Mama’s Comfort Camp Presents the First Stop in the UnGuilt Trip:
Practical BodyMind methods and emotional safety nets
for disarming anger and anxiety
What: A six week e-course. A gentle UnGuilt Trip through your inner landscape to disarm anxiety and anger and practice new skills that bring comfort, because motherhood doesn’t have to hurt so much. These methods do not require you to practice them to perfection before you can reap the benefits — they are designed to provide noticeable relief quickly, even when you are down.
Why: Anger and anxiety are normal and painful side-effects of being human, and motherhood exacerbates both. How you treat yourself when you are angry and/or anxious dictates how long and how deeply you will be at the mercy of these emotions, and will set the tone for how you will treat your loved ones (reducing out of control reactions=less guilt!). This class doesn’t promise to eliminate anger and anxiety from your life (I wish!), but it will shorten their effect on you, give you access to your power in situations where you feel powerless, and over time reduce the severity and frequency of shit-storms.
When: The maiden voyage of this course took place last June. It will be offered again in the Fall 2012. If you are interested, make sure to sign up for my email list to be among the first to know when registration for this class opens again.
How it works: The course has three content moduls, and you get two weeks to process and practice each one. You get course content access on Monday, you’ll get a week to process the content and we’ll meet for our teleclass conference calls on the next monday at 8:30pm EST, then on the following Monday you’ll get the next batch of content.
Where: your mind, your phone, your computer, your MP3 player… You decide where to practice the skills; that’s the beauty of an e-course. You choose when you read the ebook, and if you listen to the audios while doing housework that’s okay with me.
Emotional Safety Nets?
You know those well meaning people who tell you “Don’t worry so much” and “You just need to relax and take it easy…” ? Well, how do you just relax? And how on earth do you NOT worry when everything is scary? You’d love to but have no clue how… Here is how: You replace stressful thoughts with secure thoughts. You reframe your story by changing the words you use in your self-talk. I’ll hand you my favorite go-to self-talk tools that I use over and over again: I’m not talking about empty affirmations — I will never ask you to tell yourself anything that doesn’t ring true — that just creates a cognitive dissonance that exacerbates anxiety. And I will aslo explain how to start generating secure thoughts for yourself. This blog post is an example of one of those tools.
Verbal and emotional concepts will be anchored in the body through restorative movement and gentle rubbing of acupressure points. We will learn easy to follow, safe, and gentle movement and breathing patterns that will help you disarm the scary stories and their sense of impending doom. Most of these movement patterns are small, and can be performed while sitting in a chair. None will make you break a sweat. This is not a fitness or a yoga class, nor a zen or meditation practice. In my personal experience, traditional mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing and meditation were very hard to access during times of anger and anxiety. Most of the times I tried (and failed) to use them I just ended up feeling worse. Over time I experimented with many methods and found some gentle movement anchors that were much more useful. I’ll be sharing them with you in this class. Also, these BodyMind methods do not require you to practice them to perfection before you can reap the benefits — they are designed to provide noticeable relief quickly.
Scope: what you get
- Three 75 minute teleclasses, and their MP3 recordings, so even if you have to miss a class (or all three if you can’t join us at the call times) you can still get all the benefit. These are conference calls, where I will primarily be presenting each week’s lesson. I will hold a Q&A at the end (questions can be submitted in advance if you can’t attend a call). Recordings will be made available on the following day. You’ll be able to listen to these MP3s over and over, whenever you wish. (The conference calls use a US number. If you’ll be calling from outside of the USA, you can use Skype to Landlines or Google Voice for inexpensive international calls).
- The Kooky Jar ebooks: I used to call the coping skills I teach “tools from my toolbox”, but that didn’t taste very good. Now we call them cookies from the Kooky jar. Because, you know, what would you rather chew on? Cookies are much easier to digest. You get three mini books, one per week: Safety in Permission: Shelter from the Storm, Reframing Anxiety and Guilt, and Consciously Interacting with Anger.
- 3 audio cookies: these are not passive meditations, rather they are guided listening tools to help you practice the new skills. You may sit down to focus on them, or if you are like me, use them while your hands are busy with other things like folding laundry or washing dishes.)
Sample the Invocation of Comfort audio cookie here. This one is a broad cookie, the ones in this class will be more specific and have how-to-ish aspects.
Right-click here to download for offline listening.
- 5 video cookies: for when you need to see what I’m doing so you can follow the movement patterns.
- Helping HandOuts: homework. The good kind. The kind kind. And it’s optional (you decide if you want to fill in the blanks, and nobody will look at you funny if you don’t). My handouts are designed to make themselves unnecessary: because let’s face it, as mothers we don’t exactly have a lot of me-time. The goal is to have you practice on paper just enough times so you would soon be able to follow these methods in your head without having to sit down to write.
- The (Not)Secret Love-ratory: a private facebook group where course participants will be able to ask me questions and report on progress with our Self-Kindness experiments. I post regular practice prompts in the group, and that is where some of the biggest moments of magic happen.
Table of Contents
- Week 1: Shelter from the storm: establishing emotional safety by switching from fight/flight/judge to student and detective mode, bodymind shortcuts to releasing pressure during discomfort, experimenting with Permission-Based Healing and Self-Kindness, and inviting your inner wise woman to come out of her hiding place and help you out.
- Week 2: Reframing anxiety and guilt, and my all time favorite bodymind technique to get painful emotions to move on.
- Week 3: Consciously interacting with anger. Rage Mitigation and Grump Management. Deepening your connection to safety, permission, and trust.
The Emotional Environment
- A small, intimate, warm, safe space.
- You are wholeheartedly accepted: all of your hang-ups, insecurities, guilt, fear, and exhaustion are fully respected and met with compassion.
- “Should-free” experimentation, and playful exploration of new emotional options.
- Sharing is welcome but not required. You will not have to reveal anything that doesn’t want to be said out loud.
- You cannot fail this class.
How much does it cost?
For the first time I run this class, the early bird price is$55
After June 18: $70
First time? Is this a test drive?
In a way, yes. I’ve been teaching these ideas and concepts for a about two years, and I adore their gentle effectiveness. Participants love the them. And I’ve been holding conference calls and hosting an online support group too. Yet this is the first time I’ll be sharing this combination of videos and audios and handouts together with conference calls and online support. I am so excited about this potent combination, yet as much as I’d like everything to go smoothly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some first time technical glitches. So yes, those who will join me on this maiden voyage, get to chart new territory with me. That’s why the price of this class lower than it will be in the future. If you trust me enough to join me now, and will be generous enough to give me your feedback, you’ll be rewarded with a free 1 hour coaching session with me after the course ends, and together we will go over how to best implement and integrate the new skills into your life (more about my coaching sessions here). Everyone who completes the feedback forms will get a free coaching session.
This is the first time I’ll be holding this particular class, but my programs tend to get rave reviews. For example:
In my darkest hour, Yael helped me find the beauty in the breakdown. With her guidance I was able to forgive myself for my challenges and focus on learning the skills that helped me become the capable mother, the loving partner, and the vibrant person I want to be.
~Robin Farr (@FarewellStrangr) Calgary, Canada. Blog: farewellstranger.
* * * *
I love the guilt harvesting technique, and for a while, I was using the handout to work through incidents, but by now, it has become a part of my inner vocabulary, I don’t need to write anything down anymore, I can just follow in my head+heart, and disarm painful thoughts even while I’m driving or making dinner.
I was especially grateful to having these skills when I was grieving the loss of my mother. She died after a long illness, and I miss her every day; yet there was also an element of relief in her passing. At first I interpreted that relief to mean that I didn’t love her enough, which was sure to lead me down a path of self-judgement and self-loathing. Conscious UnGuilting made all the difference in the world: whenever I began to judge myself harshly, I would notice, stop, and disarm the guilt. I was able to be kind to myself, didn’t spend precious energy fighting my feelings, and was able to grieve meaningfully instead of grudgingly. What’s more, I managed to be fully present at my job, with the rest of my family, and my little girl.
~Zoe P. Ithaca, NY.
Will this class be offered again?
Yes. Probably in October or November. Expect the price to go up to $70 (early bird) and $100 (last minute).
If as a result of the feedback I get from the Maiden Voyage participants I’ll decide to add resources (additional videos or handouts etc,) to use in the second run of this class, Maiden Voyage participants will get access to these resources free of charge.
If your heart says “Yes!” but your budget says “No Way” consider these options:
The Barter Spot: one spot in the course is reserved for a participant who will barter for this class by transcribing the conference calls (please only ask about this option if you can commit to transcribing the calls within the same weeks the calls are made). Email me at ppdtjoy at gmail dot com to set this up.
The free spot: a “Spread the Word” contest: share this course page online to get entered in a drawing for a free spot in the class. Each email, Facebook or Twitter share gets you one chance to win, (make sure to let me know by leaving a comment below or CC me, @me, or FB tag me so I’ll know about your shares.). Mention this class on your blog with a link to this page for 5 chances to win. My 3yo will draw one name out of the hot-pink hat, and I’ll announce the winner on June 18,
Here is a readymade tweet for you:
The (Not)Secret (Not)Weapons class: Learn gentle bodymind ways to disarm #Anxiety & #Anger with @yaelsaar http://bit.ly/L3Jxjt
A big thank you to everybody who shared! There was lots of spreading of the love, I’m so grateful to you all. The winner of the free spot in the class is: Kristin Novotny. Welcome, darling.
The bigger picture:
This class is the first module of the UnGuilt Trip curriculum of online courses: think of it as a comfort school of skills for happiness. These are the kind of skills I wish they’d taught us in kindergarten and in college: Self-kindness, effective compassionate communications, sovereignty (the art of not worrying about what other people think!). Upcoming modules include:
The Sleep Deprivation Companion: Self-Kindness, coping skills, and safety plans for when you can’t get no ZZZZs.
Inner Wise Woman safari: developing self trust and inner guidance. We all have a sage inside us. Yes, even you. Find her, tend and befriend her, allow her to shine, and oh, the places you’ll go…
The UnCrash Course: Self-Kindness ways to set-back proof your recovery.
Can only mothers sign up?
My classes are created by a mom and for moms, but are open for all women. If you don’t have kids yet feel drawn to the concepts and skills offered here, you are welcome to join us. Sure, many of the scenarios in the examples will involve caring for children, but you are smart enough to extrapolate the meanings to work for you. The skills I teach can be used by anybody regardless of their family situation or gender. While some of my future programs will also be open for dads and men, I chose to make this class for women only in order to make our sharing environment feel super safe for us.
Disclaimer: my classes offer coping skills, not mental health or medical advice, and should never be considered as substitute for the care of a medical or mental health professional.
Instructor: Yael Saar my own struggles with postpartum depression led me to discover my life’s calling: to remove guilt, shame, and blame from the parenting experience, by teaching mamas emotional coping skills. I previously served as a volunteer suicide prevention counselor, now I lead postpartum support groups in Ithaca, NY, and online, as well as coach people individually. This is my first online class.
Why you you might want to listen to me: Guilt killed my mother and it nearly killed me. I am on a mission to prevent guilt from ruining your life. I survived a PPD related suicide attempt in 2004, and since then I’ve worked my way from the depth of dispair all the way up to becoming a rather joyful mama. I used to feel like a trapped and wounded animal, now, even on bad days I operate from the deep trust that I can handle all of my negative emotions as long as I don’t fight myself when they come up. My job here is to share skills that turn dark caves into tunnels, tunnels that can be crossed safely. I have walked this darkness before, and now I bring candles and matches, flashlights and maps. These skills transformed my life, and I’m not that special, I’m convinced they can help you too.
If you find yourself attracted to all this, I would bet a whole night’s worth of sleep that your inner monsters have already started hurling mud balls at you. Things like: “ There’s no use” or “What do you mean talk about your fears with complete strangers?” And my favorite: “How dare you even consider spending money on a class that is JUST for your well-being, you selfish you!”
Yes, those monsters are pesky. Some counterpoints:
1. No use? That one is only true if you buy into it.
2. Complete strangers can be excellent people to talk about your fears with. And you don’t have to talk about anything. If you just listen, you’ll get lots of benefit, I promise.
3. Ah, yes, as mothers we have been culturally trained to spend money on our kids (ooh, those cute outfits! Anything to help them sleep better. Piano lessons…) and not on ourselves. For stay-at-home moms, the “I’m not contributing economically so I shouldn’t be spending money on myself” narrative is stronger than crazy glue. I hear you. It’s not my place to tell you that you should invest in yourself. You know your family’s economic situation better than anybody else, and besides, this is not about what you “should” be doing. It’s about freeing yourself from “shoulds” altogether. And if you give yourself to this process, you might gain freedom from the monsters too.
P.S. This class owes a debt of gratitude to Havi Brooks of the Fluent Self, Hiro Boga, and Chick Moorman.
Havi’s blog, and her Kitchen Table and Crossing the Line program, helped me become a person who feels safe stretching her comfort zone enough to do things that would have scared me to pieces before. Hiro’s How to Rule Your World From the Inside Out program gave me so much strength by connecting me to my sovereignty like no one else can. And Chick Moorman, (the author of the book Parent Talk), first transform my relationship to parenting when I read his book, and then transformed my relationship to teaching when I studied with him at the Parent Talk training of trainers. I wouldn’t be doing any of this without these mentors.
Yael’s Permission-Based healing work is really important whether you have kids or not. Yael is kind, curious, committed and wonderfully creative. I know she really and truly cares about safe spaces and internal process. Plus she does UnGuilt Trips. Yay!”
~ Havi Brooks, author of the The Fluent Self
P.P. S. This class is available as a gift. We mamas have a hard time spending money on self-care. But when people ask us what we want, we often have no idea what to ask for, you know what I mean, right? So if you love a mama who could use these skills, don’t just bring her flowers. And if you are a mama who could use these skills, well, now you have a gift idea next time someone asks. Thank you so much to my brilliant friend Susan of Learned Happiness Blog for suggesting I spell this out.