I was recently interviewed by Susana Frioni from ‘Selfish for 27 days’.
It felt vulnerable to share my personal and mama journey. Yet at the same time liberating. Here’s how it went:
Deep and Meaningful
From breakdown to breakthrough, what was this moment for you? The defining moment that changed e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
It was when my first child was a toddler. I was 26. I’d been suffering from chronic back pain from skeletal issues and a spinal disc injury from my nursing job at the age of 21. Every day I was in pain. I couldn’t sit for too long or travel on long car trips. I was up during the night taking pain killers. I was constantly stretching and doing yoga at home to get relief. Chiropractic and physio appointments were twice weekly and ongoing for months. The medical specialist told me there was no cure, only management. His best suggestion was to put myself in hospital in traction every three months. Depressing!
Underneath my positive and optimistic exterior there was a sad and desperate young woman who was giving up on ever having a normal life. Yet I knew I’d do ANYTHING to make sure I was a great mother. Motherhood to me was THE most important job of my life. A mother in constant pain was NOT the sort of mother I wanted to be.
One day I found myself on my knees in prayer. I was broken. I couldn’t take it any longer. I sobbed for hours and lay in surrender. I’d given up. I admitted to God or the Universe that I no longer had any hope. I handed it over. I was done.
Something happened that night. A mysterious sense of peace came over me. I stopped trying to figure it out. I just let go.
That was 21 years ago. As I type this now I have a body that’s super vibrantly healthy. I live with the sensation of so much pleasure. Back pain for me only happens when I don’t give my body the movement it needs.
The search for a cure for my pain has taken me on the ride of a lifetime. From an amazing osteopath to many healing modalities to spirituality, alternative health and restorative pilates. I travelled to India twice and sat in ashrams meditating for hours. I’ve sat at the feet of spiritual masters and absorbed every bit of wisdom I could. Countless books, talks, chanting, professional training, seminars. Creative therapies, Journey work and counseling. Dealing not only with my physical pain but also the pain in my mind, emotions and spirit.
And then my greatest discovery of all was Nia- a body-mind-spirit movement practice that taught me how to live in my body with pleasure. To move in a way that’s healing and life- enhancing. To access the sensation of the Joy of movement.
If it wasn’t for my pain I wouldn’t have found the answers to my deepest questions. “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose”?
I wouldn’t have been so deeply grateful for the exquisite pleasure of living in this amazing body.
I wouldn’t have understood the importance of creating a life with such passion and purpose.
I wouldn’t have been able to bring such deep compassion and wisdom to motherhood myself, and to the many other mothers and babies who I care for.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to motherhood and taking care of yourself?
1. Give yourself the PERMISSION to take time out to replenish, energise and heal.
Its soooo important. I was constantly trying to BE EVERYTHING for my children. There was part of me who thought no one else could do it as well. I had that whole martyr thing going on.
What I learnt is that our children so desperately want US to be happy. They don’t want us to be perfect. They want us to be real. To get our own needs met so we can come back and delight in them.
We need to have our own space, time, and pleasures. When our own ‘cup is full’ we can give intelligently to our children. More loving, less resentful. This is why I strongly suggest that mothers find networks of support. It really does take a village to raise a child.
2. Do your own inner work.
I remember taking the advice to go on a personal development three day retreat when my youngest baby was nearly one. It was a hard decision to leave my children as I’d never been away from them for more than a day.
That retreat was just what I needed. I came back with renewed vigor and more self awareness. I realized that parenting had triggered some of my own childhood issues which were getting in the way of being the mother I wanted to be. By giving myself the time to explore these emotional triggers with loving support I was able to begin to heal. I felt lighter and lovelier. My heart was wider. My relationship with my husband went to a deeper level. There was greater freedom and joy in my parenting instead of the constant worry.
Since then I’ve regularly given myself permission to do inner work. To sweep clean my cluttered mind and offload my emotional baggage. To get in touch with my spirit. The part of me that’s creative and divine and connected to a greater wisdom.
What has been the most challenging thing to let go of so you could put yourself first (be it your health or your desires or your inner voice)?
Along the way I’ve let go of financial security to follow my intuition for my health, my family’s health, my children’s education and to follow my soul purpose for work. We sold our family home and chose to rent. I declined a high paying health job. I stopped working as much and spent more time being with my adolescent children. We funded our boy’s education at a school with heart and similar values. My husband took some time off work to follow his dream of private practice.
Basically, we got off the treadmill of wealth creation and decided to do what’s really important to us. After the death of a girlfriend a few years ago I realized that life could be gone in an instant. I decided I needed to step up and shine to the best of my potential. To do it NOW. To share wisdom and make a difference in the lives of as many mothers and children as possible.
There has been many times along the way that I’ve literally been shaking in fear. Times when there is almost no money in the bank. I’ve learnt to put one foot in front of the other and trust. Always, always I’ve been taken care of. The person, the money, or the opportunity to make the money to pay the bills has come out of nowhere. I’ve witnessed many of these miracles happening along the way.
What books are you always telling people to read?
Parenting from the inside out: Daniel Siegel
Helping your Baby to Sleep: Ann Gethin & Beth Macgregor
To be delighted in! What we want and need: a baby’s view. Neil Alcorn
The Artists Way: Julia Cameron
Walking in this World: Julia Cameron
Conversations with God. Books 1,2 & 3 : Neil Donald Walsch
The Journey: Brandon Bays
The Celestine Prophesy: James Redfield
Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts: Regena Thomashauer
A New Earth: Eckhart Tolle
When do you most feel like a Goddess?
After doing a Nia Intensive training (the Nia Technique created by Debbie Rosas www.NiaNow.com www.niaaustralia.com.au ).I’m deliciously in my body after dancing, moving and practicing awareness for a week. I feel sensual, fully alive and in love with the skin I’m in.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear: MOTHERHOOD?
The opportunity to become more real and more beautiful as a person.
The opportunity to discover a greater love than you could ever know.
The greatest challenge of your life!
Short and sweet
I’m interested in… the power of sensuality and pleasure to enhance our life force energy, creativity and connectedness
I believe… we can change the world through the next generation of children. This is why we need to love, honour, inspire, educate and fully support mothers
In my experience… it often takes pain of some kind to motivate change for the better. See it as a gift
2013… is the year of embracing the feminine on a global scale as we seek balance and bring more love and wisdom to all aspects of society.