A Skeptic Lets Go of Control

“Resist nothing,” she mentored me.

I clearly understood the subtle implication in my mentor’s advice, but something inside clung so so tightly. Holding tight to the logic I had armored myself with long before this adult moment. Holding tight to the self-imposed responsibility of seeing something through to the end. Clinging to who others wanted me to be and holding myself accountable to expectations weighing me down like iron chains. 

Our logic - the way of being we create in the world - we develop it because we are so freaking smart. It’s a defense mechanism. Survival and all that.

My logic is often this voice inside my head I gotta break bread with. She’s kind of a B.

“Resist nothing.”

“Okay,” I thought. “What would that look like? Who would I be if I resisted nothing in this moment?”

I heard the answer (I always hear my answers): “You’d be free.”

“Oh sure - FINE - let’s try it,” I thought sarcastically. And I dropped the metaphorical oars and let go.

I let go of my illusion of control.

I let go of my responsibility for other people.

I let go of the lie that I could prove my worthiness by being perfect, right, liked, whatever.

I let go of the misunderstanding that I could calculate my path to being the perfect mom.

“We’ll just see what happens,” I figured. “Nothing to lose at this point, as I’m already miserable.”

And there it was - Right where I left it: my freedom.

The real kind. Not the kind I had been deluding myself into believing I had.

I was not FREE when I only said, wrote and acted in ways that would be pleasing to other people.

I was not FREE when I clung to my role as mom, terrified work might “steal” my time.

I was not FREE when I acted out of fear or not enoughness.

I was not FREE when my husband and I sat side by side in front of our laptop, reconciling the numbers in our bank account and making a backup plan for our backup plan because my business was coming up short. Again.

I was in control, though—my logic was. And on a deep level, that felt victorious. I was in charge of what was happening (pats self on back like a dumbo), and I had built my castle with playing cards.

So I got brutally honest with myself.

What can I do to commit to my freedom?

What does freedom in motherhood look like?

What does freedom in relationships look like?

What does freedom in my business look like?

And everything shifted, from the inside out. The cards collapsed, and beside them was a tree with deep roots. Strong, trusting, resilient, no longer susceptible, and instead committed to its growth without obsessing and attaching. A tree is not proving its right to exist or racing other trees—it just grows, because, well, it’s a tree and that’s what trees do… You know where this is going… BE LIKE A TREE.

Growth: It’s the natural order of the world. We evolved from cells, after all. It’s not so outrageous to recognize our own inherent propensity towards evolution and advancement.

Trust that.

Nourish your beliefs about yourself in this logic-obsessed world—those are your roots, sister.

Climb high like that tree and help make this world more bad-ass and beautiful.

To get access to more resources allowing you to feel more freedom (the real kind), flow and fun along your journey as a Mom Boss, check out our virtual community, The Champagne Society. As soon as you join, you’ll get immediate access to a portal of trainings empowering you to juggle motherhood and entrepreneurship like a boss AND an authentic and exclusive Facebook community of real moms growing like the tallest freaking trees you’ve ever seen. They’re all waiting for you inside.

Recap of The Champagne Society SWEAT at Soul Yoga

This past Sunday morning, a group of roughly 25 mamas (and some not-yet mamas!) started filling the cozy studio of Soul Yoga. As they checked in beside a very Instagrammable wall of sprawling green plants, they looked everything from a little nervous to bubbling with excitement to hungover from Halloween parties the night before. #mypeople

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They went straight to their mats for a warm Vinyasa flow class taught by Jennifer Hess Mitchell, co-owner of Soul. The class was all-levels and there were mamas doing handstands and others who hadn’t practiced since babes were born and an overall sense of “I came here for sanctuary, not judgment or perfection.” We giggled while we stretched for our neighbor’s foot and supported it. “This is a chatty, bubbly group,” commented Mitchell.

Why, yes, of course. We are The Champagne Society. All kinds of women at all kinds of stages who know the power of a BREAK from real life, mom life or careers.

After class, we broke for Melon Magic (watermelon, mint and lemon) and Green Dream (kale, cucumber, raspberry, mint, apple, ginger, kiwi), donated by Huriyali and freshly brewed coffee by Classic Coffee, paired with healthy bites. Because we believe in balance, we mixed our juice with champagne and mingled a bit. Soon the room was buzzing as women were encouraged to introduce themselves to each other and chatted for 15 minutes as we all moved our mats to form one tight circle in preparation for part 2.

Going around the circle, I asked each woman what she came for. “Connection, a break, and inspiration” were the most common answers. Then we began the Honest Conversation with panelists and business partners, Jennifer Mitchell and Amanda Cunningham, owners of Soul Yoga. We talked about the concept of “having it all,” and how sometimes abundance shows up in forms besides money—dream homes, business opportunities, happiness, friends. Both panelists shared how their idea of balance always involves moving off center. Losing yourself to find yourself. Saying yes to other people over oneself too many times in a row and then BAM - suddenly you’re overextended, half a bottle deep and aware you are way out of alignment and have another chance to come back to center. A life practice that mirrors a meditation practice, for example.

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Jennifer casually dropped how she frequently takes “Awareness breaks,” and Amanda honestly shared what it looks like for her once she “reaches her limit.”

We stayed on that topic a while—hitting our limit. Falling apart. Judging the mess. Mamas in the circle shared their experiences of reaching the burning out point and, at the society’s request, the panel shared self-care tips for mind, body and soul.

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It was a special morning carved out for us as women outside of our roles in society, and such a different vibe from our nighttime Champagne Society events (and equally rewarding!).

Thank you again to our sponsors, Huriyali and Classic Coffee, for being part of our very first SWEAT event. To stay in the loop for our next SWEAT event, make sure you’re on The Champagne Society Insiders Email List, and you’ll be notified when new dates are released and tickets go on sale.

You Think Mothering Might Break You, But You’re Wrong

Today it nearly broke me—trying to mother.

I was not exceptional.

It was not my most shining performance of mothering while also being a mother.

But then my 5yo begged me to cuddle her. And she wasn’t sweet about it. She was angry and crying and, frankly, pretty rude. And I looked at her face, and I wanted to win. I wanted to teach her a lesson about cause and effect.

Cause: You act like a 5yo shit all day and say things that hurt my feelings because you’re testing limits and learning to express emotions and opinions.

Effect: I deny you your nighttime snuggle.

Translation: I don’t give you my love. I show you the err of your human ways by leaving you alone in your bed to cry and feel the 5yo interpretation of a) my mother is cruel, mostly because b) she doesn’t love me.

I looked at my 5yo’s face and my stubborn will (also inherited by said daughter) urged me to flee, desperate to protect me from all this messy mothering discomfort. I craved space between me and her. To rebuke her childish display of demanding more of me. More. Always more. I felt her clawing through my wall of defenses—energetically, physically, emotionally.

I closed my eyes. I took a deep breath. I brought my attention to my thoughts.

“I know you don’t WANT to, but also WHY NOT, Gervase?” I could hear my truer self gently prodding.

“Who do you want to bring to this situation?”

I looked at her face. Chin quivering. Angry tears.

“Okay,” I said quietly, laying down in her twin bed cramped with 18 tiny stuffed animals and 3 decorative pillows. 

There is realistically no way for a grown woman and small child to lay side by side in a twin bed and still maintain personal space. The 5yo inherently knows this. Soon our noses were touching and I could smell her sweet breath on my cheeks. I kissed her forehead and laid there in the dark under her bed canopy in stillness, as I felt my heartbeat slow and my tense body soften.

I felt the current of energy traveling from her body, into mine and circling back around into her—cocooning us, now that my defensive wall was down. I think they call that connection. I waited until our breathing and heart beating was in sync. And in that moment, I suddenly recognized, I was mothering her and not just performing my role as her mother. There is a difference.

“Good days and bad days - I’ll love you forever,” I whispered.

Her eyelids became heavy and she nuzzled her whole face into my neck so my chin was above her head. She was so warm and soft.

I love her so, so much.

I love being her mother and I love mothering her, and still sometimes it feels like it might break me.

Sometimes I feel maybe I am not up to this test.

Maybe I will, despite every single attempt, repeat my mother’s cycle of being a mother but not mothering.

Or maybe . . . my truer self shakes me, I won’t.

Maybe - parenting is a blurry microcosm of good days and bad days. Giving when I feel I’ve got nothing left to give, by waving the white flag and lowering the bridge.

And maybe that’s the real difference between mothering and being a mother.

Because I can say from personal experience, not all mothers need to or will choose to mother. And that’s okay. I think growing up yearning for more from my mother shaped me into the kind of mother I am.

The kind who fights this good fight every damn day, without making that my kid’s fault.

Baby girl, my hope is that you feel my mothering in your bones. You know it in your soul, long after our season of nighttime snuggles has ended. I pray you never grow up to think you were not enough or are fundamentally flawed just because I had to work at it—this mothering thing. Because I love this work. It’s my favorite. And you are my greatest teacher.

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When You Give a Mom Advice But She Asked for Camaraderie

When You Give a Mom Advice But She Asked for Camaraderie

And while mom #1 didn't explicitly ask, "Can I ask you for a judgment-free space to express the human experience I'm having?" I heard the ask in her story.

I finally interrupted, "Hey, of course we know you love your kid and are doing what you think is best. Of course you're allowed to say that it feels hard and exhausting. Of course you get to feel those feels. We hear you. We've been there. This shit is hard sometimes. Sometimes I want to go to bed at 4pm and my girls are not even that wild. No judgment, girl."

Saying Goodbye to the Mommy Soul Tribe

Saying Goodbye to the Mommy Soul Tribe

Last night I wrote a goodbye post to the Mommy Soul Tribe Facebook group I’ve grown to 1,800 members over the past 3 years, mostly through referrals. It was bittersweet to string together words that could even come close to conveying what that safe virtual village has been for me AND for other mamas during that time. This decision had been on my heart for a while and I know, deep down, it closes a chapter in my business, but also in my personal evolution.

Sometimes I Forget Who I Am

Sometimes I forget who I am.

This forgetting is like an open trap door in the floor of a gorgeous, cheery, naturally lit home that I slip through when I get careless.

Careless with my thoughts.

Careless with my people.

Careless with my goals.

Careless with my self-care.

Careless with my sovereignty.

When I forget who I am, then I forget what I need to care about.

I forget what I’m capable of, along with the types of thoughts, people, and practices I am dedicated to in the quest to always be MORE myself. (NOT more other people’s expectations of me.)

It’s like an abrupt emotional crash followed by a hit of searing pain before I land with a familiar THUD on the cold basement cement and look around, startled.

“What the . . .AGAIN? REALLY!?” I silently scream to myself. Judging the fall and stomping to my feet.

My basement is filled with creepy crawly things created to scare me into believing I’m not _____________.

“You’re not enough.”

“You’re not worthy.”

“You’re not good.”

And the most sneaky: “You are responsible.”

Luckily I’ve been flexing this muscle of mental and emotional resilience since I was 18 and I walked into my first therapist’s office. Since that moment I’ve racked up thousands of hours and dollars in people, certifications, programs, mentors, practices and books to move me from painful basements back home. Back to myself. Back to my most empowered place. The place from which I affect the most change in my life and the lives of my people - my partner, my girls’, my family and friends, my clients and tribe.

The silver lining of racking up frequent flier miles in one’s own personal hell of a mental basement - is a mere bad day or negative thought no longer holds power over me. I am less afraid. Less anxious. Less panicked. Less likely to lose myself in the dark and more likely to find the dangling chain and snap the light back on.

I am an expert at turning on lights when I accidentally find myself in dimly lit spaces.

And what I’ve found there in my brightly lit basement? None of my fears are real. No one is my enemy. I’m more than okay, and I’ve simply forgotten who I am.

I am enough.

I am worthy.

I am good.

And I never have been and never will be responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of anyone but myself.

I switch on that light, take a deep breath and ground into the present moment.

I am no longer available for the fears, limiting beliefs and projections of my childhood.

I am responsible for my own thoughts, beliefs, actions and projections.

And so onward I adventure.

Back to the staircare.

Up and up.

Popping out the trap door, dusting myself off and taking a moment to focus inward. To anchor into my heart. My power source.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” Alice Walker

“Silly, G,” I laugh to myself. “You forgot how powerful you are again! Oops.”

I resist the urge to give the fall any context.

I resist the temptation to make it MEAN something.

I allow my human-ness to exist without the judgment of it.

I take my power back as I remember who I am.

And then I’m back. Back in my own lane. Creating my life with every thought, belief and action to reflect on the outside exactly what I’ve made true on the inside.

And when I ask myself what feels true from that empowered place?

I remember I got this.

My Dad Felt Guilty About This for 30 Years

I call my dad “Papi” or “Pa,” which I swapped out for “Papa” somewhere in my twenties when I decided Papi was significantly less embarrassing to say in public. He is a handsome Colombian man with a thick accent, which my husband can still barely understand, and he appears much younger than his actual age (which I shall not disclose, lest he is horrified). Whoever coined the term “YOLO” was most definitely watching my dad at a tango festival one night working the room, if you know what I mean.

He and my mother (“mama”) divorced when I was 20ish and I think most people breathed a huge sigh of relief for both of them. My childhood was quite charming with pockets of minimal trauma and our family’s sad unraveling in my late teenage years is a long story for another day. 

This weekend, Papi was sitting on my couch and laughing as our Maya, who turns 2 next week, pranced around in her standard uniform of a diaper, no clothes and some pirate tats, working the room for a laugh and some snacks, as the hubs and I rolled our eyes.

“It goes so so fast, you know,” pa said to us for what must only be the 976th time since we became parents.

“I remember you like this, running around in a diaper and then I’m here and it’s as if the time in between never happened. It’s incredible how fast it goes and soon she’ll be 12 years old running out the door.”

This is pretty standard wistful storytelling from papa. But this time he added a story that hurt my heart a little: 

“You just have to try to be so patient and try to enjoy every single second, because if not, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. . . I remember your brother, Thomas, like it was yesterday. He was 1 or 2 years old and we were on a car trip, and he was hysterical, screaming for his milk. I lost my temper, pulled the van over, grabbed the bottle of milk and shoved it in his mouth. I can still see his eyes - he was so shocked. He wanted the milk, but I had just shoved the bottle in his mouth, and so of course then he started to cry. I replay it in my mind almost every time I think about him and I ask myself, ‘Why? Why did I do that? Why did I have to lose my temper like that?’ ”

There were tears in his eyes, and I could see how traumatic this memory was for him. This very classic human moment as a parent driving a minivan of screaming kids and losing it had somehow been burned into his mind for 30 years as an unforgivable mistake. To add a layer of pain to it all, Thomas died 11 years ago.

“Papi, you’ve been carrying that guilt around for a long time. Don’t you think it’s time to forgive yourself?” I asked him gently.

I then reflected to him something I had never quite articulated for myself. I told him that I have a few similar memories of him losing his temper with me, but the memory is a 3-part slideshow. 

Part 1: He turns around in the minivan and is about to yell, but doesn’t even have to because I know he’s super mad.
Part 2: A tide of emotion rises up and I burst into tears because it was pretty hard to make my dad that mad and I feel a combo of little girl shock and shame.
Part 3: Some time passes, and Papa very humbly and sincerely apologizes for his reaction and all is well.

My dad gave me one of the greatest gifts. He taught me that adults sometimes mess up, too. And that the memory doesn’t have to end there. My father’s humble choice to apologize (not for disciplining me, but for a level of discipline that felt inauthentic for him) gave me the example of what authentic parenting would look like for me. I apologize to my girls all the time and release the tide of big girl shame and guilt that rises each time I act out of alignment with my highest self. I forgive myself and heal the episode with love all around. We all feel it every time. (I mean, it just happened again last night at bedtime, for God’s sake.)

Ironically, Papi said he could NEVER remember his mother losing her temper (nor needing to apologize) and for that reason, he felt justified in the guilt. Which as you can imagine, has served ZERO purpose for the past 30 years except to cause him unnecessary pain, even after my brother’s death.

We teared up a little and I shared how I can’t imagine any human (including my daughters) going through life making zero choices they don’t have a tiny bit of regret about, and so I want to teach my girls to move through that instead of stockpile it for years of self-loathing and suffering in a futile attempt to live up to a standard that isn’t real for them. We talked about the power of self-forgiveness and how helpful his example of doing the hard thing and apologizing has been for me as an adult who has to apologize to somebody for something on the damn daily.

To truly heal ourselves, we must feel the things we defensively push down.
To truly forgive ourselves, we must look around and recognize we are ALL deserving of forgiveness.
To move through regrets, there’s usually some form of making amends.

I’m sharing this with you today, because maybe you have something you need to forgive yourself for, too.
Maybe you are stockpiling your guilt to compensate for not living up to someone else’s standards. 

And I want to remind you that in this tribe, we do real. We do messy. We make mistakes and we talk about them and heal them. We’re setting an example for the next generation of a real human, fighting the good fight, working on herself, every day, choice to choice, minivan crisis to minivan meltdown.

In your corner always,

 My siblings and I about 25 years ago. Thomas is second from left.

My siblings and I about 25 years ago. Thomas is second from left.

PS: Have you heard about The Champagne Society? It's where we give mamas CEOs permission + training to build their empires with more freedom, flow and FUN. To celebrate the launch, you can join us for a $1 trial til August 1st! We do real, messy mamapreneur life in there.

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