Now what? You’ve declared how you want to feel or what you want, and might have even gone as far as setting a goal, but have you noticed how quickly life gets in the way? Suddenly, that thing you were going to change gets shoved to the side, and before you know it, 2017 is starting to look a lot like 2016.
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I can hardly contain my excitement when it comes to sharing the story of my new friend, Robin Smalley, with you.
Robin exemplifies what it means to be a conscious Mama, playing full out. She exuded confidence, calmness, elegance, and a sense of grace about her. She immediately struck me as someone who is as much alive on the inside as on the outside.
Through Robin’s own awakening process, she became the co-founder of mothers2mothers, an remarkable non-profit headquartered in South Africa, on a mission to end pediatric aids. Side fact, over 600 children are infected with HIV a day. This issue is very real and their work is much needed.
In this edition of Conscious Convos, you will hear from a women who had it all. A Mom of two. A wife. She had the successful job in entertainment and all the perks that come with it – only something was missing.
Robin and I had a candid conversation, and she shares with us:
How she know’s when she’s living consciously and when she’s out of alignment.
Three tools to help experience the best version of yourself while pursuing a life of purpose and motherhood.
My intention is that this ‘Conscious Convo’ will inspire you to wake up, plug in, and play full out. It’s time to start experiencing the highest version of who you’re here to become. Remember, there’s only one of you, and you have something that nobody else does.
Here’s to getting Conscious, feeling alive, and experiencing all of who you’re here to become with grace and ease,
I’ve been thinking a lot about Gratitude since Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I keep having this thought around it and wonder if you have too. From as young as I can remember, I was taught to be grateful and happy for what I have. As an adult, I’ve noticed gratitude has been productized.
Can you remember? Were they flapping their wings right in the core of your gut?
Were you scared? Excited? Nervous?
A few days ago, I had the brilliant opportunity to share my story and tangible tools with a large group of savvy, professional, “make it happen” women. Sound like you?
My talk was on the theme, “Where did ME go?” and addressed the working women and working mom challenges that we all face. Even though I love public speaking and have given countless presentations to studio execs, CMOs, creative visionaries and working moms, there was something about this particular event that sparked butterflies in my stomach.
They came and went throughout the day and I wondered why I was feeling them. I was confident in the content of my talk. I was super excited about the women who were attending and I was incredibly thankful for the opportunity that had shown up gracefully and effortlessly.
While on my run that morning, the light bulb went off. The butterflies weren’t fear—they represented excitement. Joy. Fun. Expansion. It’s almost as if their wings were beating faster then normal because of the positive charge. I was reminded that I felt that way because I’m living on purpose. I’m doing what I call my “God’s work” and I LOVE IT. Every experience and job I had that led me to this part of my life has contributed to the unfolding of where I am now. I welcome the butterflies. Anytime. It means I’m growing in ways I never knew were possible.
Are you wanting to experience the good kind of butterflies? I have a question to help get you going if you’re feeling stuck.
“What is your soul seeking right now at this very moment?”
Sit with that and see what comes up. You will be surprised at what you start to hear. Now is your time to listen and act on your intuition, so you can experience as much fulfillment, purpose and harmony as you desire (and can receive).
Do you ever feel you’re doing it all (been there)? Or, maybe you hear yourself saying, “When is it going to be my turn?” (been there too)! Or, maybe you catch yourself in comparison mode to others, and you’re left with a feeling despair (the worst!). This got me thinking last week as I gave a talk to room full of ambition women about reframing self-love.
For me, I use to think of self-love as simple acts of doing things for myself that made me feel good in the moment (insert: shopping, manicure, dinner out). However, the happiness would fade, and I would still felt disconnected. Through my own personal and professional ups and downs, I’ve discovered three tools that, when practiced, provide the confidence to share the real me with the world. I think we all yearn for a sense of freedom and, by practicing self-love from the soul, I experience it daily.
Here are my three “aha moments”:
As women, we require a conscious circle around us. Protect it with strong boundaries.
Think of a conscious circle as your personal space and visualize a velvet, gold cord, protecting the most exquisite art collection at a museum. It’s there to protect the art. Similarly, imagine the circle extending out from our bellies where all of our emotions are stored, particularly our intuition. The more you protect it, the more you’re able to remain connected to who you are and make decisions that honor yourself.
In order to support this conscious circle, we must set clear boundaries. You might be thinking, “Ah, I know how to set boundaries”, but do you? Because if you’re finding yourself in victim mode, fear of losing control or falling into people-pleasing, there is a big opportunity for you to strengthen your boundaries. I’ve noticed with myself and through hundreds of conversations with women, that we struggle to set boundaries. We feel guilty, selfish and, yet when we do set boundaries, it allows us to show up as our best selves. It allows us to nurture our souls, to feel connected to who really are, and to be able to give to others from a much more loving place. I’m inviting you to think of where in your life you could set a healthy boundary to support experiencing what it is you want more of in your life.
Recognizing that we have a choice in how we respond to our emotions!
We always hear how powerful our mind is, but isn’t it amazing how easily we forget? What I’ve discovered is that I always have a choice in how I talk to myself and how I think, feel and respond to others. Maybe you can relate, but when you judge yourself for not being enough, or you get into comparison mode, or judge someone else as wrong, there is not any space in your heart to love. What I’ve discovered is that compassion and judgement cannot coexist; they’re like oil and water. So, if the goal is to increase self-love, the judgments have to go. Yes, easier said than done. I’m inviting you to pick the biggest judgment you might be carrying around and practice letting it go. It’s not serving you, and it’s time to update it with something that does.
Last “aha moment” is honor your voice and speak up!
Speaking up requires vulnerability. However when we do it, it strengthens our connection with ourselves. In my experience, this has allowed me to love more deeply, live more purposefully and intently because of that connection. For quite some time, I ignored the whisper inside and didn’t speak up when it came to my professional purpose in life. Until finally, I listened to the whisper and spoke up. What I’ve discovered is that we women desire connection to ourselves and to others, yet we fear speaking up because we mistakenly think that doing so will push away those who are close to us. Yet, speaking up and being vulnerable are the very things that will bring us closer. It’s a way for us to show up as our true selves and encourage others to do the same with us. I’m inviting you to think about a desire you want and ask for it. Speak up. This will give you a new found courage and freedom that you haven’t felt before.
The benefits of self-love extend beyond the self. When we nurture our own souls, we vibrate at a higher level. We feel better about who we are, and we contribute to the collective conscious in a much more meaningful and positive way. I’m inviting you to get on the self-love train now. It feels uh-mazing.
For all my ambitious working Moms out there who are doing a mile-a-minute with both feet on the gas pedal, please hit pause and watch this Ted talk today ‘My Year of Saying Yes to Everything,’ by Shonda Rhimes.
I’m proud to say I’ve watched this upteenth times because the message is just that good. For those of you who don’t know, Shonda Rhimes spent last year doing a social experiment saying YES to everything, allowing her to push boundaries and fears.
What was most valuable to her is what resonated the most with me. The idea that ‘Work doesn’t work without play.’
When I reflect on my own professional experiences, I can absolutely draw a correlation between the years that I spent head down, chasing, running, scrambling to close the next deal, only to feel disconnected, exhausted, lost and unfulfilled on the inside. The joy had been sucked out my professional life and was seeping into other areas of my life. My a-ha moment came when I had three very active, enthusiastic boys, five years old and under, staring me down every night and begging me to play?
It hit me. The message became clear.
Shonda Rhimes is spot on when she says, “It’s not really about playing with the kids. It’s about finding your joy. Give yourself 15 minutes a day and figure it out. Play in that arena.”
I like to think of our children as spiritual guides, sent here to remind us how to connect to ourself, so we can live our lives Consciously. Awake. Engaged. At the highest version of ourselves. My little boys had done just that.
Here are three things I do to weave JOY and PLAY into my life daily.
I go for a 15 minute walk, and I always find one or more of my children want to join.
I have playlists lock and loaded on my phone and put them on at least once a day – dance parties (solo or w/ children)
I sit on the ground. I find play happens on the ground. Either wrestling, make-believe, conversation….it all happens on the ground.
I couldn’t agree more with Shonda Rhimes, the more I give myself permission to play, the more I feel like myself, which is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? To live and experience the truth of who we’re here to become with grace and ease.
Do you feel like you could do your job with your eyes closed? Stuck going through the motions because each time you start to consider any other possibility that would feel more purposeful, impactful –heck FUN– you can’t imagine starting over? How would you make as much money? What would you actually do? Before you know it, you’re right back where you’ve started; only this time you might be convincing yourself, “It’s not so bad. The hours are okay. The pay is good…”
This is what I call unconscious living. And as a result, parts of us start to feel unfilled because we’re living in mediocrity.
In service to helping my CWM community, I got to the point where I felt like I was dying inside. I had hit a glass ceiling in my career and wasn’t making the impact or living on purpose in the way I had dreamt about. You might be thinking, “what dreams?!” Exactly?! My dreams had slipped away because I was choosing to live unawake, unengaged, and out of alignment. Maybe you can relate. Or maybe you’ve experienced justifying these feelings because other areas of your life you do feel completely alive and awake – your marriage or your role as a mother seem perfectly in tact.
Now what? You’re dying inside and, with a snap of a finger, another year will go by. No more “fake it until you make it” attitude.
Here’s a secret game I use to play to help me wake up and start to get real clear on what it is I want and how it is I want to experience my life. I always knew time was precious and I wanted to live BIG, otherwise what was the point? “Go big or stay home,” is what an old sales boss use to tell me when I was 20 something.
So, I would write out my obituary just as I wanted to read it. This might sound silly, but when you read it out loud something powerful happens. You’ll see. I don’t want to spoil it, so I’m asking you to trust me.
15 MIN EXERCISE TO WAKE YOU UP
Take out a piece of paper.
Set timer for 15 minutes
Writing assignment: Write your obituary from the place of how you want to be remembered.
Consider these questions:
What kind of impact do you want to leave? How do you want to be remembered? What are the qualities people would use to describe you?
It is from this place, I’m inviting you to take stock in how you’re experiencing your day. Your life, your career, and trust what comes forward.
For me, I couldn’t believe what I found on the other side. A sense of freedom, empowerment, ease, impact, creativity, prosperity, and joy that I didn’t think was possible.
In support of your own awaking and experiencing the fullness of your life,
When I was 7 months pregnant with my 3rd son, I decided I wanted more out of my life. I was feeling very stagnant. On a bit of a whim, I applied and was accepted to the University of Santa Monica. Two years later, I’m on the tail-end of receiving my Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. The reason I’m telling you this is because, up until two years ago, I had no idea what it meant to live a ‘conscious’ life, let alone a ‘Conscious Working Mama’ life. I was 98% focused on satisfying my ego, until finally, I arrived at a place where I realized that that is an unattainable goal. Regardless of how idealistic my life might have seemed, I felt that something was always missing, and my light was dim. I was ready for a change, and I knew it had to happen inwardly, no more chasing outwardly experiences to drive happiness and fulfillment.
Fast forward two years and, for the first time, I feel awake — I feel conscious. I’m evolving on every level: spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Interestingly enough, my day-to-day routine hasn’t changed much, but, when I reflect inwardly, there are 3 practices that I now incorporate everyday that support and honor me as a Conscious Working Mama. They include:
Acknowledging and embracing that, as long as I’m alive, school is in session, and life truly is about learning.
If something is upsetting me, it has nothing to do with anyone else. Since I’m the only person who has dominion over how I choose to react, it’s up to me to explore the judgment that sits beneath my initial upset.
Assuming that every person I come in contact with is a loving, compassionate soul. This has completely changed my reactions to potentially upsetting situations.
Being a Conscious Working Mama has no end. It is the longest days, shortest years; its an ongoing exploration. I invite you to wake up your consciousness’ and examine all areas of your life with this question in mind, ‘Where can I make small changes to experience more joy and meaning in my life, regardless of how many hours I work and how many children I’m raising?’ Keep checking back with CWM for easy tools and processes to help get you started.
“Just this morning, I was thinking about all that I accomplish in 24 hours. Most of the time, I’m incredibly thankful to be a working Mom in the 21st century for one main reason: flexibility. But with flexibility, I found, comes this crazy idea that I can cram in even more into my day because, well, I just can! My work day is no longer a set day of 8 hours, but rather as 16 hour days that intertwine work, personal errands, self-care, and whatever else comes up throughout the day all with the intention of keeping my personal and professional life on track. While this system worked beautifully when I didn’t have children, and truthfully it worked okay with one child, it completely short-circuited when I added three kids to the mix. I started dropping the ball in all areas. I would begin tasks, but not complete them. I would find myself physically present with my children, but not emotionally or mentally available. I was often grouchy because I was running myself into the ground. I realized it was time for an intervention. I became open to the idea that I needed to update my own operating system when it comes to getting it all done. So, I took a new approach. I played with the concept of setting boundaries between work, motherhood, marriage, and personal care. Just when you think it isn’t possible to set boundaries as a working Mom, I invite you, for one
week, to experiment with these tips:
1. LIST OUT PERSONAL PRIORITIES NIGHT BEFORE – Keep this to 3 items so that it’s realistic. This will help you really get focus on priorities. Ideas can include: setting up doctors calls, setting up summer camps, ordering a gift, dropping off dry cleaning. (hint: What will give you the greatest relief if you can cross it off your list?)
2. SCHEDULE 1 HOUR OF ‘PERSONAL TIME’ DAILY ON YOUR CALENDAR – This time is to be used for your 3 personal calls and errands. By grouping them together, you’re going to be way more efficient in taking care of personal business, and this will be much less disruptive to your paid job.
3. BE TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES ABOUT YOUR FAMILY TIME– I strongly encourage you to be upfront with your manager and day-to-day colleagues about your needs. This honest communication builds trust and loyalty. For me, my team knows that between 5:00pm and 7pm most days, I’m with my children and I do not answer the phone. I’m available before or after if they need me.
4. REMOVE OBSTACLES – When I’m with my family I’m starting to carry my phone less (gulp!). I’ll admit, it’s not easy. It means I can’t Instagram in that very moment, but my whole intention is to set boundaries so I can feel more present. I encourage you to remove any and all obstacles, and start with your phone!
I’ve implemented these tips and I’m starting to feel human again. I feel a sense of calm, and I’m not running around with so many incomplete tasks around me. I also feel like I’m accomplishing as much as I use to under my old system, but I’m more connected to family, and finally have a few minutes to myself. Give it a go, and let me know how you get along with it.
You’ve put in a full day in the office, you’re rushing home to start dinner, and you really have to pee-but the second you walk into front door, you’re faced with a screaming toddler (or two or three) and a partner you have had a great conversation with in days….welcome to the second shift. How do you work it?
For years, I would literally feel this physical sense of anxiety and force take over my body when I would walk in the door, and I was so confused by it. On one hand, I was so excited to see my children and eager to hug them, hear about their days and at the same time, I didn’t want to be touched. I wanted to set my bag down, look through the mail and pee. In fact, I could even feel the physical anticipation before I would even pull into the driveway. I would get antsy, sometimes a headache, irritable and just impatient. I knew that this wasn’t how I wanted to be showing up when I greeted my children after being gone for the day.
I decided it was time for me to actually develop a process that I could use in those very moments between pulling into the driveway and greeting my children, that would turn this high anxiety ridden situation into one of my most treasured moments of the day. To learn more about the process, subscribe to Conscious Working Mama!