Thriving: Life Beyond Raising & Living with A Special Needs Child.
I am thrilled to announce, my story was featured by The Wellness Universe (WU)! Introduced by Anna Pereira, founder of WU with a question: "How different would your life be if you had a baby born 4 months early? Today’s inspiring story comes to us from Manuela Rohr. Originally from Germany, now living in Santa Rosa, CA
Here it is:
The 24-7 overwhelming challenge of being a mother to a special needs child brought me to my knees.By searching for who else I am, besides being the mother to my child, I overcame the limitations I felt. I gave the chains growing around my heart some slack and finally broke free of being the victim of my old, limiting story.
In my mid-twenties…I woke up from a dream with butterflies in my belly. “I want to be a mother,” I thought. It felt fabulous, but I had time. I carried this longing with me while I built my business and looked for the right guy.
I wanted to share yoga with the world.
Babies would come later. I never had the tiniest thought of not living the life I dreamed up with four healthy children in tow.
After losing three pregnancies, I gave birth to a micro-premie girl. She was born four months early weighing one pound, fifteen ounces and not able to survive on her own. The broken dream burned a hole in my heart.
“Who am I besides being the mother of my child?”
is one I had to learn to ask. The journey of raising a child with extra needs is complicated and often soul-crushingly painful. Tiny victories fight with the overshadowing losses on a daily basis.
I found the answer to my question in different places.I developed skills that taught me how to bend but not break; how to receive when giving was a 24-hour task. It’s on my yoga mat and during my visits in nature that I receive. There I grow what I need the most, a balance of effort and surrender, and the courage to say yes to my life wholeheartedly.
My daughter will always come first. But to feel fully alive I had to remember my other dreams. They’re creating the well from where I can give to her, myself and the rest of the world. It’s my mission to allow all my hearts desires to grow side by side.
I am thriving, and if I can leave you with one piece of advice, it’s this:
To create a distance to my daily challenges has been life-saving for me. If you’re in my shoes, creating time to receive and do the things that fill you up often feels impossible. Pause, bring rituals into your life and learn the art of relaxation. 5-minute breaks scheduled throughout your day will protect you from collapsing and gift you with more energy.
Go for a walk, breathe, listen to a favorite song or anything else you enjoy.
Celebrate the little steps you do for yourself and look for the dreams you’ve put aside.
Don’t forget to ask yourself, “What brings joy into my life on a daily basis?” Do that.
ind your dreams and hold them in front of your eyes. Make them part of your journey. Let them help you realize your worth apart from your child.
visit my published story on The Wellness Universe site... there are many more inspiring reads for you to find:
...one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower!
Enjoy my today's Wisdom Whisperer.... of course, with little Sarina, forever the garden fairy!
After reading the book E-Squared by Pam Grout a few years ago, I got hooked on her message. In the book, she offers simple experiments to prove that our thoughts create our reality. "Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."
One of the experiments I did back then is now part of my daily commitment to live a vibrant life. I believe in the little things and small steps I can do off the yoga mat to continue the lessons I learn there:
Show up! Pay Attention! Be Present! Accept what is!
Because I lived in Germany I read the book in German. She called the experiment I'm talking about the Toyota-Prius-Principle. She writes: "If we decide to see a Toyota or look for sunset beige cars or purple feathers we will see them."
I agree: "We decide what we want to see and if we pay attention we will! And, if we want something, we have to go for it. To spot a car we have to leave the house, it won't drive through our living room."
The yogi in me adds: "if you are going to do yoga, you have to roll out your mat and do it."
I had some skeptic and didn't want to make this too easy when I chose my first experiment. Ok, I decided I wanted to see green cars. In my mind, there are none or very few Germans who drive green cars.
I went out on my bike running errands while scanning the cars driving by. I was surprised, by the time I came home I had seen seven green ones. Seven! Wow, that was a surprise. Later I biked to the yoga studio, and I spotted five more green cars on just a 15-minute ride.
Unbelievable I thought. I could swear I had not seen any green cars in my city before. I shared this story with my students and one waved her hand and smiled: "Just look out the window, my car is parked there." We all looked, and right there was a car, a bit banged up, but it was a green car.
I had spotted thirteen green cars in a couple of hours when I thought to perhaps find one.
By paying attention! Our awareness is like a muscle that will grow if we use it!
So for this week, I have chosen to look for white flowers. Not because they are hard to find right now, actually Spring is here in Santa Rosa, and flowers are popping up everywhere. I chose an easy to find color because I want to have many opportunities to pay attention. Each time I see one I thank the universe for such beauty.
That's Yoga-off-the-mat for me.
It slows me down and inspires me not to let my day be run by the to-do-list-alone.
Yesterday I spotted 22 budding white daffodils right by my driveway. I had watched them pop up, but now I stopped and didn't just drive by. I looked at each one of them, took a few deep breaths and drove off with a smile.
Let me inspire you this week. Find something you like to spot. Smile each time you see your flower or what else you have chosen. Put it in your happiness box no matter how the rest of the day goes.
Walk tall and with ease and be gentle with yourself!
"Manuela is a Yoga teacher and Phönix Rising Yoga Therapist who helps people of all ages, to use the gifts of Yoga and Mindfulness to let go of their often limited storyline and create more joy in their lives. Her special interest is to help parents of children with challenges to have tools in their life to be able to bend but not break on their extraordinary journey. Her passion is being in nature, writing, dancing, cooking, and photography. Originally from Germany, she lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Rosa."