Feeling All The Mama Feels

Can I go Here and come back whole? I ask myself as I put my fingers to the keyboard this morning. It’s so easy to become lost in thought. Especially for a girl who hides from emotion. Or a girl who hid from emotion. A girl who doesn’t hide from feelings anymore… yet doesn’t particularly care for excessive feeling either. Still.

Perhaps, after months of write-free sabatical, and an exploration into integrative wellness from the other side of the table (as a coach-in-training), I can be Here and return into my sweet little world whole.

Let’s give it a try.

Today, I want to talk to you about these emotions I’ve been burying for years and years (and years). Today, I want to be brave enough to tell you that you are not alone if you have had big, scary emotions begin to rise up – and then you completely freaked the freak out (with or without knowing it). Today, I want to be brave enough to share this space with you. Because maybe, just maybe, if we share this space it will be easier to tell you about Jamie. And maybe it will be easier to tell you about growing into an emotional being, too.

Jamie was the first mother that I chose a relationship with shortly after becoming a mother myself. My peers didn’t have kids, especially sick ones, and I was crawling out of my skin most days pretending to be someone I wasn’t… yet. But in those conversations with Jamie – a friend and employee at my day job – I wasn’t pretending. I could tell her about the sleepless nights and the worry. She held a space for me. And in return, I held one for her. Our sons were only two weeks apart in age, and we could connect on so many different experiences. Including this one: Jamie lived with a physical dysfunction that was wreaking havoc on her life. That dysfunction took her from our beautiful world five years ago today.

That experience that we connected on has absolutely wreaked havoc on my life too. And five years ago, I had just recovered from an autoimmune crash and back injury. I was teaching yoga, contemplating leaving my job in veterinary medicine, and feeling nothing (still). My son was 20 months old, and I was completely disconnected. But on the day that Jamie passed away, I felt something for the first time since becoming a mom. I felt something real and raw and vulnerable. And it wasn’t fear – quite possibly the only thing that I had been feeling for quite some time. What I felt was one of the deepest sadnesses that I have ever known. And, home alone with my little boy when I received the news, I felt one of the deepest loves that I have ever known too. My mild child sat upon my lap as I crumbled that day. He sat upon my lap and he wiped away each and every tear that fell.

The little boy that I didn’t know how to love, loved me. I can’t put this experience into any more words than this. At least not today.

Flash forward through the next year, and slowly but surely more emotions bubbled up to the surface. And of course, one by one, I pushed them back down. When I became pregnant with our second baby, I decided immediately it should be a boy again. I was raised to believe that boys were less emotional. Which would obviously make life much easier for me!

feelings
This little boy might be the most emotional being I’ve ever met. He breaks down gender stereotypes daily. And I love it.

But alas, God’s hand placed me on a healing path – and that second miracle child ended up being a sweet (and wild) little girl. Not only did I begin to learn emotion through her, but I learned that all people have emotion through having her. Emotion isn’t just a girl or woman thing. It’s a people thing. (And it is safe to have them.) I’ve seen the emotion of a little boy learning to grow into a relationship with a lost mama bear; and then watched his emotions expand and contract as he learns to grow into relationship with a special needs sister. I’ve seen the emotion of a man who almost lost his father. I’ve seen the emotion of a child lost in her world. I’ve seen my emotions twist and turn and churn and bubble up through it all.

And while I don’t love the idea of being so hugely vulnerable as to feel all the feels all the time, I do feel a lot of feels a lot of the time now. Feels that don’t pull me down into a deep dark hole, but inspire me to lift someone else out of theirs.

How do you live in your emotional body? Does it feel good and safe to you? I would love to know.

To Jamie – thank you for being on my heart daily. You remind me always that being present means being grateful for all of the gifts that Papa has given me.

xox

Mama J.

 

I’m Tired

And feeling pretty honest! I recognize that this is a normal life space. Which is why I write “I’m tired” not as a complaint, but as an observation. Because even wading through the depths of bleary-eyedness, I see bliss. (P.S. fatigue births new words.)

I see that this is a transient place. A cocoon not to be broken preterm, but to nestle into. To enjoy. These moments are fragile. I know that should I push one aside, it will shatter. All that will be left are fragments… memories. There is nothing whole in those. So, I’ll be here now.

I’m tired. I eat to replenish a belly still full, hoping to find energy in nutrients. My bed is where I would find what I need. Yet I kneel on my mat, thinking – “Yes, more oxygen to my blood. More prana in closed spaces. It will heal me.” But really, all I need is sweet sleep.

I’m tired. Should my bed become more tempting, more accessible, more empty, then maybe one day I’ll retreat there. But for now, I’ll be here. Really here. Even when tired trickles into pointless frustrations. Here I’ll be. In love with a baby, a boy, and a man. In love with tired. Because right now, tired is a lived life.

Moving through Mothering

At 9:30p on a Tuesday evening, after hours of thoughts rambling along through my tired head, I felt a deep urge to disconnect. Babies in their beds, husband snuggling alongside the oldest, quiet appeared. Quiet for the first time all day. Peaceful quiet. Yet, the busyness in my head continued on. Connection. Disconnection. Reconnection. Questions arose from love. (A reminder of my mission to teach others and myself awareness methods to soothe the madness; to let love lead.) How best would I serve my little people tomorrow, without serving myself in the moments between days?

Without the want or need to use a mat between myself and the floor beneath my feet, I fell to the earth. Child’s pose… chair… supine twists… cat and cow. Breath became breath. Movement became movement. The flow of stagnant energy, stuck in spaces left untouched or overtouched from a day with sweet children, spilled from my body as I merged with the Universe. Movement became mothering. Mothering of self. Love of self.

A sigh of relief. Present moment awareness. Honesty. Truth. I love being a mother. Absolutely and entirely. Yet, there is little opportunity in being the caregiver to give myself the care I (and we) so truly need… unless we are creative. Unless we make room. It is impossible to make room without moving things a bit. Shifting perspectives. Integrating real life into real needs. Another sigh.

Tomorrow will be a great day because today I moved. Real needs. Yesterday, I moved with littles around and on me. Today, alone for the short while the Above gave it to me. Either way is wondrous in its own right. Creativity one day and surprising room the next. Tomorrow will be a great day because today I reflected… shifted perspective… and integrated it all. Moving through motherhood? Why yes, I am.

Are you?

Take it to the Mat: Let Love Lead

You’ll see it on my facebook page. On my website too. You’ll even hear me repeating these exact words. But this week and the next 30 days, I’ll also be living it. It being the mantra of the moment. The present moment, that is. “Let love lead.” Mindless, limitless, unconditional love.

There is almost no need to go any further with this post. Why? Because actions are louder than words. When LOVE replaces FEAR everything else falls into place… relationships, health, finances… everything.

sharing

Now love won’t paint over the many new arrivals of emotion that manifest within your body, mind, and soul. There won’t be glorious tones of pink concealing experience. And to believe so is to surely cause yourself suffering. Instead, visualize love as the greeter of the guests. Let love lead you on an interconnected journey between truth and bliss. Truth in this case being the honest interpretation of what you feel. Bliss being the perfect happiness found in approaching each guest with unconditional love and acceptance. Be in your body, not out of your body as you let love lead.

THE GUEST HOUSE

by Rumi 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whatever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

Peace & Love,

Jennifer Mamoga Wellness Signature

co-founder Mamoga & Mindful Mama Yogi

blisten Coach

facebook family

inspire another mother

www.bekindandunwind.com

Inspire Another Mother

It’s been over a year since Jamie left our world. Yet, her departure continues to serve as inspiration – just as so many of life’s events tend to do.

When I created Mamoga, my business and my middle child (yes, at times her wants seems to get “ignored” because of the high needs of my sweet monkey toddler and precious new miracle), I knew it had a rock hard foundation. I almost lost that sweet monkey when he was 11 weeks old. And my pregnancy with him? Calling those two experiences caustic puts it lightly. The experiences bore a hole into my soul. And where that hole sat, a seed was planted.

As a woman who never wanted to be looked at as such (I preferred to be one of the boys for many years, until a wonderful friend taught me how fabulous it could be to be me), I often lived a reclusive life full of dreams. Aspiration with limited inspiration. Then I had Ryker. Then I got sick. Then Jamie passed. From each dance with life my reason for being – for letting, loving, and leading – grew. The seed germinated.

Then I had Teagan. A first bloom appeared. A perfect birth. A healthy baby. And so, the journey continues. The journey of mothering babies and business. The journey of giving and receiving. Of serving others, by serving self. Motherhood has served as my inspiration. My experience of it, the experiences shared with me, and the experiences cut too short.

Life is short. We are here for a reason. What if the only reason is to inspire? To support another mother, nurturer, or woman along her path? In the words of Maya Angelou, “we are more alike than unalike”.

What serves to inspire you? Who has impacted your journey? How do you share this inspiration with the world?

Join our mission to inspire another mother.

Think less.
Be more.
Grow bliss.
Be bliss.
 
 
Shanti

Listen and Be Heard

written for nurturers at Mothering in the Middle, March 2013

 

Women – nurturers – are the most resilient beings in the Universe. Yet, no matter if you are in an aesthetically pleasing state, at the top of your career, happily mothering, or within the most profoundly loving relationship, you may tell yourself otherwise.  Most likely, you tell yourself that you could be more or do more.

I know this because I shared this affliction. Raised to believe that I was never enough, I strove every day to be more than enough.  It was not until my knees met the earth of my temporary dwelling place – a damp and musty basement – that I experienced an awakening. An old soul with cells full of trauma, I came to this place in wonder. Had my time expired? We all have these moments, if only we move out of the mind. If only we pause to notice our own heart beating… or breaking… and if only we listen.

Today I stand before you – a late-twenties Mama, eyes full of life and laughter, belly rounded with child. When I practice alongside you on the mat, my body aches too.  We both share the experiences of life and motherhood. And while I express postures on the yoga mat which cause me no harm, in this beautiful shared space I feel full both joy and sorrows.  I am blessed with a wild and healthy toddler.  Yet, as I nurtured him through survival to thrive, I lost the connection with my inner voice… and, as I sat in a hospital bed, physically alone for the first time in more than a year, I also lost the connection between my feet and the earth.

I believe that you know what I mean; I believe that you have been here, too. Our struggles may be slightly different, but as nurturers we are all the same. It matters not if the reflection on the pond is of a pretty young duck or of a wise older swan – both life and water run through our bodies the same. And roaring sounds of rushing breath and water emptying into the hands and hearts of those around us make our own voices inaudible. This becomes our normal space – to give and not receive.

I offer myself as a reflection of all women – all who mother. We are a resilient breed. When we step away from the lure of silence, we often find that our presence, our being, and our relationships have all been only half-seen or heard. Walking each day with unconditional love of both others and self, we all have the opportunity to connect with our own inner voice. And once YOU find it – the one that isn’t snickering at you beneath a pile of mixed-messages, the one that isn’t saying you are not happy, healthy or whole – you begin to recognize your own worth.  I stand here in testament – your voice can shape your path – “Be the best nurturer that you can be… by giving to yourself, first.”

Affirmation/Mantra: A daily affirmation or mantra leads to an inspired life. “Universe, please fill up my cup so that I may bless those around me.”

Yogic Wellness: Your body manifests all that is unseen – including each thought and action which does not serve your Highest Purpose. Practice Breath of Joy, finding your voice in loud exhales as you stand, breathe in, and reach for the sky. Allow your body to fall forward, arms flowing down and back by your sides. If you have any disharmonies of the head, face, eyes, or neck, including high blood pressure, take a simple child’s posture on the earth. Kneel, bring your sit-bones to your heels, and bow forward, head resting on top of fists. Breathe in deeply and sigh loudly with each exhale. A blanket, pillow or bolster may be used between sit-bones and heels should there be space.

Mindfulness Mechanism: Then next time that you are asked to give something of yourself, check your cup. If it is full to the brim, water those around you. If not, use your voice. Speak your truth. Say no to requests or ask others to wait. Follow this up with an action to self-serve or soothe. It may be as simple as sitting down on the floor to reconnect with the present moment, or as elaborate as a planned day spent only with yourself.

Living Yoga with Children: Allow your own children to bear witness to your resilience. In your most trying moments, the beings you care for will see you. Your response to adversity will help shape theirs. Use your words to briefly illustrate the situation, without requiring anything of them. “Mommy is frustrated right now.”

Should questions arise – such as in the never-ending why phase, elaborate. “Mommy is frustrated because she lost her keys.” Pause, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Little eyes are always watching… little ears listening.

Imagine being a child yourself. Your impression of the world is the same as that of those who care for you – whether you are an infant, waddler, toddler, tween or teen. The body language of your nurturer teaches you to either love or fear the world. In this space, you will either learn peace and presence or you will learn fight and flight.

Sharing Yogic-Life: Allow yourself to be fully present within your relationships. Whether the relationship is with an elder, parent, colleague, spouse or dear friend, your presence as a nurturer is impactful. Not every person you connect with will bring greater joy into your life; you can still bring greater joy into theirs. Share time without wandering through the mind. Be in your heart, visualizing a two-way street from your soul to theirs. Along this street rushes wishes of perfect happiness. Though you may not physically speak anything here, know that your inner voice only needs to be heard by you and the Universe. Here you fill up all cups. No one goes thirsty.

Always remember that as a nurturer, you bring greater love, light, laughter, joy and bliss into the world each and every day. There are zero degrees of separation between you and the Universe. The Universe is irrepressible, as are you. In living out loud, you are giving back to self. Self-affirm. Pause, look, listen and express. Hold on to the beautiful, perfectly imperfect humanness of caring for others.Let go of all that no longer serves you. Make room for all which will allow you to best serve. And when in doubt of your own resilience, find your voice. Then, stand in witness and listen.

visit our original post on Mothering in the Middle

You, Your Family & Yoga

Oftentimes, women, caregivers and mothers come into the practice of yoga when it finally “fits” into life. Kids are grown. Career is established. Sudden illness. Parent’s have passed. It is only once they hit the wall of realization – realization that they haven’t the village desired, required and deserved to support them through each and every life experience – that two weary feet walk to the mat. There a yearning is finally fulfilled. A place without judgement. A place of support. A place to cultivate new relationships… with both self and others.

What no one told them, and what Mamoga speaks of, is that there is the potential to avoid hitting that wall. We serve others best, when we have served ourselves first. Imagine not having tasted the meal you are about to share with family and friends. While we hope that it will meet their expectations and needs, we aren’t quite sure. The same happens when we tend to those around us in other ways, allowing our own well to run dry.

Living yoga – the unity of mind, body and breath from the mat and far beyond it – is a choice to self-nurture. It is a choice to say, “I count,” not only to yourself, but to every person you meet. Then, you will have something to offer, and will begin to cultivate relationships that offer you something in return. Quite possibly, nonjudgement and support. It takes a village to live this life. So, share this journey. And set the example for our youth that self-care practices are where living a peaceful and present life begins.

Wishing you love, light, and laughter.

Sat Nam.

image

image

What If This Is It?

This week, I’m pondering the notion that we all could live better – if not best – should we decided to live as though

If this is it, I know that I want to feel my best – inside and out – every day. I know that I want to spend moments in silliness and silence without judgement of what should be or could be or will be. I want to be absolutely, effortlessly joyful. I want to dance and sing. I want to hop, skip, jump, roll, and crawl all over a floor strewn with toys and non-childproof nick-knacks that should have never even been put on the floor or within a tots reach to begin with. I want to wear a beautiful outfit to work, only to find I sat in play-doh at breakfast. And then I want to laugh. Not cry. Unless I’m laughing so hard that I begin to find tears rolling down my cheeks. I want to open my arms wide and know that I have someone to wrap those arms around. I want to smile when I get lost in a happy thought, and not worry for one single moment that someone saw my goofy grin. I want them to see it. And smile too.

Yes, I have many wants. But beyond the want is the will. The will to live like this truly is it. I have it. Do you?

Reflection: How can you best live as though this is it? I invite you to perform your own little experiment. Go back to basics. When we are born, we have but two emotions: love and fear. When we are secure in our environment, all we experience is love. Become secure in your environment. If any action you consider, make or take provokes feelings of non-love, ask yourself, What would I do if this was it? If this was it – not your last moment, but the moment that you might live in forever  – wouldn’t you want to feel good body, mind, breath, and soul and in every other possible way?? I know that I would. And with less effort and more love, just maybe,  I will.

Wishing you love, light, and laughter.

Sat Nam.

Bottoms Down

This one’s definitely for the meditation garden.

When the going gets tough, the tough sit down.

Do sit. Why? We all need a break. And we all thrive best when we take the time to ground ourselves. Connecting our sitbones into our mat, the dirt or grass, we come down from the whirling and twirling. We find that our bellies are able to fill more fully with vital air and we nourish our entire being. We find that our minds empty and we become more childlike. Wonder, awe and excitement course through our veins. We remember that we are alive, whole and happy.

Don’t overthink it. We tend to beat ourselves up over taking a break. But it is the break that allows us to bend. Think of it this way: Many of our parents told us that we were “grounded” at some point in our youth. What would have happened had they asked us to “ground ourselves” instead – in the sense of taking our bodies to the earth, connecting with the present moment, reflecting, being and breathing? The outcome most likely would have been more substantial. Maybe a bit less anger or frustration and a lot more love. For others and ourselves.

What you haven’t learned as a child, you can as an adult.

What you haven’t learned as a child, you can share as an adult.

Hmm… yogic food for thought.

Wishing you love, light, and laughter.

Sat Nam.