start cooking casseroles for God’s sake and trade your massages for baby and mom yoga. Maybe you wear organic cotton over-the-head bras with thick nipple pads and spackle your nipples with balm while your lacy bras gather dust in the back of their drawers. Girl, it’s fine.

Accepting the ways your priorities change is so healthy and good and nourishing. Letting the love that bonds you to your child sweep over your life and transform it is a natural and necessary thing. It is not just transformative to your life but to the world. Because the world needs women who let the elemental forces of motherhood sweep through them, sweep through their relationships and priorities.

These elementals forces help shape the future into one where motherhood is important and profound and sacred. Just like that sweet baby is important and profound and sacred and just like you are important and profound and sacred.

You have the right to change your priorities and to trust that whatever you dive into in this precious moment in your life, the essence of you and your goddess beautiful self will remain perfectly, exquisitely you.

A Mother’s Rights 13: You have the right to say no.

 

This is an oldie but a goodie and gets a lot of mileage in the mom world. In Paul Coelho’s words, “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” Basically, know yourself. Prioritize what’s important to you. Then live that.

Suuuuuper easy. Hahahahahaha.

you have the right to shower every day (3)

 

If you can indulge me for a bit, I’d like to walk with you down a little bit of a deeper interpretation of this. I brought water and trail mix: the kind with almonds and dark chocolate, not that bullshit peanuts and off-brand M&M’s kind.

We all get the surface meaning of this basic right. Say no to things that will wear you down, stress you out, or just aren’t important to you. Like, if you have a busy week, say no to making brownies for the bake sale. If your kid has the flu, say no to carpooling soccer for your neighbor. If you don’t want to drive across town after a long day, say no to book club tonight. Logistically, don’t fill your schedule up with things that will overload you. BUT, what if the importance of saying no goes deeper than that?

Understanding when and how to say no at a deeper level starts with understanding how to listen to ourselves so we know what’s important to us and what’s not.  What is your yes/no spectrum? How do you say yes to life, to new experiences, to nourishment, to bold ways of being you AND say no to hurtful people, careless treatment, and stretching beyond your healthy limits?

This kind of discernment starts with practicing a deep and passionate love for who you are so that there is room for yes to come forward.  Actively practice loving yourself. Identify things that make you feel good without question. As in: I lose 10 pounds of stress when I dance to Sean Mendes. I love walking in the arboretum. Putting mascara on makes me feel like a powerful influencer. My painting is my happy place.

Make some room for these big yes feelings. Remember yourself.

Equally important: make room for uncomfortable feelings you may not initially welcome. Things like: I can’t stand hearing my baby cry right now. I’m so angry my dad is passive-aggressive about my parenting style. I wish my partner would leave me alone right now. My eating is out of control and I’m scared.

These uncomfortable feelings need to be seen and heard too. Feelings are temporary, you are not. Getting to know your uncomfortable feelings and allowing them to be seen will help you know your real self, and love your whole self.

So far: discover what you feel and what you like. Discover what you’d rather not be feeling and things you dislike. I am making this sound so easy, but for those of us who molded ourselves based on who we thought we should be, it takes some serious dedication and practice. Thank God for yoga and friends.

Discovering your personal yes/no spectrum continues with making room for ‘no’ to come forward without pushing it to the side. You have preferences. It’s ok to hear what they are. Begin listening for your inner talk of:

I can’t say no to that or….

my partner will get mad
my friends won’t understand
my kids won’t like it
my colleagues will laugh at me
I might lose something
I might feel something I don’t want to feel
I might miss out
it could be a mistake
I won’t be pleasing others
I might hurt someone’s feelings

Hearing that inner talk and recognizing it as fear and old programming will make room for really, truly who you are to come forward. You might have a really strong “FUCK NO – I’M NOT DOING THAT” come forward. Or you may notice a gentle “I’d prefer not to, but I’m really ok with it.” What you choose to do with your preferences is then totally in your power.

This book: Getting Real is a stunning map of how to identify YOU amidst the chatter of your mind and feelings, and how to bring that you to the surface in a real way. It is so massively helpful in navigating self, life, thoughts, wanting things to be different, wanting people to be better, wanting yourself to be perfect, wanting anger to go away, needing to feel more connected. Just everything.

When you begin to know yourself and stop living your life based on expectations of who you should be or what you should do, saying no becomes a fun experiment.

What does no feel like in my body and mind? Tight shoulders? Stomach pains? Does a strong no feel different then a weak one? What does ‘yes’ feel like? Am I smiling? Excited? Relaxed? Do I feel sexy? Friendly?

Saying no is about you honoring you. The real you, the one in your big juicy heart. And won’t your kids be amazed to see this practice of self-discovery in action? They are so lucky to have a mom like you.

A Mother’s Rights #11: You have the right to feel however you feel about parenting right now.

 

You love your kids. You are devoted, you work hard, you want them to have what you missed as a kid. You want them to have more, to know how loved and important they are.

Those things are true on days when you feel happy, loving it all. And it’s also true on days or weeks or months where you feel unfulfilled, lonely, stressed or boxed in.

 

 

you have the right to feel

 

Other feelings you might have about parenting but are afraid to admit it to yourself:

Regret
Jealousy
Resentment
Disappointment
Grief
Longing
Neglected
Overlooked
Unappreciated
Angry
Sad
Unseen
Impatient
Ignored
Powerless

This is some deep shit. Those aren’t fuzzy feelings. One of the greatest dangers we face as parents is denying how we feel about parenting. If we only allow ourselves one feeling: “I love being a parent,” we suppress  much of our daily experience. Squashing feelings down creates anxiety, depression, and physical imbalance.

Let’s just assume and know that the love is always there underneath whatever we are feeling day to day. If you are frustrated because your child just did something dangerous or reckless and you want to shout and swear at them but know that you can’t, where does that fear and frustration go? Your body holds onto it for you and is ready at any moment for you to acknowledge that it’s there, and find a way to release it through exercise, art, movement, breath, journaling, or whatever works for you to see yourself and acknowledge your experience. Just as we teach our kids, we need to recognize all the feelings, even the unfuzzy ones.

When I interviewed my mom about her birthing and postpartum experience, she shared that she went through a low postpartum period where she remembers rocking her baby back and forth saying to herself, “I love being a mom, I love being a mom,” scared by the words because she couldn’t quite feel them and she wanted to convince herself of their truth.

She knew there was love there somewhere, but what she was feeling in that moment was scared and sad.

Whatever feelings we go through about parenting, the love is always underneath. But if we don’t allow ourselves to feel the frustrations, anger, sadness, disbelief, fear, and helplessness that often come with raising kids, those feelings will keep asking to be seen until they are seen, so they can be released.

There are things I love about being a mom and things that are hard. Really hard. I sometimes feel resentful or sick to death of getting up early or burnt out on caregiving. Honoring myself through these feelings can help me access the joy and love underneath. It doesn’t have to be either/or. I love my kids and I feel tired. I love my kids and I feel sick of the tantrums. I love my kids and I feel angry they won’t eat the dinner I cooked.

Parenting is a long road, a forever road. To be well on the journey, we can be who we are and we can feel how we feel.