Friday’s Free Refill: No, Thank You to Holiday Stress

This holiday season DO what calls you so you can BE present, stress-free and full of the joy of the season.

This holiday season DO what calls you so you can BE present, stress-free and full of the joy of the season.

We put out the snowmen, angels and nativity scene. Fredward the Elf is off the shelf and currently resting on the piano until he gets moved again tonight. The framed photos of the kids with Santa are displayed. White candles are every where. The wreath is hung on the front door. This weekend the family and I are heading out of the city to cut down a tree and yes, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

December for many means Holiday season. And for just as many who equate that to joy, there are those who equate it to stress. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas or anything in between, I offer some holiday stress-free tips:

  • Choose Joy. Participate in the traditions that bring you joy. Avoid doing them at all if they make you a cranky ol’ you know what. If you feel the blood drain from your soul thinking about this “tradition”, stop already, create a new one instead. Tell the family you are in need of a break from said tradition and ask them to help you think of a new one. Out with the old, in with the new. Sometimes taking a year off from something gives it a whole new light the next year. (I send out Christmas Cards every other year and even though this is the year to send them out, I am really checking in and asking myself if this will bring me joy.)
  • Be patient with yourself and others. (Avoid crowds or if you must step into the throng of crazy, breathe deeply.)
  • Less is More. (This applies to shopping, gifts, food, activity.)
  • Give from your heart. Make doing something for others on the top of your list. (See our family tradition below.)
  • Receive. If someone offers help be open to another’s sharing of their love and good intention. (You are being a Scrooge when you hog all the work for yourself. You are the Grinch when you turn down someone’s desire to support you. When someone offers you a gift, instead of saying, “You shouldn’t have,” say, “Thank you.”
  • Let go of expectations. (Be open to possibility.) When we let go of how we think everything should happen, we are opening ourselves up. Keep the intention and release the details.
  • Laugh. (Bring out games. We love Bull Shit, a family card game that doesn’t take long to play one hand using a regular deck of cards fits in easily after dinner and before homework. A little B.S. makes every one feel lighter. If you are not a game family, watch a Christmas classic movie together. Take an excursion together, even if it is just walking around the block to see the Christmas lights.

For Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) we pull names out of a cup, (did you think I would really use a hat?)  The family member’s name we pull out of the cup is the person we are “extra” nice to for the month. Intentionally doing something kind. Being aware of how we connect with that person, simply shinning a light on your relationship. On Christmas morning we reveal our secret person. This is a tradition from my childhood and even though this year the family joked, “I won’t remember to be nice until a couple of days before Christmas,” we are carrying on with this tradition. No one pitched a fit, hey still genuinely want to participate, twe are ready to play. This tradition invites us to choose joy, be patient with one another, that a little means a lot, to give from the heart, receiving is a gift to all, and that when we laugh a little everything is lighter, brighter and stress is transformed to connection, love and joy.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men, women, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463. January 6th’s mini-retreat is sold out stay tuned for the 2017 sack lunch mini-retreat schedule.

First Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat of 2017

 

The Four Agreements. Friday January 6th, 9:30 – 2 pm. West Seattle. ONE SEAT LEFT!

 

Join us for the first mini-retreat of the New Year: The Four Agreements

Start 2017 off with a Full Cup. We will discuss The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and you will walk away with a plan of how to apply this Toltec wisdom to your life. No need to have read the book, just come ready to focus on yourself, holding out your cup for an authentic refill.

See your cup is your soul and she needs your attention. We don’t create enough space for ourselves, if any, after taking care of everyone else.

At this four and a half hour mini-retreat you are invited to…Laugh, Share, Create, Receive and Be. During our time of silence you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private life coaching session or inspirational card reading.

Bring a sack lunch, open mind, journal and leave your worries at the front door as you gather with like minded women in a private West Seattle home.

 

October 2016 Retreat Attendee, Cynthia H. has this to say:

“….Jenny’s warmth and wisdom are worth the price of admission, and I had no doubt that the people who would attend her retreats would be people I’d like to spend part of a day with. What a day it was…I highly recommend any of Jenny’s retreats! They are absolutely value packed, and the impact will be lasting and indelible. It has been for me. My cup of gratitude runneth over…”

Nine time Retreat Attendee Amy A. shares:

“These retreats are a day spa for the soul.”

April 2015 Retreat Attendee Lisa S. tells us:

“…I was feeling overworked, stressed & rung-out. Then I met Jenny McGlothern of Mama Needs A Refill… Jenny created a beautiful, supportive and lush space for us to recharge & refill our cup. It’s been over a month since the retreat and the effects are long lasting. I make time each week to fill my cup and start my day off grounded and centered. Thank you Jenny for reminding me that self care is essential to our well being!”

Register before December 20th, Cost $85

For Questions and to Register contact Jenny: 206 255 0463 or email info@mamaneedsarefill.com.

Friday’s Free Refill: Open Heart

Holidays bring out the best and worst in each of us. What if besides stuffing and mashed potatoes the only thing we bring to the table is our open hearts?

Thanksgiving. Best holiday besides Halloween. A day to gather with friends and family, cook good food and share a meal together. A big meal.  I’m not only talking about the quantity of food. I am talking about how the meal is really an event. In many cases we travel over the river and through the woods to arrive at our destination. Thanksgiving weekend is known to be the busiest travel weekend even over Christmas, on the road and in airports around the country. I like to think that everyone is making efforts to be with those they love, making those relationships a priority, whether they are friends or blood relatives. It’s also big in that it is basically a four day weekend for many. And if not, people often take a vacation day to stretch out.

As you ready yourself, your home, your food, your travel plans whether near or far, I invite you to ready your heart. Gathering around a table with those we love also has the tendency to bring up past and emotional drama. What if you entered your gathering place with no attachment to the past, no expectation of how others will be and simply focused on giving and receiving from the heart? Speak with intention and better yet, listen deeply. Really, really listen. All without an agenda. Simply open, vulnerable, willing, and grace-filled.

It’s not always easy and I have to work at it, but when I let go of expectations at these special holiday gatherings I carry home a much fuller cup. A cup of gratitude not only for all the riches of conversation, sharing, deliciousness, abundance, connection but rather for those little moments of surprise. Those brief encounters that I didn’t expect, that I didn’t know were possible.

Thanksgiving Refill Challenge if willing: Let go of your fear, walk with an open mind, and compassionate heart and absolutely, ABSOLUTELY take a moment of stillness by yourself before connecting with others and connect to the quiet beauty that exists inside of you. That place of knowing, peace, truth and love.

Thanksgiving. Even better than dressing up and eating candy. A day to gather together and possibly a time for open heart connections. Connections that can ripple out way past a long four day weekend, if we allow it.

Cheers!

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat in West Seattle, 9:30 – 2 pm, Friday January 6th, call or text Jenny to register and hold your spot. 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Allow Space without Taking it Personally

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Last Sunday, driving my son to his soccer game thirty five miles from home, before we even left our neighborhood, before I even realized I forgot my wallet back at the house, he asked me, “Why is dad not coming to today’s game?”

“He wanted to fix the plugged bathroom sink and get some house chores done.”

“Oh, I wish he were coming.”

“I know babe, he loves coming to your games, it’s nothing personal, he is getting stuff done at home that needs to be taken care of,” I offered words with the intention of him feeling better, like giving salve for an open wound.  

We made it to the first stop light, “Oh, dang, I forgot my wallet,” I remarked.

“Do we need to got back and get it, is that okay to drive without it?”

“You know what bud, it is ok. I just won’t speed.”

This didn’t make him laugh, he was already onto the next thought. A repeat of this first thought.

“I am use to dad being at every game. I just don’t do well with change.”

It didn’t matter that I had been to most of his soccer games this season, missing only a couple more than his dad. He was missing his dad and I didn’t need to take it personal. He was speaking out his awareness and needs and it absolutely didn’t need to be about me.

“I get it babe, “ I responded.

Driving on, crossing the second bridge of the three we needed to cross to make it to our destination, I attempted to make a lane change. In my attempt, the car in front of me came to a sudden stop. I was going too fast to stop, so I stayed in my lane, swerving back a bit. All safe. I heard and saw my son’s internal gasp as he got extra quiet. Continuing on, he noticed me look at my phone in the cup holder for our next direction. He took the phone and said, “I got this, I will read you what direction to do next.” His tone, curt, annoyed, matter of fact. Taking action despite his discomfort, regardless of now he had to learn how to interpret Google Maps, something new to him.

“Is there something wrong?”

“Yes, I wish dad was here, you are driving without your license, swerving the car because you had to slow down quickly, we are going to a field we have never been to, I don’t want to be late and you are looking at your phone to find out where we are going.”

Instead of taking the defensive route I said, “Thank  you.”

We drove in silence awhile longer until I couldn’t keep quiet.

“You were expecting dad to be with us, you felt uncomfortable with your mother’s crazy driving, I get it. I totatlly get it.”

“Mom, you just lifted everything for me. You totally got me out of what I was feeling. Thank you so much. I am fine. Thanks for being the one taking me to my game.”

That’s my son, adverse to change, but with the right space provided on his path, changes on a dime.

I wanted to grab his hand, connect physically, but the way we were connecting right then was enough.

Fast forward to the morning after this week’s Presidential election. My son had gone to bed election night asking that I wake him with good news. To him, good news meant Hillary Clinton winning the election. We were both still holding on to the belief when we said goodnight that she would win despite the numbers on the television screen. In the morning, I took a deep breath standing near his bunk bed. Watching him sleep peacefully, curled up and snuggly. As I exhaled I knew tears would be coming soon. I let them come. Then I took another breath, I get to be the example here. I get to allow him to express his feelings, I don’t have to protect him from my tears, our reality, from his feelings. I get to make space without protecting him. I get to leave room for his response.

When I told him the election result, he was dumbfounded. Then he was sad. When it was time to walk to the bus, he was angry. When he got home that afternoon from school, he was sad again. We talked. I listened. He shared about the responses at school. I listened some more. I gave him more room to express, process and figure it all out in his own mind. Get his feelings off his chest that were weighing deeply on his little huge heart. Then I offered my balm of some chosen words,  like I did on Sunday driving to the soccer game.

He received my balm of words. We breathed together, connecting without a hug or simple embrace, just being in each other’s presence.

“Thanks mom, I feel better,” he told me.

My words aren’t always going to make my kids feel better. I believe what made him feel better on both occassions was that I gave him space, room to express, process, speak out. I wouldn’t of had words at age twelve for this kind of national news nor would I have found words to share what I was feeling with only my mom driving me to soccer, when I wanted my dad.

I am grateful for awareness. I am grateful for plenty of room to allow our feelings to be expressed, heard and healed. I am grateful for not taking it personal. I am grateful for change. Even when it hurts and makes no sense at all.

That’s where I am this Friday morning. My Friday Refill Challenge shall you dare to participate: Give yourself room to feel. Create space for your kiddos to feel. Give them a journal, sit around the dinner table longer than usual. Don’t judge. Don’t fear. Simply allow. What ever is up for them, whether it’s their feelings about a soccer game or our nation, don’t assume. Ask, then listen. Don’t fix, only allow them space as you quietly step a little further away.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Peace Begins With Me

Despite the energy others put out, we can choose to put out positive vibes.

Despite the energy others put out, we can choose to put out positive vibes.

Back in 2014 my “word” for the year was “PEACE.” Every New Year I pick a new one word mantra, my intention for the year that anchors me to desire, longing and purpose for 365 days. More on that in January. But now, today, at present, (2015 the year of PRESENCE) my “FOCUS” (2016’s word), is on PEACE. Our nation has an election next week, the world is crying out in pain on so many levels and all I can really FOCUS on and give my attention to is what is in my present world. My well being, my family, my work, this daily life I am living with all the hats I wear.

I notice that when I am out of whack, in chaos, so is my family. I have then had to practice my own inner peace for the sake of all, not just me. You see if I start my day with the intention of living peacefully and I don’t allow outside forces to tossle me about and I stay rooted to my intention, I am being a small ripple out to others.

I am grateful and in awe for those moments when I have allowed outside forces to steer me away from peace and someone in my path, one of my children, my hubby, a friend, a kind stranger remind me to breathe, to create peace again. Either they speak a word, offer a smile, or simply show up in a calm manner that then ripples over to me. Aaahhh, yes, that’s right my desire is peace.

See, we effect one another. Our expressions, body language, words and actions translate and carry powerful energy. This brings me back to the world, our nation, all that is going on. We think and we believe we can’t do anything, but we can. We can show up gently, act kindly, offer softness, move intentionally with tenderness. That’s what we can do. Begin at home. Your home, your soul, your cup.

If I am in a hurry and driving behind a slow driver, I can take my foot off the gas peddle, take a deep breath and slow down myself. I will still get to where I am going. Maybe, just maybe this slow driver in my path is reminding me to chill, be calm, relax a bit. If one of my kids snaps at me, I can not take it personally and instead of snapping back, respond with grace.

We can start over and over with peace by first noticing our thoughts, watching what we offer out to others and by choosing kindness. I can act with great intention. Speaking with love. Creating unity. Our energy we put out into the world is infectious. So let’s spread peace. One ripple at a time.

This Halloween's costume. Fear or Peace. I choose peace.

This Halloween’s costume.
Fear or Peace. I choose peace.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Put it on the list, Check it off

Time to get it off the list, been on your mind for far too long? Making a daily list. Only put on a reasonable number of tasks so that by day end you can check it off.

Time to get it off the list, been on your mind for far too long? Making a daily list. Only put on a reasonable number of tasks so that by day end you can check it off.

I am a list maker. My lists save me. Without them I would forget, lose focus and be scattered in a thousand directions. I have shared about my need of lists before and now I want to add a new idea for your own list making success. This is geared around getting shit done and actually checked off the list. It is so simple, so easy, even the greatest procrastinator will benefit. Trust me, I’m living proof.

In the morning, after you have breathed, woken up and taken care of yourself by doing one thing for you, get out a pen and your calendar, piece of paper, white board, or Post-It-Note. (I realize this is a phone era. But using your actual hand and picking up a real pen uses muscles you wouldn’t use if you typed into a phone.) Think of it as creating new muscles at the same time. Now ask, what three things tasks will I do today? This is not like the list I talked about last week. This is not stuff that fills you and nurtures you, this is the stuff you need to get done. These are the tasks you think about doing until you forget and then remember again. Stuff like: mail your ballot for the upcoming election, schedule a doctor visit, buy your child a halloween costume, weed the rose garden, call mom, respond to your friend’s email, buy lightbulbs, renew your driver’s license. You won’t die if these things don’t get done, however it is a slow death to your well being. Your cup empties a little bit more when you mentally beat yourself up for forgetting. Your cup continues to drain as you think about all you need to do and haven’t yet done.

Pick your number, mine is three. Now write down those three nagging things that need to get done but you keep putting off. Draw an empty check box next to each item. Ask three questions about your list of tasks. Can I logistically get to this? Do I have the time? Do I want to get this done today? If you answer YES to all three questions then that is a perfect item for your list.

I have been finding that right after I write down list of three, I immediately set out to take care of the first one on the list. Wednesday my second item on the list was renew passport. I had everything I needed, I had it all together for the last three weeks, the final step was missing. Mail the sucker. Knowing I would be near the post office at 5 pm, for it is next to my son’s piano lesson, I got prepared. I organized all necessary items and placed them in a folder on the front seat of my car. All day reminding me, oh, yes, this is the day I check passport off the list. Sure enough at 5 pm item two was checked off the list. I felt so incredibly light. I made something easy be such a heavy burden.

We think about this stuff, all of the tasks, until it is actually accomplished, for me this can be months. That nagging poke, “You need to _________.” Knowing it needs to get done today because it is on the list helps serve as my own accountability partner.

Try it. What can it hurt? You may actually get some shit done you have been thinking about for far too long, so long that it is beginning to stink. Stop the stink, write it down and check it off. Coming from the Queen of Procrastination, trust me, it works. And it feels so damn stinkin’ good.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Burned Out, Hold Out Your Cup

When I am burned out on taking care of others it is because I am not taking care of myself.

When I am burned out on taking care of others it is because I am not taking care of myself.

We burn out on parenthood, our jobs, our relationships, our commitments when we are getting nothing back. We may feel empty when we are bored, feel under appreciated, exhausted, ultimately disconnected from ourselves. This is normal. You are not a bad person for not being excited about your parental duties and routine.  You are not a freak for lacking enthusiasm about your life. You may have thought you were special on this topic, but you are like many, many other women. Let’s be real, waking up doing the same thing day in and day out for others doesn’t always lead to fulfillment. Instead of it being a cup drainer you want so badly for your routines, commitments and responsibilities to be cup fillers. If that is the case, then it is time to put some focus on YOU.

 

I find what helps me overcome burn out is to connect to myself. I am disgruntled with others when I am disconnected from myself. When I find what fills me up, create space for what I am passionate about and honor that commitment,  magic unfolds. I connect more authentically to others. I find joy in the mundane, I find balance, discovering a rejuvenated perspective and I am living with purpose, on purpose. The natural resistance to this idea is that we think we are being selfish and can’t find any time.

 

You are doing no one any favors by putting yourself last. There is absolutely nothing selfish about nurturing your soul, tending your cup and caring for your needs. If it makes you feel any better, know that when you care for you, others feel it. Many benefit.

 

There is always time. Observe the moments of time when you are doing things that don’t really need to be done. When you do for you first, everything falls into place.

 

If you are feeling burn out right now, in this particular season of your life, then do this, I promise you will be glad you did: Pull out a piece of paper, a journal, turn over the grocery receipt sitting at the bottom of your purse or go to the memo pad/notes app on your phone and start listing the things that you can do in a fifteen minute time period that make you smile, make you feel alive, honor who you are and basically really, really like to do.

 

Guidelines to assist you in the things/activities you put on your list:

  • It makes you feel better.
  • It is something that you think about often.
  • It can be done in 15 minutes without depending on anyone else.
  • It is an accessable activity, meaning you don’t need to leave the house (accept for an intentional walk or jog) or go far away.

 

Now you have a list that is just for you. Next, commit to doing one of these things daily. I suggest starting your day with it, but if that is not in the cards pick the same time of day, every day, make a date. Show up to yourself. Because I tell no lie, we are burned out on life and all it’s parts when we are disconnected from ourselves. So commit. Practice. Show up. Hold out your cup, strap on those Nikes-and Just Frickin’ Do It Already.

 

A refill for you is a life giver for many.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Mind YOU Now (Mars vs. Venus)

To be mindful is to pay attention with kindness in the moment noticing and being aware.

To be mindful is to pay attention with kindness in the moment noticing and being aware.

On Wednesday I held Mama Needs A Refill’s first mini-retreat of the 2016-2017 season. The theme, mindfulness, is still stirring in my brain, as I practice with my body, mind and soul to live more intentionally, on purpose, paying attention.

 

A couple of weeks ago I shared the then upcoming retreat theme with my hubby by only stating that the topic would be mindfulness. He thought this was interesting, know his wife. In my deepest knowing, I knew right then this was possibly a big mistake for sharing. I was inviting trouble, good trouble, but trouble indeed.  (See he is my best friend, who knows me better than I know myself at times.) It was from then on that we would have these “gottcha” hilarious interactions. One day I came home from my Trader Joe excursion with five full grocery bags and proceeded to leave the bags on the kitchen floor, counter and bench. I had checked my phone to find a text that at that moment I thought was more important than putting away frozen green beans and a carton of eggs. I was aware of the groceries and choosing to answer the text message even though in truth, it could have waited until the fruit was in the bowl and the canned goods in the cupboard.

 

“Oh, I see your being mindful, I’ll put away these groceries,” hubby says playfully.

 

“Oh, that’s right, the groceries”, I answered back. (Finally, someone to help me put away the groceries.) “I need to answer this text about soccer carpool, thanks for your help darlin”,  I said half mockingly as we both laughed. He thinks I am being typical Jenny doing more than one thing at a time. I was aware that I was multi-tasking, but appreciative of his reminder as I am practicing doing one thing at a time.

 

It was then and with all the reminders from hubby that would follow that I became aware that his definition of mindfulness was a little different then mine. One. Thing. At. A. Time = Guy Version. This is a version I aspire to and am working at toward, but the girl version or at least my version is doing more than one thing at a time and fully aware of it, paying attention along the way.

 

Hubby’s gentle wake-ups kept being delivered with love and humor. When I was making stew and at the same time letting the onions burn while I checked an email, my messenger offered, “Oh, I’ll just turn down the heat on these onions as I see you are busy being mindful.” Touche. Perhaps because he is a male or perhaps just because he is Rob, he is highly capable of doing one thing at a time, perfectly, to my utter annoyance. If he is cooking dinner, driving us to a soccer game, paying bills, or washing the dishes, conversation is extremely challenging. I am appreciative of this learning even thought at times I want to throw something at him. He is focused and attentive. The cool thing about learning and practicing mindfulness is that I don’t have to do it like he does, but it is about noticing and being aware. (I notice that as I am cooking onions, I want to look at my phone. It is up to me whether I do or not, I get to make that choice.) This is being mindful, paying attention in the moment. Looks like in that moment when the onions burned I was not in the moment and definitely not paying attention, allowing distraction to take me out of the here and now.

 

Here are some of my personal tips to add to your your mindful practice:

  • When I see time on the clock with repeating numbers, ie; 1:11, 3:33 or 5:55, this is my reminder to stop. I pause. I think of one thing I am grateful for in that moment. I breathe. This takes less than ten seconds and brings me into the here and now.
  • Before I speak, I take a breath, asking myself, Is it truly necessary for me to say this? I find I am saying less and listening more, this keeps me mindful. Speak with intention, listen with intention. Not with an agenda. There is a difference.
  • Journaling. I journal in the morning, this clears my mind, assisting me in honoring and listening to my thoughts and feelings with a reflective and inquisitive mind. I also keep a small pocket journal for food, money and physical therapy. These are three relationships I am growing and deepening my awareness. Paying attention to what I eat, the money I spend and save and keeping me accountable to my healing exercises supports me abundantly.
  • Simply notice what you’re thinking when you are involved in an activity, without judgment or having to act on that thought. Just. Notice.
  • When doing one activity and another thought comes to mind about something I need to do for example, I write it down on a post it, or my hand. This way I am staying present to what I am involved in, yet at the same time listening to the internal reminder.
  • Before moving from one activity to the next – from work, to cooking dinner, attending a meeting, to driving carpool, I pause with a couple of breaths. This intentional process grounds me helping me to come to neutral and be centered in the moment, leaving the past activity behind, ready to engage in the next.

 

Whether I am doing ten things at once or one thing at a time, practicing being more attentive and focused, I am continually being reminded that all we have is one moment at a time. And I don’t need my lovely hubby to remind me, life is reminding me, every second.

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Smile

Happy National Smile Day

                 Happy National Smile Day

Ever since I can remember, which on some days is only as far back as yesterday, but on others all the way back to childhood, I ave been smiler. As a kid it started as my mask so no one would ask me what was wrong. Behind that inspiration was also the genuine desire to make people happy.

 

On this National Smile Day I am peeling back the layers of my relationship with smiling. I find it a bit befuddling that there is a national day for this, as there is a national day for everything it seems, but I won’t get psychological and will simply share my history with the wonderful expression between the lips.

 

Growing up in a home with a mentally ill father I didn’t want to add more weight to the heaviness of our home life so I put on a smile. At least that’s what I remember wearing when I left the house and walked down the street or down the school hallway. As I got older my smiles were interpreted as flirtatious. That always weirded me out. Not flirting people just being kind, offering a little lift to your day, don’t take it as having meaning, only receive it for what it is, a smile. I kept at it though and would take it super personally when strangers or even friends wouldn’t smile back. Internalizing that it had something to do with me, but still not giving up my smile.

 

Smiles from my three kiddos.

Smiles from my three kiddos.

I did go through a very brief period of withholding my smiles, then that felt weirder than the flirtatious interpretation, and I just said, Screw it, I am a smiler, take it or leave it.

 

I have had some of the most amazing connections with strangers not only through giving them a smile, but from receiving theirs. I recall my biggest take away from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love was to smile during meditation. I do that now. I smile while I meditate, it changes everything. 

 

I smile driving down the street, walking through the grocery store aisles. Smiling doesn’t need a reason or a special holiday.

 

I am not attached to the response of the one I am smiling to, unhinged to their reaction and this dear cup holder, changes everything. I am not the little girl wearing a mask, I am the woman offering a gift and receiving its abundant blessings unattached to the outcome. I know I can’t make another happy, but I can be a ripple of love, starting with a smile. And frankly my dear this world needs it, not just today, every day. 

Refill Challenge: Smile in the mirror EVERY day at yourself, then pass on the gift to another. Cheers!

Refill Challenge: Smile in the mirror EVERY day at yourself, then pass on the gift to another. Cheers!

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master LifeT Coach who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too, in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Honoring Accountability

On Sonya's birthday we took our Writing Thursday to the neighborhood cafe to celebrate!

On Sonya’s birthday we took our Writing Thursday to the neighborhood cafe to celebrate!

I remember the morning clearly. It was September, ten years ago, maybe nine, and my children and I were on the street corner by the Douglas Fir or was it the Japanese Maple? Maybe near the Safeway, or maybe near the elementary school across from Safeway. It was the northeast, wait northwest corner, and Sonya was waiting to cross the street. A mutual friend told me I should meet Sonya because she too, was a writer.

 

“Hi, you are Sonya, I am Jenny and we both are writers and my friend Sydney (or was it Erika), said we should meet.”

 

So I may not remember the exact date or every word I said, but what I know is that by taking a risk and introducing myself to a stranger I now have a writing partner for the las ten, maybe nine years. Every Thursday we meet, brew a pot of tea and write. We support each other in our number one passion. The love of writing brought us together and our continued accountability keeps us coming back. Living a block and a half (this I know for sure, I measured) from one another getting makes meeting up easy. I walk down the alley to her house and the next week she walks to mine. (ok, we sometimes drive if we have an appointment before or after.)

 

We don’t call it accountability, for now it is habit. It is ritual. It is vital to our well-being. It has become a way of living. Our writing together is one way we take care of ourselves, honor the thing we MUST do. It started by setting a date and time then showing up to the other. Our friendship is a bonus that grew out of starting something new and sticking to it.

 

I don’t know the reason behind being more reliable when it comes to showing up for others versus showing up to ourselves. We easily let ourselves down by saying, Oh, I will start writing when the kids are older. Or, I will get to that thing I love tomorrow, when I have time. When we have an appointment on the calendar, we show up, we don’t want to leave someone standing on the corner. I am not concerned about the why, I am more in awe and grateful for the showing up, regardless if it is because someone is waiting. If that’s what it takes, great. Then make a date and show up.

 

This nine or ten year accountability has birthed so much joy, expression, creativity, not to mention the publication of Sonya’s book (www.sonyaelliott.com) and numerous blogs from us both. Every Thursday, rain or shine I will release the cork to my artist expression and fill the blank page. I will laugh, sometimes cry, be heard, listen, do the thing I must do. Sometimes we need a partner, a witness, a helping hand, so for this I am grateful for Sonya. I am grateful for showing up to one another because in the process it has allowed me to show up to myself. For me, myself and I.

 

Need a partner, look around, notice, ask. Find that person who can be the name you write on the calendar and the reason you put on the kettle. Showing up to the other, honoring yourself.

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master LifeT Coach who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women, couples too,  in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Mama is Filling Her Cup

No blog today dear Holders of the Cup! Mama and Papa got out of town.

No blog today dear Holders of the Cup!
Mama and Papa got out of town. What do you need to do today to take care of you? Listen. Then go, do and be. Pic taken from our deck. See you here, next week. Cheers!

 

 

Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat, Mindfulness. Wednesday October 12, 2016

Mark your calendar and signup today, October 12th in West Seattle. 9:30 - 2:00 (No one will even no you are gone, but when you come back, everyone will feel the difference in you for putting you first.)

Mark your calendar and signup today,                                     October 12th in West Seattle. 9:30 – 2:00
(No one will even no you are gone, but when you come back, everyone will feel the difference. When we take time for ourselves, all in our world benefit.)

 

What are these mini-retreats all about?

Mama Needs A Refill Sack Lunch Mini-Retreats are about taking a break from taking care of others and turning inward to take care of you. Summer is over, new season. With kids back to school and autumn in the air we often jump into the next season without taking a time out for ourselves. A time to pause. When we are running around from one thing to the next we feel the pressure to keep going. It is in the stillness that we hear our own wisdom within. And when we give ourselves permission to slow down it takes the bite off of all of the responsibilities on our list. It puts things in perspective. When you breathe, everyone around you feels it. And that’s a good thing. Each mini-retreat provides both time to share in an intimate group and silent time. Optional private one-on-one life coaching session or inspirational card reading. Think of it as taking a break for you without leaving town.

 

Laugh, Share, Create, Receive. Simply Be.

Bring a sack lunch, open mind, journal and leave your worries at the front door as we gather in a private West Seattle home.

 

Here is what some women have to say about attending a Mini-Retreat:

Reita J, says: I  signed up for my first ever retreat not quite sure what to expect but very much looking forward to some time away and unplugged. Boy was I WRONG! I ended up getting more plugged more plugged in to MYSELF and it felt absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was just perfect. Jenny is such a warm and caring coach and leader it’s like she knew exactly what each of us ladies at the retreat needed. I definitely lfeft feeling more at peace, with my cup overflowing.

 

Sonya E. shares:  Thank you Jenny! This is my third Mama Needs a Refill retreat and it won’t be my last! I love having a few hours tucked away to focus on me and my happiness, which of course in the end means more happiness for my entire family and others around me. Each retreat, I have felt thankful to have had that time to really breathe and just be, and each time I have come away with a new tidbit of insight inbto being a better mom, a better wire and a better me. Thank you. Thank you.

 

Amy A. offers: These retreats are like a day spa for the soul. (Six time attendee, signed up for seventh.)

 

Cost $125 (Register before 10/7, pay $85). To Register contact Jenny: 206 255 0463 or info@mamaneedsarefill.com.

Friday’s Free Refill: Practicing just rolling with it!

Order is important to me, but it's not important to everyone I live with. It's about understanding and valuing everyone's individual needs. For me the anal one it's about appreciating both order and chaos for neither is better than the other. (In my anal eyes yes, of course one is better, but I am learning this doesn't have to be my truth.)

Order is important to me, but it’s not important to everyone I live with. It’s about understanding and valuing everyone’s individual needs. For me the anal one it’s about appreciating both order and chaos for neither is better than the other. (In my anal eyes yes, of course one is better, but I am learning this doesn’t have to be my truth.)

I can be a little anal. It’s okay, I don’t mind. This is part of me and I appreciate this part of me and it makes for lots of laughter in our home. Once I learned how to find the humor in it, that is.

I like my salt and pepper shakers lined up a certain way. Hubby likes to move them once in awhile, just to see if I really notice. I notice. There is only one place for my glassy babies on the window sill. On the left side. Next to the glass hearts. One inch apart. Everyone in the family honors it and doesn’t touch them. The kitchen window sill is my little altar that looks out to the deck and yard, I look out here a lot, as I seem to always be in front of the sink, doing dishes, washing fruit, scrubbing vegetables. Mess with the pillows on the couch and I may not give you the stink eye, but I will quietly put them back at the right angle, lined up exaclty so. Pillows have there place. Every member of the family, has their own thought as to the best place, as a result the pillows are moved around constantly, I am learning to roll with it. Everything takes practice right? So I get a lot of practice.

Anyone out there relating to this?

When my husband started leaving the empty toilet paper roll on the bathroom window sill, I got a little annoyed. See he changes out the roll when there is still a little bit of toilet paper left. His thinking is that it isn’t enough for someone to actually use while seated on the throne, not ready to be recycled, and that someone can use the little bit of toilet paper to blow there nose or wipe up toothpaste off the sink. He is being conscientious. He thinks it’s wasteful to throw away.

Miss Anal here doesn’t like anything on the counter let alone the window sill, unless it is a candle. I had gotten in the habit of throwing away the toilet paper roll with a little bit of toilet paper left on it, too impatient to wait until someone used it.

Last week, there it was, haunting me, calling my name, tempting me to throw it away even with only enough t.p. on it to blow one nostril. Who blows one nostril? Take a breath. What do I do? It bothers me sitting there. But is it really harming me or anyone to have it sitting there on the window sill? I leave it. Yep, every can change. It is just a toilet paper roll. Someone will use it and I will wait for hubby to recycle it. I don’t have to get it and bring it to the recycle bin in the kitchen. I am choosing not to throw it away in the bathroom garbage can, which would be so easy. It’s what I always do. Not this time.

One day passes. Two days pass. Doesn’t anyone need two small squares of toilet paper? I wondered as I breathed. I left it there for probably five days, then magically it was gone. One day, I don’t know when, it disappeared. There was never a discussion. No drama over me getting upset about it being there. No drama about me being wasteful. Did it kill me to leave it there? Nope. It was a practice in patience. Did I appreciate someone recycling it? Absolutely. It was a practice of gratitude. Did I honor my husband’s desire to not be wasteful? Yep.

I would get my panties all in a bundle over hubby leaving it there, not even grateful he changed out the whole roll. We think we do everything around the house and no body cares. The thing is we do everything because we don’t give anyone else a chance and because honestly, often we are the only one who notices and who places such importance on it.

This one is to all the teachers of us anal retentive folks. This one is also to all of us anal ones who place value on order. We can teach each other. No one is right, no one is wrong. We can all live together, with lots and lots of practice on learning how to be patient with one another.

Cheers!

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master LifeT Coach who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463. Able to join us for the next mini-retreat Wednesday October 12th, 9:30 – 2 pm  (new time, ½ hour longer more of you time) in West Seattle?

Friday’s Free Refill: I Don’t Have to Own it and Neither Do You!

Back to school is a time of transition for the whole family. Be gentle to yourself so that you can be gentle with those kiddos, ready to forgive and be present to them.

Back to school is a time of transition for the whole family. Be gentle to yourself so that you can be patient with those kiddos, especially when they are being but-heads, ready to forgive and be present to them.

School started Wednesday for my kiddos. My youngest, began his 6th grade year with trepidation. His anxious self couldn’t sleep Tuesday night, his eager to please, determined to be organized self, couldn’t relax Wednesday night doing his homework. He had the task to read for thirty minutes, which he completed on his own without my involvement and then he was instructed to go over his class syllabus with a parent, who would then sign the document. This is where I came in. He invited me to sit next to him so we could read the class expectations together. Our signatures would complete the text. Well, we barely got through the first paragraph. Translation, he spat out evil words and grew horns and I even saw a little bit of a pointy tail sneak out from behind him. I was reading too slowly.

He was impatient with my reading pace. He spat, barked, snarled. Instead of spatting, barking and snarling back, as I definitely felt the urge, I quietly stood up.

“Your dad is downstairs and available to assist you with this, I will be taking the dog for a walk.”

Son agreed it would be best if I went for a walk. He was so mad at me not being on a faster track that he was happy to see me go. He wanted this assignment done now.

On my walk I didn’t spat or bark, but I allowed myself to feel and I released my anger, frustration and sadness. When I returned through the front door 25 minutes later, guess who greeted me with an apology? Yep, the son. Instead of telling him how crappy he treated me and how frustrated and annoyed I was, I said, “Thank you so much, I accept your apology. All good. Let’s start fresh.” He agreed as he confessed to being tired and anxious to get to bed.

Thursday morning at the bus stop the horns and tail appeared fast and furious as the son and I discussed where our pick up spot would be after school so that I could take him to soccer. I began to say goodbye and let him know I would be walking away.

“Please don’t leave, I am nervous about waiting at the stop alone.”

Ohhhhh. So that’s why you are treating me like crap for the second time in a twelve hour period, I said to myself under my breath.

“I had no idea you were nervous, I thought you wanted to wait at the bus alone, like we discussed. I am happy to stay.”

“Actually, even though I said this year you didn’t have to walk me to the bus, will you please stay until the bus gets here?”

His tone didn’t match his words. He was super agitated over our after school pick up plan, each not understanding the other’s pick up location. (A quick reminder to me of male vs female when it comes to giving directions.)

Remember to breathe. It has greater power to

Remember to breathe. It has greater power than you realize to shift a situation, alter your perception and calm you as it brings you into the present moment.

I breathed. I rooted my feet to the ground, feeling my toes in my rain boots. I let go of the fact that he is in 6th grade and how it might look to older kids, parents, anyone else who would even care that his mother is standing with him. My feelings were probably giving off an energy that was feeding his nerves. His nerves already wound so tight. His frustration so high, he didn’t necessarily start talking nicely. I let it go. It wasn’t about me.

I waved to Julius, the best bus driver ever, whom I have been saying good morning to every school day for the last two years. Son didn’t get a wave, I didn’t feel like giving it with his tail poking me hard. I still said goodbye, I still smiled, but if he wasn’t looking out the window, I didn’t have to wave. I walked with the dog down the street. I started my grateful thoughts of thinking of everything I was grateful for, yes, even the devil-like boy of mine. Morning drama behind me, fifteen minutes into my walk I thought of my son and in that moment got a feeling that I should pull my phone out of my pocket. I wasn’t expecting a call or text, but I had a feeling.  Mother’s intuition.

Bingo. Feeling was right. Guess who texted me an apology? Guess who texted back an acceptance of that apology? Yep.

Mamas, their drama don’t have to be yours. Trust your gut. Learn to let go.  Forgive. Take care of you during this time of transition so that you can give your best you for those little and big lovable devils in your life.

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master LifeT Coach who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463. Able to join us for the next mini-retreat Wednesday October 12th, 10 – 2 pm in West Seattle?

Friday’s Free Refill: Only Me

Surround by trees, only the sound of running water and the wisdom within, and my buddy Buford. All a girl needs.

Surround by trees, only the sound of running water and the wisdom within, and my buddy Buford. All a girl needs.

I escaped on Monday and didn’t come back until Wednesday. I dusted off my favorite cds, packed food I liked in the cooler and with my dog as my only companion, I headed east. I create retreats for women so it seemed quite fitting that I take one for myself. It’s all in the research. One must practice what one preaches. Plus, I really needed a break. Time to hit the Refresh Button!

I was fortunate to have the use of my friend’s vacation home. This oasis set against the backdrop of trees and mountains, only an hour and a half drive from my Seattle home allowed me the solitude I had been craving all summer long.  Blaring the Dixie Chicks on I-90, singing at the top of my lungs:

 

 

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about

Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out

To find a dream and a life of their own

A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

The lyrics calling me back to my younger self, stirring up freedom. I was free to be Jenny. Not mom, wife, teacher, coach, friend, daughter, just Jenny. Oh, yes, I loved country music, I loved pretending I could sing harmony. The windows open wide, the wind in my hair, I was the crazy mama escaping town in her mini-van, and I was remembering how much I liked hanging out with me, myself and I. Exhaling deeply, as I cranked the music louder and belted out more Wide Open Spaces lyrics:

She needs wide open spaces

Room to make her big mistakes

She needs new faces

She knows the high stakes

The place I fell asleep, the place where I had to only show up for myself.

The place I fell asleep, the place where I had to only show up for myself.

My 46 hours alone was filled with exactly what I wanted. Wide open spaces were open to me and I received. In a five bedroom home all to myself, I could take up space, lots of space. I was the only thing on the agenda. Being a list maker, I asked myself, “What do I want to accomplish and how do I want to spend my time?” One who gets easily distracted I wanted to be focused as well as open to possibility. I got still as I allowed the answers to come: walks, meditation, writing, steam room, time outside… In my awareness I ended up turning off my phone for six hours, too easily pulled into other’s needs and unnecessary distractions. Near the end of those six hours I discovered I need some fun. A girl can only have enough silence and clarity. It was time for some dancing. The Bee Gees and Diana Ross took care of that. Who knew I could dance without the aid of alcohol or a dance partner? Oh, if the deer and trees could talk.

Such a moment of grace to meet a wild animal face to face.

Such a moment of grace to meet a wild animal face to face.

Giving myself permission. Allowing myself to be. Listening to the nudges to draw, go for another walk, sit and read, put up my feet and nap, sing loudly – all reminded me of who I am and what I love. I am the lover of music, waterfalls, the steam room set to 115 degrees for 12 minutes twice daily, following new paths in the woods and along the river, being alone. All things I don’t partake in daily. I don’t have a waterfall, deer, wild turkeys or a steam room in my backyard, however, I do have the ability to play music and dance alone. I do have the ability to create wide open spaces in my heart even in my small home I share with my hubby and two kiddos. It is about listening, allowing and honoring.

Wide open spaces.

Wide open spaces.

Back at home my solo retreat experience was a part of me, supporting, guiding and nurturing. The result? A more present, calmer version of myself. Ready to be mom. Ready to wear all my hats bringing more of Jenny to each role.

Maybe you can’t get away for 46 hours, but can you give yourself 10 minutes a day to find your best version of you in a wide open space? Get still. Ask for what you need and desire. Listen. Allow. Then honor all parts of you.

I create four mini-reteats a year with a small group of women. That is what Mama Needs ARefill is all about. If you are looking to create your own solo retreat, let’s talk, I’d love to help you create your own Wide Open Space. To paraphrase the Dixie Chicks, a place, “To find a dream and a life of your own, a place in the clouds, your foundation of stone.”

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master LifeT Coach who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men and women in person in Seattle and by phone.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463. Next mini-retreat, Friday October 14, 2016.