Brandi Woolf: Stories of Women
How do you start your day?
With the rooster crowing, and depending on whose turn it is to let the goats out, I'll either snuggle back into one of the children on top of me or slither out of bed to tackle morning chores. After the animals are fed and watered, I come back inside and light the stove. I put on some chaga to simmer while I sit with some hot lemon water or a nettle infusion steeping from the night before. This is my time. Before the kids get up. Before my husband shifts into work mode. Where there is still silence and the dim light of an awakening day. This is the time that I choose for me~ before I have to focus on work or school or the structure of rhythm or discipline. So I sit and breathe and listen to the birds or whatever song nature is sending my way, and I read or I write or I crochet. These are the things that ground me in so I'm ready to show up for my kids. If there's time, I'll do my morning mantra practice~ if not I incorporate it into the girls school day and we do it together. Next comes chaga coffee, waking the girls for breakfast and chores and then our homeschool rhythm begins.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
First thing is to stop, literally wherever I'm standing and just check in with myself~ one deep breath and go from there. If I catch it early enough, that might be all it takes. Deep breath~ carry on. If my husband's available I might leave the yurt and go for a walk in the woods in silence~ or not. Sometimes crying is necessary. Othertimes only a gutteral scream will do. If leaving isn't an option I'll pick up some yarn and crochet or mix up some bread dough; something tangible to get out of my head and back into my body. Practical things that I can integrate into whatever family thing we're doing at the time until I can function softly again.
What does nourishment look like to you?
Visits from my sister-in-love, a decadent cup of creamy tea, sitting in circle and sharing story with my sisters, a warm shower outside in the sunshine, time alone~ where the only one to take care of is me.
Please share some words of wisdom you've learned over the years.
*Morning rituals are essential and it is important to discover what that looks like for you. It's fine to try on another's practice for size but then keep what feels good, change things up and discard the rest. Find what fills you up and DO THAT. There is no one size fits all. We are all in different phases and seasons of our lives and when necessary, move things around and live into what inspires you. *Practice saying no and learn when yes actually feels good and right. A good place to start is in the body. Begin to pay attention to how your body feels when you say yes out of obligation or guilt and when you say yes because it truly feels authentic. Boundaries are important. YOU are important. On the other side, ask for help. We have been bred out of being vulnerable and stuck into this box of doing ALL the things ALL by ourselves. Reach out when you need it~ whether it's for an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on or a meal for your family. You may unwittingly offer another permission to do the same. *Cultivate connection. Find a heart (or many) that truly sees you. Nurture and grow loving relationships with a community of one or a village of many. Discover the sisterhood that you never knew you always needed. It's out there, I promise. And it will nourish and feed you deeply.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
My girls playing and giggling together, unprompted. Hard physical work and the sense of strength and peace that follows. Listening to the water in any form. Being fully immersed in the ocean wrapped in the womb waters. Remembering my grandmother. Witnessing a woman being seen, enveloped and loved~ by anyone, but especially by other women. When my oldest daughter calls me just to chat.
What are you currently reading?
Oh, books. Currently I'm rotating between: The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler; The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman, by Christina Page; The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, by Cynthia Bourgeault; and always, always Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
What are you listening to right now?
My latest WhatsApp message from my circle of Story Women, my girls singing random made up songs, Women of Folk or the Fierce Grace blend on Spotify... Sometimes just the coyotes and crickets form the soundtrack of my life..
How do you make space for play?
I let my children lead me. Play is something I struggle with and so I look to them and my husband for guidance and inspiration. I try to be silly and bring them laughter. I'm a work in progress.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
Be the medicine. Trust your knowing. Show up and show love. You can do hard things. Pay attention. I am walking magic.
Brandi Woolf is the mother of three daughters and the partner of a magic man. She is a writer (oftentimes only in her head), a student and teacher of yoga, and a space holder for women. She believes that courage and vulnerability are necessary and that the stories of women can heal the world. She wants to dance more, have more hope and less doubt, and is a devoted lover of the moon and chocolate cake. Find her on Instagram or at The Wild Soul.