Wellness Wednesday #9 – Stages of Change

Some things never change and some things around us always seem to be changing. For example: I have always been a feminist. I played basketball in a co-ed summer league as a pre-teen and constantly competed against the boys to show them that girls were just as good. As a teenager I sported my Rosie the Riveter t-shirt with pride and discounted any guy who referred to me as a “chick” (I’m not a little yellow fluffy bird). Yet, I grow older and the world around me seems to change and I with it.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the three phases of creating Health Habits. This week I’m delving more into Behavior Change to talk about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM). Why is this important to Wellness? Learning the stages of change may help you understand a few more things about why you are or are not making changes that you set out to make. Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #9 – Stages of Change”

Time, Values, and Habits – The Big Questions

This is my last post for the week on the subject of Rubin’s book Better Than Before. I’m still in the section on Self-Knowledge which is a big theme for me always. I’m a big believer in knowing yourself and the yoga Niyama of Svadhyaya.

At the end of the chapter Rubin talks about the big questions that don’t always seem big until you ask them. She breaks down questions into three categories:

  1. How you spend your time
  2. What you value
  3. Current habits

Some of these questions are easy for me to answer; like would I like to spend more time with friends or by myself? With friends. Would I be happy to see my children have the life I’ve had? No. If the people around me could change one of my habits, what would they choose? My controlling nature.

It’s hard sometimes to own up to the truth as in that last statement. I am totally type A and I’m a first born. I find that those are often my excuses for liking to be in control and from time to time I’ve wanted to change that about myself. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s part of who I am and that there are times when I need to be take charge and stand my ground.

Other questions were harder to answer; like do I like racing from one activity to another, or do I prefer unhurried transitions? Here I’m stuck and do not know myself. I think I like unhurried transitions. I like to take as much time as I need to explore a place or an event. But, at the same time, I like to have a lot going on. I’m not much for traditional “down time”. I don’t particularly like days of doing nothing and hours of watching tv or laying around. When I do spend a lot of time sitting and reading I feel productive because I’m usually learning something along the way.

What’s most satisfying to me: saving time or money or effort? Well, I’m always interested in saving money, but I feel like doing things right also saves time and effort. Sometimes researching the best and cheapest option will save time and effort in the long run. Also under that same category was: do I like to listen to experts, or do I prefer to figure things out for myself? Another hard one because I believe people are “experts” for a reason. I wish more of my friends and family would listen to me about living a healthy lifestyle and exercise because I have been an “expert” in this field for some time now. I’ve been a certified fitness professional for 13 years and had my master’s degree in the field for over 6 years. I work in the field and I live most of what I teach and know. But, I’m also a kinesthetic learner myself, so there are somethings that I need to try and figure out for myself. I’m also keenly aware of the fact that there is no “one size fits all” for anything in life other than Be Nice to Others.

And, if I could magically, effortlessly change one habit in my life, what would it be? Oh man, where do I start? I can imagine changing whole scenarios and situations and feelings and thoughts, but not one habit. I guess, as far as habits go, I wish I were more organized. My desk is constantly clutter and I have a lot of unfinished projects (despite being a finisher) that are of the crafty and memorabilia nature. I wish I could find a way to relax and give myself more time. I wish that I didn’t always feel the need to be on the go. And I wish I could work faster so that more time would appear to me.

My favorite question she asked throughout this all was:

What daily or weekly activity did I do for fun when I was ten years old?

Read, write, run.

I have always been an avid reader. I used to carry a notebook around and write in it. I used to run as did most of my family. And now, I still read, write and run. It’s telling of who I am. It’s an answer to the question: Of my existing habits, which would I like to see my children adopt?

With this in mind, I’m going to read over the weekend. I’ll be back writing on Monday. I plan to run again this weekend and all next week as regularly planned. I look forward to your responses to these same questions!

Meditation Monday #26 – Reflections on Parenting

I plan to meditate on something else as well this afternoon, but lately I’ve been reflecting on my parenting and being the parent I want to be. I have made mistakes already along the way; I think we all have and all do at some point. So, I have two choices:

  1. Keep going and flying by the seat of my pants as I have been doing lately….or
  2. Go back to what was working when things were good

I’m sure you can guess which option seems more appealing to me at the moment. This is kind of like a pro’s/con’s list when it comes to changing your yoga/fitness/lifestyle routine in any sense. What’s easiest? Usually the answer to that is to stay the course we’re currently on. What’s best? That one is a little harder to answer.

For me, what’s best is to go back and re-institute the parenting techniques that were working for me when I had the best relationship with my children. Right now there’s a lot of fear of time-out and having things taken away and of other “punishments” in our house. Fear is not the place that I want to live from and I don’t want my children to live from a place of fear either.

Some people have told me that children are not little people and I’ve wrestled with this idea a lot over the years…..what is it that they’re truly lacking that doesn’t make them as “human” as adults? When doe we develop it? And lately I’ve been watching a documentary series on Netflix called The Beginning of Life: The Series. Image result for the beginning of life the seriesIt’s six different episodes and each one breaks down a different element of the young human child (including loss of childhood due to other circumstances). In watching this series there are a wide variety of experts in the field of child development who are interviewed; including teachers in Montessori schools. My oldest son currently attends a Montessori school and he went to a Montessori preschool last year that my youngest will attend this fall. So, I started thinking about Montessori and all the other things that were being presented in this series and a light-bulb came on for me. It was an AHA! moment…..enlightenment in yoga.

At my son’s school he treats his teacher’s with respect and they do the same. He is taught how to express his emotions and thoughts verbally. He is taught to talk it out when things are not going his way. At home he is a much different person and it is a much different environment. At home, recently, respect has been demanded and consequences many. This is not how it always was and now I see more defiance in his attitude toward me. I see him physically getting upset and jumping up and down when I let the shark music take over and I refuse to listen to him. We are in a struggle for power when truly, if I were to respect him I would have the power I feel I need. He would cooperate if I would listen and show him he is heard. I used to do that…..

When my son was first learning how to speak I did not demand that it was perfect. I helped and I listened and I tried to communicate with him in many ways so as to understand what he wanted and needed. I think we forget that part of parenting once language is developed, as children become more and more self-sufficient. But, I need to remind myself of all of the ways in which his self is still developing, his brain is still developing, his happiness is still developing. At almost 6 he is not self-sufficient and he has needs for love and attention and to explore his world just as he did at 6 months. He still needs protection and patience.

So, be it wrong or right, I plan to turn back to my old way of parenting….of talking….of showing respect and patience for a journey that is nowhere near complete. It will be hard to break these habits, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. We all have our struggles in life and currently mine is understanding how to be a better parent to my children. As I meditate, I cultivate patience and understanding of who I am, how I am, what I want out of this life with them….what I want out of life for them…

If you’re looking for some good books to read on this subject, check out my post here

Meditation Monday #8: Relations

and other books by the same authors!

Have you checked in lately on your parenting?

Do you think that children are little people or not?

What is your meditation for this week?

The Big Move

We are buying a house….or attempting to buy one anyway. Our closing date is set for the end of this month and as the days approach I am getting very giddy about painting and rearranging our furniture into a set up different than the way it has been for the last almost 3 years that we’ve lived in our current house. However, as excited as I am, there is also a bit of dread that comes with a move.

Firstly I am worried for my children. I have a three year old who only ever remembers living here. While he has had two other residences prior to this home, this was the place we really became a family. It’s where he first crawled, walked, and had his first real illness. It’s where we’ve celebrated all of his birthdays and where he brought home his baby brother. Additionally, my 8 month old will be moving into his own room and I am not sure how he will adjust to sleeping without the sound of his dad snoring or me talking in my sleep.

Secondly I am sad for leaving this place that is full of so many memories. At this moment I am sitting here looking at the fireplace where my oldest face planted while playing with his daddy. I see the sliding glass door to the backyard where my youngest goes every morning to look outside. I know that outside are the steps where my big boy would sit and watch the squirrels when he first learned how to climb them. Out the window I see my neighbor’s fence and will miss her calling to us in the mornings when we go out for walks with our friends who live down the street. I will miss my training routes that I have mapped out and know just what time of day to take them and how hard to push myself at each turn. I will miss having those friends and neighbors to call on to borrow a bread pan or an egg or to play cards with on days we are “iced in”.

We are moving about 20 minutes away and we will be closer to our babysitter and some of our other friends and family that are in town, but we are moving away from our routine. Change is always a scary and exciting thing. It’s really about how we face it that defines which it is more of. In yoga we don’t try to change ourselves, our bodies, or our breath. Instead, we observe who we are, what we are, and how we are. We learn to accept this and to work with it. So, each day I will see how it feels to make this move, see how my children are, embrace the good, let go of the scary, and just keep breathing.