Jewels Wingfield

You have kids? Welcome to second-class citizenship!


One of the major downsides of having kids, is that their needs take priority over yours. They can't not attend school because I am feeling rough. Because having them around all day would make me feel even more rough. So I have to spend the teeny tiny amount of energy that I have left to cycle our wendy-house-on-wheels-that-cost-as-much-as-a-small-car (being slightly Eurotrash as well as slightly Eco, we ride a Danish-style cargo bike), in the howling wind and driving rain to both drop the little darlings off as well as to pick them up.

Don’t worry about the kids, they’re just fine – they are under cover, in the warmth, having fun singing carols. I however, am on the outside of the cover, (looking like a total geek in my really unattractive waterproofs) using all of my remaining pedal power to get us there. And it’s not that far. But they are big kids. And given that we live on top of the one and only hill in the whole of Cambridge (and for the flat-as-a-pancake-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see Fens where we live, that is quite something), this twice-daily outing pretty much takes me back to feeling as flu-ridden as I did before I cancelled all of my own personal plans in order to lie low and recover.

And repeat ad infinitum.

Which is why I have not been to yoga for a whole two weeks; which is why I have not gone for a run; which is why I've cancelled two pretty important social gatherings; which is why I’m ingesting as much turmeric as is humanly possible (even my teeth are going yellow).

Because I'm TRYING to get better. But the school run keeps on knocking me back. And I've been battling flu for nearly three weeks now.

And so I’m slowly going a little doolally. Partly because I hate not feeling great physically. And partly because I hate knowing that I am in this predicament DESPITE my multiple attempts to get better.

(Belting out six carols yesterday at the annual school Xmas service at the top of my voice probably didn't help either. And the fact that my voice gave out half way through the top notes of Hark the Herald probably explains why I’ve been on the cough sweets today).  But since this post is about how annoying it is that kids take over your life I won’t dwell on this nor on the on the fact that I am so fed up with not feeling myself that I keep comfort eating and drinking too much wine – neither of which sets you up well for getting the rest you need to recover at night).

All of which is pretty frustrating. Hence my ‘not amused’ photo face. Because, for those that don’t know me that well, I like to be in control.

But one of the many lessons that having kids offers you is that you are NOT and never will be in control. THEY are. They run the show: their emotions, their after-school activities, their physical needs, their mental welfare – all of it comes before yours.

Which I found very difficult to get my head round at first. But having three kids in three years kind of wears you down. And you have to surrender at some point otherwise you would go mad. But in my case, this is never without a little inner grudge holding. (I may have conceded power but the fact that I begrudge it must surely mean that I retain a little?)

But luckily for me, I’ve got a whole weekend of cargo-bike free time this weekend and I intend to use it well. It won’t be exactly restful – I’m returning to one of the sources of my journey into the sacred feminine for a course on leadership hosted by the incredible Jewels Wingfield.

But even if my mind is active, my body won’t be so that I hope to come back fighting fit AND even more geared up to host my new series of women’s circles starting this January – watch this space for more info. (If you would like to attend and haven’t yet signed up, let me know by replying to this email!)

And in the meantime, I’m sending love and strength to all of those parenting pioneers out there who are battling it out on the flu frontline. We will get through it. Hang on in there. It just might take 6 times as long as if we didn’t have kids…

Are you fulfilling your greatest potential, mama? Are you getting paid to do what you love whilst parenting in a calm and positive way? Are you feeling happy and fulfilled both at work and at home? Because you deserve to! Book a complimentary discovery session with me on skype and we can explore taking concrete steps towards creating a life in which you feel motivated and in control once more!  

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On dropping the drama...


For six months in a row, from last September until this February, once every four weeks with almost clockwork precision, I would fall ill with a really bad flu that would last over a week. Not just runny nose-feeling-a-bit-out-of-sorts-flu but proper, high-temperature-stonking-headache-can’t-get-out-of-bed-for-at-least-a-couple-of-days stuff. And because I couldn’t work out why I kept getting ill, I didn’t know how to prevent it from happening over and over again. Initially I assumed I was picking it up from the pesky germ vectors that are my three small kids: after all, being sneezed and coughed on continuously and regularly blowing their noses definitely doesn’t boost the immune system. Then I thought it could be my ‘restricted’ diet (I turned vegetarian in April and rarely eat animal protein and there’s nothing more a meat-eater likes to point out than how your meat-less diet might be causing ill effects). But somehow I knew there was more to it than that: this was not just physical but psychological too. First there was the timing of each episode: always a couple of days before my period or on day 1. For those that don’t track their cycle, this is known as the transition between ‘autumn’ and ‘winter’ and should be the time for physical and mental rest, introspection and quiet time so that the body can compost what is not needed, preserve energy and gather strength to create anew next month – a reflection therefore of the natural world outside. I say ‘should’ because for me, it absolutely wasn’t. Ever. My vigorous, multitasking exercise / mothering / working / entertaining schedule would run continuously: there was no let down, no fallow stage, no off button, regardless of how I actually felt deep down. I would ignore the ‘weak’ inner voice that told me it really didn’t want to push on through and instead, I would switch on the turbo boost. And it was the precise synchronicity of the manifestation of ‘dis-ease’ that made me realise that I was being MADE to slow down once a month because I wasn’t doing so independently.

(The female body as a mirror of Nature to whom it is intimately connected, is still a relatively new concept to me. I only started tracking my cycle a year ago having had previously no idea what that even meant. This was partly explained by the fact that my most recent past has been spent either pregnant or lactating so that cycles were not even on my radar. And yet it has been such an eye-opener to experience how we women do indeed follow the same rhythm as the natural world, if only we listen closely enough to our bodies in order to allow them to mimic it. Being aware of these inner seasons and respecting the various phases they represent for my body has made me more understanding of my changes of mood, energy and temperament and as a result, more energetic and, dare I say it, productive!)

So noticing in November that I was definitely being sent a message to slow down, to become a human BEING instead of a human DOING, I cut down hugely on most of my physical output: I ditched the hour and a half weekly run, stopped the daily pilates exercises, halved my weekly sessions of hot yoga, rode the cargo bike full of three kids to school only once a day rather than twice and cut out all strenuous activity whatsoever on the first and second days of my period (the time during which you are meant to DROP). This was massively uncomfortable for me – someone who thrived on getting things done, achieving and of course receiving praise and admiration for doing so. And it didn’t even work. December came along with its own special variant of sore glands and chest infection.

So I took a different tack: the immune system. I started a new daily routine of taking every single supplement and vitamin I could think of: a mug of boiling water first thing with fresh ginger and half a lemon (balances the body’s acidity levels but wrecks the teeth), a teaspoon of turmeric with cracked pepper and oil to diffuse it (a wonder drug and great for swelling in particular), bee pollen (yet another wonder drug so wonderful that it can be consumed alone without any other food for months!), magnesium (for sore muscles and tiredness), liquid iron (to alleviate fatigue), multivitamin (why not?), omega 3, 6 and 9 (for a healthy brain and who knows what else), flax seed oil (more omega – can’t hurt, right?), vitamin B complex (in case I wasn’t getting enough protein?), acidophilus (healthy gut = healthy body), barley grass powder (yet another alkaline food), echinacea (to boost the immune system), vitamin C (anti-cold), not to mention the seeds: hemp, chia, poppy, sesame and linseed. Merely keeping on top of taking the right supplements at the right time was exhausting. And that didn’t work either: January was spent half in bed with a temperature, half out.

Next I took a slightly different look at my energy output: instead of cutting down on just the physical exertion, I examined it in terms of yin and yang. I realised how so much of my life had been full of masculine yang energy – pushing, exerting, stretching, straining. I needed more yin in my life! Of course! Here was the answer! I took up restorative yoga (was this seriously yoga? It felt like resting in 6 variations of lying down with my eyes closed for nearly an hour – bliss), renewed my love of colouring in (the new yoga!) and started up on the self-care: a weekly hot bath, guided meditations, going to bed when I felt tired not an hour after I felt exhausted. SURELY this was it? No. February brought a particularly drawn-out, over-two-week affair full of sinus infection and ear-ache.

By the end of that month I was desperate. And pretty angry too. What exactly did this damn body want from me? To “rest” comatose on my bed all day long like a vegetable? Was I not allowed to do anything I wanted to do? I was sick of being held ransom by my immune system. My enforced passivity was making me feel totally inauthentic. And then the penny dropped. Finally. That it wasn’t about HOW MUCH I was doing but the WAY in which I was doing it: my day, my approach, my existence had always been full of high energy, adrenalin, excitement, anxiety. My body fed off that charge like a drug and I needed another drug - alcohol and a huge dinner laden full of comforting carbohydrates - to come down, to numb out.

I realised that I needed to see life in a different way: without the in-built struggle. To see it less as a challenge to be overcome and more as an adventure to welcome and explore. To be strong but also flexible, to flow rather than to push. And so that is what I did. How I actually achieved this is a whole other blog post - watch this space - but the result? Good riddance flu! For nearly seven weeks now I have been dis-ease free. Despite being in contact with last month’s variety via all three kids and several friends, despite dropping all - yes every single one - of my daily vitamins and supplements and despite reinstating my rigorous exercise regime. I’ve kept up the self-care because it feels great and I still try to go to bed early a couple of nights a week but the main difference between before and after is that I am no longer MANIC. The high energy charge has dissipated. The intensity of life’s impact has lessened. I now value and listen to my inner voice rather than ignore it. I act on what it is asking me to do. I feel things rather than being consumed by those things. I realised that I can feel, authentically, without those feelings being extreme; that emotions can be moderate and still truly felt; that life can still be full of ups and downs but no longer needs to be full of DRAMA.

To my surprise I learnt yesterday that this has a name: modulation. It is something that should be learnt as a child. In my case, it was only learnt this winter, thanks to six bouts of flu. Sometimes there really is a silver lining...


For more info on the female cycle check out Jewel’s Wingfield’s insightful Celtic Womb Mandala teachings

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