Well tonight marks the last night that I will write a letter to Audrey from her elf Klutz. On Christmas Eve he will head back to the North Pole, as elves do. I have not missed a single night and now have a collection of letters from her sweet elf. Audrey has learned and done so much because of him. Here are some of the things we did:
Her Dad and I are so proud of her.
What’s funny is that part of the reason I set Klutz up this year was to blog his letters everyday. The reason for that was because I wanted to give myself a writing activity to get me in the consistent habit as exercise for writing my book. But after a while, something magical happened, instead of focusing solely on the Klutz letters and posting them every day, I actually just started writing the book. Instead of the Klutz letters being the primary focus, they continued to serve as a exercise while keeping me connected to sitting down and writing what I have always wanted to.
The book itself is the very one that people will receive when doing Project eMOTION and I am so excited that there will be a first round of eyes to land on it. It’s small and simple. It isn’t done yet, but it’s rolling along.
I wanted to give an update on this final night of Klutz. I know I didn’t quite bring you along for the ride as planned, but as I have been saying lately when writing down my intentions we should always be open to “this or something better”. I opened a door for myself and the something better very much came through. And I am so grateful that it did.
This Saturday at 10am ET I am teaching a free eMOTION class sponsored by Athleta!
Come and move your body, see what eMOTION is all about and get 20% off an item of your choice!
And stay tuned because I have a big announcement coming tomorrow...
Last night, Audrey just had a complete and total meltdown. We are talking chest heaving, tears pouring, can’t catch your breath, uncontrollable sobbing. It began because she watched something tonight where the character thought of themself back when he was a baby. She kept saying “I wanted it to stay at that part” over and over again. Then all of a sudden she started saying through her tears that she wished she was still a baby. She didn’t want to turn 6 or 7 or 8. She just wants to stay a baby.
As her mom, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I often have those thoughts and moments. I absolutely LOVE her growing and getting bigger, but as any parent can attest, it sure does go by awfully fast. But as I was holding her in my arms tonight and supporting her in crying it out, I had another thought come over me. This feeling that she is having right now. This experience that her own body is giving her, that her emotional self is catalyzing, it’s so wise and wonderful. I’m not saying that I love to watch my child cry or relish her sadness. But as someone who studies and teaches emotional well-being, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the immense freedom and courage of vulnerability within her to let herself pour it all out. And as she lay there in my arms, I could feel how much of this was in her physically and how beautifully her body was working to help move it all through her and not let it get trapped.
Emotions have a beginning, middle and end. Often we are most aware of the middle. Sometimes we feel it beginning to come on, but most often we just kind of notice one day, “hey, I’m really sad”. What happens to many of us is that we can’t even get that far, we just notice that something is off. Where we are the least unaware, tends to be the end. It’s a rare occurrence that we actually experience and feel the ending of an emotion. Most likely because we move on to whatever comes next. But sometimes, the reason we don’t feel the end is because we didn’t let ourselves feel it in the first place. In those middle moments, when we actually notice that we are feeling something, we usually work hard to close it up. To move on despite it. Our bodies tense up and the energy of that emotion has nowhere to go really but to be internalized. We get quite good at this kind of compartmentalization. Perhaps even master the ability to move on without any kind of closure whatsoever, multiple times a day.
As Audrey moved deeper and deeper into her emotion, she verbalized everything that was happening. It started off with the recognition of “I’m so sad”. This is so good. Recognition is vital to having an honest experience. As she got towards the middle, she kept saying out loud “I don’t think this is ever going to stop. I want it to stop”. This too is so amazing to me because while I of course advocate for feeling all feelings, I also would never deny that some are just harder and more unpleasant than others. And we often do want them to stop. We often do think they will never end and it will in fact last forever. I, of course, assured her that it won’t stay this way. She cried and cried and her body kept trembling while her breath took hold and let go over and over again. Then, as things calmed down she said, and I quote: “That feels so much better.” and rolled herself over to fall asleep.
And there I lay, fascinated and proud. I have created an entire class around this exact experience. This idea that our emotions have arc and story and energy. They inform so much of what we do and yet so often we don’t pay them any attention. But in eMOTION, our only job is to move our body and breathe our breath in connection with any feeling that arises. We listen to the story, we follow it’s arc and we utilize and nurture its energy. Basically, it’s a way for adults to do exactly what my 5 year old so willingly did for herself tonight. What her body and breath did for her. All of it unabashedly and without any shame or thought of what it looked like or could be judged as. It was beautiful. And it’s what I want for me and every other person who comes to eMOTION.
Today at 11am we will do just this. We will, as the adults we are, give ourselves the permission to feel the arc of emotions. To listen to the stories that they weave and we will move the energy of it all with love and care so that we don’t get stuck in the middle.
Whatever you are feeling, it is welcome. My daughter tonight was feeling the grief of time and how quickly it moves. I have felt that myself, many times. But just like time, our emotions move too and so must we with them.
It's 9:38pm on Thursday night. I am so ready to pour myself into bed. There are a few last minute things I have to do. Klutz is one of them. It will be a simple task tomorrow as she is in school. I didn't want to blog at all tonight because I have been working all day on something that I am not quite ready to share. But yet there are these words circling my brain and I thought, why not just share those? It doesn't have to be perfectly written out. It doesn't have to be fully formed. It's ok to share what's "in process". Which appropriately, is this:
I know that finding time for yourself can be difficult.
It's 2020. There's a global pandemic. Our kids are home. Or in school sometimes. We are mother/teacher/employee/partner/daughter/citizen...
I know there is a lot on our plates. But please hear me now when I say, you must not get lost in it all. You, my beautiful friend, are worthy of your own time and attention.
It doesn't have to be long.
Today at 9:30am I will lead us through moving our bodies with love, care and attention. Your attention. Your love. Your body.
30 minutes for yourself.
Can you give that to yourself?
I thought I would share the follow up to Audrey's Rough Day and show you the other side of her Klutz activity yesterday. One thing you most likely know by now is that I am a very big advocate for teaching self-care and well-being using practical practices and tools. I have made it my actual job. I work mostly with adults, however making sure that my daughter has this knowledge and information is priority number one. Because our emotional selves have for so long been undervalued and emotions themselves written off time and again in our society, it's so incredibly common that when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our emotions, most of us feel like we are out in left field. Therapy is an incredible way to do this, and I highly encourage it. But there are also things we can do daily to help support our emotional health that don't require anyone but ourselves. They are often simple and overlooked. At first glance they can seem like they wouldn't really do much, but once we take these daily rituals seriously and begin to turn to them regularly, we not only see but feel their impact. Making sure that our daughter not only knows this, but has a firm grasp on how to do this is vitally important to me.
So yesterday, I made it a part of our Daily Klutz effort after a day that was emotionally challenging for her. While we are rightfully so putting so much emphasis on being kind to others, I do not want her to forsake that same kindness towards herself. This morning, she happily sat down and made a list of "Being Kind to Myself" practices. These all came from her own brain, though I am sure that some of them are what she has seen occur around here. This list will now live on the fridge and anytime she is feeling the need to do any of them, she can turn to them. Justin and I can also reference this list in times when it's clear to us she may need some self kindness practices. I will never tell her what practice she should do, I believe that must always come from the practitioner themselves. But we can lovingly guide her towards that list in times when she may forget to she has it as an option. That is something that we all forget at times too, we have so many options.
In hopes of inspiring you to remember your own practices, I thought I would share Audrey's. I'm sharing the photo of it on our fridge in her "kid writing" and I will translate below:
Being Kind To Myself
1. Looking into the mirror and saying kind words
2. Go outside
3. Take a little rest
4. Taking deep breaths
6. Playing in my room
7. Listening to music
12. Moving my body
13. Eat Veggies
15. Playing with oscar
Be kind to yourself my friends.
Audrey had a tough day today. Her emotions were strong and there was a general unwillingness to listen. I know I share a lot about my daughter and that the majority of it is incredibly flattering. But she is human, like us all, and has her days, her flaws and her human-ness. I doubt that anyone didn't realize that, I just like to keep it real on here since so much of what we see on any kind of "social" media is often only a fraction of the story. We struggle as parents and lose our own footing from time to time as well. It's so incredibly hard, made especially harder in this very crazy time.
So she had a not so great day yesterday. There were a lot of tears and sheer frustration when things couldn't go her way. At one point, when she was beginning to put up a fight, I reached out to her and held her close. Her entire body melted in my arms and I just said "some days are hard.". She cried and cried. It's that way sometimes isn't it? Some days ARE just hard. And some days we just need to feel that way and cry.
She said before she went to bed that she was going to "try and have a better day tomorrow." I told her that I believed her. Wholeheartedly.
So tonight, I wrote this note to her from Klutz, reminding her that her kindness, while it must extend towards others, must also continue to extend towards herself. I think this is a message we so quickly and easily forget. Perhaps we were never really taught it. But being kind to yourself is imperative. It can also be hard. It does take effort and attention and time. There is simply no getting around that. Too often we forsake the effort, attention and time it takes because we think there is something more important, more pressing. Feeling my daughters body in my own arms, sobbing away tonight reminded me, there is nothing more pressing than being kind to ourselves when we are IN our feelings. We are always in an emotion, but we know those moments when they arise and take center stage. Those are the moments to be the most kind to ourselves. That is when we need to have our tools on hand to turn to and guide ourselves through with kindness and with love. I'm working on something to do just that for us adults. But for now, I will be over here helping my daughter build her own toolbox via Klutz The Elf.
I decided to write a follow up and give background to my post the other day: The Wisdom of My Womanhood
It's now on Medium, check it out:
Ok this one I am really proud of friends. Not because I came up with it, but because Audrey did. Her Klutz task of the day was to make a list to send to Santa of some kindness ideas for the rest of the month. Basically, as we were heading down the road of her thinking about toys and gifts for Christmas, we wanted to make sure that it wasn't just a list of toys on her brain. So, in addition to the more traditional Santa list, she had to make a list of some of the things she was going to do for others...
She came up with the idea to ask people "How they are feeling". My mom heart immediately melted as she wrote it down on her paper. The emotion advocate in me shouted for joy internally. This is music to my ears.
On her paper she wrote: "the how are you feeling challenge" or really how are you feeling chalichg in what we call her "kid writing". The idea is she is going to pick a person to ask this question to each day. Most especially her friends or teachers at school since the challenge she wanted to do right before this was the "hug challenge". But we got talking about how while we are happy to take on that challenge as we will be the ones to reap the rewards, she can't really hug anyone else right now...though she did make it a point to say "well Mom, I have to hug the most important person, myself".
So tonight, Klutz is basically out of a job. As I sat down to write his letter, I realized that I couldn't do much better than what she already came up with, so instead I am going to empower her own idea. Have her be seen and heard by her beloved elf and hopefully back up the truth that she is filled with incredible thoughts and ideas to be put into action.
He says:don’t eat the fruit,
Death will surely come upon us.
Stay, stay exactly as we are in this perfect eden,
There is no need to look outside of this.
Come play, be free, naked and blissful in our ignorance.
But deep inside a curiosity stirs.
The sweetness of the awakened fruit is far too desirable.
Inside there is a voice, a longing, saying you are so much more than this.
So much more than a simple playmate.
This childhood of man is not where I wish to stay.
I reach up and pluck the stem from the tree.
My mouth wraps around the cold skin and as my teeth sink deep into the flesh,
Sweet nectar runs down my lips.
For the first time I taste what life is.
The blandness of perfection fades away.
You have ruined us, He says. Your sin is what we will continue to bear for all eternity.
Now there will be pain, now there will be sorrow.
Now I will have to work and wear clothes and make something of myself.
The fault of this lies solely on you. You will bear the weight of this punishment.
Your womanhood has cursed us all.
Wiping the juice from my mouth,
I stand up taller than I ever have.
He cowers in my shadow, for I have changed, grown inside my skin.
I reach out my hand for him to come to me.
He refuses it.
It is time for you to grow now too, I say.
It is time for you to know the reality of life,
Not so that you will suffer.
So that we may live in its fullness
This has been nothing but a mirage, a playpen, a gaslight.
I carry no fault and refuse your shame.
It is not a sin at all.
It is my wisdom that knows the sweetness that lies beyond this perfection.
It is my wisdom that knows to listen to my own inner calling.
It is my wisdom that has saved us from the unlived life.
He stands up, takes my hand
Together we walk into the unknown.
Ready to feel the sharpness of what lies ahead.
Ready to cry, to laugh, to ache, to fear, to grow.
Ready to be led by the wisdom of my womanhood.
I believe that the wisdom of our womanhood lives in our bodies. I believe it lives in our emotions.
For too long we have been told not to trust what we feel. eMOTION classes are all about completely changing that antiquated narrative within ourselves. The more we come to the practice of trusting what we feel, the more our wisdom pours out of our bodies.
There are just a few days left to take advance of getting your first month free.
Tomorrow we will move together for 30 minutes in eMOTION30.
I want to see as many of you as possible doing this work with me. I want as many woman as possible to see and trust in their own wisdom and cut through the bullshit lie we have been told that don't know.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.