Updated: Feb 3, 2019
When I became a mother I went through a bit of an identity crisis. I had the most beautiful pregnancy and birth with my daughter, Mia. For the first time in my life, I was truly aware of my power as a woman. As an Indigenous woman. For the first time the voice of my spirit was louder than the voice of my ego.
The ego is singular. It operates by itself for itself. The ego lives in our heads. It feels dominant and it is difficult to ignore. Our ego is part of our internal survival kit. It is constantly reminding us of what we "need." It sustains its voice on feelings of lack, on the fear that there might not be enough for us and that someone else might take what we have.
In terms of our instinctual survival, this type of thinking motivated us to fight off danger, get enough food, and protect our families. In 2019, it shows up as greed, #YOLO, and false feelings of abundance. In it's most basis sense, our ego is our darkness, fed by fearful thinking and a sense of distrust. The ego has its place within our sense of self, but many of us including me, let our egos take charge and have no idea how to keep that voice of doubt at bay.
Before bringing Mia earth side I lived a very fast paced life. I did this on purpose as a way to avoid the thoughts that would run through my head if it was too quiet. I would measure my own self worth in terms of productivity - the volume of work I could get through in a day - and my ability to please others. I was a "pleaser" with a perfectionist complex. I was ego driven.
This version of myself served me really well in that chapter of my life. My now husband then BF was
just as focused on his career trajectory so we understood each other well. We both "did the work" we thought we had to do to get the big promotion, the raise...you name it. We had both left marriages and found ourselves together. I think there was part of us that needed to prove that we were capable of succeeding, after leaving behind what felt like big personal failures. We had this in common even though we didn't name it at the time.
I had also struggled with disordered eating for as long as I can remember. I had an unhealthy expectation of how my body should look. Instead of nurturing my body so it could function at its best, I would punish it by fasting for long periods of time and exercising without the proper fuel to sustain any real weight loss. I would blame my own behavior on "stress" so no one would take it seriously. It was a really negative cycle that I couldn't seem to escape.
It didn't seem to matter what promotion I got, where I traveled to, or how much I regulated my body I always felt like I was missing something. There was this big hole that lived inside of me that I was always trying to fill. I had everything I could ever ask for, yet I had this profound sense of emptiness. I was always searching for "more". As soon as I had achieved one goal I was onto the next without pause to celebrate to acknowledge it. It was exhausting.
The birth of my daughter was universe altering for me. She came in four short hours of labour without any medical interventions. I have never felt as strong and powerful as I did that day. I had channeled a life changing light source that gave me super human strength. I remember feeling like I had traveled to a different world and watched everything happen from above. I was blessed with a screaming little baby girl who spent the next 24 hours hours on my chest. The way she looked at me, even in those early hours, was different than anyone had ever looked at me. She saw me. She saw my spirit.
Our spirits are connected to everything. Our spirits connect us to our relationships with others and the natural world. Our spirit feeds off of feelings of true abundance. It is completely whole and knows it doesn't need anything to complete its wholeness. Our spirit is true light and allows us to grow in ways we never could have imagined. Our spirit is our gut instinct and the knowledge that lives in our center. Our spirit is the true essence of ourselves.
In the first few months, fresh in my motherhood journey, I desperately tried to hang onto my old self. My spirit voice scared me a little bit. It was so powerful that my ego convinced me it wasn't real. I found it really difficult to slow down to focus on my recovery. In fact, 4 days after Mia arrived I attended my BF's graduation ceremony and sat on wooden bleachers for 2 hours cheering him on. I was bed ridden for days after as my body revolted my bad decisions.
I would look at my postpartum body hopelessly in the mirror (regretting ever complaining about my pre- pregnancy body in the first place) knowing that I would never quite be the same. My stomach was loose and marked with stretch marks. I could hear the voice of my ego telling me I was ugly and comparing me to all of the postpartum work out bods on social media.
I obsessed about keeping the house clean so my BF wouldn't have to worry about it. I had this irrational idea that I needed to keep the status quo while also being mom extraordinaire to my sweet new baby. This meant no resting between feeds, naps, diaper changes, witching hours - I would spend every spare moment trying to make everything "perfect", despite by BF telling me to slow down. The real life implications of mom guilt came alive in our home. Before I knew it, the voice of my ego had once again become louder than the voice of my spirit. It nearly broke me.
The thing about our Spirit is that it is always present just waiting for us to pay attention. It calls us in different ways. It is the goosebumps we feel when we see something oddly familiar that we can't quite place. It's the tears we cry when we hear a song or spend time doing things the women before us did. If we pay attention and follow those feelings we can find a whole other part of our being that is beyond words.
I had just been accepted to complete my Masters in Counselling Psychology, three months after Mia was born, when I finally stopped and paid attention to the voice of my spirit. The process of enrolling to the program and financing it seemed to be really difficult. The universe kept throwing me road block after road block. My ego kept telling me to overcome these obstacles regardless of the cost because I was more than capable than doing this. But there was this feeling deep down in my gut that I needed to slow down and reconsider this choice.
The voice in my gut reminded me that I would only have this precious time with Mia once. Only once. Did I really want to hide behind textbooks while she watched me live up to my unrealistic standards of the "modern day mom?" My Spirit told me no. My Spirit told me to simply just BE with her. That day, I promised myself that I would slow down and cherish these fleeting moments with her, instead of trying to fill this giant empty hole in my chest.
My ego didn't like that. "What will you tell everyone?" "You're going to give up, just like that?" "You're JUST going to be a mother?" This was the nasty narrative that went on in my head days after. But...I battled these feelings of doubt with positive daily rituals that brought me peace. Mia and I would smudge every morning. We would put on a pot of coffee and dance in the kitchen to our favourite songs. We would go
on an adventure everyday in the forest, even if it was raining. We spent time by the water. We spent time in our garden. Suddenly, the life I was building with her was so blindingly beautiful that I couldn't imagine anything different.
For the first time in my adult life, I could sit in silence, and just BE. I could exist as myself without trying to avoid or distract or fill every moment with mindless activities. The nasty narrative in my head disappeared. I wasn't trying to BE anything other than what felt right in that moment. I was fully present with my beautiful daughter. I learned to live in balance.
When I see the hundreds of blog articles and social media posts of moms who are battling their own feelings of mom guilt, overwhelm, unworthiness, and isolation I can't help but feel like we are all a little lost. Somewhere underneath those nasty voices in your head Mama there is a beautiful spirit just waiting to tell you what to do next. Here is a little secret - until we listen to our spirit, our ego is always going to make us feel like we are not enough.
Believe it or not, it is not just moms who suffer from this negative cycle. Many of the executives that I have coached in this area usually come to me unaware of how their ego is effecting their decisions and therefore their career path. This is part of the human experience. Finding balance and trusting your spirit to lead.
I have created a beautiful weekly worksheet to help you tame that ego and feed your spirit. Subscribe below for the free download! Your spirit is waiting!