Kindness and riding the back of my visions into new territory..

Hey beautiful one,

So over the last few months I’ve been sharing my expansion into running women’s Somatic groups. It’s felt like I’ve hit the gold thread of vocation, (or maybe I’ve just been combining lots of what I love). But, I want to share more of my journey with you because right along-side that feeling of rightness, I’ve also found a deep-thread-of-Resistance.

… Not wanting to plan or to work. Sometimes, there’s just rock-hard resistance, doubt and fear… I don’t even know what Of?! The newness of things, the out-there-in-the-world-ness of things.

Riding the back of my visions into new territory…

Eek-ing f*^k!!   NEW territory!!

So, I’m sharing this with you because I see this is often the human experience. I know I’m not alone in hitting this uncomfortable patch in doing something new. We tend to do one of 3 things. We either don’t grow/try new things so we don’t have to feel these (sometimes Deeply) uncomfortable feelings. Or we Do grow outside our norm, hit the fear/doubt/resistance patch and run back to our comfort zone (SO tempting!).

OR
We breathe through the turbuent patch, hold ourselves close, keep a firm eye on those visions, and an anchor in the earth or God or whatever we call Holy…

Because I’m remembering that in life, and in my work; with expansion comes contraction. I’m remembering that this is the natural flow of things. It helps to test our direction and longings. Do we really want this new-ness? Have we outgrown the old shell enough that we’re willing to brave the Unknown?

This is how we allow our edges to show us how we are growing. This is how we turn and face what has caged us.

 

I drew this picture (below) for a client the other day describing how we can block out big feelings of grief or anger, but how the very act of blocking-something-out, cages us in! If we can’t face grief, we are bound to look everywhere but at grief. If we can’t face vulnerability, we are bound to always face away from vulnerability. It may sound ok, but This is how we make our worlds Smaller. Our capacity thinner. Our willingness that much more brittle and snappable.

 

So, my dear friend, the first step when there’s resistance, doubt or fear alongside stretch and new-ness, is to meet it with a big dose of kindness.

Cause kindness will say:

I am where I am
Things are how they are, in this moment.
And when I don’t try to make it different, I’m ok.
I’m human And I’m Divine

And when kindness has offered her sweet balm, clarity can come in and have its say.

This is what Clarity said to me today:

My mission is to bring what has been separate into one
To bring kindness, relief, deep love, play,
Connection and deep acceptance.
To meld Two into One
One Hundred into One
We are all One

This is the wild horse of my visions that I’m riding…

 

Want to join me ?? 😉

 

 

Bah-bah-bummmmm… drum roll.. These circles (below) are the vessel that my vision of healing the separation of mind/body/spirit/hearts and humanity is playing itself out in. I’d love to invite you to share in this experience and in this vision too..

Come join us in a Committed 6 Week Group beginning 7 February

Combining Somatic experiencing, Attachment theory, conscious dance and Diamond Essence style inquiry practices, these circles are gentle, deep, playful, informative and Fun!

These circles are wonderful for women who have taken their inner work to a certain level and know or feel that “the body” is the next terrain for them. They are perfect for women who are curious about the link between the animal instincts (in our brain and nervous system) and the soul.

These 6 week groups will help you befriend and experience your nervous system from an embodied place and soothe and feed your attachment system. Games, exercises, inquiries into life as experienced In the Moment. Presence and the felt sense, Deepening your relationship and integration with your “lizard” brain. The 6 week format allows for a deeper practicing of the tools given in circle.. so that this ground of experience becomes part of the ground of your being.

“You knit a hammock we can rest into, maybe without even knowing it!
… Amanda embodies a sense of trust in the process which is reassuring, supportive and offers a sweet tenderness.” Emily

Here’s the Details:

~> Evening Somatic Inquiry and Sisterhood Circle
Tuesdays 6-8.45pm
7th Feb – 14th march

~> Daytime Somatic Inquiry and Sisterhood Circle
Thursdays 12-2.45
9th Feb – 16th march

Price: $290 EARLY BIRD by the 26th Jan.
After that $300 concession/$360 full for the 6 week block
Venue: Mullumbimby area, TBA

 

“Just exquisite, knowledgeable, wise, attentive, present with great timing with people’s processes. I felt a reconnection to my open heart, compassion for others, love and respect for myself” – Monique

 

> Please note: These Circles are kept small and intimate and places are already being snaffled up..  message me if you’d like a spot so we can hold it for you! 0421079644 or amanda@wisdombody.com.au

 

I’d love to have you join us as we ride these wild and tenderly-kind horses into greater aliveness, greater capacity and deeper connection 🙂

With big love to you and your wise wise Body,

xx Amanda

It’s All you Baby

It’s not a popular thing to say in my line of work, but it keeps coming up very strongly for me to say…

It’s all an inside job, baby 

That tight shoulder you’ve had since you had your first baby,
That deep grief in your heart every time you have your period that makes you doubt your relationship,
That lack of energy flow through your hips,

All of these experiences originate and exist with you. And the power to shift your experience lies within you as you bring your awareness and listening to what is happening in you. You can invite a therapist or healer to work with you, to guide you, to help create space for healing, but they cannot DO the healing for you. 

When we go to a therapist or healer of some kind of course we’re looking for change and relief
When we are in pain or not trained in healing, I get that we need guidance. Of course we do. This is human and this is Beautiful.
We need to feel we’re not alone. And sometimes we need to feel we can relax into someone else’s care.

Yes, lets do that.

But I don’t agree that change occurs with a pill, or purely through someone else’s action.


It'sAllYou

As a masseuse and trauma therapist I’m supposed to offer solutions and resolution for very genuine pains. And I am genuinely here to help. And I LOVE to help. BUT … I’m not up with the idea that I have the answers for your situation, or that I have the ability to wave a magic wand and make things go away.


This looking outside of ourselves for the answers is just
old news. It’s built on a health care system that makes the therapist the one with the power over your body or inner being, and you a helpless consumer of your their services.


The reality is, you live in your body and personality your entire life, and a therapist who doesn’t empower you to work with your body in more harmony and learn to listen to yourself is doing you a disservice. 

With the old model of a health system, if your body was a car, it’s like the only one with a manual to drive it is standing over there objectively naming your cars bits and how they relate, while you sit in your body/car feeling helpless, hoping they can make sense of the whole mess!
If you were given the map of how your body/mind works. If you were empowered with the tools to keep it running well, to feed it with love, to listen to it yourself, you wouldn’t have to wait until there was steam coming out from under the hood to start asking questions! You wouldn’t have to refer outside of yourself for objective answers to a very subjective experience! And it would be a very different experience to be in your body.

I know you know you are not just a mind dragging a body and heart along… You are an intricate, interwoven, intelligent organism of self organising Wisdom. Your body, heart and mind are intricately linked and constantly communicating to and for each other via sensation, thought and emotion. So when you have a painful back, a recurring hurt or a glorious feeling of open-ness, it touches and communicates all of you … 

It’s all You! And its all connected.

Cause what I see Every time someone comes in my treatment room or hops on my table is that their experience is decided by their internal world. In a day when I see 5 different people, one can have a glorious, soul bathing, heavenly-reboot of body and soul and another..  “just another ok experience” where they are touched in body, but not much else. I am offering pretty much the same level of love, attention and willingness to each client.. it’s whether you show up for yourself that makes all the difference.


It’s whether you’ve prayed for change. It’s whether you are open to the hurt or the anger or the resistance or Whatever is real for you in that moment. It’s whether you are willing to be held and helped from your stuck place. And if it’s right for you, it’s whether you are allowing gratitude for this very moment to seep in.

You are the ground that the change, growth and relaxation must occur within, and you are the gate keeper for miracles… you let them in.. or not!

So,

My rant in bullet point:

  • Stop giving your power away to therapists, healers, psychics and know-it-alls
  • Accept guidance and wisdom that sings in your bones. You are the barometer for your truth, Not someone else!!
  • Stop thinking someone else knows your body or experience better than you. Get to know your body. And hint: LOVE IT. It will work better for you if you do.
  • Stop Ignoring the absolute Glorious wisdom of your own Soul

Amen and hallehlulyah.

Let me know how you go with that
With wild love,

xx Amanda


Meet Amanda:

Amanda is a Body-Passionate explorer of the human psyche. She is passionate about self-care for women and parents and runs programs to support them to fill their own well and come home to themselves. She helps women unwind trauma and frozen patterns in the emotions, mind and body accumulated through accidents, trauma and illness.  

Trained in Somatic ExperiencingTM, years of training in body work, energetic healing, conscious dance and Vipassana meditation. Amanda Love, love, LOVES her work. Contact her here for a chat or more details.

A bow to your Strength and staying Even more Present to Life

Hey Moon dancer,

I hope this full moon solar eclipse is treating you kind 🙂 For me it’s been like a wild wolf got inside my skin and roughed up my insides. I even found myself jumping up and down under the moon wanting to run somewhere reallyfast or Ravish SOMETHING! Instead I parented, got frustrated and did the dishes (not very well).

So, although these times have been expanding, connecting and sometimes-wild, I see that many of us are also facing disconnection, pushing and stress and our wounds and triggers are popping up in our faces. And they can be very strong and tricky to deal with.

So with a bow to your strength, your capacity and your Love, I give you these embodiment tools to help you stay even more present and Here for life.

A bit of background first:
I use words like “activation” to describe what is happening in your nervous system when old wounds or patterns are triggered. This just means that your physiology, your body, is responding to a real or patterned-in-you threat, by getting ready to run, fight or freeze and that it may be very hard to be “rational” in responding to these situations. These tools below are specifically aimed at calming your nervous system, so that racing thoughts, fears, disassociation (feeling “out of your body”), rage or anxiety are dealt with via the body where they “originate”, rather than the intellectual mind.

 

So here are some ways to calm your nervous system when you are highly activated. 

As always, the earlier you can catch the activation (or notice you are feeling triggered), the easier it is to work with, and the less you’ll experience exhaustion once you have calmed down or the situation has passed.

S-L-O-W-L-Y Moving Finger and Toe joints:

If you are feeling activated, triggered, or disassociated, bring your attention into your hands or feet to start. Moving the joints very slowly, breathing as you do so. Just moving them slowly in and out. If you think you’re moving them slowly, slow it down to half that speed. Give yourself more than 3 minutes to do this (so it’s not just having a quick go then moving on to something else). Moving the ankles and wrists also can help.

S-l-o-w-l-y.

Notice if your breathing changes when you do this, notice if you feel calmer; what shifts or stays the same.

In my experience this has an effect like “releasing steam” from a kettle. The build up of highly activated energy in your nervous system has somewhere to go. And agitation, anxiety, fear, uncomfortable tingling in the legs or arms tends to subside or lessen a lot.

The “Vooo” Sound*:

It’s best if you can drop anything else you are doing to be present in this moment. But if you are doing the dishes, haven’t found any other times and want to give it a go, I’m sure it will still help!
When you make the Vooo sound, imagine you are a ship in a foggy harbour. You’re making a “Vooo” like a fog horn, low in the belly. See where you can feel that sound vibrating. If you can get a low sound it will vibrate in the lower belly which is great for creating more space and movement in the viscera or organs where a lot of our activation tends to stay locked up. Do this 3 -5 times, then rest and notice what has stayed the same or changed in your body.
If you have a history of strong trauma, just take it slow and do the Vooo only once, then check out what has shifted or stayed the same. Only do a second Vooo if you feel up to it. This is because a nervous system that generally has higher activation needs less stimulation and input from the external world. Taking it little and slow is always better.

*This is a tool that Peter Levine, who created this work, often uses with highly traumatised people to help them develop more capacity. By capacity I mean, more ability to stay present to what is happening in the body, and therefore allow the body to complete its healing processes. But whether you have trauma or have just lead a human and bumpy life, this tool will build your capacity to Be here for it.

Gathering Calm, Safe people around you:

When you’re activated, sometimes all you need is some retreat time in a clam, safe persons’ energy. I advise you to write a list of folk who you feel safe and calmed by.. it may not be your best friend, and it may change at different times. Check this out as honestly as you can.

If you have the kind of relationship with this person or people where you can share your needs and feelings, I recommend asking them if you could contact them when you are triggered and how they might be available to support you in those times.
It could sound like:

You: “Hello Safe-Calm-Person, do you have a moment?

Safe-Calm-Person: “Sure”

You: “I am looking for some support for the times when I get really activated (use your own words here: triggered/overwhelmed/angry/scared). I feel really safe with you and I wonder if you would be open to me calling you, asking to come over or emailing you (Whatever feels appropriate for this connection with this person) when something comes up?”

Safe-Calm-Person: “I’m touched, sure let’s set something up”

You: “Oh, fantastic!”

Setting this up can be really relaxing for your nervous system because then you know someone will be there for you, and you know the steps to take to get yourself support when things are more intense. In this way the thought of becoming triggered becomes less scary.
Let me say that again.. the Thought of becoming triggered becomes less scary.

This is a big thing, because big waves of activation can be very scary to even contemplate when they have taken over your life at different times. We tend to tighten up and brace against our triggered-ness. So this can help a Lot in setting us up to relax and respond, rather than react.

If you don’t yet feel you have a relationship where you can make this request, I invite you to start looking around and being curious about what and who makes you feel safe. And then, being curious about what it might be like to ask for support like that.


I do so hope these tools come in handy as you grow and open. If you’d like to join me for a discounted 70min Intro Session, (valid for folk who haven’t worked with me yet) you can find out about the sessions here or:

Apply-Now-button

wolf

See you howling under the moon

With wild love,

xx Amanda

Ps. Wanna get more into your body and past these patterns that keep coming back? Apply for a Discounted Intro Session here: http://www.wisdombody.com.au/intro-session-application/

We don’t “fix” our problems, we Wake Up inside them

We all have a painful story that we tell about life; for you it may be that your health is out of your control, men or women always abandon you, life is unsafe or that you just can’t get ahead.

If you’re like me; a Ms “Fix-it” from way back, you’ve probably tried many ways to change your story; counseling, workshops, bodywork, processing, diet changes, learning more, trying harder, Making An Effort.

But probably, like me, your story just keeps repeating on you. You may have gone to the depths of your despair in that last workshop or counseling session and came out feeling reborn, and then, What?! 2 months later, you’re feeling the same feelings and living that Same Story.

Why is that??

One thing I’ve seen across the years of “fixing” my story is that we don’t Change the story, we Wake Up inside it.

You see our early life experiences, way back to our time in the womb, literally set up a biological map or energetic imprint that is ours to walk and become conscious inside of. The dynamic between our parents, the key experiences of our childhood (belonging/exclusion, love/abandonment, friendships/loneliness etc) all create an energetic imprint and neurological track-work in the brain that then helps to form our personality and psyche and how we respond to the world.

It is possible to change this imprint and the pathways in the brain, in fact that’s a large part of what we are doing in a Somatic Experiencing session. So we may Wake Up to these pathways, and thus have more options, more choice, more flexibility, but generally these make up the terrain of our life. Your life story may not change, but You change in relation to it.

For example:

The first time you experienced being seriously ill as a child it was too overwhelmingly scary for such a little person to handle. So you learnt to disconnect from your body and live from your mind, denying your feelings and unaware of your body processes. Now as an adult, when you become ill, you have the choice to disconnect from your body, or to Feel the terror that illness invokes and become present to the sensations and experiences in your body. As you become present, you can begin to identify less with your “story” (“I’m always sick, I have no control, I cant trust my body”) and wanting the pain to go away, and you identify more with the part of you who watches it all.

Illness may always be something that you have a strong reaction to, but as you build your ability to stay conscious with whatever your story is, there becomes no Need to “fix” it. When you can be conscious with it, the emotions, the sensations and the experience of your story just are*. They may be uncomfortable, but they just are as they are. You notice the fear that arises, the movement towards disconnecting from your body, and you can choose something different, because you are more awake inside your story. And in Being awake, your capacity to experience more pleasure and good-life-force increases as well. As you are probably aware, shutting out pain also shuts out pleasure and reduces your range of feeling both ways.

(*Please note, Im not inferring that this is easy, just that it is the way to go in order to bring light and change to “problems” in your experience.)

When we wake up inside our problems, they are not “problems” anymore, they are opportunities for consciousness here and now. And consciousness is a very yummy thing

purple lady maze

I like to imagine that we are all walking our own unique Life Maze. As we “wake up” inside this maze, we start to explore new areas and directions, and the specific qualities of our life story begin to bring particular gifts, like treasures hidden amongst the hedges. These may be humility, compassion, patience, kindness, life force, love. But to glean these treasures from your well trodden maze, you mustn’t be fooled by the story and you must be willing to try something new.

Often, when you are lost down the alley ways of your maze, its not as easy as “choosing” to find a different way. Especially if your Life Maze has some truly scary corners. Like a child lost in a maze, sometimes you need another person to come in there and take your hand, helping you see new options and guide you out. In a therapeutic or an intimate relationship, we can get to know each others’ track-work and become more present and conscious for the other when we know they are navigating tricky areas. We can befriend their maze with them and help to expand the range of feeling that is possible.

Your Life Maze is your burden or your gift for waking up. What ever your story is, it is Your story. The less you fight with that simple truth, the more you will be available to Be Here for your life and for the hidden treasures in it.

I wish you well dear traveller!

Over to you:

I’d love to hear what you think about waking up inside your problems rather than fixing them.. Have you experienced “fixing” your story, or have you had it repeat on you again and again?

A note on these articles:  Do you like what you’re reading? You can get these articles straight to your inbox by signing up HERE

The Gold in a pile of Rock Salt and to Lymph or not to Lymph

I had such a warm response to my last blog I thought I’d offer you another of my collected winter relaxation and Being Healthy tools.

Winter cold tends to make our bodies tighter and more stagnant from less exercise and more snoozes under the Doona. So, here’s:

The Gold in a pile of Rock Salt

Cold naturally makes the body want to curl up and protect itself .. meaning our muscles get tighter and more stuck in the winter months. So here’s something I picked up along the way you can enjoy while sitting front of the fire/your favourite program or novella (cause we all know winter is for reading Novellas)…

1. Get yourself some large rock salts (cheapy from the supermarket is ok) and dry roast them in a pan.

2. Take a tea towel or smallish cloth and place the hot salt in the center in a line, folding the cloth around the salt to make a small “snake”.

3. Place the Rock Salt Snake on your shoulders and/or neck to draw out the tension with the heat and salt.
4. Grab a seat on the couch, sun lounge, sheep-skin rug and enjoy
5. You’re done once the salt has cooled down. You can also re-heat the salt and go again, but I prefer to start with a new batch of salt.

If you’re like me, and 95% of the human population, you carry most of your tension in your shoulders (and it gets worse in winter).. this will be a Gold-send :).

If the Lymph Ain’t Moving, it’s time to .. do this

Your lymphatic system is in charge of collecting and processing all toxins that enter your body. I like to think of the lymphatic system as a Lot of cheerful garbage collectors stationed through out your body. They Love clearing out muck and keeping you healthy. But they can get tired and overloaded when you chuck too many toxins their way.
When you get colds and flu, eat foods laden with pesticides or chemicals, or suffer from ongoing stress, it’s your lymphatic system’s job to eat up all the toxins and bring you back to health. Part of what makes your lymphatic system healthy is that it is moving (not stagnant or stuck processing that flu bug for weeks) and ready to deal with any new bugs/toxins passing through. Winter, of course, is not known for movement so much as Doona’s.So here’s some handy-tips:

1.Go for vigorous walks, swinging your arms a little if it feels comfortable, the leg and arm muscles work as a muscular pump for the lymph towards groin and arm pits.

2. Drink lots of clean water. Eat clean foods.
3. Deep breathing into the belly also helps to draw lymph up from the lower body and intestines. (We want to draw the lymph up to the main processing area in the centre of the chest)

4. If you’ve gotta rest.. and you DO (C’mon, its winter :), rest with your legs up the wall to increase blood and lymph flow to the lower lymph processing area in the groin.

5. All of these of course done with an attitude of easiness and doing-what-feels-good-and-natural (ie don’t worry about deep breathing if it makes you feel light headed or tense)
So there you go! 2 ways to relax your muscles and keep your body healthy and clean while you rest under the doona and feel soft and yin :)And of course, if you want help with that, my winter treatments are always warm, cosy and doona-like with warm oil, heat bags and Massage. Have a look here at my massage and lymphatic drainage offerings.

Or, just click “reply” and tell me “Yes Please Yes Please”!! I’ll be kind, I promise 🙂


Lots of warm and squishy love,

Amanda

Ps: If you didn’t read my last blog, its got a doozy-of-a-Yum self-care treat for you. It’ll take you five minutes, make you feel warm and mushy And relax your nervous system.

About the Nervous System and Massage

I’m often amazed how little is understood about the nervous system in our hospitals, schools, families and workplaces and the huge role it plays in how we live our lives.
Your nervous system is in charge of many of your automatic responses, your quick intake of breath when you get a shock, the relaxation you feel in your muscles when you know you’re safe after an ordeal, even dilation of pupils, heart rate, your ability to digest, interact socially and sleep. All these things we don’t necessarily *think* about. We either do them unconsciously or we don’t do them and then we think about them a lot! “Why can’t I breathe properly?”, “Why can’t I sleep?”, “Why am I anxious around people?”, “why do I need to pee when I’m scared?”, “Why are my muscles so tight?”. These are all related to your nervous system, to your early nervous system programming and to your later life experiences.

We all have a unique nervous system structure which is developed early in life from conception to 7 years old, but which is also affected by more recent events in life, either traumatic or wonderful. The more our early developmental needs were met in early life, the more likely we are to be “flexible” and able to respond to life appropriately and stretch back again to relative balance. Like shouting at someone who encroaches on your physical space, having a giggle about it, and then going back to whatever you were doing before, even a bit enlivened by the interaction.
For those of us who had a more stressful or unstable early start, we might find we are less flexible to shocks or changes and that we need more rigid structures to keep ourselves feeling balanced. We may shout at someone encroaching on our physical space but then be exhausted or highly anxious for a period of time. This is a brief and Simple overview of nervous system responses.

The job of your nervous system is to take in your experiences (from the very beginning it is one of the first systems to begin developing while you’re in the womb), and create immediate, non intellectual responses, so you are prepared with an appropriate survival response in less than a blink of the eye.
For example..

There is a story of a family on Safari, driving slowly through the wilderness with the windows rolled down, a small child in a car seat in the back. The story goes that the mother suddenly leant over and slammed the window closed. Less than a second later a large deadly snake’s head came up over the car window. 

The mother couldn’t have seen the snake, but something in her “knew” to close the window fast. This is your instincts. This is your non-intellectual knowing.. because these survival instincts don’t have time to go via the mind to be analysed, questioned, sifted through and Then acted on.

Have you ever responded from your body first and then thought later? (And no, I wasn’t referring to lust!:) This is why our early programming is so unconscious and immediate (because it Has to be to ensure our survival), and why trying to figure it out with the mind is looking in the wrong part of the brain. It is also why when the nervous system is activated it is very hard to over-ride your activation with your thoughts. 

As in, telling yourself not to be anxious when there seems to be no “logical” reason why you are, or telling yourself you have no reason to be hare-trigger angry but not being able to stop.

So what does this have to do with massage and touch? The language of the instinctual brain is found in sensation and the felt sense. Touch, and an appropriate intention, can communicate to an “activated” (or “on”) nervous system, in a beautiful and elegantly non-mental way. So when you come to your session feeling stressed, frozen, numb or agitated, we address these as signals from your nervous system and using Somatic Experiencing tools we help your nervous system to calm down at its source. This means your brain/nervous system no longer produces signals for you to stay activated.

5 Ways to Get More Support and Connection while Parenting

5 Ways to Get More Support and Connection while Parenting

mums together

Are you a mum wanting more support or connection in your life? 

Below are the top 5 ways I have found to stay connected while in the busy world of mothering …

As mothers we want connection because it feels good to have others to talk with, laugh and cry with, and enjoy the miracles of parenting with. Connection and support makes us feel stronger and more capable of facing the important and huge job of parenting. We don’t want to do it alone and sometimes our partner/ husband/ wife/ significant other or single status can’t support us all the times we need it. Although we often hear it said that ” it takes a village to raise a child”, we rarely hear that the mothers also need a village of support.

A Brief Introduction:

Over 10 years ago as a new mum, as well as a newly single mum, I desperately needed community. And I didn’t have any. I had moved to a new town to be with family after separating from my child’s father and found myself building friendships and community from the ground up while learning to be a parent for a whole new Person. Lemme tell you, it was Big.

In the last ten years I have learnt so much about community; how to build it, how to nourish it, to give and receive from it. I’ve studied and practiced various forms of conscious parenting, including “Hand-in-Hand”, had my own online business selling blessing and crafty kits to help parents welcome their baby’s with the support of their community, massaged 100’s of pregnant women and have fumbled my way through.

Growing children is miraculous and huge, and it deserves Lots of support and encouragement. 

So, let’s get into it!

~~~

Wisdom Body’s Top 5 Ways to Get More Support and Connection while Parenting:

How do we create and sustain authentic connection and support when our hours are filled with our child? Just like all good sustainable “projects”, we start from the ground up with structure, routine and predictability. Once we have these foundations in place we can move into expressing needs and vulnerability, giving to others and creating celebration and ritual.

  1. Structure, Regularity and Routine:

A Structure is something solid we can rest into. It is there whether we are having a good day, a bad day or an “I don’t know what the f#@k is going on” day.

When we are wanting to build more support and connection (and maybe even fun) in our parenting world, it can be a vulnerable place if we are in need. This is where stepping into a pre-established Structure is the kindest way to begin. Because connection is built on trust, safety and some sense of predictability.

Pre-established structures for mums are play groups, Kindy Gyms, library reading days etc. You can find out about what is in your area through your local newspaper or noticeboards, if not through an online search.

In a similar way that Structure gives us something reliable to lean back on, so too does Regularity and Routine. Our bodies and emotions benefit from this deeply.

As a mum, you’ve probably experienced by now the benefits of having a regular routine for your child or children. When they know what to expect from you and what is expected of them, they can rest back into the routine like it’s a holding structure for them. Then all their tears and frustrations are held inside this known support. It is just the same for us as adults.

Have you noticed when life is more chaotic and unpredictable, your child will be more unruly, more prone to tantrums, will tire easier and be generally less predictable? Again, does the same apply for you? Do your emotions go a little out of whack if you don’t get enough sleep, or sleep and eat different amounts at different times of the day through your week?

We can take care of our inner routines in the way we eat and sleep, and we can lean into our outer routines of regular connection and sharing.

In building connection with others, a routine can be a wonderful resting place. To know that every Tuesday and Thursday you will see these women, be in this environment, do these things. The predictability in itself can literally be a support for you. And it can be a place you be totally yourself because it is just There for you.

  1. Do the daily stuff together: 

Did you know that women get a hit of the hormone serotonin when we spend time together, talk and share our day? Serotonin is a pleasure hormone which responsible for maintaining mood balance, social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire and function. A deficit of serotonin can lead to depression and throw out your ability to regulate your eating and sleeping. Basically, we are biologically wired to be together communally, especially to parent together. I think that’s just Awesome. That your general body regulation and appetite for sex can be improved by hanging out with the gals. (Your partner may love to hear that news!!)

But don’t take my word for it; have you noticed a change in how you feel after spending time with women folk? Is the parenting is easier?

You can do your cooking together, do your shopping together or for each other when you’re unwell. An awesome idea that I encountered early on was Mumma Bake groups. These groups gather once a week to cook together and prepare big batches of dinner, cakes and sweets for the week. You spend a day with the women folk and the little ones around and go home with a week load of nourishing food, and some appetite for more of a different kind of pleasure!!

Check out: http://mamabake.com/5-steps-to-mamabaking/

  What other ways could you combine the day to day activities of parenting with women and togetherness?

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In my time as an early mum, I got very good at resting into structure and routine with my connections. I would go to weekly classes and mothers group. I would do the predictable things, and I would look forward to these because I didn’t have to plan it, I didn’t have to invite people or specifically reach out to anyone.. I could just turn up. I Loved that I could just turn up.

But it was missing that crucial element of heart, that of me being vulnerable enough to reach out to those I wanted more time and support with. It was the difference between resting into structure, and moving, choosing and breathing within it and sometimes even free from it. This is the yin (resting) and yang (action) of connection and support.

Once you have Structure, Routine and daily predictability in your parenting world.. what about some Heart .. or in other words,

Lets go deeper into Creating connection …

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and “need”:

Real connection and community is actually vulnerable stuff. You know, when we see each other regularly, we are guaranteed to see a bit of each others’ shadows (yes, no matter how hard we try and hide it). And although this can be scary, it’s the stuff of really satisfying relationship. It is only when we let our hard shell crack a little that others can come in and we can come out to meet them with our real selves. I believe this is what we humans are craving and looking for.

In the busy world of parenting we need so much affirmation and support for the part of us that is learning, for the part of us that is challenged by our child or our life situation. And it’s hard to receive support if we cant show what is authentically going on.

So my words to you are, be brave and allow yourself to be seen. Being vulnerable actually makes people feel closer to you, and then they have a rare and clear chance to meet your needs, to be there for you, to listen or hold you in just the way you need it.

Hallelujah!  What a beautiful thing that is!

  1. Give support and stay in touch:

Which brings us to … Giving. We give because we are part of the communal structure. When you are feeling anchored in your structures, in your routine, are receiving enough pleasure through village-like togetherness, have some space of authenticity and vulnerability, you are in a place to deepen and give back to the group that has held you. As I’m sure you have seen in your parenting journey, giving before we have these foundations in place can be a messy and draining affair. When we give back from a place of fullness and love we can enrich the world we live in.

Suggestions: Offer to shop for a sick friend, consciously stay in touch with a family having trouble with their child. Offer what you love and are good at. Maybe you love flowers, so drop some at a friends door with a simple note (or no note and make it an anonymous gift.. extra fun!). Maybe you are good at playing silly with the kids, offer to do that while your friend rests, shops, creates or works. In this way you create a living, breathing organism of heart, connection and support that will feed you effortlessly too when you need it.

Staying in touch these days is made so accessible through modern media, but not necessarily something we remember when we’re having a hard time or are busy with children. I encourage you to create a special group on Facebook or in your email contacts where you can share life stories, special moments and big things with your Mamma Bake or Kindy Gym friends.. and just stay part of each others lives. The more you use your connecting tools, the richer it will be for you in your life.

Go still for a moment and ask in your heart, who could do with some love right now?

Hint: Hand written letters, drawings, paintings or an art piece will tend to make someone feel more connected than a quick Facebook message. They tend to be something you want to keep on your window sill and look at regularly. If you don’t feel inclined to write out a conversational letter 10 times to each woman, photocopy it! It still has a special personal quality.

  1. Celebrate and create Rituals:

In the busy-ness of life with children make sure you have time to celebrate what is going well. We can mark special moments with a picnic on soft grass with friends when our child takes their first step, or a café morning when all our children have their first day at school.

Your community will have its own flavor and preferred way of celebrating. Maybe it is centered around food, maybe being active in nature, doing craft together or being at your favorite café. Amongst my community dance has played a huge role. For years when my child was young we would have many big gatherings to celebrate birthdays or moving house; where great music was played and everyone including the kids would dance for hours. This was such a magnificent way to celebrate and deepen my sense of being fed by my community.

Whatever it is for you, create time where pleasure and togetherness are the most important things in your weeks’ calendar. Don’t book a Dr checkup on that day and really Take In the support and love of your connections.

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In Summary:

The more “in need” you are of connection and support, the more you will benefit from structure, routine and regularity. When you need to let go and rest for whatever reason, find a solid structure to support you. This may be your partner , family member or best friend before it is the local yoga baby class. When you are less in need, and more ready to create fun and enjoyment in your connections, reach for these later tools of sharing your authentic self, giving support, staying in touch and creating opportunities for celebration.

As we deepen into the connection and support of our community, our child and our family will feel the benefits. The more you use your community to support and witness you through the mundane and the profound, the more you’ll feel held by your community. So you’ll have more togetherness, more effortless support, more connection.. and more Fun!

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Over to you: How do you create the support and connection you want in your life? What works for you and doesn’t work for you? Please share in the comments section below ..

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