How Do You Find Your Inner Champion?

putting mums first, mummy2mumI recently watched the TED talk by Rita Pearson entitled Every Kid Needs a Champion and it got me thinking. As a teacher I’ve been an encourager, advocate and champion for many kids, often with amazing outcomes. But it takes a lot to champion the kid that everyone else has given up on.

The trouble with that kid is that their self belief has begun to reflect the attitudes they see around them; resentment, rejection, disappointment and an expectation of failure. The toughest time I ever had in my teaching career was when I refused to give in to this kind of negativity. I clung to the belief that change was possible even when everyone else had lost hope.

And I won’t pretend it was easy.

It stands out in my memory as one of my toughest challenges. I poured myself into affecting change for this boy –  it took every aspect of my social, emotional and professional knowledge to influence his behaviour, attitude and engagement.

It was a relentless struggle.

I cried.

Tears of frustration; at my own limitations, at his provocations and at the overwhelming task ahead of me. I was in a state of exhaustion before I saw a glimmer of change. But that glimmer was enough. My energy would surge and my hope would revive.

At the end of that year I received a Christmas card which said:

I cannot express how grateful I am that you came into my son’s life. You have brought out the boy that I knew was under his layers of problems. From the bottom of my heart thank you!

This is what a champion does.

They believe.

They persist.

They walk beside you when all others have gone.

And they change lives.

Finding the Champion in You

When you find the champion within yourself you begin a journey.

A journey that is often painful, challenging but always transformative. Because when you champion someone else, even when they push you away again and again, you learn the true grit of what it means to believe in something greater than yourself.

You believe in them.

And believing in someone else is one of the greatest gifts you have to give.

mahatma gandhi quote

Have you found you’re inner champion?
Or do you remember a teacher or coach who was your champion? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

 

 

Here’s a Simple Writing Exercise that Helps you Discover your Why.

how to write a bio poem

A bio poem is a great way to get creative about YOU!

When I’m trying to find my focus and tap into the deeper motivations that drive my dreams, it helps to have some simple prompts. This is why I love writing a Bio Poem.

Since starting my new business as a copywriter at Stella Polaris I’ve had to become very attuned with my why. It’s important to know what your motivations are and then set goals to achieve those dreams!

Writing a Bio Poem

A bio poem is a simple way to share your hopes and fears, dreams and desires using sentence starters as prompts. As a teacher I always used a bio poem with a new class at the start of the year; it was a great way to get to know students. I’ve adapted the bio poem format here for myself, and increased the number of lines. But it’s flexible and you can change what you like!

It’s hard to write about yourself, so this poem is perfect as it provides creative prompts to get you thinking. Don’t forget to download the template to create your own!

Here’s my Bio Poem

Lisa,

Mother, wife, sister, friend.

Enthusiastic, intuitive and excitable.

Wishes for a self-cleaning house!

Dreams of living on the ocean,

Loves snuggles whilst listening to the rain.

Fears a boring life,

Is afraid of water slides!

Believes in gut feeling.

Wonders if she’ll ever win Monopoly?

Hopes to be the guiding light of content creation.

Plans to improve women’s health through the written word.

Nurse, teacher, copywriter, blogger,

Stella Polaris.

Brainstorming Your Bio Poem

I always brainstorm lots of possible answers before I commit to the one I will use. I could probably add a new answer everyday depending on how I’m feeling! The format below is the one I use to generate my ideas. Once you have some words and phrases to work with, start arranging them in sentences using my example above.

Use this handy PDF to print your own template.

Write Your Own Bio Poem

Prompts

Answers

Your name
 Lisa
3-4 personal roles you have e.g. mother, wife, friend
 Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, confidante
Words that describe your character traits
 Excitable, changeable, enthusiastic, creative, intuitive, talkative, friendly
What do you wish for?
 Dogs that don’t drop fur! A thermomix. A self cleaning house!
What or who do you love?
Children, family, husband. Snuggles in front of a movie when it’s raining
What do you fear?
 Spiders, loss, boredom, repetition
What are you afraid of?
 Heights, bungee jumping, kids leaving home
What do you believe in?
 Karma, gut feeling, leading by example, love
What do you wonder?
 If my kids will live overseas. If I’ll win monopoly (unlikely)!How long till I’ll be a published author.
What do you hope to achieve?
 To stand out as an amazing wordsmith.To be a guiding light in empowering people to create great content.

To spark creativity in others

What are your plans for the future?
To make a difference to the loves of women by writing content that moves them to self awareness.
3-4 professional roles you have e.g. bookkeeper, business owner
 Writer, teacher, nurse, entrepreneur.
Your name or your business name
 Stella Polaris ~ Words that Shine

Valentines Day is Dead!

Valentines day

The Antidote to Romance

Are all those public declarations of love on Facebook getting a little too much? If it’s so sweet you can feel the tooth decay setting in then read on, ’cause you need an antidote to romance!

Valentines Day has always passed me by like any other day of the week; I do dishes, go to work, cook an ordinary dinner and go to bed as usual. I don’t receive a card, flowers or lingerie.

I bet you’re thinking that romance is dead for me? That being married for 17 years has finally extinguished that flame. But I’m here to tell you that romance still has a heart-beat, but Valentines day is Dead! RIP.

The Heart Beat of Romance

After 17 years of marriage romance has changed.

Romance is:

  • When he unexpectedly does the dishes and isn’t looking for praise (or sex!)
  • When he buys blueberries just for me
  • When we talk big picture dreams over a bottle of wine
  • When he builds me up with words of love so he can watch me shine

Valentines day is dead because I don’t need a card to tell me what I already know.

Deep Roots

The love we share has deep roots. It has been nurtured through darkness into the light, it has weathered storms, tornadoes and drought. The roots are entangled deep in our unconscious; we feel one another’s emotions before they manifest as words or actions.

That may sound pretty romantic, but it doesn’t always pan out like that!

I can tell a storm cloud has entered my house and cast a shadow over the usual proceedings of dinner, before the storm cloud itself even knows its grumpy! I choose to placate it with tea, listen to its troubles and soothe it with words of comfort. Sometimes it blows over and I’m the only one who felt it pass. Other times, it whistles through the house sending papers flying and emotions swirling like autumn leaves.

I am the calm before storm, he is the sunshine after the rain.

Valentines Day is Everyday

When you know love well  and celebrate it in a myriad of ways, then valentines day is simply another day.

Or maybe it’s everyday.

It’s the snuggles in the morning when you snooze the alarm. It’s the daily check-in on the way home from work. It’s quiet Sunday morning breakfast in the sunshine.

Don’t wait for one day a year to celebrate your love.  Make romance your daily language.

Value the little things that are the heartbeat of love.

 

Like this post? Get it delivered direct to your inbox by signing up below!

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Times, Changing Identity

blog women and idenitytThe Elusive ‘Writer’s Voice’

When I started my blog here at mummy2mum in November 2014 I wrote for the sheer pleasure of it! Blogging carved out a space and place for me to reflect meaningfully on my experiences and share those with others.

I had read that successful bloggers found this elusive thing called their ‘voice’.

Where do you find your voice? Can you fast-track it like an express delivery service?

The answer to that is No!

Your voice as writer evolves slowly over time, but it is dependent on one key factor – personal growth.

I have been writing for many years, but mostly erratically.

I would write a poem for a 50th birthday, a speech for a wedding and eulogies for funerals. I would sporadically keep a journal, usually at times of personal upheaval when my brain was overloaded and chaotic.  But blogging changed all that.

The Beauty of Blogging

Blogging brought routine, commitment and awareness of the writing process. I made time to write.

.

I became aware of the creative process, the feeling of being inflow from brain to fingertips, as the words sped onto the page. I learned to let my heart speak uninterrupted  before letting my head edit, critique and rationalise. I gave myself freedom to write about whatever inspired me, whether that was PMT, bikini bodies or motherhood.

And slowly a small community of loyal readers expressed their emotional connection with my writing through comments, shares and likes.

Comments like this one from Growing Up KaterTot  have helped shape my writing journey:

I am so deeply moved by this post. I have a long way to go before my daughter reaches her teen years, but I often wonder if I’m even going to know who I am at that time. Right now, my identity is “P’s mom,” and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m pinning this on my own personal board today. Hoping that I’ll remember to look at this down the road when my little one has grown.

I realised that when I wrote with passion, vulnerability and explored those areas of conflict within myself it evoked either laugher, tears or sometimes both, and readers connected with me. Now I didn’t set out to have this effect, but I understand that my best writing, my most intuitive creative posts are exactly those pieces.

The pieces that are written from the heart and speak to the soul.

My Voice, My Place

As a writer I have found a place where I want to stay a while, to linger, exhale and explore.

That place is where I write most fluently from the heart, where I am authentic and allow my mind to expand, create and connect with everything that I am.

That place is an exploration of identity, motherhood and the creation of  an abundant self.

And it’s redefining my blog here at mummy2mum.

So What’s Changing?

In defining my voice I’m carving out a new place and space for my writing.

Mummy2mum will have a new direction, purpose and vision.

Many of you who know me personally have heard me talk about wanting to help women ‘find themselves’. This is my core mission here at mummy2mum.

I want to explore the challenge of creating an independent identity as a woman whilst giving so much of yourself to others; the challenge of an abundant self!

I have made small changes to my website to reflect this focus, so that new readers will understand my mission, vision and values.

What does this mean for my current readers?

More of the passionate, heart-felt posts that you all respond to with such enthusiasm! And less of the recipe posts, less of the ‘how to’ parenting posts and more about your journey as woman & a mother!

I hope you’ll enjoy the new feel to mummy2mum. She’s found her identity at last.

My Top 3 Favourite Blog Posts of 2015!

top posts 2015It’s a tradition in our family to pick our Top 3 favourite things – Top 3 favourite holidays, Top 3 favourite dinners, Top 3 favourite movies and so on. So it seems only natural that here on Mummy2mum I’m going to follow in that tradition and pick my Top 3 favourite blog posts of 2015.

When I sat down to write this today, I thought it would be quick and easy, but what’s the fun in taking the easy option?

While reflecting upon the year that’s been, three words jump out at me:

Challenge, change and choice.

I love to find themes that connect things, so I’ve chosen my top three posts that reflect these themes. I hope you enjoy.

Challenge

The year began with challenge.

Welcoming in the New Year surrounded by good friends was a greater blessing than we knew, because for one of our dearest friends, it was to be his last.

Like a thief in the night, brain cancer stole a little more of him every day. We said goodbye in March, and these were my words for him: You.

Change

This blog was born of change.

A deep, yearning to hold on to that maternal connection between a mother and child.  The change from dependence to independence was accelerating at a pace I just didn’t know how to keep up with and it frightened me.

The theme of change is central to many of my posts, but none articulates it more beautifully than this: The Narrative of Motherhood: Letting Go Whilst Holding On.

Choice

The beauty of choice, the agony of indecision.

It’s a constant dilemma, but as a Gemini I’ve always lived like this; torn between many possible futures, all of which sound exciting! This year I tried to do a bit of everything; teaching, writing,  training, parenting, nursing, cooking, entertaining, networking, business building and counselling. By spreading myself too thinly I was rarely present in the moment, always thinking about the next thing.

A return to the girl I was in 1988 helped remind me of the woman I want to be in 2016: Where Love Grows.

My Affirmation For 2016

Thank you to the many followers, readers and supporters of Mummy2mum during my inaugural year of writing. It has been a wonderful experience that has opened many new doors.

In 2016 I am making the choice to be present in the moment, to seek adventure and take risks and to live life with passion and purpose. I hope you’ll join me.

Wishing you a fun filled New Year!

 

Bikini Body v Bikini Mind

free your mind At 43 years old I’m wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years! Let me just say that again –

I’m wearing a bikini in public!

It’s summer here in Australia and that means one thing – swimwear season! This year I made a commitment to myself – that I would wear a bikini. For the last 6 months I have been working hard to achieve mind and body transformation; my challenge was to be bikini ready for Christmas – it’s a goal I visualised myself  achieving.

But the reality is a little different…can you ever really feel bikini ready?

Can You Ever Feel Bikini Ready?

Like so many women I have felt ashamed of my body, embarrassed by the lumps and bumps that document my pregnancies and the wobbly bits that used to be firm. I certainly won’t blame pregnancy for the gradual gain in weight, I’ve proved to myself that it’s a convenient excuse .  In truth it’s been a love of the good times, of drinking, eating and socialising that has added the extra kilograms over the last ten years.

I’ve been saying for a long time ‘I’m not ready to wear a bikini’, ‘I just need to lose another (enter any number here)’ and ‘Maybe 40 is too old for a bikini’.

But this myth is washed away every time I go to the beach.  How is it that some women exude confidence, sex appeal and empowerment in a bikini, whatever their size?

It’s clear that it’s got nothing to do with having a bikini body, but a bikini mind.

Shedding The Emotional Kilos

It seems to me that external change doesn’t  equate with internal change.  Losing those extra kilos will change your body shape, but if it doesn’t change your mental shape then it’s as if it hasn’t happened. Marc Manson tells of a guy who lost over 100lb but never really lost that weight emotionally:

His perception of himself was like the Titanic: he had…put the pistons in reverse, but the thing was hardly turning. And emotionally, he was still hitting the iceberg. …[I]n his head he was still that same fat guy. He still had shame attached to his body…despite his ripped biceps and his shiny new abs.

Marc Manson’s  ‘Shut Up And Be Patient’.

This year, for the first time I have lost the emotional kilos as well as the physical kilos and my mental picture has shifted.

I don’t have the bikini body that I imagined. That mental image was created after years of media saturation with thin, toned women who have that elusive thigh gap!

Shape Shifting

The desire to measure myself against the perfect bikini body has receded (not gone completely, but it’s fading out).  I have strength I never had, muscles in places that used to be soft and a growing feeling of ownership over my physical form.

The notion of ownership may seem strange, but reflect on this – 

During your teenage years you are at the mercy of your hormones, developing a size and shape that is beyond your control, there’s only a few years respite before pregnancy imposes a new shape, reconstructed again in the post-partum years, compounded with further pregnancies and before you realise it your shape has been morphing beyond your control for long time.

Shape shifting in this way left me vulnerable to measuring myself against the ‘ideal body’ and always feeling inadequate. Now I own the changes in my body, I’m defining my own shape for the first time in many years.

Bikini Mind

I’m wearing a bikini not because I have a bikini body, but because I have a bikini mind.

I perceive myself with strength, health and vitality, and I’m not afraid to show that to the world. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have my moments of doubt, years of conditioning can’t be undone in 6 months.  But 6 months of positive body attitude has given me the confidence to accept my imperfect self.

tranquil acceptance

 

 

 

Christmas Food Hacks for Weight Conscious Socialising

low fat spicy hummus

Spicy Chickpea Dip

Indulging without Increasing the Waistline

Having spent the last year working towards my weight loss and fitness goals I’m not prepared to throw it all away this Christmas!

The temptation to eat, drink and indulge is upon me; with a works do, a catch-up with girlfriends and family socials it’s all too easy to slip off the weight-conscious-wagon. Every Christmas I repeat the same mistakes and curse myself as I enter the New Year with extra Kilo’s to shed.

But this year I’m making a plan to enjoy the festive season without giving up ground in the battle with the scales.

To kick off this offensive I’m sharing my favourite recipes that taste heavenly, are totally indulgent, but are packed with all the good stuff that will help you keep sugar cravings at bay.

This Spicy Chickpea Dip is my own variation on a traditional humus recipe, and has been a favourite to take to gatherings for a while. The kids love it, it doubles up as a great lunch spread on corn thins and is full of protein, good oils and vitamin C!

Spicy Chickpea Dip

Serves 6 ~ 663 Kilo joules per serve ~ 12 g carbs ~ 5.8 g protein

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas drained & rinsed
  • 1 fresh chilli or half tsp dried chilli flakes (adjust to suit your palette)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil ( use chilli infused for an extra kick)
  • 1/4 cup water (the amount you need varies depending on consistency)
  • 1 heaped tbsp hulled tahini
  • 1 heaped tsp grd cumin
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • large handful of fresh coriander stalks and leaves

Directions

This couldn’t be much simpler!

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender (I’ve used a hand blender, a baby food blender and now my Omni Blend!)
  2. Whiz until smooth!!
  3. I like a stiff consistency for spreading on crackers, but if you want it a bit runnier then add more water.
  4. Serve topped with finely chopped coriander and a sprinkle of dried crushed chillies

If you enjoyed this post then why not follow me on Facebook at Mummy2mum or sign-up below to receive new posts directly to your inbox!

Women Who Sweat Together Reach Goals Together!

empowering women in sport

I’ve never been someone who loves exercise. I’d always wanted to be a sporty type, competitive and fit, ready to jump on a surf board or smash it on the netball court, but that just wasn’t me. I didn’t play sport as a kid, my mother considered sport a punishing ordeal and I certainly inherited this aversion!

So it is a huge surprise to me that I’m getting up at 5.30am, before doing a days work, to exercise! If you knew me a few years ago you’d think I was possessed, because wild horses couldn’t drag me out of bed! In fact, I was the only student nurse to ever over sleep for a late shift! What’s changed you may well ask?

The Secret To Discover Motivation

I’ve found a secret ingredient that has changed my approach to exercise. All these years I believed exercise was about the grit, the cardio, the sweating and the active wear!  When I exercised I focused on all those things, got bored pretty quickly and continued to pay for a gym membership that didn’t see any use! If that sounds like a familiar story then maybe you’re a bit like me.

You see, it’s not the exercise that gets me up at 5.30 in the morning, it’s the people! The community of women who encourage, support and sweat together. The women who don’t care what my hair looks like, or whether my active wear is last seasons, last years or last decades! The women who count my 10 burpees, who say ‘just another one’  and push me to hold that plank just 10 seconds longer.

A Sense Of Belonging

All these years I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing when I work out, I’ve been focusing on the exercise, but really I should have been focusing on the people. What I’ve come to know is a sense of belonging in a non-judgmental fitness environment that pushes me harder than I have ever pushed myself before.

I may never love exercise for the sake of exercise, but I love the pursuit of shared goals with like-minded women. Over the next few months I’m going to be introducing some of the women who are part this community, sharing their stories, their triumphs and their reflections on living with passion and purpose.

Next week – meet Brooke, the winner of Advanced Finesses 6 week challenge, and hear the secret of her success!

Mapping 16 Years of Change

Do you ever wonder where those extra KGs came from?  I remember a time when I felt great, could fit into a size 10 and wore a bikini, but it’s hard to pin-point when that actually changed.

I often blame pregnancy and think its been all down hill from there in terms of my fluctuating weight. But recently I had a bit of a shock when I created a time line mapping my weight over 16 years!

I was intrigued to see how it panned out historically, and understand what triggers (if any) I could find to explain why I’ve been battling with the scales for all this time. The time line was based on photos, feelings, memorable events (eg my wedding) and  some actual data (old Weight Watchers log books).

weight loss over time

Charting Life’s Changes

When I look at my weight historically, I can see that pregnancy was a huge factor that contributed to my early weight increases, but other peaks in my weight gain occurred around moments of disruption, such as an international move, miscarriage and relationship stress.

It’s easy to see the link between stress and weight gain, but I hadn’t considered the impact my partying had on my weight!! When we moved to Oz in 2005 we set about making friends and having big social gatherings. Each time we moved, (3 interstate & 1 international) we had to start over, and each time the partying begun again with a whole new set of people!

By 2008 you can see I was 10 Kg heavier than when I left the UK!! Much of that is as a result of living in the extremes of life; either having a really good time partying or having a really bad time missing family! Before I created this timeline I would never have realized that my current weight gain stems from this, I was still blaming pregnancy!!

Creating the timeline has been an inspiring activity, as it’s put my current achievements into perspective. I can see a long-term downward trend forming and this has helped to pop some of my negativity bubbles!

Popping The Negativity Bubbles

When I first began my 6 week challenge back in August I was giving myself a hard time about believing I could do it. I was habitually telling myself that I was incapable of change because I’d been stuck at the same weight for as long as I could remember. Well, this timeline certainly cleared that one up; I’ve been all sorts of weights and rarely the same weight!!

I’ve blown another myth out of the water too – the ‘I always put weight back on’ myth! I have proof that I’ve been steadily losing since 2008! That loss wasn’t significant enough to be seen on a weekly basis, and it’s only over a few years that I can see it has happened.

But you know what the most exciting thing of all is? The most recent shift…it’s been 10 years since I was my current weight and that really is something to celebrate (but not too much!)

Talking of Celebrating

The impact of those daily choices add up over time, and just like the slow increase of 10kg after arriving in Oz, now I control the choices that will see the steady decrease; and that does mean no less wine!

The choices I make on an hourly, daily and weekly basis are the little changes that will make the big differences over time. This inspires me to make every choice a good one!

(And if I have a splurge on a piece of cake, then I will make the next choice a better one!)

(As opposed to saying ‘f**k it!’ and eating ice-cream, chips and chocolate after the cake because I might as well trash the day not just the meal!)

Choices…you have the power!!

 

Lisa is participating in a Mind & Body Transformation program at Advanced Fitness.

Sign-up to mummy2mum to receive weekly posts by email & follow Lisa’s ups (and downs,)discover recipes and empower yourself to change.

 

Reflecting On 6 Weeks Of Transformation

change your lifeThe 6 Week Mind & Body Transformation Challenge came to an end last week, and as I prepare to embark on the next 6 week challenge I’m reflecting on the transformation I’ve experienced over the last 6 weeks.

At the beginning of the challenge I spent time finding my why;  when I re-read that post today I realise how far I’ve come. The behaviors that have been keeping me locked in a cycle of negative thinking have changed – I’m no longer getting undressed with the lights off, I’m not eating behind the pantry door and I’ve stopped editing myself out of the family photos!

Fear of No Change

Your life does not get better by chance.

It gets better by change.

Jim Rohn

One of my biggest fears before starting the challenge was that I wouldn’t be able to change. This fear has taken root so deeply in my mind, that the slightest disappointment on the scales sent it into over drive! It felt as if a part of me was just waiting to get confirmation that I can’t change.

Why is it that we’re so willing to accept our failings but so reluctant to believe that we can be successful?

Over the last 6 weeks I lost 5 cm from around my waist but only 1.5kg and guess what? My mind wants to focus on the disappointing weight loss rather than the impressive cm loss!

Moving Forward

Whilst I’m ramping up for the next 6 week challenge, I’m also  reflecting on my previous goals. My main goal was to lose 6kg, but I only got 1/4 of the way towards it. But maybe I should re-phrase that;

I’m a quarter of the way closer to achieving my ultimate goal!

Now that’s worth celebrating!!

I’m approaching the next 6 weeks with more experience, knowledge and self belief. I’ve been inspired by the achievements of the women who I’m working alongside in Advanced Fitness; with they’re support, my determination and planning I’m optimistic that the next 6 weeks will bring me even closer to my ultimate goal.

A Take-Away From The Last Challenge

Here’s the learning I’ll take away from the last 6 weeks.

weight loss and body change

Do you have any more recommendations to help me on the next challenge? I’d love to hear your advice in the comments!

This post is shared with the Candid Cuddles Link-up

candid cuddles linky

Page 1 of 712345...Last »