Summer has always been my special time to make myself crazy with projects. I get flooded with all of these great ideas of things I can build, sew, paint, plant or organize. Then I fire up the anxiety engines wondering when am I going to get my time to work on these all important projects. What a head of steam I can build up telling myself how unfair it is that I get no time to do what I want and NEED to do.
It occurred to me some time ago that this coping strategy could use some tweaking. What exactly is it that I am trying to cope with? I realized I am struggling to balance my vision of the perfect summer and my role as a wife and mother in that picture with the real life needs and wants of all of us. The projects somehow become my escape. I am getting time to myself without being selfish and doing something frivolous or fun. I can see the twisted logic that strung this plan together.
This summer, I decided I am just going to ask for what I want. My vision of a perfect summer now includes time and space for all of us to have and do what makes us happy.
I love this and could recreate some version of it with my stairs. I just don’t need to go crazy making it happen for the next several weeks.
If you see a tall, grumpy looking lady stomping around Home Depot muttering to herself… just slip a note in my carriage reminding me to ask for what I really want. Thanks!
I got home yesterday after a few busy weeks most of which was spent travelling. I woke up so happy to be headed home. No matter how long I’ve been gone that feeling of going home is so soothing and even a little exciting. I may lose the feeling quickly when I open the door to a mess the dog made, dirty dishes left in the sink, beds left unmade, or more serious unresolved issues. I allow myself to let go of believing I am “home” because home doesn’t look like the picture in my mind.
Why is that coming home feeling so intense? I think it is because I feel I will be exactly where I am meant to be, where I can relax and be myself. I have been focusing lately on growing that feeling wherever I am. Cut off in traffic? I am exactly where I need to be. Behind someone at the grocery store who belittles their husband and the check out girl? I am with exactly who I am meant to be with. In the middle of a difficult conversation? I am exactly who I am meant to be.
I just close my eyes for a second and take a deep breath. As I exhale I tell myself that everything is just the way it is meant to be. I have gotten pretty fast at this. Sometimes I have to repeat the process more than once, but the calm and peace it brings to me is palpable. Who was it that said, “Every where you go, there you are.” Winnie the Pooh? He was pretty sharp for a pooh bear with a serious honey addiction.
Today I thought I would share a success story from my life. I have been trying to create a new habit for myself. I have been spending time noticing all of the things that work in my life. I am also daydreaming about what I want more of in my life. This has left much less time to dwell on what I don’t have, don’t like, and can’t seem to get right. That alone makes me a happier person, which is a success in and of itself.
I have spent no time planning how to make changes, so imagine my surprise as these daydreams come to life around me. For example, I have imagined time with my son when we are relaxed, happy, talking and laughing. In the last week we have gone on two stress and frustration free bike rides together and are looking forward to more. I have imagined time with my daughter when we are both creating and laughing. We have begun painting together and a few nights ago we put on some music and danced around the kitchen making dinner. The mornings have been full of jokes and goofing around instead of grumpiness and yelling, I have proudly declined several opportunities to engage in anger with my kids, I have also seen more laughter and happy family time, increased closeness and time spent with family and friends, as well as less tension and anxiety. Adding to the sweet success is seeing these little miracles happening all around me in those I love.
I am so grateful for all these wonderful times and I am doing my best to really and truly enjoy them.
Stay Awake. Remember to Listen. Breathe.
That’s it. Today I am trying to stay awake. When I come to and realize I have been caught up thinking about something that happened in the past or may happen in the future, I stop and get back to the moment at hand.
I am trying to listen. I can’t learn when I am talking, or when my mind is full of the buzzing chatter that drowns out the present and sends my mind spinning with what if’s and must do’s.
I am trying to breathe deeply and release all that I don’t need. Moving through fear, doubt, anger and anxiety is much more possible with a body and mind calmed by great big inhales and nice slow exhales.
I took a yoga class a few years ago in which I thought I would lose my mind. That was because for the full 90 minutes the instructor kept saying, “Innhhhhhhhhhhhayyyyyyyyyyyle…….Exxxxxxxhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhale.” The bizarre pronunciation and the nonstop repetition were beyond grating. I seriously thought I might have to jump her and toss her down the stairs. But, she was right. When you are in the middle of it you just need to really concentrate on those innhhhhhhhhayyyyyyles and exxxxxhhhhhhhhhhales!
We started a long overdue ban on electronics from 9 am to 5 pm at our house. I grew up in a home that often did not even have a television and when we did its use was closely monitored. I didn’t want my kids to grow up feeling like watching t.v. was an illicit activity. As so often happens I did the opposite with my kids of what was done with me. I was finding that my kids were so irritable and disrespectful to each other (modelling the behavior in the shows they watch), rarely played outside, ate snacks non-stop often sneaking and hiding food, and were getting overweight. In other words, things were getting a little out of control.
The results of the electronics ban have been wonderful. My kids are getting along much better, playing together more, outside way more and snacking much less. The most shocking part to me has been how easily my kids took to this new normal. I should have done this ages ago!
I started thinking about how my kids never would have made these changes on their own probably believing their lives would be absolute torture. Which naturally got me wondering, why do we wait for a rock bottom, health crisis, divorce papers, or loss of a job to buckle down and make changes that should have been made ages ago? Why does it have to get so bad that we can’t take it anymore to finally try to make it better? Believe me I know all of the excuses. The truth is, change doesn’t have to be so hard. It is just learning a new habit. Will you backslide, cheat, screw up? Probably.
Try this. Try not judging yourself for not doing it right and just notice how it feels when you do it the “old” way. Does it still feel normal? If it feels yucky and like something you don’t want in your life anymore, acknowledge that. Next time you reach for the chips, think about skipping the gym, start yelling at the kids, cutting corners at work, or whatever your “thing” is, try to take an extra second to choose. Start making a new habit that feels good and gets you closer to where you want to be.
If you have just been handed something unexpected, maybe the universe is giving you the opportunity to stop ignoring the change you need to make. I know, easy for me to say, but what if…