Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February meeting notes: Savannah Mayfield


As a result of your survey responses in October, this year, PDXCityMamas will host a handful of speakers from your most popular topics instead of holding monthly meetings.  One of the themes we heard loud and clear from the survey was "Work-Life balance".  We are so excited to delve into this topic with you!  We have a whole speaker series planned for the year to explore the many aspects of this theme.  More on that later...

We started our first gathering of 2012 with speaker Savannah Mayfield on the topic of Self-Nurture.  We were so happy to have her back!  She first spoke with our group in October 2010.  It was great to see so many moms at the meeting.  Welcome, new and familiar faces! 

So here are my notes: (As always, feel free to add anything that you may have remembered that I didn't capture here.  Savannah has such a calming presence that it seemed almost counter-intuitive to be taking notes ;) .)

First, we went around the room, introduced ourselves, and Savannah asked us to give an example of how we each "self-nurture".  Yeah, right!  Everyone laughed, and Savannah said she was in the right room!

"Self Nurture" is more than just scheduled activities or self-care actions - it is really about your relationship with yourself.  It includes taking the time to recognize and know ourselves completely.  It includes the "feeling" state beyond, say, the activity of exercise, but how that activity makes you feel.  For instance, if it is stressful to get to yoga because it means coming home and rushing to fix dinner and rushing back to put kids to bed, then that's not really self-nurturing.  Or if you love massages but feel guilty about paying for them every time you have one... you get the idea.  So how do we get beyond this?  We need to take the time to nourish the whole self, working it into our schedules and daily lives...

Savannah wanted us to focus on mindfulness.  An exercise she shared with us that afternoon was to take a moment to think about a time when we felt depleted, when we were not able to take care of ourselves.  Then she asked us to think about how much energy and attention we were able to give to the people we care about...  She asked us to listen to our bodies.  What feelings did we have?  Many of us shared that we felt a wince of pain in the back or neck, had difficulty breathing, or felt tension or pressure.

Next, she had us do the same exercise, this time thinking about a time when we felt nourished.  What did our bodies tell us then?  Many of us shared feelings of relaxation, lighter, more open.  Some even felt guilty because the "happy place" they went to was a time before kids or spouse!  (p.s. this was my happy place)

Savannah walked us a little through some of her handout, which included five self nurture principles.
(link to her handout)

They are (my notes in parenthesis):
  • Taking time to nourish your whole self (the physical, emotional, mind, spiritual, energetic self - asking yourself, what do I need in these areas?)
  • Listening to your inner voice (Self talk is very important.  There are many voices to parse out.  Which are your true feelings and which are the "Self-critic"? the "scared me".  Listen to yourself by shutting out the voices that do not reflect who you are.  Know who your true self is.)
  • Honoring yourself in your relationships through your actions, communication and healthy boundaries
  • Cultivating self love and being mindful with self talk (Be positive to yourself!)
  • Living your values, including the way you care for others (Living your values, meaning, "This is who I am.")
We had a great discussion in and around these principles.  It was nice for so many of the group to have a chance to open up.  Many of us shared similar experiences or at least related to one another in a way that was uplifting and encouraging.  Then, time was up!  One mom told me, "It feels like we just got started!"

So... for those of you who are interested, Savannah does a Self Nurture Women's Group for 7-8 people.  This includes 10 sessions, about twice a month for about 2 hours each.  A few of you have expressed interest, and Savannah handed out her flier.  It's also posted on her website.  If you are interested in gathering together, please email me your contact information.

Thanks again to our speaker, and thanks to those of you who were able to attend!

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