Saturday, December 26, 2015

Make it Happen 2016

The year is coming to an end and many of us are starting to reflect on the last 12 months and charting the way forward for the upcoming year. This tradition usually manifests in "New Years Resolutions".  

Lessons of the past

If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that at Grenada Soul Adventurer I like to set a theme for the year, an intention if you like.  At the end of 2013 I declared 2014 to be the year of no boundaries. I dubbed it "Infinity 2014". That was the year I read Paulo Coehlo's famous bestseller "The Alchemist". I felt so inspired and empowered by the hero's tale of pursuing his personal legend as he left his familiar life as a shepherd to travel from Andalusia, Spain to Egypt via Morocco in search of the treasure he had seen in a recurring dream. 

The novel left such an impression that I  decided to pursue my own travel ambitions. I visited to MoroccoBarcelona and my birth city Hamburg. I took 9 flights in 3 weeks despite my extreme fear of plane rides (try being so tense for 8 hours that you can't even eat or watch a movie...its as though I felt that if I relaxed the plane would drop from the sky...after about flight 4 I began to calm down). 

2014 brought a lot of clarity and so for 2015 I decided to consciously find my way back to my most authentic self through the practice of honesty with myself and having the courage  to accept whatever my truth was . I read (but have not finished) the amazing book "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown which helped me move more gracefully through the many changes and challenges this year has brought.  Just over a month ago I began the soul adventure of becoming a first time mom (sometimes I still can't believe I am someone's mother...what!!) 

Becoming a mom has put so much into perspective. As I said in my previous blog post, it has made me feel more rooted. I have learned that being wholly invested into something long term adds richness and meaning to life. I needed that lesson. 

The way forward 

With  that in mind I have decided that 2016 will be the year to make things happen. I have lot of ideas about things I want to achieve and explore based on the things that naturally interest me and make me happy. In a nutmeg shell I want to create a life in which my authentic self can flourish. 

I started reading Stephen R. Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and in his chapter on the second habit " Begin with the end in mind" he speaks about living by design or by default. He says: 

"In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self awareness and do not become responsible for our first creations, we empower other people and circumstances outside of our circle of influence to shape our lives by default. We reactively live the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people's agendas, the pressures of circumstance..." 

Have you ever noticed that it is really easy to just sort of live by default?  How easy it is to live a life you did not really intend to live because way lead to way. When we are children some of us have a clear and unapologetic general  vision for our life. We know what we like and we have no judgment about it. There is no question of "How much will I earn?" or "What will people think?". Before the age of 8 if anyone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would proudly and without hesitation say "An Artist!". It was not until someone said "Artists don't make money until they are dead" that I made the connection between what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing and the need to earn money. Before that i just knew I felt most at ease while drawing and creating, it made me feel good and I followed that feeling. 

Being courageous in 2015 and honest with myself gave me the space to ask and genuinely answer "Hey Sheba, what would your ideal life look like". I found clarity. It has brought me back to the place where I acknowledge that I am by nature a creative and that I need to begin investing in and exploring that in a serious way with and end in mind and not just in a casually without commitment and discipline. The same commitment I  had when worked day and night to earn my law degree despite the many ups and downs, and, the same way I worked through my fear of public speaking by going to court day after day until my voice stopped shaking when I addressed the court. I think we all owe it to ourselves to have that conversation with ourselves and begin to seriously invest into our authentic selves. I know it can be really daunting. It is that fear of flying thing. I find myself being afraid to ascend because the drop is way more dramatic the higher I get. Howard Thurman offers this nugget of wisdom: 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

We owe it to ourselves to "make it happen" and offer up our gifts to this world. Don't bury your talents! Dare greatly! How else can we make a truly meaningful contribution to this planet during our time here. What if Adele had said to herself, this singing this is alright but the music industry is really hard to break into, let me be an accountant instead? Helllooooo!!! (Did you see what I did there?)

The quote which inspired Brene Brown when she called her book "Daring Greatly"

I have armed myself with a few tools to help me navigate this year's exploration. I am a huge fan of the self help books. Honestly, its a life long education to learn to deal with "life" and a little literature never hurt.  On the book list for this year includes but is not limited to: 

  •  Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey 
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown 

I am excited to hear from you!!

  • What are you hopeful for in the new year? 
  • Do you make a list of resolutions or set an intention? 
  • Do you stick to them? 
  • How do you achieve your goals?
Lets connect in the ever growing magical community, leave me a comment below

By the way all grey text links to previous blog posts on the topics mentioned

Peace and Bliss, 

Grenada Soul Adventurer 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

This is the time of year best spent with the people we love the most. It is a time that has always felt special for me. I actually celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th of December (German style Holy Night). We usually invite friends that are alone (in the sense that their family is not in Grenada) for the holidays to our home for a candle lit dinner party with lots of food, lots of alcohol and some tasty deserts.

This year feels extra special as it was baby N's first Holy Night. She slept through appetisers but was ready and rearing by the time the main course got on the table. I swear she was trying to grab some food from her Daddy's plate too.

I want to take this time to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. May your plates be filled with tasty food, may your glasses be filled with spirits to make you jolly (or not...) and may your hearts be overflowing with love!

Peace and Bliss.
Grenada Soul Adventurer

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Mom: Personal Reflection: Lessons and Experiences

"This will be my greatest Soul Adventure yet!"
Me at 40 weeks pregnant  image by Malaika Brook Smith Lowe

"I feel grounded, our hearts are tied together and I no longer fear the commitment"

A few weeks ago I became a mother. It seems insane to think of myself this way although I had 9 full months of pregnancy to get used to this fact. Before I gave birth I had a distinct floating feeling  I was not settled or trying to put down roots. I did not want to commit fully to anything because I felt like it would imprison me. Now as I sit and type this blog post, slightly (who am I kidding) sleep deprived, I look at my daughter sleeping beside me and true to the cliche "I could not imagine life without her". I feel grounded, our hearts are tied together and I no longer fear the commitment. In fact commitment no longer feels synonymous with imprisonment. 

It seems strange that during my pregnancy I never thought to  thoroughly prepare myself mentally for the practicality of being a new mom. Sure I gave thought to the type of parent I wanted to be generally and the values and lessons I wanted to pass onto our child but I did not really think about the fact that I would  be doing something entirely foreign to me and that it would be so all consuming (I literally talk non stop about my baby and her latest and greatest diaper well as making everyone listen to her farts which amuse me so). I have not been around babies since my teenage baby sitting days and even then I was never around them for more than a few hours. It is a completely different ball game (obviously) when it is your own child.  It is a steep learning curve!

"What a rush! I just felt so much love! "

During labour I felt empowered. There was a bit of a scare that I would not be able to deliver naturally and so I was so happy to actually be doing it on my own with as little intervention as possible. I remember shouting at the doctor and midwife saying how amazing it was and also shouting at my daughter like a motivational personal trainer "we can do this!...we are amazing!...we were born to do this!!". It seemed like the actual delivery process did not take that long, in no time my slimy, screaming, and wriggly daughter was in my arms for the first time. What a rush! I just felt so much love! 

Once we got home that real mommy deal began. I was so lucky to have my partner, parents and close friends around to support me. Just having my dad awake and watching movies as I got up during the night to nurse baby made it feel less lonely. During the first week when baby was about 4 days old I spent my first day alone with her. That day was the first time I cried because I felt so overwhelmed when I tried to take a shower (never thought that would feel like a mission) and all she did was fuss although it seemed like all her needs were met (clean, fresh nappy, cuddled and fed). It did not help that I was starting to feel the onset of baby bed fever due to (and it gets a bit TMI at this point) engorgement.

"Becoming a mother for the first time is like taking a bus in Grenada for the first time, you are mostly hanging on for dear life while  attempting to look composed (and failing miserably)..."

Becoming a mother for the first time is like taking a bus in Grenada for the first time, you are mostly hanging on for dear life while  attempting to look composed (and failing miserably) and sometimes looking out the window in awe at its natural beauty. You sway from just looking at your new born bursting at the seams with love to feeling completely overwhelmed (which may or may not lead to uncontrollable crying and apologising...that part does not usually happen when taking a bus in Grenada). I  have learned that this is completely normal and also heavily influenced by the sudden hormonal changes a mother experiences just after birth.

It has taught me to act quickly and deliberately when getting things done not directly baby related, for instance showering or eating. I  have also adapted the habit of multitasking (still in the learning phase).There seems to be little time for just being because there is so much I need to be doing. My time is spent feeding, comforting, singing to, cleaning and staring at our beautiful daughter .When she sleeps, I better find myself in bed  or some horizontal surface for at least 1/2 of the time she spends knocked out because I just never know what the future holds on the sleep front, my time is hers entirely and that is a huge paradigm shift for anyone used to being on their own beat.

"I am learning to not feel shame about dependence in a time where independence and the mantra " I don't need anyone" is glamourised and valued above all else, especially for women"

Before I gave birth I was warned not to try and be "super mom" and to accept any help that is offered. It was hard at first because I felt like I pretty much had it under control. I even said to my partner that I thought that in the beginning of parenthood a father could not be of much help because of how dependent baby is on the mother (we are the food supply you know!). However, when sleep deprivation took its toll and I was "zombie mom" a helping hand was never refused, and, I also learned to ask and that that was okay. It is at this time when I really appreciated a good support system because although  I could technically do it on my own (as so many mothers have done and are doing....major respect!) having a helping hand, or a listening ear, or a cooked meal being fed to me as I feed baby (yes my amazing mother did that for me) or just feeling supported becomes very important and my ego has had to take a back seat...or better yet it saw itself out the door while I nursed my milk vampire baby for hours on end. I am learning to not feel shame about dependence in a time where independence and the mantra " I don't need anyone" is glamourised and valued above all else, especially for women.

I know this blog post is very different from what I usually post (but I have a sneaky feeling that mommy posts will not be infrequent from here on out and we all just have to be okay with that). I have been very deliberate in keeping my pregnancy off social media because I was not ready to share something so very personal and life altering until now. This exercise in deliberate none sharing in a culture of sharing almost everything with complete strangers gave me a lot of perspective and has changed my social media habits.  However, there is merit in sharing our experiences online. I have been watching new mom vlogs on youtube a reading in forums and blogs about the experience of becoming a mother for the first time. It is reassuring knowing that I am not alone, and, that the emotions, experiences and challenges I had and have are not unique to me.  As that old german saying goes "A master has never dropped from the heavens". This will be my greatest Soul Adventure yet!

Are any of you new moms? Tell me about your Soul Adventures of mommyhood, I would love to hear from you.

Peace and Bliss from me and baby,

Grenada Soul Adventurer