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Inspiring Peace – Conversations with Wise Women

{The image above was drawn by my eight year old, Annie. It is a picture of me doing yoga, looking very peaceful and chic with my mani and pedi. Thank you Roxanne Gordon at Rogo Graphics Inc for the graphic design on Annie’s artwork. I love it.}

Hi gorgeous ones!

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet the gorgeous Katie from obaitori.com.

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  • What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

Mothering doesn’t come naturally to me. I‘ve had to learn how to parent peacefully. When I was six my mother used to take her yoga mat and go out to class for a couple of hours. She would return radiant and tell us all the things she had learnt. I observed her endless compassionate nature and wanted to use the same parenting/life style for my children. My personality is far fierier than my mother’s and I needed/need yoga. I need to work on patience, tolerance and understanding constantly, every-day. That is why I practice yoga. I observed my mother and other wise women like a hawk. I was always and still am trying to pick up exactly what those magical qualities are in a person of peace. It was clear I needed more focus and training. My life and studies turned to human behaviour, spirituality, yoga, Buddhism, Montessori and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood. At the education institute where I studied the main areas of child development did not include the development of the spirit. I don’t think that spirituality is something that should be left to chance. I think it should be systematically taught and imbibed by the child. To make up for this short-coming I did a thesis on the Spiritual Development of the Child. The main book I recommend to people is, “The Tibetan Art of Parenting” Anne Hubbell-Maiden. It covers the pre-conception spiritual development of the child up to adult-hood. What is really great about this book is that it is filled with practical application of things to do in everyday life. For my beliefs this all made sense.

  • If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Listen to everyone, read all the books you like. Ultimately learn to listen to your intuition and in the end do what suits you, your individual child and your family.

I try not to be the person who does it all. People need to feel like they belong, are part of something, especially in a family. I used to have everything done when my husband got home but I think he was beginning to feel a bit useless. Now I leave things for him to do. I smile at him warmly when he is doing those jobs. I stay connected with the fun loving, spontaneous, joyful young girl in me and greet her every morning. Do what makes you happy.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I try to teach most things through example. I’m a very independent person and that can have particular outcomes; firstly I want to control and secondly I want it done well and that leads to exhaustion because I stupidly end up doing it all myself. Over the years I have learnt how to be independent and vulnerable at the same time. I’ve tried to stop or limit my need to control things at home, situations, people, events. When I remember I surrender most things to God. I practice vulnerability especially with my husband. I bare my tender feelings rather than cover them up with anger. “Vulnerability is not the same as weakess – it actually takes more strength and courage to risk emotionally than it does to stay defended.” The Surrendered Wife, Laura Doyle. I worship the moon with asana, Chandra namaskar and always know where the moon is during her cycle. I sing to the Mother, Durga, Lakshmi, Mary, Saraswati. In yoga this form of worship is not singing to an entity somewhere ‘up there’ but invoking those qualities within yourself. The education and culture of Saraswati, the grace and calmness of Mary, the strength and fierceness of Durga, the abundance of wealth and health of Lakshmi. Buddhism and Yoga are matriarchal lifestyles. They worship the mother. It is good that my children are experiencing this in their young lives. I also do odd and funny things like dressing like Radha, Krishna’s partner and I always put lipstick on in the car before I drive : ) Always have fun. Be joyful and child like.

  • What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

I look after myself first so I can give unconditionally to others. In very practical terms if I wake at night I think to check on the children but first I will slip on my dressing gown and slippers, go to the bathroom and have a sip of water. When I look in on the children and if someone needs help or extra time for a cuddle I can give it to them. I’m not lying there freezing and desperate for the toilet. I’m there.

I do a lot of early preparation so the house is organised and ready. I find that forethought helps a great deal. I like to plan meticulously because then I feel calm, content in knowing that I’ve covered all the bases. It’s a form of self-preservation. Taking time out is non-negotiable. Once a month I meet my friend, we drive to Sydney for a Buddhist meeting. It lasts for an hour and then we go to lunch, which lasts for three. I think there is great wisdom in talking to others, particularly people in a similar situation. It’s the cheapest form of therapy and people need people. Keep good company.

  • What is one practical thing you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

I have a commitment to personal sadhana – spiritual practice. It gives me strength, makes me less frustrated, gives me peace and harmony. I get up before dawn, bath, light a candle, chant om three times, focus on the breath, chant three other mantras, practice asana, pranayama and Antar Mouna. This is me filling up at the petrol station. My body doesn’t go around the day very well without it. It breaks down and has tantrums. Yoga Nidra is a mother’s blessing. A 30 minute deep relaxation before lunch, equivalent to 3 hours sleep is what gets me through the hard part of the day which for me is 6-9pm. Some days when I feel frazzled or get that jumpy feeling when there is a sudden noise; perhaps a wail from a child, I take a big calcium/magnesium tablet with milk at night time. It soothes the central nervous system and makes it strong.

General practical children things are; a warm smile with a lovingly long look at each child every morning, orange oil in the diffuser, classical or Sanskrit music playing, a lit candle, extra protein for whingers, extra love for those whom seem like they least ‘deserve’ it.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Life is good with rhythm. Occasionally ours sounds more like a 14 piece jazz ensemble and when it does that’s an opportunity to practice equanimity.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I’m practising contentment.
  • Love is: all.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: to be true to themselves, to keep following their intuition, to honour, respect and love themselves.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

To me it means loving myself and accepting myself as who I am. I don’t beat myself up about stuff – not for too long anyway. The concept of yamas and niyamas makes the whole yogic lifestyle practical, achievable. The first yama is ahimsa. That means non-violence. That is non-violence in thought, word and deed. To me that means not having the negative thought in the first place. In yoga nothing is supressed so if a negative thought comes up I acknowledge it and let it go. Some thoughts are easier to let go than others. If that negative thought is difficult to move I will chant or imagine a saint’s face, the Buddha, Jesus, Sivananda, Krishna and it the feeling dissipates.

Control of the mind is very important. War begins in the minds of men. A negative thought, especially a presumption, quickly spirals down into a round of hell. It is a choice to be peaceful. A choice to be happy. I actively choose to be happy. This can be difficult at times because the nature of the mind is to be negative. The mind needs to be trained, cultured and tailored towards peace. Children are not born like this. We have to teach them to train their mind through example, with activities that foster beauty, happiness and gratitude.

About Katie:

My name is Katie. I have been practising Satyananda Yoga for 21 years & have 2 yoga diplomas, the most current in Satyananda Yoga. In 2002 I travelled to India to met Paramahansa Satyananda Saraswati & my guru, Paramahansa Niranjanananda Saraswati. This was the greatest experience of my life.

My father created a great spark in Buddhism and Sikhism. He taught me the basic principles of Buddhism – being kind to others, what goes around comes around, do not kill & the middle path. His father’s most notable teachings was, “If the whole world looks wrong, take a look at yourself.” My parents taught awareness and empathy. My mother introduced me to yoga.

I studied Early Childhood education at Macquarie University & specialised in Montessori Education. My thesis’ at university were ‘Nurturing the Spiritual Development of the Child’ & ‘Tibetan Parenting’. With a fellow Montessorian, we have set up a school at Wamberal on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia. The first Montessori school on the Central Coast.

In 2005 I founded a yoga school called ~ Yoga by the Sea. I teach yoga on the Central Coast & at Satyananda Yoga Ashram, Mangrove Mountain. I also facilitate two groups; Sivananda Math – an Indian charity institution – & Stitches for Tibet – a creative group which raises money for a Tibetan woman (living in exhile – Dharamsala) to complete a tailoring apprenticeship. These three groups fall under the banner of the Saraswati School of Arts. I facilitate a conscious parenting group called Obaitori. It is an all-embracing collective of women who support each other in ‘sharing the struggle’ belonging together and not living in ‘isolated perfection’.

I live on the East Coast of Australia with my husband & two children. I write at obaitori.com.

Like everyone I make mistakes and make it up as I go along. It’s lovely to meet you. Katie.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Katie. I have been following Katie and her wise words for many years.  I always feel like everything is going to be just fine when I connect with her. I love that you say that we each choose our own happiness and that it is a choice we make on a daily basis. You have an incredible toolkit of peace in there, Katie. I am sure that our readers are better off for having read your wisdom.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

 

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In praise of the afternoon nap

Hi gorgeous!

How are you doing? If you are reading this and it also Autumn for you, I hope that you are managing to slow down. When I wrote about Ayurveda’s take on Autumn in this post, I mentioned how Vata time (the quality that is most prominent in this season) makes us a bit heady and spacey. This is because the qualities of air and space are prevalent, so we naturally amplify those qualities within ourselves.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is how different times of the day are also more prominent. These are rough guides and they can vary based on the time of year and your latitude, but, generally, Vata is most active between the hours of two and six. This is applicable in the afternoon and in the evening.

Do you ever wake at two in the morning? Ha, ha, that is Vata time! Meditation is recommended before six a.m. because Vata is the most “airy” time of the day, so we are very receptive.

But, this is a post about afternoon naps, I digress.

Basically, if you have Vata in your constitution, a Vata imbalance or it is Vata season (windy, cold, dry) outside, you need to take extra precautions at Vata time to stay balanced.

Vata needs warmth, grounding, sweetness and routine.

An afternoon nap (20 minutes or so) is a perfect way to ground Vata, since it slows down the movement that is inherent in Vata. If we don’t consciously slow down at this time of the day, we can get a bit frazzled and feel really worn out by the end of the day. Do this for a couple of years and you start waking at 2 a.m. (I know because I have done it!)

When I first started working on balancing my constitution (My Vata was out of balance), I would nap every day if I could. On the days that I couldn’t, I made a point of sitting and having a cup of tea.

Now that I feel much more grounded, I still have a nap if I feel like it.

Or else, I make myself a cup of chai with a cookie (remember I said Vata needs sweet – I have just given you permission to have some cake in the afternoon!). I also read or watch something inspiring, sit outside, or just lie in bed. I do this between two and three p.m. before I pick up my children from school. When they come home, we have some more afternoon tea, all together. (You can’t have too much afternoon tea, I say!)

My husband has a job in the city and does not have the luxury of lying down for an afternoon nap, so I have encouraged him to go for afternoon tea with his colleagues and to eat something sweet (fruit is really good to have at this time) between the hours of two and six. He says that it really makes a difference to his day and he also doesn’t come home ravenous.

I hope that is helpful to you. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference to your day.

Blessings to you.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

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Welcome New Mama

Dear Mama.

Today is a special day. It is your birthday. The crossing over the threshold. A new role. A new life. A new initiation. You are Mother.

Please don’t miss the sacredness of this day.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the swollen breasts, sore body and heart that has just been broken open. It’s ok. You don’t know what to do. It feels so scary. It feels so beautiful. It feels so perfect. You are as close to Spirit as you can get right now. Inhale the smell of pure Love. In your arms.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the crooked nose and matty hair. You, with the thighs that are too big. You, with the blemishes on your skin.

Your baby doesn’t care. Your baby only sees your beauty. Your baby only sees the love that is bursting from your heart. Treasure the vulnerability you are feeling right now. Your greatest strength lies there.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the insecurities and bad moods. You, with the PMS. You, with the fear of failure. You, who gets things wrong. You, who shouts at people and eats ice cream in the middle of the night.

Your baby doesn’t care. Your baby only sees your beauty. Your baby only sees the love that is bursting from your heart. Treasure the vulnerability you are feeling right now. Your greatest strength lies there.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the strength of the Great Mother flowing through your veins. You, with all the Mothers before you living inside you. You, with the love of Mother Mary. You, with the compassion of Quan Yin. You, with the creativity of Saraswati. You, with the fierceness of Durga.

You. Beautiful Mother. Sacred, blessed Woman. The keeper of life.

I bow to you, new Mother. I believe in you. You are chosen to raise this child. Let Love guide you and you cannot fail.

Blessings to you on this new day.

The day a new Mother is born.

 

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

 

Being a first-time mama is an amazing experience. The New Mama Welcome Pack blog hop is a celebration of this life changing event! Follow the links to discover more unmissable advice, stories and essential tips. And if you’re a new mama who wants to rock motherhood without guilt, overwhelm or losing yourself, check out the New Mama Welcome Pack here.

New Mama Welcome Pack / Lotte Lane / Dreaming Aloud / Zhendria / Birthing in Conscious Choice / Natalie Garay / Eli Trier / Knecht Ruprecht / Lise Meijer / Naomi Goodlet / A Lifestyle By Design / Story of Mum / Like a Bird / Holistic Mama / Birth Geek / Joyful Parenting / Stroller Packing / My Healthy Beginning / Mums and More / Kate Beddow – Growing Spirits / Ellen Nightingale / Stacie Whitney / Maternity Leavers / Photography for Busy Parents / Close Enough To Kiss / Atelier Susana Tavares / Offbeat Family / Katie m. Berggren ~ Painting Motherhood / Winship Wellness Blog / Liberate From Weight / Jessica Cary / Art + Craft / Raising Playful Tots / Peaceful Mothering / Play Activities / Lauren Nenna / Nurture You / The Adventure Mama / Be Wise Be Healthy / b.a.d.momGoodmom / Doula in Your Pocket / Making Mom Strong / Adrienn Csoknyay / Joyful Parents / Alison Hummel / Simple Solutions for Photos / Lynne Newman / Euphoric Birth / Mumpreneur Mentor / A Walk in the Clouds / Parenting on the Fence / MiaMily

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Inspiring Peace – Conversations with wise women

{The image above was drawn by my eight year old, Annie. It is a picture of me doing yoga, looking very peaceful and chic with my mani and pedi. Thank you Roxanne Gordon at Rogo Graphics Inc for the graphic design on Annie’s artwork. I love it.}

Hi gorgeous ones!

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet the lovely Claire McAuliffe from Claire the Life Coach.

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  • What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

My mother was very distant with myself and my siblings so I always knew that I wanted a close relationship with all my kids. I’m still their parent but certainly not as strict as parents were in years gone by. I’ve learnt so much from my kids and also found that they are more open to sharing all sorts of things with me, some of which I’ve known nothing about! It’s been pretty hilarious at times!

  • If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff, trust your intuition! (I know it’s more than one but they are all important!) I worried too much about what other mothers’ thought instead of being practical and following my instincts.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I always like to dress well wherever I am, not only because it makes me feel good but I see the pride in my children’s faces when they see me looking neatly dressed. I recently had my 9 year old son request that I wear an evening dress to the parent information night!! How do you explain that you would show up all the other mothers??!!!

  • What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

It is very important that I exercise every morning, eat clean and sleep at least 8 hours a night. When this is right, all is well with the world. I really love the quiet time in the morning too, it sets me up for the day. It is very important that I exercise every morning, eat clean and sleep at least 8 hours a night. When this is right, all is well with the world. I really love the quiet time in the morning too, it sets me up for the day.

  • What is one practical thing you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

I’ve always been an early riser and find that an organised day makes for a less stressful day. I like to organise one day in advance so everyone knows exactly what they are doing.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm is very important in my life and also the children’s, when life runs smoothly, everyone is happier. Having been a single mother of 8 children for almost 8 years now, rhythm provided the children with stability.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I’m drinking my morning coffee in the sunshine! (The beautiful quiet makes for wonderful insights!)
  • Love is: the most beautiful emotion on earth and makes the world go round.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: for each of them to find their own unique gift that makes them happy and be a bright shining light to the world.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

Now this was the most difficult question to answer. Being a ‘peaceful mother’ to 8 children is difficult as I’m sure you can imagine. There have been moments when it all gets on top of you. BUT, when you think about these creations you’ve brought into the world and look at their characters and personalities, it warms your heart. They are each unique in their own way and as much as some things frustrate me at the end of the day I’m their mum. Being peaceful to me means doing my best for my children and letting them become responsible adults and I can look back and say ‘ Yep, I did a pretty damn good job’!!

About Claire:

Claire describes herself as a loving mother who out of difficult times has come through the other side to explore her gifts. A new life coach who want to guide women through their own troubles to find inner peace and excitement in the world. You can connect with Claire on Claire – The Life Coach.

Wow, Claire. Thank you for such beautiful sharing. Your radiance really does shine through in your picture and your words. Your 8 (wow!) children are so lucky to have a mama like you. I totally agree with you about always being well presented. It makes such a difference to our mood and really demonstrates our own self love, doesn’t it?

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

 

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Almond milk

(This is an updated version of a post I did in 2102. Enjoy!)
I love almond milk. It’s full of healthy protein, highly prized in ayurveda and a great alternative if you don’t drink cow’s milk.
And it’s really yummy too!
But have you seen the ingredients on the box if you buy it in the shop? Sugar, salt, rice (?!?!).
Never mind the price.
Never fear, here is a recipe that won’t break the bank and tastes sooooo much better than the box variety.
Soak one cup of almonds in water overnight.
In the morning, drain your almonds and rinse.
Pop them in the blender.
Add three cups of filtered water.
Blend.
Strain.
Yum!
It lasts about 3 days in the fridge.
(Recipe from Sara Avant, I love her work.
Get her amazing book over here.)
Blessings to you.
Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.