This week's #MCM was a no brainer. When I was coming up with the first list of women I wanted to ask if I could interview for this series, I knew it had to include my greatest source of mindful living tips, Sarah Voordouw. Sarah is a well-known healer in her community and is known by many to spread her bright light and unconditional love far and wide. First and foremost she refers to herself as a mama (even known to Zinnia as Mama Sarah), from there she is a lover, a healer, an artist, an animal lover and a friend to all. Day to day she is home with her 2 year old son Solomon but also works part-time out of her home studio, Happy Lotus, as a Holistic Health Practitioner (by title), and intuitive healer (by heart).
In her studio, Sarah practices Thai Massage, Reiki, Flower Essence Therapy and conducts transformative Women's Circles. She will also be running a women's meditation program at Alchemy Yoga in Niagara Falls in the new year (if you are in that area, be sure to reserve your spot for a guaranteed bountiful, beautiful and blissful meditative and introspective experience).
Throughout Sarah's interview I knew it was going to be tough to hone in on only one of her answers. When I really tried to focus on what was going to impact the most moms in the best way, I chose to dissect how Sarah deals with the hardships because I really think we could all take a few notes from her graceful and empathetic approach to tough parenting moments. I wanted to hear how she stays so calm, connected and supportive, while setting safe and clear boundaries when needed with her son.
Solomon in a nutshell, is a very sensitive soul. His heart is often just too big for his chest. By having a heightened sensitivity to everything around him he feels deeply, and boy can I relate to that! Solomon is a loving, empathetic and energetic toddler. Sarah and Solomon have one of those truly beautiful connections. It is always inspiring to be around, and I think it is really about Sarah's ability to, as she put it "check myself, before I wreck myself". When I see this mama faced with a challenging parenting moment, she handles it with more grace, space and calmness than I have ever seen. Something I strive to emulate as a parent myself. She sees the value in harnessing your reactive energy, feeling the physical response and breathing yourself back to centre. She meets Solomon with a kind voice, a clear boundary (if needed) and compassion, compassion, compassion. Which, in the early years, is the most valuable thing you can give them! It shows in their connection! It is a layer of respect and loyalty that can transform the parent-child relationship.
Aside from Sarah and I being in complete agreement that the hardest part about parenting are those bittersweet moments of memory loss, she also talked about the dark side of loving these little people so much that those feelings of worry and fear can be too all-consuming. I personally remember a moment after having Zinnia where I spent most of the day crying over the idea of me passing on too early, and not experiencing the majority of Zinnia's life. Rational I know. It can get very intense in those moments of realizing you brought a life into this world, and you are there to see to it that they get everything they need! If you can't be there when they need you, who will? I had once heard about a mom who felt so deeply about the worries and fears that the darkness made her question ever having kids at all!
Some parents might read that and think its ludicrous, and some parents might read that and think yes, I get it! I understand that feeling. This was the hardship that Sarah felt shift her. In facing this hardship Sarah was able to truly benefit from grounding herself and pulling herself out from those dark thoughts using those useful tools at the drop of a hat. By first taking a quick body scan, she recognizes how she is feeling in that moment and creates a bit of space for herself. Wether that be a redirection to another activity or a few moments alone to
connect to her breath and re-centre herself, it is about looking within and breathing. The thinking and the doing. Being present and available with yourself and then having the ability to be understanding and supportive to your child. It is with this reaction to those hardships, that she is able to gently bring herself back to the light, and shift her focus from the what if's of the unknown, to living life in the here and now and being an effective and connected parent.
It came as no surprise to me that when I asked Sarah what the best part about parenting was, she couldn't help but admit it is the love. "The depth that my heart has been exposed too. The all-consuming joy that is experienced daily between my husband, myself and my son- it's Divine." The light to her dark.
I think if we are going to take a page out of this mama's parenting notebook, it would be that the value in getting centred before reacting is not only immensely beneficial for yourself, but is the most beneficial for your little one. If you can trigger yourself into looking within first then you can meet any situation with a clear mind and calm body.
To all my valuable readers, I challenge you to implement a deep breath train in your home as a daily reminder to breathe deeply and get centred. Nominate someone in the family to be the conductor and whenever they take a deep breath, each member of the family around to hear it takes one too! It is so easy to do and can give your child a fun "button" to push on mom and dad.
You will not want to miss the rest of Sarah's interview in the e-book to follow the series! She is chalk full of tips and you will want a notebook!
With that being said, I will leave you with Sarah's words of wisdom...
If I could tell my pre-parent self one thing it would be: "Simple. Trust your intuition, you got this mama."
You can head over to Sarah's website here to get in touch with her about booking an appointment for any of her classes or treatments. You are guaranteed to leave feeling refreshed, relaxed, re-centred and completely rejuvenated. Rrrr!
Next week we meet Lisa Chandler, a mindful mama who has been dealt a heavy hand. With a toddler undergoing serious surgeries and a baby boy in the other arm, this mama let's us in to her experience with parenting and how she too is kicking some serious butt at it!
Show love, grow love
Happy Living Parents!