Sitting down between chores and meetings, I notice a rushed feeling in me, a 'need' to do more than I can. And then I notice that I'm having this feeling/thought.. As soon as I realize it, it shifts a bit.
Staying with the feeling, I notice that I feel inadequate, like there's too much to do but I should somehow be able to do it. I feel frustrated, why isn't anyone else doing some of these things? I feel cranky. There's a heaviness in my body.
Taking care of those feelings, I stop and breathe for a bit. remembering to be tender with myself. Rather than rushing past the feelings, I allow them. I take care of myself.
I remember a conversation that I had this week about gratitude, and try it. Starting with something easy, I look outside and see the sun shining through leaves. It is beautiful. I love autumn sunshine. 'm grateful for the beauty of a tree outside my window. I love the sound of leaves falling.
After a few moments, I turn the gratitude toward myself. I imagine talking to myself like a friend--'It's okay, sweetie. You're doing a good job!' I spend a few minutes listing things I'm grateful for about myself. I cleaned a lot yesterday. I am healthy. I really connected with my kids this week. I taught a good class last night. I remembered to take the trash out. They're not the deepest appreciations, but it helps to shift my mood.
I move a little deeper into gratitude, treasuring a moment that I shared with each of my kids. I remember several people I love--a hug with one, a phone call with another, Facebook messaging a third. I notice that my life feels rich. The gratitude is blossoming now, filling my heart and making me smile.
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.