spirituality

Divine Mother Sandra { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Mothers Need their Mothers, Too

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of August Session 1 }

{ Sandra }

Mothers Need their Mothers, Too

“I started being a mother at the age of 18 and now she’s 18 years old. It was very difficult and  I couldn’t have done it without my parents. They were the biggest inspiration.”

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“My mom she was the one who said we’re definitely going to breast feed and cloth diaper. It was really fun, except not really. In 1997 cloth diapers were horrible. Little rubber pants and Gerber refolds. You know how low quality they are now? They haven’t changed. My mom was the first to go out and buy disposables and say we’re not doing this any more. She had thought it would have been like when I was cloth diapered , but things had changed.”

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“Low point was having to go back to work. It’s difficult to leave your babies. Soonest I had to go to work was after my second was born. I was in the Navy and she was a week old when September 11 happened. My extension to my baby leave got cut short. I did get my full baby leave, but not the extension. So my parents took care of my daughter. I was working a state away. I tried to pump, but I dried up. She only got about 3 months of breast milk.

With my little ones now, second youngest is 3 1/2, he breastfed for 2 1/2 years. So there’s nothing wrong with the boobs, but there needs to be a baby attached for it to work!

I worked up to about a month before coming here. So it was kind of hard to adjust. But you don’t get these moments back.”

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“I feel like I came into myself more. I feel more confident, more self assured, and it’s brought me happiness. I love it, I love it, I love it. Or I wouldn’t have had so many.

I think because they are so spaced apart it doesn’t feel likes many.

Joking with a friend I had said. I’m going to go pose in my underwear, but I thought, it couldn’t be so bad… my underwear covers more than my bikini!”

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“I’ve seen the normalize breastfeeding movement and I love it. Back then, among my friends, I was the only one to even give it a try. I was the odd man out. It’s good to see the growing numbers.”

Sandra, thank you so much for participating in this project and sharing part of your story with us. It’s so wonderful to talk to a mother who’s had years worth of experiences, knowledge and wisdom.

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

Sandra participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of August Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

The Divine Mothering Series is already making waves on the internet. Check out some articles written about DM in our PRESS section.

 

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Divine Mothers of August Session 1 { Motherhood Photo+Interviews }

A sneak peek into the images captured on Divine-Mothering’s August Session 1, Aug 4th. I can’t wait to blog the individual stories and share these women’s voices with you!

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a media frenzy with several blogs publishing articles about Divine-Mothering and while it’s all exciting to get attention, the very best part is to start receiving messages from people who have been positively impacted by these photos and stories. The blog’s reach is growing, our voices are getting louder, and you ARE getting the point across!

Women everywhere want love themselves!

And you know what? Now, no matter where you are, you can share your story on Divine-Mothering. I am very pleased to announce that I am launching a Submissions Section to the blog where women everywhere can share their photos and voices. Check out the Submissions Section HERE and share your story Today!

An now on to these lovely mothers <3

Divine Mother { Sandra }

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Divine Mother { Leah }

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Divine Mother { Ashley }

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Divine Mother { Rebecca }

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#GoddessesInTheStudio

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Thank you, ladies, for participating! After this session I felt such a humongous sense of peace. I know we are making a difference! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with Divine-Mothering and the world! <3 <3 <3

I will be blogging about each of their mini sessions in the coming week and I absolutely can’t wait to share more.

If you are interested in the photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, please visit her website here.

If you are interested in participating in one of the Motherhood Photo+Interview Events, check out our FB Page and click Events.

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Divine Mother Kathryn { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Healing Through Love & Motherhood

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of July Session 2 }

{ Kathryn }

Healing Through Love & Motherhood

Kathryn emailed me her journey after our session. So I will leave you here with her words, a beautiful story of healing.

“There are two parts of my life that drew me to this project—growing up, and marriage. The first formed my ideologies about life and being a woman, and had a significantly negative impact on my body image and my sexuality; the second RE-formed and and reshaped those values and brought me to where I am today. I used to be an uptight girl who felt she was ugly, and that her body was useless and something to be ashamed of. Now I am an empowered mother, unafraid of intimacy with my husband, and much more confident in my body’s beauty.”

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“I was raised down South in a Conservative Christian home. My father divorced my mother when I was a little girl, and I barely saw him. When I did, I felt unwanted and unloved; a burden. I longed for the families other children I knew had. I wanted to be the “Daddy’s Princess” that I saw on t.v. I wanted to know I was beautiful and cherished. Instead, I was jealous of the relationship my little sister had with our father. He got it right with her, and it was painful to watch.

Everywhere I looked in my family, I felt unloved…or at least not loved in the way I was longing for. I felt unseen too. My mother did the best she could to raise me and my big sister, but she was always working and didn’t have time to “play” with me. Because of my mother’s hurt from the divorce, she often acted in ways that were harmful to my developing self-esteem; although she had no idea how her actions would affect me. I always heard her cry and say she’s “fat and ugly.” She would never go outside with me because she didn’t have the energy, and didn’t want anyone to see her. She NEVER went swimming with us, even though she owned a swimsuit. Whenever we would go shopping, I would pick her out clothes that brought out her features—instead of buying and wearing them, she continued to wear her scrubs from the hospital. She covered her body and was ashamed of her stretch marks and C-Section scar. On top of that, I constantly heard how a man would “never love her”; especially because of the way she looked. My mother did not mean to hurt me with how negatively she viewed herself…but she did—GREATLY. I felt as though I were the cause of her “ugliness”. If I would not have been born, my mom and dad would still be together. Those thoughts continued to haunt me into adulthood.

I was just a little girl longing for affection. I wanted my mom to be happy and just be my mother. I didn’t care what she looked like…I wanted her time. I didn’t want to constantly hear about my father and how he hurt her, and how ugly and unloved she was—I loved her! Why couldn’t she see that? I was too young then to understand the impact my mother’s negative self-esteem would have on my own. Outside influences growing up also had a significant impact on my negative body image. I was bullied constantly from a very young age…an outcast. I did not “fit in,” and everyone made that known. I had no friends in school. Those I held on to for a while took advantage of my loyalty. Every day in high school I was told how ugly and worthless I was. Told that nobody would care if i died. On Valentine’s Day, I was the girl receiving fake love letters so they could watch me cry. But the worst was being told that NOBODY would ever want to marry me. I was considered unworthy of love, so I had trouble loving myself.”

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“I wanted to die. I never physically hurt myself, but I wished that God would let me fall asleep and never wake up, or get in to a car crash. I just wanted my sorrows to end, and to be in Heaven with Him. I knew I was God’s child, and that HE loved me; that’s the only thing that kept me going. Not only was I bullied at school, but I also endured physical and emotional abuse from my grandmother whom I lived with. Everyone had left me but her. Due to this, I was involved in friendships that were unhealthy as well. I kept getting hurt, and allowing myself to be hurt because it was what I was used to—it was my comfort zone. I saw myself as ugly and worthless. Despite the destructive view of myself, I did not run to “men” to fulfill my attention needs. I still had one thing that I was proud of, and hadn’t been taken from me—my virginity.

Growing up in the church, I was not exposed to healthy and proper sexuality. I was just told that sex is dirty and wrong until marriage. Unfortunately, the Church does not realize that this teaching negatively affects young Christian women. Many married Christian women have issues being intimate with their husbands because they’re ashamed of their bodies, and afraid of its sexuality. We’ve been told to cover up, so as not to make a brother stumble. We’re told that it’s OUR fault if a male lusts after us. We carry this shame, while Christian boys often bear little to no responsibility for their own actions…Yet then we women are supposed to instantly release a lifetime of conditioning when we get married and suddenly believe sex is now a beautiful, NOT shameful act; AND be confident in letting our husband take joy in our bodies? Yeah, it’s hard! Modesty is an ATTITUDE, NOT a style of clothing. Which brings me to the second part of my story—MARRIAGE.

Having been told I was worthless for years, and that I would NEVER find a man who met my standards, (which by the way, that man would have to significantly lower his standards to want to marry me) I was beginning to feel hopeless. I doubted that Mr. Right would ever come for me…And I was only 20.

My deepest desire was to be married. To become a wife and mother. I met my husband, (who met EVERY one of my standards) and we were married 6 moths later. I knew he was the man God had saved for me, and I the woman for him. He accepted me and all my emotional past. He understood me, but most of all, he made me confident, and brought out the beauty that had been so deeply hidden within me. He made me realize that I was lied to my whole life. I DO matter. I AM loved. I AM beautiful. And I am worthy of respect. I thank God constantly for my incredible husband. He was so patient with my intimacy issues. It was hard not to feel shameful when we were together; it was embedded in my subconscious. It took 2.5 years, counseling, and the spiritually healing birth of our son, for me to finally enjoy and believe that making love to my husband was a beautiful and glorifying act…NOT shameful. I could finally rejoice in my body also being his; and let him love me. I no longer feel ugly, or worthless, or unloved. I do not wish I was never born—I love myself and I love life!”

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“Motherhood has healed my spirit and body. Physically I sometimes struggle with my body image because I do not look like the “typical mom”, I don’t have the normal “mom bod.” I was unable to get beautiful maternity pictures because I barely showed. My breasts did not increase in size (not even during breastfeeding!) I gained a total of 15 pounds, all of which I lost during the birth. I have no “tiger stripes” or stretch marks on my belly…and yes I do in a way feel left out of motherhood for not having them.

Although I do not have any outward scars related to childbirth; I carry around inward scars invisible to those around me. My motherhood journey did not begin with a life, it began with a loss. Three moths after my husband and I were married, we suffered an abnormal pregnancy. We were eager to start a family together, and that dream came crashing down. It was my very first time at an OB office and we were expecting to hear our baby’s heartbeat. Instead, we were told there was no baby growing inside me, but rather a hyatidaform mole, or rapidly growing non viable tissue (tumor) in my uterus. I had a complete molar pregnancy and was scheduled for an emergency D&C two days after. I was fortunate that the doctor caught it immediately. He told me it was very nearly cancer. I was 21.

We hadn’t told our families we were expecting, and now had to deliver devastating news. My family was understanding…my husband’s was hurt that we didn’t tell them we were pregnant. The surgery went well, but I believe my body was psychologically traumatized. Under doctors orders, we were not to conceive again for a year—at the very least 6 months. Preventative measures had to be implemented, which left me emotionally scarred as it went against our personal beliefs. I was blamed by some for what occurred, which left me damaged as well. We did not have time to properly grieve, as several weeks later the military gave us orders for overseas. Our focus shifted. We put the loss in the back of our minds. I know now that I was a mother then. The moment I saw the double lines, I became a mother. And that matters. When we arrived in Germany, I had my birth control removed. The next cycle our son was conceived.

My pregnancy was very easy (except me worrying in the beginning about another loss). I felt the most beautiful I ever have during my pregnancy. I started researching, and from that we began to live a more “natural” and healthy lifestyle. I wanted the best life for our child. I bonded with our son throughout pregnancy. I was determined to have an all-natural childbirth…and I DID! My son’s birth was healing in multiple ways. The joy was indescribable. DIVINE. I now had a son who was solely dependent upon me for nourishment. My body grew life, and now I would sustain that life. It’s absolutely incredible. Our journey definitely hasn’t been easy, but we have just reached a breastfeeding milestone of one year!!! I could not have done it without the support of our local mothering community, and especially my husband. His unwavering support encourages me to take part in projects like this. He appreciates and recognizes the beauty and power within a woman and her body. He is there by my side every step of the way.”

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“Every woman’s background shapes who she is today. No matter where you came from, you have the power within to change and transform your views. I still hold on to my Christian values, and am modest even when I’m not fully clothed. The Church needs to appreciate women’s bodies and the power given to them by God. Don’t shame a woman for breastfeeding her child without a cover, by saying she’s “immodest”, or by making her feed elsewhere. Encourage and uplift her as a mother. We are part of the body of Christ too. And our bodies are a beautiful temple of the Lord, to be appreciated—not torn down. No matter if Christian or not, we as women are part of a community. Please always remember: I DO matter. I AM loved. I AM beautiful. She matters. She is lovable. She is beautiful. YOU matter. YOU are loved. YOU are beautiful. Together we can change the world!”

Kathryn, I hope you realize that you have one truly amazing “mom bod”! Thanks so much for sharing this story with us and participating in this project. You are amazing!

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

Kathryn participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of July Session 2, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

The Divine Mothering Series is already making waves on the internet. Check out these recent articles featuring the project!

A Beautiful Body Project

Baby Center UK

Bored Panda

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Divine Mother Amy { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Advocate

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of July Session 1 }

{ Amy }

Advocate

“It’s been a wild ride. I started with twins. They were born 8 weeks premature, emergency C-section, preeclampsia, I almost died… It was crazy. And then they were fine!

I breastfed them. No one believed I could do it until I did it.

Then I had my next son. That was also a wild ride. It was a very traumatic birth and we thought we were done.  And then my big surprise!”

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“At that point we discovered that I had a bleeding disorder. It was a very high risk pregnancy. But he ended up being my easiest delivery. A picture perfect birth. He came so fast we didn’t have time to get in the water. But of course he has been the hardest child… but he was my fourth so I knew we were going to get through it.

I’m trying to live day to day. It’s belly laughs, dirty hands and feet, water balloons, ninjas…

The more kids you have the faster they grow up.”

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“I was so determined with my first. They were going to be fine, they were going to be great. I wanted them to reach their milestones early; roockie mom mistake. With this one I didn’t even want to put him on the ground…

It’s seeing them become people.

It’s also that you grow up faster. You’ve been there. You have matured as a mother and it’s not your first rodeo.”

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I have a sense of responsibility. Knowing that I have this knowledge. I have a responsibility to share it.

After the twins were born I was doing my masters degree and got involved with Mom2mom. It was actually something that happened with my mentor that made me really angry and I had to write a letter. That’s how I started advocating for other women. I thought, if I have to advocate for myself, I will do it for other women too.

I’m now the executive director of Mom2Mom Global. We have so many people wanting to start new chapters.

Everyone is uncertain. You just never know. You think you got it. With my fourth I thought, preemie twins…I got this! Then he had colic, dairy issues, all kinds of stuff. My husband and I were like, wow, this is worse than twins.”

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Amy also followed up with an incredible article she’s written to be published in Return to Mago blog in August 2015.

Something we touched upon via email but not during our interview is the loss of her womb. Amy recently had a hysterectomy, due to medical reasons. “It’s a journey for me to find my new center.  This has been a time of tremendous growth and accepting of new responsibility in completing the life cycle of Maiden, Mother, Crone.”

I wanted to share an except of her work, and can’t wait to see her complete article published soon. Pure poetry, Amy.

For four days more, as the days begin to shorten in the thirty-fifth year of my life, I will bleed my last moon blood. I will wonder at the mystery of it, of our bodies, of the moon, of the Great Mother and the cycles that constantly regenerate our lives and our world. I will meditate. I will engage in rituals of caring for myself. I will enjoy the gifts of my relationships, of the beauty around me, of the permeability between energetic planes. I will do the work laid out for me on my new path with renewed vigor and the confidence that comes from being a Crone and knowing that somehow, all the resources I need are already there, I only need to call them.

-Amy Smolinski. Excerpt from a personal essay to be published in Return To Mago in August, 2015

Thank you so much Amy for participating and being a part of this project. Thank you for sharing yourself and your beautiful energy with fellow women.

Repeat after me,

I am an amazing woman.

I am beautiful.

I am strong.

The light within me is divine.

If you are looking for breastfeeding support in the local KMC area, please check out the Mom2mom website and FB. If you are not local, as Amy mentioned, new chapters are starting up, more info here.

Amy participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of July Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in this series please consider subscribing to our blog and following our FB page.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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The Divine Mothers of June Session 1 { Motherhood Photo+Interviews }

A sneak peak into the images captured on Divine-Mothering’s first event from the Photo + Interview Series.

“I don’t think I can’t do these images justice, with my own words, because they are simply too special to me.

As I went through the photos, I knew I had captured something beautiful. However, once they started coming together in the editing room, my heart just exploded. There is something so equality delicate and tender as well as powerful and fierce. That inner light is so evidently percent present.

Every one of you is so incredibly beautiful, each mini session so unique and exquisite. But I think I was able to make my vision a reality, and capture what, in my eyes, is being a divine mother.” -Photographer, Liliana Taboas from Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

Divine Mother { Eva-Maria }

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Divine Mother { Alexevys }

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Divine Mother { Danille }

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Divine Mother { Annie }

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Divine Mother { Natallie }

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Divine Mother { Gabrielle }

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Divine Mother { Heather }

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I will be blogging about each of their mini sessions in the coming week and I absolutely can’t wait to share more.

If you are interested in the photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, please visit her website here.

If you are interested in participating in one of the Motherhood Photo+Interview Events, check out our FB Page and click Events.

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A Healing Pregnancy & Birth { Motherhood Stories / Miscarriage }

Women’s bodies are incredible. Each and every one of us, you and me, grew inside the womb of a woman. Our bodies are vessels of life. Not only designed to sustain life within for the 9 months of pregnancy, but also to nourish young nurslings until they are able to feed themselves. And even for those women who have trouble conceiving or breast feeding, that intense desire to nurture, to raise, to help heal, is unmistakably female. We are the mothers of the human race. An incredible honor, duty and responsibility has been bestowed on us. It should be celebrated. It should be praised. It should be our glory. Whether you have given birth, or not. Mothered, or not. Assisted in rearing, or not. Our bodies are a symbol of life, nourishing, and healing.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world where being a woman is of little value. Our bodies have been distorted by the media, stripped of their dignity and used to sell material things. Sexualized and villainized to the point that the mere sight of a child at her mother’s breast causes scandal. So much distortion of our self image has been spread into our consciousness that most women have come to fear pregnancy and birth, the very moment our bodies perform the most incredible miracle we could witness.

My heart had been full of fear and hurt, too.

Despite my second pregnancy producing the most amazing and beautiful healthy child. My heart was still mourning my first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage. Not an uncommon occurrence, but somehow it cut deep into my soul. My heart was still trembling with flashbacks of being in a cold room feeling helpless, naked, and completely heart broken, as nurses inspected my emptying womb.

A healthy daughter came into our lives soon after, as I became pregnant again within a few months. And every single day of that pregnancy was a struggle with fear and uncertainty… but after her birth, all was forgotten. The joy she brought me was enough for me to put aside my past experiences and enjoy being a mother. It would only be about a year after her birth, when the desire to grow our family started to take hold, that I realized how broken I truly felt.

The thought of being pregnant again brought me to tears. I was terrified. Despite dreaming of a larger family, I felt incapable of surpassing my hurt.

I begged my husband to consider adoption. I didn’t know what else to do. And for a while, this was my plan. To push for adoption as the only means to grow our family… Out of fear.

But as destiny should have it, I soon found myself pregnant again, and absolutely scared out of my mind. I could barely fake a happy face. Because despite my wholehearted desire for another child, I was petrified in fear. But there wasn’t much I could do about it now. I was pregnant and sentenced to 9 months of being a human incubator (as I liked to call it… as I felt).

Despite my fears, I was stubborn. I wanted a different experience for this pregnancy. I didn’t want to relive the cold offices, the intrusive tools, the constant invasions of privacy… So I searched out a home birth midwife. And I am so incredibly thankful I did.

My midwife would always assure me that my body and my baby would know what to do. She would, very seriously, explain how “the nature” would know what is needed. She made me trust my body to do what it was meant to do. I felt safe in her care, and that was important… To trust my care giver.

Of course, after a miscarriage, it is difficult to trust. I felt like my body had betrayed me and my unborn child, discarding it unfairly. And I felt like my care providers, at the time, did little if anything to help heal me, after assisting my body in finishing such an unforgivable betrayal. As if they had been in it together, to destroy my child and break my spirit.

Through my pregnancy, I started to look for female idols, goddesses, and sacred mothers. My favorite figure, by far, was that of Mother Nature, a metaphor I had grown familiar and comfortable with. A force that drives this planet, this earth. The creates life, creates beauty, that nurtures, and provides… But Mother Nature can also be a violent mother. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami are all part of the incredible and deadly forces of nature… Part of the life cycle…

I pondered on this image for a long time. If I was to see myself as part of the divine, as having a strong spiritual identity, as having my spirit and my body coexists harmoniously. I had to learn to accept, and embrace, that just like Mother Nature, a mythical and spiritual portrayal of our earthly home, my body, my temple, my very human self was also both capable of creating life, nourishment, and beauty, as well as great hurt and destruction. One aspect does not need to overshadow the other.

Does the horror of an unforgiving tsunami deny the vast beauty of the ocean?

Does the destruction of hurricane change our perception of the soothing summer showers?

And I suddenly felt the realization that my body was an extension of Mother Nature. Part of it’s creation, but also part It. With the power to create, to nurture, to provide… and to destroy. I may not fully understand the reasons why nature can be so violent and seemingly unjust at times… But I cannot deny that the same earth that shakes and brings down buildings also provides us the land to build anew.

It took me 3 years and two successful pregnancies to make peace with my body and amend my view of pregnancy after my miscarriage.

It took a loving supportive husband and family. It took an incredible, understanding and receptive care provider. It took falling in love with two beautiful children.

I had my second daughter in our home. It was a wonderful experience to be able to stay home, together as a family, to experience the incredible, magical, and powerful experience that is childbirth.

And somehow, after it was all said and done, after the nausea, after the ergy burts and energy drains, after the emotional roller coaster that is pregnancy, after all the check ups, after the labor, after holding my baby, after re-learning to nurse, after managing the first few days of being a mother of two… I can finally say, I am no longer afraid.

I can finally see the beauty in pregnancy again. The magic. The reason why women glow.

We are such incredible creatures, so amazing and strong and powerful. Don’t let them lie to you. Don’t let them make you think you are weak, or sick, or delicate, while pregnant. Don’t let them make you think labor is scary, or painful, or routine. Don’t let them tame you during labor. Don’t let them tell you what you need or don’t need, what can or can’t do. You know what you need, you know what you want. You make them respect your body. It is sacred. Labor is sacred. Don’t let them strip it of it’s beauty and dignity.

This pregnancy saved me from not understanding this. It guided me towards the truth. The incredible truth that we women are being denied every single day. That our bodies are incredible and POWERFUL. That we grow new lives within our wombs, nurse children with our breasts, and give birth through with our vaginas. And our bodies are not dirty. They are not weak. Our bodies are sacred. Our bodies are AMAZING. Our bodies deserve respect and honor.

Whether you are a mother or not, remember this truth. Your body is an incredible symbol of life on this earth, an extension of Mother Nature, and a force to be reckond with.

And THAT is the lesson I needed to learn… That I was not broken. That having had a negative experience does not need to cancel out how truly amazing, beautiful and magical pregnancy, labor, and mothering is.

{S}Hero Liliana

Photo by LilianaBeatriz.com
Photo by LilianaBeatriz.com

 

If you are interested in Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, visit the website here.

If you are interested in participating in the Divine Mothering Photo+Interview Series, Follow Our FB Page and Join our Events.

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Taking the Good Along with the Bad: Build up your Positive Karma and let go of the Negativy in your day

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Let’s talk about the one thing that keeps coming up over and over and over. Moms are stressed, cranky, sleep deprived, just battling their way through the days. It’s no surprise that many mothers just kind of let the negative energy flow, and one moment of frustration keeps rolling into the next, and into the next, and before you know it, it’s been a really bad day, a bad week, month? But all this negative energy we are harvesting is truly like taking small sips of poison during our days. Overwhelmed with frustration we lash out at our children, our spouses, and ourselves. We might snap at our toddlers for something totally insignificant, or be distant and short with our spouses even when they are trying to show you much needed affection, or we may succumb to our weaknesses be it binge eating, that extra-extra glass of wine, smoking, ignoring your proposed workouts, etc. etc. This negative energy can be built up in the same way one builds up positive energy, but when we are stuck in that stressed out, frustrated mind set, it can be difficult to switch gears and turn an unpleasant experience into one that can help build up our positive energy instead of our negative. Remember, once you start building up positive, or negative energy, it will start growing almost immediately on it’s own. So how do we turn negative, stressful, and frustrating experiences into opportunities to build up positive energy instead of negative?

It is definitely not an easy task to readjust your mind set when our instinctive reaction to something unexpected can be quite defensive. But we must try to practice taking the good along with the bad with as much openness, love, joy and grace as we can muster. Life is filled with great joys and great pains, and many many many surprises. As soon as we learn to accept all of these moments as one unified experience of life, and not separate instances in life, we will be able to let our love, joy and happiness flow into every aspect of our lives, not just the joyous moments.

Reacting to surprising or unexpected events with openness and love can help up build up our positive energy and karma.

So how do we accomplish this?

First we must start to recognize that negative energy rearing it’s ugly head into our day. Despite our instincts to think other wise, it is not the dog’s fault you are having a bad day because they saw something cool on the other side of your yard’s fence. You are not having a bad day because your toddler is over tired/frustrated/screaming bloody murder. You are not having a bad day because your spouse taking too long getting home after that long day. It turns out that we are having bad days because we choose to engage, build up, and even help grow our negative karma/energy. One wrong turn and we willingly lock ourselves into that negative mindset that only brings more negativity our way. When we are having a moment of frustration, we have to stop for a moment to recognize these feelings. Yes, my dog jumping the fence, again, is quite inconvenient. But lets face it, she just needs a walk today, and quite likely, so do I. My child screaming, however dramatic, is usually remedied more quickly with a calm and loving attitude than a frustrated and angry one. And so it goes, that in handling one not so convenient situation with a little more grace, we start to feel that positive karma building up. Didn’t it feel good to reverse gears and not give in to that negativity. All of a sudden what could have triggered a series of frustrations is instead giving you feelings of vindication and success. Not only did you remedy the situation with grace, you also showed yourself how incredibly awesome you are as a human being. Keeping your cool under pressure is never easy!

Once you start applying this mindset on a consistent basis you will start to realize that you are very much in control of your mood. Turning small moments of frustration into moments of success and vindication can make you feel like the super human/mom you are. And that positive energy will really start to flow.

So to sum things up, lets recap in 3 easy to remember steps.

1- Recognize you are feeling frustrated by the given situation.

2- If there is anything you can do to remedy the situation, do so with grace.

3- Think about ways in which this situation is actually helpful to you. Perhaps you need to practice patience, thoughtfulness, kindness, understanding, respect of differences, love, or gentleness. How else could we practice these virtues without opportunities to do so?

By being mindful of your attitude as well as your reaction you can help create positive energy and karma in your day. Don’t let yourself indulge in the negative reaction, this is the easy and natural reaction. Try to take control of your day and your mood by steering towards the positive and let that energy flow.

What are the common triggers in your life that turn a perfectly lovely day into a bad one? Have you noticed a pattern? When does your mindset switch to a negative state?

I hope this article helps you remember that we truly are in control.

#divine mothering, mindful living, spirituality, uplift

 

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Meditating with a Toddler – Can it be done?

Just a short while ago, I would have admitted that finding time to meditate with a toddler in toe was impossible. But this year I decided to start a new habit of finding time for 15-30 minutes of yoga and meditation every day, first thing in the morning.

It’s now been 3 weeks since I started doing this and I wanted to share what I have learned so far.

At first, I would try to get up a little bit earlier than usual. I wanted to have enough time alone before my daughter woke up. I have a pretty late riser on my hands so this really wasn’t much of a bother, and it just seemed logical to try and do this while she was still asleep.

This worked out well at first, particularly because it was still the holiday season and my husband was home as well as some visiting family. If my daughter woke up, she was kept busy by others. But as the family left and my husband went back to work, I had to start figuring out what to do in the case in which my daughter woke up before I was finished.

Instead of meditating in a different room as I had been, I decided to meditate in our bedroom close to where my daughter sleeps. I had been meditating downstairs by our larger window, but this felt too far away in case my daughter woke. The window in my bedroom has a much less pleasing view than that of the downstairs, but I figured some sunlight is better than none.

At first this change worked well, my daughter continued to sleep peacefully while I quietly did a simple sun salutation routine as well as a few minutes of meditation. See my earlier post for an example of my morning meditation. But eventually, after one particularly long night, I slept in, and barely snuck out of bed with enough time for my little routine.

I could hear my daughter moving around in bed as I tried to focus my attention and finish my morning routine. But as I sat down to meditate the jig was up. I was no longer alone. But instead of feeling defeated, I found I was already in a peaceful state of mind. My meditation time is usually about creating more awareness of the blessings in my life, particularly my family, so this morning, when my daughter came to embrace me while I was having my “quite time” I sudden appreciation for her unexpected presence.

She came up to from behind me and hugged my neck and I just soaked in the embrace and focused on how great it felt as opposed to thinking about how my “me time” had been cut short and interrupted.

This reaction came as a surprise to me. I had been dreading the thought of my daughter interrupting me since I had started meditating in the same room as she slept, but on that day I realized how silly this was! I was trying to be in tune with my blessings, and here she is, filled with joy and love, coming to greet me first thing in the morning.

Ever since that morning, I no longer feel stress over my daughter waking before I am finished. While I usually have to cut things a little short if she wakes, and my quiet time is a little less quiet, the energy she brings can be incredibly uplifting and more than makes up for a shorter session. If anything, they become more powerful.

So I realize now that when you mediate in the presence of young children it is important to harbor their positive energy instead of our instinctive negative reaction. Focus on the love you feel between yourself and your child and embrace it. Hug your child if they approach you. Welcome them into your space and invite them into your meditation. Perhaps they may want to join, or maybe they will simply observe. Sometimes your child may just wonder around the room entertaining themselves for a few moments as you finishing things up, they are still benefiting from the positive energy you are creating. Whatever works out, make use of your child’s energy in the room. Just as they feel your calm energy, embrace their loving attention and use it to expand your sense of joy and peace.

I wanted to share this experience in the hopes that it inspires others to give meditation a try, even with little ones in the home. It can bring much needed calm to the mind and heart and help you regain some sense of balance in our often messy days.

I would love to hear of other moms who meditate with their children. And if you have never tried it, I invite you to do so and share your experiences.

meditating with your toddler

#divine mothering, mindful living, motherhood, spirituality, uplift, meditating with children

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Let Mothering Heal Your Soul – Alleviate Motherhood Stress by Amplifying Your Positive Energy

Let’s be real here. Motherhood can be a very stressful time for women. Caring for young children in the selfless manner in which mothers do can leave you ragged and overwhelmed. Somedays are spent in “survival” mode where we can just barely put one foot in front of the other to get through to the next nap time or bed time. Even on these hard days there are small burst of light that have the potential to turn your mood around.

There are many ways to harness positive energy during your day, today I want to discuss how to begin your day on the highest possible note. This is simply one way to alleviate these negative feelings and stress.

morning

Starting your day on a positive note.

Didn’t get to sleep? Your child(ren) kept waking up crying, asking for milk, maybe a flue, or worse, perhaps they slept fine but you found yourself unable to get proper rest, rolling around in bed half the night. It’s quite natural to wake up not so happy on nights such as these, but it’s important to try and shift your focus before you start building up that negative vibe.

First thing in the morning, go to a large window in your home that has lots of sunshine. Make some space on the floor by this window and grab a cushion/pillow/yoga mat. Prepare yourself for a short mediation time by sitting in lotus pose, kneeling, or perhaps just sit in a chair if that feels most comfortable; standing with hands at your side or palms pressed together over the heart is also a nice calming pose. If you don’t have a pleasing view, or your windows simply don’t get much light, find a peaceful area anywhere inside the house (or better yet, outside).

Take in some deep breaths. Breath in deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Feel the calm building up and your mind clearing. Look out your window into the light. Keep breathing. Once you feel you have entered a peaceful state of mind, start thinking about the loved ones in your life you are thankful for. Name each one of your children (out loud, our quietly in your mind) and visualize their faces, their unique personalities, and their love for you. Take a moment to allow the feeling of love for your child fill your heart with peace and joy. Take more deep breaths. Continue on to think abut the blessings of this new day. A roof over your head, the food you will eat, the time you have with your family, and the opportunity to start anew. Remember, each day is unique, yesterday may have been a difficult day, acknowledge that yesterday is in the past and today is a fresh start. Forgive your children, and, more importantly, yourself for any upsets that might still be bothering you. It’s not worth it to start the day with that weighing on your mind.

Personally, I like to finish this type of meditation with a small bow. I place my hands on the floor touching the tips of my fingers in a triangle or diamond shape and touch my head to the floor. As I do this I reaffirm my gratefulness for a new beautiful day.

Now, some of you may be wondering how on earth this is possible with a little one who wakes long before you do and there is no such thing as “morning quiet time”. If this is the case in your home, don’t worry, you can still do this meditation. If your child(ren) insist on being with you first thing in the morning (of course they do! they love you so dearly!) have them meditate with you. This may be intriguing for them and they might happily follow your lead. Ask them to sit facing you and take a few deep breaths. Keep them engaged by having them tilt their heads from one side to the other relaxing the shoulders and neck muscles. Now, out loud, list the names of your family members saying “Thank you for ____” including yourself. Next continue with “Thank you for our home. Thank you for our food. I am loved. Thank you for this day.” Pausing between each sentence and taking a deep breath to really feel the words you are saying. Finish up with a few more deep breaths. Very young children may not last the entire meditation session, that’s fine. Finish it on your own.

Now you are ready to start your day filled with peace, love, and positive energy. Soak in this small peaceful moment and let it follow you throughout the day.

Try committing to doing this every morning for one week and reflect on it’s effect on your mood. Does this help you feel more connected to your child? Perhaps you are more aware of the specialness of a new day. Do you feel more spiritually aware? More observant of your blessing?

I truly hope this tip helps make a positive difference in your day and I’d love to hear about it!

#divine mothering, mindful living, motherhood, spirituality, meditate

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7 Ways to Practice Divine Mothering and Enhance Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Wellbeing

So… Exactly what is “divine mothering”?

I happen to believe, as many others have over the centuries, that the act of raising children can be a sacred task. Children are our future, our next generation, our most innocent, our most wise, our most loved, and our dearest treasure. They inspire a powerful selfless love, demonstrate incredible compassion and understanding, and exhibit joy, curiosity, and wonder. They are simply the very best of us. And since the beginning of time, the vessel by which they arrive on this earth, the nurturer, the first caregiver, and the first teacher, is the mother. This task mothers are given is sacred. There is simply no other way for me to describe such an honor, privilege, and duty.

So, if I am to treat parenting as a sacred task, I would do so with respect, love, and devotion. And if I am to do this, it means that pretty much my entire day is going to be filled with small acts of devotion not only towards my child, but also towards our home, our bodies, our minds, our family, our community.

In essence, our life is transformed. And if you wish to view it this way, mothering (and parenting), can become a means to expand your spiritual consciousness, your inner light and reaffirm your own divine presence within.

divine mothering

7 Ways to Practice Divine Mothering

1. Find and listen to your inner voice.

Let’s call it mother’s intuition for now. There is no denying this secret power. Mothers sometimes just know. Intuition is a powerful tool and can help guide us on the best course of action. Don’t take your mother’s intuition for granted. Find that voice, listen to it, and put your trust in it. When it comes to your child, and your life, there is no voice that is more important than your own. Trust and believe in yourself.

2. Treat your body as a temple.

It can be difficult finding and listening to that inner voice when your body isn’t getting what it needs. To tune in better to the messages your heart is trying to deliver you should treat your body with the upmost respect and dignity. It is after all, the dwelling of your soul, spirit and divine spark.

Try to eat as cleanly as possible. This may mean different things for different people (and it should! Every body is unique), but in general more fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating whole foods with the least amount of artificial preservatives, flavors and chemicals. Organic can be expensive, but consider switching some of the foods most relevant to your daily diet. Buy fresh local produce when available.

Drink water, lots of it. Instead of juices or soft drinks, as often as possible, choose water. Our bodies need it much the same way we need oxygen.

3. Practice being fully present.

In a modern era of being on the constant GO, it’s difficult to enjoy any single moment fully. The tv or radio may be in the back ground as you try to have a conversation. Your smart phone incessantly vibrates and beeps while you are attempting to color with your child. Even cuddling up and watching a movie as a family after a long day can turn into a dizzying screen frenzy as the laptops, tablets, and smart phones are kept on your lap or side table.

This is the world we live in. It’s just what we were handed. We must go out of our way to be fully present in our day, in our child’s and our loved one’s lives. Practice purposely leaving your phone in a different room throughout the day. Try starting and finishing small daily tasks without getting distracted. Cook and enjoy the smells and sights, after picking up around the house admire your handy work, sing, dance, play, craft, and read with your child(ren) with the tv off, the phone hidden, and your mind present in what you are doing.

4. Let your child be your teacher.

Often we assume that as parents we must always take the lead and that we are the ones who must teach. But our children come to this world with lessons they are here to teach us. Watch the joy and delight they take in small tasks. Watch how deeply focused they are. Marvel at how young infants savor fruits and vegetables that we would turn up our noses at. Pay attention at the deep focus and determination toddlers have when working on a new skill. Let yourself read more deeply into young children’s gratefulness, their compassion, and their unconditional love.

Your child has much to teach, and we have much to learn.

5. Take time for stillness, meditation and contemplation.

Along the lines of treating your body as a temple, making time for stillness is important to find balance in your day. After running around the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal, take the time to sit and calmly enjoy it. When your child naps, take a moment to relax, meditate, and rest, even if only a few minutes. At the end of the day after everyone has gone to bed, or perhaps in the morning before everyone wakes, take a few minutes to meditate in whatever way you feel is soothing. Even if the only time you have are the few moments you have before you fall asleep, take some deep breaths, quiet your mind, and enjoy the calm.

6. Take time for movement, and activity.

There is something incredibly soothing about movement, for the sake of movement. Taking a long walk, a run, exercising, and doing yoga can have a very cleansing effect on the mind and body. A physical activity helps clear your head, fills you with positive energy, and helps express stress from the body. It can feel difficult to find the time, but commit to 30-60 minutes of physical activity once or twice a week. Your mind, body and heart will thank you.

7. Let your heart be fully exposed.

Most importantly, let the love you feel for your child completely intoxicate you. There is no power on this earth greater than love. And the unconditional love you give and receive as a mother is an uplifting, healing, and contagious kind of love that will bring out the best in you and those around you. Feel this love, focus on it’s immense unexplainable size, and reside in it. Let this love and the joy it brings lay exposed for the world to see. You will glow.

 

In later posts I hope to expand and elaborate in more detail each of these topics, as each one truly encompasses so much more than what has been said. For now, I would love to discuss your first impressions! What do you make of Divine Mothering? Does one of these seven aspects call more your attention than others? Which one resonates with you the most?

#divine mothering, healthful living, mindful living, spirituality, motherhood, uplift

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