Parenting in the best of times can be hard – parenting during a pandemic is intense!
“Putting your oxygen mask on first” is not a cliche, it’s a necessity to create a healthier you which directly results in a healthier child and family.
Join Krista Kotz, PhD, MPH and Roxanna Smith, MA for a free, one-hour webinar where we will share findings from brain science about how you can strengthen the mindful circuits in your brain to allow you to be more of the parent you want to be.
We will also discuss simple concrete ways to reduce your stress levels and create a healthier, more relaxed environment at home.
More than just a meditation class, you’ll get tools to apply “in the moment” when stress levels are high and resources are low.
After this webinar, we will be offering a 4-week online series that willdelve more deeply into the unique environmental challenges you face collectively as parents in Lamorinda, as well as your own individual childhood experiences that shape who you are as an adult and impact your parenting.
We’ll spend time helping you learn to identify and mitigate your triggers. Every class will feature techniques to apply at home, and opportunities to share with the group.
Both Krista and Roxanna live and work in this community. Krista raised and educated herchildren in Orinda. Roxanna raised and educated her children in Boulder, CO, a community with similar opportunities and challenges.
Greetings from my apartment. Tomorrow will begin week 5 of sheltering in place. By myself. I would never, ever have thought I could be alone for 4 weeks without going insane. What I “counted on” in life has either completely ended or radically changed. Between the news of the world, concerns for my family and community, and getting laid off, I’m processing A LOT! Falling back on my grief counseling experience, I am able to remind myself that it’s normal to feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
Here in no particular order are a list of things that seem to be “working” for me – as in they bring me comfort, help keep me sane, elicit gratitude and even joy. Some of them are contradictory, and some things that work today may not work tomorrow. I’m sharing these with you with the hope that they may help, or you might laugh and see yourself in these. And also, I’ve been home, alone for 4 weeks, and I’m tired of talking to myself.
Getting outside every day, taking a walk
Not hating myself if I don’t get outside every day and take a walk
Smelling spring flowers (jasmine, hyacinth, daffodils = aroma therapy)
Finally hanging up the hummingbird feeder gift I got for Christmas
Watching the hummingbirds drink from the feeder, live TV
Looking for things to be grateful for right as I wake up, reciting them
Going for long bike rides
Praying for all the people suffering in the world
Ton Glen breathing/meditation technique
Getting into bed early (like 8pm)
Limiting my Zoom calls
FaceTime with my mom, staying in “close contact” with her
Texting with my kids
Checking in daily with a few friends
Not beating myself up about my messy desk or laundry pile
Laughing at COVID19 memes
Hula hooping to dance music
Yoga at home and with my Santa Cruz gang on Zoom
Thank God for Zoom!
Facebook!Seriously, so beautiful to be able to connect to humans virtually
Instagram (see above)
Reaching out to old friends (great college roommate zoom hangout the other day!)
Dancing in the living room, shaking it
Lighting Shabbat candles every Friday night
Virtual Seder (so sweet – next year Jerusalem!)
Bollywood films on Amazon Prime and Netflix
Amazon Prime and Netflix in general
Watching short, light, shows due to zero attention span
Not judging my TV choices
Getting up in the morning and making my bed, so I don’t get back in it at 9am
Establishing “order” by keeping the house clean, doing the dishes
Cooking delicious and thoughtful meals for myself
Freezing the leftovers
Being kind when I am not able to maintain the “order” of the house
Eating my greens!
Taking Bach flower remedy “Star of Bethlehem” for grief and shock
Reading stories on Zoom to preschoolers, seeing their faces every day, laughing
Checking in on my neighbors (2 lovely women on either side of me, both in their 80’s)
Finding out that PG&E reduced my energy bill to $8 this month
Wild Kingdom outside my window
My walking path
Makes me laugh
Cooking for 1
What’s Not Working:
No attention span for all the offerings (free or paid) on FB and Zoom
Really hard for me to meditate right now
Can only read a few pages at a time of books (see short attention span)
Long Zoom calls (short attention span again, overload)
Pep talks on how this is a perfect time to become awesome
Missing physical contact with people and animals (missing having a dog!)
Missing human contact in general
Wishing I could swim (all pools are closed)
Grieving all the fun things I had planned that have been canceled.(I had A LOT of things I was looking forward to)
Keeping fruits and veggies fresh (eating them before they go bad)
Wondering where/when I will ever be able to buy T.P. again, WTH America?
Not sleeping very well at night (lots of thoughts between 2 – 4am)
Looking at the FB Group “View From My Window” and comparing my view to everyone else’s
My turn! 2017 has been quite a year and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you cheering me on (literally!) and sharing your love and kindness with me. When I didn’t know how I was going to pull off Road School 2017, family, friends and strangers donated money and offered support and love throughout our journey. When I needed to raise $2300 in order to walk in San Diego for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk, you gave. When I was terrified to do my first Sprint Triathlon last month, your love and encouragement got me through! There are so many people who have lifted me up and shared their love and light with me. I am forever changed and I know I am blessed to have you in my life.
Now I would like to give something to you:
This December, I am showing my gratitude for my community of family, friends and generous supporters, and to everyone that could use some sweet reminders to slow down and stay present during the busy month of December. I want to help you bump up your Self Care, and encourage you to give yourself extra love and support during this holiday season.
My Gratitude Giveback is an invitation for you to turn inwards, to your soul sanctuary, and create a conscious, caring respite space for yourself during this often busy month.
Each week will focus on a different theme:
BODY BASICS (as in ‘duh’ I knew this already, but sometimes we forget!)
LETS GET PHYSICAL (I like to move it move it)
NOURISH THE SOUL (don’t forget your beautiful soul)
PRESENCE vs. PRESENTS (be here now)
You will be guided through each theme with weekly meditations, journal prompts, live Q & A conversations on Facebook, tips and tools for maximizing self care, and a resource list to support you if you would like to go deeper.
When all our reptilian instincts are telling us to stay in and hibernate, our culture is inviting us to “Eat, Drink & Be Merry.” When the days are getting shorter and it feels good to snuggle up to a fire and a good book, society is giving us the messages to go out every night and celebrate until sunrise, shop till you drop, and eat and drink all the things that you spend the rest of the year avoiding because they aren’t healthy. This can also be a lonely time for folks who watch the Hallmark holiday movies and compare themselves to the picture perfect lives on the screen.
I know things get busy at this time of year and the intention of this offering is to help make December more easeful, nurturing, and meaningful. You can join on the first of the month or the last day of the month, all the material is FREE and offered from the heart. It is my joy to share this with you all! The only thing I need from you to keep you in the loop is your email address.
I work with people with broken hearts. I am deeply touched by their stories, their tears, their longing. I am also touched by their resiliency and bravery; to seek support and be willing to share with strangers. I am heartened by the comfort these group members take from connecting with each other. It reminds me how much we humans are social creatures longing for connection.
What drives us to keep going? For me, it is the most basic and yet profound human experience I can describe: connecting from the heart with others. Love.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
They say we have star particles inside of us. It’s true. Look it up. I think this is as magic as it gets. I like to imagine that I used to be a star, before I came into this body. In my fantasy, I peek down on planet earth and I see people living their lives. Tucking their babies close to their hearts, right under their chins, breathing them in. Getting licked by their dogs and succumbing to their joyful, unconditional expressions of love. I see lovers, breathing, bodies moving, sensual awareness and electricity. Watch friends sharing a smile, no need for words. I admire a body running fast along a trail, legs pumping and lungs bursting. I would want that, as a star. To experience humanness. To BE.
“Sign me up!” I shout. “I want to feel! I want to touch. I want to love!“
But…the Universe answers…’In this full tilt, multifaceted life, there are ups and downs. Not every day is filled with laughter and joy. There is hardship and strife. Do you still want this?’ “Yes I do!” I exclaim without a second thought. “See ya!” and off I go without a backward glance. That is so me.
But that is just a fairy tale. And here I am. Alive. On Earth. And some days life feels excrutiatingly painful. My dog dies. My lover betrays. My baby grows up and pulls away. My friendships end. A relative takes his life. There are bills to pay. My body hurts when I run.
What do I do when life feels unbearable? I Isolate. Cry. Pray. Reach out. In that order.
I reached a very low point several weeks ago. I felt alone and out of choices. I was scared. I cried and prayed. Then I got up off my knees and I made a couple phone calls. To some “lifeline” friends. I wrote to my community and asked for daily texts through the month of October and people started signing up. Every day I would get a message of love and support on my phone. Some people sent inspirational poems. In just a few short weeks, I started to feel better. Uplifted even. I felt the loving connection of human contact and was filled with gratitude for the people in my life.
They say there are no accidents in life. The ongoing grief support group I had agreed to facilitate started during that time. I got to sit with people who where struggling with their grief; to witness people who loved so deeply that their hearts were broken when their person died. Being of service added meaning and depth to my life and I felt on purpose again.I am humbled and amazed at both the tenderness and ferocity of love. And the tenacious courage we humans – made of skin, blood, water and bone – access again and again to continue loving. Even when it breaks us.
Since I started letting people know about the online suicide support group that begins next Monday, I have been contacted almost daily by people who are suffering, sometimes years after their loved one’s death. Each person has held their grief tenderly in their hands and I have held out my hands to hold it with them for awhile. Not wanting to move too quickly or speak suddenly, wanting to keep the reverence of this moment. Being allowed to hear these sacred stories has been my honor.
Humans have a deep need to belong – to each other, to someone, to a group, to a purpose. After a traumatic loss like suicide, people tend to lose their bearings for a time. Who am I? What’s next? How do I keep going? What’s the point? are all questions that can come up. Gratitude can feel impossibly elusive. The main focus of the Suicide Loss Support Group is to connect people to each other. To share our stories and to learn to bear the beams of love – together.
Please share this information with anyone you think could be served by having a supportive community to belong to:
Suicide Loss Support Group: Losing a loved one to suicide can be extremly shocking and sad. There can also be shame or societal stigma associated with this type of loss. In this group, you will be connected with others who have each experienced this particular type of loss and have the opportunity to share your story with each other. This is a six week support group that meets online once a week. The group is open to 8 participants who have lost a loved one to suicide. Each week we will begin with an exercise (breath work, guided relaxation) to open the group. Everyone will have an opportunity to check-in with the group and share. There will also be topics for discussion and materials emailed weekly. There is no “homework” for this group, only handouts that are optional and ideally helpful. Cost for this group is $180 and includes 6 weekly group sessions and weekly materials that will be emailed to each participant. A pre-group screening call is required. To arrange a phone call, please contact me.
Dates and time: Mondays; 11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19 & 12/26 6:00 – 7:30pm MST Time