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Mom Time: Discover Your Essential Self

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Maybe the kids are back in school, so you have time for yourself, but don’t know what to do. Maybe you feel dissatisfied at work, or you lack the joy that you used to feel.

Whether you’re a parent who works outside the home, or a stay-at-home mom, single, divorced or married, many of us reach a point where we re-evaluate our lives. Women with children can be especially prone to the ennui that change inflicts because they are typically the primary caregivers for the family, pushing their needs and desires aside “for later, when there’s time.”

Robin Green Tilly, a Tulsa creative life coach, says that it’s easy to get stuck in a painful or paralyzing place. In her practice, Curve of My Life, she uses exercises, including creating art, to help individuals identify what they want to change, then she guides them to revise thought patterns that will help them move toward bringing about the desired change.

During her own career change, Robin studied for a year with Martha Beck, Ph.D., the author of the New York Times bestsellers Expecting Adam and Leaving the Saints, as well as Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live and Steering by Starlight. Dr. Beck has also been a contributing editor for Real Simple and Redbook, and is currently a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine.

“Martha Beck talks about our social self and our essential self,” Robin said. “We’re happiest when our social self reflects our essential self. But for many of us, especially moms, we stop hearing our essential self, and make decisions based on reaction to a situation or on pleasing others, without first listening to our inner voice.”

Much of what Robin learned from Dr. Beck is based in current brain research. What makes us feel anxiety, stress or fear, what that fear or anxiety does to our brains, then how we react as a result of what our brain biology is telling us to do.

“Thoughts lead to feelings, then actions, results and circumstances,” Robin said. “Circumstances often aren’t alterable, but how we think about them can change, so the results can change. Part of what I do is help someone identify that thought that is holding them back, then figure out how that person can replace that thought because our thoughts create neurological patterns. For example, if a young mom thinks, ‘My family is more important than me, and I’m not going to take care of myself.’ Then you feel bad about yourself, your action is to not take care of yourself, and you’re angry with yourself and with your kids.”


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