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

#glittereverydamnday

About a year ago, my dear teacher and friend Erin Maile O’Keefe from Circus Yoga – brought some roll on glitter to our level 1 training.. She encouraged us to put it on and PLAY.

Ihave been spending the past few years learning more about my interests, reflection on JOY and magic in my day to day life.. So, adding a little glitter on Friday night seemed to just fit right in! Shortly after the training, my own bottle of roll on glitter arrived.  I started keeping it in my purse and in my car and putting on before I went out… then what happened? I started wearing it more regularly.. and instead of just for a special class or a kids class or an event.. I started putting it on in the morning- before drop off- before adult classes.. before grocery shopping.

Here’s what I noticed.. I got lots of questions and smiles when people saw glitter at 8am! I also started sharing it with others and buying in bulk so I could spread the magic.. Wearing glitter makes me happy. It’s a VERY small and insignificant way that I bring joy to my life! I recently had a tough day and when I was cleaning up after- I very slowly and mindfully applied my new soft, smooth glitter. It made me smile, it gave me a little light- that I so needed.

Glitter will not take away pain or suffering or make your life easier but it WILL shed a bit of light, a bit of magic into your day to day.

WHAT ARE LITTLE THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF TO MAKE YOURSELF JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE HAPPY?

STAY TUNED for lilomm glitter line.. coming soon in 2015.

Erin ( founder of Circus Yoga, Mentor and all around AWESOME BEING) & I at the FIRST NATIONAL KIDS YOGA CONFERENCE, in Washington, DC FALL 2014.

IMG_3461

Whole

whole

all of; entire.

synonyms: entire, complete, full, unabridged, uncut

antonyms: incomplete

in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece.

synonyms: intact, in one piece, unbroken;

More

with no part removed.

healthy.

“all people should be whole in body, mind, and spirit”

a thing that is complete in itself.

all of something.

“the effects will last for the whole of his life”

synonyms: all, every part, the lot, the sum, the sum total, the entirety

*2015 word of the year.

2013 THRIVE

2014 MAGIC

turning 36

I’m softer and rounder. I’m slower and kinder.

36

embracing  my curves and

laughing the lines

watching the years turn

knowing where I came from

no clue as to what is ahead

I play more and stress less. I notice beauty in the everyday  and  I’m seeing lots of gray.

Turning 36 is the best gift I have.

I’m healthy. I’m happy. I’m content.

I feel free and creative.

I have support and am surrounded with love.

I give love. I do good work.

I love my children and these beautiful days. Seems like one after the other..

There is no beginning to this, no end. It’s just my life.

I’ve developed my practice and found a teacher.

In this moment, 36 is full of life. All the intentions and the dreaming and wishing has expanded my world into deep happiness.

It comes with struggle, for sure but it’s different now.

Turning 36 is an honor, a privilege really.

 

This morning, in my yoga practice I did something I have never done. I brought myself back in time, to a young couple far from home.

Rebellious & optimistic, these 2 decided to have a baby. unmarried,unplanned, no promises.

I don’t know much about this time, but I know it did not last long. I know they were not meant to be together. My parents were NEVER “my parents”  they were always, my mom & my dad. I have always had totally independent relationships with them. We were never ( in my memory) a family.

But THIS morning, I took a moment to go back to my birth. What was that day like for them 36 years ago. Who were they? What did they feel? Was that the only moment, the only day we were a family of 3? I know so little about this time and I don’t need to.

Whatever the reason, they brought me here. And since I have never been happier in my life or felt more connected or alive….. I have to thank them. They brought me here to this moment, in this life.

Where the sun is peaking out of the clouds.

The birds are singing to me.

Milo is chatting quietly to himself in the other room before he falls off to sleep.

There were many times when I felt lonely and lost, empty, scared and angry. I spent days and years wishing my parents were different, wanting us to live “the perfect” life, dreaming to be someone else.. and when that all stopped…. I woke up to my life, with the people they are and the reality of it all.

BOOM, my heart opened. my life became lighter. I felt ease. I saw love. I let go.

So today might be the first time I have told them, Thank you for this “birth” day. Please know I don’t take it for granted. I know how lucky I am to have been born to you. You taught me empathy, acceptance, you gave me REAL life, you gave me you.

 

This is what you gave me, the ability to see this, to understand love, to know we are perfectly flawed. We are whole. We are love.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~Maya Angelou

What to do & Why?

“The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It’s relaxing. It’s energizing. It’s strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don’t. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion – which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being.

As you practice yoga and meditation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivations, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life”

-Erich Schiffman 

What I do

I have been thinking about what I do that allows me to have a sense of purpose, intention and connection in my life.

I have noticed that most of my days are full of things I want to do and I’m surrounded by people I love who are inspiring and positive. 

This is not by accident. This is my intentional life. I spend a lot of time getting clear on how I want to contribute to my family, the community and myself. I review my core values, regularly. I plan and re- work my schedule to make sure there is plenty of me time, family time, work time and open time. 

Sometimes, I have a habit of belittling the work I do and telling folks, oh it’s nothing or its not big deal or I’m so lucky. And the truth is, I am lucky AND I work every day on committing to this life, this day, this world. I sacrifice and I say no, regularly. I’m not able to do everything. I work a lot, I teach a lot. I like quiet and sleeping.  

what does this mean?

It means that I do the work. I show up for classes, I meet teachers, I ask questions, I study, I read & read & read. I plan and practice and when things don’t work I find a way to change it up. I listen to elders. I try new things. I feel the pain & the fear, which does not go away just because I am generally a positive person.  over time, this has been the proven strategy for me to feel as if I actually have all the time I need to do the things that are the highest priority to me and that I really only do things that truly bring me JOY. 

One of the teachings that I recently heard loud and clear from Maezen was in a difficult situation, we have 3 options. 

  1. Change our mind, don’t hold too tight to our beliefs. ( this comes in handy in many of my relationships. I often apologize, put myself in someones shoes, communicate that something is unfair , relate to our common human experience, OR admit that I made a mistake) 
  2. Change the situation, let go of how we WANT it to be. ( get creative with how we approach our lives, it DOES NOT have to be a certain way. it does not have to be clean, it can be messy. they don’t have to eat all of the vegetables every night! )  
  3. Sit, and see what happens. ( have no clue what to do? then pause. sit. watch. observe. eventually something will happen, always) 

At any given moment, these are our choices. For example, recently I had a student who was upset about something at the studio & she really wanted a refund. I thought about our policy and what felt reasonable. I decided I was not going to give the refund BUT I would give her a pass into a different event. This type of flexible leadership allowed her to felt HEARD and appreciated and for us to stick to the integrity of our policies by sticking to our expectations. This happens each week with students, teachers, friends and family. 

The more flexible I become with my thoughts, expectations and views the stronger my relationships become. The more I respect the people in my life, the more they open up to me. Honestly, I have a lot less suffering as a result. 

This practice has drastically changed the tension or blame games that used to occur in my life. I try to come at each unique situation with open eyes and more importantly an open heart. 

Here is something else I have learned along the way. All of us are suffering in some way. We are tired. We are angry. We are stressed. We are sick. We don’t feel cared for at home or at work. We don’t feel heard. 

When I remember this, my heart softens. I cannot be angry with other human beings who are experiencing so much suffering. I know this might sound a little out there- but for me, it works. When I see someone so irritated, angry, yelling or rude- I just try to step back and look at the big picture. It becomes so clear that this person is suffering, the holistic view of this being is that he/ she is not in a good place.  And I’m not here to make that worse. In fact, I feel one of the reasons I am here is to make that pain go away. To demonstrate that we do have the capacity not only to shift our thoughts and perspective but that ANYONE can do it. If I can, YOU can. I don’t believe in doing this a preachy way, but through modeling. I can only change myself. I can only be myself and show love to all those I come in contact with. I can hold your hand and hug your heart. The more I practice, the easier this becomes for me and the clearer my purpose becomes. 

I know we all are fundamentally loving and compassionate. I know when we strip away all the drama and the bullshit and the thoughts of our “crazy busy” lives, tears start to swell, hearts start to open and peace abides.

Can you stop and think about each beautiful being you come into contact with today and see them whole. 

Thanks Leo.

I read this blog all the time. Thanks Leo. you continue to support & enrich my life. zenhabits.com

zen habits: 12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools


12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 11:09 AM PDT

By Leo Babauta

The focus of my life in recent months has been living mindfully, and while I don’t always remember to do that, I have learned a few things worth sharing.

The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s a life where we awaken from the dream state we’re most often submerged in — the state of having your mind anywhere but the present moment, locked in thoughts about what you’re going to do later, about something someone else said, about something you’re stressing about or angry about. The state of mind where we’re lost in our smartphones and social media.

It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. Being awake means we’re conscious of what’s going on inside us, as it happens, and so can make more conscious choices rather than acting on our impulses all the time.

The second thing I’ve learned is that we forget. We forget, over and over, to be awake. And that’s OK. Being mindful is a process of forgetting, and then remembering. Repeatedly. Just as breathing is a process of exhaling, and then inhaling, repeatedly.

The third is that mindful living isn’t just one thing. It’s not just meditation. Nor is it just focusing on the sensations around you, right now in this moment. I’ve found mindful living to be a set of very related tools, perhaps all different ways of getting at the same thing, but each useful in its own regard.

I’ll share them in this post, and hope that you’ll consider each in turn.

Why You Should Care

Why bother to spend the time learning these tools? Is it just for some ideal of living a peaceful, stress-free life?

No. A stress-free life doesn’t exist, but these tools will definitely make you more prepared to deal with the stresses that will inevitably come your way.

But just as importantly, they’ll help you overcome the fear of failure and fear of discomfort that’s holding you back, that’s keeping you from making positive changes in your life.

These tools will help you launch your new blog, start a business, write a book, put out your first music album online, find your purpose in life, become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

This is what I’ve found. I’m certain you’ll find these tools just as useful.

The Toolset

This list, of course, is not complete. It’s a collection of things I’ve been learning about, and am still practicing, things I’ve found useful enough to share.

  1. MeditationMeditation is where mindful living starts. And it’s not complicated: you can sit still for even just 1 minute a day to start with (work up to 3-5 minutes after a week), and turn your attention to your body and then your breath. Notice when your thoughts wander from your breath, and gently return to the breath. Repeat until the minute is up.
  2. Be Awake. Meditation is practice for being awake, which is not being in the dream state (mind wandering into a train of thought, getting lost in the online world, thinking about past offenses, stressing about the future, etc.) but being awake to the present, to what is. Being awake is something you can do throughout the day, all the time, if you remember. Remembering is the trick.
  3. Watch Urges. When I quit smoking in 2005, the most useful tool I learned was watching my urges to smoke. I would sit there and watch the urge rise and fall, until it was gone, without acting on it. It taught me that I am not my urges, that I don’t have to act on my urges, and this helped me change all my other habits. Watch your urge to check email or social media, to eat something sweet or fried, to drink alcohol, to watch TV, to be distracted, to procrastinate. These urges will come and go, and you don’t have to act on them.
  4. Watch Ideals. We all have ideals, all the time. We have an ideal that our day will go perfectly, that people will be kind and respectful to us, that we will be perfect, that we’ll ace an exam or important meeting, that we’ll never fail. Of course, we know from experience that those ideals are not real, that they don’t come true, that they aren’t realistic. But we still have them, and they cause our stress and fears and grief over something/someone we’ve lost. By letting go of ideals, we can let go of our suffering.
  5. Accept People & Life As They Are. When I stopped trying to change a loved one, and accepted him for who he was, I was able to just be with him and enjoy my time with him. This acceptance has the same effect for anything you do — accept a co-worker, a child, a spouse, but also accept a “bad” situation, an unpleasant feeling, an annoying sound. When we stop trying to fight the way things are, when we accept what is, we are much more at peace.
  6. Let Go of Expectations. This is really the same thing as the previous two items, but I’ve found it useful nonetheless. It’s useful to watch your expectations with an upcoming situation, with a new project or business, and see that it’s not real and that it’s causing you stress and disappointment. We cause our own pain, and we can relieve it by letting go of the expectations that are causing it. Toss your expectations into the ocean.
  7. Become OK with Discomfort. The fear of discomfort is huge — it causes people to be stuck in their old bad habits, to not start the business they want to start, to be stuck in a job they don’t really like, because we tend to stick to the known and comfortable rather than try something unknown and uncomfortable. It’s why many people don’t eat vegetables or exercise, why they eat junk, why they don’t start something new. But we can be OK with discomfort, with practice. Start with things that are a little uncomfortable, and keep expanding your comfort zone.
  8. Watch Your Resistance. When you try to do something uncomfortable, or try to give up something you like or are used to, you’ll find resistance. But you can just watch the resistance, and be curious about it. Watch your resistance to things that annoy you — a loud sound that interrupts your concentration, for example. It’s not the sound that’s the problem, it’s your resistance to the sound. The same is true of resistance to food we don’t like, to being too cold or hot, to being hungry. The problem isn’t the sensation of the food, cold, heat or hunger — it’s our resistance to them. Watch the resistance, and feel it melt. This resistance, by the way, is why I’m doing my Year of Living Without.
  9. Be Curious. Too often we are stuck in our ways, and think we know how things should be, how people are. Instead, be curious. Find out. Experiment. Let go of what you think you know. When you start a new project or venture, if you feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Oh no, I don’t know how this will turn out”, try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out.” And then there isn’t the fear of failure, but the joy of being curious and finding out. Learn to be OK with not knowing.
  10. Be Grateful. We complain about everything. But life is a miracle. Find something to be grateful about in everything you do. Be grateful when you’re doing a new habit, and you’ll stick to it longer. Be grateful when you’re with someone, and you’ll be happier with them. Life is amazing, if you learn to appreciate it.
  11. Let Go of Control. We often think we control things, but that’s only an illusion. Our obsession with organization and goals and productivity, for example, are rooted in the illusion that we can control life. But life is uncontrollable, and just when we think we have things under control, something unexpected comes up to disrupt everything. And then we’re frustrated because things didn’t go the way we wanted. Instead, practice letting go of control, and learn to flow.
  12. Be Compassionate. This sounds trite, but compassion for others can change the way you feel about the world, on a day-to-day basis. And compassion for yourself is life-changing. These two things need remembering, though, so mindful living is about remembering to be compassionate after you forget.

The Practice

OK, that seems like a lot to digest and remember, right?

Well, there’s hope. I often forget all of this stuff, but then I remember, and say, “Ah, I was doing it again!” And then I practice again.

And then I forget, but I reflect, and I learn, and I practice again.

This is the process of learning mindfulness. It’s forgetting, and then remembering, again and again.

And it’s worth remembering, again and again.