Dear Mom

Even though we have made it through the hardest of times. Still, being a momma to a special needs kid is it’s own unique and often so difficult journey……

Dear Special Needs Mom,

I want you to know that I see you.

I see you running your child to therapy when your friends are running their kids to Little League.

I see you slipping out the of conversation when your friends are all chiming in about milestones and test grades.

I see you juggling appointments and meetings, always making sure you do the best for your child.

I see you sitting at your computer for hours researching what your child needs.

I see you cringe when people whine about the petty things that pale in comparison to your day.

I see you spread thin, but still going the extra mile for your family, and managing to do it with a smile.

I see you digging for depths of strength you never dreamed you had.

I see you showing appreciation to the teachers, therapists and medical professionals who serve your child with you.

I see you reluctantly rising early in the morning to do it all again after another chaotic night.

I see you when you’re hanging on to the end of your rope for dear life.

I know you feel invisible, like nobody notices any of it. But I want you to know that I notice you. I see you in the trenches, relentlessly pushing onward. I see you keep choosing to do everything in your power to give your child the best possible care at home, in school, at therapy, and the doctor. What you’re doing matters. It’s worth it. On those days when you wonder if you can do it another minute, I want you to know that I see you. I want you to know that you’re beautiful. I want you to know that it’s worth it. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. I want you to know that love is what matters most, and you have that nailed.

And on those days when you have breakthroughs, those times when the hard work, pays off and success is yours to cherish, I see you then too, and I am proud of you.

Whichever day today is, you’re worthy, you’re good, and I see you.

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My Manifesto

A couple of years ago I took a course online with one of my favorite teachers ever–Brene Brown. It was a game changer for me.

In the course I learned so much about my myself and taking ownership of my life, my stories and ultimately my future. She is one that reminded me to pick myself up, wipe off the dust and get on with it.

I also discovered my deepest core value–safety. The core value is the thing that when you are off course, you feel it in painful ways.

This means that in all aspects of my life I must have safety. Relationships have to be steady and safe without those inconsistent and unpredictable where-the-hell-did-that-come-from stuff that usually happens. You know, things are going smooth and all of a sudden you see the other side? I can’t handle that. Anything that rocks my boat and causes me to feel on shaky ground is no good for me.

My work has to be from my heart and with an ethical foundation. Otherwise, my safety value is shook up. If I am asked to do something out of alignment, I immediately feel the gut sensation that this is not going to be good. Thankfully, since being self-employed I get to choose, and therefore feel safe. I walk away and let go of opportunities that don’t jive with my value. It’s powerful to know this and then be able to make decisions that are part of your own Truth.

Financially I need to know exactly where I am at with money because that feels safe. I have a tight and methodical budget and I know exactly what I need to reach my goals.

It may sound like I am a control freak, but it’s not that at all. My deepest value–the thing that I must have in place–is what drives my ship. And when I am engaging in something that rattles my sense of safety, I know I need to go back and take a look at what is showing up.

I am unable to be in a relationship or a job that doesn’t have an element of feeling safe and secure. Unsteady ground chips away at my spirit and pulls me away from my soul purpose.

One of the final lessons in this course was to take your value and create a personal manifesto. Something that speaks to the life you are committed to living and is a powerful reminder of your purpose.

I have my manifesto placed in locations where I see it over and over. It’s also at the bottom of my email signature. My manifesto is what drives me and that makes me feel incredibly safe.

Every word, thought and action needs to benefit humanity and my own spiritual path. Being of service and living in a way that is rooted in my deepest value is my only way to live.

Truth Is

Truth is I am tired. Raising a kid with a disability (alone) and figuring out adult things like housing, long term care, respite providers are just a few of the burdens that rest on my strong shoulders. Being able to take a weekend away, attend a training or go on vacation are added layers of frustration and loss. Worrying about her when I am no longer here can easily push me over the brink.

Since she was a young girl I have visioned and seen her living partially independent in a cottage/mother-in-law house behind my house. You know where we share a backyard? Where she has access to support but also learning how to be independent. Where she can have her space and I can have mine. I am SO close to having this happen, but then again I am so far away.

I am tired.

Tired of worrying about her.

Tired of working so hard.

Tired of EVERYDAY being responsible for her.

But, I must go on.

I must keep going. It will happen. I have faith and I know I have the strength and endurance to do this….otherwise, I would not have her.

Breaking Cycles

Part of the unfolding of my life has been removing the barriers and the layers of unneccessary beliefs and stories that I had made up about myself. It has also been deciding that enough is enough and then committing to change. Part of those changes have been breaking cycles of dysfunction not only to better myself, but to also be an example, especially to my kids.

Becoming a young mom required me to become selfless at a really young age.  As much as I treasured having three little humans to care for and love, it was not until I was about thirty-five that I began to give to myself as much as I gave to them. I am not sure that even if  I had the do-over I would change anything. Of course it would have been possible to give to both them and myself, but the wake up that I had in my mid-thirties was absolutely perfect as it was.

The process of waking up was the beginning of me taking back my power–grabbing back the light that I truly am and stoking the flame with goodness.  I found my soul purpose work, I reclaimed my physical health, I took hold of my inherent love and began to blossom into who I am today.

The cycle of self-loathing and self-destructive behaviors ended and with complete affirmation–I decided that there would be no more.  I took back my health, my emotions, my dreams and my mojo.

It struck me the other day that there is another cycle that I have the power to break.

Here is what it has looked like in my family–live and die fairly financially strapped.  Perhaps living month to month with no real financial future like retirement funds, second homes, investments.  Except for my father who died very wealthy but chose to not inherit any of the funds to myself or my kids, my family has been very “middle class”.  Personally, I have never experienced a windfall–no big settlements from a divorce, not one alimony check (it was rare to even get child support), money from a wealthy relative, no big real estate wins….nada.  Sadly, my children’s father died incredibly broke and had chosen to not have life insurance, so he left my kids with nothing but heartache. And so the cycle was continued for them.

But I have the power to change that.

I realized the other morning that just as I have changed old beliefs and pattens and then created an amazing life, I also have the power to do the same with money for my kids. It hit me that everything that I have achieved has been my own doing from decades of really hard work, and that although I have demonstrated great work-ethic to my kids, I have the power to change their lives.  They learned how to work and be self-sufficient, they learned how to budget and live within their means, they have eaten ramen for weeks on end in order to pay rent.

But what would happen if they were given something I have never been given?  What if they had help buying their first home? What if their dreams could come true with the gift of financial freedom? What if they had the financial security that I never had?

I have the power to change their lives.

I have the power to break the cycle of financial dysfunction.

I have the power to leave not just a legacy, but also security.

I have the power. Say that out loud a few times and just watch what happens to your confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

I Did It

Today is a HUGE day for me. And it has nothing to do with a crazy good teaching yoga and business month.

This celebration is personal and it has been something I have been working SO hard on for months. You see, back in November I chose 3/1 to be the last day I would never take another narcotic pain medication. I have been prescribed these drugs for over 5 years for a variety of orthopedic reasons and last fall it was determined that my brain was dependent on them. Thankfully I am an incredibly strong willed woman and when I set a goal, I do not give up until it is reached. I actually stopped taking the narcotic 4 days ago, but today is a huge day in my overall recovery because it is the day I knew that I would be done. It was the day I chose to reclaim my body and my spirit. It was the day that I would be done. And I am.

The tapering off was slow and mindful, and not easy at all—I relied on meditation, essential oils, many, many long baths, friends and support from those closest to me. I suffered from withdrawals and it took crazy, crazy strength and tenacity to get through it, but I am so grateful to say that I have. I realize that I still will still likely have some bad days, but I each day that I am further away from it all, the more empowered I feel to handle anything.

So, today I am buying myself some flowers and celebrating my overcoming and success on the absolute hardest thing I have EVER done.

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Sacred Friends

There are some people who come into your life and stay forever despite the ups an downs of life and the distance that comes when moving hundreds of miles away.  For some it may seem that it takes an effort to maintain a friendship where you no longer see each other face to face each week, but for me it has been anything but effort.

I believe that true friends can be apart and remain close because there is an energetic pull that keeps two people connected. The foundation that my friend and I created years ago is the solid footing that has kept our sacred friendship intact.

Saturday morning bike rides to get coffee, breakfasts out, hiking weekly, laughing until we are literally leaking in places we should not be leaking, sacred weekends in Sedona, exploring spirituality, eating amazing food together and so much more was the brick and mortar that built our friendship.

Because we had those years of creating memories when we have each been handed life challenges since she moved to another state our friendship has only deepened. Without any doubt in my mind, I know that no matter what is happening in our lives, we have each others back.  We have the unconditional and most sacred kind of friendship where there is no space for judgment or comparison–it is simply pure love.

This past weekend I hopped on a plane to surprise her as this amazing soul is embarking on a journey that is going to test her to her core.  It has been three years since I saw her face and it was a moment that I will never forget.  Her weeping and laughing all at once was absolutely perfect.

My heart will be full of love for her in the coming weeks and months.  I am surrounding her and her family with light and love. I am honoring her life, her journey and her incredible strength.

She is my best friend.  She is my hero.  She is my inspiration.

After all , her motto is–Live, Laugh, Love.

 

Five Minutes of My Life

I have come to learn that during this season of focusing on our own goals and our own aspirations we can sometimes become consumed with ourselves.  This is not necessarily a bad thing but I have found that this time of year we can lose site of the openings of kindness for someone else that trickle in all the time.

Last week in my state of business as I was leaving a class at a senior facility I grabbed my bag and attempted to hurry out the store.  I stopped for a second to say goodbye to the sweet little man who often just sits at the computer and cries.  He chooses to never participate in yoga and I rarely see him interact with anyone. Instead, he just cried. Weeps is more like it.

There was my moment to choose myself or choose kindness.

I pulled up a chair and leaned towards him.  He wiped his tears and stuttered a bit as I sat to talk to him. Since the yoga class prior was about setting goals for growth and personal development, I asked him if he had a goal.  He very quietly whispered, “do you think it is too late to learn to read?”

He is 61 years old.  He had never learned to read.

No wonder he sits in front a computer crying until someone types into the search bar what he is looking for. I got a bit closer and pulled up an easy online reading game and together, we sounded out the letters of the alphabet and some simple words in the game. His face was beaming when he realized that he looked at a picture, a letter and a word and together “read” the word apple. He clutched at my arm and said, “I am reading”.

Five minutes of my life.

I got out of my life and my goals and gave kindness.  It really is so simple.

 

 

Divine Plan

I have always been a believer in all things happen for a reason.  I have lived with the faith that there is a much greater source with a divine plan in mind.  It is up to me to be open to live according to the plan with grace.

Recently, I began to share openly that I am in the middle of a struggle with a dependency on opioids following several surgeries and chronic pain over the last two years. I have a great set of strategies that includes meditation, tapering slow, essential oils, tons of support from those who love me and more.   I am confident that because of my tenacity and positive outlook, I will overcome this.

As soon as I spoke the words aloud and began to own the issue by voicing it and not being consumed with shame or let down with myself, I have experienced moments where I am being validated by Spirit that this is indeed what I am supposed to be speaking about. Sharing our truth can not only be freeing for ourselves, but it can be a portal for empowerment for others.

Following the day that I first wrote about my struggle on my other blog, I had an encounter that was a solid affirmation that what I am experiencing is a chance to choose to do something powerful with it.   I was sitting at a local starbucks with my laptop doing some work between clients.  Most of the tables were full with similar people doing similar things. Prior to getting up to leave, a young girl about 17 years old approached my table and then walked away.  She approached me again and said, “I need help….I need to make it to an appointment but I am not sure where I am and how to get there from here…..can you google it for me?” I quickly opened up another tab and asked her where she was trying to go.  As I looked at her face, I saw a haunting familiar look in her eyes.  She said, “An addiction place….I have to get to a meeting…..it is really important”.  Of all the people in the coffee shop, she chose me.  Like two souls connecting in a way that neither spoke about.  I gave her the route and wished her well.

The next day I received an email from a friend who I have not seen in a long time, but has seen pictures of me on social media.  We exchanged a few emails and I openly shared my struggle.  In her next response she said she suspected something was going on based on the look in my eyes.  The look.

Affirmations.

I learned this week in big ways that it is okay to speak about this.  Not just speak but speak loudly.  To share and open up the conversation that this is REAL. And it sucks, but it real.  It is what I am facing and it is an opportunity to do something with it; make a difference, be the voice, spread awareness, be transparent and be authentic.

And who knows, maybe this is a doorway to walk through that will use my teachings and my gifts to bring light to others who walk the same path.  Maybe a support group.  Maybe a Yoga and Meditation series designed specifically for those who share my story.

For sure a Divine Plan.

 

2018–Flourish

I am so happy that 2017 has passed and a new and fresh start is here.  I am usually not one to see a year end but for 2017, I was ready.

My process for the last fifteen years or so has been to close the year with gratitude for all its lessons and welcome in a new year with a new intention.  Finding one word that will carry me through the year has been such a great practice for me.  It is like the thread of my tapestry.

The word for 2018 came to me in a sleep state and it is perfect!

Here it is! I intend to flourish physically, emotionally, spirituality and more. I intend to thrive in my purpose, my business and my very essence. I am so excited to see how my life unfolds like a blossom this year!

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End of Year–2017

I have been anxiously awaiting the end of this year to not only move past the challenging time, but also make space for a new and much healthier 2018. The challenges of my body have definitely taken priority in my life this year and I am ready to move on.  I chose the word BOLD for the year and I love looking back and seeing how it showed up in my life.  I have done this process for many years and I usually quite surprised to see just how the thread of my chosen word was woven into the tapestry of my life.

As I begin the process of reviewing and reading my 2017 journal, I found that asking myself some contemplative questions is a good starting point to start the inward journey.

* How did your love for self, life and others, show up this year in the different areas of your life? Through the process of healing from hip surgery #2 that was 12/30 of last year and preparing for hip surgery #3 I learned deep lessons in self-love, as well as for others.  I learned to set boundaries with myself and others as I learned to navigate new territory in the way of resting more and saying yes to other more.  I also learned to love life on a much more intimate level by experiencing the depths of chronic pain.  I watched my youngest son go through one of his hardest experiences and that offered me another layer of motherly love–balancing love and also allowing him to find his own way. 

* How did universal love and love from others show up for you this year in all that came your way? I received love in so many ways both tangible and unseen yet powerfully felt.  I received financial help, nurturing meals, encouragement, love, time and countless prayers.  The greatest gift of love came from a complete stranger when I received tissue from a cadaver to help reduce my pain–this was the ultimate gift of love. 

* What did you learn/accept/heal/transform about yourself this year? I learned to accept about myself that I am not interested or likely ever capable again of the physical activities that once filled my soul.  I am content with a short and slow walk.  My personal yoga practice has become much deeper, and much less physical.   I transformed my willingness to say yes to ME and to let go of the patterns and wiring that caused exhaustion and a breakdown of my body.

* What blessings did this year bring? One blessing came in the form of a black and white kitten that has filled out home with joy.  Another blessing showed up in learning to BE rather than DO.

* What personal strengths did you discover, apply, or develop? I developed grit like not other.  I always knew that I was strong and edged on being a badass, but this year I dug deep into the marrow of my being and found grit.  I applied this in dealing with pain and adversity of my work schedule and self-sustaining ability. I discovered that there is also a deep satisfaction in saying yes to myself.  

* What new skills, insights, or wisdom did you gain? New skills that I gained was an increase in my confidence and my ability to stretch myself in a BOLD way.  I let go of worrying about what others thought and instead, going for it!  I said yes time and time again to me and my dreams! 

* What served as a catalyst for healing or transformation that you can now be grateful for, even if challenging at the time? The catalyst was/is accepting and handling chronic pain and the life-changing events, while also turning them into moments of grace. 

* What can you forgive yourself for? I can forgive myself for not always honoring my body in the past and for taking for granted health.  I can forgive myself for being so stubborn and strong-willed that I spent years not receiving what I now know I am totally worthy of. 

* What and who else can you forgive? I can forgive my father for never really telling me that he was proud of me.  I realized through the wisdom of a client that I never really told my dad I was proud of him either…..karma?

* What can you let go of (limiting belief, attachment, attitude, grievance…)? I can let go of the disappointment I feel about my father.  I can also let go of the attachment I have had of healing faster than my body dictates. 

* What achievements and accomplishments can you acknowledge and celebrate? Through the process of being forced to have down-time and heal I had plenty of time to study and test to pass and become a Certified Brain Injury Specialist!  This was a huge exam and something that I was not required at all to do but I chose to do so that I would learn more to apply to my clients. By being diligent–and mindful–I was able to pass the exam and get my credentials. 

* What ‘lessons’ did you learn? I learned that it is absolutely–without ANY doubts–imperative that we as humans learn (and do so with love) to receiving.  That I am not weak or unworthy when I say YES.  Just the opposite is true. 

* What and who are you grateful for that happened this year gone, and why? I am grateful for the person who died who chose to donate their body so that I could be in less pain. I am grateful for the skilled surgeon who compassionately did his work on my hip.  I am grateful for the people who loved me and supported me through this really challenging year.  I am grateful for the teachers in my life that show up week after week to share Yoga with me.  I am grateful for the generosity of others.  I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and to keep seeking. 

* What or who can you let go of? (This may include a pattern, grievance, person, belief, attitude, emotion, attribute, behavior, story, situation, judgment (against self or other), habit, and so on) I have learned this year that I can let go of the need to always be responsible and instead, be a bit more joyful.  I have learned that it is okay to worry less about being capable and worry more about being present.  I have learned that the days of over-exercising and abusing my body served another version of needing control and that to loosen my grip on that need will result in a great freedom.  I have learned that stigmas and stereotypes rarely are accurate.  I have learned that I am stronger than I thought possible while I also witnessed a sense of vulnerability that I didn’t know existed. 

* Where did you courageously step outside of your comfort zone? I stepped out of my comfort zone by allowing people to help me.  Instead of thinking that I had something to prove by doing it all myself, I said yes to others helping me. In that process I learned that it is absolutely okay and in fact, it is richly rewarding to allow others to give. 

* What did you absolutely LOVE that happened this year? This year I LOVED my family, my home, my time visiting my momma, my backyard, my work, time in nature, traveling to Taos, removing the wallpaper in my old childhood bedroom, nurturing friendships, getting clear about many difficult situations, but mostly I LOVED saying yes to me and coming into a stronger and more self-assured Stacie.