Out of the Muck
Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard. Life is hard. Sometimes I feel a little trapped by all the stuff. This year I am trying to stay in the present moment so I can meet each situation with love, compassion and gratitude. (At least that is what I am telling myself today - if I had written this post a few days ago I think it would be a much different tone. Yikes!) To mentally prepare myself, I sit in stillness, come back to my breath, and think of what helps me move through a given moment instead of getting stuck in the muck.
There are many moral codes and instructions that have been handed down through the ages. They are all very handy for sharing this earth with others, but I have a few that I consider to be my mantras. They are the ones that resonate with me at this moment in my life. I do, indeed, need consistent reminding to keep them close. Sometimes, I have to repeat them over and over in my head to get through particularly sucky tantrums, ridiculous people, horrible bits of unsolicited advice opportunities for growth and learning. These have been passed along to me through many great teachers. I am sharing these with you, not because I know what I am doing (aren't we all just making it up as we go along?), but because these four phrases help get me through the day:
1) "They are having a hard time, not giving you a hard time."
I have to repeat this one over and over in my head when I am dealing with tantrums, rude behavior, complaining, whining and arguing (when I, too, am having a hard time). Many times these interactions are with my children. I remind myself that it's not personal. It's not about me. It's about making THEM feel loved, supported and heard. "People make bad choices when they're mad or scared or stressed. Throw a little love their way and you'll bring out their best." (Thanks, Frozen. Sorry for the earworm, Parents of Frozen Fans). I think about what I need when I am struggling, and it is not someone yelling at me. I need listening ears and sometimes a big hug. Here is where I find love and compassion.
2) "Everyone struggles with something."
Everyone is fighting a secret battle you know nothing about. Don't Compare. Don't make assumptions. I am constantly reminded that we are all here on this earth to learn different things. We have different journeys that will shape who we are, what we do and where we go next. Just because I see someone having an easy time with something that I am struggling with doesn't mean everything is easy for them. I don't like to share when I am the one struggling, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. It is really hard to be vulnerable, especially when you are worried that other people are judging you. Here is where I lose my judgement and find more compassion.
3) "Look for the good."
I belong to a special group of people who have made the commitment to each other to share good things in our lives. It doesn't mean everything is wonderful all the time. It means that even when we are going through life's most difficult moments, we look for the good. Some days, it may be gifts of great magnitude...everything is going my way!!! Other days it may be a roof over my head or a moment to sip a cup of tea...or if someone smiled at me today. These are the days I post the most, when I need to be reminded of all the good that comes my way. I can't tell you what a difference this shift in perspective has made in my life. It helps keep me present and thankful for the small things. It brings me back to my breath. Here is where I find love and gratitude.
4) "Wear cute undies. Always."
C'mon! This is just plain common sense and basic insurance (and really, so very practical)! It is self-care, self-love, and nurturing all wrapped into a pair of unmentionables. I think the Undies Rule is my oldest - it started when I was 3 and I got my first pair of ruffle-butt bloomers. I have never looked back. They don't have to be super fancy - but they should be comfortable and cute at the very least. There is a particularly great feeling that comes with knowing your undergarments are fabulous. You never know when this rule will come in handy (trust me on this one). Seriously, though, here is where I find confidence, self-love, and self-nurturing; the basis for finding love and compassion and gratitude for my fellow humans. So really, this may possibly be the most important one. It is also where I need the most reminding.
What are your your mantras? What are the phrases or sayings that get you through your day?