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Why I Need Mindfulness Every Day With My Teenagers

I am a parent of 5 kids – 3 of which are teenagers. My oldest just finished his Freshman year of college. Just a few years back, he famously declared “I can’t wait to get out of this s*!thole!” as he slammed the door in my face.

This was a fitting introduction to what this new parenting season was going to look like. Pretty much every day, I use mindfulness to navigate my interactions with my teenagers, asking myself:

“Am I willing to deeply listen to what they have to say?”

“Am I holding the boundaries that feel like integrity to me?”

“Am I modeling the kind of honesty & accountability I’m asking for from them?”

“Am I a safe space for them to be exactly who they are?”

Almost overnight, it sometimes seems I’ve gone from being their hero to being their most embarrassing moment. Everything I say is wrong or offensive. Every disappointment or frustration they feel is somehow my fault.

On a personal level, it’s not an easy place to sit. I spend my fair share of time mindfully tending to my own emotions amidst what feels like a lot of pushback and rejection.

But as I consider our bumpy roads, I’m reminded of the deep human longing that underlies so much of our shifting relationship.

The longing for FREEDOM. 

As I watch my kids push and pull, test limits, reject ideas, pave their own path, create their own style, mindfulness helps me recognize this motivating factor underneath it all—a reaching for freedom, for authenticity—the same deep yearning I share.

The self-knowledge and clarity to say: This is who I am.

The acceptance and safety to know I can be whoever I want to be.

The clear understanding that I get to choose. I get to decide.

This longing, this hero’s journey, is alive in all of us, I think. And it’s often quite messy to figure out. How many mistakes have I made in the pursuit of finding myself? Plenty.

In the heart of teenagehood, a parent’s voice might be the last sound that a kid will listen to—I don’t know that there’s any way around this.

That’s why it’s been so powerful to be on a shared journey with my kids through this turbulent time.

Through mindfulness, we’re both learning how to hear and deeply understand our own voice—the voice of our Highest Self—which we find through our own body-mind-spirit.

Mindfulness guides us to hold ourselves in loving curiosity and trust this inner compass. Whatever we may be experiencing, we can ask:

How does this feel inside me?  What are the fruits of this choice? Is this how I want to be showing up in the world?

Our own body-mind-spirit knows best. It is a Divine instrument we can trust.

Authenticity is FREEDOM—and I want this joyful state for myself and for my kids. I see its fruits as I watch them make their way into powerful, messy, beautiful adults.

Now my son calls home almost daily to check in, seeks our advice on relationships and career choices, and is often reading a mindfulness or self-help book and talking about his “frequency.”

He loves every chance he gets to come back and visit the “s*!thole” he left a year ago.

I am so proud of the man he’s becoming, and so grateful for the tools he’s found that are far more reliable than we are as well-meaning but fallible parents:

The ability to know and think and feel for himself, looking inward and upward to find his next right step from a spiritual center in this adventure called life.

If you’ve got teenagers or young adults who are looking for FREEDOM & AUTHENTICITY and could use some help carving their path, check out our Mindfulness Courses for youth and young adults.

We’d love to have them–and to have you too!  Our mindfulness programs for youth, young adults and grown-ups all start in the middle of August. You can learn more about them here.

Wishing all of us the best of luck with our little s*!theads,
Becky

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Why Sallie Still Inspires Me… an Incredible Journey of Healing through the Body

When Sallie first reached out to me to ask me if I thought The Lifehouse Body & Soul Practice could help her, I told her “Absolutely.”

Sallie had lost her husband a year earlier to cancer, leaving her a widow and single mother to four children. She was making her way, involved in support groups, and recently remarried to a wonderful man who’d also lost his wife to cancer. 

With a now-blended family of eight kids, Sallie had so much to live for and so many reasons to get herself back to where she was fully functioning.

But even with all the efforts she’d made, she felt that there was still healing that needed to happen. She bravely showed up to Practice at Lifehouse Body & Soul. 

Sallie was a natural with group exercise. She was strong, beautiful, and physically fit, and she attacked our challenging morning workouts with energy. 

It was the second half of class, the part of class where we slow things down, breathe, stretch, feel our bodies, and create space for our emotions to process, where Sallie struggled at first. 

I’ll never forget the first classes where I witnessed Sallie’s entire body clench up: her shoulders tight, her hips refusing to let go, her breath caught in her chest, afraid to release all that her body had been carrying for the past months. Tears overflowed and the intensity was almost too much for her to bear.

Sallie would text me after Practice, “I feel so much emotion, there’s so much coming up for me. Is this normal?” she would ask.

“Yes, it is. You’ve experienced a life-altering trauma, and your body is holding onto all that pain, all that fear. Unfortunately, if you really want to heal, you can’t go over it, under it, or around. You’re going to have to go through. And you’re strong enough to do it, here….with all of us holding you up. You’re not alone.” 

I knew this because I had moved through my own grief. I had felt the same resistance. I encouraged her to keep coming, and Sallie did, so bravely, so consistently. 

It wasn’t long before Sallie’s body stopped fighting. Practice classes gave her the opportunity to keep softening, keep listening, keep surrendering to the emotions that had gotten stuck when life had forced her into survival mode. 

She came to our Mindful Living Course classes devotedly and learned a whole new vocabulary to match the organic process she was experiencing through her body.

Mantras like “Thy will, not mine, be done,” “There is room for this, too,” and “I can’t, He can, and I will let Him,” became life rafts in the turbulent sea of her healing.

Over time, it was a sacred privilege to witness Sallie transform, to watch her body literally heal from the hard-wired trauma responses that had become an unwelcome override to her operating system.

Sallie became one of our most dedicated students, crediting the mindfulness tools and sacred space of love and acceptance in this community for her miraculous healing journey through the darkness of her profound grief, giving her the tools to propel herself towards a bright  future.

At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we don’t have any magic wands nor do we profess a systematic strategy guaranteed to fix all your problems. 

In our experience, that’s just not how deep, spiritual healing works.

We simply offer the grounded, intuitive, and time-tested tools and compassionate framework that can help you find yourself: mind, body, and spirit. 

We teach self-reflection: how to observe without judgment. How to respond with love. How to allow discomfort without resisting it. How to trust that you really are big enough to hold pain and uncertainty and deeply know that you will never be asked to do it alone.

The most surprising thing for so many people to realize is that everything they were looking for all along, is already right here, within them, exactly as they are. 

People like Sallie become true, spiritual friends; fellow travelers on a lifetime journey of personal growth. 

If you or someone you know is interested in a soul-level transformation to heal what is still not yet aligned in your heart or bodily tissues, we’d love to work with you. With consistent practice, an open mind, and a willing heart, there is nothing that cannot be healed.

A free consultation can help you understand which of our programs might be the best fit for you. We would love nothing more than to help you find the joy and inner freedom you were born for.

We’re so grateful to Sallie for being part of our Body & Soul family and allowing us to share her story.

With Love & Gratitude,

Becky

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Inner Freedom — The Purpose of Mindfulness

Tomorrow is Independence Day–the day we pause to honor our nation’s heritage and history.

Of all the values that define America, perhaps it’s freedom that most inspires.

What does freedom mean to you?

Does it mean you get to do what you want?

That nobody can tell you how to live your life?

Does it mean equal opportunity and expanded choice?

All of these are meaningful benefits of living in a free country and the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” that our forefathers so wisely saw to protect, but what about inner freedom? 

What if American independence was paving the way toward an even deeper step in the spiritual evolution of the planet?

Inner Freedom means the ability to meet all of life from a place of love, trust, joy, and willingness. 

…to serve each moment with the Highest within you and allow the ride to be bumpy or smooth as it will.

Consider: Do I have the ability to move through life without allowing my experiences to hijack my sense of well-being or happiness?

If I can’t sit through a political debate without shouting at the television screen, am I really free?

If I can’t interact with my mother-in-law without feeling triggered, is that freedom?

If I can’t say no because I’m so afraid of what others will think of me, do I really have a choice?

These are deeper, more internal ways of looking at our personal freedoms, and what’s interesting is, nobody can take these choices from us.

They are totally in our own control.

Mindfulness is about as American as it gets, because at its core, it’s about the pursuit of inner freedom.

Inner freedom is impossible without some core spiritual awakenings:

  1. There is a difference between my Higher Self (the part of me that is wise, connected, whole, Divine) and my personal self (what some spiritual teachers call the ego or false self).

  2. The personal self is and always will be driven by fear and desire. It will always be endlessly self-serving, irritated, complaining, or attempting to make itself a victim.

  3. The purpose of life is to use every single experience, every single moment, as an opportunity to let go of the personal self, and to instead serve the moment with the Highest that is in me  –  centered, intentional, and free.

In other words: Letting go of the personal self = inner freedom = the purpose of life

Mindfulness and meditation can help us awaken to both:

  •  the Higher Self that is free, unbounded, whole, and found through embodied presence…
  • AND the personal self that is small, fearful, stressed out, and self-seeking.

The more awareness we have of both of these aspects of our humanity, the more we have the freedom to choose.

Life becomes a game: How deeply and quickly can I let go?

How quickly can I recognize that I’m reacting or resisting from my small personal self and instead relax into experiencing whatever might be arising, with curiosity and non-judgment?

This month, we’ll be exploring Freedom in our weekly emails, and we hope you’ll feel inspired to raise your awareness and your level of self-accountability.

In our view and personal experience, there is nothing that matters more than taking full ownership of our thoughts, minds, mindsets, and actions…from a place of love, trust, and curiosity.

It’s the adventure of a lifetime; a personal revolution as messy and world-changing as the one we’ll celebrate tomorrow with fireworks, corn on the cob, and country music.

Let’s be part of the energy that will allow this world, this nation, our friends and neighbors, ourselves, to heal and find the wholeness and humanity we’re all capable of.

Your Fellow on the Journey,
Becky

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How to Create More Intimacy in 10 Minutes or Less per Day — Download Your Free Guide

Imagine waking up next to your partner, wrinkled and gray, years down the road…rolling to your side, watching them sleep, feeling absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and respect at the mystery of who they are and your opportunity to evolve alongside them for all these years.

Do you know any lifetime married couples who experience such moments?

Is your partnership on track to be one?

People always seem to be looking for life hacks: the short cut, the easy button to get the results we want with the least possible effort.

In my experience, when it comes to relationships and personal growth, there’s no real short-cut. 

And when we’re looking for one, it usually means we’re trying to by-step the real work of facing the issues underneath the surface-level fixes.

But the practice I’m going to share with you today is something I could call an “intimacy hack.” 

It’s a simple, straight-forward ritual that my husband and I have been practicing for over a decade.

It’s become so foundational to our connection, I can’t imagine our marriage without it.

The practice is called a Couples’ Check-in, and while it isn’t rocket science, there are definitely some nuances that we’ve learned over ten years of practice that have made it extremely successful for us.

This Check-in has improved our emotional connection, increased our ability to peacefully navigate conflict, and enhanced our sex life.

The free download has clear instructions, troubleshooting issues I’ve seen in our own and others’ experience, and FAQs that can help you implement this practice successfully on your own.

You can download it here: https://bodysoulschool.com/free-download-couples-check-in/

I hope it serves you as well as it’s served us over the years!

Wishing you all the best in love and life,

Becky

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Unpopular Opinion — Couples Work Will Not Save Your Marriage

Today I offer an unpopular opinion: that couples work will not save your marriage.

Before you reject the idea–hear me out.

My husband and I have been married for 22 years. We’ve survived betrayal, addiction recovery, major career shifts, rebellious teenagers, faith expansions… and I’m sure we’ve many unexpected adventures yet to face.

Therapy, including couples therapy, has been a significant factor in our ability to not only survive these challenges, but to eventually thrive through them.

So what do I mean when I say that “Couples Work will not improve your marriage?”

When our marriage blew up 10 years ago in the aftermath of betrayal, we made a forever shift: from seeing ourselves as co-passengers in the same boat, to seeing ourselves as individuals who were choosing to row our boats alongside each other, theoretically toward a shared destination.

This shift created a fundamental differentiation. 

It drew a line in the sand that suddenly made clear our true, individual responsibilities.

Suddenly, we were each firmly in charge of our own life path, toward our own growth. 

We couldn’t unconsciously expect the other to pursue our desired destination at the same pace at the same time.

We couldn’t blame each other for the ways we found ourselves paddling in circles.

We became clear about our partnered reality: “I am accountable for my own happiness. I am accountable for my own resentment.”

With this essential understanding in place, my husband and I began a new phase of our journey together: a phase defined by mutual respect, by clear self-directed boundaries, by a deeper sense of self, by tools that improved our communication, and by the clear understanding that each day, we get to choose to stay connected, to turn towards each other….or not.

The more we both took ownership of our own journey and our own state of consciousness in each moment, the more our couples’ issues seemed to dissolve…all on their own. 

When I look at the heavy lifting that moved us from the brink of divorce to a thriving partnership, it is the INDIVIDUAL AWARENESS we both committed ourselves to that made all the difference.

At Lifehouse Body & Soul, we teach mindfulness: simple self-reflective practices and principles that can help you take full ownership of your own state of consciousness.

We do this because we truly believe that this is the path to peace: in our inner world, our personal world, and the world at large.

We believe that life is supposed to be a beautiful adventure of discovery fueled by love, not fear.

In relationships, when you step fully into your OWN adventure, you implicitly invite your partner to do the same.

Maybe they’ll choose to LEVEL UP with you, maybe they won’t.

But regardless…your OWN higher frequency will start to change the vibration of your partnership.

If you’ve been telling yourself that you’re waiting for your partner to get on board so you can improve the quality of your relationship, think again.

The time is NOW and the ball is firmly in your court.

You can choose to change yourself.

You can choose to take full ownership of your attitudes, mindsets, expectations, and behaviors.

You can change the way you engage with your partner.

And no one can stop you. 

Our mindfulness-based programs are an amazing invitation to engage in a framework that can help you realize such a differentiated, empowered coupleship.

It’s a journey, not a destination, and one that is best achieved when nurtured consistently through principle, practice, and supportive community.

If you’d like to learn more about our Couples Retreat or our Mindful Living Programs, we’d love to help you achieve your highest potential of joy in your daily living and intimate relationships.

Hoping to Inspire us all to Reach for More, with Love and Joy,

Becky

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Marriage was Never Meant to be a Struggle

Marriage was never meant to be a struggle.

If you find yourself dreading the next argument with your spouse, living for your next chance to check out and numb yourself, or constantly burdened with feelings of resentment…  you’re probably approaching it the wrong way.

You can choose to shift your meaning…

See marriage as a vehicle to let go of your small, personal self.

Nothing will reveal your ego, your blind spots, and the coping strategies that keep you stuck better than your marriage.

See marriage as a way to explore your deepest capacity for connection. 

This is what all humans yearn for, and in marriage, the opportunity to explore intimacy is right here in front of you–mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Great marriages are a shared adventure that help us wake up and in a world that has gone numb, to actually feel something.

Great marriages are a safe place to express your own creativity, carve a unique path through life, and to try things out.

Great marriages are a soft landing when we fail, struggle, or suffer.

Through marriage, we can evolve into highly differentiated beings with the capacity to own our own stuff so we can respond to others with wisdom and compassion.

By actively engaging in and nurturing our marriage, we show the universe (and our partner) we are serious about our personal growth and our potential for joy.

Lastly, through marriage, we can spread love, raise consciousness, and serve.

If you are single, please replace the word “marriage” with “intimate relationships.” Married or single, our intimate relationships are meant to be the icing on the cake of our lives, not our primary burdens.

This week, pay attention to the way you talk about and think about your marriage or your intimate partner.

Are you viewing your intimate life as your greatest adventure, or a drama to be dealt with?

Rooting for you and  the infinite growth potential of your intimate relationships,

Becky

P.S. We’ve still got spots at our Couples Retreat September 5-8. You can find more information here.

P.P.S. If you’re serious about a long-term life change that will give you framework and tools to truly transform your marriage, consider joining us in the fall as we kick off our next session of our Course in Mindful Living. Stay tuned for more info!

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What’s a “Normal” Marriage? – An Invitation to Our Couples Retreat

What is “Normal”?

Life is crazy. This is something we all know. And that’s “normal.” Right?!

For the first 13 years of our marriage, I thought it was completely normal to be chronically over-busy, stressed about work, barely managing to get our kids where they needed to go.

By the time each day ended, all that Nate (my husband) and I had time and energy left for was to plop ourselves on the couch and watch Netflix together.

But when our marriage hit a crisis, I realized I wanted to throw “normal” out. I realized that “normal” is what got us where we were–disconnected from each other, exhausted, resentful, and only going through the motions of life.

That’s when Nate and I started living a completely different way–a “New Normal” is what we called it.

We learned how to pay attention to our emotions, to our bodies—our energy levels, our sense of being aligned or being dysregulated. We learned how to honor and answer our own needs in the moment, and woke up to the fact that we were often unconsciously expecting the other to meet expectations we had not even expressed.

We began to take ownership of our own happiness, and our own resentment too. We learned how to communicate better, in ways that were more accountable and less confrontational. We found we could suddenly have a discussion instead of an argument and that there was less defensiveness all around.

All of these life-changing outcomes came from simple but consistent mindfulness-based practices: becoming more aware of who we really are and how we engage with the world.

All of these changes took place over time—they are still part of a practice–a new way of living–a NEW NORMAL—but they started with one crucial decision.

The decision that we wanted MORE.

That we were no longer going to settle for surviving…we wanted to THRIVE.

Our marriage is still a practice–we’re not perfect and never will be, but we’re always engaged in building something beautiful together, and that’s exciting and deeply fulfilling.

The Lifehouse Body & Soul Couples Retreat could be such a moment of decision for your coupleship. We’ll be in a beautiful place, comfortable and private accommodations, with gorgeous, healthy, delicious food, and lots of time and space spent learning and practicing the tools that can create a NEW NORMAL for you.

In life, I truly believe there are no magic wands or shortcuts, but there ARE simple mindsets and practices that can guide you back to the part of you that always knows your next right step, every step of the way: your own Higher Self.

If your heart and mind are open, I can promise you that this Retreat will give you the opportunity to find this whole and holy place within you. And when you leave us, I hope you’ll have discovered, it’s all you really need.

I hope you’ll consider practicing with us. It’s going to be amazing!

Learn more here: Couples Retreat

Love, Becky

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Confronting Body Shame: Do you treasure your body as your most loyal friend?

Do you treasure your body as your most loyal friend?

This is something I had never considered before I experienced my own life-changing journey of trauma recovery.

Ten years ago, I was a busy mom of four. I volunteered a lot of hours at church and worked part-time as a Fitness Instructor and Aerobics Program Coordinator at two local universities (BYU & UVU).

My main worry as far as my body was concerned was managing it, and I was a harsh taskmaster. I was focused on staying in shape, maintaining my ideal weight, and performing all the tasks required of me in my various responsibilities.

When I experienced a life-changing trauma in my marriage, my body suddenly seemed to become my enemy. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or even function. I would spin into panic attacks and was often completely overwhelmed by emotions I couldn’t control.

During this very difficult time, I slowly learned to develop an entirely different relationship with my body: a compassionate relationship of listening, honoring, and trusting.

Now, ten years later, I spend my life helping others to experience the same shifts that allowed me to heal in ways I could never have predicted.

In order to change our relationship to our bodies, we have to understand a few basic truths:

  • Your body is hard-wired to survive: it constantly reads your surroundings and responds in ways it unconsciously believes will keep you safe.
  • Your body is like a container: it holds every experience, emotion, memory, impression in its tissues and stores it until you give it permission to let go.
  • You are not your body. You are not your mind. You are the soul inside who is able to observe your thoughts and emotions and choose which to follow and which to release.

Mindfulness, embodiment, and meditation can help us connect with the soul inside, bringing wisdom, clarity, and compassion to all the thoughts, emotions, and sensations of this human experience.

If you could use a fresh start in your relationship with your body, we’d love to have you join us at our embodiment classes, where we work out hard, practice yoga, and meditate.

Even coming once per week can make such a difference in how you feel on a daily basis. If you feel curious, come check it out! You’ve got nothing to lose but a lot of self-loathing.

Learn more about the Body & Soul Practice here.

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Mindfulness for Moms, Caretakers, & Helping Professionals

Yesterday the United States celebrated Mother’s Day, a day which may feel joyful, neutral, or triggering to you, for any number of reasons.

Motherhood plays a complex role in our conditioning as women. Without realizing it, this day can trigger into deep wounds around our perceived success or failure in the roles we think we are supposed to play, and touch into our core identity.

Today, we’d like to bring mindfulness into the specific challenges of being a mother, a caretaker, a teacher, nurse, or helping professional.

Mindfulness can be a crucial practice to help us keep our center when much of our life’s work involves serving others.

Today, we consider a few fundamental Truths:

  1. There is a part of each one of us that longs for someone to protect us, to stand up for us, to make it clear that we matter.
  2. As emotional grown-ups, we can heal past wounds by learning how to do this work for ourselves.
  3. It is my job to know my limitations.
  4. It is my job to use my voice to ask for what I need.
  5. I am accountable for my own resentment.

Today, we are sharing 2 mindfulness practices to help us find our center and maintain healthy boundaries. Doing so allows us to show up for life with our full capacity to love and be present with an open heart.

  1. AEIOUY Check-in (The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown) : Each day, we can specifically focus on the I and the O– did I do something for myself today? Did I do something for others today? When these two points get out of balance, we can usually feel it in our sense of overwhelm, depletion, and/or resentment.
  2. Does this nourish me or does this deplete me? (The Wisdom of the Body, Christine Valters Paintner) This question helps us find alignment and wise action in the present moment.
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Bringing Mindfulness to Relationships

How does mindfulness impact relationships? Or does it?

Some people think of mindfulness practice as a solo-effort. But isolated introspection is only the beginning of the equation. After all, it is fairly easy to attain a sense of peace and centeredness in ideal settings of quiet, comfort, and natural beauty.

But how does this practice carry over when we find ourselves catapulted back into the messy world of dealing with actual people?

In today’s More than Mindfulness, Nesha shares a few ways that her practice of mindfulness and introspection has improved her relationships.

1. Boundaries

Healthy boundaries can help us create healthy relationships, and illuminate the ways we may be unconsciously using others to find our own sense of self. When we create self-directed boundaries and make space in enmeshed or confusing relationships, we find the clarity to self-regulate and self-define, rather than depending on others for validation and approval.

2. Ego Identity

When we pay attention to what triggers us in interpersonal interactions, we may become more aware of where we are clinging to an ego identity. When we can’t abide the idea of being perceived a certain way, it is likely that our sense of self has been wrapped up in a status, title, or achievement that does not serve our true identity and Highest Self.

3. Unhealed Traumas

Our reactions to other people can also illuminate our unhealed traumas. When we find ourselves in an emotional reaction that does not seem to add up, it is a good idea to consider the possibility that the person or situation has struck a buried trauma. We can offer self-compassion, love, and acceptance, and recognize that our over-the-top reaction is not shameful. Instead, it points us to the invisible wounds that need healing.

4. Trigger People

Trigger people are people that simply and inexplicably just bug us! When we find ourselves obsessing over every little thing that somebody does, analyzing their motives and behavior, and repeating our observations to others with a need to prove our point, we have likely encountered an uncomfortable mirror! Trigger people often exemplify the very behaviors or beliefs that we most reject or fear in ourselves. When we encounter a Trigger person, we can count it a blessing! He or she has come into our lives to bring awareness into something we were unwilling or unable to see before.