Who do you tell?

How are you, really?

I've been having conversations about this recently. About how we try to be, and how we really are. About how we say we are, and how we really are. About who we trust enough to say how we really are. About whether we even admit it to ourselves.

Mama, we all need each other. We need to create the space to hold the truth of how we are. Of what's wonderful, and what sucks.  So we can witness each other, be witnessed, and continue to move in the direction of our dreams.

Our dreams. Not our socially pressured expectations. The dreams of what we really want, for ourselves, for our children, for our lives.

So, how are you, really?

Me, well ~ some days I'm awesome, and some days not so much. Some days I got it covered, and some days I need my support system like I need food and water.

Do I let it all hang out with everyone? No. But I have created safe spaces where I can, because I know what happens if I don't (and it ain't pretty).

This is why I'm here for you. This is my purpose: to connect with and support amazing mamas to move in the direction of their dreams.

If you're even a bit curious about how that can happen, I'd love to share something I just created ~ mini coaching. It's a great way to dip your toe in, get a jump start, discover what it feels like to be supported and take steps in the direction of yourdreams.

With so much love,

One of those days... (and a surprise ending)

Here's how it went yesterday at my house...

1. Awesome morning, boys playing beautifully together and letting me sleep(!) waking me only to show me the matching Halloween costumes they got with their dad yesterday. I get out of bed, move toward the kitchen... small skirmishes and nudging begin between them...

2. Isaac immediately decides what he wants to eat and sits down at the table. Gabriel drags his feet, starts complaining and antagonizing his brother (who's eating). I request respectful communication, Gabriel's antagonizing escalates (ever have this experience?)

3. Isaac reacts to Gabriel, full-on warfare ensues. I mediate, and so become the focus of Gabriel's anger. He completely melts-down, lashing out at me. I cradle him to calm his body. Through a combination of calmly repeating my intention and inviting him to take some space, things de-esalate

4. I begin my yoga practice, putting on a meditation I know will help maintain a calm atmosphere. Both boys are drawn to my studio and sit quietly as I do my practice. We connect after I'm done, reading from my collection of mindfulness books for kids, and exploring my new goddess tarot.

5. Isaac discovers a Lego toy that Gabriel broke during his tantrum, Gabriel offers to fix it. Just as he's finishing, they get into an argument. Full-on warfare again, Gabriel lashing out. Isaac leaves the room, I go in to help Gabriel calm his body. He lashes out at me, I envelop him with my arms, he accuses me of attacking him but pushes his body into me...

At this point, I am divinely guided. Without thinking about what I'm going to do, I say "you know, Gabriel, you can snuggle with me any time." His body stills, he snuggles closer, murmuring "no I can't". So, we talk about that. I tell him that research shows we need at least 12 hugs every day, and I don't think we've been getting that. He adjusts his body to a monkey hug, arms and legs wrapped around me. We talk more, make a plan for snuggling every morning before he gets out of bed (mornings are notoriously challenging for him.) We agree that he'll try to remember to call 'snuggle' when he starts to feel angry, upset, frustrated... and I'll come find him, wherever he is. We agree to spontaneously hug and snuggle more during the day, every day.

We talk about a friend of his, a boy a few years older, who is constantly giving and receiving hugs. I'm so grateful for this role model in his life. I realize how much of his acting-out may be related to feeling disconnected... his brother is naturally more snuggly and seeks out touch throughout the day. But Gabriel is different, and I now realize how much he still needs it, even though he doesn't ask.

We spend the next hour snuggling, talking, and he ends up napping (tantrums take a lot of energy!)

~ I am so so grateful for this day, this awareness, this opportunity to connect with him. I am so grateful that my practice allowed that moment of divine guidance to come through and show me what he really needed ~

I am so grateful to be able to share this with you.


This is what happened

I've heard from some peeps in this community that wanted to hear more about my experiences this summer, and how they translated into a deeper connection with my kids.

I realize that not everyone here knows the full extent of my story. If you'd like a bit of background, you can find it here: http://natanyalara.com/about/

As to the question of my summer, here's the story... My boys' dad is from the southwest, and for the past couple of summers, he's taken them back there for about a month during the summer.

Last year while they were gone, I wanted to cram in as much as possible during that time ~ so I met friends I rarely get to see, I took yoga classes I don't usually take, and I worked my tail off prepping a virtual class for you! I hardly had time to miss them.

This year, however, things were different. I felt intuitively that I needed to spend the time deepening my personal practices and getting super grounded in my values and intentions, which I did. And, it was intense. I faced and released layer after layer of expectations and beliefs, and the choices I have made because of them. I renewed promises to myself, to stay calm when I'm frustrated, to communicate clearly with my boys so they have a context for my responses, to honor their unique identities and choices. 

All of these promises were challenged when they returned. For the first 2-3 weeks, I found my anger rising, felt my desire to lash out, would get to the breaking point and yell. But with *very* careful and slow intention, I remembered to use my practices, I viewed them as individual people with free will (rather than just being frustrated that they weren't doing what I wanted), and got myself back on track.

All this is to say, none of us is perfect. We all fall off the path of our best intentions. We all need to forgive ourselves at times, and move on toward who we truly wish to be. When we can accept ourselves, it sets the stage for amazing things to happen.

Take a look at where you are on your path. Could you use some reflection about what you truly want in your family? Can you forgive yourself for whatever you might be doing that's not 'perfect'?  Do try. And please reach out for support if you need <3

Sending you so much love.


What do you believe?

So... I told you that my boys were away with their dad for 5 weeks this summer... crazy to have that much time, right?

Life got intense for a bit both during their absence and after their return, and I've been distilling the key gems from it all to share with you.

Now, nothing terrible happened ~ nobody was hurt and there were no losses, except the lessening of my own anger, frustration and overwhelm. The loss of these, certainly.

Of course at first, when the boys returned from their time away, all the hard stuff seemed to double. I was challenged to hold my ground, to commit (with all evidence to the contrary) to knowing that all of the work I'm doing is making a difference in my relationships with my kids, and in my experience of parenting overall.

And, as I held to my belief, wouldn't you know that after a couple of weeks not only did things smooth out, but they're better than they've been yet. Ever. 

Are they perfect? No, but I no longer expect them to be. And this is what I so dearly wish to share with you...

... that your own experience with frustration can diminish; the flare of your angercan be calmed; the challenges that present themselves in your parenting (and in your life) can absolutely be changed, your experience completely shifted.

I was so deeply touched by my experiences of this summer, I've been struggling to put them into words for you ~ waiting for the right moment. Turns out there is no right moment, but over time I'll share insights and ideas that have come out of this extraordinary time.

For today, I offer (and ask) you this:

Find a time to be alone, for just 3-5 minutes. Get quiet, get grounded, and send yourself these questions...

  • Do I feel ease and joy with my children and in my life?
  • If not, do I believe it's possible?
  • If it doesn't seem possible, can I suspend disbelief? Can I get to a place of imagining what might be? 

You don't have to know how. If you can believe it, you can get there. 

I assure you, as one who would never have believed it possible, it totally is. Are you willing to believe? Are you ready to make it happen?

Sending you so much love.

one thing you can do, today

I have been talking to some amazing mamas from this community. Each one has a story rich with love, hope, and struggle. Just like you. Just like me.

I spoke with one mama who told me her story, so close to what mine used to be that it gave me goosebumps. She's overwhelmed, frustrated and desperate for parenting to feel better, to simply enjoy being with her kids. I just wanted to reach through the phone and give her a hug.

Since I couldn't, I did the next best thing, and let her know that there is hope. It doesn't have to feel this way. And once it doesn't, it just gets better and better.

I know this because I've lived it. I know what it takes, and in talking with her I could tell that she has what it takes: the desire to make it happen, ability to be honest about what's going on, and willingness to take responsibility for her part.

Honestly, I was blown away by her vulnerability in asking for the help she needs, to have the relationships with her children she so wants to have. It was a beautiful step on the path to getting there.

In fact, she nailed the first step in my process with clients...

Acknowledge your struggle

This may seem obvious, but honestly... we are constantly exposed to messages that we should be a brilliantly super-attached crunchy mama, or that thinking too much about parenting is old news, and just get over it already...

Both of these messages bring up shame for those of us who don't hold neatly to either, and we often hide behind a facade of one or the other. As I have said over and again, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated is totally normal for parents. It's so much easier to deal with and change something if you're willing to look directly at it.

So, today I invite you to be honest with yourself about where you're struggling. Not to become overwhelmed, but to see it fully, as a first step to change.

I'll share more with you about next steps in future posts. For now, sit with this. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. See what you notice.

And of course, I'd love to hear any aha's or reflections in the comments below.

With warm compassion