The benefits of the cry it out method

cry it out (2)

‘Crying it out’ was never something I was comfortable with trying with my children, but when it comes to myself and my own sanity – it seems I have unwittingly reached my own ‘cry it out’ phase.

I never realised I had so many emotions bottled up inside me, until a routine visit to my kinesiologist took a turn for the teary. In searching for what emotions I was storing up in my body, the big one was fear. It was languishing in my right kidney apparently, and although this sounds weird  – I was pretty sure I didn’t want it taking up residency there any longer. Upon releasing it using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), she set about finding the source event that lead to so much fear camping out inside me. It’s here when the waterworks started flowing unabated. My own inner-wisdom knew straight away what it was … and through tears I explained to her everything I felt when we found out Jarvis had facial palsy. How in those moments of fierce love for my baby, I had so many fears of what life would hold for him and so many unanswered questions and I guess I did what any mother does – pushed these all deep down and set about being the best mum I could be to my son. Fast forward four or so years and all this feeling swallowing was doing me some damage. This year in particular, with the countdown to primary school, all the fears and unanswered questions were looming ever larger than before.

It’s been about six months since this first attack of the ‘cry it outs’ and there have been quite a few public displays since, and I must tell you that though embarrassing,  they have all been therapeutic and on reflection have let me know that I’m on the right track with decisions we’re making regarding Jarvis’s therapy and schooling. My latest struggle to keep the tears in was at a Prep info night at our chosen school last week. There were quite a few times when I was on the verge of tears as the Principal and other staff talked with pride about their school and what they believe education should look like.

The one that had the waterworks silently flowing was when the prep transition officer said that she was often asked if a certain child is ready for Prep. She said that she didn’t want to hear that question anymore, what she’d like to hear asked is ‘Is your school ready for my child?’ and answering her own question she said ‘we are’.

This question and its answer hit me in a lot of soft spots. The place that still holds residual anger about words a family member said, that got back to me, to the effect of ‘there’s no way that kid will be ready for school next year’ (among some other choice ‘observations’), the words of our pediatrician warning that he may need to go to special school (despite not knowing the results of an IQ test) and that part of me that has held fear since the day he was born. There’s still a little way to go but my heart is telling me that we’ve found our school and that my little boy will be one of many splashed over Facebook next year in his too-big school uniform heading off to big school. Although the tears flow sometimes when I think about my boy, and the challenges he faces,  I know that he is strong and capable and that many surprises lie ahead of us. I am happy to fight alongside him and make sure he gets the additional help he needs and though I may cry it out in public, that I too am strong.

So although ‘cry it out’ is not something I advocate for babies – I definitely advocate it for parents … particularly when the fear threatens to overwhelm and you don’t know what your next step will be. So tell me, when have you had to ‘cry it out’?

Motherhood moments: the second son

second sonWe have called him Hugo Bear since he was a baby, but he’s lately started to retort ‘I’m a boy’ when he hears it with a two-year old attitude and precociousness that astounds me most days.

He’s taken to telling me to ‘go away’ as his bottom lip drops to indicate displeasure that is gone as quickly as it came and he is soon tugging at my hand once more to lead me onto his next adventure, of which I must be a participant (willing, or otherwise). ‘Come’ he cries as he pulls me towards the sandpit, where he instructs to me to sit forcing a miniature garden fork into my hand. The Hugo-getter was my other nickname for him as a baby, as his happy-go-lucky nature belied a hefty determination to reach his next milestone as soon as he possibly could.

He is still like that now, a cuddly, strong, bull-at-a-gate with a mop of blonde hair that is getting darker just like his brother’s, cherubic cheeks and a cheeky smile that charms everyone. He sings a lot, mastering words to nursery rhymes and if he hears music he particularly likes, he’ll grab the small electric guitar in the corner and rock out.

I can already feel the closeness between him and his brother and love to watch them playing and chatting to each other, especially when they don’t know I’m there. They are both fiercely protective of each other and I feel my heart expand in my chest every time they hug and kiss each other goodbye and goodnight. I hope they continue to be the closest of friends as they grow.

On the weekends when his father is home, I can’t even do up his seat belt without him yelling ‘No! Daddy Do it!’ … like he relishes the time with his dad so much that he wants to milk every moment, but then by Monday it’s back to ‘Mummy do it’ and I’m secretly pleased to still be needed by this independent little guy.

Mondays and Tuesdays are Hugo and Mummy days after we drop Jarvis at kindy and he loves this one-on-one attention and as the weeks go by I realise how quickly he’s growing up. When we talk about J going to school next year, he pipes up ‘me too’ and I can half imagine him in his toddler bravado walking through the gates and wanting to stay. I have to whisper to him, don’t grow up too quickly my son, and he just smiles and laughs and it feels like in that moment that if I blink my eyes, he’ll have grown too big for my arms.

And so, I linger a little longer when he’s fallen asleep with his chubby hand up to his face, his breath deep and slow. These days, though long, are short. He is growing right before my eyes, so I try and go slow and enjoy each crazy toddler moment with this precious second son of mine.

How to start a daily meditation practice

meditation practice

Have you thought about starting a daily meditation practice and have no idea where to begin? You’ve come to the right place. I rediscovered meditation in December 2012, when I was going through a troubled time in my marriage and life. I was in a lot of emotional pain and at that time, doing a daily meditation with my YogaGlo subscription nursed me through some tough emotions and helped me get them out and eventually heal a little bit at a time.

When I started meditation, I had the same thoughts a lot of people have that meditation is all about sitting serious and upright and emptying your mind of all thoughts. What I found was something profoundly different. The first revelation was you are allowed to have thoughts and the second was that you’re allowed to have fun! My meditation varies significantly depending on my mood and the different meditations I’ve done in YogaGlo have taught me how to work with difficult thoughts and emotions and sit with how they feel in my body.

I personally like a guided meditation, that is someone talking me through my breathing and what sensations to tune into. However, with some practice I’m able to use these techniques at challenging times in my everyday life – a few deep breaths to calm me down after a difficult conversation or when the kids are driving me around the bend. What I love so much about meditation is that it’s so accessible and the techniques can be easily applied for instant stress relief.

So, if you’re looking to start a daily practice I’d recommend finding an app or audio that you enjoy (you may need to try a few until you find the one you like). Below are a few resources to try and as you’ll see, many are only short – so having no time to meditate is definitely not an excuse. I’d ideally like to get up first thing in the morning and meditate but with boys who enjoy getting up at 5am, it’s not a reality for me right now. So instead I meditate at night once they’re in bed or on the days I’m home with just my littlest one while he’s having a nap.

It’s a good idea to have a favourite spot where you enjoy to meditate – a favourite chair, a comfy cushion on the floor or propped up in bed. Sometimes you may even like to lie down. Light a candle or burn an essential oil to set the mood for serenity.

I like to choose a meditation that suits where I’m at that day – often the guided meditations are geared towards a particular purpose, so I like to pick something relevant if I need it or something nice like gratefulness or happiness if I’m looking for a more general feel-good meditation.

Have a look below and see if there’s something that resonates with you and be sure to report back on how you’re going in your meditation practice.

YogaGlo: This is a subscription-based service but there is a free trial. I find it very cost effective as I can do at-home yoga and meditation and there’s thousands of classes by world-renowned teachers. My meditation favourite is David Harshada Wagner – I totally recommend his meditations.

Deepak Chopra: Oprah favourite and pioneer of bringing chakra-based meditations to the West, Deepak’s style is soothing and relaxing. He has a number of free meditations here, and also runs regular free meditation experiences with Ms O herself. I did the 21-day Find your Flow challenge last month and really enjoyed it.

Tara Brach: I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I was drawn to the themes of the various free meditations on Tara’s site. Her background is in clinical psychology and she blends this with eastern philosophy – writing books and founding her own meditation school.

Fragrant Heart: Another great free resource with an extensive list of meditations for all occasions, broken up into categories such as Love Meditations, Meditations for Relaxation and Stress Relief and Meditations for Self Esteem. Meditations start at just one minute long with most around  7 to 15 minute in length. 

Do you meditate? What techniques do you find helpful? How does it help you in your everyday life?

Stress less wrap up and continuing the journey

Stress less wrap upHow are your stress levels today?

If you’ve been following along for the last month, I’ve covered the topic of stressing less from a number of angles and it’s made me realise a couple of key things – that stress will always be a part of life, but there are ways to stress less about the things that we can’t control.

While writing about stress, the universe decided to chuck a few unexpected things my way: my son was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and we had to rethink his therapies, which has been stressful from a time and money standpoint, and it threw a big stressful question mark over the future and more specifically our plan of attack for starting prep next year. Also, last week my mum got quite sick unexpectedly and I had to race down to see her in hospital, all the while stressing that the worst could happen. Thankfully she is now on the mend, but if those two major experiences have taught me anything is that yes, truly stressful events do occur – often unexpectedly – and in many ways they actually can bring your life into greater focus if you let them. They give you a jolt of action towards the things that really matter and those little things that we tend to stress about that never amount to anything just tend to slide away.

By starting my stress less action plan, specifically around my stress about Jarvis’s diagnosis, I am happy to report we’re making headway with his new therapies and after visiting some schools, we’re still going ahead towards Prep next year, unless something major pops up to persuade us otherwise. His little gains make me proud every day and I know that whatever the future holds, he’s going to be OK. I’ve got a new budget in action and although the intense therapies are costing us a bit, and there’s very little left after all the bills are paid, I’m no longer stressing so much about this as I know that we can cover all our expenses and that this money is going towards something so completely worthwhile.

I’ve also added a daily meditation practice into my life as a ongoing stress less measure – I find by doing a guided meditation every day I am more able to cope with what life decides to throw at me, without completely losing my sanity. It’s also my little piece of me time that I crave after the busyness of the day.

The other unexpected side-effect of writing about stress for the past month is that it’s helped me to reflect on the stresses that the motherhood journey has thrown up thus far and helped me be a little bit kinder to myself, rather than always kicking myself when I’m down. I feel somehow lighter – I don’t have to do it all, just do the things that matter with great love.

This topic has become really dear to my heart as I really want to help you find some peace in your life as a mother, so expect a bit more on this topic as the months roll by!

I would love to hear how you’re going on your journey to stress less … What things are helping you? What are you still struggling with?