I’m honored to share today's episode, a conversation three years in the making with Rachel Macy Stafford, that arrives during remarkably challenging times, just as we need Rachel’s wisdom most.
Rachel is a writer with one goal: to help people choose love as much as humanly possible. A New York Times bestselling author, her latest book is Live Love Now: Relieve the Pressure and Find Real Connection with Our Kids. She’s also the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today; a certified special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in education; an in-demand speaker featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Global News, TIME.com, FoxNews.com, as well as in hundreds of other online and print publications and a beloved blogger who inspires millions in her weekly blog posts at HandsFreeMama.com and through her supportive Facebook community, The Hands Free Revolution.
Like so many of her followers, I stumbled upon Rachel’s work years ago, and her writing immediately became a light on my path to more fully live my purpose.
I'm so grateful that I had this time to talk with Rachel, to explore the threads of presence and authenticity that weave through so much of her journey, to understand that facing our truths is just the beginning of unexpected invitations, and to remember what’s possible for our children to live a present-filled, purpose-filled life when we step forward to do that first.
This conversation with Rachel and her beautiful new book, which I hope you will get and savor as I have been doing, will make you want to show up for yourself and your children in profound new ways and to embody her underlying message, to Live Love Now.
P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.
This Episode is Dedicated by Samantha Arsenault
Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic gold medalist, high-performance consultant, mental health educator, speaker, and entrepreneur – and she’s a mother of four and recovering perfectionist. Samantha holds a master's degree in education and spent six years teaching high school science and coaching swimming. After a near-death experience with her then 12- month old daughter, Samantha knew it was time to pay forward all she's learned about achievement, emotional resilience, rising from failure, and finding happiness.
In 2016, Samantha founded Livingstone High Performance in response to the mental health crisis impacting adolescents across the globe, specifically those in the athletic arena. LHP provides pillars of support to organizations, teams, and individuals to elevate mental health and improve performance, and build a more empowered village. In addition to private and group coaching, Samantha offers online courses and consults with teams and organizations on athlete wellness initiatives, leadership, strategic planning, rising skills, and developing high-performance cultures. She is a certified instructor of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement and Mental Health First Aid.
Samantha is an engaging public speaker who has more than 19 years of experience, which includes her TEDx Talk: The Weight of Gold: An Olympian’s Path to Recovery. She’s been featured as a keynote speaker, expert panelist, workshop facilitator, and seminar leader. She’s worked with high-school, collegiate, and professional athletes in a group and 1:1 setting; school districts; athletic departments; coaching organizations; women in business groups; wellness entrepreneurs; and national governing bodies, most notably, USA Swimming.
Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. To learn more about her offerings, go over to www.samanthalivingstone.com.
In This Episode We Talk About:
Rachel's quest for purpose and the legacy she wants to leave
How reflecting on the question "How do I do it all?" on a run one day became the "spark moment" that pushed Rachel to choose herself
What Rachel means by her connection to her "dreamer girl"
Why facing the truth is really just the beginning
What it means when Rachel says to her children "I want to love you by your book."
Hands-Free Mama as a way of being
The pressure and insecurity of online life and how screentime distraction becomes the biggest obstacle to living purpose-filled
The 3 roles that will allow us to walk beside our kids
Finding your place of refuge and helping your kids find theirs
How we can "find our people" by doing the things our heart calls us to do
The tear-filled pledge I made to Rachel, reading from a promise in her book on p.57
This Week's Challenge:
For this week’s challenge, Rachel encourages us to think about any hurtful comments, criticism, consciously and unconsciously, that we’ve been carrying around that’s holding us back from truly fulfilling our purpose. Reflect on it and slowly turn that pain into purpose.
Learn More About
Rachel Macy Stafford
Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today. Her fourth book, Live Love Now, releases in April 2020. Rachel is a certified special education teacher who helps people overcome distraction and perfection to live better and love more. Rachel's work has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Global News, TIME.com, FoxNews.com, as well as in hundreds of other online and print publications. Her blog (www.handsfreemama.com) currently averages one million visitors a month. Rachel loves taking long walks, baking, and volunteering with homeless cats and nursing home residents. Rachel lives in the South with her husband and two daughters who inspire her daily.
Follow Rachel on Social Media
Honoring George Floyd By Stepping Into Empathy And Action
I want to acknowledge the pain and horror so many of us are feeling at the killing of another black man by a police officer, in the death of George Floyd. Rachel’s gift is to invite us to be present and purposeful in our lives and that same presence and purpose calls us now to take that pain and turn it into deeper understanding and action.
To support that, in the show notes, I’m including a link to an episode I recorded a few years ago with the co-founder of Mother’s Against Police Brutality Sara Mokuria, and to a set of Anti-Racism resources that Rachel shared in a post, she wrote today. Also in that post, Rachel offered these words from her new book Live Love Now, that I invite us to sit with, along with a few moments of silence, to honor George Floyd, and so many other men like him.
"What if we responded to the injustices inflicted on human lives with empathy and action rather than defensiveness or apathy? What if we lived as if we truly believed it’s not 'your back' or 'my back,' but 'our back'?"
Resources Mentioned in the Opening Call to Action in Honor of
The Mother's Quest Manifesto Challenge is technically over, but the Reflection Journal, live videos, and reflective prompts are all still waiting for you in the Mother's Quest Facebook Group. Follow along at your own pace by registering here: www.mothersquest.com/manifestochallenge and coming on over to the private group here.
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Mother's Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.
Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).
Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/
If you’re anything like the vast majority of the mothers I’ve been talking with, you’ve been feeling disoriented and like you’ve lost yourself during these last few months. You may be wondering how am I ever going to come back home to myself?
I had been feeling this way too...overwhelmed with fear, moving through all the stages of grief, and juggling demands at home that now included supporting my children’s distance learning... on top of all the other things!
In this special Mother’s Day episode, I share how the E.P.I.C. Life framework itself, words of wisdom from past guests on the podcast, and a question my teenage son Ryan asked me, started to help me reclaim myself.
Listen in for special clips lighting my way from episodes I’ll be re-releasing this week as part of a special series to light the way in the midst of challenge:
I also share about some epic plans for our third annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, the one Graeme Seabrooke and I had created together in our conversation on the podcast two years ago. Taking place starting May 11th, in the free Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, it’s a 7-day journey to reclaiming ourselves, a chance to reflect together, along a new process I’m naming “CHOOSE,” and to create or refine our own manifestos for living our lives, yes even in the midst of a pandemic. Sign up here to join us.
As for me, I’ve learned on Mother’s Day, that in addition to spending time with my children, I need some time to myself. So, today I’ll be going on my favorite milestone hike, and when I reach the summit, I’ll sit down and listen to my favorite meditation, one called “Teshuvah” or “Return” in Hebrew, that brings new meaning to the idea of setting out on a journey and returning home. Of losing our center and finding it again.
So, this Mother’s Day, I invite you to find your center again as you listen to this episode, and ask yourself some of the same questions I’ve been exploring. In what ways have you been feeling trapped? When was the last time you felt connected to your purpose? And what might it take for you to open a door for yourself…to choose yourself...and to take even just one tentative step closer to your version of an E.P.I.C. life?
One Possible Next Step: Join Us for the Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge
The Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge is a 7-day experience that will move you through a series of reflective prompts to support you in creating or refining a "manifesto" of your own to become an anchor in your life in these years that you are raising your children.
In addition to reflective prompts that I'll share live in the group each morning, I've invited a different mother to also go live, to share their journey and manifestos and also to offer a tool or practice that would support the prompt we're reflecting on.
This year, I'll be exploring a new acronym mnemonic and framework "CHOOSE" that captures the process I went through when I claimed my manifesto...a process I realized has been with me in all the other times of my life when I shifted a perspective and moved myself forward in a powerful way.
Here is what’s in store for you in the next 7 days.
5/10 Mother's Day with Graeme Seabrook - Both Graeme and I will be live in the group at some point to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day, welcome new members, share about why we co-created the challenge two years ago, and set the frame for the week.
5/11 Day 1: C with Lindsay Pera - "Claim" the experience or opportunity in front of you that calls you to something different; sometimes these are even painful moments you would not choose for yourself. Sometimes these feel like a "sign" that calls to you in mysterious ways. What is the "spark" for you?
5/12 Day 2: H with Jadah Sellner - "Hold space for reflection" give yourself an opportunity to pause and make meaning of what is happening so you can learn from it and consciously move forward in a different way
5/13 Day 3: O with Nic Strack - "Own the perspective" that is NOT serving you. What story are you telling yourself that feels outdated? Or what way of looking at something is feeling out of alignment or holding you back? Before you can move forward, it's important to really look at where you are now.
5/14 Day 4: O with Jamie Greenwood - "Own a more empowering perspective" explore a new way of looking at something that resonates for you and that returns a sense of power to you
5/15 Day 5: S with Amy Walsh and Elsie Escober - "Stake in the ground" put your stake in the ground and claim this new perspective by expressing it clearly (and sharing when/if you feel comfortable). This is the day when the manifesto itself comes into form. I've invited several key guests this day who will each offer a different creation method that you can utilize to help express yourself.
5/16 Day 6: E with Jessica Stong - "Explore one next step" begin to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be by taking setting intention for one action.
5/17 Day 7: Reflection and Celebration Circle An opportunity to come together via zoom after the challenge is over to reflect on the process, lessons learned and to share our manifestos with one another.
Sign up here to get daily reminders and to download the FREE Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge Reflection Journal.
After a podcast pause, I’m back with a bite-sized reflection from living my own E.P.I.C. life. If in the midst of this global pandemic, you’re someone like me, with the privilege of sheltering in place, and find yourself swinging from gratitude and inspiration to exasperation, this reflection is for you!
In this minisode, I share some of the things I’ve been reading and listening to that have supported me, and how they all weaved together one night when I sat down to write some aspirations for myself, something I’m referring to now as my “Pandemic Promise.”
I hope you’ll give yourself some pause so you can listen in, hear about some of the practices and ideas that are grounding me right now, and consider writing a promise to yourself.
In this minisode you’ll hear me talk about:
If you’d rather read than listen, you can also go straight to the blog post here.
And please mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, starting on May 11th in the Facebook Group. Join here.
Follow all the conversations at www.mothersquest.com/podcast
P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.