Tag: personhood

A September Like No Other

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

A September Like No Other

Holy smokes, what an emotional roller coaster.
Just left Meadow’s preschool meeting – she starts tomorrow.
Don’t be alarmed if she doesn’t speak to you, I say.
Last week my little man marched off to kindergarten.
The excitement, the fears, the new world opens; it suddenly appears.

Time has switched all up on me.
No morning quiet, where is my meditation?
Packing lunch, walking to the bus, breakfast chats.
Days are choppy, different, busy, slow, busy, slow.
I hurry then wait, then hurry, then I wait.

I love preparing the lunch containers, the meals.
I love after school chats and getting the scoop on all that went down that day.
There’s so much joy to be found in the small things like these.

I see the road next to school and as I drive along I realize this: for the next eight years I will be parking, waiting and looping around there for the elementary school pickup.
And I love it. This job of being the mom, the container to both hold it all and serve as a launch pad is again a paradox.
The beauty and the letting go all tangled up.
They are ours but not to keep, just to snuggle & let soar.

Happy September,

xo, Marjorie Sarah

 

 

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

Inspiration

Why I’m Growing A Handmade Business While Nurturing Growing Children

I thrive on connection, it sustains me more than food and water. In the early days of parenting and being a stay-at-home mother I sought out heartfelt stories of  mothering – stories of the mama bear love along with the real challenges I was facing.

When I had challenges meeting the demands of midnight nursing and pumping at work, I binge read support articles from La Leche Leauge.

When I had a break down because 9-5 and parenting did not mix well for me, I found authors and bloggers who had been where I was and read their words.

When I feared my second birth would be late and a possible induction loomed, I googled success stories of natural births that started with induction. There were many and I was able to visualize the birth I’d been planning for.

So here I am, faced with another challenge of trying to grow a small, handmade business while nurturing a growing family. Every time I find out a business owner is a mother, I immediately hope they’ve written a post on EXACTLY. WHAT. TO. DO. Then I exhale, and remember my favorite life lesson: that you already have all the answers buried within you. Trust yourself, Marjorie Sarah. 

I’ve yet to find that post and, well, nothing is ever that neat and tidy anyway, right?

It’s time again to set the intention on perseverance and give my attention to those that lift me up, then float with the energy.

My struggle is that everything is everywhere. Every thought and everything is tucked into various corners of my living space and I’m just trying to scoop them all together into a pile so I can make something of it.

I have a new goal that I established with my healthcare coach: to journal as a tool to work toward acceptance of everyday chaos. I get a $100 incentive if I reach two goals. Why not???

We are all busy, we are all crazed. At least that’s what it feels like and that’s what most people seem to be telling me. But this chapter of my life where I’m home with two young kids and a diabetic dog, has me feeling exceptionally spread thin.  It also has given me the gift of perspective. I’m able to see my reactions and patterns that appear over and over again. I used to think certain things were hard because of my job at that particular point in time. Oh crap, I see now, that it was me. I have the same reactions to completely different problems. I’m once again in complete overwhelm – it’s not because I’m a college senior or an administrative assistant or a memeberhsip manager or a paralegal anymore. It’s because I get overwhelmed easily. Oh, well now we have that one squared away.

As my latest read in book club has showed me, this path is winding and just when it gets hardest and you want to fold, endure and proceed. This is me doing just that. I keep thinking I should fold up this business. I love every second of it, but if I’m home with my kids (which I also love), why not just be home with my kids? Don’t add a whole bunch of crazy by making tons of awesome soap and lip balm. : ) I can barely get the laundry folded – why take on a business?

Because I love it. That’s what I keep coming back to. No one said it would be easy.

I will continue to make and craft amid the noise, the mess and the chaos. #makersgonnamake

I hope another maker mother finds this article and feels connected to someone on a similar path.

Namaste,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

The Woman I Hope To Be

Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

The Woman I Hope To Be

Listening to a snippet of something on NPR yesterday, I heard someone speak of the experience of your older self visiting you. “Wow,” I thought. I know exactly when that has happened to me – both times – yet I never had those words to succinctly describe the experience to myself.

Every day I wake, I have the option to choose my actions, choose my words, choose the food and the information I nourish myself (or deplete myself) with. Each day I can decide – what’s it gonna be today? Do I have the courage, the wisdom, the determination to fuel up or will I choose some form of food disguised as nourishment and some gossip disguised as conversation? The answer varies.

When I see women in their 60s, 70s & 80s who have beautiful gray hair, their eyes have evidence of frequent daily smiles and their yoga clothes tell the story of their lifetime dedication to their practice, I see who I hope to be.

The women who fondly smile at my children and next at me as they gently tell me how it felt like only yesterday that they were where I now find myself. The women who have made decades of wise food choices and have eliminated toxic self-talk and spent time attentively nurturing relationships they value most – these women are who I strive to be.

Not too long ago, it may have seemed more likely that I’d grow up to be more like the Long Island Medium* than a natural loving soapmaker.

I am neither, yet I will always be both. Labels can be limiting because we are all the sum of so many pieces of ourselves.

The future selves that have payed me visits and shared stories of life, love and loss left me feeling aware that no label or outward symbol, whether it be eyeliner or an organic cotton tee from Whole Foods, really matter in crafting how important the inner landscape of love is in defining your life as the woman you were, are and hope to be.

xo,
Marjorie Sarah

*The amount of hairspray and makeup I used to use is alarming. Thankfully, that has ended. CVS & Sephora surely suffered losses for many consecutive quarters. I hope they are doing well again.

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Now What? On Choosing Authentic Self-Expression

Identity Inspiration

Now What? On Choosing Authentic Self-Expression

I remember vividly the emotions I felt in the wake of graduating from college. I used to dutifully do my work to come home often feeling totally empty. I was on the edge of my seat wondering when the awesome feeling of “I did it, I’m HERE, WORLD!” would hit me. Sometimes I waited for this feeling on my porch drinking beer. Or I waited for it while I watched Lost. I waited for it while I bounced around like a ping pong ball doing all the things that everyone asked me to do – the things I thought I should be doing.

The more I read peoples stories, have conversations and just look around, I see that many of us share this feeling of now what? at some point in life. For some, it permeates our whole life. For others it seems to come and go.

For me, the shift came with the transition to parenthood while finding my voice through therapy concurrently. I became aware of how automated most of my decisions had been up to that point in my life and my awareness grew as I learned to follow my curiosity in every aspect of life.

Authentic self-expression can help us make choices again and again that are in alignment with our top strengths. And that is what I understand the core of Positive Psychology to be.

You can take the character survey here for free to help you identify your top 5 strengths. Once you have them, use that information to generate opportunities for exercising those strengths daily as a foundation to leading an authentic life – one that is true to you and not the automated shuffle of everyone else that we can easily get stuck in like ants in honey.

For more on this, here’s a brief article on fostering authentic self-expression as a parent, teacher or supportive human.

My top 5 Strengths from the survey are: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Love of Learning, Love, Humor & Curiosity.

Go get yours! And let them make you smile and look inside of yourself. Share yours if you feel inclined. If not, you might record them in a notebook and ponder ways to cultivate activities that are in alignment with them.

Be well,

Marjorie

 

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Book Club: The Power of NOW

Books Inspiration Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Book Club: The Power of NOW

Becoming Finders, my book club, met last night. There were laughs and wine and cheese and chocolate…all the staples you’d probably imagine. But there was also insight and listening and sharing and connection – which can feel like a real treat when you find it.

We chose The Power of NOW – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. A dense read with some very simple advice on how to stay in the “Now” as well as some lengthy mind-bending takes on the mind and the ego.

Tolle is described as a “contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition,” and I like that description because it feels welcoming to me.

I’m not even going to try to summarize the book for you, because honestly, I can’t. It’s engaging, challenged me in a good way and I definitely recommend it if you’re curious to learn more about how time is an illusion, how pms can deepen your spiritual practice or how spending too much time thinking about the past ages you faster than you may like. He pulls on teachings from various traditions. There’s a lot to take in.

I liked how the whole book was basically about mindfulness but I don’t think he used the word mindfulness once.* It seemed creative that he was able to describe mindfulness in 229 pages without using the actual word, however, the book was first written in 1999 and I don’t know that “mindfulness” was a trendy buzzword back then. *Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall the use of the word.

One of our group’s discussion questions asked if there was a single point or an “ah-ha!” moment for you in the book. For me, that came in chapter 9 which is titled, “Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness There is Peace.” He talks about cycles of life and the section was about success, failure, doing and sickness. Page 183 explains,

“Growth is usually considered positive, but nothing can grow forever. If growth, of whatever kind, were to go on and on, it would eventually become monstrous and destructive. Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cannot exist without the other.”

Wowza. That slapped me in the face. I shared it with the group because we are a group of 6 women, and it often comes up how much we do and how busy we all are. Not in a competitive way, but it’s just our collective nature it seems. So I thought they could relate. I find myself growing a family, growing a soap business, growing and deepening all of the important relationships in my life through continuous work and dedication and lastly, growing fresh herbs in little pots on my porch. All of these things bring me joy, but they all simply cannot continue to grow at all times. I find myself feeling somewhat lost in the down cycle or the wake of a period of extreme growth.

“Your physical energy is also subject to cycles. It cannot always be at a peak…Many illnesses are created through fighting against the cycles of low energy, which are vital for regeneration.”  page 184

I actually love to do nothing, but I often feel like I’m forgetting something important that I should be doing. That makes me think: even though I love to relax, I’m not super comfortable with the idea of it quite yet. I’m so conditioned to do. A great opportunity that I get many times a day is through play with my kids. I actually enjoy playing babies or making up silly games and dances. When I can be in the flow of it, I’m allowing myself to relax. When I feel distracted, I realize that I’m trying to “do” my way out of something and try to refocus.

This book helped me be a watcher of my thoughts and observer of my self. I’m curious to see how the ideas are expanded on in A New Earth. I’ve already checked it out of the library…

Next week I’ll be taking a brief pause from writing as I soak up some sun.

Happy June!

Grad School Dropout

Community Creating Creative Small Business Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration

Grad School Dropout

When I worked in Membership Services for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, I was surprised by the part of that role that I found to be the most interesting, which was interacting with the small business owners. I think about it and didn’t realize that I was so attracted to their work and their stories because they were small business owners.

The thing about meeting an entrepreneur that is absolutely my favorite is learning the story behind what they are doing. A real and interesting story that someone can share with me. Those conversations are so juicy. When I worked in the Membership Services role, I met with owners and creators of all sorts – restaurants, tour companies, event planners and shop owners. It was the couple that started their unique walking tour, City Food Tours, that made me smile with their passion and excitement when they talked about what they were up to. Or the college kids that started a free Philadelphia walking tour because they just loved it. I remember meeting owners in their welcoming tiny restaurants sitting and asking each of them the story of how it all began. That’s all I was ever interested in…how’d you birth this idea and give it life? What was your motivation? How is it going?

Those are my favorite memories of a career path that is now far in my rear view. I even remember writing my “Tourism” college papers on peoples’ motivation to travel. I always want to know the story.

So as I continue to grow a small business while nurturing a growing family, I think back to all those stories that I’ve collected and learn so much from them. Johnathan Fields likened being an entrepreneur to a spiritual journey and it resonated with me because all that is unnecessary must fall away to create space for what needs to grow in both business and life. They both feel like solo trips, where we find and connect with like-minded people, but ultimately I feel that we are all alone, together.

I used to think I needed a business degree to have a business. I’m a grad school dropout who felt a heck of a lot better about it after listening to this episode of freakonomics radio. There were pieces of grad school that I LOVED and the 1/2 of an MBA (which for the record = no MBA, but still) that I have has served me well because I met one particular professor who blasted a whole area of the universe wide open for me that I didn’t even know existed.

So my story of my little startup is still forming, and evolving and changing every day. Like everyone’s. But basically, I was really, really lost and then I stood still, and then I found this activity that makes me really happy and I turned it into a “thing” with the encouragement and support of some amazing people I get to surround myself with pretty often. Things have been rocky lately and last night I called my mom crying. It’s frustrating when you invest your time and energy in things that are supposed to make you stress less…and you still get stress. And then someone shows you love and you remember, yet again, where the path is. It’s a funny thing how everything comes to be.

 

Just for fun, here is some excellent advice, whether or not you consider yourself a “Young writer.” Warning, these words are amazing.

 

Book Club! Chasing Slow

Books Community Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

Book Club! Chasing Slow

Three women, three yogis, three friends – that’s how it started, our book club. We are all so different yet so the same and that is the recipe for great conversation, good fun and the most exciting start to our book club!

The “club” consists of Kate, the hiking/cereal/yoga loving beauty who is my husband’s birthday twin. The similarities between these birthday twins are uncanny, and I love to spot them! Kate is a go-getter and bride-to-be with whom I can (and have) talked for hours on end about everything under the sun and moon and it is one of my favorite activities.

Beth is the brunette beauty who the universe called to be my friend. It wasn’t spooky at all the Halloween that she answered the door to a house my little goblins were trick-or-treating at. It was exciting! Mainly because I’d known Beth from my professional days commuting on the train. We had been friendly from seeing each other daily but when I met her again, it was such a pleasant surprise. Her and her husband came over for dinner soon after and the rest is history. Oh and she’s a celebrity on Ireland. I swear!

We are all at different stages in our life – Kate on the brink of marriage, Beth just coming out of the newlywed season and I am knee deep in motherhood. They keep me young and teach me all the trendy things that I don’t even know exist, although I don’t think I’ve admitted just how out of the loop I am to them. hehe.

Onto the book selection. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner could not have been a better choice. It’s a read about life, identity, insecurities, motherhood and self – topics that are so dear to me and that I think and write about often. I’ve been moved to tears many times throughout the book, because I can relate to her stories and because they are just oh so beautiful.

We talked for 3 glorious hours about our pick, using the “Conversation Starters for Self Discovery, Courage and Truth” that the Chasing Slow team sent us as a thank you to pre-ordering the book! I know, SO COOL! We learned more about each other, and I think even about ourselves, as we thought through our answers and sipped kombucha, wine, beer and snacked on broccoli and cookies. I KNOW!

Erin articulates parts of motherhood that are so universal yet so hard to put words to at times. I can taste the experiences she talks about. I’ve had the same thoughts, visions and realizations. The same struggles of where do the kids end and where do I begin? The same wondering of who am I without a job? The same anxieties. The same journey in search of  so many things to be halted in the middle with tears in my eyes and on my hands wondering where the heck I am going and why.

The same but different. Because this is Erin’s story. Her bravery in telling it so true and raw is so inspirational and refreshing. Her peek into feelings of online life and work are rare. I find it hard to find honesty in the over-staged online world that I love so much and here in these pages, you find it. The most amazing thing to me is that Erin doesn’t throw up her hands and close her online accounts because they are superficial at times or part of the race to perfection. She continues to work and find balance and truth and brings her true self to the game. That is the best part and the hardest part.

How do we show up now that we know the rules? Now that we know you can look perfect in an instagram photo or facebook post…”Look how much fun I’m having!” Now that we know this, how do we balance it with truth in our everyday interactions? For me, I try to post real things – like messes and feelings – along with staged beauty, because sometimes you really do need a filter to make the picture look pretty right? Or do you?

 

 

Transformation in Progress

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Spiritual Exploration

Transformation in Progress

Tomorrow is the big day. The day I register my baby for kindergarten. So many emotions.

When Brady was born, I shifted everything, as we parents do, and I shed all the skins that I wore and all the roles I thought I “should” be. A transformation that has shook me to my core. One that I thought was complete several times over, but I’m coming to find is a marathon journey that I am still on.

I’d love to carry a sign or wear a name tag that reads: Transformation in Progress. Wouldn’t you? Aren’t we all transforming every minute?

Now my days of caring for a precious baby are spent caring for a growing child and toddler. Soon those days will grow longer as Brady spends his days in a school desk and I’ll find a slower day with just me and little Meadow. Then she will slowly peel away for preschool – our first real separation. Ever. Much more on that in the coming years.

I’ve shed all those skins and roles since transitioning to motherhood and now I’m left with who I know I’m called to be. The real work of continuing to show up now that all the masks are removed lies ahead. I intend to follow my heart, my true creative nature to learn and share and create. It’s exciting yet unknown.

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.

 

Family Inspiration

Painfully Beautiful

So hard to concentrate or focus

Tempertantrums, tempertantrums, screaming

Sooooooo annoying.

So many books I want to read

Whenever I’m regulated, someone else is freaking out in my face, in my space.

Whenever I’m disregulated, I can’t see straight.

So much I want to do, learn

So much love in my heart

So much wanting people to be happy

But seeing so much unhappiness.