After years of restless monkey mind attempts, I’ve finally cemented a daily meditation habit I wouldn’t want to live without. I owe it all to the free Insight Timer Meditation app.
I wrote about my trial of several meditation apps here. Insight Timer meditations quickly won me over and my app stats show that in the past 12 months I’ve done 412 meditation sessions! I’m kind of a stats geek and not wanting the counter to return to zero is what initially motivated me to keep going. Now I do it because I love the new voice in my head that helps me to be a nicer person to myself and others.
I love to wake up in the morning to ‘beditate’ without even getting out from under the cozy covers.
The best thing about Insight Timer meditations are the vast choice of guided recordings of varying lengths and themes. Rather than one voice – there are males and females in many accents and styles, with or without background music. It’s like reading a few pages from an inspiring personal growth book every single day and becoming a better version of me with each short session. I’m doing a lot less future tripping and past looping as I learn to live more in the present moment.
There’s also a unique sense of community. When you complete a meditation it shows you a map of how many other people were meditating with you all over the world. That number keeps increasing as more people are discovering the app.
I’ve started a Project Me for Busy Mothers group within the app where we share our favourite meditations – there are hundreds of us there now. Come and join in by going to ‘Groups’ then searching for Project Me for Busy Mothers.
Here’s my compiled list of specific meditations that target the emotions we often feel as mothers. Anger, frustration, self-doubt, anxiety, low moods. I’ve also included some wonderful guided visualisations to help you to manifest your dreams and goals.
It was super challenging to narrow it down to 10, but doing the research (or shall I say me-search!) was fun. I do love my ‘job’. Here are the ones that have made the final cut and the reasons why I love them.[more]
You know that little voice in your head that knows the answers? The one that guides you in the right direction and helps you make good decisions? Chances are you don’t.
We all have an internal GPS, otherwise known as intuition, but in our busy lives, we’ve lost touch with it.
Back in caveman days (before smartphones, social media and Netflix), humans relied on their intuition or ‘sixth sense’. They perked up if a predator was within miles. They instinctively knew where to source food and water.
These days our lives are so overstimulated that messages from our intuitive guide are drowned out. A Mother’s Intuition has been sadly replaced by a Google searches engine.
Our sixth sense, now seldom used, is in danger of being evolutionarily phased out. Being able to see into the future or past is a weird and creepy thing that we no longer understand.
What a waste of a really valuable sense, huh? Losing your intuition because you never use it is like [more]
Thank you for reading my blog! I’ve compiled a list with easy links to the top six most popular blog posts written in 2016 in case you missed any of them or want to re-read. The comment threads beneath these posts are worth gold. Thanks to everyone who jumped in with their own words of wisdom or shared their struggles. It helps us to see that we’re not alone and inspires us to take action.
I’m over the moon to hear how Project Me has improved mother’s lives in so many amazing ways. I welled up with tears as I read hundreds of responses to my Autumn survey.
I asked permission to print some, like this one from Lisa:
“I do the Life Wheel tool quarterly, and encourage my girlfriends to do the same. A couple years back when I saw that my work area was very low (as a stay at home mom), I made the decision to get my Master’s in Education. I graduated in May and am now working with English Language Learners. I am so very fulfilled helping and empowering my students.” That put such a HUGE smile on my face! GO LISA!
And this from Lauren:
“I had completely lost my voice – I had no idea who I was as a person. The Project Me Life Wheel was the first tool that actually helped me organize my thoughts and my fears in a way that was empowering rather than overwhelming. It helped me pick one thing to focus on improving. Once a month I plan on doing a check in with the Project Me Life Wheel so I don’t get so anxious again.” Well done Lauren! Monthly check-ins are the key to becoming the expert of yourself so you can learn from what’s not working and do more of what is.
There are too many to include here, but I send a huge FIST PUMP to each and every one of you for all big and small steps in the right direction. YES! Keep going!
Now without further ado – drum roll please…[more]
Is mom guilt / mummy guilt taking up too much of your valuable headspace and eating away at your happiness?
How often do you have thoughts like:
I shouldn’t be working – my kids need more attention.
I should be working so we can afford more for the kids / I can be a better role model for my daughter / I can use my brain.
I didn’t spend enough time playing with my child today.
I didn’t get anything done today because I was playing with my child.
I let my kids eat too much junk / play too many computer games.
I’m too strict / too lenient / too inconsistent.
I didn’t make it to the gym AGAIN.
I haven’t sent out the thank you cards.
I’ve got nothing decent to make for dinner.
I was so moody and mean last night.
It goes on and on and on….
Some guilt is pointless and soul destroying. We ‘should’ all over ourselves, ruminating over small things that don’t really matter or big things we can’t do anything about.
Could some of those guilty feelings be a signal to look at parts of your life and see where you might not be living in alignment with your values? Could uncomfortable pangs help you to pay closer attention and motivate you to make changes? Could guilt be the push you need to do things differently?[more]
Here I am, turning the big 5-OH and I’m excited to ring in a new decade of life. I’m a firm believer that age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
I’m intrigued to explore what birthday-lovers have that birthday-dreaders don’t.
After all, growing older is inevitable. Getting old is optional.
Much of it appears to be a mindset thing.
I remember several of my friends getting freaked out about turning 30. Those same friends now look back at photos from that time and can’t get over how young they looked! If only they’d appreciated it at the time.
It’s time to start appreciating the age you are now. When you look in the mirror, take a mental snapshot and imagine looking at it again when you’re 80. You’ll think you looked a million bucks – because you do.
About 10 years ago I read Deepak Chorpra’s book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: A Practical Alternative to Growing Old. He lays down scientific evidence to show the mind-body connection to ageing. When you think old, your cells respond and begin deteriorating faster! Doesn’t that inspire you to change your mindset about ageing? Your thoughts create your reality!
Here are my top 6 tips to hep you feel young and stop dreading your birthday.
Personal Growth is one petal on the Project Me Life Wheel®, yet Project Me as a whole is about your personal development. Life never stands still, it’s constantly evolving and changing. You can either see it as a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride, or you can find ways to make it all less hair-raising.
Focusing on your self-development is far from selfish. When you transform yourself, you transform the world around you including, of course, your immediate family.
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘If mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!’ and this is certainly true from my perspective. Just ask my family.
It’s normal to flit back and forth between your Best Version (the one who’s patient, calm, kind, relaxed and lighthearted) and your Poor Version (you know, that other one who’s irritable, impatient, worried or overwhelmed).
I’m normally a positive and energetic person. I talk and move fast, my brain is filled with a steady flow of non-stop ideas and I rarely feel bored.
So feeling a complete lack of motivation over these past few weeks has been very strange and unusual.
It started with a horrible stomach virus which morphed into a bad cold and cough. But even 10 days later when I ‘should’ have felt back to normal, I couldn’t muster up an ounce of enthusiasm for anything.
I didn’t want to work – which has never happened since starting Project Me. I didn’t want to socialise, I couldn’t be bothered to think about food or cooking. My poor family.
I wasn’t depressed and I didn’t feel hopeless. I just had a drawn-out case of the Blahs. Yes, it’s happened to the Mama Motivator herself![more]
I’m thrilled that Project Me has made a great list of 25 Must-Read Personal Development Blogs, especially given that I share the bill with one of my personal faves, Gretchen Rubin.
Gretchen first came onto my radar several years ago with her book The Happiness Project. She’s as fascinated with happiness, human behaviour and habits as I am!
I once spent five consecutive days sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, surreptitiously observing and writing down where people chose to sit and which magazines they shuffled through. The following week I did a similar same thing in a cafe.
Before you assume I’m some kind of weirdo, It was for my sociology class at university.
Gretchen’s latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives, explores how habits affect your life in both good and bad ways. She uses herself, her friends and her family as guinea pigs to test out various theories, which makes it more fun to read than the other books on habits I’ve delved into – and never quite finished…
I especially love her Four Tendencies framework to help people understand how they tend to respond to expectations, both inner and external.
As a productivity and goals coach for mothers, it’s useful for me to understand if the person I’m working with needs my accountability (ie: a kick up her backside to make sure she follows through!), or if she’ll rebel against that and needs to do things her own way. Others respond better to lots of useful information. Once they have the facts, they make decisions they trust.
Since we’re all different, self-understanding is the key to reaching our goals and mastering our habits.
You can take Gretchen’s online quiz to find out [more]
Feel like you ‘should’ be meditating, but never really manage to get into it?
Have a monkey mind and can’t stop the endless chatter running through your head?
I hear you!
For years I tried to develop a meditation practice. I’d heard all of the amazing benefits, including less stress and anxiety, the ability to manage emotions, unwind and be more present.
Yet all I seemed to accomplish in a session was mentally scanning my to-do list or pondering what I should make for dinner.
Now I’m using guided meditation apps. They give my mind something positive to latch on to so I won’t automatically go off on a wild thought tangent.
I’ve been experimenting with several meditation phone apps. Here are some great ones and in the comments below, please share any you like too.[more]
I recently had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk in Madrid by Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of the wonderful book ‘Thrive’.
The subject of her talk was one very close to my heart: Balance & Mindfulness.
When she asked if anyone had any questions, my hand shot up. Before I knew what was happening, a microphone was thrust into my hand and I was told to stand up and introduce myself.
I’m a huge admirer of Arianna, so my face burned and heart raced, but I believe it went something like:
Hi Arianna, I’m Kelly Pietrangeli of Project Me for Busy Mothers and I help women find a happier balance between the kids – and everything else. (Whew! All of those months of memorising my ‘cocktail line’ paid off!)
My busy mother readers and clients all say the same thing:
‘My to-do list is never ending! There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done.’
They go to bed feeling exhausted and guilty for everything they haven’t managed to get done.
Arianna, what would you say to the mother with the never-ending to-do list?
There’s always going to be your to-do list. But you also need a gratitude list. Every single day, write at least three things you’re feeling grateful for.
The more gratitude you have for all of the people and things you have in your life, the more grace you’ll extend yourself for not ‘getting it all done’. Focus on what you achieved each night before bed, not on what you didn’t manage to do.
Of course, this made my heart sing, and if you’ve been following Project Me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m always banging on about gratitude as a daily practice.
When’s the last time you had a date with yourself? Just you and nobody else but you?
This isn’t necessarily about booking in for a well-deserved massage or pedicure or treating yourself to a trashy magazine with your feet up. (Although I’m a big fan of this kind of self-care!)
It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day whirlwind of life that you fall into bed at night without any chance for planning or reflection.
Then the next morning you start the whole crazy routine all over again!
Making a date with yourself is an essential part of your productivity and your personal growth.
I’ve got a friend who heads to a cozy local cafe with low lighting and comfy sofas every Sunday evening while her lovely husband stays behind with their two young children. (Don’t you just want to hug him?)
He knows how important it is for her to get out of the house and have some time for herself. She uses this weekly date with herself to recharge and reconnect.
She spends the time getting clear about her goals, journal writing and doodling.
She’s set herself five non-negotiable rules:[more]
If you could choose one word to sum up what you’d like out of your year ahead, what would it be?
Maybe it’s a word that describes how you want to feel? Or something you wish to accomplish?
I’ve been choosing an annual theme word for the past few years. I usually just go with my gut instinct – whatever seems to be calling me.
Then I write it down and hang it somewhere visible, as a steady reminder. I also write it in my journal and put it on a sticky note next to my computer. I’ve sometimes made a bookmark featuring my word of the year which I transfer across to whatever I’m reading each month.
And you know what? I really think it makes a difference! Here are some examples.[more]