I took this picture this morning behind our backyard. The fog and the sun and the dew on the grass just makes it look so beautiful! It’s been HOT here … 90 F yesterday. Today should be in the upper 80s. (Keep in mind it’s April. And I live in Washington State. And upper 80s is HOT for ANY time of the year.)
Waking up to open windows and a cool breeze blowing through the house … and the sound of the birds loudly singing outside is pretty amazing. I feel invigorated and ALIVE and just excited for the day.
Not every moment is like this. Last night, at the end of the day, after we had cleaned and ran an errand and were getting the house ready for the next day, and lunches made etc. … it was SO hot in our house. We had fans going to pull the cool air in and cool the upstairs enough for the kids to be able to sleep. It was loud from the fans, and the kids were all yelling and talking even louder than normal, I can only imagine it was because they needed to be heard over the fan noise … at one point they were laughing and yelling and playing in the air the fan was blowing around and it was just chaos. True chaos.
It’s overwhelming. I love my kids, I’m happy they have fun, but those moments are sometimes difficult for me to not just yell “EVERYONE JUST BE STILL!”
I wanted to.
Instead I told them it was time to calm down and then walked away to my bedroom feeling bad I was leaving my husband out there to deal with it on his own.
As much as I know that love and peace are the way … as often as I talk about focus and letting go of negativity … as frequently as I see what would be healing and loving in any given moment … and because I DO know that my thoughts shape my world, my response to any given situation makes it good or makes it terrible …
Aside from all of that, I am still just having a human experience working out this thing called life. I don’t get it just “right” every time. I have a lot of “resets” and “do overs.” I do have moments of overwhelming frustration and I sometimes want to just spill it out all over the place.
Here’s the thing though, I am aware of those moments, and in them I do TRY to last 10 more seconds than last time, or instead of raising my voice, talk in a normal range, or shift my focus from the chaos of the kids to the laundry in the quiet laundry room (because let’s get real, the kids don’t go in there to have fun, it’s a CHORE room!) … it’s not about getting it just “perfect” and “right” every time. That’s not possible. It’s about being aware and shifting ever so slightly to what is more healing, more loving, more relieving, more peaceful.
I could beat myself up over all the things I do or feel that don’t align with my truth. What would that accomplish though? I can’t see any reality where that would be helpful. In fact it would be exactly OPPOSITE of what I know to be true, which is to just be in the moment, accept it as it is, and look for the peace. If I don’t find peace in any given moment, like last night’s “fan chaos” then that’s ok, let go and move on.
There was not a way to make that situation (outside of me) be different … I can’t control my kids. I can’t force them into submission. I can’t steal THEIR joy in that moment of fun they were having because I have sensory overload. So the best thing to do in that moment was to accept that it was the moment. Living in the now has taught me that much … don’t fight against it, don’t “scream my head off” to be heard over the chaos and try to control my kids into “obeying.” That wouldn’t work. It would only add a huge amount of negative energy into the space and dampen the whole atmosphere.
What do we do then, when something “negative” (in our perception) is happening?
Here’s what I do …
- I choose to ACKNOWLEDGE and be AWARE of it, saying to myself “I am feeling overwhelmed right now. The kids and the fan and the noise and my tiredness. All of this is adding to my feeling of frustration and it’s starting to bubble up.” … acknowledging and being aware of my feelings, my thoughts, the reasons why, etc.
- I choose to ACCEPT that it is. It IS what is happening. And it’s NOT about accepting that my kids are crazy and there’s chaos … but it’s accepting that I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. In any moment, when I become aware of my feelings of overwhelm-ment, it is helpful to just own them. They are. Just like any situation … it IS. “I AM feeling this. I DO feel frustrated. I am OVERWHELMED.” There is no wrong in feeling … actually … you SHOULD feel! You should own your human experience and accept it.
- I am then able to SHIFT my perception of what I’m feeling, what IS, to a lighter, happier, loving, more peaceful spot. (if I CHOOSE) Even if it’s only shifting my perception in the barely most slight tiniest amount … that’s still a shift. I don’t have to love the situation. If it’s negative to me and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I don’t have to be grateful for that in the moment. But no growth comes from dwelling in the overwhelmed feelings. I CAN, in my awareness, take steps to see it in a different way, to look for a spot of learning, to maybe see if I can do something to change it. If I can’t change what is happening outside of me, which most often we cannot, then I know I CAN change what is happening within … which is always in my ability to change.
Last night for example … I saw the chaos, I felt it, it was loud. It was crazy. I could see that I was becoming more and more overwhelmed by the second. I was AWARE of my feelings enough to know that I wanted to jump in and try to control the situation (and I started to do that. I moved the 4 year old away from the fan and asked everyone to calm down several times.) At that point I realize (ACCEPTED) that I couldn’t stop it – the outside of me part – the kids were doing that and they were laughing and having fun and I couldn’t make them stop. I also accepted that MY feelings were there and I needed to walk away because I was having a hard time.
In that moment of acknowledging and becoming aware, I became present in that “now” and accepted what it was. And being aware is always the first step to choosing something different, choosing a “better” response, not lashing out, etc. because in the awareness of my feelings I am able to choose to hold on to them or to pivot out of them into some other way of thinking.
What I ended up doing last night is walking away, going into my bedroom, sitting on my bed, and taking some deep breaths. I heard the kids laughing and realized they were just having fun, I looked at the time and saw that it was past bedtime, and then I decided the only thing I COULD do was round everyone up to have family prayer and send them up to bed.
There is never PERFECT. There is just life. Life is hard, life is tricky, life is beautiful and lovely and messy and sad and full of experiences that propel us to growth and learning and love. The goal is to just live. Live the life you’re in, look for learning, look for growth, look for opportunities to be aware and live in the moment and to love. Choose healing when you’re able, and the moments you’re not? Let go of those when you can and look to new beginnings continually.
That is all you can do. And as you live in that way, you will see that you are more able to allow all others to live in that way too; and you don’t hold things against them because you are more able to let go of holding onto things in general. You see that holding on to negative junk builds up and acts as poison within your soul … and if it does that for you, it does that for everyone else as well. And if YOU want to be healthy and whole, how can you not allow all others to be healthy and whole?! Forgiving, letting go, moving forward, new beginnings is the healthy way to live and to HEAL the world.
Acknowledge. Be aware. Accept. Shift to healing in the moment. Do this for your health and do not harbor anything within for anyone that wouldn’t help them in their own healthy wholeness. What you heal in others, takes place within yourself as well. It is your “karma.” It is the golden rule. It is the way in which peace is ever present and love abounds.
Honor this moment … doing so in love and healing will benefit all.