New Year, New Practice

WELCOME 2013!!!

Wow!  So much has already happened and it is only the 11th day of the new year!  What a gift it is to drink in the fresh opportunities to live the life we want!!!  I am ready to go big - or at least bigger - this year and have already taken some steps in this direction...

One thing that I did was to sign up for the Abundant Mama Project - this is an ecourse designed for moms to bring the practice of gratitude into their lives on a daily basis.  The stories and insights that are being shared by other members of the group are both humbling and inspiring.  I never get tired of hearing that I am not alone in this world - that the feelings and emotional roller-coaster that shows up in my day are happening to other mamas all over the world!!!  And I am so invigorated by the collective desire to be better, to grow, to embrace the lives we've created with joy and gratitude.  Check this out if your curiosity is peaked...

I feel extremely blessed to have found a lovely lady named Leonie Dawson.  She is a mother and super duper business goddess that has so many wonderful resources for transforming your life.  One of those resources is the Incredible Year 2013 Workbook.  This is a download (only $9 - whaaat?) and such an amazing tool for planning out how to make all of your goals and dreams come true...  Leonie's artwork decorates the book and her love and beauty pour out of every word.  It is a truly inspiration tool that has already taken me to new places, both personally and professionally...

Man, I sound like an infomercial!!!!

Sorry about that, I am just SO DAMN EXCITED!!!  

Another opportunity that has come my way is to do a bit of writing for a new Parent Map project.  I will be a part of a team of educators writing about a different virtue each month for their online community.  The theme for January is Practice.  I believe that I have brought this up in the blog before - how practice is really our movement in the direction we want to go...  there are some specific practices that I have been using, I wrote about them in my article, and I would love to share them with you!

    Practice Gratitude – Brene Brown says that “practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there is enough and that we are enough.”  In those times of conflict with your children (or spouse, or coworker, or checker at the grocery store) use those feelings of being out of control as an opportunity to stop and list off two things you are grateful for in that moment.  This takes your brain from that place of emotion (our midbrain) to a place of thought (our prefrontal cortext).  Gratitude helps us to give up being ruled by our emotions.

·      Practice Centering  - It is actually possible to train your brain to work better, to react differently.  I set an alarm on my phone that goes off twice a day.  It has a lovely harp ring and the words “Love is my center” appear on my screen.  This alarm reminds me to take a few centering breaths that start at the core of my belly on the inhale, taking in all the goodness around me, and then spreading all of my own energy out into the world on my exhale.  After a few of these, I allow my body to feel at peace, I let my face reflect that feeling of peace.  The more I practice this, the more I find myself able to call on this place of peace when my emotions try to hijack me.

·      Practice Forgiveness – We will continue to make loads of mistakes as parents.  We should, because we need to model how to handle mistakes to our kids.  Making mistakes, being emotional, feeling regret is all part of the human experience.  We must forgive ourselves.  Perfection is unattainable, perfection is not real – but transformation is possible.  Two steps forward and one step back is still taking us in the direction we want to head.  Allowing shame to stop us in our path does not.  A daily practice of forgiveness is essential for all of us who live and work with kids.  And what a gift it is for them to see the adults in their life handle their mistakes and move on.

So I would love to invite you all to begin these practices with me, and share how they are working for you.  I will share too, and we can strengthen our community with the support we hold for each other.  Be sure to "like" the Joyful Courage Facebook page and engage in the conversation - your voice is valued!!!