Can It Really Be Done?

This week we conclude our 3-part series on spirituality with Nikki Starcat Shields of Feline Dreamers.  Nikki is going to lead us through ways to make our spiritual practice part of our everyday lives.  Read on to find out how!

We’ve been talking about daily spiritual practice and how it can help support your whirlwind life as a Mom, bringing calm into your center. Now that you understand the value of a practice, and how to overcome your resistance, it’s time to dig in.

 

But, you might say, can it really be done? How can I add one more thing to my daily life, when it’s already overflowing?

 

As I mentioned earlier, I know it can be done because I’ve done it. I’ve had a solid daily spiritual practice for 20 years – all through my kids’ lives. The kids were both homeschooled, and part of that time I was the breadwinner. I’ve practiced through travel, family crises, starting my own business, publishing four books, and stresses of various kinds. Through all the stages of parenting: the terrible twos, the soccer-practice-every-day-and-twice-on-weekends phase, and the angsty teen years.

 

My daily spiritual practice is the foundation that keeps me calm and joyful and allows me to handle life’s inevitable challenges.

 

There’s nothing different about me – other than making the commitment to my daily spiritual practice, and sticking to it. You can do it, too. I know you can.

 

Lack of time is probably the biggest obstacle to your practice. Let’s address that (very valid) concern.

 

As you establish a daily spiritual practice, you’ll find that you actually have more time in your daily life. You’ll become more productive. This time expansion is a result of better focus. You’ll waste less time fretting and succumbing to those cultural pressures to be perfect. Like Dr. Who’s big blue Tardis, your experience of time is “bigger on the inside.”

 

When you make time to get centered, your perceptions shift, and voila! – you get more done and feel better while doing it.

 

Here are some other thoughts on making time for your new practice:

 

  • If your kids are very young, you can include them in your practice. Take a nature walk with your baby in the sling or stroller. I recall my kids joining me as toddlers, sitting on my lap as I drew my Tarot cards each morning. Slightly older kids can listen to a short guided meditation with you as you wind down at the end of the day.
  • Make your daily spiritual practice serve a dual purpose. You need to walk the dog, so take a meditative walk each morning. Make your shower or bath time sacred, with candles and relaxing music. Think outside the box.
  • Get support from your partner or a close friend. They can take over the kid care while you practice. Or you can always do your practice when the little ones are napping or sleeping. Be flexible, yet committed to taking some sort of sacred pause each day.

 

Make your spiritual practice time non-negotiable, and your kids will soon get used to it.

 

As your kids grow, your practice will evolve. This is completely natural. The 30-minute meditation followed by journaling that I do now wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago. My practice then was shorter, yes, but was still a sacred pause that helped me get centered each day.

 

Even as a busy Mom and family CEO, you can craft a daily spiritual practice that fits your life – and supports it fully. Are you ready?

 

Nikki Starcat Shields is a Mom, published author, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. She blogs at Starcat’s Corner and shares her callings at Feline Dreamers. Want to learn more about how to create a daily spiritual practice that works in your life? Check out her It’s Your Time video.

So Why Aren’t We Already Doing It?

This week we are continuing our 3 part series by the amazing Nikki Starcat Shields of Feline Dreamers about creating and maintaining your own personal spiritual practice.  This week in part two Nikki is delving into why we aren’t making regular time for a spiritual practice as moms.

Last week we talked about daily spiritual practice and why it’s essential for busy Moms. Knowing what we do about the benefits of having a sacred pause to refresh ourselves, why aren’t we already doing it on a regular basis?

There are several reasons for this.

The most basic is probably biology. We are hardwired to put the care of our children before pretty much anything else. Nope, it’s not just you. Even if we (or our partners) get resentful about it sometimes, the kids’ needs come first.

Another big reason is societal pressure. We are not just expected to be a Mom, but a Supermom. Everything must be perfect – from the state of your home to the clothes your kids wear to the activities they participate in. If you can’t achieve that perfection (and face it, no one really can), you feel guilty. You try harder. You fill every waking moment with your family’s needs and even lose sleep.

Add to that the fact that, even for non-parents, being busy is a badge of honor. Our culture sets us up to achieve more, consume more, do more. Advertising showcases all the areas where you’re just not up to par yet – so get going!

It’s exhausting, right?

Overcoming these reasons isn’t as hard as you’d think, though. I mean, this is the Mommy Rebellion, after all! Screw those stupid societal rules. You get to be a Mom on your terms and arrange your life as you wish. This is powerful work!

There’s no doubt about it – being a martyr sucks. Learning to say no thank you to cultural pressures – especially the ones you don’t care about in the first place – gives you space to thrive.

When you choose to take time for self-care, you are serving as a positive role model for other Moms (and Dads), your friends and extended family – and eventually, for your own kids. Win-win!

What about the biological imperative? When you establish the habit of daily spiritual practice, you’ll soon discover that you’re becoming an even kinder, more present Mom.

You’ll yell or snap less, understand your priorities better (isn’t a playground date more important than that next load of dishes?), and stay healthier. Once you see the results, you’ll embrace your practice as part of caring for your family (as well as yourself).

Being a caregiver is hard work. It only makes sense to support it with a solid foundation. You don’t need to wait for anyone else to give you what you need, either. A daily spiritual practice brings you reliable support – from within, on your own terms.

Let go of expectations and empower yourself by going within for a few minutes each day. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes you’ll see!

Next week, we’ll delve into carving out space and time in your life for your own daily spiritual practice. Stay tuned!

Nikki Starcat Shields is a Mom, published author, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. She blogs at Starcat’s Corner and shares her callings at Feline Dreamers. Want to learn more about how to create a daily spiritual practice that works in your life? Check out her It’s Your Time video.

Daily Spiritual Practice is a Game-Changer

This week we start the first of a 3 part series from Nikki Starcat Shields of Feline Dreamers about Spiritual Practices, and how they might just be able to help our parenting!

Daily Spiritual Practice is a Game-Changer

by Nikki Starcat Shields

You’ve heard the metaphors a zillion times: Put on your own oxygen mask first, before you help another. You need to fill your cup before you can pour authentically for another. But how often do you actually take this advice?

Having a daily spiritual practice can be a huge game-changer for busy mothers – and we’re pretty much all busy, by definition.

What do I mean by daily spiritual practice? First of all, a spiritual practice fits with any religious beliefs – or none at all. It simply involves connecting with something beyond your normal waking consciousness. You might see this force as the Universe, the Goddess, God, the cosmos, your intuition, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (yes, that’s an actual thing, look it up).

Daily spiritual practice gives you a much-needed pause from your mind’s usual chatter; you know, all the mental to-do lists, worries, fears, planning, financial stress, and fretting over the past. It allows you to get centered in a part of yourself that can see a bigger picture and can help you tune in into love and joy.

The actual activity of daily spiritual practice isn’t limited to meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. The idea is to find “the zone,” the place where you are transported beyond your usual mode of consciousness. This can be accomplished in many different ways, depending on your preferences. You might find spiritual connection while swimming, sketching, praying, dancing, or gardening.

The main idea is to set aside some intentional time to pause, do something you find enjoyable, and let your attention be firmly on the present moment.

Why do Moms in particular need a daily spiritual practice?

Well, we’re the queens of multi-tasking, after all! We are often the family CEO and tour director as well as chauffeur, maid, chef, tutor, therapist, and oh yeah, some of us also work outside the home or as entrepreneurs. Phew! We probably need a pause in our incessant work more than most anyone.

Yet we are the least likely to gift ourselves with self-care, as everyone else’s needs always seem to come first.

Recent brain science supports the need for some form of meditation or regular mental pause in order to maintain optimal physical and emotional health. Without some form of spiritual practice (and there are many ways to accomplish this, as you’ve seen), you’ll eventually burn out. You’ll get sick or suffer some kind of breakdown – and where would that leave the family members who rely on you?

You’re probably thinking, daily spiritual practice sounds lovely, but I just literally don’t have the time. I want you to know that this spring I celebrated 20 years of doing a daily spiritual practice! Since my kids are now 21 and 18, this means I was able to make time every day, even when they were tiny, to do my practice. And if I can do it, you can, too!

Take time each day this week and add a spiritual practice that resonates with you.

Next week, we’ll look at some of the reasons we Moms tend not to take this sacred pause for ourselves, and how to get past these common blockages.

Nikki Starcat Shields is a Mom, published author, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. She blogs at Starcat’s Corner and shares her callings at Feline Dreamers. Want to learn more about how to create a daily spiritual practice that works in your life? Check out her It’s Your Time video.