I don't consider myself a mommy blogger. In fact, I tend to feel on the outside of most groups of Mom peers. At a writing workshop I attended we were each instructed to write a one line response to "What I know" and I wrote: I know how it feels to stand in a group of moms and feel utterly alone.
What I also know is that this is more about me than the other Moms. It's my attempt to shield myself from the judgement of the Moms. For a while the only coping mechanism I could muster was to hold up the shield and crouch down behind it. I've spent a lot of energy trying to understand that other people's opinions of my parenting choices or my children are their business and have nothing to do with me. I've also spent a lot of energy trying to be the mom my child needs me to be in all settings, not just when it's most comfortable for me. These continue to be works in progress.
All that said, when you find a beautiful soul who understands your motherhood journey, it is such joy. Sharing openly about the challenges and the hard times is crucial for who we are at our core. One of the greatest gifts of Orchid Story is that the women who feel compelled to join this community are kindred spirits who also believe in this. You all are the moms I want to stand beside and I want to open up to.
It is with this energy that I joined forces with the amazing Kristy Rodriguez of Pure Nurture to offer a FREE community event for moms. Our salon, Your Motherhood Narrative, is happening the evening of Friday September 7th. Go here for more info. I know firsthand how important it is to have spaces and people to share our motherhood experience. This is one of those. I hope you'll join us.
In the spirit of serving, creating community and engaging with like-minded people, I will also be participating in an Open House at the Insight Shop on Saturday September 8th. Have you ever thought to yourself that you think you would like to attend one of my workshops or classes but you aren't sure? This is just for you. Come get a sense of who I am and how I teach. It's FREE and no registration is required.
Ok, if you made it this far clearly you are interested. I have one ask of you, depending on your location:
- If you live in the DMV: Come to one of my free events this week. Registration is required for the Your Motherhood Narrative salon and there are only a couple of spaces left. The Open House does not require registration. Both are FREE. Give yourself the gift of investing time in yourself and I have a feeling you won't be disappointed. This is the perfect way to sample what I'm offering.
- If you live outside the greater DC area: I believe so strongly in creating space for these conversations that I will host an online, video format of the Your Motherhood Narrative for FREE if I have at least eight people email me and tell me they want to attend. Share this with a friend if you really want it to happen!
I have lots in store this fall and I am SO excited to kick it off with these events. (My in person class is coming soon... go here if you want to make sure one of the spaces in class is yours.)
I'm getting ready for my Hero's Journey workshop this Saturday in Vienna, VA (we still have a few spots left! come join me!) and in doing so I've been thinking about both the literal and figurative journeys I've been on this summer. I had a deep realization in recent weeks what a privilege it is to be able to travel. Take a second to be filled with gratitude for the the places you saw, the foods you ate, the conversations you had.
I'm sure it's the same with you. Lots happens over the summer - we travel to new places, we spend more time with people we love, we read lots of books (I read a ton of books this summer - maybe I'll do a roundup for you soon). Then, we get to the end of August and school is starting for the kids, we are rushing around trying to get everything ready and before we know it we're celebrating Rosh Hashanah and attending weekend soccer games. The summer feels like it was years instead of weeks ago. You don't need kids to understand and live this phenomenon. We are wired to be thinking ahead and planning for what's next, constantly.
Taking a moment for reflection fills your soul. It reminds us where we've been and what we learned. Or why that trip was so important for you to plan and take in the first place. One fun and simple way to access this journey of yours is to open up your photos on your phone. Pick one you love and give yourself 15 minutes to write a reflection on the photo.
Like the idea but know you won't actually carve out the time to do it? Check out my new calendar of events to see how I can support you in telling your story.
I opened my email and saw a word I'd never seen before: Kripalu. It was an email from a student of mine, someone who saw my heart as I saw hers without the need to talk much about it. I scrolled down and then saw this more familiar term "narrative medicine". I felt my shoulders straighten because that's my jam and because that's the graduate program my sister in law completed at Columbia.
This email was about a workshop, a retreat. Where was Kripalu and how did you even pronounce that word? The description jumped off the page at me. Writing, self-discovery, psychology, storytelling. Healing. The workshop was long, almost a week, and it was far away. It was also coming up quickly so obviously there was no way to plan and make arrangements. I responded to my student, "This would be perfect for me... Maybe in the next couple of years when the kids get a bit older." I closed my laptop and went on with my day, Kripalu, however you say it, shrinking away as quickly as it came.
Two days later, same place, same laptop, same email account. In my inbox I saw that funny word again, "Kripalu". I clicked it thinking it was a reply from the same student. Nope. This was the same Kripalu email about the Narrative Medicine retreat, but forwarded from a different student of mine. Another student with whom I had truly connected in the past year.
This time I got a tingle up my neck. My immediate response was: I need to take this more seriously. When the universe, G-d, inspiration, your muse, or whatever you name it comes to you twice, it's time to listen.
Several weeks later I packed up as if for summer camp and drove eight hours to Kripalu, nestled in the Bershires in Western Massachusetts. It was one of the most life-affirming weeks of my life. I found my people (people like you, my dear reader). The morale here is that listening to the little whispers, the knowings in our heart, can lead us to the experiences in life where we feel most at home, most like ourselves, most happy. Don't ignore them even when it's inconvenient and hard.
Writing prompt: When was a time when you followed your intuition and what happened when you did?
ps Swami Kripalu was a yoga master. You can read a little more about him here. (I'm no expert but this is how I'm pronouncing it: krĭ-PAW-lu.) xoxo
Have you experienced a setback that changed the path of your life? Rewriting these stories to reflect the empowerment of our struggle can positively affect our wellness. Join me for a six week online class to explore the science that supports this and finally get your story onto the page. Reach out with questions!
I am so excited to bring an online version of my class to you! I can reach more people in an easy-to-access way and maintain a community aspect with a limited class size and a couple of live sessions. Applications open on Wed April 18th. The class is six weeks and mostly self-paced. If you sign up to get on the waitlist you will receive a special discount code.
This class is for you if you've experienced a challenge in your life that divided it into the before and after. A part of you is the same, but a part of you is different. The story of your struggle is stuck in your head and you don't know how to integrate it into your life.
I've been there. I've done it all - therapy, support groups, self-help books. They each have a place. As does rewriting your story. See, the stories we tell ourself become part of our personality. This is called our narrative identity. Our narrative identity affects our emotional and physical health on a daily basis.
If we make small changes to the way we see our stories, we can make drastic improvements to the way we feel.
There is research to back this up. I've been working with this idea of narrative identity for a couple of years and I have seen evidence in my own life that it works. The best part is that you don't need any special tools or even a huge time commitment. Short bursts of dedicated writing time can lead to big improvements.
This process helps build resilience. You'll feel more energized in your day-to-day and you'll bounce back more quickly the next time something unexpected happens. Some studies even show that writing about your story lowers your blood pressure.
Join me. My superpower is taking complicated scientific concepts and breaking them down so that you can benefit. This is my passion. I hope to see you in class!