You know those moments when you meet someone and there’s something deep inside of you that somehow knows you were meant to connect? That’s exactly what happened when I met the creator of Wild Heart Family, Taryn Longo.
Taryn is the mother of two children, Jackson (4) and Rabia (1). She is a birth and postpartum doula, Living Meditation teacher and the wife of David Wagner, the meditation expert for Yogaglo, Kripalu, and Omega Institute. Taryn has a gentle voice, a witty sense of humor and a beautiful understanding of how to live a life that’s true to yourself.
Over the last year a lot of things have unfolded for Taryn. She had a second child, moved to the opposite side of the country and started a new business. During our conversation, she opened up to me about the various challenges that have come up for her this year and how she learned to be more observant of what’s happening inside of her.
What I learned from our chat is that Taryn has an incredible ability to truly listen to her inner guidance system. This became clear to me when she spoke about a particular experience that pulled her to move from NYC to California this year. She told me about a moment when she was standing on a busy NYC street, surrounded by hundreds of people, when she suddenly realized that she had never felt more alone in her life. It was that moment, along with many other signs that led her to eventually follow her heart and move her family to California. To Taryn, it wasn’t about one place being better than the other, it was about what was right for her and her family.
It’s this woman’s confidence, humbleness and inner wisdom that makes me so happy to share this interview with all of you.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
- I love the woman I have become through being a mother. I feel more myself than ever before, more beautiful in my body than ever, and more whole. But this is remarkable because arguably I have less time than ever to spend on myself, and my body has birthed two babies and is softer and a little bit bigger than I ever was before kids. I don’t have flat toned abs anymore, but my belly is one of my favorite spots on me now. My breasts have not been “mine” for years as I’ve nursed two kids, but I have never felt so comfortable with them. I don’t get to frolic around freely anymore or travel the world on a whim as easily, but my life feels more full and my sense of self stronger than ever. I have grown in ways I never expected to grow. I am more calm than ever, more able to help others, more in tune with nature and with the people around me, and more able to love. My ability to love others has grown exponentially. Motherhood has made me into a new woman, and I’m grateful for it even when I am exhausted and worn out and stressed to the max. I love who I am now, and I wouldn’t be who I am without the intense journey of motherhood.
What’s been the biggest challenge being a mom?
- So many women have mothers who nurture them and care for them after they have their own babies. They come and clean the house and make food, they help care for the babies, and they take their daughters under their wing and teach them how to be mothers. I don’t have that kind of relationship with my mother, and one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me is becoming a mother without being mothered myself in that way. Beyond not having nurturing mother energy to hold me during this time, I have had to consciously go about motherhood differently than my mother did, because who I am as a woman is just so wildly different than who she is, I couldn’t just click into the patterns of motherhood I knew growing up; there was so much about what I experienced growing up that I did not want to repeat for my kids. So I had to carve my own way in an extreme way, and at times this felt lonely and hard. I reached out to mentors that I have as well as mothers who walked ahead of me, read many books, and took my own self education very seriously. I think it is even part of why I became a doula and birth mentor myself, it was a way of learning what was not passed onto me. But nothing totally fills the void of having your mom to call when you need some love or advice or help with the kids, and I have found that to be the hardest on my heart.
Self-care can be a challenge for moms. What advice do you have for moms who want to incorporate more self-care into their lives?
- The biggest source of self care for me is taking time each week to have someone I check in with and work through my process with. There is a small handful of women in my life who I have formal relationships set up with so I can sit, talk about what I am going through, what I am facing, and work through my stuff with. Sometimes it’s one on one with a trusted source, and sometimes it’s in the form of a women’s group. I have a women’s circle that I do not run myself that I meet with every week for one hour on a conference call, as well as a women’s mastermind group I meet with every two weeks in person where we support each other in our work lives, and I help run the Ojai Birth Collective here where I live, so I get to sit and process my pregnancy work with the two other amazing women I run it with. It is so nourishing to have that support. It sounds like a lot but it only adds up to one or two hours a week, and believe me, that tiny bit of time translates into the most high leverage self care I have found and the most supportive relationships I have in my life. I also facilitate a monthly Mama’s Circle, where we sit and share and talk about what we are facing as mothers. It is one of the pieces of my work that is dearest to my heart and helps me with everything I do. Far more than daily yoga, far more than green juice or smoothies, this kind of care, checking in about my process with others, gets right into my soul and feeds me in a way that nothing else could. It makes me feel more energy in all of my work, makes me pay attention to myself in new ways, and is a form of self love and self acknowledgement that i feel we all need. If we aren’t giving love to the process we are in as women and mothers, I find it very hard to get into a flow of other forms of care like yoga or meditation, and when I do those practices it is not as effective as when i do them in conjunction with self-inquiry. Having someone or a group of people who hold me accountable to show up and shine some awareness onto my inner life is a game changer, and it’s why I offer it for other women. I know the power it has firsthand. When a woman takes one hour a week to talk to me in a private session and work through everything she has coming up for her, the rest of her week will be so much more conscious and alive and healthy. A small amount of time translates into an ongoing sense of support. It takes us out of a sense of isolation, of going at it alone, and gives us a sense of strength and presence. It’s a form of wellness that runs deep and makes all our other wellness practices so much more effective.
What’s the one piece of relationship advice you would give to new parents?
- Have a vision for how you want to be as a mother, for how you want your home environment to be, for how you want your relationship with your partner to be in you have one, and make that your compass. It will give you something to connect to when things get hard, and will serve as a reminder when we lose track of what we are doing. Write it down, work with it, know it, and use it.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you as a mom?
- That I struggle with the demands of motherhood just like anyone else does! It is not always sunshine and rainbows in my life, and even if I am the one running women’s circles and offering wisdom and help to others, it does not mean I have everything easy and without challenge. I have to work just as hard as anyone to stay afloat, and to me that is what qualifies me to be a real helper to others. I have moments that I feel helpless and hopeless just like anyone, and I have had to face a lot of challenge and hardship in my life. I work super hard at times to keep my state high and to stay connected with my heart and my dharma, it’s just that this is an absolute priority for me….but it’s an absolute priority because I know firsthand the suffering that comes when we let this slip. I think that’s why my weekly or bi-weekly check-ins are so important, and why I maintain a support system to help me care for myself on a personal and professional level. I put in the time and the work to keep myself in a high state and I stay honest and real with myself about where I am at. That keeps me in alignment with my purpose and keeps me in service to others in the way I am meant to be, but I struggle just as anyone else would and have to put in work for that.
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