Whether your design aesthetic is modern minimalist or shabby chic, it’s helpful to create a calm and peaceful retreat for your baby’s room. You’ll spend countless hours in there feeding, changing, playing with, and soothing your little one, so why not fashion a space that creates a smidge of sereneness for both of you?
We asked a panel of design experts to share their best tips for creating a nursery that soothes both baby and mamma alike—when the munchkin isn’t wailing like a siren, that is.
CHOOSE A CALMING COLOR
There’s a reason people often turn to soft pastels when decorating a nursery. Muted tones are best for soothing baby, and neutrals like whites and grays or soft shades of a single color are particularly calming, say Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio from Project Nursery, a site featuring DIY tips and advice to help parents design gorgeous rooms for their babies. When it comes to finding that one optimal hue, Pam says to follow your intuition. Each color has an underlying meaning—she says blue is serene, green is about health and renewal, yellow is warmth and hope, orange is inspiring and fun, pink is creativity and nourishment, purple is exploration, and light browns or beiges are nurturing. She warns to avoid red because it can be over-stimulating—save that for the playroom.
KEEP IT AIRY
Choose furniture in lighter finishes and let the rest of the room be open so light can bounce around, say Melisa and Pam. Empty space is a must for serenity and also encourages baby’s exploration, explains Bailey Gaddis, author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childhood and Motherhood. She recommends pushing the crib against a wall only if it’s directly behind the baby’s head, which can help promote energy circulation. She also suggests adding air-purifying plants to the room, like her favorite, the peace lily.
There are a ton of tools the savvy parent can use to combat tantrum-induced doom. Deep breathing helps. Calling in backup helps. Exercising helps. I use all of these, but I’m always looking for more ways to stay balanced.
Fear can be a catalyst for growth only when it is acknowledged and accepted, then shown the door.
When it becomes a festering guest it begins swallowing up your reserves of health, happiness, and sanity, sticking you in a “what-if” paralysis. The oftentimes-falseillusions that give birth to fear (e.g., a misconception that your body doesn’t know how to build and birth a baby) are frequently left unchecked in the vulnerable heart, mind, and body of the pregnant mama.
You may believe the fears are there to protect you, maybe to “prepare you for the worst.”
But instead of helping you prepare for an unlikely and unwanted outcome, the stress produced by these fears often creates the unwanted outcomes, like pregnancy complications, medical interventions, or postpartum depression.
You deserve to be nourished and honored as the radically capable and loving woman you are – and you’re just the person for the job.
But wait, is your inner “guilty mom monster” siphoning away all motivation for you to dip into the harmonizing waters of self-care instead sticking you in a perpetuating cycle of putting your own needs last?
Let’s be done with that – let’s move you up on your list of priorities.
Begin weaving the following practices into your daily way of being so you can blossom into the most vibrant version of you.
Separate Your Emotions from Your Child’s. Do you feel intrinsically linked with your child’s well-being? Do you hurt when they hurt? Do you fill with joy when they fill with joy? While these shared emotions can be a testament to the strength of the mother-child bond, they also prevent you from supporting your child without fracturing your equilibrium.
There has never been and never again will be a child just like yours. Even though babies are born every day, the birth of your baby is sacred, unique, and extraordinary.
Connecting to this unique heart energy of your baby will be a profound experience for you, allowing your internal trapdoor of love to release. Physical nourishment aside, physically and emotionally bonding with your baby is the surest way to build a secure base that will provide your child confidence, support, love, and abundant health for the rest of her life. Developing a harmonic connection with your baby is what it’s all about.
Your relationship with your rapidly growing and changing baby is fluid and dynamic, and that you have the chance to grow and learn to be a better communicator, better partner, and better parent as you incorporate this new relationship into your family constellation. This chapter will also support you in finding that place that is so deep in yourself there are no words — only love. You have a limited number of vowels and consonants but an unlimited supply of love that will support you in forging an everlasting connection with your child.
While the reproductive system has the capacity for so much magic, it also has the potential to cause debilitating physical pain and emotional suffering.
A common source of this pain and suffering is uterine fibroids. According to a study done by the Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Birmingham, 20-40 percent of women will develop uterine fibroids during their reproductive years.
Erin Robinson, entertainment host at Defy Media’s Clevver brand, became part of this statistic after unknowingly growing 13 uterine fibroids, some ranging in size from golf balls to softballs, over a period of five years. She finally discovered these tumors after being rushed to the emergency room with excruciating pain.
The journey that followed is portrayed in Clevver’s new docuseries, It Got Real.
I thought a lot about motherhood yesterday – how it has changed me, how it has reinforced traits I had before pregnancy, how it confuses and astounds me.
Then, I meditated for the first time in five months because I was given the ultimate #MothersDay gift: TIME.
As I meditated, I saw myself as an outline filled with hundreds of images and it was beautiful. It blew my mind… and my body… and my spirit.
We are never just one thing. As we grow and evolve, especially through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, we gain new layers, slough off those that no longer serve, and live life as dynamic and complex beings.
This (and all my free time!) inspired me to create collages based on the personalities, interests, fears, and dreams of the powerful women I have worked with – and am.
A sneak peak of the prenatal and postpartum preparation online course Taryn Longo (women’s transformation teacher and birth doula… and badass) and I are releasing Mid-May on BirthTransformed.com (website to be birthed the same days as the course!)
The first early review of Feng Shui Mommy is in! Many thanks Anna Jedrziewski at Retailing Insight!
“Mind/Body/Spirit principles are finally showing up in the world of pregnancy/childbirth and Gaddis is at the forefront of it. Her own pregnancy was an unexpected push in a new philosophical direction and she has made the most of it. Finding limited information to help her through the shift and making the rest up as she went along, she made careful note of not only what kept her going but also helped her to maximize the new experiences toward enlightenment (and a return to sanity). She tells readers that it begins by getting honest. The feelings are messy (beginning with the sudden blow to personal identity) but they must be faced if one is to find the buried treasures contained within the powerful experience of bringing another soul into incarnation. Gaddis used the five elements of Feng Shui, applied to three levels (physical, mental, spiritual), to anchor her perceptions and process what she was experiencing. With or without that framework, she has written a book which offers pregnant women and new mothers a way to maintain balance in all areas of their lives and always find the joy in what is an extremely stressful process.”
In these chaotic times I seek solace in music – music full of melodies that lull my mind into calm and encourage me to just take a freaking breath – music that will whisper a long “shh” in my mind’s ear.
So, I’m always on the prowl for “mind medicine” tunes, and scored when I found Shambhu, an artist whose website aptly describes him as an “intuitive new age guitarist” who creates “heartfelt relaxing music.”
I was intrigued by the consciousness, grace and calm woven into this album and was able to peek into the insightful mind, heart and spirit of Shambhu in the following interview.
Bailey Gaddis: How do you think your music can positively impact the collective consciousness, given the current political climate?
Shambhu: We can lift the collective consciousness by expressing love as the song of our lives. I play a heartfelt music founded in love and inspire listeners through my musical meditations and reflections. Soothe was recorded during the recent election as an aural antidote to a sour political climate. It is music I played to calm down and connect and I hope it has the same effect on you.
Bailey: Do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, do you believe it influences your music? And how?
Shambhu: Music expresses the feeling I want; meditation is the practice of attaining it. Meditation is fundamental to my music. I meditate daily, often very early in the morning, and I live the peacefulness of spirit. Meditation is an awesome practice for disciplining the mind, feeling the heart and finding the inner calm. Even 5-10 minutes of regular practice daily is helpful.
I’m mindful while recording and performing. Each song is created as a unique ‘consciousness’ – a destination born in silence, manifested in sound, and satisfied in the fullness of spirit. The songs on Soothe balance what a good friend described as ‘exquisite and impeccable’, and yet, ‘relaxed and comfortable.’ There is a heartfelt intention inside every note and touch. The music feels like a comfy slipper. Meditation is the key.
Bailey: I recently played your album while receiving a massage and it seemed to greatly enhance the experience. What are the most common situations and/or environments you hear people enjoy listening to this album during, or in?
Shambhu: And I listened back to Soothe recording sessions while on the massage table, as well! Paramahansa Yogananda wrote that Heaven is “behind the darkness of closed eyes, and the first gate that opens to it is your peace.” Massage carries the intention to relax and immerse in peaceful serenity. We breathe deep and release. We are clear in mind. My intention with music is recreate a meditation in sound, one that soothes the mind and inspires the heart. For Soothe, I played the guitar delicately with intricate expressions of nuance and subtlety. Some listeners call the experience of my music ‘magical’ and ‘opening a space within.’ Others feel a calm inside the songs – a sense, a mood or a feeling that helps listeners touch one’s own reflective place. For others, my songs are surfaces for reflection. Soothe works as a background for calming any moment. If you’re listening at home, work or at school, try listening behind other activities. Or listen to the album full on and enjoy the music and sound quality. There’s something in Soothe for everyone.
Bailey: What are the primary musical genres woven into Soothe?
Shambhu: I’m a former rock/jazz studio guitarist who trained at a New York City classical music conservatory. I began practicing meditation in my 20’s and lived for a few decades as a modern-day monk. A meditation student of note and friend at the time was guitarist Carlos Santana; we often played acoustic sets at meditations. He was already exploring the deep connection between his music and his soulful heart. It took me about 10 years to put it together. Over time, as my meditation practice advanced, my music evolved into a ‘new age’ / ‘contemporary instrumental’ genre. But, the jazz/rock studio guitarist is ever-present in all the songs.
Bailey: One track seemed to organically flow into another as I listened to this album, almost like it was one fluid track – was that intentional?
Shambhu: My music emerges intuitively. I hear songs inside. My creative process is to spontaneously play what I feel in any moment and record everything I play. I listen back later and find the songs. There is also a sense of Nature in the music. I observe the rhythm of Nature as a meditation. I spend time on Maui, Bali and other beautiful places where I feel my presence in the flowers and the stars and watch Nature unfold. The waves break randomly, wind blows through the palm trees, singing birds dart across the sky, flowers are abundant with gorgeous colors and fragrance. Was there ever a mistake in the rhythm and flow of Nature? Do we witness the grandeur and magnificence of Monument Valley or Grand Canyon and ask for a correction? Nature seems perfect as it is. I learned from Nature to trust the music that flows through me naturally and spontaneously. The songs flow similarly, one into the other, organically and naturally.
Bailey: What do you believe is your primary purpose for this album?
Shambhu: Aldous Huxley wrote, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Heaven is within and my music is a canvas for conveying what that feels like to me. My purpose is to inspire and spread love, and my music is the realization of a journey I began years ago as a young monk. Maybe it’s my effort to compensate for driving forward the very technologies that are now disrupting our lives? I know that Soothe is my heaven on earth. May it also be yours!
When I think about common sources of motivation, phrases like “meditation”, “self help books”, “my grandmother”, “that yoga guru”, and “affirmations” pop up – “supercross riders” have never been on my list, but maybe they should be.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a supercross legend, Ricky Carmichael, the current star Ryan Dungey, and two up-and-comers, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac, about what it takes to build the courage to compete in a sport wrought with unpredictable danger, frequent injuries, and intense rivalries, and how to settle into the sweet mental state that often results in a big win.
As we talked, I expected a slew of technical terms I wouldn’t understand to be thrown at me, but instead, I received poignant and thoughtful responses on what it takes to go all in when committing to the challenges of supercross, and a life riddled with obstacles.
Following are gems of wisdom from a few dudes who have made a career out of conquering their mental doubts and physical limitations.
1. It’s Not Failing, It’s Learning. The term “failing” is not in Ricky Carmichael’s lexicon, instead, he uses the term “learning.” He views a mistake as an opportunity to wipe the drawing board clean and build a new and better way to tackle the challenge at hand.
Ryan Dungey seconds this sentiment, believing that his ability to objectively view a mistake, tweak his strategy, and fully commit to implementing that strategy during practice allows him to move into his next race with a refreshed mental state, which is important because . . .
2. Success Comes With a Sound Mental State. As Ryan Dungey puts it, “You can be the fittest guy out there, but if you don’t have it going on mentally, the physicality doesn’t mean anything.”
When life throws you into a high intensity situation, be it on a field or track, in a boardroom, or even a tense conversation with a spouse, a healthy mental state is the best tool to not just make it through, but find favorable results on the other side.
But, that healthy mental state doesn’t live in the realm of overconfidence, or the domain of timidity – it lies somewhere in the middle. As Eli Tomac says, “You don’t want to bring overconfidence because you might get caught sleeping, but, you don’t want to be too nervous and lose your way – try to find the middle.”
Sounds great, but how to do we find that mental middle ground . . .
3. Preparation Is Key. All four riders reiterated that preparation is, as Ryan Dungey says, “the best way to be ready for the challenge.” And when asked if he had any rituals before a race Ricky Carmichael reminisced that his only reliable ritual was preparation.
So folks, if at first you don’t succeed, do as Eli Tomac does and “go all in with preparation.” And the more you prepare, the easier it is to . . .
4. Keep your cool, and focus on yourself. In our social media obsessed culture it can be easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing – becoming despondent if someone scored a goal you’ve been vying for, feeling “less than” if a colleague is able to log more hours of prep than you, or getting distracted by irritation if a competitor seems adamant to goad you. Ryan Dungey battles this by “keeping my cool, and focusing on myself.”
So, if you become overwhelmed by the doings of others, circle back to your own unique talents and abilities, devote your energy to putting in the work towards your goal, and allow the resulting sense of power to return you to a lovely state of equilibrium.
And above all else . . .
5. Be in it for the long haul. In supercross (and most things in life worth working for) a championship is not won in one race, it’s won over a series of races. Losing perspective, by becoming ruled by the outcome of one event in a series, pulls you out of the long-term focus and lasting spirit you need to conqueror the ultimate win. Ken Roczen described it as, “Being out of for blood, but not overreacting.” Love it.
Want to see how this advice pans out for these boys? With the exception of retired Ricky Carmichael, these three riders just began their 2017 supercross season that is sure to offer an intriguing seventeen rounds, leading to the crowning of a champion.
There are many voices flowing through New York City’s music venues, but few as alluring as Svetlana Shmulyian – a woman who channels the essence of Ella Fitzgerald, while mixing in an aural flavor that’s all her own.
Svetlana is the leader of the swing band The Delancey Five, and a regular at many of the jazz clubs and speakeasies that together form a web of old school musical magic. But, as intriguing as Svetlana’s pipes are, I’m equally enthralled by the fact that she’s churning out all this goodness while also being the mother to three young girls (go team mompreneurs!)
Below is your key into the mind of one of the most badass ladies gracing the most interesting stages in New York.
Bailey Gaddis: Any advice for NYC tourists wanting to make the most of their time being immersed in the city’s music offerings.
Svetlana Shmulyian: It all depends on what you want to see! NYC has a “scene” for everything – whether you are into avant-garde jazz, or swing dancing, or salsa, reggae, or indie rock – there are multiple spaces to listen to this specific kind of music and mix with other lovers of it.
There are highbrow spots and underground spots for every kind of music, each offering a unique experience – and an “only in New York” thing to do is to experience these different spots in the same night! So, search online for a specific kind of music you are interested in, on a specific date, and go to a high-brow show at 8pm (for example, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola for jazz and swing), grab a small plate or a snack after (like a falafel or noodles in Greenwich Village), and then “club-hop” through a few hidden speakeasy spots, like Mezzrow, Back Room, or Smalls for an after hours jam session.
BG: Being a mom, how do you find time to explore the live music in NYC? Do your daughters enjoy jazz and swing music?
SS: I mainly explore the live music scene when I perform – and then stay later to check out after-hours shows of friends, or other acts I am interested in. On the nights I do not work, I prefer to stay home with my daughters, unless there is a very special show going on.
On the other hand, attending shows is part of a continuous education and improvement for anyone – and a feeding of the soul, so I try to do it as much as I can. That said, keeping a work-life balance is a challenge for any working mom, being a musician mom is no exception – we all do the best we can!
My daughters like jazz and swing – my older one is exploring other genres in her school orchestra, band and chorus. My little one always asks me to put my record on in the car and knows all my songs by heart!
BG: What inspired you to put together flashmobs? What is that process like?
SS: The idea to create a flashmob came from dancers themselves, and one of the swing DJs that often work with my band (DJ Douglas McMilan). The idea stems from our love for swing music and swing dancing, and is meant to celebrate a great community of swing dancers, and our beautiful town of New York. Because of these factors, we wanted to pick a dramatic spot against which the dancers and the band can be best seen, listened to, and danced to – Times Square!
The infectious vibe of our first event gained momentum for the gathering, and the following summer’s event went viral with several thousand people RSVP-ing, and hundreds of people actually attending. Our flashmob this summer, around SeaGlass Carousel, was profiled on WPIX 11 with live music and dancing at 8am (clearly way too early, but still very cool!). And our last flashmob was, once again, conducted in Times Square on Halloween night, and was listed in Time Out New York as the top free event to do on Halloween. Our next Times Square flashmob will once again take place in Times Square – all the information will be listed on the band’s Facebook page, and the website, where folks can find videos and photos of the last year’s events!
BG: What are you currently working on?
SS: I am currently working up songs for my next album, which will be a Volume Two of Night at the Speakeasy (our first album produced by Guy Eckstine, featuring Wycliffe Gordon). The vibe will remain ‘swing’ and ‘music that makes you smile,’ as the first album did. But, I will continue to develop my voice through the new original songs, some of which may go outside of the swing idiom, while definitely still retaining a vintage feel, and a feeling of ‘social music’ (a term coined first by Miles Davis and today championed by Jon Batiste).
‘Social music’ is music for your mind (sophisticated music played by first rate musicians), your feet (music you can dance and move to!), and your heart (music that will make you feel warm and welcome to the world of art, imagination and music).
I also enjoyed having special guests on the first album and will continue this tradition in the second album. I wrote several songs, some with my songwriting collaborator, Ryan Smith, and received permission to record original songs written, and arranged by, friends and collaborators – Wycliffe Gordon, Jay Rattman, Ruby Choy, and others.
I am also working on the birthday show that will include some of this new material for the performance at Joe’s Pub (date pending for early March).
In honor of the chilly weather flowing across the United States, check out Svetlana’s rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside.