The Best Thing We Can Do For Our Kids!

The Best Thing We Can Do For Our Kids!

My father was the 9th of 10 children. When I think about how challenging it has been at times to raise my 2 beautiful boys, I can’t imagine how his mother did it. Just thinking about 12 people in a house with one bathroom gives me anxiety.

My father used to talk about how clean the kitchen floor was…how does a mother of 10 keep the kitchen floor clean?!?

For a woman who spent the duration of 20 years either pregnant or breast feeding, with little munchkins running around everywhere all the time, my grandmother seemed to manage well, and lived a long healthy life, finally passing away at 105.

Life was different back then of course. My father’s family lived on a street with many other giant families. Kids were always out and about, doing the crazy stuff that kids do, with little to no supervision.

Sounds like a blast doesn’t it?

Back then there were fewer expectations of parents. When my dad was a kid there was no pressure to drive the kids to birthday parties, soccer practice and play dates because they didn’t have a car! Solves that problem!

Good parents from that era made sure their kids had food, shelter, clothes and love and that was about it. My father was expected to be home for dinner at 6:00 and to not get arrested. Other than that, he was on his own. Free to take on the world!

Kids grew up with the confidence that comes from self discovery, the resourcefulness that comes from problem solving, the self reliance and independence that comes from being out on their own, succeeding and failing and figuring shit out.

Nowadays parents are expected to entertain their children and help with homework and take them to the indoor trampoline place, and are so tired from all of it when the day is done that they collapse in front of the TV with a cheeseburger, some beer, and a pint of ice cream.

We are so busy being perfect parents that we have forgotten something critical: we have forgotten to take care of ourselves.

So much time is spent trying to exceed the higher and higher expectations of parenting in our society that we are no longer meeting our own needs as human beings.

We have to turn this ship around pronto!

The BEST thing we can do as parents for our children is to take extra good care of ourselves because in doing so, we are teaching our children to do the same.

Parents these days devote their entire lives to their kids, and although the intentions are noble and we mean well, it teaches the little guys to rely on us for everything.

I want my kids to grow up having the confidence, self worth, resourcefulness, self reliance, and independence to go out into the world and chase their dreams! Not live in my basement, unemployed.

I feel we must model this behavior.

We have to make our health and wellbeing a priority. We have to go out and chase our own dreams and express our own creativity and challenge ourselves.

How we live our lives everyday, in every area, is teaching our children how to live. 

I don't know who said it but I believe it: "Children close their ears to advice, but open their eyes to example".

If we eat crappy food, our kids learn to eat  in an unhealthy way.

If we don’t exercise, meditate, and sleep enough, our kids learn that all these things are not important.

But if we consciously fill our own needs and take care of our bodies, our minds, and our souls, and we bravely follow our dreams, we will be the best role models that our children could ask for.

I believe that the greatest gift we can give to them is the greatest version of ourselves.

Best,

Annie

10 Ways to Handle Difficult Emotions

10 Ways to Handle Difficult Emotions

May 22, 2016

Day 2 of Mindfulness and Authenticity

If I understand this mindfulness stuff right, the idea is to live in a state of awareness, awake in the present moment, and to go with the flow of life. In this way, we can be authentic and real and live a life that is true to who we really are. Sounds simple enough, right? Right. Well It's Day 2 of my 21 days of Mindfulness and Authenticity and this whole "going with the flow"

thing seems to be eluding me. And it's only Day 2!

Today, being present, mindful, authentic, and living true to myself was challenging and it brought out the absolute worst part of my personality. It wasn’t a total loss but certainly not me at my best.

What I discovered and experienced today is that being mindful is a lot easier when life is going smoothly. But once things get just a little bit rocky, it can feel impossible. And that is how it felt today.

It was like my ego mind was a runaway train of negative thoughts all rooted in the “not enough” concept I talked about yesterday, and it was having a raging party at my expense.

The ironic thing is that the “not enough” going on in my head was centered around the idea that I am not MINDFUL enough! I’m not getting it! I’m a fraud! I’m too slow! I’m not smart enough! And so on…

It began with a momentary lapse of mindfulness when I got frustrated with the kids when they were fighting, and that triggered a series of situations which led to me completely losing my way. I kept struggling to find my way back to base camp to no avail.

And the whole time I’m thinking, “Great, great, great. I’m failing at this mindfulness stuff right out of the gate”. I start to behave like an angst filled teenager (no offense to angst filled teenagers – I used to be one, it’s a natural stage of development and I am not judging you but I am 41 years old so that is not acceptable) saying things to myself like, 

“Mindfulness is stupid”, “Why am doing this?, “This is just plain impossible”, “Whatever, who cares", "Waste of time".

Then I shift gears and begin the blame game! Well, whose fault is it? Because it certainly can’t be mine! I start blaming everyone, including my cats, for my lack of peace in the present.

Then, I remembered something. It came to me out of the blue, clear sky.

Someone told me once that if you ever have anxiety about something, create a plan. They said that just in the making of the plan I would start to feel better. It would create a sense of control over the situation which would alleviate some of my fear.

Well, I tried it today and turns out it works!

I created a MAP, which stands for Multiple Action Plans, a set of contingencies set up ahead of time to handle difficult emotions.

With a MAP, we gain strategies, and when we have strategies, we feel in control, and once we feel even little bit in control, then we can navigate the way back home.

I decided I needed a MAP in order to return to the present moment and the peace that I know is always there waiting for me.

Here it is. It helped me a lot and I hope it helps you too if you find that your negative thoughts and emotions are taking you for a ride!

Annie’s MAP

10 Ways to Handle Difficult Emotions

1.

Recognize what is happening, assess the situation. If you are not in life threatening danger then go to step 2. If you are in life threatening danger, best of luck!

2.

Acknowledge the negative emotion(s). If you are not sure what it is ask, “How am I feeling right now?”

3.

Notice where these bad feelings are located in the body. For me, fear always shows up as tightness in my chest. Sadness and hurt feelings are almost always in my throat. Embarrassment likes to hang out in my stomach. Wherever you find the bad feeling in your body, take note.

4.

Embrace the bad feelings, walk right towards them. This is the only way for the bad emotions to move. Otherwise, they get stuck. Stuck emotions can create disease in the body. Don’t deny them or push them away. Feel the bad feelings for a few minutes. They want acknowledgment.

5.

Remind yourself that you are not these emotions, but the AWARENESS behind them. In this way, they can light your path home.

6.

Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Breath into the part of the body where the bad feeling is taking hold. Breath in light to that spot.

7.

Repeat a mantra silently or out loud. Something like: I am managing this, I am figuring it out, I am safe, I am ok, This is temporary, I am peace, etc.

8.

Communicate with the bad feeling. Tell the bad feeling something like, “Look, I totally see where you are coming from. I hear you. I understand. But you have no power here. I am taking my power back”.

9.

Do something for someone else. Even if it’s just sending a thoughtful text or a big smile and a wave to your neighbor. When we do something for someone else, the energy around us shifts immediately, and, from my experience, emotions seem to move along more quickly. Sending love to others in any form has a way of making pain vanish into the air. It creates a change in the vibration of energy around you.

10.

Lastly, what has helped me avoid getting caught in these emotional rip tides in the first place, is to live in a state of gratitude as much as possible. This way our general state is one of joy, peace and calm. And, as Lynne Twist says, “What you appreciate appreciates.”

Thank you for reading! This is what helped me out today. Hope it helps you too.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and insights!

With love and gratitude,

Annie xoxoxo