Category Archives: Mom wisdom

Friday’s Free Refill: Put That Worry in its Place

We allow worry to take over our entire being. Worry is fear and concern about the future and dear reader the future IS NOT HERE, so why pray tell are you worrying about it?

How do you handle worry? Do you allow it to permeate your being and get the best of you? Do you show it on your face or feel it in your body? Do you give it permission to control you?

I bring this up because recently I had a new inspiration as to what to do with the little worries that enter my daily thoughts and the big worries that take up residence in the curve of my neck and right shoulder blade. This new idea came while in meditation. A place where much of my inspiration comes. It is in meditation that I not only clear the clutter, but I make room for what must come in. One of my visualizations is me sitting in my imaginary garden at a long table. There is always a shed in this scene. And after years of not knowing what was in the shed I decided to start placing my worries inside this sturdy shelter. It makes sense to only me and it is working so that’s all that matters. Logic need not enter the picture.

Did you know that your mind can not differentiate between real and imagined thoughts? If I visualized it, then it happened in my mind’s eye. According to Dr. Joseph M. Carver the brain doesn’t know if a file is real or imagined. Dr. Carver tells us, “The Brain makes files based on information it is given, usually through our senses but often through our thoughts.” The brain will only react to the file or image of putting the worries in a hole, a shed or sending them off to space in a rocket ship.    

I also have used a worry box over the years. I write down my worries, fears, prayers on small slips of paper and tuck them inside my little purple box that only I know where it is in my closet. The idea being when I start to think of them again, I remind myself that they are being handled in the purple box, they are no longer my concern. I recently checked on my purple box and discovered that every slip of paper could be removed from the box and recycled. These concerns no longer consumed me, they had been resolved.

This is what I am doing with my shed. At the beginning of my daily meditation, I open up the shed in my mind’s eye and invite the worries to scoot on inside. It is a great check-in with myself to see what worries are getting in my way, what I am holding on to, and what is clouding my vision. I tell myself, (ok, here I may get a little woo-woo for you), but I tell myself that my angels are handling my concerns. There is also a window in my shed (the beauty of imagination) so that light can get in and transform the worries into something life giving.

Before using the shed, I forgot to breathe and I held my concerns in my body. The tightness in my shoulder, my furrowed brow and the ache in my neck have been released because I gave the worries another place to go rather than taking up residence in my body. I am beginning my day lighter, making space for thoughts that nurture and grow my spirit. At the end of the day I have noticed the worries have stayed in the shed, no longer obstacles in my path. I imagine in this new place they are transformed or simply they simply have flown out the window.

Do you have worries taking up valuable real estate in your body, perhaps clogging your brain? I invite you to have some fun, play with putting them elsewhere. Try a shed, a cloud, a deep hole, a rocket ship, anywhere, but within you. Give yourself permission to not hold on to them anymore. They aren’t exactly helping you, so what are you waiting for?

Hello! I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit. I have been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. 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 women, men, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2 pm. Next one, September 15 (2 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Start With One

My daughter took this pic of me back in 2010 meditating on Spring Break.

At last week’s sack lunch mini-retreat a couple of the women in attendance talked about their desire to meditate. It was something they had been curious about. The desire was strong. The commitment not yet a priority. We had spent part of our time together discussing values and priorities. At the end of the retreat inspiration had entered in and there was motivation to make meditation a priority in a couple the women’s lives.

Back in the 1990’s I was curious about my own non-existent meditation practice. My curiosity was strong, while my commitment weak. I thought about it. I made excuses as to why I didn’t have time. I thought about it some more. I met people in my life who would increase my inspiration, fuel my interest and provide tools for me to begin. After at least a decade of thinking about it, I finally got sick and tired of thinking about it. One morning lying in bed, I thought, When will I ever have time to meditate? The answer was obvious. Now. Instead of beginning each morning wide awake thinking about nothing and everything as I lay there tossing and turning I could use this time to do the thing I have been thinking about doing.

I got up and left my husband sleeping. I sat down on the living room couch. I closed my eyes. Then I open them. I looked around. I got up out of my seat. I thought about meditating some more as I made a cup of tea. The next morning I set the kitchen timer for five minutes and sat down on the living room couch. I closed my eyes. I thought about opening them. Before I knew it I got up off the couch to check the kitchen timer. Four minutes and thirty three more seconds left in my five minute meditation. My armpits dripped and my hands grew hot as I adjusted the time on the oven timer. One minute. Go. I can do this. I went back to the couch. I sat. I closed my eyes. I noticed I was holding my breath. I exhaled. My only focus, my breath. In. Out. In. Out. My shoulders dropped, I allowed myself to relax. When my mind wandered to what I would make for dinner, the email I needed to send, how much time was left on the timer, I came back to my breath. In. Out.

BUZZZZZZZZZZ.

Wow, that minute went fast. I stayed with one minute for weeks. I showed up daily. No judgment on the length of time. Soon I was ready for three minutes. Then five. This is how I started my meditation practice close to a decade ago. Baby steps. A timer. My breath. One minute. Then a few more. Then twenty. Then thirty.

I had to think about meditation  long enough until that no longer served me and then my only choice was to sit my but down and begin. And like the retreat attendees I had to decide if I was going to keep thinking about it or make it a priority. When I discovered a more peaceful me inside, a more focused and aware woman, it was clear that meditation must be my priority.

Happy to say I have heard back from those two women at the retreat and they too have began with their one minute. What about you? Have you been thinking about beginning your meditation practice? I invite you to toss out perfection. Stop waiting for the house to be clean or the room to be quiet. Go within and create your clean and peaceful place within. And give yourself permission to begin slowly with 60 seconds. Your soul will thank you.

Hello! I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit. I have been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. 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 women, men, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2 pm. Next one, September 15 (3 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Holy

This life is holy, are you noticing the sacred moments?

I received a text from my friend yesterday, her husband died in her arms  that morning after she read him a poem about leaving this life. His passing, which was expected, was holy, he was held in love and so was my friend.

We are in the middle of Holy Week. This used to be a time of year that I was deeply entrenched  –  going to mass Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My favorites were always today Good Friday and yesterday Holy Thursday. Our family renamed Holy Thursday to Foot Washing Thursday. We would go to our Catholic church and partake in this sacred act.  As we went up as a family to the altar, beautiful music played and basins of water were brought to us. We got down on our knees in front of a family member  and washed and dried their feet. So tender  to see my daughter’s little hands wash her dad’s big feet or my son’s sweet look on his face as he took great care tending to my feet. And, what a joy, a gift, to wash my children’s feet. This year I am in the middle of recovering from foot surgery and was not up to  the walk down the aisle. Instead my mom brought us Catholic Sader dinner. Complete with foods that represent and honor the Last Supper.  A meal I grew up with that offers unleavened bread to symbolize the rush to flee their country, bitter herbs for the harsh years, and lamb to represent sacrifice to name  a few of the symbolic foods.

I appreciate the history. I value the traditions. Holy has taken on a different meaning for me the last couple of years. Just this week I witnessed a holy moment when I looked out my window and saw a humming bird perched above a Stellar’s Jay. For a flash I saw the two together, maybe chatting in the way birds do. These happen to be two of my favorite birds. My two kids home for spring break, kicked the soccer ball and played catch together Wednesday afternoon.  They laughed and had fun. Anyone who understands the sibling relationship, knows that this too, is a holy instant.

These holy instants don’t have to involve Jesus, church or a special day on the calendar. This life is holy, precious and sacred. A shared moment of understanding, forgiveness, a change of heart, a touch, a kiss, a tight bud unfurling, bird song.

I invite you to wake up, notice and witness the holy instants around you. Spring is full of them. Seeds planted in the fall now poking through the earth. Trees coming alive in full color. But my favorite are the holy instants with other human beings. For each of us holds sacredness within and it is through connection with another that it comes out. Let us be kind. Let us be gentle. Let us be aware. Let us honor the beauty within each of us.

You don’t have to belong to a certain religion to find the holy. Find your own holy. Create those holy moments by getting out of the way and witnessing life around you. A stranger receiving help from another stranger. Two birds dancing together. The sun rising behind thick clouds. Life is precious. Let us honor it always, not just during Holy Week.

Last night I wasn’t in a church and I experienced holiness around the table sharing a meal with my family. No one volunteered to wash my scarred, healing foot, but their connection was enough. And again this morning reading a post from my friend, even in death, holy is alive.

Will you slow down enough to notice the holy instants around you? That is where your REFILL comes in and you are filled to overflowing.

 

Hello! I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit. I have been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. 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.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2: June 2 (sold out), September 15 (4 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Try Asking a Different Question

Start your day, enter a situation, with an attitude that supports, ask yourself the right questions.

When I enter a situation with the attitude of, What am I going to get out of this?, the result usually isn’t that positive. I either wish I didn’t attend the event or  I regret having participated because I got nothing out of it or I don’t have a very good time.

If I enter a situation whether it’s attending a meeting, doing something social, or anything in between with an open attitude and ask the questions, What can I offer? How can I help? Where can I give or be of service? How can I be a bit of  light for another? The outcome is positive. My experience is a blessing. I am surprised with goodness.

Be open. Ask what you can give instead of what can you get and see what happens. Possibly some magic. Possibly a whole lot more than you dreamed possible.

Hello! 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. 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.  2017 Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2: June 2 (sold out), September 15 (4 seats left). Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Hand it Over

R e l a x, when you let go and allow your kids to do for themselves, you are not being a horrible parent, just the opposite.

Twas two days before Christmas and all through the house it is evident, the children are home, it’s holiday school vacation. I truly love to cook for my family. It is a cup filler and at the same time meal after meal, day after day, week after week, year after year, a cup drainer. When are children learn a new life skill it feels like receiving a present on the darkest day of the year. Then the same feelings that creep in the day after a holiday wrap us up when we realize are children don’t need us, they’re growing up. You want to curl up in a ball and leap for joy all in a twenty four hour period.

Tuesday afternoon as my sister and I visited over tea and chocolate in our dining room, my twelve year old son came in to inform me that he was going to make mac n’ cheese for lunch. Perfect. I could keep enjoying tea with my sis.  I taught him how to make it Monday from start to finish, so he was fully equipped for this master chef undertaking. He turned on the water to boil and then answered my request to go check on the laundry down stairs. (Something I taught him last month.) (Apparently I am also teaching him multi-tasking, life skills.) While he was handling the wash load the water on the stove came to a rapid boil. I reached for the mac n’ cheese box and as I was about to dump in the noodles, I stopped myself. The water was ready I could just get it started for him and let him do the rest. I stopped in my tracks.

I set down the box on the counter and turned down the gas burner to two. When Simon came back upstairs a few minutes later and I told him the water was ready it just needed to be turned back up to high or in our case number six on the stove dial.

I could have harmlessly taken over the cooking of his lunch. Instead, I listened to the voice in my head, telling me to back away. I remembered three summers ago when Simon was nine and I asked him to start making his lunch for swim team. Then there was the one morning I let him sleep in and made his lunch for him. Oh, did I pay for that one. He unpacked the lunch I had made and made a whole new one.

Teach someone to fish, then get off the dock. Hand them the loaf of bread and allow them to make their own feast.Teach someone to make their own meal then step out of the kitchen. Empower your children with skills and knowledge and then back off lady. We think we are being nice and helpful. Unconsciously, we want them to need us, telling ourselves it’s no big deal to help out just this once. And it is no big deal, except that it is taking away their power.

Is there a place you can back off the dock or step out of the kitchen? Be honest, where have you empowered your children and now it is time to allow them their own power?

It’s like a holiday and the day after all at once, I get it. While your kiddos are taking out the garbage, tying their own shoes, doing a load of laundry, making their bed or making themselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, step away and smile. If you must do something, go make yourself a cup of tea. 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, 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.

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.  Mini-retreats in West Seattle 9:30 – 2: Jan. 6 – sold out, Feb. 3, March 3, June 2, September 15. Limited availability, register early. info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463. 2017

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: 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: Don’t Guess, Ask, Allow

We want to control what happen to our kiddos but holding their hand to tightly prevents them from having the falls, adventures, lessons, life they need.
We want to control what happens to our kiddos, but holding their hand too tightly prevents them from having the falls, adventures, lessons, and life they are here to live.

We know our kids. We anticipate their words, expect their actions and know without a shadow of a doubt how they will respond. Oh, boy have I ever underestimated and overestimated their truth, missing the mark a thousand times with my assumptions.

 

My teenage daughter, starting her freshman year of high school next week, is teaching me that I don’t fully know her. Phew. There is so much to her, how could I possibly? I know a glimpse. She is showing me new parts of her beautiful, multifaceted self. She is enlightening me every day that she is full of possibility. As she grows, changes and blossoms, I step back and watch instead of jumping in and fixing, expecting, anticipating and assuming.  As I step back, I allow.

 

We gave birth to our children but our job is to allow them to grow their own wings.
We gave birth to our children, but our job is to allow them to grow their own wings.

My sweet bird, her nick-name given at birth, had high school soccer tryouts this week. It was a tryout for all of us. Mom. Dad. Brother and oh, yes, her the athlete. Her dad and I were wrapped up in it all.  We weren’t even at the soccer field, but we wanted to share, support and protect. We “knew” what she needed. In reality, we need to shut the F’ up and let her tryout unfold naturally without our 2 cents. With dad, a soccer player his whole life and her former coach, her number one fan, away on business, he would call each night in hopes of an update, a check-in on how it all went. At home her brother and I wanted to know too. How did it go? Her brother asked each night at dinner.

 

It was clear we were asking too much. One look from our Scorpio daughter, I knew to not ask any more questions.

Later in the kitchen after that first day of practice, minding my own business, she came to me in tears. She thought she hadn’t done her best. (I allowed her to cry and waited until she asked me for a hug. Not a crier, she thanked me for letting her cry.) The next night, no tears, but she didn’t feel confident. (I gave her a short mom cheer of believing in her and then remembered what a friend said to me earlier that day that that’s what girls do, “think they didn’t do well.”) Then the morning of the last tryout her club soccer coach sent an email to all the girls trying out for high school. It was really a great email for me, the mama. She talked about coaches seeing only a “snapshot” of a player and that not all coaches see the same “snapshot.”

 

Sweet Bird’s snapshot landed her on the JVC team. 60 girls trying out for 45 spots. Oh, man the hormones and energy on that field, I can only imagine. The results were emailed to us late at night when the whole house was asleep. In the morning, I read the results, wondering if my daughter had seen it yet, wondered how she felt. Should I wake her? Should I write her a letter and slip it under her door? Should I fix her favorite breakfast? I breathed. I didn’t need to guess what she needed and instead needed to allow her to tell me. I didn’t need to assume her reaction I needed to let it happen.

 

We need to get out of our children's way so they can forge their own path.
We need to get out of our children’s way so they can forge their own path.

I left the house before she woke and texted her to reach out when she was awake. When we spoke on the phone a couple of hours after I had left the house I didn’t need to greet her with sappy, “oh, sorry babe, how you doin’ babe” love. I let her say, “You probably know I made the C team?” I simply said, “Yes, Congratulations.” We didn’t know where she would land, but we were probably all hoping and think JV.

 

Her next words, were clear, grown up, direct. “I have a goal to make JV by the end of the season.”

 

I told her that was a great goal. I thought about asking what she needed me to do for her, but it was clear, she got this. I wasn’t needed to create a plan, motivate, inspire, console. Just listen.

 

Here’s the thing, I wanted to say a whole lot more. I bit my tongue. She was clearly happy with landing on the JVC team and she had a plan, I didn’t need to say anything.

 

We want our kids to be happy and we think we know what they need. We are often very wrong. Sweet Bird was receiving just what she needed. This is her soccer path. Not her dad’s, not mine, but hers alone. It is killing her dad, not that she made JVC, but that now she has to be self-motivated. He believes he is her (they do both play a kick ass defending position on the field) and is questioning her self-motivation. He asked me (he never asks me this stuff) to coach him on this. And I told him that the best thing he can do is nothing. Allow her to figure it out. He hated this, but says he will try.

 

I want to tell our son things because he is me, hubby wants to tell our daughter things because she is him. That is where we need to STOP. They are parts of us, but they are them. When we allow them to fall and pick themselves up we are doing the best thing we can. Allowing this process kills us parents, right? We need to allow it to grow us because it certainly grows our children, we know this. We may just not want to live this.

 

What would happen if you didn’t anticipate your child’s reaction and you allowed them to figure out their own response before you interject yours?

 

We gave our children life, but they get to discover and grow their own wings.

 

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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Wednesday September 28th in West Seattle.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Book It

 

Dear Holders of the Cup, No blog today. Instead I used my blog time to work on my book, the one brewing inside of me, the one I am writing for you, for me, for all who can use a refill. If you are having a challenge to find time to do what you love, is there something you can give up to make room?  Happy Cup Fillin’! Cheers! Jenny
Dear Holders of the Cup,
No blog today. Instead I used my blog time to work on my book, the one brewing inside of me, the one I am writing for you, for me, for all who can use a refill. If you are having a challenge to find time to do what you love, is there something you can give up to make room? 
Happy Cup Fillin’!
Cheers! Jenny

 

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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Wednesday September 28th in West Seattle.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

 

Friday’s Free Refill: Thank You, That Made My Day

After dinner coffee. This week at a birthday celebration dinner for a friend she went around the table and thanked each girlfriend for being in her life, sharing how their paths connected. Some of us itched when it was our turn to be spoken of, but deep down the acknowledgment filled us all up to overflowing.
After dinner coffee. This week at a birthday celebration dinner for a friend she went around the table and thanked each girlfriend for being in her life, sharing how their paths connected. Some of us itched when it was our turn to be spoken of, but deep down the acknowledgment filled us all up to overflowing.

Receiving is necessary. Difficult for many but oh, so necessary. When someone says to you, “You look great”. We often rebut with, “Oh, I need a hair cut, I haven’t showered in days, I have never been fatter.”  Or my common go to reaction, “Are you high?”

If they tell us, “You are a good mom,” we may counter with, “You should have heard me an hour ago yelling at my kids.”

What happened to, “Thank you?”  

“Thank you for saying that. What a nice thing to say, I needed that. I appreciate that, thanks so much.”  All responses that invite receiving.

Instead of breathing in another’s gift of love and affirmation, we push it away.

If someone bought you a lovely gift from Nordstrom, wrapped it with a pretty bow and gave it to you on your birthday, would you say, “Oh no, I don’t deserve this take it back immediately?”  Probably, not.

Words of affirmation in my book are far more priceless than something that comes in a gift box. They open us up on deep leve. The words validate and say, “Hey, I see you. Hi, you are doing a wonderful job. You are showing up in this world beautifully. By the way, you rock!”

Instead we crumble them up and throw them back in their face. We basically tell them they are wrong then we turn around and compliment them on how great they are. What if a smile, a hug, a thank you, was the return gift? You empower another with a thank you. People love to give, especially women, so when you receive their compliment, words of praise, it is an opportunity to allow someone else to give.

In receiving you allow a refill for your soul to happen. It’s as though you are holding out your cup and someone is ready to assist in your refill. Instead of reacting with “return to sender” give yourself a chance to breathe it in. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable with the focus on you, take a breath, be aware of the gift you are receiving.

Will you pay attention to your opportunities to receive? Will you wake up to the gifts around you and breathe them in with gratitude and appreciation?

And by the way, You are beautiful. You are doing an amazing job as a human being. You are perfect and whole as you are, you are more than enough.

You’re welcome.

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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Wednesday September 28th in West Seattle.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: The Next Season

 

As our children grow and change when we step back a little bit more each step of the way we are not separating, we are allowing them more space to expand their wings.
As our children grow and change when we step back a little bit more each step of the way we are not separating, we are allowing them more space to expand their wings.

Time of transition around our house this week.

On Wednesday our son graduated from 5th grade and is moving on to middle school in the fall. Last night our daughter’s 8th grade promotion ceremony marked the fact that she is moving on to high school. I am now the mother to a middle school boy and a high school girl.

Not sure how that happened. I am not sad about time passing by quickly or our kiddos growing up so fast. I am grateful. In awe. Delighted by the witnessing of these young lives blossoming before my very eyes.

Change and transition doesn’t always come with a ceremony and a reason to celebrate. Often the changes we experience and observe come without fanfare or warning. All of a sudden one day, things are different. Not like yesterday.

It is common to lament the past and want the old ways to reappear. Often with change comes resistance. In this case of our children moving on I am reflective and in appreciation for being a part of their journey. The change for me is letting go a little bit more with each step of independence. But letting go is not separation. It is an opportunity to allow them to take up more space, find their own path and make their own footprints.

Is there change in your home, recently? How do you embrace transition? If you are having a hard time with it, I invite you to try on gratitude and gentleness. Be thankful.  Be gentle with yourself to feel what comes up for you.

Enjoy the adventure.

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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Wednesday September 28th in West Seattle.  info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: There is a Time

 

There is a time, when you throw out all the plotting, scheming and drama to simply put all that effort you have put into thinkinMonday morning I was awakened at 6:30 by the sound of our front door closing. Who was leaving? Who was coming home? Turns out my hubby had just returned from an hour walk to the beach.

Huh? Who is this man and what has he done with my husband?

My hubby looked at me all sweaty, wiping his brow, “I was tired of thinking about it. You know I’ve been wanting to walk for a long time now.”

Hubby is not a morning person. For the twenty something years we have known each other he abhors morning exercise. Lately, for a long time now, he has been talking about the morning time being the only opportunity he has to exercise. Three times this week now he has embarked on his new commitment, creating a new habit that has been on his mind for some time.

That’s how I was with meditation. I thought about it for ten years before I did anything about it.

We can think about it, talk about it, seek inspiration and help from others until finally one day, all that gets old and we realize, It Is Time. No big fan fare. Minus the drama. Simply enough is enough and it is time to put our money where our mouth is and step forward. Day dreaming has served its purpose. Time for action.

I think we need to honor the fact that sometimes we have to think about it and let the idea stir within us long enough before we are willing to make a change.

My husband is walking now. I am meditating now. The next thing that perhaps we are both tired of talking about is date night. We are having lunch together today. Don’t tell, but it will be our second lunch date in a month. Our second in nearly eighteen years of marriage.

Talking and thinking gets old so you just do it. Is there something you are sick of thinking about and bored with talking about? Is the only thing standing in your way your own feet? Ready to move them?

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life 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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Friday June 3rd  in West Seattle is sold out, mark Wednesday September 28th on your calendar! info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Letting Go, Life Giving For All

Letting go means something unique and personal to each of us. When I let go of how I "think" I should be or how I "think" things should unfold, something much bigger than me happens. I get to witness a miracle.
Letting go means something unique and personal to each of us. When I let go of how I “think” I should be or how I “think” things should unfold, something much bigger than me happens. I get to witness a miracle.

In the midst of our morning routine yesterday my teenage daughter who is very independent and not super talkative in the early hours of the day, surprises me when she asks, “Mom are you busy?”

With those words I drop everything, even though, yes, I was busy. “I am headed to get dressed,” I tell her. “Do you need something, honey?”

“Never mind, I thought you were going to the kitchen to make brother’s lunch.”

“Are you sure?” I walk to the bathroom where she is getting ready.

“I’m sure,” she tells me.

Very typical of me to want to help even though the clock is ticking and wearing pants to drive my daughter to middle school is probably a good thing. Despite protocol, pants or no pants, when my daughter needs me, I will walk on broken glass or run into a burning building for her. What’s the big deal if I go out the door in underwear if it means getting her to school on time?

But it all stopped there. I never found out what she needed. I made the choice to trust her. She was treating me maturely, I could do the same to her. I never found out what she needed, it had something to do with the kitchen, since she thought that was the next place I was going. It doesn’t matter. She handled whatever she needed. At the same time I was given the opportunity to be okay with not being able to help. A natural giver, most moms are, I chose to let go. Not easy. Not natural. A beautiful lesson early on a Thursday morning.

The job title of mom involves doing for our children, but I think one of the best things we can do for them is to allow them to do for themselves. Yes, we die a little inside when they don’t need us. We anchor our self worth, our power and vitality to being there for them. This little death is life giving, for in our letting go we make room for others growth. Empowering them to lead the way. We provide space for our children to find their own wings and we give ourselves wings by not hanging on so tightly.

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life 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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Friday June 3rd  in West Seattle is sold out, mark Wednesday September 28th on your calendar! info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.

Friday’s Free Refill: Top of the List

What is at the top of your "To Do" List today?
What is at the top of your “To Do” List today?

I am a list maker. This helps me get shit done. Keeps me accountable. And, let’s be honest, to remind me of the things I can easily forget. I am proud to say, I am old school. I actually write my “to do” list with a pen on a calendar that is as big as a book. In addition I have a small white board I keep on my fridge in plain-as-day sight.  This board gets wiped clean every day so that all I see is what needs to happen. One. Day. At. A. Time.

 

The daily list includes appointments, meetings, kids’ sport activities, what I am making for dinner, deadlines I must meet. I am honest with myself. This isn’t an imaginary list as if I had all the time, money, energy and magical powers in the world. One day at a tme, keeps it real and keeps me present.

 

My favorite part of the list is the part where I write out “how” I want to “be”. Yesterday’s list, right at the very top, contained the first bullet point “love”. When I looked at the list and all throughout the day when I thought of what needed to “get done”, I reminded myself that “love” was the top priority. That translated into loving myself through the thoughts I allowed to take up space in my brain, the foods I prepared for myself to eat, the activities and words I embraced. It also included the way I interacted with my family, friends, clients, strangers. Love. Simply love through word and deed. Whether a kind gesture or genuine smile.

 

At day end, I made every appointment, my kids got to where they needed to be and I showed up to myself and the Universe with a simple intention to love. The word was inspired by the previous day’s events of being hard on myself, negative and harboring feelings of hopelessness. Love turned that around. Today’s list has a different bullet point at the very top right before bullet point #2, “Post Blog”. #1, is “Be Present.” Sure this is something I aim to practice every day, but it is the thing I wanted to ground myself in today.

 

I have six other things on the list with it now being barely noon, I may or may not get to, but I have already attended to the thing at the top of the list. Walking home from our daily morning walk my dog and I were invited to tea nearing the end of our walk. I couldn’t help but notice the lavendar house and lovely garden. I saw a woman on the deck and hollered up to her, remarking on her beautiful place.

 

Turns out we know each other. I know her by first name and as the sweet woman who walks her dog, Oliver.  We have been walking by each other for years on our dog strolls. I never knew where she lived.

 

“Come up for tea.” I didn’t hesitate.

 

She asked me to pick my cup as she had just made a pot of tea. I chose the red one. Sitting on her deck, basking in the moring sun, connecting on many levels, she told me I was the first person who accepted her offer to tea as they walked up the very steep hill past her home. She had lived there nearly five years.

 

“No one has time”, she told me.

 

I had time. I made the time. Sure I had a full list at home on my fridge, but here in the sunshine I was checking off the item at the top, #Be Present. More important than washing my daughter’s  softball socks or getting to Costco. Smelly socks won’t kill her and we can always have toast. No one died from eating toast for dinner, either. But being present is filling my cup to overflowing this Friday. When the kids come home to dirty socks and an empty fridge they won’t even notice. They will notice the happy mama greeting them at the door. Being present is the key that unlocks the door to happiness. The secret weapon to holding a full cup.

 

Look at that I nearly have item #2 Post Blog checked off, too. What is important at the end of the day is not what you were able to check off the list, rather that you stayed in line with your main focus of the day. One. Day. At. A. Time. And when your main focus is being present, everything can else takes a detour when a stanger calls you to tea. (P.S. I am redoing my list but keeping #1 and #2 checked off. Less is More.) Cheers!

 

Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Life 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. Next Sack Lunch Mini-Retreat is Friday June 3rd  in West Seattle. I’d be delighted to hear from you, one spot available as of today! Is it for you?? info@mamaneedsarefill.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com or 206 255 0463.