Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes

Empowering Transformations for Healthier Homes and Families through Strategic Inspired Healing


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The Behind the Scenes Work that Creates our Good Luck

SSHHlogoLet’s get this straight. I am not LUCKY to have good kids, or healthy kids, or smart kids. When I am told that I am lucky what I hear is that whoever just said that does not see or does not value all the work that it takes on my end to create these great kids. By calling it LUCK they are avoiding thinking about all of the behind the scenes choices and actions and teachings that went into creating those kids who are now, in this moment able to do something impressive like eat with a fork or say “please and thank you”. I think when we say something like “lucky” it is a way of letting ourselves off the hook. Because accountability can be heavy and exhausting.

So this word LUCK has been on my mind and it is one of my big pet peeves. I put a lot of time and effort into parenting and I make really hard choices at times when I am exhausted and out of patience and I would rather sit down at the end of a long day, or (dare I even suggest) go to sleep. But at those times when I have the least interest and certainly not the energy, I rally and I embrace the teachable moment. I help my kid to process their day and I teach them how to reflect and learn from it and if it is too big for a little kid to handle on their own I teach them how to pray about it.

Now, back to that eating with a fork moment. I was at a dinner and someone was really impressed that my kid could sit at a table and eat real food, and even use a fork! Aren’t I lucky???? Seriously? As a new mom I thought I’d teach my kids how to eat with a fork. I’d show them how, they would master it at 1 year old, and we’d move on to the next thing. Well, it turns out that it is never that easy. Even after they have mastered the physical skill, maybe they decide they don’t want to bother. Maybe they decide it’s easier to just use their hands. Maybe they decide it’s more fun to use their toes. The list goes on. And here I sit, at the dinner table years later with little reminders and tips and what all moms have mastered which is “THE LOOK”. But none of that constant attention to detail is something that I would call “luck”. But it does work in that when we are out and they are conscious of being on their best behavior, the learning is in there somewhere and they can pull it out for special occasions. And when I hear from the host of the party or the teacher at school that my kid is the one who remembered to thank them for all that they did, I get to be proud. Not lucky, but proud. That is my reward.child-eating-fork

So, in the news this week we are inundated with stories about a good kid that went bad. I can hear the ripples of fear go through the mom community. I read an article that said that this kid was good for 20 years, and then just screwed up for 20 minutes. Like it was bad luck. As if they should not be held accountable for their actions. The parents are defending them based on the fact that they look good on paper and have good grades and are good at sports. But the real question is not how they look on paper. It is about how they act when they think that nobody can see. So how do we teach our kids to be accountable, to be responsible, and to understand that their actions have consequences? The answer is that we do it every day, in a million little ways, over and over and over. We do not get breaks. We do not get days off. We do not get credit. But those of us who are doing the hard work of parenting do not need to let the news make us fearful that all of a sudden our kid will turn out to be a criminal.

I was trying to think of one example that would help us this week when the news is especially painful on this subject. So I was thinking of when my kid was little and knocked another kid over accidentally because they were so excited to get to the playground. Their first toddler response was based on fear of getting in trouble, so they said “I didn’t do it”. So, even though I really needed to go sit on the bench and nurse the baby, I stopped and worked through the whole thing with my toddler. We reviewed how they did in fact do it, but it’s okay to say “I’m sorry, it was an accident”. They do not have to be full of guilt and shame, because it was an accident. But they do need to be aware that even though it was not done on purpose, there are still consequences. They can stop what they are doing and go and offer to help the other kid get back up. They can stop and see if they are okay. They do not have to run away in fear. So in those little moments they learn to be aware and responsive and compassionate. They may also learn that it takes more time to stop and help, so next time they may run to the playground more carefully and not knock anyone over to get where they are going.

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I am hopeful that all of those little teachable moments add up over 20 years so that my kids will remember what is important in each moment, so that they never hurt someone on purpose and have to face the consequences of 20 minutes of criminal behavior. Because that is not accidental, and it is not luck. It is the product of years of modeling and teaching, whether it is from the parents or from the attitudes and values that are passed on in so many ways by what is considered acceptable in our culture. I am sickened to read news stories where, due to so many centuries of abuse and trauma in our culture, we even have to debate whether if it is okay to hurt someone and then walk away. And if one of my kids is ever caught screwing up, I hope that in that moment I will have the courage to help them to face the consequences and do what they can to make it right and not try to get them out of it.

When faced with these news stories, we often question what we can do to avoid that with our own kids. We often act out of fear that our kid will be the one victimized and we teach our kids how to stay safe, how to be careful, how to stand up to bullies. But we need to be teaching both sides. How do we teach our kids to have integrity and character and value each and every life so that they are accountable for their actions whether or not they think someone is looking? Some days it seems like an uphill battle when our culture is teaching them to look for the quick fix, the magic pill, the easy answer, the short cut. They are used to being entertained and coddled and appeased. So the answer is not an easy one, and it is not that you just have good luck or bad luck. The answer is that we parent them and teach them all the time, even when we are tired and out of patience and don’t know what the right answer is.

I would also like to take this time to remind us all that it takes a village. So if you are the other mom on the playground or you are the parent of the bully at school, please indulge us while we take some time out of our busy schedules to teach the kids how to slow down and make the right choice in each and every moment. And to end on a good note, I would like to thank all of the people in my village who do amazing work every day. I would like to thank the schools that have included Character Education. I would like to thank the coaches and the mentors who teach them to have fun and try their best and be proud of their successes, but never at the cost of bad-sportsmanship. And I want to officially give big gold stars and special awards to the parents who are trying their best each and every day.

michelle2If anything in this post upset you or you want to talk more about it, please contact me privately and I would love to follow up with you.

 

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Your Friends Tell you When Your Trauma is Showing

Just because everyone that you know has similar symptoms, does not mean that you are healthy. But it also does not mean that feeling like that is inevitable. Over time we become relatively unaware of our shared cultural trauma. And if we cannot see the forest for the trees (because we are too busy just keeping our heads above water with our daily challenges), then it is hard to know where to start with breaking patterns and finding healthier ways to live.

You can bring more awareness to this by beginning to notice how many times you say something like:

  • Everyone in my family has…
  • Everyone over 50 has…
  • All the women in my family get…. at this age.
  • I’m always sick at this time of year.
  • etc.

As we begin to notice how many symptoms we just accept as “normal” or inevitable, then we can begin to think about the bigger picture, and maybe think about making a different choice.

I always remember this one time when I went to see some acrobats, and my first thought was that there was something weird about them that they could move and bend their bodies like that. But then I shifted my thinking to the fact that maybe all humans are created with the potential, and if I had practiced and trained since I was little, then maybe I could move my body like that too. If I had come from a family of acrobats, then I would have had that belief in myself and in my own body. And then I saw some pictures of someone in their 90’s doing some amazing yoga poses, and I thought that maybe there was still time.

sport-1281608__180I had a yoga teacher once who would have us do a twist at the beginning of class and see what was the furthest point that we could see in the room, and then we’d do it again at the end of the hour and see how much more flexible we were already. Having that shift in perspective in a measurable dose really helped me to start seeing immediate results, even if I was still not quite an acrobat. And to be completely  honest, that yoga class was geared towards regaining mobility, and I was taking it with a room full of senior citizens because I was working my way to health and mobility after a few major abdominal surgeries. And being about 30 years younger than the others in the class, I appreciated having those role models to create a healthy vision for my future self.

Read more Scientific Studies about how our thoughts create our reality.

 

As a culture we are so used to this interesting paradox of a high daily dose of stress coupled with an easy, sedentary lifestyle that we don’t even second guess our own symptoms. As a society we have weight problems, cardiovascular problems, breathing difficulties, etc. that can all be attributed to our shared cultural stress and trauma. Sometimes I see kids at school that are suffering with multiple serious symptoms and their parents think that it is fine, or that there is nothing that they can do. I have learned to read my kids symptoms as messages about something that they need.

This stressful lifestyle of keeping busy, and the constant stream of bad news and drama makes us feel like it is normal to just list what is wrong, or label ourselves with our disorders, instead of listening to our bodies and making changes.

I have learned from trying to teach about health, that the hardest thing is to change a belief in someone who is set in their ways. I can almost visibly see someone batting away the information that I am telling them if it does not match their belief structure. For example, I heard someone who threw their back out talking about how they were going to pay the bills if they were out of work for two weeks. I mentioned that there is this amazing practitioner in town that does Myofascial Release and will have them feeling better in an hour, which it totally worth getting two weeks of your life back, even if it is not covered by insurance. But they just kept going with their story about how it is required to suffer for two weeks.

And before you think that I have it all figured out, I will share that I am still working on this myself. It is really hard to change your mindset because you are so used to your own habits and your own way of thinking. This is why I am thankful to have friends that are willing to tell me when my trauma is showing. I think of it like the friends who are honest enough to tell you that you have food in your teeth. They would rather tell me the hard truth than let me keep walking around with toilet paper on my shoe. They lovingly and patiently help me to see which habits I have that are no longer serving my highest good, and they help me to expand my thinking so that I can create an even better vision for my future.

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So, who do you have in your life that is helping you to notice your unhealthy behaviors or patterns? Sometimes we need to stop and realize that the person who is bothering us and making us really angry is just there to mirror our behaviors and thought patterns so that we notice them. It can be really painful, but in the end it helps us to break the pattern and shift to a healthier way of life.

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Contact Michelle for an Empowering Transformation Session if you are ready to start shifting your mindset, releasing your trauma, and breaking the patterns that are no longer serving you.

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our programs and/or services is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice from your physician, midwife,  or other health care or mental health professional.

 

 


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Why all the fuss about Childhood Trauma?

cropped-sshhlogo.pngWhen we are stressed, we have an elaborate biochemical response that allows us to have the energy to Fight Back or Run Away. If we are met with challenges and stressful or painful situations, but we cannot fight back or run away, it is registered in the body as a Trauma. This is why Babies and Children that are not physically and emotionally capable of getting away to safety are more likely to experience trauma from stressful and painful events. The cost of this quick burst of energy is that it shuts down the immune system and the digestion. If the stressful situation is handled quickly, then everything can go back to normal. But unresolved stress can continue to impact the long-term health of these systems.

Infancy and Childhood is a very important time developmentally. Stress and Trauma during pregnancy, birth and infancy changes the way that the child’s brain and biochemistry pathways are set up, and can have implications for their long-term health. This is much different than a single incidence of a traumatic event (like a car accident) in an adult who has developed the resiliency to handle it.

Childhood trauma is more complex than we think. Sometimes there are traumas from the experiences of our grandparents that can still impact the health of our children.

Talking about infant and childhood trauma is not to make us parents feel even more guilt, but to raise awareness of why our kids may be struggling with physical or behavioral/emotional challenges, so that we can help them to start to feel better. Infant and Childhood Trauma is more common than is acknowledged. And most often it is due to things that are outside of our control as parents, and are often just a fact of our culture and our environment. But there are things that we can do to reduce their exposure and minimize the effects. If we pay attention to the cues that our babies are giving us, then we can help them to heal quickly.

Common stressful events for babies can be from totally normal things like:

  • The pregnancy is just naturally stressful because we are facing daily physical, emotional and financial/life challenges.
  • The Birth can be stressful because of physical positions where the baby feels stuck, the mom is experiencing pain, fatigue or panic, and/or there are medical interventions that may cause changes in the biochemistry, pain, and may lead to separation of the mom and baby.
  • The Postpartum period is a huge transition for both mom and baby as well as families and partners and needs a period of adjustment. If the mom is recovering from a difficult birth and/or surgery this can be an even more challenging time.

The best thing that you can do to prepare for each of these challenges is to find a compassionate, available and responsive team of care providers for prenatal, birth and postpartum support.

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Some of the physical and behavioral signs to look for in your infant include:

  • Glossed over eyes/avoidance of eye contact
  • Trouble with feeding
  • Easily startled/difficulty being soothed
  • Jerky movements/arching of the back

 

Some of the physical and behavioral signs to look for in your children include:

  • Attention Disorders/Trouble with transitions/Hypervigilance
  • Anger/Self-abuse/Tantrums
  • Dissociating/Daydreaming/Checking-out
  • Nightmares and other sleep troubles/ disturbances
  • Bedwetting/Toilet training challenges
  • Asthma/Allergy/Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Claustrophobia/Sensory/Touch Issues
  • Greater Susceptibility to Colds/Flu

 

If left unhealed, this may lead to long-term health effects in adulthood. Sometimes it seems like there is just random, undiagnosed illness and pain. In my own story, I kept getting nowhere with medications that would numb the pain, but never heal what was causing it. I was so thankful when I finally found techniques that got to the underlying cause and released that stored trauma so that my body could finally heal and then create new patterns of health.

Common outcomes of unresolved stress and trauma include: Autoimmune Diseases, Chronic Pain, Gastrointestinal complaints, Joint Pain, Increased blood pressure and cholesterol, fat around the waist, and Addictions/numbing/escaping.

The good news is that if you are reading this, then you now know that you can heal from the effects of trauma, and that if you pay attention, you can help your kids now so that they don’t have to continue to struggle. It is so much easier to heal when the trauma is more recent.

michelle twin momIf you are noticing some of the physical or behavioral signs in your child, contact me and we can work together to discover the root cause of the stress so that the trauma can be released and the body can heal.

 

I offer an Unpacking from the Journey class for Moms to process and release any trauma from the pregnancy, birth or postpartum period (no matter how long it has been since your pregnancy/birth), and I offer Postpartum Healing Home Visits for moms looking for support and healing in the weeks/months after the birth. I am also available for private healing sessions over the phone.

 

References: Scared Sick, Robin Karr-Morse http://www.amazon.com/Scared-Sick-Childhood-Trauma-Disease/dp/0465013546

https://motheringcoach.wordpress.com/my-articles/how-to-cope-with-infant-trauma/

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our programs and/or services is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice from your physician, midwife,  or other health care or mental health professional.


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Tuning in to the Muscle of your Soul with Therapeutic Yoga

cropped-sshhlogo.pngI’ve been doing yoga since college, and I’ve tried various techniques, mostly because of what classes were available and fit into my schedule. When the babies were small I took an evening class because I needed to get out of the house and see adults and I desperately needed some quiet relaxation. After my surgery I took a gentle yoga class and I was the only one there that wasn’t a senior citizen, but they could all move more easily than I could and I gently taught my muscles to move again.

Recently I’ve been using exercise videos, which are great because they allow me to stretch and greet the day without leaving my house, which works since I then have to get everyone up and out the door. But when they say on the video that I am invited to go deep within myself and let go of the distractions of the day, I kind of chuckle to myself because I know that it doesn’t always work out like that with a house full of kids.

 

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A few weeks ago, I was invited by a woman that I met at the integrative practitioners networking group to drop in for a class at her studio. I didn’t even realize that it was a “therapeutic” yoga practice, but I do love amazing moments of synchronicity, so I will take it as a sign that I was in the right place at the right time. As soon as we started, the teacher said that we were going to do a whole series for the psoas. My ears perked up immediately because there has been a lot of talk about the psoas in the doula community. Read more about the psoas and pregnancy HERE.

“The psoas is an important, yet often unknown, muscle that plays a vital role in physical health and mental wellbeing.”

psoas“The psoas is the only muscle in your body that connects your spine to your legs. That means if the psoas is tight, then it will have a direct effect on your hips, shoulders, spine, neck, legs and even down to your feet.”

“On the emotional level, the psoas is intimately tied into your sense of safety and well-being. When we are stressed, or experience any form of physical or emotional trauma from childhood or recently, your psoas will hold those emotions and feelings. Our body carries these experiences whether we are aware of it or not and if ignored for too long, they will show up as aches, pains, injuries or illness.” Read More HERE.

 

I have been supporting moms who have experienced birth trauma, and having also gone through this journey myself and knowing that there is always deeper healing that can be done, I was happy to have this time to give some love and attention to my own psoas muscles.

And we also had the opportunity to talk about more workshops that we can do to support new moms who are recovering physically, emotionally, and spiritually from the birth process and while adjusting to mothering a newborn. I have my Unpacking from the Journey class at the FLC for mom’s to heal their birth stories and I have a 6 month program for women who want to learn how to incorporate healing practices into their life, but I love the idea of a class in a yoga studio where we can also incorporate movement and even more body awareness into our practice.

yoga meditation

I’ve talked before about how there is no App that you can buy that will make you healthy. You need to tune in to your own body and listen to what it has to say (and some of us have to learn the hard way to start to listen when it is whispering to us gently that is needs attention, not screaming in pain). You also need to find ways to quiet your mind so that you can have the opportunity to learn to tap into your inner knowing.

In our modern world of running around and doing so much, it is important to carve out little bits of time for this throughout our day and learn to fit it in to our routine. I meditate while I do dishes and while I drive my minivan and while I prepare sandwiches. But, it is such a treat to really let myself go deeper and truly dive in and ask my body and my spirit what it needs.