At a women’s networking event I attended this week, the question we were asked to share about was “How do you create balance in your life?” It was interesting to hear how many professional women in that room had 4, 5, 6, and 7 kids and still managed to come up with an answer! I’ve got 2 and I’ve found creating a balanced lifestyle to be quite a challenge.
As a woman who prefers movement vs stagnation, who is committed to continual growth and fulfillment, and who craves intellectual stimulation and creativity (aka…PLAY of the growth-up sort), there is one thing I know for sure. At least a few times a year, in order to balance out the barrage of mundane tasks (laundry, dishes, errands, bills) that hits you like a Mack truck once you have kids, I need to get away from it all.
And I don’t mean just a vacation or a fun girls getaway (although those are great too).
Dads. I remember in grad school, one of my Marriage and Family Therapy professors saying, “there’s so much research and so many resources poured into the mother-child relationship. What about the dads? Where’s the research about the fathers?”
It’s true. It’s half the equation and yet, in comparison, there is little mention about the impact of the father.
When we do hear about the dad factor, either anecdotally or as reported in research findings, the focus is so often on how complicated, strained, or non-existent the father-child relationship is due to the "triple A's" of psychological woundedness: Abuse, Alcoholism, or Abandonment.
Up until the last few generations of humans, it was the cultural expectation that the role of the father was largely one of absence within the home/emotional/bonding arena. But in today’s ever-changing culturescape of gender roles, where expectations are shifting at warp speed, a healthy...
When I heard about Kate Spade’s suicide this week, I was surprised, saddened, and like so many of us, intrigued by the backstory that had driven her to the extreme point of choosing to end her life.
And then to wake up to the news about Anthony Bourdain, hit like a thud. Also like so many of us...my husband and I sensed Bourdain’s endearing, authentic, and sensitive nature, and we connected with him through the screen allowing ourselves to live vicariously through his off-the-beaten path culinary adventures.
So this week, I did what I’ve learned to do with pain...and after 17 years of living in chronic physical pain, I’ve had to get good at it. I just let the pain, sadness, heaviness be there. I let myself feel it as an individual and feel it as part of a larger collective.
Then today, I woke up, and implemented the process that allows me to move and shift with pain in my life. I call this process, “the pivot.” The pivot goes like this: whenever...
I find myself being inspired by almost everything these days.
This weekend it was the synchronized swimming performance of my tween-age niece. As the music started and the spotlight hit the water, it dawned on me what a cool metaphor synchronized swimming is for what’s currently happening in collective consciousness.
After all, this is what feminine energy does best. We are the connector energy, the creative force, the vessel through which life and spirit flow. And when we’re aware that we can live and lead from that place rather than emulate the focused, driven, masculine energy that’s been modeled for us in the current culture, it’s a fabulously freeing feeling.
When you take a look at the women you've been "syncing" up with in your life, what do you find?
One of my brilliant clients said something like this to me recently….
“Betsy, I’ve been asking myself why things haven’t REALLY changed for women over the past century. I mean we’ve certainly made gains, and in many ways in American society we have more freedoms than ever before…at least on a surface level it seems that way. But at the core of us, AT A DEEPER LEVEL—we still have such a long way to go.”
The answer that came to her was that, it’ because as women, WE keep doing the same things!
WE keep putting everyone else and everything else before ourselves because we think that’s what we’re “supposed” to do.
We think that what’s healthy for our kids, our marriages, our loved ones, our communities is to just keep doing, doing, doing. Put our heads down, do the work, day in and day out.
We keep taking more and more on….the career, the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking,...
For many of us this is a PARADIGM SHIFT.
I know. I get it. It was for me too.
The idea that I could and actually SHOULD put myself on the top of my to-do list was foreign territory. It went against every grain of my nervous system. It was preposterous, selfish, impossible to even consider given the set up of my life. After all, I have two kids….a husband, a house, a dog, a yard, bills to pay, friendships to maintain, and extended family to stay connected with.
But as I’ve been out doing speaking, workshops, and coaching with women from all career sectors (including the stay at home mommy one) and all types of lifestyle situations, I have had the opportunity to see this issue from a broader perspective.
And I’ve observed a similar pattern over and over again.
When mama ain’t happy and healthy, ain’t nobody healthy and happy. For realsie.
Yesterday a man with a gun went into three different locations in my hometown and the result was that 3 civilians and one police officer were killed. The schools went on lock down. People spent hours in a state of fear and chaos.
Humanity is sick. The diagnosis is fear.
The symptoms are:
and on. and on. and on.
Trace all of these behaviors back to the cause and at the root you will find fear. Every single time you will find fear.
How did we get here?
Through the mind. The human mind was not designed to make us happy. It was designed to keep us alive. It evolved to detect danger to ensure that our species survived. Which was great when we lived in caves and had saber toothed tigers chasing us. But...
I KNOW FOR SURE that I have just as much access to power, abundance, and energy as every other “powerful” person on the planet (how’s that for a ballsy statement from a middle-class Midwestern wife and mother of two?) I haven’t accessed the full extent of it yet, but I now understand that it’s all there for me. I just need to step into it and own it.
I KNOW FOR SURE that I have access to all of these resources by the means of my own creativity. I do not need to compete or take from anyone else. I simply need to continue to expand myself and use my gifts and talents in a bigger and more meaningful way.
I KNOW FOR SURE that every other human being has the ability to access this creative process as well. We haven’t been aware of it because we’re so busy, busy, busy running our rat race and focusing on other things.
I KNOW FOR SURE that I feel more focused about what I DO want by having experienced a whole of things I...
This week, I attended a fundraising breakfast for an organization called TurningPoint. They provide advocacy and support for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. One of the main ideas shared at the event was that abuse thrives in silence.
It struck a nerve.
Like so many families, I come from one where generational alcoholism, and the unspoken emotional abuse and psychological trauma that goes along with it, was simply the norm. Denial, silence, putting on a happy face and pretending that we were all fine was the expectation….because well, hey, people just don’t talk about stuff like that.
The problem is, the not talking about it is what gives it its power. Left unchecked, addiction, abuse, dysfunction is allowed to fester, grow, and impact generation…after generation…after generation. The result of growing up in a family system in which an unspoken rule is to silently watch each other suffer, is that often times you never really learn how to use your...
As my husband, two kids, and I were driving to our hometown this past Thanksgiving weekend, I found myself asking, "Why is it often so stressful for so many of us to spend time with our families?"
I've asked that question many times before, but this time the answer that came to me seemed simple.
Of course. It all comes down to triggers. You see, left to it's own device, our nervous system functions based on what triggers us in our environment. And because our nervous system develops within the context of our family system, the opportunities are extremely ripe for our triggers to get tripped much more often--and to the core--within the context of our family than in any other environment. These are the relationships in which our triggers were created and established, so it only makes sense that we will be set off more when we spend time here.
Another reason why spending time with family can feel so challenging is that just as with individuals--in relationships, and in...