Mid-Day Cocktails And Memorial Day

I flew to Mexico City last weekend for a medical appointment, to do some errands and enjoy a few child-free days before a long stint of mostly single parenting. Tuesday, which was the last day there, felt almost like a vacation day. I arrived Saturday night, both Sunday and Monday morning were filled appointments and errands, and I worked Monday afternoon.

We had "nothing to do" until our evening flight, and so we spent Tuesday morning at my favorite bakery then wandering the streets of La Roma Norte, one of my favorite neighborhoods, poking around bookstores and galleries and laneways filled with interesting stores.

By early afternoon, it was getting hot, and my companion spotted some delicious looking fruit piled on a bar counter across the street. We quickly decided now was the time for a refreshing drink and beelined for the street-side bar stools.

We ordered “aguas frescas” which quickly quenched our thirst. As we sat there, we realized we had happened upon a restaurant that was named one of the best new restaurants in Mexico City, but that hadn’t had any tables available the evening we tried to make reservations.

As we sat at the bar for what appeared to be the lunchtime rush, we watched the bartender whip up amazing concoctions, both with and without alcohol. I perused the cocktail menu out of curiosity and didn’t see anything that jumped out at me for that time of day. The bartender saw me looking and asked what I wanted. I said something not-too-sweet and not-too-strong as I don’t usually day drink. He asked if he could try out a new cocktail on me, and I said okay.

I watched as he chilled the glass, squeezed fresh orange juice, muddled pineapple, mixed in a little cinnamon infused syrup, and shake with a light pour of gin and Aperol. He then charred a cinnamon stick before stirring it into the drink.

It was an expertly made cocktail and it was delicious. Not only that, I could have sat there smelling it all day. My partner, who doesn’t usually order cocktails, was inspired to order one as well and had another (different) custom-made cocktail with his favorite ingredients.

We then decided to order some appies and salad, and ended up each ordering one more drink.

This is the kind of afternoon many of my clients dream of when they first contact me - but it often feels like a faraway somewhat impossible dream that they don’t quite dare have - lest it never becomes reality.

I get it.

6 years ago, those two afternoon cocktails (which likely would have been at least three at the restaurant) would have led to another drink or two at the apartment we were staying at (there was literally a top shelf of excellent quality alcohol that we had access to and hadn’t touched a drop of all weekend)- instead he had coffee and I had water when we got back to the apartment.

It would have meant a frantic dash around the apartment and scrambling to get the airport, wondering if I’d forgotten anything (I likely would have) and then hoping to get to the airport on time for another drink at the bar - instead, he bought a bottle of water and I found a cafe and ordered a matcha latte.

It would have meant drinks ON the airplane even though it’s only an hour long flight and possibly keeping the party going once we got home since I didn’t have any responsibilities until 9 am the next day… and once upon a time, it might have even meant shirking or showing up late for those responsibilities, or at the very least, having to slog my way through a hangover to accomplish anything.

Instead, I felt great, hydrated, unpacked, washed my face, had an amazing night’s sleep, and woke up feeling refreshed and also celebrating the fun and spontaneous last afternoon we’d had in the city.

It hit me.

THIS is why I did all of that work! This is part of the vision I had for myself, 6+ years ago. Why I wanted to REDEFINE my relationship to alcohol - not eliminate it completely.

Sitting sipping craft cocktails, chatting with the bartender and my partner, learning about a new brand of natural fruit juice sparkling drinks as the provider did a demo for the GM of the restaurant, sampling new foods and a new line of fruit-infused sparkling waters made locally. I learned about jocoque, a Lebanese dip that apparently became quite popular in Mexico due to the large Lebanese population. I knew none of this history and the combination of fried baby artichoke hearts and jocoque was amazing (see pic below).

Did I “need” to drink alcohol to experience all of those things? Of course not. I could have had a similar experience by asking the bartender to make me craft mocktails (which I have done in other places in the past). But I loved this particular experience and was grateful for it. It felt like a treat and also an affirmation of where I’m at right now and how far I’ve come.

I had consultation calls with three women last week who thought they needed to go completely alcohol-free. Because they were afraid. Because they thought that was the only option for them as “problematic drinkers.” Because they had tried to moderate before and “failed.”

And yet they were facing extreme resistance to making a change because they didn’t want to cut alcohol out of their lives completely.

More importantly, there was a little intuitive voice saying to them - there is another way!

When we can moderate in some circumstances and not others, our inner wise woman knows that total abstinence must not be the only option for us. So we face resistance to making a change because we think that it means no alcohol forever or choosing something that isn't in total alignment with what we actually want for ourselves. (Let me be clear, I’m all for total abstinence if that is what your inner wise woman wants. However, I don’t think any decision should be driven by fear or lack of options.)

These three conversations reminded me so much of where I was at 6 years ago. I knew I needed to make a change. I knew I was having a really hard time controlling my alcohol use in certain situations. Yet I also knew that I didn’t have a physical dependency. I knew that my alcohol use wasn’t always out of control… but that there were certain situations that were the “recipe for disaster.”

That’s where the real work really began. Understanding the difference. Learning about what needs alcohol was fulfilling. Exploring how to meet those needs in other ways. Digging deep and healing the part of ourselves that feel “less than” and that we need alcohol to be a certain way.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of this article, coming next week.

As always, I'd love to hear from you!! Do you feel fear/resistance around making a change? Is your intuition telling you one thing but the people around you/dominant culture/status quo (or your fear) limiting your options?

I'll do my best to address your comments, questions, and concerns in the next installment!

For now, if you're celebrating the beginning of summer and/or Memorial Day in the USA, or just want some inspiration, here are three of my favorite mocktail recipes (with amazing health benefits!!)

Mother's Day 2019

On Friday it was Mother’s day here in Mexico, and yesterday it was celebrated in Canada and the USA.

At the beginning of last week, I spent 3 intensive days in a healing retreat with 7 other women (8 of us total). The healer/guide was from Spain, and the participants were from Mexico, Italy, Canada, and the US. The focus was on healing the heart-uterus connection, and it was probably the most profound and insightful healing process I’ve ever experienced over such a short period of time. We held space and held each other as we healed years of residual pain/trauma/fear/abuse, release unfelt and unexpressed anger, and forgiving ourselves.

As I mentioned in my last email, I’ve been healing from some serious health issues, one of which is an infection in my uterus. Ever since being pregnant, which was high risk and stressful with multiple stays in the hospital and ended in an emergency cesarian at 33 weeks, I’ve had a slow journey back into loving myself wholly.

My recent retreat experience once again affirmed for me the importance of coming together as women. It was also very timely, with the impending celebration of Mother’s Day in various countries of those participating.

We were an interesting group, not only in our diversity from countries represented, languages spoken and life experience but also in our relationship to having children. Some were mothers by choice, others by accident, another by force, and others not mothers not by choice (ie they wanted to have kids and hadn’t been able to have them yet) and one without child on-purpose.

What was fascinating to me was that after one of the visualization sessions and debriefs, the childless on-purpose person, a woman from Italy, exclaimed, I just realized something - “it’s really true what they say - we [women] are ALL mothers!”

You would be hard pressed to find a woman who isn’t or hasn’t been some kind of caregiver at some point in her life, therefore embodying the “mother” archetype even if she doesn’t have any of her own biological children.

It is in that vein that I am sending this love note and a gentle reminder- to all the caregivers and mothers.

Feeling the responsibility of looking after another life is tiring. It doesn’t matter how much we love it or whether we chose this life, being a caregiver requires energy.

This is why it is CRITICAL to commit to our own self-care.

WHY is this so important? Because when we push ourselves aside and don’t make ourselves a priority THROUGHOUT the day and week, one of two things happens. Either we consistently numb out from the pain of self-denial, or we have a blow out because we are looking for escape, permission to turn off/shut down/or need a “reward” for our good behaviour of being good and taking care of everyone else all of the time.

When we are not consciously and consistently making sure our own needs are being met, we are more likely to reach for or resort to the try-and-true and often unconscious choice of alcohol, food, or some other habitual form of numbing out.

Does this sound familiar << Test First Name >>?

A theme that came up recently amongst my clients was how self-care sometimes feels selfish.

During one of our group coaching calls, it was inspiring to hear my co-coach Matthew encouraging us as women to shift the story from self-care being selfish to selfFULL.

Here are some examples that clients have committed to this past week: (names changed to protect privacy)

- Robin is going to be loud and proud about how good things are. Her training has been to shrink and downplay her accomplishment or adventures. As a mama of 3 and successful entrepreneur, she’s decided to step fully into celebration mode after a recent divorce and separation from her husband of 18 years.

- Lara’s husband often comes home from a stressful and demanding day at work resistant to connect and needing alone time. Lara, on the other hand, has spent the entire day at home and is longing for connection. She has committed to asking for a connecting hug and kiss hello from her husband before he retreats.

- Megan is going to YES to annual company concert that she’s wanted to go to for years but hasn’t because she didn’t want to leave her daughters (who are now 6 and 9)

- I committed to a three-day healing retreat last week and then traveled to Mexico City this past weekend to meet with another healer and do some "me things" in the city. I did have some "mom guilt" come up - should I be away twice in one week? But ultimately, I am healing myself and prioritizing myself and I haven't really done that in a long time, and I KNOW that this is necessary to continue with both my work as a parent and coach.

Other examples include:

  • Getting up 30 minutes earlier to prioritize self before taking care of the family needs
  • Stocking the fridge and pantry with healthy and tasty treats to indulge in after a long day (because you DO deserve it)
  • Doing something mid-week that you would usually reserve for the weekend

I can promise you something. When you start to take more control of your own well-being, of taking breaks, of treating yourself, of meeting your own needs, of clearly communicating to those around you how they can support you or what your boundaries, you are much less dependant on others to meet your needs or become mind-readers to somehow know what it is that you want or need. Which also means that there is less room for disappointment and frustration.

So tell me << Test First Name >> how do you commit to being more self-FULL?

What is one shift that you can commit to this month?

I know that Mother's Day can come with a whole mix of emotions. Be gentle with yourself.

Remember - you are LOVED!! You have support. By being here, you are connected with a sisterhood of other women committing to ourselves and by doing so, each other. This is no small thing. There IS strength as we collectively shift and stretch and grow.