How I learnt to build resilience

Hi Moms,

I’m back writing after a few weeks of a break (spending lots of time with my Issey) and truth be told since having the break it has taken me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things ;0 (however have really enjoyed the slow pace and just having fun with my little one).

So this week, I wanted to write about a practice that has really helped me and still does to this day.

This practice is meditation. I stumbled across this when I was quite ill after having Issey and was searching online for something to help me and I came across many testimonials explaining how much meditation had helped.

Initially, I was sceptical as anyone is when they first learn about something new. I had a  belief that meditation was for people that were enlightened beings, like monks, or those who spent time in ashrams, not for little old me 🙂

However, I’m a great believer in trying things for myself and making up my own mind. So I purchased a guided meditation programme online and started listening to the 12 min audio morning and night.

After a couple of days, I started to notice subtle changes initially, feeling less stressed and anxious about my situation and noticed that I was sleeping better.  Over the next couple of weeks, the body pain was reducing and my overall mood was much lighter.  I was starting to feel that it was possible for me to get well and was feeling much more positive.

So after noticing all these benefits I got fascinated and started researching all about it and found that the experiences I was having were in fact backed up by science, for example:

  1. Lowers stress: In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. Another study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.  Before finding meditation I used to be a constant worrier and dare I say a control freak, however since meditating I don’t find myself doing either of these things anymore. If I happen to find myself heading down this path, I’m much more aware and observe the thoughts/feelings that are occurring and then reach for good thoughts/feelings instead.
  2. Reduces pain: One study looked at the effects of meditation on 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. Meditation definitely helped me with my chronic pain and I can report that this ailment is thankfully gone – giving me back my quality of life!
  3. Better sleep: Another study found that participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate.  We all need a good nights sleep right?!! – especially us moms, (even though that can be hard sometimes, with little ones) so my intention is always to meditate before sleep, sometimes I get to do this and other times it’s not possible. But I always try at some point during the day even if it’s just 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Better health: meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations,

Note the above is just a small list of the myriad of benefits – there are so many more!

As I love meditation so much, over the years I have sought out teachers to learn more about it. I have bought online courses from Dr Joe Dispenza and have attended one of his progressive workshops when he visited Dublin back in 2017. I also have learnt a lot from Dr Sue Morter. Both Dr Joe & Dr Sue share similarities such as their breath work but that’s perhaps for another blog post.

As for now, the purpose of this post is to share how meditation has helped me so that it may pique an interest in you?

I really wish we were taught this from an early age as I do believe that meditation is a tool that we can all use to enhance our lives and help us face our challenges much more mindfully, ultimately building resilience! However, unfortunately, we haven’t been made aware of it…. thankfully it seems to be gaining more attention and it’s my hope that meditation starts to be taught in schools so that it helps our children have richer and much more peaceful lives.

Lastly, I’d also like to point out that it hasn’t always been easy for me to meditate and some days it still isn’t, however, on the days where my body is fighting me to stay still I just give myself some extra time and extra grace and before I know it I’m in the ‘zone’ (also known as the sweet spot!!)  The key is to keep showing up until its just becomes a habit and part of your day.

So Moms, as always I love hearing from you – do you meditate and if so what benefits does it provide you? Or perhaps you’ve wanted to but never tried, maybe this will be a sign to get going… and if you do please let me know how you get on.

Love and best wishes,

Lisa X

PS: there are lots of free meditations out there especially on YouTube, however, there is one app that I love and use from time to time and that’s insight timer and it’s also free ;0

References

Science-backed benefits of meditation 1

Science-backed benefits of meditation 2

Dr Sue Morter 

Dr Joe Dispenza

Insight Timer

 

4 Keys to Break Free from Worry

Dear Moms,

This week I thought I’d share my story about how I used to be a chronic worrier and how I’ve found some very useful keys that really help when worrying strikes. I’m grateful to report that with these keys my worrying has become less frequent 🙂

I think unless you are extremely lucky or an enlightened being worry does visit us for time to time, however, I didn’t realise how bad it was for me until I started watching my thoughts and observing how a little worry could turn into the worst disaster! On a scale of 1-10, I probably was at an 8 or 9 especially after becoming a mom. Most days I would spend a lot of my energy worrying?! Finding some relief was really warranted 🙂

Dare I say it but looking back I thought worry was actually beneficial that if I worried enough I’d be able to prevent bad things from happening, plotting out every scenario in my head. However it wasn’t until I took a step back and started researching/reading and practicing Reiki that I realised that I didn’t need to live like that especially since the activity of chronic worrying is so bad for our well being. Worrying causes our brain to think we are in danger, this starts a cascade of events – our brain signals our body to release stress hormones, then our immune system gets suppressed which in turn leads to us becoming more susceptible to illness.

It started for me in secondary school when I put a lot of pressure on myself to ‘succeed’, to get good grades and get into university. And, then worrying about jobs and climbing the career ladder, and then that turned into worrying about what people thought of me, or worrying if I made a mistake how it could affect my career etc.  After Issey was born I worried about her health and then my health and how I was going to manage my career and being a mom. It was exhausting… It wasn’t until my health really suffered that I started to review all the areas of my life and realised that this chronic worrying was a bad habit that I needed to change as a priority.

So if you find yourself getting into a worry trap here are 4 proven keys that have really helped me.

  1. Observe – as mentioned above I’ve learnt that simply observing my worrisome thoughts as they start to come in I have the ability to quickly stop them turning into worst case scenarios. This takes practice (the more you practice you are literally re-wiring your brain with what’s called new neural pathways to stop the spiral happening) I am now amazed how quickly I can turn my thoughts around, I just simply say thank you for showing up worrisome thought however I am not going to engage in you. I also find that affirmations help change the nervous energy in my body to more of a calm energy. My favourite affirmations are ‘all is well’, ‘only good lies before me’, ‘I am happy, calm and relaxed’ and ‘just for today I will not worry’ (this beauty is one of the five Reiki principles). I’ve also observed that worry happens for me when I am extremely tired,  haven’t eaten well (although this is extremely rare) and/or watched some news that was extremely worrisome. So now I ensure I put my sleep and food as a priority and decide what I watch, for example, we never watch the news anymore (growing up it was the first thing we saw in the morning and the last thing we saw at night!). I’ve broken the habit of news watching and we have removed our TV from our home so we only watch content on our devices that we choose for ourselves. I’m not suggesting you give up your TV however maybe observe how you feel after you watch something especially the news…
  2. Meditate – yes I am talking about meditation again ha! I have to tell you that my meditation practice has literally changed my brain and my personality, I am no longer the person I used to be and therefore no longer a chronic worrier! I always feel relaxed, refreshed and calm after doing a 10 or 20-minute meditation and this stays with me throughout the day. I see this as a daily habit I will never give up.
  3. Take purposeful action and then let go – when the worry doesn’t seem to be going away or it is indeed a very big worry then sometimes action is warranted. This may be in the form of writing out the worry on paper and then reviewing it later. What I find is most of the time on relection it doesn’t seem so bad… Depending on the worry another action maybe simply contacting someone to find out some more information… However, once I have done all that I can then I let it go and simply hand it over to a greater power in my case I will ask the angels for help ;0
  4. Practice Gratitude – yes I am also mentioning gratitude again 🙂  if you follow my blog or are part of the moms speaking your truth private facebook group you will know I am always talking about the simple yet extremely powerful practice of gratitude. Two things to mention about gratitude, firstly, if you feel worried just start thinking about what you are grateful for this will stop the worry trap (your brain can’t be worried and grateful at the same time!!) Did you know that if you earn more than $10/day you are better off than 80% of the rest of the world. This statistic always brings me back to reality and grateful for my home and my running water! The second thing with gratitude is that if you genuinely start practising it you will find worry doesn’t come to you as often. This gem of a practice is so powerful and changes your energy for the better. In our household every night before we go to sleep with Issey we all take turns to list out the things we are grateful for, this is a practice we want to instil in Issey so that she will believe it’s the norm and becomes a great habit of hers.

So Moms, if you try the above out I’m confident that it will help you, as it has truly helped me. My advice is not to try and implement everything at once maybe try one key out and see how you get on.

As always love to hear from you so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below…

Love and best wishes,

L X

References:

How worrying affects your body 

Stress and the immune system

Anxiety and the immune system

Neural Plasticity

Reiki Rays just for today

Statisitics 

 

A letter to my mom, ten years on…

Moms,

This week I am sharing a letter that I have written to my mom Nuala, she is now 10 years passed – however it still feels like yesterday…

For those of you who have experienced loss and grief I wanted to share how I work through it, part of this process is writing my mom letters, I have done this frequently over the years. For some reason over the last number of weeks, my mom has been in my dreams most nights so I thought it might be a good idea to write to her again – however this time I am sharing this with you all 🙂

Dear Mom,

It’s been over 10 years since you’ve passed and over the last number of weeks, I’ve been having very vivid dreams of you, chatting like old times and planning where we will go out for dinner, therefore it feels like a good time to write you a letter and share how I am getting on after so  many years.

The first thing I can say is grief is always with me – I don’t think it will ever go, it’s not a linear thing, it’s quite bumpy, sometimes forward and then sometimes back! However, I do feel I am able to some degree accept your loss now, it took a lot of soul-searching to finally feel at peace with this.

For me the memories have really helped, I have so many fond memories that I reminisce about (sometimes daily) and am so grateful for all our trips especially to Paris and our last trip to New York, but of course since your passing there are so many important occasions that I  wish you were able to make especially my wedding and the birth of Issey…. however it was not meant to be.

In so many ways you remind me of Issey she has a similar sense of humour and a zest of life, always full of energy and enjoying herself. People always said you were the life and soul of the party. I find that she has this trait. She also loves singing and dancing and would dance until her feet are sore, she loves music so much – just like you. She has the same cheeky giggle and just lights up a room when she enters her energy is so beautiful again just like you.

I know if she had met you, you two would have been best buddies and she would have loved her nanny so much. She, of course, knows about you and we talk about you daily – she also knows how much I miss you and I share this openly so she understands that grief is a human emotion and something we all go through.

Looking back I wish I had savoured every single moment a lot more especially near the end with you. There were times where we would lay down together on the bed while you got your oxygen and just hold hands and not say anything. For those times I wish I had stayed longer with you. I also wish we discussed death more and how your transition would go, however, it never seemed appropriate to bring it up, it almost seemed it was not happening so we didn’t discuss it. I think that’s the way you wanted it.

Knowing what I know now about death I would of said so many things to you before your passing such as it’s okay to let go and don’t worry about your children (as I know you were) and that it’s a beautiful place where you are going and that I know you will visit me frequently on this side in dreams and different synchronicities.  And, I know I will get to meet you again.

I would have also thanked you for being my mom, you were the most amazing and perfect mom for me. I believe I chose you without any doubt to be my mom and I am so grateful for all you did for me, the hours of helping me learn for exams, the encouragement, the love and our hug times.

I would have also shared with you how much I especially loved our catch ups, going out for lunch and dinner and thinking of the next places we would visit. Some of my funniest memories involved you being whisked away by a French man and having the craic while I sat downstairs on my own in a cafe in Montmartre wondering why you were taking so long in the toilet, only to find you laughing out loud and dancing around upstairs in the cafe’s loft.

Or the time in New York on our rickshaw ride when we laughed out loud the whole way back to our hotel and that you tipped our rickshaw guy $50 and asked him if he wanted to have a shower in our hotel as he was sweating profusely from taxing us around that night. Oh, it was such great fun!! My brother, sisters and I still laugh out loud about this 😉

Or how Rok and I were planning on taking you and dad on a surprise trip to Slovenia so you could see where Rok was from and meet his family, however, we never made it there but I now wish I had told you all about this.

Grief is a funny thing somedays I seem to be just fine,  and I think I am finally moving past it, however even 10 years on the grief can just hit me like a tonne of bricks and be all consuming and those days I try and give myself a break and let the sadness in and just be with it. Practising meditation and Reiki has also helped me, it has brought me so much peace. I often think you helped me find these wonderful practices. Of course Rok has been there for me chatting often late into the nights when I found it hard to sleep or just couldn’t make sense of what had happened. My Rok, my family and friends have been there when I needed them, I’ve bended a few ears over the years!!

So mom, please continue to visit me in my dreams and continue sending me signs like feathers, and butterflies as they always help me feel close to you… I will always miss you so much but I know I will see you again.

I LOVE you millions,

Lisa X

Resource: Books that have helped me with my grief

Anita Moorjani – Dying to be me

Anita Moorjani – What if this is heaven?

Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie 

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What’s the meaning of fear?

Moms, this week I’m talking about fear…!!

You know that fearful feeling that crops up and stops us from following through with things we really want or instances where we would like to say something and hold back… For years fear kept me from doing things I really wanted. I had lots of fear of what people thought of me, fear of making a mistake, and fear of not being liked.

I had no idea what fear actually meant and how to move past it…

I thought that when fear showed up I needed to listen to it and take it seriously, such as, you can’t do that, say that, be that, who are you to discuss these things, you are not a great writer, speaker and even a great mom.

However, as some of you know I love reading and after several books about the power of your mind, I found out that fear is a good thing in the sense it is here to protect us.  It’s our body’s primal response to protect us from a potential threat, and in the case of real danger then this is a healthy warning to save our lives.  However other fears like the ones I’ve mentioned above can be irrational and they need to be called out, thought through and as is often the case – faced!  Otherwise, it can stop us from living our best lives.

You might have also heard of the old adage feel the fear and do it anyway. I used to think that was for only successful/lucky people however it turns out even successful people get fearful.  Yes, fear never leaves us, every time we do something new,  fear will appear, no matter how successful we become…

Therefore, knowing all this I decided to face my fear recently of public speaking, and did my first Facebook live (which is not a big thing for some people but for me it was!) I was panicked! Fearing all the worst case scenarios, saying the wrong thing, what will people think of me etc. However, I faced it and did it anyway and at the other side of my fear was a surprise, a feeling of excitement – I was so thrilled that I did it and was no longer as fearful about the next one.

I’ve also faced a number of other fears recently which has allowed me to change careers, stay at home with Issey, set up this blog and host a private mom’s Facebook group. Now doing all these things wasn’t easy however I believe anything worthwhile never is…

So sharing all this information about fear might help you understand it intellectually, but I also have some tools/tips that I use which have provided me much-needed clarity when fear shows up:

  1. Call it out and work through it:
    • You might be interested to know that our mind can’t distinguish between a real fear/threat or an irrational fear that crops up and tends to play on a loop (you know the ones that keep us from falling asleep at night ;0), the mind still believes you are in danger and sends all the necessary chemicals to your body to send you into fight or flight. When these chemicals are running through your body, it’s hard to put anything into perspective as you’ve got cortisol running through your veins and everything seems heightened.  So the best thing to do is call it out or even write it out,  and I use this little phrase I heard from Sonia Choquette ‘If I had no fear I would?’
    • This phrase will help to explore the fearful story and whether it’s rational or irrational?  Maybe the fear is just signalling us to slow down, and/or find out some more information… I always find that once I do this more rationality shows up and I start to feel more sure about things.
  2. Meditation:
    • Meditation has helped me overcome a lot of (engrained) fearful thoughts, it relaxes my mind and body, and it always calms everything down. I’ve also found the more I meditate the less fearful instances I have, so that has been truly beneficial to me and why I am sharing this as a tool to use when feeling fearful. Whatsmore at the start of my meditation if I am unsure of anything and/or feeling fearful I will ask myself in my mind ‘why is this fear here, why is this showing up?’ Every time I do this I always get a clear answer and then I can make an informed decision.
  3. Trust:
    • The last tip is trusting and believing in yourself that you will make the right decision no matter how fearful you are feeling about something.
    • Sometimes we just have to give ourselves credit and trust that the best outcome will materialise. I always live by the premise that ‘the Universe has our back’
    • I often say to myself that life is short, I am not going to live this exact life again, so why not try out all that life has to offer, even if certain things I try don’t work…. at the very least I know they are not for me.
    • It also sets an example for Issey that I am not afraid of failure and that life is ultimately an experience.

So Moms, please let me know your thoughts and experiences on fear. Maybe you have some other tools/methods that you use and I’d love you to share with us.

Please feel free to post your questions or comments below 🙂

Best wishes and Love, L X

 

How I found my passion… well many really?!!

Hello Moms,

This week I’ve been thinking about all the things I enjoy doing and how these days I actually enjoy many passions – you could say I am a multi-passionate mom?!! While I spend a lot of my time looking after my daughter and this is a blessing I also wanted to share other interests that I have as it’s my belief that having a passion(s) is so beneficial in our lives and I want to share how it’s impacted mine.

When I was younger I had a limited belief that I should only focus all my energies on school especially if I wanted to be successful and earn good money.  I thought as I got older and sometime in the future, I’d get some time to focus on the things that were important to me… thinking having a passion/interest was more of a luxury, not something that I had time for.

Then, after university, I concentrated on climbing the career ladder and put all my energies into this.  It wasn’t until after I had Issey and was quite ill for a period of time that I actually found many passions that I am now pursuing.

On the days where I felt so ill, I started to ask myself if I had my full energy back what would be the things I’d really like to do… I had never asked myself this question before now (probably as I was too focused on my career) however, I knew I really enjoyed cooking but didn’t spend a lot of time doing that always reaching for convenience instead.  However, now that I was on maternity leave, feeling quite ill I started researching and realised that focusing on my nutrition could really help me. I started experimenting with nutritious cooking, which I loved and then moved onto experimenting with juicing and smoothies.

My family will remember this time well, both Rok and I arriving with juicers and laden down with organic shopping, new finds, and new recipes ;0

Next, I became fascinated with non-fiction books especially topics regarding how to reduce stress and how our mind influences our thoughts, beliefs, and our body. And, from that exploring the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

This extended into practicing daily meditation and after introducing this new daily practice (which was at the time was quite radical to me as nobody I knew did this) did things really start to change for me.

So what happened:

After a period of cooking/eating nutritious food, practicing daily meditation learning everything about health,  my energy started to increase and the body pain that I had for so long after the birth of Issey started to go away Hallelujah! As you can imagine I was overjoyed and wanted to share this information with everyone. ;0, What’s more, I loved learning and doing all these things… which ironically became my passions 🙂

Then 2 years ago I went for a Reiki treatment and found immense peace and relaxation after just one session so then I was off to learn Reiki and last year became a certified Reiki practitioner.  Reiki has really helped me with so much with my confidence, in the last year alone I’ve set up my Reiki business, have attended conferences, completed lots of online courses and also started this blog and a private FaceBook group for Moms.  So now Reiki has been added to my passion list :0  I’m grateful to have so many!

So I hear you say why does it matter to have a passion and why should I think about this at all…

I believe if we have a passion or as it’s turned out in my case many passions.. the joy this brings us radiates out to all friends and family. This will have a tremendous positive impact on all our relationships.

When we engage in our passions we feel like we are connected/doing something bigger than ourselves… That’s how I feel when I practice Reiki on a client and discuss the benefits of meditation and mindfulness with them.  It actually gives me energy!

Having a passion also creates new inspiration and creativity and so since starting with experimenting with recipes, I’ve moved onto lots of other things and have many other ideas that I want to pursue. And, will hopefully get to do these things over the next few years… life seems full of possibilities, not just routine.

So moms, do you spend time following your joy/passions?  What does this look like for you (note it’s different for everyone)

This could be your job/career, it could be your part-time or full-time business, it could be writing, or cooking, or a special place you enjoy escaping/traveling to.  It could be spending quality time with your family and friends, or volunteering somewhere…

Or maybe you haven’t found it yet.. and maybe you could set aside an hour to think about this and write down all the things you enjoy doing and seeing if you can integrate more of these into your daily life?

Knowing what your passion is and ensuring you experience it as often as you can, will bring more joy and energy into your life, well that’s what I’ve experienced for myself.  Who doesn’t want more of that…!

As always, I’d love to hear from you so please feel free to share your passions and how you discovered them or whether you’re still figuring this out…

Lots of love and best wishes to you,

Lisa X