Is somebody getting on your last nerve this week? Your child won't cooperate, your partner isn't supporting you, a colleague or neighbor just isn't noticing your boundaries? Or maybe you're getting on your own nerves?
August can feel like a 'last nerve' sort of month to me. The excitement of summer is waning, I'm kind of tired of heat and humidity, we've had a lot/too much of togetherness at home, fall will bring changing schedules and responsibilities.
Rather than react to the tensions of August, I like to take care of myself by practicing appreciation all month.
This morning when I woke up, I noticed about fifteen things that my family hadn't done (or hadn't done right). Instead of telling them, I stopped. I turned my attention to things I appreciate, the many small things they had done and the moments we had together this weekend. I told my husband a few things he's done recently that I really appreciate and shared some positive things I noticed about our kids. I also took a moment to notice positive things about myself.
It felt good.
This is my August practice, to wake up and notice five things that I'm grateful for. Sometimes I focus on myself, other times on my kids, work, house, the world, life. Little moments that I appreciate. Kindnesses shared. Help offered. Beauty observed. I'll write them, share them, or just notice.
Would you like to join me?
For me, as much as I crave and love slower summer days, they can also be difficult. When I get caught in my thoughts about all that I want--to do something special, to go for a hike, to sit in the sun, to work on my overgrown garden, to organize my house, to spend time with someone that I care about, to return phone calls, to reflect on next steps in my work, to spend an hour doing yoga--I feel disconnected from myself and my joy.
As I wrote in yesterday's post, A Mindful Vacation In This Moment, what I really need to do is gather my scattered attention and settle into awareness of the here and now. There are many things to do, but no matter how much time I have or things on my 'to do' list, I can only do one of them right now.
Today I noticed the pushing energy in me wanting to do many things at once. Then an inner reminder bubbled up, the insight that the best door to go through is the one that opens. So I sat, gathering myself into this moment, sensing not what I 'should' do, but which door is beckoning me.
A mindful life, like photography, requires some intentional focus.
As we approach the last month of summer, we can choose to narrow focus from every wonderful thing we might be missing or should have done to this moment, right now,.
Would you like to join me? Take time to enjoy something that's happening right now.
Sometimes I get tired and 'off.' My mind gets into its thing--what's happening isn't good, there's something wrong with me, I need to fix my kids. . . Today I was having those thoughts and was wise enough to stop and check in with myself.
I drew a card from my new deck (Soulful Woman cards) and was reminded to appreciate, to practice gratitude. I sat and wrote three things I am grateful for, then noticed these beautiful baby plants that I've been loving & had to take a picture.
Gratitude is an immediate game-changer. Appreciating the beauty that I find rather than focusing on what's wrong lifts my mood and brings me back to center. I am going to practice gratitude this week. Each day I'll write three small things that I'm grateful and share one gratitude-reminding picture on Instagram. I'm already feeling the love!
How are you feeling? Want to join me in a gratitude practice? Please share something you're grateful for in the comments!!
Do you know what your parents see when they really look at you (or when they did)? A beautiful, successful, radiant soul shining? Or someone who needs to lose weight, exercise, get a better job, relax, get a haircut, wear nicer clothes, speak up, quiet down . . ?
What do you see when you look at your child? Of course you love them, but when you gaze at them, what are you thinking about?
A mess about to happen?
A project or chore they haven't done yet?
A habit that needs to change?
A worry about how they will end up?
Someone who's headed for trouble?
A bad mood?
Or do you see a radiant soul?
When a baby is born we can see the soul so easily, but as life goes on we sometimes begin to see a child through the lens of our mistakes, our conditioning, and our challenging experiences. And children (and adults) can sense that, even if they don't say anything. They can see the disappointment, criticism, and worry in our eyes, just as they can see the admiration, love, and pride.
It is possible to begin seeing the radiant being in everyone with practice. To begin, we have to notice what is already happening. Today, will you join me noticing what you see? Take ten minutes to sit and write about what you notice in yourself when you look at your child. Let yourself consider whether they notice and how that may feel to them.
(this is a post that I originally shared on 7/14/2016 and felt inspired to share again today)
Whatever life brings you today, may you be
Whenever I think someone shouldn't be how they are--
When I turn inward and tend to my own discomfort, interesting things happen. Body sensations and feelings arise and, with time, fall away. My heart opens to myself and the shadowy place within me that is react. Magically, my heart also opens to the person I was upset with.
Sometimes this leaves me able to be present for them in their anger or pain. Other times it moves me to speak, perhaps saying something that's scary for me to say or painful for them to hear. After caring for my own uncomfortable feelings, my voice is clearer, gentler, and at the same time closer to truth.
The moments that I want to push something away become my teachers when I allow them to be.
My life and work are guided by the these core understandings: that all beings (including me!) are capable of transformation and joy, that healthy parenting matters profoundly, and that simple practices can support each of us.