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Using Your Mala Beads To Cultivate Gratitude

It can be so easy to be distracted and preoccupied by everything going on around us, especially in this age of cellphones and over stimulation. I will be the first to admit that I look at my phone too often and check my social media accounts more than I should around my kids. So what can we do to slow that down and grab a little perspective?

I love to have disconnected weekends. It’s a great way to appreciate each other as a family and find that quality time without the distractions of school, work, activities that need to be done during the week.

But for every day connection, I turn to my mala beads. My favorite time to meditate is at night once the kids have gone down. I often used to sit outside under the stars and in the silence and that’s where I found the most peace. Now that it’s winter I settle in by the fire, or my bed and I reflect on the day.

I start with all the “bad” things that happened. Did I yell, or get upset today, and was it the right way to go about it? Did I apologize to my kids after I got upset, and how can I handle it going forward? I find as mother’s we cultivate a lot of guilt, and we just have to reflect and meditate upon it and let it go. We can’t change what happened, but we can learn from it.

I spend a lot more time focusing on the good things that happened that day, and how incredibly lucky I am to have the life I do. Focusing on gratitude is the main intention. Throughout the day I touch my mala beads when I’m happy so that it gives my beads that energy. Later when I’m going through my mantra I can feel the positive energy already there.

It’s not easy to always feel gratitude. The days are long, the sleep is short and sometimes there just isn’t enough time to appreciate everything around us. Using your mala beads as a touchstone throughout the day is one way to start, and the days reflection is the best way to tie it all in. Whether you start your day off with the intention of gratitude, or end the day with the knowledge of gratitude, your mala beads will be with you.

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

My Motherhood: Mecoh Dixon

For the My Motherhood series, we ask different women the same series questions about mindfulness and motherhood to see what works for other women, but also to show how even though we may be different, we are all in this together.

Today I'm really excited to be featuring Mecoh Dixon on our My Motherhood blog. Mecoh is the woman behind an amazing blog that's for the free-spirited, modern, mindful women called Lionheart Mamas. Keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram!

What does your perfect day look like?

My perfect day starts early, alone, over a cup of coffee and podcast while my family sleeps. In the summer, you can find me in the early hours on the deck enjoying fresh air. When my family wakes, breakfast is a must and you can find my daughter on the counter helping prepare it. I would fill our day with some travel, exercise and creativity. We are always out and about exploring local neighbourhoods, road tripping or backpacking internationally. We love adventure and meeting new people. My husband Kevin and I both played college level sports (football and basketball), so we need to be moving. Creatively, we paint, write and read. As a family we’re trying our best to journey towards a lifestyle that is slow and simple. One day we’d like to be in a tiny house living abroad. That’d be the perfect day.

Do you have any daily rituals you use to center yourself?

Yes, my quiet time in the morning is essential to my self-care practice and allows me to center myself for the day, week, and season. Whether I find myself listening to a podcast, out for a walk, or practicing yoga, this time helps me align my energy and intentions. I also use the time to write affirmations and express gratitude –a daily journaling practice.

As a mother, I spend a significant amount of time nurturing and caring for others with my mind, body and soul. If I fail to stay centered and aware of my emotions and energy, I can be left depleted grasping for quiet and space. It is vital that I show up for myself through nurturing my creative and free spirit it allows me to be the best version of me for myself and family.

How do you make time for the different facets of your life?

Each day, with life’s ebbs and flows, I am learning what balance means to me, it changes with each season. I am a mother, a wife, I work full time, I am an aspiring entrepreneur, a traveler, a creative and a wannabe blogger. It would all be easy if I was one-dimensional. However, my priority is me, my marriage and my little family of three (plus puppy). In order to protect our magic, I’ve learnt to set boundaries and become okay with saying no. I have had to let go of people, commitments, and expectations that didn’t leave me feeling enriched and full of light. I find self-care time before my family wakes and after they’ve gone to bed. Creativity and exercise is easier when my family is involved. After work, I decompress and disconnect from work to be present with my family from 5-8:30pm when my daughter goes down. I don’t have it all figured out, but that’s the beauty of life. Some days are coffee fueled, while others require naps.

Do you have any special family rituals?

Yes, each day on our commute to daycare Xaria and I recite affirmations or power words. The statements include; I am kind and friendly, I love myself, I make a difference, I am smart and powerful. Also, Sundays are the one day we try our very best to stay disconnected from our phones. Lastly, evenings are always dedicated to us, even if one of us has a game we are all on the sidelines supporting one another.

What is the best advice you have ever given or received about motherhood?

The best motherhood advice I’ve ever received and give is to let it go and practice grace. Let go of the expectations of perfection. Let go of comparison. Let go of the negative self-talk. Let go of the mistakes. Each day we have an opportunity to live a life that ignites our spirit, to fuel our heart with love, and nourish our minds with grace and that’s exactly what we should be doing.

What is your favourite part of motherhood?

There is so much I love about motherhood; watching her sleep in my arms, her hugs after daycare, co-sleeping, “mama” in the morning, nursing, baby wearing/hip slinging, and brushing her hair. My favourite part of motherhood is learning alongside my daughter. As she grows into her personality I am learning how to connect, teach, discipline, and speak to her. She teaches me something every day about myself, life, and motherhood. Consistently she inspires me to view the world with an open heart. It’s beautiful to watch her explore lifes simple joys. Additionally, the motherhood community – online and offline, has claimed a powerful space in my life. The sisterhood that I found connecting with other women is irreplaceable and I’ve been called to share, build and cultivate it through Lionheart Mamas.

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

How To Choose The Perfect Set Of Mala Beads

One of the questions we get asked the most is how to know which set of mala beads are right for you. It can be so hard to choose, when deciding between stones that you love, descriptions that resonate, and a gut feeling for one that doesn’t seem like it should be right at all.  

Hopefully this guide will provide a bit of insight into how we choose our own mala beads, and how you can find the perfect match for where you are in your journey right now.

In order to choose your perfect mala, you must first see what intentions you are meaning to find, and what your journey needs. Are you looking to cultivate strength, security, happiness or more grounding? Keep those intentions in mind as you start browsing the mala beads.

As you look at the malas, read deeper into the meanings of the ones that catch your eye. Pay attention to any physical sensations you notice as you look at the stones and read the descriptions.  As you do this, there will be one mala that you keep coming back to and the answer will become clear.

But sometimes it’s not as clear cut and you will find yourself coming back to a mala that doesn’t seem to align with your goals and intentions. This is almost always the perfect mala for you. I find that our hearts know what we need before our head has time to catch up.  What we consider beautiful and are drawn to is influenced by the needs of our soul.

Once you have chosen your perfect set of mala beads, you will begin to carry your intentions and energy you set with you throughout the day. A quick recharge or a moment of mediation is right with you. It’s a wonderful daily reminder to take time for yourself, and honor your intentions and live in the moment  as you care for others.

Sometimes you will be drawn to more than one mala, and that is totally natural. We are multidimensional and have more than one intention, vision and path. Some days you may need more peace and calm, and others you may need strength or grounding to help you through the day.  

Photo Courtesy of @thissweetove

Whichever mala you choose, we hope you absolutely adore it and it brings you much joy.

Still having  trouble finding your perfect match? Send an email to hello@mamamalas.com. We would love to help!

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

Creating A Fall Equinox Ritual For The Entire Family

With Autumn upon us we start to head towards the slower, cozy pace that fall brings. The wild fast paced days of summer make way for slow rejuvenating days of fall and we take time to reflect and go inward as the days begin to shorten.

While the Northern Hemisphere is welcoming spring after a winter, the Southern Hemisphere is in a time of harvesting and getting ready for the long winter ahead. The hemispheres are almost playing out like a birth and death of Mother Earth at this time.

When day and night are of equal time, we have a powerful energy and harmony between the time of creation (which is the night), and manifestation (day). The Fall Equinox is a time to gather (both physically and emotionally), and release. I’ll share some rituals I love to do with my family that you can use to tap into this energy to create your unique family rituals that help you to release and go inwards.

Reflect and Let Go

You will need:

-A pen and paper

-Candle

-A bowl with water, and some herbs (or chamomile tea)

-Your favorite crystal or mala

Find a quiet place and place the bowl down and light the candle, placing it beside the bowl.  Meditate with your malas or crystal to help clear your mind, taking deep breaths through your nose. Place the herbs into the water (or if you have the tea, make sure it’s not in the bag), and stir in a clockwise motion 5 times to gain energy. Write down what you’d like to release in your life, and say it out loud 3 times (the kids may need help doing this part, or you can write it for them). Then fold up the paper and place it into the water. Stir the water again until the paper gets soggier. Hold up the bowl to your heart and state out loud, “I release this”, and dump the water out. You can dump the water into a sink, or outside (the paper can get thrown away).

You can keep the candle burning as long as possible as long as long as it’s in a safe spot.

Cleanse The House

Although spring cleaning seems automatic, there are huge benefits to doing a deep clean as the fall equinox approaches as well.

Since we are approaching the days of cozying up indoors, it is so nice to have a clean, organized and welcoming space to come home to. I also love getting the kids involved in cleansing the space with our palo santo or sage cleansing sticks to release any stagnant energy and reset the energy in the house.

We love to gather toys, clothes, and even non-perishable food to give to families that are in need as we reflect on our gratitude for the abundance surrounding us.

Head Outdoors

Fall is my favorite season, and I absolutely adore the trees changing color, the crisp air and the feeling of being cozy. My kids love to play outside, so go on those last hikes and bike rides, and make sure to rake up piles of leaves and jump in them!


We’d love to see how you celebrated the Fall Equinox! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram!

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

My Motherhood: Logan Kinney

For the My Motherhood series, we ask different women the same series questions about mindfulness and motherhood to see what works for other women, but also to show how even though we may be different, we are all in this together.

I'm so excited to be featuring Logan Kinney on the Motherhood blog today. A yoga teacher, and fitness coach of her own business, High Vibe Wellness for Women. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Facebook!

 

What does your perfect day look like?


I love leisurely mornings, so the perfect day would start off slow. I would drink a nice hot coffee with almond milk in bed, hopefully snuggling my little one and my cat. Then I would make a smoothie and take it outside to drink, and sit with my hubby. I would have time to walk a few blocks in the sunshine to the yoga studio for a hot yoga class. That is my favorite type of yoga! I need to move and sweat once a day for not only my physical, but my emotional well being too! When I was finished we would get into the car and head to the Hot Springs in the mountains (can you tell I like the heat?). The Hot Springs are what made me fall in love with Colorado, since I am originally a beach-going, east coaster! The weather would be warm and sunny, and we would swim together as a family. After that, we would head to a brewery together, and drink a nice local beer outside. Ahhh. 

 


Do you have any daily rituals you use to center yourself?


I try to draw a card daily, either a tarot card or an affirmation card. It gives me at least one minute to be silent, sit still, and just listen to the universe. To hear my higher self, guardian angels, spirit guides... whatever you choose to call them. This really helps me guide my day, and remember that even though there is so much going on...only love and light are real. Do I forget this and get distracted by the little things? All the time! That's why I try to pull a card daily to center my internal compass. At the end of the day, I always burn incense, turn on the salt lamps and burn either sage or Palo Santo. Helps me release the day and relax!

 


 

How do you make time for the different facets of your life?


I have learned over the years of being a mom that self care must be a priority. I make sure that my health and wellness comes first. Sometimes it is just a half hour workout at home, sometimes it is a yoga class.  But I need to take care of myself first.  If you don't make your health and happiness a priority, no one else will. Even if it means other things don't happen (dishes, cleaning), I put the things that lift me up first on the to-do list. I try to remember that everything is a choice! I can choose to exercise and breathe, and get my glow on! Or I can chose to resentfully run the vacuum cleaner and clean the bathroom sink again! I can choose to hit snooze one more time, or I can choose to get out of bed and live life as a gift. I have been through some pretty devastating anxiety and depression, and it taught me that I need to prioritize myself above all else! I choose me. 

 


Do you have any special family rituals?


Every night I tell my son Wes how grateful I am for him. I let him know how much I love him, how kind he is, and how he makes me laugh. I really am so grateful he picked me for his mama!

 

 

What is the best advice you have ever given or received about motherhood?


One of my favorite motherhood quotes, which also makes me laugh is, "To be honest, I'm just winging it. Life, motherhood, eye liner. Everything."


It is such a great reminder to have some humor and not take yourself so seriously! Even if you have read all the parenting books, taken all the classes, sometimes you just have to wing it! I think all of us mamas have moments when we feel like a hot mess! But, we keep on going! The spilled juice box, the messy hair, it's just not that serious. And none of us truly know what we are doing!



What is your favourite part of motherhood?


Being a mother has given me the chance to experience and practice unconditional love. The love we feel for our children is truly like no other. It is such a big love, so pure that sometimes it almost hurts. And we love our children through it all. The late night breastfeeding sessions, the temper tantrums at the grocery store, sweaty, sticky popsicle-stained fingers holding our faces in their tiny hands. Our capacity to love and to BE LOVED grows, and it is such a gift. 

Not only do we have this love for our children, but we get to practice loving ourselves unconditionally. We love our new changing bodies, and we forgive ourselves daily for the ways we have not lived up to our (often highly unrealistic) expectations. "Did I yell too much? Did we eat well? Did I finish the laundry for tomorrow?"

More important to ask, "Can I forgive myself? Can I see myself as a human who will never be "perfect" and yet is so, so worthy of love? A mama who loves with all her heart, and is doing her best, and that is enough? So, so wonderfully, magnificently enough?"


Motherhood made me learn that we must truly love and give to ourselves, so that we can give to our little ones. 


My favorite part of motherhood is the love.

 

 

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

Mala Stories: Jenna on Acceptance and Faith

The Mala Stories highlight women that use motherhood as a catalyst for personal growth, strength, and connection. Showing that Motherhood isn’t something that robs you of your time and identity, but rather is something that brings to the surface a deeper connection to yourself, your community and the universe. That motherhood can be a time when you shed your insecurities, and self-doubt to step fully into the woman you are meant to be.

Today, we are thrilled to have Jenna's second installment, a courageous and beautiful story about surprises, fears, and ultimately, finding peace and letting go.

Jenna is a mother of 5, a wife and a brilliant photographer of Hobbs Photography.

 

When the twins were six months, my doctor suggested birth control, and amongst the blur of sleepless nights, breastfeeding them both, plus the energetic older children I had... "Yes." Was my response. "Yes, I do."

The Copper IUD sounded good and just like that I was worry free and content with our family of six. We agreed four kids was a good balance. We agreed that after surviving the newborn stage of twins we were happy to be done with babies and it felt right with each baby item that left the house. We were complete. Happy. Ready for whatever was next...

The twins weren't quite two yet and it was ordinary days. My eldest at school while I got to stay at home and soak up all those amazing moments, days, years with the three littlest. I love these years, I wish they would last forever... I swear I didn't say that out loud.

During these usual days of motherhood and life, I began to feel tired, nauseous and I could describe it no better way than, I was pregnant. We joked and said I must have mono, or an iron deficiency because I was not pregnant, I could not be pregnant, I had an IUD and had for over a year. I went to my doctor who assured me I was not pregnant and sent me for some tests but Travis, my husband, insisted I take the test before he went out of town for a couple weeks. I remember saying, "Okay, but I am 99.4% sure that it's going to be negative." Imagine our surprise. Our shock. Our confusion. Our 0.6%.

After google, nervous laughter, wide eyes and Travis offering to drive the thirty minutes to town to buy another test, I learned that this is rare, but can happen. I learned that actually quite a few women have gotten pregnant with an IUD and it most cases have it removed and go on to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. So I went to the doctor expecting to do so. But it turned into an emergency ultrasound when the IUD couldn't be found. I ironically prayed it fell out and it had not migrated into my uterus. The latter was true.

At this point, I wanted facts. I am a science girl. I wanted numbers, facts and statistics in which to base my emotions. The chances of a miscarriage if I took it out, so deep in my uterus. The chance of having a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. The chance of miscarriage or preterm labour. I didn't get any facts, nor the doctor or OBGYN could give me any.  I was told it was rare. I was told that I could have the IUD taken out, but this would probably cause miscarriage or compromise my cervix, unable to carry a baby full term. A pregnancy we didn't really want in the first place. Or I could keep both the IUD and baby, and take the risk of a miscarriage or preterm labour. No percentages. No chances. Just a decision I had to make.

I was mad, upset, confused. I had to make a decision, about a baby I didn't ask for. About a baby I took precautions to not have.

I was a mother. A mother to four, well I saw it as five, I was pregnant. How could I say no? I was capable, and something, some small thing in my gut said I needed to let it be. I was most content in the fact to let whatever may happen - a miscarriage, preterm labour, or a healthy fifth child - happen, without my or anyone's interference. Let nature, fate, whatever it may be, happen. So this baby and this IUD I would keep.

I had to take on the heartache of deciding to have and want this baby, but also with the circumstance of possibly losing this baby. At the same time, I had to let go of my fears of adding another child, becoming a family of seven. Seven. Where would they all sleep? Would they fit in the minivan? How was I suppose to leave the house?

When I attended my first midwife appointment I discovered that one of my midwives, was an IUD baby, an IUD baby that shared a uterus a whole 40 weeks with a similar piece of metal to what I housed, I couldn't help but feel hopeful.

Each week passed by and the fear slowly turned to joy. I was constantly aware of what stage of development the baby was in, in case something happened. When I hit the thirty weeks, thirty two, thirty three, I was confident and most of my fears faded and were replaced with anticipation and joy for what life has brought us. I forget that it's even in there. The IUD. Now 38 weeks.

The experience has taught me so much. So much about life. About how we can try to plan, we can think we have things in our hands, but ultimately it is how we live, how we react to what life gives us. We are so small in this big beautiful thing called life. It has taught me value. To be thankful for everything I do have. For my babies. For my health. For my fertility, for my uterus, for my ability as a women. It has centered me. It has made me a stronger woman. I am a strong woman. A mom to five children. Five. How lucky. How very lucky I am.

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

Top 5 Family Destinations To Connect With Nature

By the end of summer, we can all start to get restless, and hope for something to keep the kids entertained while not being overwhelmed. Sure fairs and theme parks are fun, but do our kids really get a sense of presence and peace from them? Probably not. I’ve put together a list of destinations in North America where you can connect with nature, your family, and create amazing memories for years to come.



Stand Tall

I didn’t think anything is cooler than trees when I was a kid. My grandparent’s had an amazing, huge tree in their backyard that we always climbed that made me feel like I was on top of the world.The kid in me would have been thrilled to visit some of the tallest trees in the world.

In Redwood National Park in California you can walk among the 2,000 year old trees that are 375 feet tall. There are hiking trails, biking trails, horseback riding and camping. Sleeping under the stars with the colossal trees sounds like a perfect way to end the day.

For more information, click here.

 

Can You Dig It?

The Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology. Not only do they have the world’s largest number of dinosaurs on display, there is a lot of other great activities to do in and around the museum! Kids and adults will love this day of learning and discovery.

Drumheller is in the Alberta badlands, which offer amazing guided or solo hiking excursions. In the badlands you will also find hoodoos, canyons, ghost towns and a suspension bridge.

End the day at one of the many campsites, and enjoy the sun setting over the red rocks.

For more information on the Royal Tyrrell Museum, click here.

For information on exploring the badlands, click here.

 

Celebrate Canada!

Canada celebrated 150 years this year, and the Canadian National Parks are offering free admission for the year! Whether it’s a staycation, or a destination for your family, Canada is a beautiful country with an amazing landscape of the sea, mountains, and everything in between!

The Rocky Mountains are my backyard, so I’m a little partial to Banff National Park and the surrounding area. Start the day with one of the many incredible hikes for all ages and skill levels,  canoe on scenic Lake Louise, and stop to enjoy the breathtaking views of Morainne Lake (pictured) during an afternoon picnic. If you’re lucky you might even get to spot an elk, coyote, bear or a moose. End the night under the stars camping in one of the beautiful mountain campsites, or spend the night at a castle like Banff Springs hotel!

Wherever you stay, or whatever activities you decide to do, the kids will definitely be in awe of their surroundings.

 

For more information on all of Canada’s National Parks, click here.

 

Paradise Found

Of course Hawaii is going to be on this list...it’s cliche, yes. But have you experienced Hawaii before? If you have, then you now what I’m feeling.

Hawaii is truly one of the most magical places in the world. You feel it as soon as you get off the plane. Yes, there are beaches, and yes they are amazing. But there’s so much more to do in Hawaii, on all the islands.

Kauai is my favorite island because it’s very lush. It has Waimea canyon, which is a full day hike, kayak tours up the Wailua River which ends with a short hike to a hidden waterfall.

The Big Island has an active volcano you can tour, rainforests to explore, and desert areas.  Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, and you can take a tour to the top to watch the sunset and the most amazing star show you’ll ever see! What better way to reconnect with family and nature then seeing the universe unfold before your eyes?

All the islands offer fishing, snorkeling, hiking, camping, surfing...you name it. It has so much beauty everywhere you look, it takes your breath away.

For these and more adventures in Hawaii, click here.

 

Look In Your Own Backyard

Whether it’s your own backyard, a staycation, or a destination, immerse your soul in nature with your family. Explore, reconnect, ground yourself in the beauty that surrounds us.Those little day trips to places nearby can have an amazing effect on the being and create lifelong memories. Check out camping spots, day trips or new trails you haven’t explored yet!

 

We’d love to see where your family adventures this summer! Tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

 

 

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Using Mindful Accessories to be more present, patient and intentional with the ones you love.

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