Category: Identity

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Yoga/Mindfulness

Being Open While Saying Goodbye to Something Good

Sometimes, after a while, a part of us needs to move on. I said the following when I described my feeling to a friend:

It is difficult to step away from a role that I enjoy and has helped me grow so much but I’m certain there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give it space. I need to open up that room for my other passions that I love equally…it’s just their turn now!

This role is that of a breastfeeding support person in my community. I consider myself a peaceful breastfeeding advocate. What I mean when I say that is, I support all parents’ decisions in how they choose to feed their babies and I am educated and interested in offering technical and emotional support to women who choose to breastfeed. Having breastfed two children for 4+ years combined, I would not have met my personal breastfeeding goals without a supportive network. I found that support in La Leche League – a non-profit support group for breastfeeding mothers. I loved the group so much that I went on to study and later became a Leader within the organization. Leaders facilitate local discussion/support groups and are required to complete a training curriculum where you study technical aspects of breastfeeding as well as exercises in communication and group dynamic skills.

I was a leader for just under 2.5 years and just this month I resigned. Nothing happened, nothing was “wrong” but there is some kind of seed in me wiggling to grow in other directions and I need to give that seed space.

It just feels a bit strange, this issue of identity always seems to be presenting opportunities for me to learn. Again. I’m guessing you may share these identity issues too, I think we all do. We think we are “someone” or “something” and then it goes away or moves to the left and we are like, hmmmm, now what?

So I take a page out of Justine’s book (my ALL TIME FAVORITE yoga teacher) and explore the idea of BEING OPEN. Again. One January, every week the theme of her yoga class was to be open. This can be particularly difficult in a time of hunkering down and dark, cold, winter days. I choose to be open and curious and excited about the space I’m creating.

We are not the roles we play but the whole of each of us is made up of the various pieces of our lives and activities and roles – big and small. They all add up to the complex, ever-changing person that we are.

Identity Inspiration Motherhood

Being Alone

Being alone feels indescribably unusual. I even bring my kids to doctor appointments if necessary. I have a supportive spouse and mom but they both work full time and sometimes I just need to bring my little adventure seekers everywhere.

Honestly, this was my top fear (tied with money) when Sean and I were contemplating my leaving the paid workforce – what would I do if I got sick? I already have personal difficulty calling in favors and now we’re essentially creating a life where I need to ask for help for everything ranging from long bathroom breaks to recovery from illness.

Before I came into the doctor’s office this afternoon I enjoyed a quiet Kind bar in the car in silence. I felt the urge to put the radio on or check my phone but I resisted. It was tricky. I watched a branch with no leaves blow in the wind – that is one of my favorite things.

I think to myself, “This is bad that it feels so strange to be alone.” And then I correct… “Isn’t it interesting that it feels unusual to be alone?” I’m always thrown back to my freshman year of college when I find myself alone and outside of my house these days. I loved wandering the Western Pennsylvania campus solo with a coffee and my textbooks. I’m immediately 18 again.

And then I smile and think how ironic a solo trip to the doctor turns into a mini vacation.

If You’d Asked Me Then

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

If You’d Asked Me Then

If you’d asked me then

Way back when

What motherhood might hold

My younger self may have told

Stories of hopes and dreams

And what I thought it might mean

To care for a small child.

A little fun, a little wild.

If you’d asked me then

I’d never have known

About a love so deep

A heart to keep

Lessons that drive me mad

Feelings I didn’t even know I had

How it all comes rushing past

A love so strong, so fast.

If you’d asked me then

I’d be shocked at the grounding we felt through breastfeeding

A conversation with no words,

We found deep meaning.

A lesson in converting food into energy

A lesson in letting go, letting be.

If you’d asked me then

What this magical piece of the universe that we named Brady might become

I may have guessed some dreamy profession just for fun.

But if you ask me now what this child will “be”

I’ll tell you the truth:

He is the architect of the authentic me.

 

Creating Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration

Simply Inspired

People often tell me that I’ve inspired them. It used to feel like a burden when I heard those words, that I had to live up to the expectation that was placed on me. That I had to keep coming up with ways to inspire. But the truth is, motivation comes naturally to me and I believe it’s a marriage of my mom being motivational my whole life and the combination of several of my personal archetypes – specifically those of artist, lover, mother, pioneer, poet, seeker and student.

Archetypes fascinate me. FASCINATE me! Scroll through this link and I bet you may find some interesting stories about yourself too. It’s my intention to use them as an underlying theme in may of my blog posts.

I have an urge to share my spiritual journey and story as talking it out helps me propel forward again and again. Without your support, I am stagnate. We are all connected.  The journey of our spirit, of your spirit, its evolution, its development, the mystery of it all is what I spend most of my waking hours pondering and molding and holding and dissecting.

I’ve always been WAY more interested in the intangible and un-quantifiable than things you can actually see with your eyes and measure with logic. I’m also incredibly inarticulate with the spoken word. I believe there is a direct correlation between the two for me. I’ve often felt misunderstood. I see all this as an indication that I have much more development and growth in the area of my fifth chakra & throat and there is so much for us to explore together.

My intention is that I share with you so much cool information that may not have made it’s way to you through conventional learning methods but to know that it’s out there and to chew on it for brain candy.

I’ve been inspired and I’m hopeful to inspire you to find nuggets and gems to feel curious about and explore further on your own. The seeker and pioneer within me see the seeker and pioneer within you!

Tapping into the mystery

Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Tapping into the mystery

Here I find myself in a cafe at the Himalayan Institute tucked in Pennsylvania mountains. I’ve never been away form my children for more than one night at a time and the separation is bittersweet. Having the privilege of mothering them 24/7 blurs the lines at times of where I end and they begin.

As I inch away, I find quiet space to fill but joy in my belly knowing they will be there awaiting my return tomorrow.

I used to use my free time watching tv and drinking way too much alcohol. Last night I used it to go to a camp fire after evening yoga practice and today I spent my precious time attending an early morning group meditation followed by a breathtaking yoga hike with some truly amazing people. Things are different now.

I have no great wisdom to share and no breakthrough insights to reveal but I feel deeper in love with myself, my husband & best friend, and with my children, my greatest teachers. I feel closer to the women with whom I’ve been chatting and laughing and downward dogging. I feel lighter. I feel grounded. That was my goal and I didn’t even realize it.

Books Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity

Gift From the Sea – my personal takeaway

A close friend recommended I read Gift From The Sea. I realized why it sounded so familiar, it was a book I’d seen for years on my mom’s bookshelf, completely unaware of what treasures filled its pages. I asked my mom if I could borrow it. We arrived on vacation and my mom brought me my own copy – one that she had purchased for her mom years ago. The bookmark still remained. It is one of those bookmarks with your name and the meaning. Being that I was named after my mom’s mom, it’s extra special that the bookmark says “Marjorie.”
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I started the little book on vacation and finished it soon after my return home. It seems appropriate to share my thoughts with other mothers at a similar stage in motherhood where I find myself and where I understand Anne Morrow Lindbergh found herself when she authored it.
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Written in 1955, 60 years ago, I was struck by her take on the world all those years ago. Much of it speaks to me as if it were written this morning. Modern amenities and endless distractions that make life busier and more challenging at times…I can relate! How we are fortunate enough to have the option to choose how complex or simple our lives are. That made me think about my choices and what do they say about me? How solitude and space are necessary for a woman to grow and be and think. How it felt as if she was losing an appendage when she said goodbye to her family for some time away but once she was gone, she knew it would all be ok.
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Morrow Lindbergh beautifully provided insights to the ebbs and flows of relationships – relationships between romantic partners, sisters, mother and child – using her treasured seashells as metaphors. Many of you may find yourself in what the author described as the “Oyster Bed.” Here is how she describes it:

“It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back…Sprawling and uneven…It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition…to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations.” (80, Morrow Lindbergh)

I know that sounds much like my oyster bed of a house. Amazingly awesome and full of life yet chaotic and almost crazy making at times when everyone including the dog beckons me for breakfast simultaneously. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like it. These are the days of my life.

She reminds us how therapeutic work can be when we are not rushed and how simple pleasures of earth and conversation are fulfilling. When she talks of “purposeful giving” she perfectly explains it as:

“Is not as apt to deplete one’s resources; it belongs to the natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give – like milk in the breast.”

And she further explains,

“Even purposeful giving must have some source that refills it. The milk in the breast must be replenished by food taken into the body. If it is the woman’s function to give, she must be replenished too. But how?” (47-48, Morrow Lindbergh)

 

I’m so grateful for the personal essays Anne shared with me and so many for the past 60 years. Her reflections answer her question of how to replenish and what those moments of solitude and intention did to refuel her soul.

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

My Work

My adventure of a stay at home mom continues and it has been a whole year! It’s hard to believe that I worked outside the home from the time Brady was 3 months – 18 months but I did and it’s what makes me realize and always remember just how sweet these days at home are. Even when the dog is crazy and the kids are crazy and I’m crazy, I still love my job. I NEVER knew what it was like to love your job until very recently. People often talk about loving their job and over the years I thought maybe I loved my jobs too…I could not have been more wrong. That right there…the fact that I “thought” I loved my job is evidence that I SO DID NOT love my job. Ever date anyone you “thought” you loved…right.

So I’m pretty sure I loved my stay at home job since day one, however, the revelation of, “this is what it must feel like to love your job” didn’t hit me until about February. I remember it was a cold snowy day and me and Brady got up early to go babysit our friend, Samantha. I was driving down the road with my little guy in the back seat and I thought, “Wow, this is great – WOHA, I LOVE MY JOB!” Sounds kinda silly, but once I realized that was what was happening, my job got even more fun and I take it very seriously. I’m always volunteering for new projects like researching non-toxic products, how to make your own cleaning supplies, how to eat healthier, recipes, you name it. Being home affords me the time to look into these things more closely for my family and in turn I think it makes a huge difference in our physical and emotional health.

“Work” is a funny thing. I think about it often. It’s so many things. It’s not just a 9-5, or doing what you studied in college. It’s volunteering, it’s parenting, it’s also a 9-5 and doing what you studied in college. It’s how we feel productive. How we contribute to society, or even how we think we are contributing to society. It’s a major force in our lives, all of us, and whether it’s paid or unpaid, it’s part of our story and a huge part of each of our journeys. My “work” has been so many things but my recent work is so different than I ever thought work could be. It’s parenting, mothering, nurturing, cleaning, cooking, creating in countless ways, entertaining, researching, volunteering, consulting for my friend’s company, motivating, loving, living and being. It’s so much more than all of that but that’s what comes to mind presently. I love my work, even when I’m cranky and I seem like I hate my work, I’m fooling you.

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

Packing up the “Professional attire” …for now

I’ve officially been a stay at home mom for two months now and we just got around to packing up the “professional attire.” Felt kinda good, strange, cool and neat. I was remembering all the times I wore each fancy garment and wondered what it will be like the next time I unpack the box. Until then, me and the little man are living the good life, pajama filled mornings and afternoon dance parties all the way.

Creating Identity Inspiration Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

My Primary Interests

On December 11, 2012, a date that I was feeling a little lost in the Universe, I made a list and named it My Primary Interests. They are in no particular order. At a time when I was feeling pretty detached from these primary interests, mainly because I was in a career that was in no way a good fit for me after leaving my kinda-good-fit-career-that-just-wasn’t-working-at-the-time, it felt good to have them in writing and I’d read them every so often to remind me of the things I like to entertain my brain with.

I’m happy to report that I’ve never felt more at home in my career as a stay and home mom/wife and I’m elated, shocked and surprised at how much I’ve settled into the role in such a short period. It’s kinda amazing to me how unstressful and simple some household activities can be when that is what you are mainly focusing on. I still struggle with a lot of the same issues I’ve always had in the anxiety department, however, my life overall has a much more peaceful, simple tone and it feels really, really nice. I can go out of my way to do extra things for people or be extra attentive to people that I love, when before, I didn’t have it in me at times. It’s also interesting to observe that the same behaviors and anxiety triggers exist when you change some major things in your life (like my career 3 times in less than 1 year). It proves that you need to be settled within to be happy and those external things just contribute. I’m still working on settling within, but the evidence is interesting to see and the changes, step by step, were each in the right direction for me. Thank you, Universe, for nudging me along. Sorry it took me a while to catch on that my own home was where I belong on a daily basis, with my baby boy right by my side. It’s actually all I ever wanted, it just took some time to get there.

Without further ado, here are my primary interests (regarding research, reading, potential employment down the road, discussion etc.; some of these things I have very little knowledge of and want to know more, others, I’m an expert.):

  • attachment theory
  • attachment parenting
  • breastfeeding
  • mindfulness
  • mindfulness based cognitive therapy
  • noetic sciences
  • meditation
  • mind-body connection
  • quantum physics
  • management
  • compassion
  • peace
  • neuroscience
  • love
  • arts & crafts
  • anthropology
  • evolution
  • cultural differences
  • motivation
  • Buddhism
  • organic lifestyle
  • sustainability
  • healthy eating
  • consciousness
  • earth
  • time
  • sociology

Adventures & Travel Identity Inspiration

On learning to drive at twenty-eight

Not driving until 28 has really made me who I am today. First of all, I am forever grateful to all the loved ones that have picked me up in the rain, and even in the sunshine, so that I didn’t have to walk. To my mom and sister and husband and friends that have gone out of their way to get me on the way to an adventure or who have come to visit me at my house because I couldn’t get to their house via regional rail. I know it wasn’t always convenient for everyone to go out of their way to get me, but in a way, it made us all spend more time together – which is kinda cool. Sean and I have always gone to the food store together, I got to spend extra time with my mom when I was pregnant because she would drive me to and from the train on her way to and from work, and that semester when my sister and niece met me at the train station after work and drove me to class each Wednesday was so fun because seeing them was always the highlight of my day.

Most people were shocked to learn that I didn’t drive over the years. “How do you do things?” They’d ask. Sometimes I had to be creative (like the giant red shopping cart when we lived in center city, or bags over my shoes, or extra shoes,etc) and other times I was really lucky to have a loved one help me out. I may not have contributed my time as a driver, but I like to think I contribute in other ways like providing entertainment, bringing a treat, buying coffee, or telling funny stories (mainly stories that I acquired while riding public transportation).

Let’s see, there was the creepy guy on my train that used to lean over my shoulder and comment on the articles I read – that was freaky, or the loud mouthed ladies that all sit together and complain about everything all the way to and all the way from work, the freaky fingernail lady that got on at Olney or the elderly cell phone talkers that think the people on the other end can only hear you if you yell into the phone.

Whenever I had to get somewhere, the first thoughts that went through my mind were: does the train/bus go there….is there a sidewalk….how close is the station to where I need to get…will it be safe…what time is the last train in case I stay late…hope I don’t miss the train…hope I get a seat…if I fall asleep, hope I wake up…etc. But those things never really bothered me, they were just a part of my lifestyle. My dad didn’t drive until after he was 50, so we always took the bus places or walked a lot when we were little and it was all very normal to me.

When I became a mom, I knew it was time. Time to put away the fear and learn to do it and that’s when I met Angel, my driving instructor. I can’t really put into words how it felt to learn to drive but the second I passed the test, tears came to my eyes. I felt like a silly kid at the overcrowded DMV in Northeast Philadelphia on February 11, 2012 as the instructor walked me up to the counter. I got to bypass the line and talk to the guy at the counter right away! I stood there all smiles as he inappropriately hit on me, I thought it was hilarious when usually I would get kinda mad at stuff like that. He was pretty old, but I didn’t even care! Then I went to get my picture and asked for a do over because I didn’t look as happy as I felt. The guy behind the camera didn’t care for me too much when I said, “I don’t look happy and I feel REALLY happy, can we take it again?!” I hopped out of there so happily that nothing could have brought me down. I held that little temporary license in my hand the whole ride home and walked through the door to my house holding it so tight. When I saw Sean and held it up and said, “I passed!!!” he smiled so big and I could tell how happy he was. I kissed our little boy, Brady, on the head and told him how I did it for him.

A major hurdle for me has been jumped. I am still in a bit of shock but ultimately, I’m in a state of accomplishment (if there is such a state) and I feel so proud of me. I’m not sure that anyone can/could really relate to my fear of driving. Most people looked so confused when I’d share that fear with them but we all have that one thing that scares you more than anything in the world and you will do anything to avoid facing it – not because you are lazy or stupid or don’t want to but because you are literally so fearful that it is almost crippling. For me, that was driving. I am so grateful that an Angel was sent my way.