Mombbatical Mindset: Urgency (of Motherhood)

“As I allowed myself to go deep into my own spiritual and emotional spaces, the conversations that I wanted to have with my own son became richer in their content.”

When I decided to start blogging, I didn’t have any real sense of what the experience was supposed to be like given my circumstances. I remember seeking out other “Mom” blogs for some guidance, especially the ones that had become relatively popular.  Much to my dismay, I found them to be a bit shallow, floating between self-deprecating rants about how terrible of a mother the author was and unrealistic DIY projects that most women I knew had neither the time nor patience for and only fostered a toxic competitiveness.

When I shine a light on modern motherhood, I’m surprised by how much the narrative really hasn’t changed in decades.  The conversation typically centers on all that mothers have to juggle or all that we have given up in order to be mothers. We seldom dive into the complexity of motherhood and womanhood, allowing everyday women to give voice to the layers of their existence–their sexuality, dreams, fears, questions. Creating a space to address these contours emerged as my vision for this platform.

The emptiness and callousness of our capitalist systems forced me to set new boundaries with Emmanuel about consumption and ownership. We reset our values around experiences instead of possessions.”

Yet, as I continued to observe so much of our world splitting at the seams, I realized that there was an urgency to my parenting that went beyond ensuring good grades or manners. As I allowed myself to go deep into my own spiritual and emotional spaces, the conversations that I wanted to have with my own son became richer in their content.

#Metoo inspired conversations beyond consent into discussions about sex–when? why?  The emptiness and callousness of our capitalist systems forced me to set new boundaries with Emmanuel about consumption and ownership. We reset our values around experiences instead of possessions. Black Lives Matter, school shootings, the climate crisis have all been catalysts for me to examine Emmanuel’s own activism, while also intentionally having the conversations that affirm his identity as a kid, i.e, Do bugs have souls?

In this week’s conversation, we will discuss the urgency of motherhood at this moment in time and the power of the mother’s voice beyond the caricature of a persistent nag or worrier.  We will examine the spiritual lessons we have learned and how we use them to strengthen our relationships and interactions with our own children. And we will discuss how we can forgive ourselves for our perceived “failings” as mothers and put that damn narrative to rest.

Some questions we will consider:

  1. What prepared you for motherhood? What were the conversations that you had before that moment?
  2. Tell us about one of the most enriching and meaningful conversations you’ve had with your child(ren)?
  3. Where does your self-doubt still reside when it comes to mothering?
  4. In light of the state of our world, what are the urgent conversations you are having or are longing to have?
  5. What nurturing do you need to give yourself on behalf of your children?

This week’s conversation is Sunday, August 30th, 11 am PST/2 pm EST/8 pm CET. For details on how to join the conversation, click here.

 

Mombbatical Mindset: Synchronicities

Now, I understand that the synchronicities that confirm our way transcend judgment of right or wrong, good or bad.

When I think about the wisdom that we attempt to pass along to young people as they grow–whether in schools, in the home, or in other institutions, like church, I wish we spent more time talking about the stirrings of the soul and the very real miracle of synchronicities. I, myself, had noticed “signs” or odd coincidences that would occur in life, but I never understood that those signs were gifts from a loving Universe.

We are taught to reason things out in life, that the power is in our minds and spirit is a dogmatic, distant entity to which we are morally beholden. Bound by religion and rules, I believe we miss what it actually means to commune with spirit–to engage in a present-moment dialogue with a force that lives within us, not outside of us.

But the Universe is kind and so we are sent synchronicities when we need them the most, validating the small voice that we hear inside of us. A synchronicity is not some random coincidence. It is our soul working in concert with spirit to light our way. It is profound magic that we co-create to confirm our journey towards our deepest yearnings.

For the longest time, I used to shame myself for being consistently seduced by the synchronicities and signs that left me locked in a toxic attachment to a former lover. In my healing process, I judged myself for not being able to break free. I cursed a distant God for leading me down a path that seemed to always lead to heartbreak and longing. I kept questioning why I was on the journey, why all the signs kept me there, yet left me unfulfilled and distraught. I believed that I was wrong.

“If there is pain when we follow the whisper, it is for our highest good. And if there is joy, that is for our highest good as well.”

So, I began to question and resist those signs, doubting my own discernment about where my soul was leading me. Instead of celebrating the healing that I had achieved by following the painful path, I proclaimed  that I would try to protect myself from it in the future. A ridiculous endeavor to consider as I express these words “out loud.”

Now, I understand that the synchronicities that confirm our way transcend judgment of right or wrong, good or bad. They are neutral gifts intended to show what our higher selves are desperately trying to whisper to our hearts. If there is pain when we follow the whisper, it is for our highest good. And If there is joy, that is for our highest good as well.

In this week’s Mombbatical Mindset conversation, we will discuss synchronicities, how they show up and what happens when we resist them? I invite participants to share the synchronicities that have been the most validating and the most surprising and the ones that even led to pain. Some questions that we will cover are:

  1. When did you come to understand the power of synchronicities in your life?
  2. What are some that have been the most life-affirming?
  3. What are some synchronicities that have created mystery for you?
  4. Tell us about a time when you have resisted the synchronicities in your life and why?
  5. How do you stay attuned to the presence of synchronicities in your life now?

For details on how to join the conversation, click here.

 

Mombbatical Mindset: Passion

“What would you tell your younger self about living with passion?”

You know the feeling. The rush when you are fully immersed in doing something that you love down to your core. Time bears no consequence to the present moment. In fact, it moves too quickly as you savor each minute, whether it is while singing or dancing or climbing a mountain. Miles of bike trails pass beneath the rubber tires that bear the weight of your passion. Scents swirl in the air, luring those you love to partake of your latest culinary concoction. A child’s smile fuels your conviction as you offer them your gentle care. The drive is undeniable. The joy is simply unmatched.

But, then there’s the heartbreak of a passion lost. Maybe it comes from rounds of rejection that lead you to just give it up. Or from the doubting words of those who are closest to you. Their motive is unclear, yet they strike with such precision at the most tender and vulnerable places in your soul, changing the very face of your dreams.

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron tells her readers that reclaiming our passion to be creative starts with recovering our sense of safety. As we purge the demons who have blocked our way, whether internal or external–the monsters who have created the narratives that tell us we do not deserve to live the life that we want, the passion that wells inside of us is unstoppable. It cannot be contained nor denied.

“Man is not free to refuse to do the thing which gives him more pleasure than any other conceivable action.”

Stendhal

In this week’s Mombbatical Mindset conversation, we will discuss our Passions. The things in life that light our fires. We’ll also reflect on the passions that have been lost over time and the ones we have found the courage to reclaim, sometimes through our sweat and tears. Some questions we will cover are:

  1. What were some of your earliest passions when you were young?
  2. Were you able to keep them in your life? If not, why not?
  3. Who have been your greatest champions for you to pursue your passions?
  4. Have you ever played the skeptic in someone’s passion story, whether a friend, a child, a niece or nephew? From what are you protecting them?
  5. What would you tell your younger self about living with passion?

To join the conversation on Sunday, August 16th at 11 am PST/2 pm EST/8 pm CET, click here.

Mombbatical Mindset: Tribes

“Everyone seems to be seeking the highest good for all in our Zoom world while asking for nothing in return but presence.”

I never thought about the concept of tribes until my mombbatical when I took part in an experience called Alps to Alaska. I have been a part of work and church communities, families, even a sorority, but the concept of a tribe had a completely different feeling for me. When I found myself in this bona fide tribe–a group of individuals all committed to the ideal of supporting one another as we each embraced our own personal growth journeys–I was moved by the unconditional, yet interdependent energy of the group. There was no vying for power or ego jockeying. It was a peaceful exchange of ideas, energies, and vulnerabilities.

“The question is can we translate this same type of energy and generosity to the very institutions that are failing us or are in question right now? Our schools? Our workplaces? Our governments? Our economies?”

The pandemic has really forced us to look deeply at our people groups–our work communities, our families, even our friend groups. While separated from all those I hold near and dear, I found comfort in the tribes that intentionally sought virtual connection during those months. Even in the digital universe, I appreciated the way these tribes simply nurtured the connections without demands or obligations. Everyone seemed to be seeking the highest good for all in our Zoom world while asking for nothing in return but presence.

What I am learning in my tribal interactions is that there is shared power. Some may direct the momentum in certain directions, but every member’s contribution holds its own weight. No one is fighting to be seen or heard because the space has been created for that very purpose. The question is can we translate this same type of energy and generosity to the very institutions that are failing us, or are in question right now? Our schools? Our workplaces? Our governments? Our economies?

In this week’s conversation, we will talk more deeply about tribes and how their very nature is the healing balm that we need in this moment. We will contemplate the following questions:

  1. What are the tribes that sustain you in your life? Try to think beyond family or other groups to which you have obligations.
  2. What are the lessons that you have learned from those tribes?
  3. How do the tribes that we attract affirm beautiful aspects of ourselves?
  4. How have the members of your tribes challenged you to step outside of your comfort zones?
  5. How might your tribes inspire greater collective action to bring about real change?

This week’s conversation is Sunday, August 9th at 11 am PST/2 pm EST/8pm CET. For details on how to join, click here.

Mombbatical Mindset: The Past

“Sometimes it’s best to leave some baggage at the baggage claim.”-Jim Phillips, my father.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Ah, the age old adage from writer and philosopher George Santayana. These words could not be more relevant than now as we watch the United States go up in flames from the coronavirus pandemic. The narrative is playing out exactly as it did during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. I watched a play-by-play analysis of the Spanish Flu response side-by-side against the current pandemic response and was struck by how the country learned nothing from this significant moment in history.

“It either haunts us with its traumas and mistakes or intoxicates us with its fanciful moments of nostalgia, trapping us in thoughts of what we believe was a better time.”

This should be of no surprise. When a culture prioritizes power, money, and dominance, its citizens will always be the collateral damage in that pursuit. Full stop.

For us as individuals, the past wears many different masks. It either haunts us with its traumas and mistakes or intoxicates us with its fanciful moments of nostalgia, trapping us in thoughts of what we believe was a better time. For my own father, thoughts of the past were something to avoid altogether as he had suffered great losses, including his mother when he was only 22. I remember asking him once why he seldom spoke of her or those experiences from his past and his response was both poignant and simple, “Sometimes it’s best to leave some baggage at the baggage claim.”

I never pushed for more as I didn’t want to open any wounds, but looking back on my father’s life, his temperament, and the ups and downs, I often wonder if he had engaged in a deeper examination of those pains, would he have made different choices, quelled certain impulses, or perhaps been more forgiving of his own failures?

While discussing the concept of resilience, a brilliant friend of mine, Rebecca, offered the idea that often when we are confronting difficult times, we prefer to frame our stories in either the past, the present, or the future. There is both power and safety in all of those frames, however, how do we use the past as a teacher and not as a captor, holding us back from living in the present moment? And how do we honor the possibility of the future without deferring our very present responsibilities towards our own growth? More specifically,

  1. How often do you live in the story of your past?
  2. How does the narrative of your past impact your relationships? Your accomplishments?
  3. How do examine the past without feeling like you are in full on therapy?
  4. Do you have a clear sense of who you were in the past relative to who you are now?
  5. How do you use that sense of identity to empower you in the present?

These are the things we will be discussing in the next Mombbatical Mindset conversation on Sunday, August 2nd at 11 am PST/2 pm EST/ 8 pm CET. For details on how to join the conversation, click here.