So the synchronicity continues. Through a new friend on Facebook I was led to another awesome new blog. The first post I stumbled onto is here. It spoke to me deeply. This woman has a way with words and I felt like she was writing about me (I guess really great writers do that!) Also she used the word "synchronicities" in the second paragraph.
So I explored Jess Morrow's Invincible Summer some more and found this post that includes an awesome give-away. I just found this last night and the deadline is tomorrow. We are out of town - in Ohio to celebrate a cousin's graduation. But this idea grabbed me so here I am trying to fit in a blog-post on the road.
The give away is for a spot in her summer e-course and the instructions were to:
1. Rearrange something/create some space. (Think creatively: is this physical space or mental? Or something else?)
2. Try something new.
Since I stumbled onto this late and the week is almost up I had to take some creative license (isn't that something a writer would do??) with the directions and think about things that I have been doing recently. I can't help thinking that it was meant to be for me to find Jess's give away - I am so excited when I read her description of her e-course.
My new space is definitely this blog/website. This is very new for me - writing, writing consistently, and really, REALLY enjoying it. I actually have that urgent feeling that I have heard other writers talk about - like I *have to* write (or what? I guess my brain might explode!). It is evolving in ways that I could never have guessed when I began last fall. It is both a physical and a mental space. It began because I finally felt ready to share my voice, and as I have begun to share I am discovering more - about myself, and the world, and the world that we can create if we believe enough to follow through. I have a big dream of writing a book and it actually doesn't seem that far-fetched. Beyond that I am not sure. But I feel something tugging at me and Jess's direction would be an amazing place to begin answering my heart-tug.
Besides this blog I have been exploring a lot of new territory mentally and spiritually. I started meditating during Lent and it is now an almost-daily habit. I don't have words to describe how meditating is transforming my life - the way it is grounding me and helping me live out my ideals in my every day life - I hope that Jess can help me begin to tap into powerful, beautiful words that can describe this experience. And of course affirmations. Another very new practice for me that is proving to be life changing.
I am reading books (Louise Hay, Deepok Chopra) that are inspiring me to take my life to another level. I am comforted by their wisdom (Louise mentions both that people these days want things NOW, and that truly good things take time. She also didn't really know where she was "going" when she started out, but she trusted and kept taking steps - and now look at her!) and I'm inspired by their consistently positive attitudes.
I have also reached out to two authors and one has responded. She is willing to speak to me on the phone! I am looking forward to my first "interview" and writing it up later this Spring.
Jess's course appeals to me for many reasons. The first is finding my voice. I think that is a huge part of Why I'm writing here and I know I'm getting there, but I think I'll get there quicker with help. Also the Manifesto that I linked earlier speaks so much to my heart - saying what others may be afraid to (like here), dreaming big (like having Mayim Bialik write the forward to my book!), and just following my heart so I make sure to soak up all the beauty in this life meant for me.
I guess that covers it. I am creating space. I am doing new things. And I'm ready for the next new thing.
"Synchronicity is an ever present reality
for those who have eyes to see." ☼
This is going to be a rambly, stream of consciousness post. I was thinking of this word "synchronicity" today and not even sure if it was the word I thought it was. Then I opened Facebook tonight and my friend Angie had posted the above picture and quote. All I can say is: Holy Synchronicity.
It is so weird how these things seem to keep happening. I feel so connected lately to so many people that I've never even met in person. It's pretty amazing. I'll be thinking about something, or have a question, and then I read a book or a blog or a quote on facebook and it is like the Universe read my mind.
Here are some recent examples. The other day Gerry was playing with my phone and handed it to me. Somehow he had opened this video on You-tube.
I liked it a lot and posted it to Facebook. (I realize I am often slow to pick up on things - this video has almost 4 million hits and 40,000 likes. What can I say, I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I'm not exactly "up" on the cool music). I like this song so much, I've been listening to it a lot this past week.
Then twice more this week "friends" of mine have referenced this song: Here and here. Call me strange or stalkerish, or whatever else, it made me feel close to these women whom I only know through the internet. Music is cool like that - it connects us. I am also realizing how I need to incorporate music back into my daily life. It is such an important part of who I am and that I have lost touch with since my kiddos were born.
Ok, so synchronicity. Was it just a crazy coincidence that Gerry opened that You-tube video? I don't know, but it wouldn't have meant as much to me later when other people mentioned it.
What else? I've been interested for some time in learning more about essential oils. Several of my friends from my Hypnobabies training use them and talk about them. But I haven't had the time to really look into them more. Then Tara Wagner had a free call about them and I learned more and it spurred me to buy some. I can't wait to get them and try them! I couldn't help feeling the synchronicity of the circumstances - something I had been vaguely wanting for a while and then an easy way for me to access it literally popping into my path. One of my good neighborhood friends is into essential oils too, and we have been talking a lot and she lent me a book to learn more about them!
Something else that has been on my mind is forgiveness. Specifically the process of it. I get why we should forgive others - that is necessary to our own well being to let go. That if we cannot and dwell on the past, that we are only hurting ourselves in the present moment. The thing that I personally struggle with is the "how". How to let go and stop dwelling in the past? I put the question out there - literally - in a forum of amazing women that I am on. I haven't gotten any responses. Maybe they're not sure how to do it either.
Then this evening I just happened upon another website that looks super-interesting and it included a post called "How to Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You".
And *then* I saw this in my Facebook newsfeed:
"Just as a truly courageous person is someone who knows fear but acts bravely in spite of it, a truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion." ☼
- Martha Beck
In the words (or word) of my friend Angie, "BAM!"
I've been wondering a lot lately if all this feel good stuff I've been writing about - affirmations, positive thinking, etc. etc. - is only really relevant when you already have it pretty good. It's a question in my mind. Like, yeah, sure it's all good and well for me to "think positive" when I am already blessed with so many things. But what about people who aren't so lucky? Life keeps answering me again and again. I see so many beautiful, strong examples of people who overcome tragic circumstances in their lives and are saying the same things. Louise Hay and Immaculee Ilibagiza immediately jump to mind (and Immaculee is a truly inspiring example of forgiveness too, her books are amazing).
If you have a question, let it sit, the answer will likely come to you. Other people have the same questions. Here is a clip of Deepak Chopra answering a similar question to mine on Oprah's new show. Every day I am seeing how we get in life what we are looking for. I certainly didn't look or feel inspired today, in fact I was drained. But instead of feeding into the tired feeling with negative thoughts, I really didn't think much at all. The kids and I stayed in all day. We rested. Then we made it outside and saw some neighborhood friends, had dinner, and a nice evening. The house even got picked up a bit. I am slowly learning to allow myself to be tired and do nothing and not feel bad about it. I know that my energy will pick back up if I just let it happen. This weekend we are traveling to Ohio for Mike's cousin's graduation. So my next post may be later next week. Until then, look for the Synchronicity in your life. I promise it's there.
"All coincidences are connected by meaning, but synchronicity happens when the meaningfulness is relevant to our personal evolution." ☼
- Dave Richo
Shared via: SoulfulLiving.com
I love Facebook. It is a source of fun and inspiration and a place to share and connect. Sometimes I love Facebook too much and I have to remind myself to give it a break. I've had an idea in my head for a while about different "Facebook Types". Here they are in no particular order:
The "Inspirational" Facebooker:
You know the one - the one who posts beautiful pictures with quotes over them. The person who finds articles to share highlighting how you can improve your thoughts, your mood.... your life. This Facebook type usually posts a LOT, sometimes in spurts.
Why I like this type: They inspire me.
The "Play-by-Play" Facebooker:
This Facebook type is the one who posts every second of their day in a status update. They're giving you a play-by-play of their life. If often goes something like this:
"I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom to pee. Then I showered and got dressed. After that I made lunches for myself and my (2, 4, 6, or 8) kids (including my husband!) Got the kids to school/daycare and myself to work. Worked hard. Came home - made dinner, cleaned the whole house. Helped (2, 4, 6, or 8) kids with homework, bathed them all, tucked them all into bed. Cuddled with my husband on the couch for 1.5 shows then had to go to bed so I could repeat this process tomorrow. Yes I am superwoman (or man... but usually woman). Yes I am awesome."
Why I like this type: I love this type for a few reasons. 1) I am obligated to, because my mother falls into this category (Love you Mommy!) 2) I get it. I also feel accomplished by getting the laundry clean and the house somewhat organized (it just doesn't happen that often). Some people like to hate on this Facebook type. I say love, people love. You don't have to *be* like this, but let others be this way if they want to. 3) I do this, just not on Facebook. I do it to my mom (it's genetic) on the phone, and it's how I used to journal when I thought I didn't want to forget a single detail of my life. I knew it was a boring way to write but I couldn't stop myself. Now I've realized that my memory sucks, so I'm expanding my writing horizons.
The "Interesting" Facebooker:
This Facebook type likes to post interesting articles, blogs, or political perspectives. They don't mind a good debate on their wall. They like to, you know, make you THINK! Sometimes this type is also an "Inspirational" type.
Why I like this type: Ummm, hello, I like to think!
The "Business Page" or "Blogger" Facebooker:
This Facebook type often has a personal and a business page and if you are lucky enough to be "friends" AND "like" their business page you will get to see many of their posts not once, but twice. Every blogpost they write gets posted to both pages.
Why I like this type: Well, usually I like the person AND I like what they're offering. I don't mind seeing their posts twice because I know why they do it - the audiences are different and they need to spread their love! Besides, I guess if I didn't want duplicates I could do something with my settings if I were so inclined. I'm just not generally inclined in that direction while I'm on Facebook. What are settings anyways?
The "Gamer" Facebooker:
These people are always playing games. And you get to see it on your news-feed, over and over. Sometimes you are really lucky and get an invite to buy a farm with (for?) them. Or a fish. Or something like that.
Why I like this type: Hmmm, having a hard time thinking of a reason. Well, I'm all for having fun, so play away people! And if I ever figure out that "settings" thing I guess I could stop that nonsense from showing up in my news-feed. (Or I could get off Facebook, but what fun is that?)
The "Funny" Facebooker:
This Facebook type is someone who is really funny and creative and uses their talent to make up awesome statuses. Not sure if they are using their talent in real life, but they are on Facebook. Yay!
Why I like this type: Who doesn't like a good laugh? Life isn't worth living without a sense of humor. Thank you Funny Facebookers (you know who you are).
The "Inappropriate" Facebooker:
The type that posts wildly sexual or profane things on their wall. We all have at least one "friend" who does this.
Why I like this type: Sometimes they're funny. And I get to feel "appropriate" even though I'm laughing at the inappropriateness.
The "Photo" Facebooker:
This type actually has many sub-types based on what it is they like to post pictures of. All types have one thing in common - they like to post photos!
Subtypes include: Kid photo facebooker (look how awesome my kids are!), Drunk photo facebooker (look how awesome *I* am when I'm partying!), Food photo facebooker (because who doesn't like pictures of their food!), Pet photo facebooker (Who has the cutest, most awesome dog, cat, gerbil EVER?!), Vacation photo facebooker (look at all the awesome places I've been!) and many others. But I'm done typing "photo facebooker".
Why I like this type: Umm, hello, I love pictures! Especially of cute kids, animals and food....
And last but not least...
The "Non-existent" Facebooker:
These are the people who have Facebook accounts but post either never or next to never. They're like the quiet kid. You get to wonder what they're thinking (or doing) all the time. They are mysterious. Why are they on Facebook anyways? Don't they want us to know every detail of their life, kids' life, business, and sex life? Who *are* they anyways? Why don't they just delete their accounts and just leave the rest of us addicted Facebookers alone? Do they think they're better than us? The NERVE!
Why I like this type: (I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of knowing - take THAT!)
What Facebook Type are you?
Or do you fall under more than one of these types?
Can you think of any I left out?
Every week I have ideas of what I want to write about, but usually at the last minute I end up changing my plan because something going on in Life actually sparks a new direction. Balance has been on my mind a lot lately. A post titled "Balance" has patiently waited for months in my drafts folder. In fact not a day goes by that I don't think about this word. What does it mean? What does it look like and how does it feel?
There is no formula for perfect balance. Balance will look different for every person and it changes with time too. This makes sense to me intrinsically. Individuals need varying amounts of sleep, different types of foods to thrive on, and are stimulated by a unique pursuits. Yet we seem to think that there is a magic number of hours or a specific percentage of our time to spend on various aspects of our life that will lead to this magical state called, "Balance". And then we judge and compare ourselves to others when we perceive what we think is an "imbalance". I am certain that what is a good balance for me would not be a good balance for many people.
What is it exactly that we are trying to balance in our lives? Here are a few simplistic dichotomies that jump to my mind:
Work and Play
Work and Family
Activity and Rest
(and one especially near and dear to my heart...)
Thinking and Being
For all of my fellow homeschooling parents, there is the balance between home-tending (got this from my friend Shan and love it so much more than house work!), supporting our childrens' learning (however we decide to do that) and of course we can't forget, self-care. So I guess that is a "trichotomy".
I'm currently reading Deepak Chopra's book "Perfect Health" which is based largely on the ancient Indian system of healing called Ayurveda. It is fascinating. In Ayurveda there are three doshas inside each person - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - and the amount of each one in a person makes up their "body-type". (This is a very simplistic explanation of it and I'm still just learning about it). But what is really interesting to me is the idea that for each person there is an ideal level of these 3 doshas, and that it is different for each person. When one or more of them rises or falls from the optimal level it manifests in our bodies - often in illness. I'm sure we've all noticed that during times of stress, lack of sleep, or poor diet, in other words poor balance, we are more prone to getting sick.
Speaking of illness, there is a nasty cold/virus making it's way through my family right now. Currently I have a sore throat and just really low energy. Yet, it is one o'clock in the morning and I am working on this post. Balanced? Most people would probably say, "No way!" (I can hear Mike yelling at me right now - Go to bed!) But I dozed on the couch for about an hour earlier and these ideas are buzzing in my head. I know myself, and I know that sleep wasn't happening right away. So here I am writing.
Speaking of writing - I suddenly seem to have this intense desire (need?) to write every day. (My sister thinks this is weird. I have to agree. But what can I say, it's there and I'm going with it!) Anyway, one of my challenges right now is figuring out my balance point - for myself and my family. I really want to write, but my top priority is to be present with my kids during the day. Difficult to do when you keep having these awesome ideas for blog-posts! So I usually write late at night, or right when I wake up, or sometimes even the middle of the night if I can't sleep. I also write little notes and snippets down when I can (journals and scrap paper are now easily accessible).
Speaking of my kids - how do they learn about balance? Many parents think that they have to control things for their children because they haven't developed the capacity to make decisions about "balance" on their own. Unschooling has led me in a totally different direction. As much as I can, I support them in finding their own balance. This means with food, television, computer games, going outside, social activities, reading, sleeping... really anything you can think of. This can be difficult for many parents who are attached to the idea that children couldn't possibly know what is best for them. I see my children prove this idea wrong every day. Just the other day Marisol said, "I have to listen to my body so I'm going to stop eating this cupcake now. My tummy's starting to hurt." Later she asked for more "healthy food" and chose a ham sandwich. Marisol can watch TV when she wants and every day she is itching to get outside and play with her friends. Was it always this way? Nope. When she was 3 1/2 she didn't want to get outside or see other people hardly at all. (She was also adjusting to big sisterhood). Her balance was different that winter. It was challenging for me when I got serious cabin fever, but I pushed myself and I'm glad I did. We both learned a lot about ourselves and trusting each other through that experience.
Allowing our children to learn about their own balance does not mean that they will always make the "right" choice, or the choice you would make (you know, the one you want them to make). (Side-note: Do you always make the "right" choice?) Sometimes we have to experience extremes to find out what is really right for us. I know sometimes I just need to sit around, because I'm tired or uninspired, or whatever the reason may be, until the urge just builds up in me and I can't to it anymore - I just *have* to get sh*t done! I firmly believe that allowing our children to figure out what is right for them when they are young helps them develop and believe in their own decision making abilities as they grow older. Yes, I give them input and my *opinion*, but really there is very little in life that is black and white, cut and dry. Marisol recently asked me if sugar is bad for her. Lately I have "heard" vague "whisperings" through the internet that there is "scientific evidence" that sugar is a "toxin" to our bodies (By that I mean, I've seen some headlines, but have not read deeply or paid it much attention.) So I proceeded carefully when I answered her question, not wanting to allow fear to color our conversation. I told her that some people think it isn't good for you. But that what I think is most important, is to listen to her body. She concluded that a little bit of sugar probably is ok for her. I'm sure that her relationship and understanding of food will continue to grow and evolve as she does. I feel very strongly about letting her make her own choices and learning through her own experience. I also know that I will be by her side supporting her in the best way I can. It's not always easy but I believe the benefits outweigh any fears I still have. Gerry is already pushing me out of my comfort zone even farther - that kid LOVES his sweets! I feel better by making sure he also gets fruit (strawberries and apples are a favorite now) and a carrot every day. I know that they are learning about their own limits and developing their own internal sense of what's good for them instead of relying on me to tell them what is right.
And besides all that, I just look at human nature. If someone tells *me* what to do or what I *should* be doing I immediately dig in and don't want to do it! Why would I want that dynamic in my relationship with my children? For instance, I can't stand it when Mike "nags" me to do something. I rarely get up and do something cheerfully if I feel like he's asking in a not-so-nice manner. But as I'm making my own choices to get things done, I feel his nagging fading (also I think my response is changing, but that's another topic). And I am feeling good about what I am doing. From his point of view, the "nagging" may have worked. But I know differently. I know that I am *choosing* to do things that make me feel good and to please him too.
Personally, besides writing I'm also learning what is a good balance for me and my family in regards to teaching. I'm so happy that I found something that I really love in Teaching Hypnobabies, but I also am constantly evaluating if it's the best fit, not just for me, but my kids and husband. Right now I don't feel perfectly balanced. I'm so hyped up about a lot of things (teaching, writing, and just life in general), that I'm feeling a little lop-sided. I'm also a little sick and that is my body's way of saying, "slow down!" Also as a mom to young children I can't always take care of my own needs immediately, in the optimal way. Sometimes I have to suck it up and take care of them. But I'm learning small ways to get my own needs met at the same time. Just this week we had an amazing day, followed with two very low key days at home. Instead of looking it as a "high" followed by a "low" I know that they are just different kinds of days. We are all sick and need some down time.
I guess that sums it up for me - listening to our bodies, minds, and spirits the best we can. It's about being mindful and checking in with yourself. All of the important things in life require practice and dedication (ie inspiration and positive thinking). At first it might seem like a lot of work, but it is worth it. I am consistently asking myself now, "what do I want to do with this moment right now?" One time I am especially aware of my choices are when Gerry naps. I can do the dishes (or other home tending), I can get on the computer, I can take that time to connect with Marisol, or I can rest myself (usually while cuddling with Marisol). But I know whichever I choose I have thought about what is best in that moment - for me and my loved ones. I am not just rushing to the first thing that jumps in my line of vision and then wondering later why I didn't choose something else. Will we always make the "right" choice? Probably not - but we can get better at it. And we can always get back on course.
Stop letting others or what you "think others think" dictate what you choose. If you are tired the house can wait. A clean house with an exhausted mama is not balanced (in my opinion!) Don't worry about what others say about how much time you spend with your children - listen to the people that matter - yourself and your children. If you are working so hard that you cannot enjoy any other aspects of your life, examine why you are doing that. Is it serving you? No one except *you* can tell you what is *your* perfect balance. And your balance will change - that's why you need to be in tune to yourself. Your needs for exercise, for nourishing food, for stillness, for connection, for stimulation are your guiding posts. Of course, we have to balance our needs with our loved ones' needs too, which is where things get trickier. But we try. We listen to each other with love and problem solve when our needs seem to clash. I loved this status from a friend on Facebook, "Balance is taking care of what matters MOST at the time it matters most!" This especially rings true to me for mothers of young children. Sometimes when you have a sick child there just isn't anything else that's going to get done except caring for that baby. And that is the perfect balance for that moment.
I lay in bed tonight at 10:30 - Gerry went to bed "early". I thought, "I'm just going to go to bed in my clothes (at least they were linen pants) without brushing my teeth or anything." It felt so good. I thought of this post on "balance", and it seemed fitting. My body is tired. But habit and my bladder weren't listening and the need to release (my thoughts!) won out. My kids - if they are tired you can't convince them to brush their teeth or anything else. It's just time to sleep. Things are simpler for them. I hope that maybe they can stay that way.
Anyways here I am working almost till midnight like a kid in school with a paper due. And I love it! I feel good and I know tomorrow even if I'm tired I will be more present with my kids. Sometimes I am better at being still when I'm tired. Guess that's part of my balance.
Two more things and then I really must retire. During Lent I was randomly opening the Bible some mornings to read. A few days after I wrote in my journal about balance I opened up to Proverbs 11, which state, "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord but an accurate weigh is his delight." (it also went on to say "whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent" guess we better not knock other people's sense of balance!) Powers bigger than me continue to speak to me. I try to listen.
And finally, check out this sticky note that has been posted on my computer's desktop for months now:
I don't think I could say it any better than that. So thank you, whoever I saved that from.
What are your thoughts on balance? What are things you do to help you achieve your optimum balance? Have there been times in your life where you felt either particularly balanced or unbalanced?
If you can't tell, I'm kind of in love with affirmations right now. They are my newest "awakening". I have noticed an immediate positive response in my life - who wouldn't love that? Last night I was half-jokingly telling Mike he needs to try some affirmations. Not jokingly because I don't think he should, jokingly because I know he probably thinks it's (more than) a little silly. He asked me, what do you say, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." (Saturday Night Live anyone?) We both laughed. But it really isn't too far from the truth. So I thought this morning I would share a few that I'm using and what they are helping me with.
Probably the best one to start with for anyone is
"I approve of myself."
In Louise Hay's book, "You Can Heal Your Life," she recommends starting to say this many (and by many I mean hundreds or even thousands) times per day and week. It is great if you have any negative self talk or guilt about anything (in other words, it is good for everyone!). If you really want to add some power to it, say it out loud while looking yourself in the eye in the mirror (I haven't done this a lot yet, but intend to start doing it more). Even people who think they are very "positive" probably have areas in their life where they are not kind to themselves. This is definitely true for moms who are constantly bombarded by messages of what a "good" mother is and does.
I have never thought of myself as a morning person (a perfect example of my thoughts creating my reality - what we think and believe becomes true). My first act in the morning is to get myself a cup of coffee. Now when I wake in the morning I start right away with some affirmations. Even as I lie in bed waking up with Marisol I begin:
"Thank you bed for a good night's sleep."
"I love life and life loves me."
"Only good lies ahead of me."
"Today is a new day, filled with fun and learning new things."
Most of these I took directly from Louise Hay's work, but I'm beginning to make my own too.
Some general affirmations that are helping me with specifics throughout the day:
"I feed my children and myself nourishing food."
"I listen to my kids and respond to their needs with love."
"I choose to move my body in ways that strengthen it."
"I will get enough rest throughout the day."
This morning I even thanked my coffee maker when I made my coffee. So Mike might laugh, but as I told him last night they're working - I feel great, I'm making better choices, and I'm doing more for my family and myself.
Even (or maybe especially) if you are skeptical, try it! Of course affirmations are most effective if you do them often (like all the time). Basically you are training your mind. The affirmations are the nourishing "food" it needs to run optimally. Repetitions are like exercise. The more you do them, the easier it gets and more automatic they become. Soon you begin to notice any negative thoughts and immediately respond by replacing them with positive ones. In hypnosis terminology, you are giving yourself "waking suggestions" and the repetition is called "compounding".
Pretty soon thinking, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me," will bring a warm, internal smile of love instead of cynical giggle and a roll of the eyes. And you'll know that you are training your mind in the best way possible for the "Life Olympics."
Can you add any of your Affirmations to my list? Begin with areas in your life that you know you could use a shot of love and optimism.
Happy Monday everyone! Have a wonderful week.
Affirmations and Book review
Today something really remarkable happened. Well if you were watching my house it would have looked entirely UN-remarkable because what happened was completely inside of me, hidden from the outside world.
Marisol is a little under the weather - headache, a little feverish, leg pains, and all around tiredness. She didn't sleep that well last night and today she has a runny nose too. So we had a very relaxed day. We stayed in all day, largely in PJs, lounging on the couch, watching TV, reading books, and cuddling. Friday is normally dance class but I had a feeling she wasn't up for it. As the time approached when we should leave, I asked her again what she thought. Since she wasn't terribly ill I think she could have gone if she wanted to, but I left it up to her. She didn't feel up for it. So I let it go - it was probably the wisest choice as she hadn't eaten that well in over a day and also so we didn't spread whatever she had to other classmates. Plus I really trusted her to make the decision that was best for her.
So that was cool. But not the remarkable thing. Normally on a day like this I would have been feeling quite "blah" by the end of it. We didn't get outside; indeed, we barely moved today! I read a lot on the computer and a book that I got out from the library. But when Mike got home from work and Gerry woke up from nap (around 6 o'clock both!) I was actually able to move on with my day without any sign of the blahs. (This to me is the epitome of the blahs - losing motivation to do ANYTHING)
What was different?
I'll tell you what's different - it's the power of affirmations and using our minds for good in our lives. I just finished reading my second Louise Hay book, "You Can Create an Exceptional Life" (coauthored by Cheryl Richardson). It is great, no - unbelievable - stuff. For example, I'm not known for being a morning person (Ask my dad! He got to see me at 6 am a lot growing up as I worked for him on our family golf course). But I'm changing that now and it's not even hard, it just takes practice. In the morning I've been starting out with positive thoughts - how I'm going to approach my day, what nourishing food I will provide for myself and my kids, how I love life (and life loves me!) I know it sounds hokey, but you should try it because it works!
I've always thought of myself as an optimistic person and I believe most people who know me would describe me as such. But the truth is that many, MANY of the thoughts that run through my mind on a daily basis are NOT positive. When I'm feeling bad about what the kids and I have done all day, when I'm feeling not good enough or running through my list of "shoulds", none of those thoughts are kind towards myself nor are they even helping. We often think that we can motivate or will ourselves to "be better" with these negative thoughts, but I'm learning this is not the case. Instead, by affirming what we love about ourselves and what we want in our lives we create the space - mentally, physically, emotionally - for change to occur.
So this evening I was able to get off the couch, feed Marisol, play with Gerry and let go of the idea of getting out for a walk when it became clear it wasn't meant to be, easily and with love. And I don't feel blah at all! That is REMARKABLE!
And now that I am slowly learning to reign in my mind, to retrain it to think only positive, loving things, I want to learn to still it when I want or need it to quiet. To actually NOT think at all. That's my next step, it may be even more challenging but I'm sure with some affirmations I can do it!
There was so much in this book that resonated with me, I highly recommend it. It's a quick and easy read. See if your library has it - what do you have to lose? Nothing says I, and everything to gain! ;-)
I just had a total epiphany. I've realized that the dissonance I've been feeling about this blog is that I want to inspire others AND I don't want to make others feel bad (Yes, they are two different things). I feel like if I write so much about how amazing life is and how wonderful people are and how we can change the world with our powerful minds, people will react in a few ways - 1) They may be inspired (I hope!) 2) They may think, holy cow, Susan's goofy! or 3) Geez, she's really high over there - what's wrong with me? How come I don't feel like that?
So I can deal with people thinking I'm crazy. And I adore the idea of inspiring others. But the thought that I actually might make people feel bad about themselves or their lives is just really a downer for me. I think that is why when I came up with the idea of posting twice per week, it seemed like a good idea to have an "Inspiration" theme and a "Keeping it real" theme. In this way there would be some balance and people would see that I'm a real, *imperfect* person. Yes, I do have some pretty lofty goals and idealistic notions, but I'm no better than anyone else. (And don't forget the actual lofty purpose of it all - to get me to consistently write twice a week! These "themes" were more a primer than anything.) But even after one week of posting a "Confession" on a Friday I was already rethinking this tactic. I jokingly commented that I may have had a meltdown that day just to create material to write about. I'm not saying that is actually what I did, but the more I see how my mind creates my reality, the less far-fetched it is sounding. Last week I talked about Judgment (without an "e" - thanks Mom!) again, and you know what? I found myself judging again this week.
The other thing I noticed about these two "Opposite Categories" is that they really aren't opposite. I can take almost any experience and see how it can transform my life or awaken a new awareness in me. After I judged this week, it was tempting to berate myself - why is it so hard to be the person I want to be? I have all of these inspirational writings and people flooding my awareness and I *still* say unkind things. Perfectionism. Another topic to be tackled at a future time. Instead I chose to love myself in spite of my insecurities and imperfections. To say in my mind over and over, "I approve of myself."
And really this isn't a "balance" I want in my life - 50% inspiring and 50% oops, I F*@$ed up again. I want it to be more like 90/10 or even 99/1, goshdarnit! And really that is how I'm feeling almost all the time lately - LIFE IS GOOD!! *That* is what I want to share and spread.
BUT, like I said up there ^^ I also want people to know that life here in the May household is not all rainbows and sunshine. So here is my Ultimate and Final Confession, I'm going to add a tab on my menu too, so anytime someone needs to they can click and read it there:
I, Susan Dionne Damaske May, hereby confess to being 100% imperfectly human. I have bouts of impatience, ignore my kids, spend too much time on Facebook, obsess over my blog and what to write next, and make judgments on other people's choices. My house is usually a mess and often borders on a disaster zone. I barely cook. In fact, my husband cooks most nights when he gets home from work. At 7 o'clock. (Poor guy! But lucky me ;-) I have barely exercised since my daughter was born (almost 6 years ago!) When I read I don't hear anyone which drives my husband crazy - and leads to what looks like more ignoring of our children. I over-think and analyze just about everything. I tend to dwell on things that bother me - about myself and others. I sometimes talk too much. I love Peace but sometimes feel violent.
My children have meltdowns, eat lots of candy, and fight with each other. They have been known to stay up late.
My husband and I very rarely have "deep" conversations and we can count how many "dates" we've had in the past 6 years on our hands (not sure how many hands, but one sounds way too pathetic!)
We all get on each others' nerves and say things that we feel bad about later. In short, we're a family comprised of imperfect human beings.
So there you have it. When you look at it that way it doesn't sound that amazing, huh? But even with all the above I am more in love with myself and my life every day. Blogs are only snapshots, just like everything else. When we see someone at the grocery store, or the playground, or at church it is only a snapshot. When we visit with family or friends the image projected does not include every aspect of our person-hood, and usually some parts are magnified, diminished, or distorted. I think this is why it is sometimes challenging to write for me - because I want to present a clear, whole picture but when all my ideas and beliefs are so tangled I worry about getting it all straight - and really it will never be the whole picture. So I choose what to focus on and present here, and I can only do what feels right for me. I am comforted by the thought that each post is like a conversation that can be built on or even revisited over time.
So no more Friday Confessions (3 was enough I guess!) I'm thinking I may do Snapshots, which highlight a day in our life, or "Did you know?" type things, we'll see. And I'm not even sure how long I can keep up two posts per week. We'll see!
Good night all you lovely people! I hope you enjoyed my final, truly scandalous, confession.
Insecurity and Inspiration
Sunday morning I felt anxious, nauseous and panicky, and I was having a hard time focusing on anything. One thing good about nervous energy is using it to do stuff - like dishes, laundry etc. But it isn't so great for being present OR joyful, as your mind races around in circles. I revisited my post from Friday and thought about my timing - I chose Good Friday and Easter weekend to reveal that I can't think of my children or myself as sinners anymore. Good Friday - the day Jesus died for our sins. Oh the irony. I really didn't plan it that way it all - it just happened. So I definitely felt more than a little bit hypocritical today as my kiddos looked for their Easter baskets and indulged in chocolate. I felt like I had jumped out of a plane. I thought that my parachute was in good working order, but today I was feeling the need for my backup. It is so easy to get paranoid after you lay your soul out for people to see. Especially when you get very little feedback. Our minds quickly jump to what we "know" others must be thinking about us. This is what I was doing.
So, what helped me re-center myself was a few things. First lying down with Gerry during his nap and putting a guided meditation on. That helped a lot, my mind relaxed and I woke up rested. Then the rest of the day I spent with my kids and husband, mostly outside. It was wonderful. And just like that I am back in a better space and all the things I was telling my panicked self this morning, I can see are true. (Namely, I can only be true to myself and control my actions/reactions. I cannot control how other people react, nor can I "know" what other people are thinking. As of yet I still don't have any supernatural ESP powers, or anything like that.)
So, I need to talk more about insecurity and inspiration. I'm going to level with you all. I think that this space will be more inspiring for me and readers if it is more interactive. Even though I have not been getting a lot of comments, I know there are people reading. No, once again I'm not psychic - Let me show you how I know:
Pretty cool, huh? I really like weebly! If you want to start a blog yourself, I think it's a pretty good way to go. Anyways, part of me wonders if my friends are just too nice to comment. They *may* be thinking, "Wow, Susan has *really* lost her marbles! But you know, she is nice and I don't want to hurt her feelings so I'll just read and not comment." Or maybe most of what I'm posting is just really not that interesting or thought provoking to people, in which case I don't blame you. If I'm not stirring anything in you I don't expect a comment. And part of me also wonders if I really am ready or want comments - I mean do I have tough enough skin? Ideally, even if you don't agree with me you could post a comment in a respectful manner and we could actually have some interesting (possibly inspiring!) dialog. I remember way back when I started my first blog my good friend Kimmy (are you reading right now??) told me that it was a faux pas for people to read and NOT comment. I now realize that really most people don't ever comment - I know that I read blogs way more than I comment.
Anyways, readers I know that you are out there! I would love to write more about what you are interested in and maybe get more interaction. But either way I'm still feeling good about writing. It's fun. I've been thinking about inspiration and how to keep it going lately. I've realized that inspiration and most things in life are just like exercising our bodies. We have to actively do things to keep inspiration flowing. Just like I can't expect to show up at a 10K race and run if I haven't been working out, I can't expect my creativity to just turn on if I haven't been using it. One practice that helps me is to read other inspiring, thought-provoking writers. I'm also finding a better balance in my life and tuning into things that I need to feel good. I have a new idea that there are 3 things right now that really feed me - writing, meditation, and exercise. I feel like if I can do at least 2 of these every day and regularly do all 3 I am taking care of myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. (I haven't really gotten on the exercise part yet, but I will get there, I know it!) It's quite amazing to me how since I've been writing and meditating how much more present I've been with my family and just so... happy. I don't feel like I'm constantly fighting what my needs are versus my kids' needs.
But every once in a while, I feel like - oh man, maybe I'm going to run out of things to write about. But usually when I feel like that it is because I'm needing something else - namely food or rest. Once things get back in balance, the ideas and inspiration flow again. So I think to keep inspiration flowing one needs to taking care of oneself, actively seek inspiration, and also take time away - to get out into the world and most importantly, be with the people who matter most to you.
It hasn't escaped my attention either that the most feedback I've gotten has been about pictures and periods (oh and being a feedback junkie, ha!) I do feel a bit like I'm getting lost in a lot of philosophical ramblings and that maybe it would be good to mix it up with some more actual experiences I've had. So far I've kind of been writing about whatever is on my mind at the time, because that is the easiest (especially when your baby doesn't go to sleep till midnight!) But I have quite a few ideas and even some posts started. Things that I definitely will touch on sometimes in the future: any and all things (attachment) parenting - from sleeping and breastfeeding, to food and poop (ah, who doesn't want to read about that!), natural birth, more on unschooling and what I see happening every day with my kids, what does "balance" mean to me, and how the heck did I get here...
So peeps, if you are curious about any of the above or anything else I have written about in the past, let me know and I will write about it sooner rather than later! (This is as close as I'm going to get to begging for comments... at least I know I'm in good company, I've read plenty of bloggers having similar sentiments!) Otherwise, I will just continue to obsess over my graph and write whatever fancies me at the moment. I hope you get your inspiration flow on this week! You deserve it ;-)
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am,
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.