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 B➚➘ENROUTEIntegral Life Design is engaging in mind, body and heart to awaken in all aspects of yourself through enriching learning and personal guidance, mentorship and coaching together. 

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Is Motherwork Enough? Part I

Gabriela O'Malley

tree with blue leaves.jpg

I’ve seen that the choice of 'staying home' has different names - special needs support, health issues, spouses with jobs that demand intense traveling, uprooting lives to support a partner's career or dreams, or a simple choice of preference.  

Women know that choosing the full-time job of ‘motherwork’ goes far beyond playing “stay at home mommy”. There’s nothing glamourous in the mundane housework chores, nothing sexy after sleepless nights, and no words to describe the self-giving efforts the job demands. We carry the scars from the challenges faced along the way, in our body and in our hearts, and it’s the joy and the love in being our children’s caregivers the stamina that keeps a lot of us going.  

But the high demands - demand it all. In becoming mothers, we may find the biggest source and platform to a multiverse of personal growth. It’s the role ‘motherwork’ plays in our life when it occupies our entire universe, that gets in the way to pursue other paths for personal fulfillment and growth to complement our life.

To me, two major components play a significant role in performing full-time ‘motherwork’ roles that prevent us from having a greater sense of fulfillment and wholeness: lifestyle and time.

Lifestyle - For some of us, the idea of being locked in ‘motherwork’ wasn’t a dream we planned or envision. But life takes it turns, and sometimes we end up spending important years of our lives unable to make our preferred choices fit the lifestyle we are in – moving around the Country or the world, children with special needs, health issues, …   

Then there’s time - the whole thing will pass by so fast. We take time for granted, locked in devotedly doing, giving, and caring for everyone – we fall into the shadows of self-giving, forgetting to invest more in ourselves. Not assessing assertively, the impact it may have in our future. I call it - being locked in transition.  

But how can you predict the future? No-one can. Life develops with the choices we make every single day; and all choices have outcomes. In embracing motherwork full-time, there’s the outcome of having a professional development gap and the risk of underestimating that the frustration of unlived potential and personal achievement of goals and dreams may have a greater impact in your future than you think. I know this of course, after years of being in that struggle myself. After realizing I had been locked in transition.

Here are 5 steps that can help you get on the path to get unlock from transition and move forward to a more fulfilling life:

 

1.      Start with addressing what’s your current situation in life – what do you want?, what makes you happy?, what do you want to change?, what’s missing for you right now?, how do you want your life to be different?

2.      Be Present – Day dreaming, wishful thinking, and jumping from one to five different projects can burn you out and become more stressful than fruitful. Choose wisely how you spend your time and in whatever you choose, be fully present, listen, observe and have fun. Not having fun will push you back to day-dreaming.

3.      Savor the moments – Whether is full-time work outside the house or in motherwork, or a mix of both, savor your work. Let’s stop pretending we’re going to live forever and let us enjoy the life we’re creating now. Focus on quality. Focus on caring for yourself first so that you can truly excel in caring for others.

4.      Invest in positive relationships – Friends are the best medicine for the soul. Invest in people who respect and authentically care.  Those who are real and transparent. Those who you can laugh and learn with. Those who are not afraid of showing their love and with who you feel free to express your love and care.

5.      Practice gratitude – Start with a daily practice, a journal or a prayer. Make it a habit. Be thankful for everything, not only what’s clearly a gift, but also for the lessons that are helping you become a better human being.

Finding your dharma … Part II

A Few Thoughts About Legacy

Gabriela O'Malley

I was talking to a dear friend of mine recently and was moved by a lot of things she shared with me. After we hung up, we sent each other a text; in hers, she said – “you have a lot of merit”. This word ‘merit’, touched my heart. It made me realize how much we truly get to accomplish in our lives, through our jobs, motherhood, marriage, relationships… really, so much.

Reflecting on how much I value my contributions and creations, so often taking them for granted or making them seem small or even buying the belief of their worth every time I put them under the world’s umbrella that defines what success is, made me realize that my merits are my successes. In fact, the foundation of my legacy. As women specially, we struggle with recognizing the value of our contributions and creations when they are not seen or rewarded.

I traveled around the world for many years, immersed in a lifestyle that was beyond my capacity to do more work than the motherwork involved in raising my daughters, dealing with the stress and the overwhelmed behind launching a new life, in a new place over and over, with no friends or family around, most importantly - avoiding going insane with the real-life effects of moving every year or two!...I don’t regret not having a job outside of that - work is work. All the work that you do, paid or not, officially recognized or not, valued or not – it’s all yours. You’ve done it, you’ve created it, you built it and you continue to do it diligently regardless of its market value. However, it’s also true to say that for a long time I felt that my ‘merits’ were not enough. Even now, that I feel more accomplished and are crafting my passion, every now and then I get caught up in the game of questioning the value of my contributions and creations. 

I'm thankful for having a friend who reminded me of that beautiful truth - the truth about the weight our merits have in our lives. The truth that our merits are the facts of our life that make us unique.

Look at you own merits thoughtfully and give yourself permission to feel and own that unique sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from all that you’ve done and accomplished so far in your life.

We may not have achieved a few dreams yet and may have to continue working on projects for a while before we finish them, but hey, that’s the journey.

I hope your life is full of dreams and projects in all different stages.

Do You Live Setting Intentions or Expectations?

Gabriela O'Malley

Going through change and transitions isn't easy, and some of the reasons this even gets more complex are - EXPECTATIONS & RESISTANCE.

Expectation - a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something.

We learn to have expectations since childhood. Our parents, caregivers, teachers and society fill our brains with messages and definitions on how’s, what’s and why’s that slowly but steady, shape our thoughts and perception. We’re basically told how to think, what to expect, how to live and why we should follow. 

Certainly, we all benefit from teachings of social behavior and values that help us live in harmony with each other. But the definition of how to live, what to do and why is for you to discover, not to follow.

You’ll take disappointment out of the equation when you get rid of expectations.  Because, the reality is, no one is in charge of your life, but yourself. So, whatever happens in your life is because you are creating and/or allowing; we all should really understand this. It isn’t about the actions or decisions others do or did, but what you do to turn around however those actions or decisions may have impacted your life. Everything else are excuses, perhaps rooted in immaturity, victimization, fear or ignorance.  Blaming others or blaming out of hand circumstances, is nothing but a waste of time.

What if we changed the concept of expectations and instead of putting our fate in outside events or others, we put that fate in ourselves? What if we stop expecting outcomes with fixed ideas and labels about everything we do, say or happens to us?

Have intentions, not expectations. The first turn-around you can do in your life with regards on expectations is to replace them with intentions.

What not having expectations means? It certainly doesn’t mean living without dreams, goals or desires...

It means, taking off the heavy weight of all that doesn't serve you:

  •  fixed ideas and tags of shoulds and shouldn’ts
  •  judgement
  •  distorted beliefs
  •  fear and misconception of what happiness and success are

In doing so, you will alleviate the self-inducted pain that comes with judgement and resistance.

Give it a try to intend rather than expect. Get actively involved in the outcome of your life, rather than becoming a simple spectator who lives kneeled down to fate. Waiting for something to happen, expecting life to unfold a certain way, people behave a certain way. Expecting your children to recognize and appreciate your sleepless nights and self-giving actions, and call them ungrateful when they don’t; expecting your spouse to read your mind and know ahead of time your needs and dreams, only to feel disappointed or unloved when he/she doesn’t; expecting for your boss to know when to reward your effective efforts, and get demotivated when it doesn’t happen; expecting your friends to know you better, and be upset when they don’t. Expectations lead to disappointment because they nurture false ways of thinking.

Living with intention means getting involved in your life’s outcomes. Visualize and nurture what you can co-create and reap the benefits of feeling happier, fulfilled, appreciated, loved, and experience a greater sense of wellbeing.  Understanding your role as co-creator in your life is powerful.

Malika Chopra, teaches us what living with intent means – “when you live with intent, you learn to consciously plant the seeds of your dreams, water them, and nurture them along the way. You learn to appreciate the gifts of the moment, and to stop, slow down, and take a much-needed breath.”

Plant the seeds of what you most want and nurture them every day.

 

 

How to Pay Attention: 4 steps Plan to Help you Slow Down

Gabriela O'Malley

tran·si·tion (tranˈziSH(ə)n,tranˈsiSH(ə)n/)… the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

Life's transitions… we all go through them.  Transitions are not only changes, but life's experiences that involve great change and transformation.  They impact our life; some, drawing a -before & after line on the path.

With these periods of change and transformation also come anxiety and stress as the uncertainty ahead, the fine list of details to oversee or the preparedness that is required mount up incredibly fast.  Too fast, it’s easy to get absorbed in the doing, so much we forget to look after ourselves just a bit more, take better care of our relationships or enjoy the journey to the challenge(s) ahead.

Going through various life's transitions has left some big imprints in my heart, has forever changed the way I see life, has been my wildest rides and most importantly, they’ve given me the most extraordinary gifts I could have -ever, dreamed of.  But these great moments of change are also loyal teachers that have also given me a few unforgettable lessons, among the biggest: to pay attention.

Life moves in many ways, at a speed it turns our world into a hectic whirlwind from deadlines and endless responsibilities to extreme pressure, ferocious competition, constant travels to relocating around the world, raising a family or caring for a loved one...; yet, in the middle of chaos, there always lies a lesson (or two) for growth.  Because lessons exist in every corner, sometimes in disguised but most of the times hitting us hard on the head.  Lessons are here to teach us something we need or something we’ve asked for and will keep coming until we learn them and make room for new ones.  Until... we start paying attention.

So how do we do it, how do we pay attention? Start with, slowing down and practicing gratitude.  That’s it.  Same responsibilities, same plans and dreams, same challenges, only more present, more connected, actually listening, aware of what’s happening inside and outside of you.  That is the start line of your ‘to do’ list: To be present & to be thankful.

Here’s a simple action plan to help you slow down:

1. Listen to your body: Get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise.  Have fun.

2. Choose smart: Eat healthy, nourish positive thinking, spend more time around nature.

3. Increase self-compassion: more love and acceptance, less judgement and criticism. We know we are our toughest critics, learn to control your inner critic and make room for your loving self.

4. Create an outlet: Having a space for you only is extremely necessary in today’s world, you must create it and give yourself at least 10 minutes a day where you can be in an atmosphere of silence or play soothing music; a place where you won’t be disturbed.  Use those ten minutes to relax, to practice breathing exercises, to pray or meditate.

Gratitude is your gift to yourself.  The impact gratitude has in our life is a powerful one.  Start with observing all the gifts around you.

1. Write them down and place them in a place where you can read them every day.

2. Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier and before you get out of bed, place your hands in your heart and think of all the things you are grateful for and stay there filling your heart with thankfulness.

Practice is the key to success.  The ripple effect from slowing down and becoming more thankful will teach you a new way of looking at things and give you a new understanding for the value of life with all its gifts and all its lessons thus, impacting every aspect of your being, in all its dimensions.  Try and see for yourself.

Embrace life different.