“Get in your room. GET IN YOUR ROOM, NOOOOOW!!!!!!
What has happened to me? Just an hour ago I was June Cleaver, and my girls and I were happily making springtime crafts. All of a sudden, I’m a raving lunatic…or worse…my own mother!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!
I realize I have put them to bed and it’s only 5:30 p.m. I feel terrible, but at the same time I also say a silent prayer that they will stay in their room, quietly, for the rest of the night.
Tell me this happens to you, too…
Spring, my favorite time of year, when the Florida weather is especially beautiful, causes me to reflect on what new qualities I’d like to embrace. What metaphorical seeds do I want to sow so that I have a bountiful harvest? On this search, I have been reminded, for the 1,000th time, about mindfulness.
Connecting to the current moment, and connecting to (rather than running from) all feelings. What am I all worked up about? Chances are, it is not about what is happening with my children at that moment. I have a bad habit of clutching on to my frustrations until it comes bursting out, usually at the end of the day. I start thinking about what things “should” look like, “should” feel like, what I have left to do, what I didn’t get a chance to do yet, what’s not getting done, etc.
None of these thoughts keep me in the present! These are all thoughts of an imaginary future or a past that is already over. Who is really upset that the laundry didn’t get folded, or even taken out of the dryer for that matter?! No one. Well, me. Why? No one is holding me to whatever standard I have set up for myself about being a mother, what my home needs to look like, and what I kind of amazing craft I do with my kids!
I’m not much of a meditator. Sure, I understand the benefits of meditation, I just can’t seem to quiet the noise in my head (or in my house) long enough to achieve inner peace! As soon as I close my eyes I think, “Did I ever toss out those old shampoo bottles I was collecting? My foot itches. How much longer do I have to sit here?” I’m a mover and a shaker, and I like things done NOW. Mediation is a little…boring. Ok, so baby steps for me on this one!
Pay attention to your body, your physical sensations.
If you, like me, have a hard time with the practice of meditation, let me suggest a technique I discovered through Geneen Roth. Her writing is helping me tackle my obsessive need to swallow my feelings with food. She suggests taking a moment, any moment, to connect with your body. Start by feeling your feet, your skin on your clothes, something tangible. Ask yourself questions: what else do I feel or does this feeling have a color? Pause with those feelings for a second then see if you can expand them outward. What does the air feel like? What can you hear? It is just you, living, in this specific moment, noticing. The more you do it, the easier it is.
In those moments before I am about to burst, yelling with ferocity at two tiny little faces, I am trying to connect with something–anything–that is in the now. “Quick,” I think, “What does my chest feel like? What can I smell?” Anything. Usually, I feel constricted, and notice that I’ve been holding my breath for longer than I thought. As I am pulled into the current moment, I can see their youth, see their infraction in the larger scope of world. Just one extra second helps me make a better choice about my next move. I can pull us all back from the brink of chaos and into a peaceful moment where I cherish this time with them.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work. I’m still learning.