Planning Ahead to Be An Empowered Mom with Sunit Suchdev

Meet today’s guest:

Sunit Suchdev

is an author, speaker and life coach who wants to inspire moms to be talking about all the amazing things they are doing instead of complaining about all they cannot do anymore. Her podcast and course “Modern Mommy Prepschool”, targets first time moms to hold onto their power, parent with purpose and plan ahead to enjoy a fulfilling and happy mom life.

“What used to light you up? If you don’t know, ask your partner, parents, family or friends – often other’s can see things more easily than you can. Once you figure it out, create a list of all the things that fire you up and figure out how to bring them back into your life.”

Sunit was in her 30’s and had been trying to get pregnant for years. What shocked her most, was that so many of the new mothers around her did not seem to be enjoying motherhood, but instead were lamenting at all they had given up for this role (their marriage, their freedom, their identity). On top of this when she finally got pregnant at 36, other mothers started listing all the things she could now say good-bye to forever!

Listening to this was infuriating…

“I’m working so hard to have a baby and I wanted to be able to enjoy motherhood. I got it in my head that there has to be a better way! I did not go through years of infertility and all of this only to have children and not be able to live my life!”

Sunit decided to change her focus and start seeking out moms that she felt were the epitome of the kind of parent she really wanted to be. She used this information to help pull out the positives and create an environment where she could be a loving, fulfilled and excited mother.

“I was 36 when I finally got pregnant and I had lived a very fulfilled and established life beforehand that I was very attached to. I couldn’t believe that having kids would mean the end of that.”

Her kids (twins) are 5 years old now and it has been a very positive experience. Of course there are still challenges, but because of her preparation and purposefulness, overall it has been everything she wanted it to be.

This awakened a passion in Sunit and as a result she left the corporate world to create a business that focuses on helping new moms create the life of their dreams.

“Because of my preparation and planning for the kind of mom I wanted to be, I’ve had a really great and positive experience and I want to help other moms do that as well.”

Below are just 5 of the many tips Sunit shared during our conversation. Check out the interview for all the wonderful details, stories and examples.

Tip #1: If you want to be inspired as a mom, talk to the women who inspire you and ignore those that don’t.

Tip #2:  Don’t waste your energy when you are pregnant on the shiny stuff…use those 9 months to ensure you are coming into this role fulfilled and in touch with who you are.

Tip #3: Use your past, present and future to help you be the parent you want to be.

Tip #4: Take your power back and focus on what’s really important.

Tip #5: Give your children and partner the gift of a happy and fulfilled you.

Find out more about Sunit and her Modern Mommy Prep School on her website and be sure to check out her facebook page  for 1st time mothers.

Understanding Your Stress Hormone So You can Learn to Control it

Originally posted as: Understanding Your Stress Hormone So You can Learn to Control it[June 2016]

 

Today we are going to talk about a very important hormone in our bodies called cortisol – what it is, how it can hurt us and one thing you can do right away to start getting it under control.

This is an important topic for you to know about because most people aren’t aware of how they are wired and what they might be doing to actually increase their own stress and create some of the many health issues that can come with too much cortisol. Lacking energy, feeling overwhelmed, overreacting… can all stop you from being the vibrant, powerful mom you are meant to be… and these are just a few of the direct results of out of whack cortisol.

If I had my way this is the kind of topic that would be added into the school curriculum so that our future generations could start the path to awareness much earlier. Of course they’d also learn about relationship building, masculine feminine energy and other topics I feel are so important to us all. Since they haven’t asked me to create the education curriculum yet, I will settle for sharing it with as many adults as I can in hopes that they will learn to embrace it, role model it and at some point even teach it to the children in their lives.

A typical day…

Let’s look at a possible day in life and see if I can illustrate for you how cortisol flows. Imagine you are in a meeting at work (or if your main job is being a mom you are at some sort of volunteer meeting, training or other important formal type of event) so your phone is on vibrate and suddenly it buzzes. You glance down and see it is your child’s school calling. Your heart skips a beat and you wonder, “Is something wrong?”

Now, of course, because of Murphy’s Law, you are called upon at that particular moment to speak – which is the reason you are at the meeting in the first place. You stammer a little, tell yourself your child is probably fine and start into your talk just as your phone buzzes again! Your pulse is dancing in your veins and you’re finding it a bit difficult to think clearly. It’s taking every bit of your self control not to just run out of the meeting.

Finally, you are done – a whole 7 minutes have gone by – you have no idea if you even said what you had meant to say…but you don’t care. You excuse yourself and leave the room. Immediately you push the callback option
and wait for your phone to ring. Except, instead of ringing you hear nothing!
You’re in the dreaded dead zone – you stare at your phone – zero bars! OMG the phone 14650286 - desperate young african woman pulling on her hairworked fine in the meeting room – how could it not work in the hallway?

You frantically search for the magic spot where your phone will work and end up going all the way outside before you can dial. As your phone starts to ring an ambulance races down the street. You can’t hear anything and the butterflies in your stomach are growing into bat sized creatures. You think you hear the school answer – so you shout to hold on and wait for the ambulance to hurry on by.

Finally the ambulance fades into the distance and you tell the school who you are and ask why they were calling… “Oh… just a minute!” She puts you on hold for 3 minutes – that’s a long time to wait when you are anxious about what is going on!

“Sorry about that,” she says out of breath. “I was hoping to catch your son, before he went out to recess, but I missed him. It was no big deal really – we’re doing positive reinforcement calls and so your son was just calling you to tell you he did well sitting through assembly today.”

Does that sound like a situation you could relate to? It doesn’t need to be a mysterious phone call – it could the photocopier breaking when you have to quickly copy something important; it could be driving on treacherous roads; or maybe it’s waiting for the best time to tell someone something you think might upset them. The point is, any incident that raises intense emotions, but doesn’t require you to be stronger and faster could create the reaction we’re about to look at in more detail.

What’s happening in your body?

Let me tell you what was happening in your body during this time. The moment your phone buzzed the first time (or whenever the initial emotional spike was) a part of your brain called the hypothalamus – which has no access to the outside world and relies on your senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell, thoughts, to find out what is going on – receives a code red.

Code red results in an automatic message to the pituitary to send out cortisol. The pituitary relays that message to the adrenals (little pyramids on top of your kidneys) to release cortisol… and the adrenals release cortisol.

Cortisol is a life giving hormone, and your body does not want to waste it, so there is a feedback loop, where a little bit of the cortisol makes it way back up to the hypothalamus so that it knows cortisol was released. In a normal situation that would turn off the cortisol switch.

If the code red or danger signal continues to come in, the cortisol messenger is not even acknowledged. It’s like your brain is in lock-down until the crisis has been dealt with.

Let me make sure you are with me on this – your brain does not have access to the outside world, so it doesn’t know the difference between you finding your child at the top of a tall ladder someone forgot against the house and a bee buzzing around your head.

If you push the alarm…it’s a code red – end of story! In the situation I just shared, the cortisol shut off message is not received, because the code red messages continue to come in – phone buzzing (starts the sequence); called upon to talk; phone buzzes again; no signal; trying to find signal; ambulance, the secretary puts you on hold…So for that full amount of time – let’s say 20 minutes – cortisol is being released into your body.

Now you have all this cortisol surging through your body and not being needed – because you don’t need to be faster and stronger at this moment.

What will your body do with all that cortisol?

Your body doesn’t want to get rid of the cortisol though, so it is stored in the body wherever it can be. This can cause no end of challenges and misdiagnosis:

  • low thyroid
  • insulin resistance
  • decreased estrogen and progesterone (because their ingredients are stolen to make excess cortisol) resulting in all kinds of health problems – PCOS, PMS, bad cramps – even unhealthy hair and confidence issues
  • really stubborn fat around your middle sometimes known as a muffin top or spare tire that no amount of exercise or dieting will get rid of…

So think about that for a moment – how many times a day is your brain being given a code red – danger signal, when in fact it’s really more like a frustrating situation, maybe a forgotten yogurt for your lunch, a spider walking across the room, a near miss in your car?

Way too much and that’s why living on autopilot and just reacting rather than understanding what’s really going on and ensuring your responses are relative to the situation is important. One of my mentors Stacey Martino likes to say you can live your life by default (autopilot) or live it by design…it’s your choice.

A few key points to understanding cortisol…

Cortisol is a master hormone that is released anytime you are in a stressful situation (too much cortisol also causes your body to be stressed)!

Cortisol makes you faster and stronger – similar to adrenaline and so it’s very important in emergency situations that require you to run fast, climb a tree, lift something heavy…. but not required when you’re late for a meeting, can’t get the photocopier to work, your child won’t take a bath or when a driver cuts you off on the way home.

Cortisol helps keep you feeling calm, cool and collected throughout your day; influences how refreshed you feel upon waking up in the morning; causes many food cravings (chocolate! sugar!) along with a desire to eat nutrient dense food on purpose; how proactive you are and so on.

Too much unneeded cortisol will wreak havoc in your body – besides the thyroid, insulin, fat and reproductive hormone issues I mentioned earlier, it’s also been linked to MS, insomnia, brain health and even bone health.

A continual demand for cortisol can also hurt and potentially burn out your adrenals creating a whole other set of very serious health problems.

Cortisol is not a monster – you need it to live and once you understand what you are doing to overuse it, and learn how to balance it, you will truly feel at your best in life.

What’s the answer… 5 tips for decreasing cortisol:

1. Notice your thoughts and limit the danger signals. This sounds simple – and it is; but unfortunately simple and easy are not the same thing. If you’ve never really been one to tune into your thoughts, then this will be especially difficult.

So start, by switching off autopilot and noticing what you are thinking….especially when difficult situations arise. In a situation like we just talked about, you might take a deep breath when your phone buzzes the second time and send the thought to your brain that all is fine – I’ve got this.

Even if it turned out the school was calling you because your child was hurt, you still don’t need all that cortisol surging through your body to be at your best. In fact, this type of situation actually diverts blood from your brain making you less smart than you would normally be, so not controlling this can cause you to make bad decisions and shrink your brain over time!

Take charge of your thoughts in these situations and start consciously sending the message that you are okay – I’m good; I’ve got this; All’s fine – lots of time; relax…

2. Breathe deep. Breathing deep into your belly is an excellent way to calm your system and it actually helps your body switch from the fight/flight/freeze nervous system (which is when your body is preparing for battle) to the rest and recharge nervous system (which is where all the cleaning, recharging, building happens). So breathing deep into your belly will help your body stop pumping the cortisol and help with the clean up process as well.

In my stress programs I often suggest people create little “Breathe” cards and post them around their home, car or workplace, to remind them to take deep breaths several times throughout the day.

In line with this, I should mention that breathing in through the nose also switches you from the warrior stance – fight/flight/freeze – to the rest and recharge nervous system…

3. Get the oxytocin flowing; oxytocin is another hormone that actually helps you burn off excess cortisol and is considered to be the love or bonding hormone. It floods your body with a beautiful feeling that helps to repair, recharge and make you happy.

I talk about how to get this hormone flowing in my free report, “5 Secrets to Being a Vibrant Mom” which I highly recommend you get if you don’t have it already.

4. Enjoy a massage at least once a month; Massages are a wonderful way to stimulate the vegus nerve (which is what happens
with the oxytocin breath as well)…this relaxes you and helps your body move out toxins. This should be a pleasurable experience, so if it’s not find another massage therapist.HealthAndFitnessWellnessMassage400
According to Dr. Sara Gottfried (who trained me in the Hormone Cure and is the reason I talk about hormones as much as I do), studies show deep-tissue massage lowers cortisol and increases oxytocin.

5. Refuse to worry; Worrying is something humans do that is never helpful (it does not get people home safely, improve their health or change the weather).

Worry zaps you of your strength in the moment and creates a code red for cortisol.

It is not in your genes…I can’t tell you how many people try to tell me they have no choice – or that they come by it honestly…but that’s just an excuse for not wanting to break a problematic pattern in their life. It is okay to make a plan for things going awry, but it does not help you or anyone to carry worry around with you.

So notice when you worry and make a point of stopping this energy drain in its tracks.

I have a worry map I use when I work with people which guides them through some very simple questions – such as Does the worry belong to you? and Is there anything you can do about it? to help them recognize when to take action; and when (as well as how) to let things go.

So, there you have it… 5 things you can use to start standing in your power and decreasing the amount of excess cortisol you have flowing in your body. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, but it is a good start that can influence your health, your parenting, your productivity and virtually every area of your life in a positive way….but only if you choose to put some of these ideas into action.

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How a Mom to Triplets Stays Sane, Enjoys Life & Builds a Business with Michelle Green

Meet today’s guest:

Michelle Green

Michelle Green is a mother to triplets as well as the woman behind the Business of Baking blog, book and podcast.

She owned a custom cake company for over ten years before deciding to sell it so she could become a full time mentor and teacher to other women in the sweet food industry.

These days she likes to talk about cake more than make it!

Website: http://thebizofbaking.com

I often felt criticized for the choices I made as a mother, so I made the decision to tune out what those people were saying. “My life, my rules and as long as my kids are happy and well and I’m happy and well then I’m okay with my decisions!”

Michelle wasn’t planning to have 3 kids never mind have all 3 at once.

My dreams didn’t involve a partner or kids when I was young, in fact I don’t even find puppies all that cute. I was going to be the cool auntie that everyone wanted to visit and hang out with, but not necessarily create a family of my own.

 Michelle came to Australia on a one year study abroad program and met her husband. This was not what she had been looking for, but as happens to so many of us, when it comes to love things don’t always go as planned.

Right from the start my husband was clear that having kids was a non-negotiable for him, so even though that wasn’t how I had thought things would play out in my life, I knew going in that this was now part of my future.

As fate would have it, Michelle ended up with a very planned, orderly and organized pregnancy as she underwent IVF, but still hadn’t foreseen a multiple birth.

I was thrilled and terrified to find out I was pregnant with triplets. I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies so I obviously felt a bit apprehensive, yet I tend to be a roll with the punches kind of girl so I decided to trust that we would figure it out.

She read a lot of books, learned what she could about multiple births and managed to create a life that worked for her, her kids and her hubby.

Catch the interview for the details and find out more about how Michelle lost and rediscovered her own identity, left her secure University job, went to school and built a business – all while raising triplets.

Highlights Reel:

Working Outside the Home

 I admire stay at home moms and for a nanosecond thought that would be my only choice.
Just as quickly I realized this was never in the cards for me. I needed to find a solution that would allow me to stay sane and raise these kids.

Identity Theft

 I love being a mom and my kids mean the world to me, but I didn’t want to be “the triplet’s mom”. I wanted to be Michelle – who happened to have triplets – rather than be defined by it.

A Shortened Mat Leave

Being asked to return to work at 6 months (rather than the full year mat leave) turned out to be an important step in recovering my own identity.

Following my Heart

When my kids were two, I left my job…applied for and was accepted to go to culinary school. I trained as a pastry chef and finessed my way into a job that started at 3 am each morning. I managed to work, continue going to school and raise my kids. Although I was tired, I was 1000 fold happier than I was in my previous job because I was doing something that spoke to my soul.

Authentic Guilt

 I adore being a mom. I adore my kids and they are a massive driving force in my success. I did have mommy guilt sometimes, but the compulsion to be my own person was stronger.

Final Thought

You have permission to be someone outside of your kids. You can choose yourself and them at the same time. The gifts that you are giving your kids go way beyond the motherhood role.

 

If you enjoyed this podcast/article please like/rate/review and subscribe… that’s what keeps us going! Click here now to enjoy our other podcasts.

Interested in the names & products we talk about on the show? Check out our Vibrant Mentions Pinterest Board!

Creating Healthy Habits

Originally posted as: Creating Healthy Habits [November 2016]

Today we’re going to talk about healthy lifestyle habits.

I have spent a lot of years in the world of natural health trying to decipher why I lack energy. I have come a long way – from reacting to almost every meal; catching every cold or flu that went around; experiencing daily headaches and quarterly migraines, suffering from really bad periods, etc. – to where I am now; which is in a place with very few headaches (no migraines), a much happier gut, way less period pain and a stronger immune system.

Despite this, I still believe that there is more for me to learn and that my overall energy could be better. So I continue to take courses, read books, participate in regular detoxes, dabble in essential oils, homeopathy, herbs, etc, as well as see an maya abdominal massage therapist, osteopath, physiotherapist and occasional visits to the chiropractor.

Currently I’m participating in Ari Whitten’s Energy Blueprint program; reading Amy Myer’s The Thyroid connection; Releasing blocks via meditations with Kari Samuels and enjoying energy healing with Emmanuel Dagher. I’m also a regular follower of the Urban Monk, Dr’s – Sara Gottfried (The Hormone Cure), Mark Hyman (Eat Fat, Get Thin), Alan Christianson (The Adrenal Reset), Josh Axe (his posters dominate my ‘rocking the health boat’ pinterest board), as well as the bullet proof guy – Dave Asprey.

Why am I telling you this? Because I feel strongly guided to share some of the wonderful things I’ve been learning. As a mother I think I would have enjoyed being tuned into more of this information when my kids were young – although I totally believe that their journey is unfolding exactly as it was meant to and they were definitely raised in a far more health conscious home than many… So I don’t mean to suggest I’m filled with regret, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share some of my info and insights with others because that is, after all, what this podcast is all about.

So today I’d like to focus on health tips – specifically healthy habits – things you might not know about, but are ready to hear; things that you might not be ready to embrace, but are willing to at least listen to; and even things you might already know about, but like me was not totally clear on why they were important enough to listen to.

My goal is to help you become aware of any self-depleting patterns you might be creating in your own life (and your child’s) and give you ideas of what you can do instead if you decide to pursue that idea further.  I’m also sharing names wherever I can in case you want to do an internet search and find out more about any of these topics, so if you’re listening to the podcast only, and you miss the names, you might want to visit my blog and get a copy of this week’s written notes.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits:

1) Avoid eating before bed. Lots of people talk about sleep and body processes that occur during this time. Ari Whitten helped me really understand the process.

Your body has a lot of important work to do during the night and eating food gets in the way of that happening. In fact overnight is when the cleaning process happens (something called autophagy) and it’s where any broken or misshapen material gets scooped up so it will be replaced with better stuff. When you eat, your body can’t go in autophagy because those resources are focused on digesting. That’s okay during the day, when you need energy to operate.

It’s not so okay, when you are sleeping. In fact, it means the next day your body has to use those broken or misshapen pieces that should have gone in the garbage. I’m all for re-using, but not when it becomes a health concern.

The answer: become aware of your fasting window (the time you go without food – typically overnight) and ensure it is at least 12 hours long (13 – 14 is even better). Stop eating 3 – 4 hours before bed and just enjoy tea, coffee (both without any milk or sugar), or water during that time.

If you’re breastfeeding a new born, this might not be ‘doable’ yet. Your baby might insist on eating in the night and you might find you need nourishment then too. That’s okay – baby time is always an exception. Do what works best for you and babe and then as soon as you are able to stop feeding the baby at night, see if you can stop your munching too.

One final thought worth exploring here… are you training your older kids to think a bedtime snack is the norm? Was this something you were raised with or have you picked it up watching other adults? I know my kids had snacks very sporadically – thankfully that had not been part of my bedtime ritual as a child, so it wasn’t an ingrained belief that I had to challenge.

Medical disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, but a mother sharing what she has learned. You are the expert in your own home – I challenge you to stand in your power, don’t accept anything that feels wrong to you, but instead keep an open mind and search until you find what works.

2) Support your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is what wakes you in the morning, helps you fall asleep at night and schedules most of your body’s maintenance. Cleaning, rebuilding, hormone distribution and more are all determined by this rhythm. When you’re circadian rhythm is disrupted, everything gets messed up and according to Ari (and many of the other doctors I talked about earlier) there is plenty of evidence that this is a really bad thing.

Here are some of the things you can do to ensure you are working with your rhythm as much as possible:

  • a) Pay attention to lights after dark. CR is thrown off kilter by artificial light. Even worse, blue light – that which is given off by computers, ipads, phones, T.V’s, etc – is the most disruptive of all. Firelight, red lights, low ambers are much better for our rhythm and tell our bodies to start producing melatonin at the right time.

If you feel tired a lot or find it hard to fall asleep when you finally drop into bed exhausted, try to avoid (or minimize) the blue light in your evening life. I’ve actually ordered some blue blocker glasses from Amazon so I can watch hockey games now that the season has started. Iphones have an ‘evening light’ setting and apparently there are free downloads for computers if you have to be on them before you go to bed. So do what you can to eliminate or avoid blue light for at least the hour before bedtime.

Making your bedroom as dark as possible is also important. Black out screens can help with that if you live in the city or have a yard light shining in your window. If you need a nightlight for walking to baby’s room during the night, or in your child’s room, see if you can get away with a red bulb. If this isn’t bright enough, you could try low wattage amber, but it could still be disrupting for your little one.

  • b) Get outside during the day. Nothing is as good for you as natural sunlight so do your best to get outside as soon as the sun starts to rise. Both Ari and The Adrenal Reset guy – Dr. Christianson suggest you do this within the first hour of getting up, but of course it has to be daylight for this to work. Full spectrum lights (used in that first hour after waking up) can help with this when the days are short.
  • c) Try a natural light ‘alarm clock’ if possible. I know so many parents who tell me that getting their child up for daycare (or school) is such a challenge especially in the dark winter months. As a result they are tired and grouchy…which doesn’t help if mom is tired and grouchy as well. So, you might want to try a natural light clock for you, your kids or both. These clocks start to brighten your room just like daylight would which alerts your body to send out a shot of cortisol – making you jump out of bed, awake and ready to start the day.

Of course if you’ve been up several times with your child in the night, nothing will fix the loss of sleep, however, know that, this phase is only temporary and eventually you will return to having more control over your sleep.

  • d) A few other quick ideas: Do your best to create a time for bed and time to get up routine and stick with it. Get up when you wake up (rather than dozing); pump yourself up and remind your body it should be energized at that time. Go to bed around the same time and do your best to eat your meals around the same time. Run a pink or white noise machine to decrease noise distractions and keep your room cool if possible.

All of these things help to keep your circadian rhythm in check and help improve sleep quality, both of which can go a long way to keeping you on the ‘happy side’ of life.

3) Plug the drain by unplugging.  Electro Magnetic Frequencies also known as EMFs drain you. By now most of us have heard about how they can affect our energy levels, our ability to think and so much more. People joke about not living too close to power lines because of how it might affect our future generations, but as with most humour there is an element of truth in it.
I remember listening to an EMF specialist on a health show a couple years ago (sorry I can’t remember her name or even which summit) and she was saying how one mother called her when her baby daughter wasn’t hitting development milestones the way she should be (i.e. she wasn’t rolling over, holding up her head, sitting up – despite being 6 months).

It took this woman less than 5 minutes in the baby’s room with her EMF machine to discover the problem.  Turns out the mother had put a heater beside the crib because the baby’s room was a bit cool. The EMF’s from that heater were actually robbing the baby of negative electrons while she slept. They got rid of all electrical items around the crib and within a couple days baby rolled over, held up her head and within a week was sitting.

Get rid of everything you can that plugs in close to your bed (and your child’s!). This is especially important for plug-ins by your head including alarm clocks. There are things you can buy that give off negative electrons so that your body will not get out of balance.

My favorite company is Vibes Up which is in USA, but you can also find a lot of interesting things – like Himalayan rock salt lamps, amethyst stones, Q-links, and others – at local health stores. Of course, the more thorough and cost effective answer is to unplug things.

4) Leave your phone in another room at night. In the last few years smartphones have become a lifeline for so many people. They have them with them all the time…fully charged and ready to go. This is a problem in several ways.

One is because of the EMF’s I just mentioned. With cell phones the situation is a little different because even though the phone isn’t always plugged in, it is still checking the tower for data regularly. This disrupts your own rhythm (including sleep patterns!) and will take its toll on your body over time.

Another problem is that having a cell phone that’s always on means you are always on. People can call or text at any time of the day or night disrupting the time when you’re supposed to be restoring. In the rare situation where you need to be contacted in the middle of the night people will find a way to get hold of you.

I know this is a tough one to even consider, but the longer we have these phones the more we are learning about the unhealthy effects. If you can, put your phone in a different room at night or put it in airplane mode. Even do not disturb with permission for certain contacts to be able to reach you is better than just having it on and plugged in right beside you.

In line with this idea of ‘always being on’ it is a really good idea to start finding times of the day when you can be unplugged. Ideally it would be great to get up in the morning and rather than checking in with your phone right away taking some time to check in with yourself. During this time you might set your intentions for the day – or simply think thoughts like, I wonder what wonderful things are going to happen in my life today?

Tuning into your body by stretching, deep breathing, meditating, standing in sunlight, reciting a short gratitude list… whatever feels wonderful and is available to you is still going to be much better for you than immediately checking-in with social media or your texting buddies.

5) Avoid making food ruts. It’s so easy to find a food you enjoy and then fall into a pattern of eating it on a
regular basis. It might even get to a point where you panic if you’re running out of something that you like to have every day. This is especially true in how we feed our kids. If you discover he eats cucumber willingly, it’s very tempting to put that on his plate every day (this is even more true when your child is a picky eater!).

I totally understand this way of thinking and have fallen victim to it myself. Unfortunately this is not a good habit to create. One of the reasons is because your body uses certain enzymes to digest certain foods. If you make a habit of eating peanut butter and toast every single day for breakfast you have a good chance of using up those enzymes and
creating digestive issues you won’t want to deal with later.

Another problem with this way of eating is that your body needs a variety of nutrients to function. If you only eat blueberries every day you will benefit from the many good things it offers, but you will suffer from the missing items it does not. Mixing it up with other berries, fruit and veggies will make a very positive difference in your life.

A third problem is when your diet isn’t very pure and there is something in your bread or on your blueberries that is bad for you. Even though your body has the ability to clean out this undesirable when it appears, it cannot do this every day and over time they will accumulate and create a toxic load that results in a diagnosis nobody wants to hear. I remember Dr. Hulda Clarke saying, even though we can all handle a little bit of arsenic without ill effect, a little bit every day that starts to build up will eventually lead to that person being poisoned.

So try not to create ruts that go longer than an item would be in season. For example – all kinds of squash are available in the fall and you should feel free to enjoy it, but once it’s season is over you’ll want to switch back to occasional squash meals. A good way to look at this is its okay to run out of things every few weeks and have to go without. Try to find a variety of different foods (with kids it can help to get them involved in picking out different colours or testing different fruits).  Watch out for other repeats and do your best to break them up where you can.

Your life is demanding and you’ve been taught that to be more efficient and therefore productive, you need to juggle many things in your day. As a result you go on autopilot and create habits wherever you can. What I’m suggesting is that you do this from a conscious place and create healthy habits that you understand and feel are helping you be the vibrant, powerful person you are choosing to be.

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Living Authentically with Kerri Hummingbird

Meet today’s guest:

Kerri Hummingbird

is a Soul Guide who mentors women through difficult life transitions by helping them to remember their essence and align their lives to it. Her award-winning memoir, Awakening To Me: One Woman’s Journey To Self Love, reveals in vulnerable truth her process of reclaiming life after divorce.

She is certified in energy medicine by the Four Winds Light Body School, certified as a spiritual coach by the Artist of the Spirit Coach Training Program, certified as a firewalk instructor by Sundoor, and certified as a Warrior Goddess Facilitator.She is the 2017 President of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). Kerri has over 20 years of experience in leading by inspiration, and a special passion for empowering women.

Tune in to this ½ hour interview with Kerri Hummingbird to learn about awakening the Deep Wise Woman within and reconnecting with your authentic self.

My mother’s heart was saying – this is not working, something is wrong here. Interestingly while I was advocating for my son, I was also advocating for myself and my truth.

Becoming a mother was the starting point for a new phase of life in more ways than the obvious. Kerri Hummingbird knew her marriage wasn’t working for her in many ways, but was content to maintain status quo and live the life society suggested she should want, at least until the birth of her first child.

It was like a can of coke was being shaken. The pressure was building and it was getting hard to just let a little bit out at a time.

At some point the tension is so great between who we really are and who we are being told we should be, that something has to give.

Having a child awakened the sacred power within…the part of me that was a mother… and she didn’t jive very well with who I was in my marriage.”

As the Deep Wise Women within her awakened, she started disagreeing with a lot of things her husband was saying. “We never did see eye to eye but after having kids the differences were huge.” At some point, Kerri realized that the relationship she was creating with her husband was patterned after her parents and her now ex-husband was playing the negative and controlling role of her mother.

“The process of becoming a mother really became a process of being myself and learning what’s right from a place of inner discernment – my own inner guidance and own knowing. There’s really not a lot of support for a woman’s intuition if it doesn’t match with logic or science.”

When her older son struggled with school – especially teachers who used a controlling style similar to his dad’s – conflict would arise. Kerri started asking her son what’s really going on and then listening to what he would say.

“In many cases – my son’s dad was saying things to him like ‘you’re lazy, you just don’t want to do the work.’ My standing up for him with the school was somebody standing up for him and believing in him. You are loved, believed, trusted are such important messages.”

When we lose that connection to essence – that which is bigger than us – it keeps us small. When we open to it and reclaim it, we upset the apple cart and open ourselves to a lot of information that was always there, but we weren’t aware of it.

“The key component to my ability to make this transformation was learning how to open to spirit – to guidance – opening to evidence that the universe was conspiring to help me grow!”

Learning from her mentor, HeatherAsh Amara, and becoming part of a supportive community of like-minded women who are exploring this vulnerability and opening to their spiritual connection, allowed Kerri to explore these unknown and important areas with guidance and support. It is so important to know you are never alone.

A tip Kerri shared for opening yourself up to your spiritual connection:

My first teacher Gerry Starns taught me to play a daily game called “Morning Messenger” to reconnect with spirit. For this game you go outside in the morning and open to any messages from spirit. Notice what stands out for you – a lizard, a hawk, a dragonfly, a license plate, a billboard… anything that speaks to you. Look up what that creature means or contemplate the sign. You’ll know (feel) when the message is for you and doing this will start building your muscle of your intuition.

“Right before I left my ex-husband I had a sign. There I was holding the knotted end of a ship rope when I saw it fly out of my hands.

I recognized this was the end of the rope.

The way to heed the signal is through action. If you don’t act it creates a lot of stagnation. This can be a small action like looking for alternative living accommodations. Trust that you are being led in the right direction. Heeding the signals won’t make it easy, but you’ll know when it’s right because things will unfold to support you in the process.”

For other tips and more of Kerri’s story be sure to listen to the podcast!

Gift from Kerri:

21 Day Challenge to Catalyze your life which incorporates a lot of the things Kerri explored on her journey to find herself.  http://kerrihummingbird.com/21-day-challenge-to-catalyze-your-life/

Resources mentioned:

Kerri’s memoir: Awakening To Me: One Woman’s Journey To Self Love

Kerri’s website: http://www.kerrihummingbird.com

Kerri’s podcast and video: Soul Nectar Show

HeatherAsh Amara – Warrior Goddess Facilitator; www.heatherashamara.com

Gerry Starnswww.gerrystarnes.com

If you enjoyed this podcast/article please like/rate/review and subscribe… that’s what keeps us going! Click here now to enjoy our other podcasts.

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How to Tell Your Inner Critic from Your Inner Wisdom

Today we are going to talk about reconnecting with your inner wisdom which is linked to your intuition and is something everyone has – even if they can’t always hear it. We’re also going to talk about your inner critic which fools a lot of people and can actually stop you from standing in your power and growing in a positive way.

This is an important topic for you to be aware of because both of these things go with you everywhere you go and they can influence every aspect of your life. The critic can rob you of your vibrancy; your confidence, poise and resiliency, while reconnecting with your inner wisdom can help you be a better mom, wife, daughter, employee, boss…while guiding you towards smarter decisions, and helping you avoid some major disasters.

I’m going to share ways to recognize the difference between these two messengers and share some ideas for getting your inner critic under control. All of my podcasts are about increasing your self-awareness which will automatically reconnect you with your inner wisdom, so I’ll share a couple ideas for that today, but understand that this piece is an ongoing process that we’ll continue to build on in each and every podcast.

My Story

It was a warm sunny day in Manitoba, Canada (where I live), although the weather had been cold up until then. Our teenage kids were on spring break and both my husband and I were on holidays. We decided it would be fun to head to our favorite ski hill which is almost 5 hours from our home and spend a few days enjoying what was left of the snow. I wondered if it was too warm and they’d close the hill before we got there, but when I phoned them they assured me they still had lots of powder and planned to stay open until the end of the week.

We made the plans, got everyone packed and loaded into the car. As we were getting set to leave I felt an urge to return to my room for one last scan of anything I might have missed – I was glad I did as my first aid box (filled with homeopathy and such) was still up there.

On the way to the hill the temperature shot up higher and higher and by the time we arrived it was a very slushy situation. Oh well – friends of ours had made the trip out there too and it was my husband’s birthday, so we decided to just tough it out and make the best of it.

I was wearing a hot pink rip zone jacket – waterproof and very light, but still much too warm. Halfway through the day I took my jacket off and tied it around my waist allowing it to flap out behind me as I raced down the ski hill.

On my last ride up the lift I was riding with my friend and her young son. We were watching the workers taking down snow fence and lamenting the fact that the lift operator had just told us they were closing the hill early. As we neared the top of the chair lift, my friend turned to her son and said, “We’re going that way and pointed to the right…so please don’t cut me off.

I made a decision to get out of their way as quickly as I could, so I stood up as soon as my skies hit the snow and veered sharp right. Whoops – my jacket had twisted around the arm of the chair when I did that, locking me in place.

“Stop the lift.” I said, quite calmly despite a very strong urge to yell. “Don’t panic,” was the thought that shouted in my mind, “You’ll look like a fool!” When the lift didn’t stop the urge to yell increased along with the words, “Say it again – louder.” So I raised my voice and shouted, “Stop the lift – I’m stuck.”

The lift kept moving. I pulled at my jacket trying to get it to either rip or let go – “You shouldn’t have tied your jacket around your waist – how stupid was that!” the voice in my head shouted as the chair took exception to my resistance and swung me high into the air, over the safety bar and back towards the ski run.

“OMG!” echoed in my mind – “they’re not stopping it and I’m going to be dragged over!” Stop pulling – went through my mind, but how ridiculous was that – the lift was dragging me towards the 20 foot drop, of course I needed to pull. As it dragged me to the end of the safety net I tried to brace my hip against the final bar between me and the earth below. Of course, I’m not strong enough to stop a lift and it just kept on going despite my efforts. “This can’t be happening – this is a nightmare – I’m going to die!”

Finally the lift stopped, about 15 feet past the safety of that net and only a few feet shy of where the drop becomes a 60 foot fall to a black diamond run. The chair was swinging wildly and I clung to it for dear life. “You can’t fall in ski boots or you’ll break your legs for sure… just hold on until they back up the lift! What’s taking them so long? I hope my kids aren’t watching… Somebody help me!” These thought were blasting in my mind. But deep inside of me I felt an urging to stay calm, breathe and hold on tight.

But hold on for what? It became apparent that there was no plan for this type of emergency…I would have to get myself down. “NO! This is stupid – it’s not fair”… these thoughts collided with thoughts like “everyone is watching you – what a spectacle you’re making of yourself… I can’t believe I’m going to die here in front of all these people!”

With my heart in my throat, I realized I really did have to get myself down and I couldn’t do it with all those negative thoughts racing through my mind. I closed my eyes and breathed – consciously quieting my mind in the process. I felt a calmness go through me and a plan quickly formed – kick off your skies, let go of the chair and trust that your jacket will hold. Lower yourself through your jacket – that’ll cut half the distance – then drop the rest of the way. Bend your knees deeply when you land.

I took a deep breath and followed my plan. “What if my jackets too tight?” zipped through my mind just before letting go – panic surged through me again. But I breathed deeply and decided I’d wiggle through it.

I kicked off my skies, forced my fingers to let go of the chair, wiggled through my still tied jacket and fell to the earth below. As I slammed into the ground I bent my knees deeply which saved my legs, but also propelled me forwards smashing my helmeted head into the slushy, yet frozen, earth.
Recovering from this accident was not easy. I had a major concussion and severe whiplash, but I was relieved to have gotten myself down alive and without breaking my legs.  I’ve learned a lot from this experience and like to use what I’ve learned to help people rebuild their own lives after a traumatic event occurs. I share it here though, because I think it nicely illustrates the difference between the inner critic who I now call Naggy and my inner wisdom – which was there and trying to guide me throughout the process.

Your inner critic provides thoughts that make you afraid and keep you playing small. They are intended to help, but because they are fear based are also aimed at holding you back. Some people have a really nasty inner critic which puts them down, reminds them of all their short-fallings and sets them up for failure.

In this situation, my inner critic, Naggy, supplied the thoughts about how other people might be seeing me and the panicked voice about how I was going to die once the story progressed. In truth Naggy came out many times that day – any time my ski would grab in the icy snow or I’d lose my balance.

Your inner critic wants to keep you safe, but it would like to do it by keeping you locked in a padded room where you can’t get hurt, and you also can’t experience life. 

The good news is, your inner critic can be trained to be more supportive and I’m happy to report Naggy has come a long way since that day.

My inner wisdom, on the other hand, is much quieter than the critic and arises from down in my core (belly really). 

In my story, it was inner wisdom that sent me back to my room to find my first aid box (which it turns out I definitely needed) and also told me it was going to be too warm for the snow. I didn’t listen to that second piece of advice and instead phoned the ski hill to check if they planned to stay open. They said they’d be open all week…so we went.

I also ignored my inner wisdom when it told me to shout at the attendants (who turned out to be out of the shack in the safety net trying to fix something)…Notice – my inner wisdom didn’t shout at me to shout – it just firmly suggested I shout that I was stuck. It

was also my inner wisdom that told me how to get down without dying or breaking my legs and it was even my inner wisdom that answered my inner critic’s panicked idea that I might get stuck in my jacket.

Boiling it down

Your inner critic tends to be judgmental, fearful, loud or critical when it pipes up. In fact, I often suggest people write out the guidance they receive in their mind and if they would give their thoughts exclamation points, bolding, italics, or make it stand out in some other way, it’s likely their critic talking.

Inner wisdom, on the other hand, simply suggests. It’s guiding you, but like a lighthouse on the shore of the land, it doesn’t get brighter, or start flashing if you don’t listen. It simply shines to show you the way and then allows you to use your free will and choose to listen to it or not. I ignored mine several times that day, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there providing the guidance.

It told me to stop pulling – that seemed ludicrous at the time, but in the end, I really wished I had listened. It might not have made a huge difference because I did hang there for quite a few minutes, but I’m guessing had I not pulled so much I wouldn’t have suffered so much damage to my elbows and shoulders due to over-extension.

I also remember hearing the thought – “Be very careful.” When I tied my jacket around my waist. My critic responded to that one with the thought, “Don’t be silly – just do it!” Because the critic is so loud (bossy) it’s not as easy to ignore.

Becoming aware of the inner critic is the first step towards taking back your power from this invisible force and reconnecting to your natural guidance system.

I challenge you to notice your thoughts…

Choose a few to write down throughout the day…notice when it’s just a nudge and when it feels like a shout, command or insult. Notice when it keeps repeating (I’ve learned my Wisdom rarely repeats) or when the thought has emotion attached.

Give this loud voice a name.

Steer clear of naming your inner critic after someone you know (even if your inner critic does sound like them) as this gives that person more power than they deserve and can also create resentment towards this person that is not warranted. 

If you can’t hear your inner wisdom yet…in other words it all feels loud, derogatory or mean… that’s okay…focus your attention on training your inner critic and as you quiet that you’ll allow your inner wisdom to surface more and more.

Quieting your inner critic can take a while and is really quite specific to you. I used to teach people how to debate, minimize and even send their inner critic packing (in fact I give ideas for how to do this in my book Standing in Your Power), but I’ve changed my mind on this idea a little as I’ve learned to work with my inner critic.

Instead now I like to teach that she’s kind of like your eccentric old aunt – she has the best of intentions, but she tends to say it as she sees it (which is from  a very limited perspective) plus she’s way too protective (especially of your reputation) and some of her ideas are slightly warped. You don’t want to take what she’s saying to heart, but you do want to learn how to work with her.

Your inner wisdom on the other hand, is like the wise elder in your life – she is very connected, knowledgeable, loving and understanding…you definitely want to get to know her better.

How to apply this information to your life…

Step 1: Become aware of your inner critic if you aren’t already and start to set boundaries with her

Step 2: Notice your inner wisdom and especially what happens when you don’t listen to it…this will give you proof that she gives good advice [hint: this can be identified by those moments when you say or feel like you just knew this was going to happen…]

Step 3: Allow your inner critic to build you up – train it to provide positive, supportive thoughts and choose your inner wisdom to be your guide in life. It’s a rare person who can do this all the time, but the more you practice it the easier it will become.

This one little task is a huge part of the human experience and will start you on the path towards standing in your power on a regular basis.
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Letting Go of Negativity and Celebrating Being the Mom of an LGBTQ+ Child with Susan Berland

Meet today’s guest:

Susan Berland

Parenting Coach Susan Berland is fiercely committed to guiding parents of LGBTQ youth back to a loving, accepting relationship when they are struggling to accept their child as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer or just struggling with their reaction to their child’s coming out. Susan guides parents and their kids to communicate effectively, trust one another and accept one another where and as they are. She helps parents overcome the guilt, fear or shame they may experience when they discover they have an LGBTQ child.

As I sat at home one evening sipping tea and surfing the television for something interesting to watch, my youngest (who was 19 at the time) came and handed me a large envelope. On it was written the words, “open and read”.

Wondering at this mysterious way of dropping something off and then fleeing the room I reached inside. There I found a typewritten letter attached to a printed off PDF. As I scanned the letter my heart skipped a beat and I had to take a deep breath before continuing.

Your kid is a transboy…

The rest of the letter went on to explain, what this means in general; what it means to my child; what it means for me; and the logistics of how we might move forwards together.

At the very end it said pps: Also I’m bisexual…idk I don’t feel like coming out twice

That line actually made me laugh despite the tear that ran down my face.

That was just over a year ago now and although it’s taken a lot of work just to get the pronouns right, it was not nearly as ‘bad’ as I would have thought if someone had asked me what I would do should this ever happen to me.

One of the reasons for this was my own ability to recognize that coming out to me like this would not have been an easy thing to do – even with a parent who loves unconditionally. I knew immediately this was not just a phase, or something to be taken lightly. This was going to mean big changes in my life which I could either fight against and perhaps lose my child in the process or embrace fully and see how it rolls out.

Another thing that really helped was talking to people like Susan Berland who has taken it upon herself to help parents like me and it is my interview with her that I would like to share with you today on Vibrant, Powerful Moms.

Letting go of negativity and celebrating being the mom of an LGBTQ+ child

Susan’s Story

When my son told me he was gay, Susan begins, it was 1989 and although I thought of myself as a liberal minded person who was supportive of my gay and lesbian friends, I balked at the news.

“At the time I strongly suspected he was gay and had kind of pushed that thought away because I didn’t really want it to be true. Then I pushed that thought away too because I sensed it was wrong to think that way. So it really sent me into a tailspin. A lot of my reaction came from shame – not being ashamed of him, but ashamed of what I was feeling and how I was reacting.”

Since then, Susan says she has met way too many people in the LGBTQ+ community who have been rejected by their parents when they came out. Her heart broke as she heard these stories and for a long time she really wanted to help these people. At some point she realized it really wasn’t the LGBTQ+ kids that needed her help… it was their parents!

“Because I had been in that situation I was in a unique position to provide support and guidance to these parents who might still be reeling from finding out that their child is LGBTQ+.”

In this episode of Vibrant, Powerful Moms, Susan and I talk about what it feels like to have a child come out and what you can do to make sure you get the support you need while still honouring the needs of your child. Susan talks about the fear, guilt, blame, shame as well as the conflict that can arise when it goes against deep seated beliefs like religion.

Listen to the interview and find out more. Even if your child is not LGBTQ+, it may help you support a friend, another family member, a colleague, neighbour or even a client.

Highlights Reel

“When your child tells you they are LGBTQ+ remember the love you felt for your child the first time you held them – connect to that feeling and allow that to guide the conversation that follows.”

The most important thing when your child comes out is to let them know you love them no matter what – providing this is true! Here’s an example:

“I love you…I will never stop loving you…there is nothing you can do that will make me stop loving you. I need some time to adjust to this new information and that’s on me. I’m going to do some research and some processing and I’m going to be fine with this. I just need time. I love you.”

 

Many parents struggle with the conflict between their religious beliefs and the information their child is sharing.

“I’ve heard so many Christian parents talk about how they prayed for God to change their child’s heart and God changed their heart instead. In time you will begin to see that your child was born this way…and if God made them this way then how can it be wrong?”

If you suspect your child might be LGBTQ+, rather than ask them directly and perhaps put them in a position where they feel they must lie, show support for what is happening around you in regards to acceptance of people in this community. When you do this you create a safe environment for your child to talk to you if, and when, they are ready.

Finally, Susan shared the importance of finding the right support for you. Talking to a trusted friend, joining a non-judgmental and supportive group (like the private group Susan offers on Facebook) or using professional services are all options for those in need.  You do not need to go this alone and you will likely be pleasantly surprised at how much support is available.

Listen to the show for all the goods!

Resources:

Website: susanhopeberland.com

Private FB Group: Parents of LGBTQ Kids Support (send Susan a message and tell a little bit about your story. She is very careful about who she lets in to the group which is why it’s such a safe environment).

Gift: 10 things to do when your son or daughter comes out. Link at top of page on website http://susanhopeberland.com/

If you enjoyed this podcast/article please like/rate/review and subscribe… that’s what keeps us going! Click here now to enjoy our other podcasts.

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Building Strong Family Relationships

Originally posted as: Relationship Building; the Game of Give & Take [July, 2016]

Today we are going to talk about…building strong relationships with your loved ones.

This is a huge topic area – one that we will return to many times on this podcast, so for today we’re just going to zero in on one way to get a measure on how much you’re putting into a relationship and how much you might be accidentally taking away.

This is an important topic for you to be aware of because the absolute best time to build a really strong relationship with your child is when they are young and they adore you.

Except that for many people this is such a busy time – rushing to daycare, to work, to pick the kids up, to get groceries…which typically results in the adults shifting into autopilot mode and often spending more time and energy to find the patience and friendliness for total strangers (i.e. waitresses; grocery clerk…) than for the people you love more than anyone else in the world.

We also live at a time when there are so many opportunities for our kids and a strong desire to give them ever possibility in life. So you sign them up for programs and then rush around trying to get them fed and off to dance, hockey, music, Beavers – or whatever they’ve signed up for – and in the process start chipping away at the relationship that is the most important part of the whole experience.

Let me rephrase that so you really hear what I’m saying…

nothing will be as important 20 years from now than the relationship you have built with your kids.

Even if you have sacrificed so much for them – gotten up at 5 every morning to get them to the rink or dance studio, taken a second mortgage on the house to pay for equipment or scrapped your plan to go back to University…if you haven’t put the work into building your relationship with them when they are little, they will not want to spend time with you or even to call you once they move out of your house. You will have become an obligation – not someone they enjoy and want to be around.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your child in extracurricular activities (or be nice to the other people you see in a day) – not at all – I’m just saying, it is important you become aware of where you are putting your energy and make your relationship with your immediate family top priority, because everything else will pale by comparison when your child is old enough to be on his own.

That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today – how you can become aware of what you’re doing that is building relationship and what you might be doing that is taking away from it. This awareness alone can make a huge difference in your life and as you’ll see it’s not as hard as you might think.

This information doesn’t only apply to relationships with kids – it comes into play in any significant relationship – the one you have with your spouse, lover, mother, siblings, friends and close colleagues.

Everything we do in a relationship is either giving to it or taking away. Those things that show and build trust give; while those things that break or weaken trust take away.  As you take away from relationship, you’ll notice things start to feel strained, unless you’re putting back a good deal of what you are taking. This can sound really obvious, but the truth is people overlook this all the time.

Meet Sally

Sally is the mom of a seven year old boy, Nolan. When Nolan was a baby Sally stayed home with him for the full year maternity leave, spending lots of time and creating a strong bond between them. She returned to work for a year and then left for a second mat leave and his little brother Ty came into the picture. Sally was home for another year and even though Nolan now had to share her with his brother, he loved being home with her.

Then mom went back to work and everything changed. Nolan had to get up at 6 a.m. and mom was busy trying to get everyone ready to go. When mom got home from work at the end of the day she was tired and busy trying to get supper and her many other chores done…so she didn’t have much time to play. She still read Nolan a story every night before bed, and found little moments to cuddle, but otherwise Ty took up most of her attention and Nolan spent most of his time with dad.

Fast forward a few years, Nolan and Ty are both in school and Sally has put the boys in a skating program, Beavers and soccer. Thankfully the skating and soccer are at different times of the year so they don’t conflict, but it does create a hectic schedule with at least 3 days of extra-curricular a week.

In a typical day Nolan sees his mom when she wakes him up.  Nolan does not wake up easily and his mom is often frustrated with him so she starts out cheery and loving …then ends up snapping at him to get dressed and eat before the bus comes. Some days she reminds him if he’d just go to bed when he’s told to, he wouldn’t be so tired and she even threatens to take away his computer game. She always gives him a hug and tells him she loves him before he goes out the door.

The fact that Sally get’s to be there to put her kids on the bus is wonderful, but also means they have to go to an after school program most days so she can work until 5:30. By the time she picks them up and gets home, it’s after 6 and everyone is hungry and tired. Sally makes Nolan do his homework while she makes supper – which causes a lot of arguments and although she tries to help him she’s distracted by Ty and the food she is trying to prepare. By the time supper is finished it’s after 7 and it’s time for baths a ½ hour of computer games and bed. Sally used to use story time as a way to get Nolan off the computer by saying something like, “if you want a story you need to come now.” but then he started choosing computer over story so that didn’t work.

What I hope you can see, is that Sally’s story isn’t very different from other moms. You likely noticed I hardly brought dad into the picture – and the reason is because he’s really not relevant to this story.  When you’re looking at relationship building it can only occur when you are interacting with that person. So when dad watches Nolan in the bath, Nolan is building relationship with his dad not Sally.

Okay, so let’s look at this relationship from a perspective of giving and taking. For the first few years of Nolan’s life, Sally gave a lot to the relationship. She played, laughed, cuddled, read stories, regularly expressed how much she loved him, gave him compliments and looked after him. As Sally’s life got busier with Ty then work and pressing timelines, Nolan was corrected more, was ordered around and needed a lot more discipline.

These things all take from a relationship. This doesn’t mean we don’t ever do them…it is in fact critical that we do, it just means we need to be conscious of how much we are doing them so we can insure we are putting more into the relationship than we are taking out. A suggested ratio is 4 gives to 1 take, but rather than get hung up on the numbers, I hope you’ll recognize that you want to be giving lots more than you are taking.

For many families they give, give, give for the first few years, but then as time marches on start taking more and more on a regular basis. This creates a strain on the relationship, causing their child to act out – increasing the need to take. By the time their kids are teens, they’re hardly talking to each other…right at a time when you need communication to be openly flowing.

What gives and what takes – pick up a copy of the list along with a great game for adventurous families

Once you’ve read the list and notice how often you are doing them, you can get a pretty good handle on how often you are giving and how often you are taking away. Then when you do a measure at the end of the week – you get a pretty good picture of your habits – which might result in you giving yourself a pat on the back and continuing on as is…or might result in you feeling a bit dismayed at how often you are taking away from the most precious thing in your life.

A couple notes of caution;

1) even if you are giving more than taking from the relationship, your child can still make decisions that seem totally ridiculous to you at the time.

2) you’ll want to revisit this with each new stage your child goes through, because even though you might be doing great right now while your daughter is in grade 3, as she moves into the tenacious tween stage, you might change your style without really recognizing the shift.

For adult couple relationships you want to pay attention to the normal ebbs and flows of life. If things are feeling stressed, add in more giving such as; little compliments; comments of appreciation; loving looks; smiles; acts of kindness. Communication and finding time for each other are the two areas that people typically build their relationship on, then when things get stressed or something happens they aren’t ready to share, they stop and shift into efficiency mode – more criticism, correction, eye-rolling, sarcasm, teasing. Before they know it, they are wondering if this is truly the relationship for them.

One of the best gifts you can give your kids if you are currently in a two parent relationship is to focus energy on making that relationship solid. You can’t afford to ignore it until the kids are older because by the time they are that ship will have sailed. Even if you end up divorced you can still have a strong, positive relationship with your ‘X’…so pay attention.

Finally, your happiness meter will definitely rise if you become aware of all your significant relationships and consciously give more than you take…  with colleagues, friends, family (mother, father, siblings).

So by becoming aware of when and how you are taking and making sure you are putting more than enough back in, you can be building a relationship that is strong no matter how much stress is in your life. It doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to give a compliment, say how much you appreciate something someone else did or to say something supportive to another.

In my Family Booster shot deck of cards I share how you can turn this relationship give and take into a game. Be sure to pick up your instructions for it along with the list of what gives and what takes from a relationship.

So there you have it, simple relationship awareness that will help you recognize what you are doing that is actually building your relationship and what you might be doing that is stealing from it. Life is a game of give and take, so you will continue to do both. The difference is when you do it consciously (or at least with more awareness) you’ll know what you need to do when thing are starting to go awry.

If you enjoyed this podcast/article please like/rate/review and subscribe… that’s what keeps us going! Click here now to enjoy our other podcasts.

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The top 3 secrets moms need to know for more money with Luci McMonagle

Meet Today’s Guest:

Luci McMonagle

Once having to choose to eat crackers to feed her son and keep a roof over their head, Luci McMonagle understands the choices that some moms have to make. She struggled for over 18 months. Finally, she was able to break free and transformed her poverty stricken life that as filled with tragedy into a life of abundance, wealth and joy. Despite all odds Luci has risen to become a highly sought after Miracles and Magic Abundance Coach, Author and Speaker that hosts the renowned Wealthy Wednesday Show.

For more info: http://www.lucimcmonagle.com

Money is such a sensitive topic for most of us, fraught with limited beliefs, social mores and judgment. In this episode of Vibrant, Powerful Moms, Luci guides us in setting the stage so that money can flow to us easily and in abundance.

Making friends with money is the first secret, Luci explained, even when you have a very busy and hectic life. It’s so common for women to notice when they don’t have enough money, without really giving the time and energy to understanding how their money is flowing. If you want more of it, you have to open yourself up to see how it is coming and going in your life.

Secret two, says Luci, is to get stress under control. Too much stress blocks abundance from flowing your way! You simply must have tools to calm and center yourself on a regular basis. These don’t have to be fancy or complicated – deep breathing can have a positive effect. What’s important is that you actually use them!

Here’s a tip that Luci shared to help moms deal with not having enough time in the day:

Join your thumb and pointer finger (or any other finger that feels comfortable) while at the same time putting the tip of your tongue on the mound right behind your front teeth.  Breath in deeply through your nose 3 times, holding after the inhale, then exhaling everything out still through the nose.

As you breathe, think – Focused, Balanced, Centered – and see these feelings flowing through you all the way to your toes. On the exhale, release anything that doesn’t align with those 3 words.

This simple task actually slows down time – which means you’ll feel calmer, less stressed and find yourself with more time to get things done.

Luci shared her thoughts on intuition and what we can do to reconnect with this important messenger. She touched on meditation and provided simple ways every one of us can bring some of this important quieting of the mind into our daily life.

She even provided a tool to help clear traffic so that you can make it to your destination safely and in perfect timing when late for something!

“Amazingly lights will change, cars will get out of your way and your drive will go as smoothly and as safely as possible. Sometimes, even though you still arrive late, you’ll get there to find the people you were rushing towards aren’t quite ready for you so you truly are right on time.”

The 3rd secret to attracting abundance with ease centers around getting into the flow of life.  You are moving towards having a life filled with abundance, joy and happiness when you use your tools to decrease stress, reconnect with your intuition and calm your mind in your everyday life.

Luci shared ample tips for doing all of these things, so listen to the podcast to get all the goods…you will be abundantly grateful you did!

One final note… Luci closed by sharing a wonderful and surprising gift for moms so that they can enjoy crafting and attracting abundance with their kids.  Be sure to check it out!

Resources mentioned by Luci:

Book: Magical Money Manifestation

www.Coachluci.com – blog;

Check out the Wealthy Wednesday show – podcast and youtube videos

Pick up your Wealthy Bohemian Money Pouch instruction here and start attracting abundance today!

wealthpouch.com

If you enjoyed this podcast/article please like/rate/review and subscribe… that’s what keeps us going! Click here now to enjoy our other podcasts.

Interested in the names & products we talk about on the show? Check out our Vibrant Mentions Pinterest Board!

Controlling Your Ego

Originally posted as: Stopping Your Ego From Running the Show [August, 2016]

Today I would like to discuss something that some of you will be more than ready for it, while others might hesitate to go there with me. This doesn’t make anyone ‘better’ than the other – this is simply where we are at in our individual journeys and there is nothing good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse about it.

My hope is that if this conversation is new to you, you’ll hear it with an open mind before deciding how you might or might not integrate it into your life. On the other hand, if you are already well into understanding and playing with this idea, I hope you will enjoy hearing my thoughts on it and see how what I share supports and perhaps even adds to what you already know.

Now that I’ve got your curiosity flowing and wondering what this exciting topic is… I hope you’re not disappointed to learn that today we are looking at the difference between your ego and your Higher Self. Specifically I’d like to share why you need to know about these two different parts of who you are, how they influence your behaviour and how you can get them working like the team they are meant to be.

This is an important topic to be aware of because left unchecked your ego will try to run things which is a problem, because it’s better equipped to ruin things than to run them when working on its own. You’re likely familiar with people who allow their ego to run the show, as well as those who have really big inflated egos – often it’s the same person!

These people are hard to be around, because they are constantly trying to build themselves up at the expense of other people. They take credit for things that don’t belong to them, refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes and really don’t care who they step on to get where they are going. They believe the world owes them something and they are determined to collect. They tend to buy-in to scarcity thinking – the idea that there is not enough to go around…so they are afraid that if they someone else excels in life, there will be less for them.

Thankfully most people aren’t ego-maniacs. They have enough social awareness and empathy for others to recognize that living as if the world revolves around them and them alone can result in a very lonely existence. So they learn instead to refrain from bragging all the time or forcing their opinions. Perhaps they even figure out how to accept responsibility for their own actions and buy into the notion that hard work pays off, so keep your nose out of other people’s business, work hard and you’ll be fine.

Despite this, they often still find themselves believing in scarcity rather than abundance, or feeling others are sometimes to blame for their difficult situation. They react strongly when they are hurt and might experience jealousy when someone around them does well for themselves.

On the flip side of this thinking you might also find the person who believes they aren’t good enough – certainly aren’t worth talking about much less bragging on – and refuses to stand up for themselves because to do so could illustrate to others how unworthy they are. When this happens the ego is still running the show – only it’s bought into victim thinking.

If you want to lead a vibrant and powerful life, you must become aware of the different aspects affecting who you are and know how you can plug in to that part of you that has your best interest at heart. In other words, if you haven’t already, it’s time to switch off of autopilot and move more permanently into the realm of conscious living.

Let’s meet the ego…

Several years ago I heard Sonia Choquette, a gifted intuitive, speaker and author, talk about the ego as if it was our faithful companion – a loyal pet like a dog – to be loved and enjoyed. “You don’t go home and kick the dog,” I remember her saying, “but you also don’t let the dog run the show.”  These few words literally changed my understanding of the ego and my ability to keep it in its place.

Your ego is the human side of you. It feels, fears, gets jealous and reacts. Just like a dog, it might bite when threatened or curl up in dread and pee on your shoe. Left in charge, the dog will run the show the way it thinks the show should be ran. If you’ve ever had a dog that decided someone shouldn’t be in your house when you wanted them to be there (maybe the guy fixing your air conditioning; your new romantic interest; or your sweet, little aunt whose come for a visit), then you know what it’s like when a dog uses its own limited perspective to make decisions.

Because the ego is the human side of you – and therefore the part you can feel most easily – it will naturally try to be in charge, unless you teach it otherwise.

Your ego is in charge when someone says something to you and you feel a need to correct them, excuse your behaviour, compete with what they have said or blame someone else. Only the ego will take things personally, become defensive, act overly confident and try to bring others down a notch.

Despite this, your ego is not something you would be better off without. In fact, the ego is what makes you human, so to get rid of it would not be desirable at all!

Introducing… Higher-Self

On the other hand, the Higher Self is the spiritual side of you; it is the soul. If you believe in this idea, it is the part that is connected to all. The Higher Self does not judge, blame, feel or panic. It is not limited to your human body – so it has no fear of getting hurt, dying or even doing things wrong. Every experience is a learning opportunity to the higher self so it doesn’t take things personally, or get upset if it’s ignored.

Your Higher-Self has access to Divine wisdom – which means you know (or at least have access to) way more information than you think you have. You may have experienced this when you’ve suddenly had an idea, solved a problem or given an answer to something and then wondered, “How did I know that?”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your Higher-Self will automatically answer all questions for you  – you are here to learn and it will help you do that. It also doesn’t mean it will protect you from all challenges in life…sometimes the path you must go down will feel anything but pleasant.

If there is something that needs to happen in your life for you to evolve, the Higher-Self will not help you avoid it. It always has your best interest at heart, but at the time you might not agree with what it labels as best for you.

I find it helpful to keep this in mind and when something happens where I would like to flip into that place of “why me?” or “It’s not fair!” To instead remind myself that – as yucky as it might be – it is happening for a reason and the sooner I accept that and start whatever healing needs to happen, the faster I will get past it.

Just because you’re Higher-Self is a part of you and it has a connection to the Divine, doesn’t mean you are constantly plugged in to it. It can send you messages through your inner wisdom/intuition; but to really guide you it requires your permission and request. Free will is a real thing and it can easily get in the way of you living your best life, if you let it.

Interesting side note that fits in with this…last year was reading a book called Prime Threat; Shattering the Power of Addiction (Joan Peck). This book is about her son who was addicted to drugs and in 2005 (at the age of 36) died of an overdose. What’s amazing about the book, is not what she learned while he was alive and she was desperately trying to help him conquer this challenge, but instead, what the son shares through a psychic – Medium (Cheryl Johnson)- after he is gone.

It’s a pretty amazing way to learn about addiction so if your life is touched with this hurdle in any way you might want to check out this book, but that aside, the reason I bring this up now, is because of something he shares about our world. He says that it was never expected for the density on earth to be as challenging as it is. The idea of negativity had never really occurred to the collective because that simply didn’t exist in their experience.

So, even though life is meant to be an adventure which means there will be ups and downs, challenges and karma to work through, it appears it was never imagined that people would be so fully disconnected from the collective and so strongly pulled by this negativity that they would feel super alone even when deeply loved and experience a sense of emptiness or immense void that they are searching to fill – which is where things like drugs, alcohol and other addictions come in.

Two things came to mind for me when I read this… one, addiction is not a willpower issue as many people believe, but a spiritual crisis of sorts, and two, that the separation between ego and Higher-Self was never meant to be as complete as it is for so many people.

To Sum it Up…

In summary, your ego makes a lot of decisions out of fear – fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of pain, fear of loneliness…and so on. It lives fully in your human body and as a result has a beginning (birth) and an end (death). Your Higher-Self experiences no fear, always has your best interest at heart, but it needs to be asked to be involved and it’s always focused on the bigger picture for you (namely – what you’ve come here to learn in this lifetime).

Also… and this is important, while the Higher-Self is a beautiful, pure, loving energy…it does not know what it is like to experience life on earth – only the ego really knows what if feels like to live in these dense energies. I remember, one of my clients back when I was working as a counselor at a woman’s shelter telling me her husband was so heavenly focused he was no earthly good. I think these wise words fit into what I’m sharing today.

To live a balanced life you need to learn how to get your ego and your Higher-Self working together. Choosing one or the other to do everything will not help you live a full and satisfying life. So keep this in mind as you work your way through this part of your awakening.

How do you reconnect with your Higher-Self?

As I already mentioned, the ego will naturally try to be in charge if it thinks it’s the only option. I was surprised many years ago now when I heard a fellow on an internet show say that if I wanted I could simply ask my Higher-Self to be in charge and it would comply. That sounded a bit too simple, but I decided I had nothing to lose and I quickly discovered I actually liked how it made me feel when I did this.

After listening to Sonia, several years later, explain the ego side of this equation, I learned my ego was not the enemy to be silenced and overcome, but an important part of my team that beyond all else was here to protect me. I learned to guide my ego to sit when it flared up because someone hurt my feelings, or threatened me or the people I love in some way, while still appreciating it for its efforts to help.

This has served me well and allowed me to learn how to be more objective; to turn on curiosity where normally stronger feelings like anger or jealousy might have been in control; and even to switch to love and compassion rather than attacking other people with strong harmful emotions. This was much harder to do when I believed my ego was opposition that had to be beaten into submission.

None-the-less, I am definitely still a work in progress – with good moments and bad rather than continual enlightenment. Let me share an experience from my life that really illustrated for me how the ego and HS can work together as well as how we are continually growing – no matter how far we might feel like we have come.

My Story

Not too long ago I had a close friend surrender to depression and take her own life. I was devastated. As you can imagine, the pain, confusion, hurt, denial … were all pretty intense.  Then anger flared up… I was disappointed in the system for not being able to help her; I was frustrated with the people who I believed weren’t as supportive as they could have been with her; I was hurt that she had left me without so much as a good-bye; I was shocked that she left the way she did. There was so much going on for me.

I allowed myself to process some of these feelings, but the moment my ego shifted into a negative zone –  blaming, wanting to strike out, holding a pity party – I recognized it for what it was and I would ask my HS to take over.

As soon as I did this I felt myself shift to that familiar place of calm acceptance. I was able to carry on with my work, talk to other people about what had happened and send love and light to others who were grieving her loss.

I processed a lot of feelings and shed many tears, but every time my ego jumped into anger, hurt or blame…I would pull myself out.

On the day of her ‘celebration of life’ I was in the shower thinking about my friend, feeling the loss and truth be told, kind of dreading the upcoming service – when anger surged through me again. It was so intense, it took my breath away.  While I was experiencing it though, the objective part of my mind had a thought, which was – wow I really have to work hard to keep my Higher-Self in charge, this is kind of unusual for me.

Suddenly my inner wisdom piped up, loud and clear… “Grief and loss are human feelings… your ego is the human side of you. The only way you can process these very important feelings is to allow yourself to be in ego.”

So it was actually my Higher-Self that kept guiding me back to ego!

Now this might sound obvious to some and a bit too much for others, but for me it was a huge ‘aha’ moment. Of course, my Higher-Self didn’t need to grieve – to it life has no beginning and end – death is nothing but a transition …but my ego very clearly needed time to feel and to work through each feeling as it came up.

Although I still miss my friend dearly, this experience turned out to be a huge gift as well. It helped me to see that part of integrating these two parts of my SELF meant asking my Higher-Self to coach my ego through strong feelings, like grief, and help it to process these emotions without giving way to them and allowing them to dictate my behaviour.

The death of my friend highlighted the next step in my ego-Higher-Self evolution.

 

Being the Bigger Person

Before I wrap up today by breaking up all I have mentioned into a step-by-step process, there is one more topic I want to touch on. A huge part of our evolution and learning comes to us through our relationships with other people. This is very difficult for the individual ego to deal with which is why it’s so often seen as the problem.

Being able to see relationships from a more objective perspective can really help to calm the ego enough to keep it in check, when you are ready to hear it.

You’re likely familiar with the idea of being the bigger person. This is when two people aren’t seeing eye to eye and rather than continue to fight, one person will decide to lay down their weapon… accept responsibility for their part in the disagreement and open themselves up to hear the other person’s side.

This is a tool we often teach as a way to help people understand that emotions feed off one another so if you continue to battle, the only way out is for one side to be severely injured. Laying down your weapon, on the other hand, allows you to stop this escalation and hopefully work through things in a more productive way.

The late, Dr. Stephen Covey referred to this idea in three of his 7 habits of highly successful people (seek first to understand before you are understood; think WIN-WIN; and synergize)

Your relationships with other people are critical to your success in this lifetime. Some people are in your life to push you to grow in very specific ways; others are connected to you so they can mirror things about you that are holding you back – like maybe a pattern, a wound, a limited belief; and still others are in your life to help you work through karma you’re carrying around.

They have agreed to help you in this lifetime and you in turn have agreed to help them.

It’s not important you identify what your connection with them has been set up to teach, but instead that you accept them despite the pain they might be causing you. To do this, you will have to be the bigger person quite a bit. This means asking your higher self to be in charge so that you can remain open to the learning and put your energy into evolving through what that person has come here to help you discover.

Sounds easy-peasy right? Not really… Just remembering to ask your ego to sit and using positive communication when you are hurting, or someone is pushing your buttons is a huge undertaking never mind all the other stressors in your life that you are dealing with at the moment.

Turns out, for this trip your ego will require a lot of patience, understanding, compassion, acceptance and a willingness to go deep – thankfully higher self can help you with all of that.

The Steps:

If this topic has resonated with you and you feel ready to give it a try, here are some steps for how you might put it into action:

Step 1: Ask your Higher-Self to be in charge and instruct your ego to allow this to happen. This is as simple as thinking or saying aloud: Higher-Self please be in charge; ego please support it in this role (simpler = Ego – sit!). When you tell your ego to sit, it will; however, you might have to remind it more than once like a puppy. Ego is the human side, we are here for a human experience…it will react and forget it’s not in charge, especially when you are just learning this.

I suggest you start with unimportant moments – like going grocery shopping; going on walks; having an easy conversation with someone (child, sweetheart, mother). Ask your Higher-Self to be in charge and your ego to be a support. Then as you continue with your task at hand, notice if you slip into judgement, feel friction from something that was said (anger, jealousy, resentment, fear) and, if that happens, re-assert that you want your Higher-Self in charge and ego to sit. This will help you recognize how often you allow ego to be in charge.

In time, work your way up to tougher situations:  parent-teacher meetings; difficult conversation with others; asking your boss for a raise…

Step 2: Start noticing the difference in how you feel, how you react to things and how things work out when Higher-Self is in charge. Often it’s easier to notice what happens when ego runs the show and then compare that to moments when you instructed Higher-Self to be the boss.

Example: Let’s say in the past you’ve had meetings with your boss or your child’s teacher that haven’t gone well – you’ve ended up overreacting; blaming; getting angry which means ego was in charge.  You have another meeting coming up, so before you go in, take a few deep breaths and ask your Higher-Self to be in charge. Remind your ego of its supportive role and then go in and rather than control your thoughts – allow things to flow as they come to you (you will be just as surprised by what comes out of your mouth as the other person).

In other words, don’t try to sound smart; to catch the other person up in a lie; don’t feed your emotional states with negative thoughts – just trust that your Higher-Self will guide you through. This is not easy in the beginning, but once you try it out a few times, I think you’ll see that things move in a positive direction pretty quickly and you actually sound smarter and better prepared than you would have if you had armed yourself with information and then put your ego in charge.

Afterward compare how things went – not just the outcome (because the other person could easily have been in ego), but the whole feel of the meeting (if you accidentally allow your ego to flare up, pat yourself on the back for recognizing it and try it again next time).

Step 3: As you become more aware of the differences between how the two feel, start noticing when ego is barking and take charge in the heat of the moment. This takes a bit of practice because once your emotions start to escalate it’s much harder to turn them off.  Once you get the hang of it you’ll be amazed at how much calmer, controlled and connected (or smarter) you feel. At this stage you’re starting to notice the difference between conscious living and being on autopilot!

When you find yourself getting ready to bite someone’s head off, judging, blaming or maybe you’re already yelling at them … take a deep breath, tell your ego to sit and ask your Higher-Self to be in charge. You might find it helps to say to aloud, “Wow, I’m getting pretty riled up about this, give me a moment to calm myself.”

Notice how it feels when you switch from the emotional ego to the objective Higher-Self, and make sure you celebrate as this is a huge step in your soul’s evolution.

Step 4: After you’ve got the hang of catching yourself in the act and switching to Higher-Self being in charge and practiced it for a year or so, start asking your Higher-Self to coach your ego when it’s dealing with something big. In other words, rather than asking your Higher-Self to take over, ask it to lead your ego and help it deal with the situation. To me this is like training a difficult yet talented apprentice. Thankfully your Higher-Self has oodles of patience… it’s only the ego that gets frustrated at how much work it takes.

I’ve only just begun this exploration myself so I can’t tell you much about it, except to say that we process emotions best when we allow them in and embrace them without allowing our thoughts to interfere or cause them to escalate. This is a pretty high level of awareness so it’s a starting place if you’re just new to tuning into your feelings or asking your ego to sit.

What I’ve found, however, is at this point I don’t seem to need to call in my Higher-Self as much… as she’s just always there walking with ego. The two pieces are integrating which ultimately is our goal.

As you play with all of these steps, you’ll find your Higher-Self slipping into the lead role more often and your ego quite happily running by its side. Like the master with a well trained dog, the two make an excellent team and are content when they know their place plus feel loved and appreciated for what they have to offer.

 

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