Getting Started with Your Practice: Resources and Support

This has been on my mind so much lately…

It’s not the to-do list with checked boxes, the app with the timers and bells and whistles, or the endless meal planning that will change your life.Think about it… what does it mean to “be on top of it all?”  ALL the time spent worried about what “others will think” WHO are those specific others?  Can you see them? Are they people that you care about, that mean a lot to you?  If not, why are “they” taking up so much of your mind space? your energy? your life?

My dear friends, freedom occurs when you cultivate a real, authentic, meaningful, dynamic relationship to YOUR  life. The relationship in which you trust and love and treat with compassion, the realities of your responsibilities. Freedom occurs when you CHOOSE joy over endless to-do’s and you wake up to the value of a spacious, expansive, creative day. Freedom occurs when we trust ourselves and listen to our hearts, not JUST the mind.

“PLEASANCE!!!”  you say, “how on Earth can I do that? I have a job, and kids, and bills, and endless tasks on my lists.

And then I will come close, hold your hand and whisper… practice. It all starts with practice.

So in honor of this response, here are tips to get you started. 

Here are 3 of my Favorite Yoga & Wisdom Books.  You can click on the book cover to learn more and to purchase.

41l6hqoyfzl-_sl210_ 51a4dgivaml-_sl210_ 41jkubpsall-_sl210_

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out all of my recommended reads.  Find titles related to Family/Parenting support, business/self-development, meditation, kids books, plus DVDs, products, and more of what I love.

 

Just added! Give yourself 8 minutes in the morning, on your lunch break, or before bed to try this at home yoga practice.

Here’s a 5-minute meditation video I created to support content from Chapter 8: Awake of my book, Delight: 8 Principles for Living with Joy and Ease.  Want to receive all the supporting video content? Sign up.

Tara Brach offers a wonderful “How to Meditate Guide” which addresses setting up your practice, troubleshooting common issues, and sustaining a practice.  You can also check out her New to Meditation page.

“You are traveling a path that has led to clarity, peace and deep realization for many people over thousands of years. May their awakening support and inspire you. And may the sincerity of your practice heal and free your spirit.”
— Tara Brach

When you establish your sitting practice, you’ll want to be comfortable.  Find a comfy mat, bolster, or blanket.  Or set the mood or intention with some essential oils and aromatherapy!  Maybe you need a grounding oil like Vetiver or Sandalwood.  If you need extra relaxation try Lavender, Roman Chamomile, or Clary Sage.  Need some cleansing?  Grab your sage.  Need some loving? Neroli or Rose will do the trick.  There is SO much to learn about essential oils related to practice.  Let’s chat about it.  Book a free 30 minute intro call with me.

If you need any additional support regarding your practice and want to work together, here’s an application to get started.

Additionally, join me at Insight Meditation Community of Washington in Tenleytown for my half-day Pause Retreat on Friday, November 18th.  This is a simple, sweet yoga and meditation retreat for all levels where you will explore practices to take home.

3 Tips for Dealing with Tantrums (Child or Adult)

 

 

img_6312He comes walking out smiling, laughing, totally fine. I relax a bit, since I’m never really sure what type of kiddo I will be picking up these days. “ Hi mama. I had a great day. I played with J.  I ate all my lunch and we had science.”
“Awesome, bud” I reply as he takes my hand to go pick up his sister.
Just a few short minutes later, he’s starting to fall apart. I can tell it’s about to happen and before I let it go full blown, I scoop him up. I start my practice. I get grounded in my body. I relax MORE than usual… in an attempt to be ready, to be present for the storm that’s about to come.
As he starts to boom and rage, I slow my walking down.  I slow my breathing down. I let him go through it all. The whole range of emotion, the whole spectrum of anger, exhaustion, and hunger. Fighting me, I’m able to buckle him in. He’s kicking the back of my chair. I lengthen my spine, I exhale through the mouth relaxing the tension that’s building in my jaw.
“MOM! Let’s GO!” She yells from the back- hoping if we drive away quickly he will stop screaming. I whisper to her,“one minute” and I grab my purse, take my “balance blend” put 1 drop in my hand,  breathe deeply 3 times and as he keeps screaming and yelling and kicking I begin to drive away. I have an awareness of my whole body, I wiggle my toes to make sure I don’t start getting too into my head, too reactive to him. I’m used to this by now.
We pull up.  I let her out and give her the keys.  I tell her to go inside and we’ll be right there.  And I linger outside of his door, I open it when I feel ready and able. I unbuckle him. I catch his gaze. He reaches out his arms and wraps them tightly around my reck, his legs around my back. He is wet in the face and his breath is fast. He melts in my arms.
I’m sure many of you have been through similar scenarios. It’s part of parenting.
Whether YOU or your kiddo is freaking out, I hope these tips help you…
1. BREATHE. Okay, I know we have all heard TAKE A DEEP BREATH but what I mean is for you to actually stop and breathe into your own body. Start to do this often enough that when you feel stress coming on you are able to trigger the response to BREATHE and  experience your own sensations in the belly, in the chest, in the shoulders, in the jaw. Breathe deep, wiggle your toes, ground your sitting bones, take some rhythmic movements. DROP IN to the present moment so you can see a bit more clearly as to what is actually happening and so that you can pay attention to what you (or your kiddo) needs.
2.  ALLOW. Keep your life spacious, rested, and energized by simple practices. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you will have a super tough time being able to gain any clarity or perspective in these tough situations. ONLY with sustainable, regular care are we able to handle the big emotions, remember to breathe into our own bodies, and mindfully assist our kiddos. When we are in fight or flight mode and our kiddos are too- man, it’s a recipe for disaster. We are setting ourselves up for tension, anger, and frustration. This relaxed and open state of mind DOES NOT come from one night of good rest in months OR from one mani/ pedi treatment. This shift starts to happen when we put nourishing practices into our life DAILY as a way to flow with the challenges that come our way. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. I repeat, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself. 
3. OILS. I use essential oils daily for mood and health. I made this video for you to show a few ways you can add these to your life.

Essential oils for Mama Moods from lil omm yoga on Vimeo.

Also, here’s the brain science behind aromatherapy and mood.  And during these tough times, I reach for Balance or Serenity blends to help my mood so that I can handle the stress around me. I also always keep a journal near me, and once I‘m able to drop into the body, see what’s going, I can quickly jot down a few thoughts or emotions so that I’m able to look back and reflect, learn something about myself or those around me, or just have a place to VENT my emotions.
Have you ever wondered where the Yogic philosophy intersects with real motherhood?  Over the years so many mamas have asked me how can they apply what they’ve learned on the mat or in our classes to real life.  So, starting THIS Sunday. Sept 25  we begin our 4-part Yoga & Motherhood course.  This intimate circle gives us a place to reflect, share, and integrate Yogic Wisdom (the 8 limb path)  into the role of Motherhood. Through practice, gathering, and learning together we will share in the journey of being mama. REGISTER NOW- only 2 spots left.
For mamas in need of some extra TLC the Mom’s Up Retreat co-hosted by Alexandra Hughes is coming up!  Treat yourself to a mommy re-boot and meaningful, inspiring connection with like-minded moms at our weekend retreat in Meadowkirk.  Only a few spots left, and registration ends 10/10.

In the meantime, I leave you with this mantra…

and a collection of great reads that have truly helped and supported myself and other mamas in the lil omm community.

 and finally this short, sweet at-home practice I made just for my mamas…

Yoga for Moms from lil omm yoga on Vimeo.

Family Meetings

 

After being away for 7 weeks,  our transition home was {kinda} smooth. Mostly because mama did everything she could to clean and organize and declutter the house BEFORE school starts this week……

I was able to do most stuff and get the kids involved in the donating projects and organizing books. We STILL have a lot of stuff- that’s for sure but I’m working on it slowly. It takes time, and I know that since it’s a priority to me- that I am going to be the one who is  motivated to actually work on the clearing out of our “STUFF”, especially with growing kiddos where there seems to ALWAYS be something we can get rid of.

BUT after all that cleaning and clearing – I was still feeling a bit unsettled and I realized that we are not on the same page. As the CEO and leader of the Silicki crew- it was my job to pull together our family meeting notes & values, and to get us on track for a weekly family meeting. We have done meetings before- sort of here and there with the kids, mostly b/c Milo was too young to get it. Mel and I had our own planning time on our weekly date nights but now with Saylor going into 3rd grade and Milo starting Kindergarten- it’s the PERFECT time to set up a weekly family meeting.

Also, I could tell that we need a regular consistent date to talk about what is working well for us – each member of the family and what needs some attention. Who is feeling heard and supported in the family and who is feeling frustrated or irritated about something (this time, it was me!) We needed a safe, calm regular space to communicate around how we live together.

So I put together a super quick check in sheet for us to use each week and I set the time to be the same each week- SUNDAYS at 5pm- FAMILY MEETING. Now, we like to go out to dinner on Sunday nights so I told everyone we could have the meeting at the restaurant and I brought the check in papers and everything we need. Currently, we are working on pulling together our values to create our family mission statement, but this process is taking time- everyone wants more time to think about what we value as a family.

Also, so that I don’t overwhelm them I try to have just 1 thing I want to do at the meeting, one thing to discuss. So for example, we always go over the check in sheet ( see questions below) and then I usually bring 1 other topic.. this week it will be FALL schedule b/c over the weekend I finished mapping out the after school activities and the weekends I am working, etc so that we can discuss if we have enough down time, alone time, family time, etc.

I LOVE doing this. I feel so empowered by our unit when we have these conversations and GET ON THE SAME PAGE!  It helps my husband and I be able to move a bit more easily through the week – when we know generally who is responsible for what and when, what nights will be late for work or early for exercise, etc. And I can honestly feel that our intentionality in this method DEEPLY helps Milo who has trouble with transition and change – so being able to connect each week about what’s ahead is really helping him adjust as well. And Saylor LOVES to know what’s going on which day, she LOVES being part of a FAMILY and this routine has been really helpful for all of our relationships. I also know I have a place each week to bring up something that might have happened the week before ( like both children sleeping in our bed) and there is WAY less drama or frustration b/c we all sit down together and express how we are – within a safe boundary.

Here are the questions on our Weekly Meeting Form..

Each person gets a turn to share..

What went well this week for you..

at school/work/camp

at home/personal/family

with health/fitness/care

What did not get well for you…..

at school/work/camp

at home/personal/family

with health/fitness/care

What did you learn this week? 

could be something you tried that did not work out- or something you learned at school or at work or about yourself!

Do you need any support right now from the family or outside the family?

If you want some guidelines for creating a Family Mission Statement- email me and I’ll send them over to pleasance@lilomm.com

Also, I just finished the outline for our FIRST FAMILY THRIVE Intensive workshop- to be held later this fall- stay tuned!! Topics will cover things like- planning,healthy eating, movement and meditation for the whole family.

You can find loads of resources online for family charters, family mission statements, family meeting outlines- HONESTLY, I keep it simple and I just create my own template.

My friend Lori, from Mindful Return also wrote these posts about her planning- these might also give you some ideas!

Annual Planning Day: The Saturday Basket on Steroids

Saturday Secrets: Tips on Living a Calmer Life as a Working Mama

Find Balance Feel Joy Blog Tour

unspecified

My friend Alex asked me to participate in this blog tour and my answer was ” HELL YES!” I love having Alex in my life as we share so many interests and are raising are kids in the same neighborhood, co- teaching together and just generally support one another in the work we do to support families through the good and the bad.

And this topic means SO MUCH TO ME.

As someone who formerly struggled with overwhelm and the “crazy-busy” syndrome I am passionate about spreading the self care, mama love message to all who are ready to make the changes. It all starts with us.

Without guilt, without fear, without despair.

We can build lives that matter for ourselves, for our own joy and on our own terms.

You have permission.

The Find Balance Feel Joy Blog Tour was born to provide an honest look at what goes into “having it all” or “getting it right” as a modern mother today.

My journey begins and ends with yoga.  Yoga has led me to interesting cool places in my heart and on the map. Yoga teachers and teachings have given me strength, courage and confidence to FULLY EMBRACE my own me, my own way, my own heart.

Slow, quiet practice filled with breath and movement linked to soul- now THAT can change your life.

This journey of study, contemplation, reflection and movement is a powerful combination. It led me HOME to my true self, to my own way of being that encouraged  me to switch careers, take risks and LOVE my children in ways I did not even know possible.

But, all b/c I began to put myself at the top of the list. Listening to my own heart and soul.

Carving out time for creativity, rest and quiet. saying NO to the schedules and parties and needs and desires of others, in order to put my family TRULY first.

You can do your own thing, find your own way… but it takes a bit of practice.

Self awareness, self knowledge is the path to freedom. A path to joy and living WHOLE in a world that so often wants to break you down.  You see, there is a deeper place within- that lives- that wants to be heard. But we have to slow down enough to hear her.

Welcome to sacred ordinary life. A life in which dishes and laundry still have to be done alongside a deep respect for our home, our families and our lives. It looks like  candles in the kitchen, relaxing music playing while cooking dinner or bringing other rituals and routines into our lives and SHARING them with our children. It looks like having enough space and peace in our own heart to deal with the chaos around.

It looks like getting the help we need at home and at work, in order to truly discover who we are , and where our own joy lies.  This is where

Approaching ALL the moments with a sense of wonder and curiosity – even to the little things. This approach ( to our yoga practice and to our life) can profoundly shift the mindset… the choices we make, the space we hold. And helps us to see the thought patterns that are not serving us.. the ones we need to let go of.

Intentionally place yoga mats, meditation pillows and other reminders in your home so that you can practice together as a family OR so that you have a place to go to when you need it! ( I sometimes go to my mat RIGHT before they get home from school to give myself some nourishment right before the dinner/ bedtime rush) and then I find myself so much more patient and loving and interested when they walk in the door.

Read inspiring books or listen to podcasts about yoga, meditation, mindfulness and creating joy.

I always try to find women who are doing what I want to do and asking- WHAT DO YOU READ? What are your routines? What can I learn from you?  I KNOW there are mentors and supporters out there- so I seek them out- and ask lots of questions so I can learn how to do this whole mama/ life/ work/ balance thing. This also helps me discern for my own life what works and what doesn’t.. and clarify my own values and mission ( which I am constantly refining)

Glance at your life ( ZOOM OUT) and see what parts are causing stress. Is there anything you can DO about it?  if not, what other things need to be released in order to make time for YOU while you continue to have uncontrollable stress? let’s have a healthy relationship with our stress- not trying to FIGHT it or get rid of it- but more realizing it’s apart of our modern life.

Challenge Homework! Spend a day with yourself. Plan it now. Put on the calendar. Carve out the time to take yourself out on a date. Reflect and get quiet. meditate and stretch. journal and create or just be. no tv, no phone, no netflix.

Dear mama, it’s all so real this life thing….so intense, so emotional, so transitional and the only thing we can truly, truly control is our own breath right at this moment. Our own glance, gaze, word, thought or action.

With a grateful heart,

P.

About Alex

Alex launched In Essence Coaching, LLC in 2011 after training with the International Coaching Academy to become a Certified Professional Coach. She is an active member of the International Coaching Federation, committed to upholding a high level of coaching standard.

Prior to this, Alexandra dedicated 18 years of her professional career to social change as an international development researcher and practitioner. She got her BA in Environmental Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and her MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the U.K. She’s lived and worked in Africa, Europe, South and North America, and speaks English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

In Essence Coaching, LLC is Alexandra’s private coaching practice dedicated to helping mothers suffering from stress, to find balance, joy and self-empowerment.  She hosts a free Clear Mind | Present Mama Challengefor busy mothers suffering from overwhelm, offers on-line Calm Mom Coaching Circles to mothers everywhere, and works one-on-one with a small group of women through her Mama inJOY Mentorship Program.

Alexandra loves her coaching projects second only to her three mischievous and vivacious children and her loving (ever patient) husband who now (after three international moves!!) live, love and laugh together in Washington D.C.

 

Don’t miss the Mom’s Up Retreat this fall co-hosted by Alex and myself in Meadowkirk, Virginia (just 1 hour away from DC). Learn more about the retreat, accommodation packages, and more.

 

B.R.A.I.N & R.A.I.N.

Thanks to one of my darling motivated students who asked me to post and remind her about BRAIN practices & RAIN practices for when she needs them.

I know I use  BOTH regularly in my life, so I hope these help you when your life is stressful or you are navigating a tough decision or facing some intense emotions.

Let’s start with B.R.A.I.N. I know this acronym is used regularly in the birth world when talking about birth plans. HOWEVER, I find this is a very helpful guide towards how to navigate ANY decision in my life!

B.R.A.I.N. 

Benefits- What is the benefit of this?

Risks- What are the risks around this decision?

Alternatives-Are there any alternatives?

Intuition- What is my heart/gut saying?

Nothing- What happens if we do nothing and and / or wait?

 

Here is another technique that you can use that is very helpful for some of our students. You can find LOTS more here. 

R.A.I.N.

Recognize.  See what’s going on.

Allow. Allow yourself to feel what you feel.

Investigate ( KINDLY) Be gentle with yourself, please.

Natural Awareness. Relax.

****Let me know, pleasance@lilomm.com how you are using this in your life,

I would love to hear from you. *****

Please note- I have seen and read about both of these tools in many places over the years and am grateful that they continue to be shared in many formats. I don’t know where they originated at this point, b/c I have seen them in so many places and I thank all those who continue to share and the original creators.

Purpose, Passion and Planning

A few weeks ago, Michelle Mitchell and I presented a workshop called Purpose, Passion and Planning at The National Kids Yoga Conference. 

It was SUCH a lively and curious group- and we hope to expand the workshop next year.

Since we are rounding the corner on 2015, thought I would share with YOU the tools that we used for some of the workshop.

I have created these worksheets for you from a variety of sources, readings and information that I have collected over the years! Hope this helps YOU start to dream about your 2016. If a question is not relevant to you- then SKIP it!

Pull out your favorite markers.  Grab your journals. GET GOING!

Start to Dream… Get CLEAR

opening meditation

Begin by being grateful for your life. Release disappointments from the past or judgments of past experiences or any SHOULD HAVES or COULD HAVES. Just DREAM.  Acknowledge yourself. Clarify your path to your vision and begin to take inspired action. Inspired action is about embracing uncertainty and listening to your heart. 

Questions to Consider

If money, people’s opinions and judgments, and fear were not factors – what would I want to be, do, or have?

What beliefs or things would I have to let go of if I were to allow this into my life?

What would I have to believe in order to be, do, or have these things?

What really matters to me?

BE ( I am…..) WHO OR WHAT YOU WANT TO BE

This includes – how you feel each day, your purpose or mission, how you show up in life, your strongest traits, the kind of parent or partner you are, etc. If there are traits that you already love about you, include those as well!

DO (I travel, start, arrange,  create) WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

This includes travel, starting a business, offering a new program in your current business, learning a language, marriage, kids, playing the piano, etc. Write these in descriptive sentences or as a list. Really explore the options. Don’t limit yourself in any way! 

Have ( I have)  WHAT YOU WANT TO HAVE

This can be anything from a house on the beach, to free time, to a yoga studio, to a great wardrobe, to three kids, etc. Let yourself dream big here. Lots of people get a little freaked out and feel greedy if they admit to wanting. But, just open up to those “have” desires. Knowing what they are can guide you to the places where you resist or block your own success.

CORE VALUES

Who is the person I respect most in life? What are their core values?

What are the traits of the people I spend the most time with?

If I could have more of any one quality instantly, what would it be?

What are three things I hate? (e.g., cruelty to animals, credit card companies, deforestation, etc.)

Which three people in the world do I dislike the most and why?

Which personality trait, attribute or quality do people compliment me on the most?

If I were to teach someone about values that would give them the best opportunity for success in life, what would those be and why?

If I had enough money to retire tomorrow, what values would I continue to hold?

The top 5 qualities of the “ideal” man or woman or leader (boss) or partner?

Now take a look at your answers above. Do you notice any reoccurring themes?Taking what you’ve observed in others, what others have observed about you, what you want for others, and things you would fight for or against, create a list of your top 5-10 values (in any order) below.

I want to work with/teach…….

A day in my dream life would be…….

My personal mission statement is…….

My “work” mission statement……..

Start Here.

Here is a list of the most common podcasts, books and articles that I refer out to women who are looking for inspiration,

ideas on illuminating our inner and outer lives. This is the “best of” .. enjoy. IT was lovely to put together for you.

I hope all of this helps you, as much as it has me. * more to come, I could not fit EVERYTHING.. part 2 coming soon**

Podcasts ( Itunes store OR in the link)

http://gretchenrubin.com/books/before-after/before-after/

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/laura-vanderkam/

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/gretchen-rubin/

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/elizabeth-gilbert/

tarabrach.com

To watch

http://brenebrown.com/2015/08/05/manifesto-of-the-brave-brokenhearted-the-rising-strong-book-trailer/

Websites to explore

http://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/#exercises

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/radio/

Tara Sophia Mohr

https://www.christinecarter.com/

http://karenmaezenmiller.com/

Brene Brown.com

http://pemachodronfoundation.org/

https://www.youtube.com/user/lilommyoga ( explore here where I will be adding a variety of breathing and relaxation techniques!)

http://zenhabits.net/life-changing/

http://zenhabits.net/likeachineseacrobat/