Mark was having difficulty finding work. He was construction. He always got great feedback with any job. He works well and fast. He knows what he is doing; he’s an expert. He doesn’t understand why his calendar isn’t filling up with work. What’s wrong with people?
ME: What you think what is the issue?
MARK: Well, I have a big mouth. I tend to be kind of a know-it-all (his eyes got wide and he looked down) and some of my clients don’t like it.
ME: How would you feel if you pay for somebody and they tell you wrong, and you need to do what they say?
MARK: (keeps looking down and away)
We set up footprints that represent him and footprints that represent his clients. I put someone else from the workshop on Mark’s footprints and someone on the client’s footprints.
MARK REP: He feels very large. Like he is above this. What are they thinking? Who are they are to telling him what to and how to do it?
CLIENTS REP: Clients feel closed off–they know he is a very good worker, but he’s hard to work with.
I see this situation is not going to resolve it self, so I bring in his dad. He was best friend with his father who had a same attitude. Egoistic, not that many people could understand him, and he loved get into a fight with anyone, just to see who is a better man. Unfortunately, Mark’s father passed years ago, and Mark still feels the loss. He couldn’t say goodbye.
We set the father and son footprints up toe to toe, face to face. For a few minutes they both stand there, crying. There was much love and unspoken words there.
DAD: I wish I could go back and tell you how I was is not the way you should be. I was arrogant because I felt alone, that I needed the protection. I was a kind and nice man, but I learned at an early age if I am nice, I will get stepped on. So I changed my attitude to protect myself. But I wish I had learned how to be more open in some situations.
I could see Mark start to loosen up. Hearing his dad he could let his ego go. He was beginning to feel better and understand that being vulnerable is not the same as being weak.
After he heard what he need to hear from his father, I turned him around to speak to his client. He was more realistic and realized he needed to be polite and respectful. He was safe and did not need the extra protection of a know-it-all attitude. He understands that he is not less of a man for being polite, he is smart. Being polite will bring him more work and more money.
In the end I told him write down what he learned, that every job is a job. Big jobs, always start with a small job.
One month later he wrote me that he had been working everyday since our constellation. He thanked me for helping him learn how to put ego to the side when he goes in for a job.
A women was struggling to find a purpose of her life. She had not had work for a long time. She depended on others, and she did what they said. She had been part of a religious group, but she felt that she couldn’t be who she really was, there were so many rules, so she left. Since this time she has felt lost.
I asked her:
ME: When was the first time you had this feeling?
HER: When I was growing up I was always told what to do, and when to do it. To please my mom I did everything she asked. I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t be a careless, playful kid. I was always the responsible child.
ME: How would make you feel to be able to do what you want, and not what others tell you?
HER: It would be feel like ….. freedom. I’m accepted. People can love me how I am.
To begin we symbolized her Mom and her. I took foot prints from my bag, and placed them on the floor next to her saying, “This is your mother.” If it is a workshop I would ask someone to step on the mother’s foot prints, but in a private constellation I would step on the foot prints. I asked the person who was standing on the mother’s foot prints how she felt.
MOM: I feel big, and very controlling. But the same time lost and scared.
I ask the client how she feels?
HER: I feel vulnerable. I feel I want to break free, but I’m afraid what to do with my life without her telling me what to do.
ME: Mom how you feel when you hear your daughter saying this?
MOM: I didn’t know that’s how you feel. I thought I was protecting you with these rules, so you will not go down a bad path.
I bring her Grandma in (I bring more foot prints out that represent her grandmother). She was very controlling as well (There was no father figure as both her mother and grandma raised their children without a supportive man. But that we dealt with in another constellation). Using the footsteps to represent different maternal figures I let them all talk. Many times we need to go way back, to great grandparents (I have many footsteps with me) to find the root of the problems. I believe that when we find where the issue is coming from then we are able to start to heal. Beginning to heal from the root of the issue means that the healing will be more powerful and the changing process will be faster.
At the end everybody feels refreshed, processed, good. The mother can be stand behind her daughter, supporting her, without controlling her. Now the daughter can let this go, and begin again.
This is the first step. What she do with this refreshing information is up to her. More than twenty-five years of holding back, and being afraid, and following others out of that fear, will not go away after one constellation, but it is a good start.
After the constellation I assign some writing exercises, and some meditations. This helps turn what we learned in the family constellation into a daily practice; to re-learn how to let go and how to step forward in knowledge. Most of my clients report back to me that with the knowledge from the constellation and the meditations and writings they are able to successfully start to moving the direction they want to go. They see change in their lives and start to move on for the better. ☺
Since I’ve been pregnant I noticed how many women in my shoes try to keep up and not gain any weight during this period. Like former Miss Universe contestant, Chantal Duncan. I think that might be a little extreme. You should Gaining 25-35lbs is normal. I see women 38-40 weeks pregnant and still going to spinning, bar class … etc. and I just don’t understand why is so important to stay skinny? This time of your life is not about you, it’s about your baby. I know it’s important exercise, but to an extreme? This is not the time of your life where you should look the best, it’s okay if your thighs and arms are not as toned, you will have plenty of time to get back in shape. It is okay to get a little bit puffy. No one is going to judge you. You might judge yourself.
For New York women, who always have so much pressure on how they look there is a demand to not gain any weight, besides the baby. For us big city women, especially here in New York, the way we look after pregnancy is also pressured. It’s a race, everyone trying to get back in shape after 1 month from birth. Believe me I feel you. But this is no competition – I do get this feeling sometimes, when other women, who just had a baby, ask how much I gained, and I can see them roll their eyes. But after I put my ego on the side; I just laugh J. This is my body. I know that I am doing the best to take care of me and my beautiful baby.
I don’t believe you should gain 40-50lbs and eat crazy, don’t get me wrong. That’s the other extreme. Eat whatever you feel like, and stop when you feel full. You know your body and what your baby needs. Some women think this is the time they can eat whatever they want (what did you do till now, suffer???) and nobody, not even their partners, will care how they look. I think this is a lie. First of all, you should always eat whatever you want! It’s about knowing when to stop. Stop when you are full, and yes get the dessert, but after few bites, when you have satisfied your cravings, put down the fork. Also your partner not saying anything right now, but believe me if you keep your eating habit and your weight gain 1 year after birth, then he will say something. And is not a healthy thinking just because you have a baby you stop being that beautiful, sexy women you were before. NOOOOO! Now you have a baby and you want back the sexy feeling too. So eat healthy then soon as you feel you ready (not when your society tell you) go back to work out. Because like my husband would say “nothing sexier then a sexy mama.” 🙂
This is the hardest part of listening to our bodies. Before I was pregnant women would tell me, “Viki, you don’t know how it feels, so don’t tell me what to do.” So I stopped telling them what to do. But now I’m pregnant, and I’m in the same situation, and I feel like it is okay to give some advice. Because I know that when I feel full, I can stop. It is just listening and controlling your body and mind. Easier to said than done? Maybe, but with 2 weeks of practice you will see how much you can do and you will not feel hungry. This is not a diet during this time of your life this is just healthy eating and nutrition so you will have a healthy pregnancy and develop a healthy baby. These are the two most important things right now.
My doctor told me when I was only 22 weeks that I had already gained 20lbs. I have to slow down, because the baby will be too big and I can have a complication during labor. I have narrow hips so I did get scared, I don’t want tears (I will do perennial massage during my labor, hope that helps). So since December I only gained 10lb (It is end of March now, I’m 38 weeks). After she told me, I really started to watch what I eat. Again, it’s not like I ate bad before, is just in the first 4 months only bread would ease my nausea, and besides walking to work I did nothing else. I couldn’t. So I promised myself I will eat more nutritious foods and cut out the starch. This is also better for the baby. I started cooking every day (before because I stayed at work I ate from the food carts around my studio), and eating mostly stir fry vegetables with chicken or beef. Sometimes I ate rice or potatoes, but I was making sure for a few days before I go to the doctor and she weight me I only eat healthy, with a little chocolate for dessert.
Like I said it in an earlier blog, I don’t have any cravings. I eat pretty balanced, so I don’t feel like I have to eat the box of ice cream. Sure if you put 2 doughnuts or cupcakes front of me from Dough or Sprinkles, then I will eat them in 5 minutes. It’s not that I crave it, it’s just I love them and if I see it I eat it. I can’t control that one.
Also I chose to eat less carbs because since January my bowel movements have slowed down soooooo much, sometimes I cannot do number 2 for 2-3 days. Nothing is more uncomfortable than that. If you have been pregnant you know what I’m talking about. My doctor gave me a gentle laxative, but I’m not a fan of medicine, so I do not take it. I try to drink a smoothie in the midday (recipe here), and every other day I eat ½ spoon flaxseed. It really helps. I notice if I eat rice or potatoes 2 days in a row, then nothing can help. So now my eating habits have changed because I want regular number 2s in my life, and after labor you really don’t want to mess with that J.
So my typical day looks like this: (I do eat something every 3 hours)
For breakfast I eat cereal. And only the special K Chocolate Almond can satisfy me (before I was pregnant I never ate cereal, but now it’s the only thing that can keep me full for 2-3 hours).
Then I drink my smoothie, if I’m not home I take it with me. Get some nuts with it too (love the omega mix from Trader Joes).
For lunch I go back home and make stir fry vegetables with chicken. For dessert I eat 4 square milka or few spoon fulls of ice cream.
Usually I eat the leftovers for dinner and afterwards I eat yoghurt with nuts, and some fruit.
That’s it. Sure some days I eat chicken pita form the souvlaki greek food carts, or skip the smoothie and eat the Dough doughnuts, but I need that. I need a cheat day. But again, when I do that I know is a chance I won’t go to the bathroom. Everything has a price.
We live in New York City a place that affords many opportunities all crammed into a tiny space. Living in New York, just like living in many places, it is important to stay organized, and even more important to stay motivated to keep up with organizing time, life, and—well—all of our stuff. Because in small spaces even a small mess looks bigger!
Here are the top 8 tips from our yoga instructors tokeep you motivated and organized the yogi way.
This is my mother’s best advice, and it works. Most of the time when I feel like things are getting too hard to organize, it’s because I have too much stuff. It’s always a sign, before I go any further to check in and see what stuff I really need and what stuff is just holding me back and making it hard to stay organized. Of course…I have a weakness for clothes and bags. I can’t throw them out even if I havent worn them in 5 years. Because you never know 🙂 Our apartment comes with a small basement, and so I have been keeping my clothes, shoes and bags that I don’t use there. Hoping one day I will have a closet big enough to keep everything.
The rule of 8/8/8
This is a tip that one of our students told us. She said that the rule of 8/8/8 keeps her from over working or procrastinating. “The main idea is that there should be 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for work, and 8 hours for you.” Thanks for that pro-tip. So leave your work at work and take 8 hours for yourself. It’s good to feel relaxed.
Remember it’s just stuff. “When I take a moment to breathe in and out, I find that I do have the strength to attack that pile of dirty clothes that I’ve been meaning to wash, or fold.” I just need break sometimes. So in my schedule I do the bathroom first, after sit down 5-10min, then do the kitchen sit down….. Take a break and breath is very help full. Just don’t start to watch your favorite show, because you will never get of the couch. I usually listen to music from spotyfy (love latino and RnB music, it gets me in the mood 🙂 ) or turn on the news for some background noise.
Another method is to trick yourself into staying organized. “If I notice that I’m putting clothes or things on the chair, or the floor, or anywhere it’s not supposed to go, I pick everything up and put it on my bed. That way I know before I go to bed I need to put everything where it belongs.” Says Viki, “It’s helps me put things away even when I don’t feel like it.” Great trick after a big laundry day, so no excuse you really have to fold them 🙂
Remember it’s a lifestyle not an event
“Being organized, is a way of life. It’s not just a one time event. It’s based on a bunch of small decisions I make every day. I don’t just wake up thinking, ‘oh I guess I’ll stay organized today.’ Rather, when I wake up I make the bed, then I but my pajamas the top of my pillow, I make my morning coffee/tea, eat my breakfast then I wash out the coffee pot after I use it, place the bowl/plates I ate to the dishwasher. It’s all these little choices that make life organized, not just one action.” I like to clean after my self right away. Believe me my husband can eat his breakfast from 3 different bowl and drink from 2 different cups. So many times I’ve asked him WHY? never got a worthy answer. So If I don’t clean up after us right after, by night it will look like a nightmare.
Be in the moment
“I tend not to think of it as getting organized, but rather living life. It’s like that quote from Thich Nhat Hanh ‘when doing the dishes think only of doing the dishes’ when I stop thinking of organizing as chores I can start to appreciate the ways that I experience life during any given activity. And it works, I can focus on how my body moves and enjoy throwing myself into whatever activity I am lucky enough to enjoy…even doing the dishes.” Be honest I do enjoy cleaning and organize my house. I can turn off my brain and just focus on the cleaning. Great meditation.
Yeah, as a fitness studio we might be a bit biased, but google it. Staying active helps. In almost all aspects of life. When you stay active it actually increases your energy levels so you’ll have more energy to put into keeping yourself sane.
Sometimes…embrace the mess
There is a time for everything. There are some times and places for a mess, and knowing when those are and being able to accept it and not berate yourself, is a skill worth learning. Everything in its place, even disorganization. I tend to be a little more of a clean freak and that’s not good either. For instance, after I host house party, even if everybody leaves by 1-2am, I cannot sleep till I clean up everything, vacuum and wash the floor. I know it is insane, but I like to wake up to a clean apartment. I’m learning now to let it go. It’s fine to clean the next day. But I still hve to tel myself “Viki it is fine to let this go.” Still soooo hard 🙂
I have been doing Pilates for over 8 years, and I’ve been teaching it almost 5. I know the benefits of it, I know all sorts of modifications for each specific exercise, and I can see if my students are doing it properly or if they want to cheat.
But when I got pregnant I didn’t want to do anything. I knew I couldn’t do the regular order, the traditional poses, so I was ready to skip it for the next 9 months. But I also heard about Diastasis Recti ( https://www.diastasisrehab.com/what-is-diastasis-recti ) and I know nontraditional prenatal Pilates workout is great for it. But still, I wasn’t buying it.
So I went to a Pilates Prenatal Training taught by a woman who knows what she is talking about when it comes to pregnancy. So there I was 5 months pregnant in the training and I felt absolutely uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because I was the only one who was pregnant and I had to demonstrate poses that were new to me all while I wasn’t feeling comfortable in my body. It was feeling weird because I wasn’t sure if it is good for my baby. I wasn’t worried about my body, because after years of practicing Pilates and yoga I have a good connection with my own body. My teacher explained why we all should do Pilates during pregnancy, because it helps to activate the abdominal muscles that otherwise might not be working for 9 months which will help post-natal recovery as well. Her presentation was convincing and I loved it. We began practicing, and that’s when I started to panic. It was fine in my body, but the fear in my mind was bigger and I kept thinking “OMG this is definitely hurting her and I’m sure she will not like it!” Because I didn’t focus on proper alignment, breathing, and couldn’t loose up during the exercises I had back and stomach pain throughout that night. I knew I would have to talk to my teacher because I was sure I was doing something wrong.
The next day I had so many questions. First, I told her I’m really feeling uncomfortable with Pilates during this time of my life. I feel like I am crashing my baby and hurting her every time I do the transverse abdominal engagement. My teacher’s explanation was so comforting, she really calmed me down. She told me, “Viki, think about it your baby loves to swaddle, and every time you do the transverse work you are really just hugging your baby with your ab muscle and organs. So it will make her more comfortable. You know that even 2 weeks after birth babies still keep the fetal position just like in the womb.” Right? Right. (http://www.parents.com/baby/care/crying/ways-to-recreate-the-womb/ )
This was a great answer, and later that day she gave a private session demonstration with a 6-month pregnant woman, showing me that Pilates is for pregnant women also. Just please don’t go to a regular class (!). If you have a little experience with Pilates I recommend only a private session. For the most part a woman’s body will not understand what to do even in a prenatal class if they have been to Pilates classes less then 10-20 times. After few (5-10, If you can go twice a week) private session you can go for a Prenatal Pilates class and you will know what to do with confidence and can keep up with the class.
The day that I talked to my teacher I did almost the same thing what we did the day before and more. This time I was relaxed and gained back my trust of my own body. I felt amazing afterwards. Sure I did stop when I felt it was too much for my body, but I didn’t make faces, I wasn’t negative and after few minutes I continued to practice with the rest of the students. Finally, I felt strong again. Since I have been pregnant I haven’t felt this strong. I was so concerned about my baby so I have only been walking and doing some light yoga practice. I felt like I was loosing myself, losing strength and losing control of my own body.
Pilates brings me back confidence and makes me feel that, yes, I still can do somethings if I just listen to my body and stop when I need to.
I am still going to my teacher once a week for private sessions as well as practicing alone throughout the week. I go to her so she can help me practice properly so the next time I do it alone I really focus on what she says.
Beside practicing I do transverse work every day 30-50 times. I especially like to focus on my transverse abdominals when I walk on the stair machine. Thank you Valerie for showing me that even when you are pregnant you still can be strong and confident!