Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Taking a look at yourself

I've taken on a challenge from someone I follow on Instagram (cuchira, who is really motivational and fantastic) to spend each day of October in reflection of our own inner beauty, to work on our spiritual selves, to let fear take a back seat and stop keeping things bottled let our inner bad ass shine.  I probably won't do the video portion, but will write my reflections here.

What do you see when you look at yourself, when you take the time to sit quietly and look inwardly at your true self? Maybe this is the start of how you meditate....something I've never been quite good at.  Free yourself of the chatter that rises about physical flaws, about the "shoulds", about comparisons....and really look into your eyes and see yourself for who you are.  This is the beginning of the journey, maybe you use a mirror to gaze into your own eyes until you feel comfortable enough to not need that, and just "see" who are you.  Then embrace yourself and know that you are beautiful, you are a unique person who has qualities that are lovable, you are an amazing creature.  Let yourself fill with wonder and get to know this inner part of yourself so well that you can never question it, feel comfortable with your own wonderfulness and you will set yourself free. Treat yourself with curiosity and kindness, LOVE yourself, nurture your feelings.
Make the choice everyday to be the best that you can ("best" totally varies from day to day, and that is OKAY!!).  

These are the things I tell myself when I am feeling on top of the world, and it is easy to do during those times, but it is more important when I am low and not feeling so great.  It is so much harder to attain when the negative chatter is loud and when I am filled with self doubt.  I know that positive thinking breeds more positive feeling, and I am trying so very hard to maintain that. It takes work.  Even saying that makes me wonder why it should take so much work to love myself. I know that I am a good person, a lovable person and I need to hold onto is my best protection against things in this world that make me feel otherwise.  I have the courage and strength to do that, I just have to remind myself of it more on some days. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Playground woes

I was at the playground with my kids this weekend (I spend a lot of time there!) and my daughter fell down and split her lip open. A pretty common occurrence, no? In these situations, I am surprising calm and collected, I can assess the situation and act quickly. I scooped up my daughter (dripping in blood...faces bleed A LOT), and asked my son to grab his ball and water bottle and come to the car with me. 
As I laid my daughter down in the back of the car and wiped her face clean, all I could think about were the staring faces of all of the parents as I left, of all of the inaction I saw before my own eyes, of how nobody offered me a helping hand. I really didn't need help, but I wanted to feel a connection somehow, that another parent could say, "I've been there, this isn't easy, let me offer you some help." 
An incident like that gets to me because I like to think of people as genuine and good, I like to think the best of people, and when I don't see that it makes me shake my head and wonder if I'm missing something. Maybe it makes me feel a little lonely, too. 
 When I think of it more, I realize that my disappointment comes from the fact that I actually had an expectation that even just one person would act with compassion. It is true that expectations lead to more suffering than necessary, and I need to let go of them, even the little ones. 
Lately, I've been trying to live one day at a time, accepting each day for what it is, reminding myself that I am the master and the cause of my attitude, feelings, emotions and behavior. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hug it out

Do you ever have one of those days when you let your mind fill with self doubt, when your inner dialogue is so mean to yourself, when you feel like your skin just crawls with loathing for the things your mind does to yourself?  I have them, and it is like a vortex that sucks you in and tries to drown you in your own thoughts.

I am learning to recognize this in myself more and help myself through it.  I don't really talk about it because it makes me feel badly that I'm my own harshest critic (maybe this is true for most people).  I try to remind myself that I am a good person at heart, that I am not perfect (and that imperfection is OKAY), that I am trying my best (and that some days it looks different than others), and that my intention in life is to love fully, to seek happiness, and act with empathy.  

When I am not successful in letting those thoughts of self doubt go, I resort to my oldest trick...hug it out.  It sounds terribly simplistic, but it helps me.  Luckily, I live with two small rugrats who love to hug and cuddle me, and they are never stingy with their affection. Sometimes I squeeze them so tightly, and it feels so nice to smell in their sweet scent and to feel their genuineness, to see the world through their eyes, to tangibly feel that I am exactly what they need....and that is so key for me.  They don't care about any of the faults that I see in myself, and it reminds me that there is more to life that the battles I fight in my head.  There IS love, there IS happiness...and it exists all around me, I just have to step back and take a look. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A little kindness goes a long way

A very long time ago, I heard a quote that has always stuck with me, and I remind myself of it often:
"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something."

I think this especially hits me when I am going through a rough patch, it reminds me that we all have struggles, we all have things going on behind the scenes, we could all use a little more empathy and kindness. It's easy to get lost in your head, to allow yourself to become self absorbed, to retreat a little....but taking the time to be nice to a stranger, to smile for no reason, to have empathy for the world around you can lift your spirits, and oddly enough...can show you how to have empathy for yourself.  When I am down, I find that my thought process gets harsher on myself, and when I am mindful of treating others with kindness, it allows me to see that I should be treating myself the same way.  
Take the time to remember that we are all going through life with worries and fears, we all doubt ourselves from time to time, we could always use a little encouragement (or at least a random smile or a door held). Making kindness a part of your day will bring it back to you tenfold, if not from someone else, from yourself. 
Make someone smile today and I bet you will find yourself smiling, too :)

Monday, September 8, 2014


I have this nagging feeling....something I can't quite put my finger on, but a need for something that is just outside of my grasp.  So many of my days are filled with the very mundane ins and outs of living that my mind gets trapped in desperately wanting to break free. The more I try to quiet it, the more frustrated I become and I need to channel these thoughts in a better way.  
I've been turning to yoga to help, and adding that to my week helps me to boost me up, it lets me feel strong and puts me exactly in the moment...but it doesn't alleviate the yearning.
Maybe I'm expecting too much from life, maybe I'm a little dissatisfied with life, maybe I need to have a little more acceptance that this part of my life is fleeting and that I should embrace it more fully.
I guess the truth is that I've never felt so NEEDED, living with small kids is so draining at times, and I feel that there is little time or energy left for myself.  It feels grounding, but also very my all to what I feel is good and right for my kids doesn't always mean that I do the same for myself, and that is something that I want to work on.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Living in the Moment

I've been thinking about this concept a lot and working really hard at Living in the Moment.  I am trying to come to terms with the realization that living with small kids will both suck the life out of you and breath life into you (sometimes within minutes of each other). I am not going to live a life waiting for bliss, I am learning to find happiness in every day and making it a priority.  Love and joy are both a choice, and I choose them over everything else.

It is really damned hard to live in the moment when so many of them are filled with "Mommy!  Get me this, do this for me, (whine, whine, WHINE), my toe hurts, I need something, this milk is in the wrong cup..."  I let those moments get to me and make me long for QUIET moments...but when the quiet moments do come (they are rare, but DO happen), I let my mind fill with what will be next, with preparing for the next fire, with anticipating.  I am trying to teach myself to stop, to take each moment for what it is, accept it, and get as much as I can from each one of them (without using "good" and "bad" as descriptors).  This is not easy, and my old brain is working hard at learning this new trick!!

I'm not completely successful at this yet, but I'm learning.  Practicing mindfulness will bring more happiness (it's been scientifically proven TED talk on happiness).  It's a great talk, if you don't have the 10 minutes to take a listen, the take home message is that there really is no "secret" to happiness, but that even if you are doing something that you don't particularly "enjoy", you can derive more happiness from that moment by focusing on what you are doing.

There are some things that I try to keep in mind that help me stay in the exact moment that I am experiencing, and here are some of them:

  • Mommy hugs and kisses are really high currency; I am equipped with exactly what my kids need to give them comfort and love, even if I can't "solve" their problems.
  • Accept that life is not about living in pure bliss, it is about appreciating the bliss that you do feel and learning how to find more of it.
  • Letting go of expectation sets your mind free and allows you experience life as it comes.  *This one is particularly challenging for me, but also gives me the greatest results. 
  • Let go of the "what if's"....You are well equipped to deal with whatever comes your way in life without running through every possible scenario before hand.  Preparing for scenarios that might never come to pass is not helpful and is wasted energy.
  • If you feel something BIG, then let it be big and figure out how to learn from it...don't diminish your reaction to a situation, don't let any one else diminish your reaction, but do reflect on it and learn why the situation feels so big to you.
  • Love yourself, you are worthy of love and happiness, don't be your worst critic, and ask for help when you need it.
Maybe those things are not very earth shattering or novel, but they do help me.  When all else fails, take a breath and lift something heavy, or rock a new yoga pose, or sing really loud or recite a poem from heart....just do whatever it is that makes you feel totally bad-ass.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Faker

Happy Mother's Day!  If you are a Mom, I hope you are enjoying the day that was set aside to make you feel loved and appreciated.

I have to admit, I'm faking my way through today.  I try to live my life without expectation, because those get me in trouble....but damnit, I'm feeling like today is just like every other day, and I wish it were a little more special. What's even worse is I feel like I shouldn't have to ask for that.
I know that being a mom to small kids means a bunch of personal sacrifice....I get it, but I'd still like to have a day of "Wow, thanks for all that you do"

I took an extra long shower that was nice, but I spent most of it crying. 
Everything else has been like a regular Sunday, although the weather is truly spectacular....making the playground really enjoyable.

I'm not really one to whine or complain, I just wanted to get that off my chest without starting a really big argument, and this is the best place to do that. 
I wish I could just snap out of it today and just enjoy the fact that my kids are happy, healthy, and that they are really sweet (when they are not driving me bat-shit-crazy).  

I'm going to go snuggle my boy as he rests on the sofa before I blink and he's in high school.
Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year's Un-resolutions

I suppose I'm a little behind on this post...maybe I'm a little behind on blogging....maybe I'm a little behind on life.
I don't really do resolutions for the New Year.  I first did this exercise two years ago, and I thought it was a great way to put thought and direction into life without being so strict as goal setting.  Life is too busy and too crazy to put an additional burden of "accomplishing more" and I'm too Type A to deal with more stuff right now, so this was a fun way for me to feel like I'm starting the year fresh without having to "do" much but just think. 

Theme:  Intentional. Live on Purpose!
I started to think about this at the end of last year, and I really want to focus on it more this year. I want to live well and on purpose.  I want my actions to be deliberate and on purpose, not a byproduct of anything else.  I want to know that I am living the life that I want to live and that I am the designer of that life. 

Phrase: "One Life, Live It"
I had seen this on a Jeep one day while I was out running errands, and it really struck me.  I guess it's a simple phrase, and simple is ties in well with my theme for the year.  I am going to take the bull by the horns this year!  Yes! I am not waiting for tomorrow....I am going to live in the moment, love with my whole heart and experience all that life has to offer.

Color: Green
This was the most difficult one ...and probably the most frivolous and silly part of my exercise, but I put a lot of thought into it.  I almost chose blue, but when I looked into it further, green just aligned better with what I wanted to feel for the year.
I looked up the meaning of colors and here is part of what I found that helped me to make my decision:

"Green is the color of balance and harmony and growth. From a color psychology perspective, it is the great balancer of the heart and the emotions, creating equilibrium between the head and the heart. From a meaning of colors perspective, green is also the color of growth, the color of spring, of renewal and rebirth. It renews and restores depleted energy. It is the sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living, restoring us back to a sense of well being. Green is an emotionally positive color, giving us the ability to love and nurture ourselves and others unconditionally. 

Being a combination of yellow and blue, green encompasses the mental clarity and optimism of yellow with the emotional calm and insight of blue, inspiring hope and a generosity of spirit not available from other colors. This color relates to stability and endurance, giving us persistence and the strength to cope with adversity."