My daughter has taken to rolling her eyes at us. It was something she did only every once in a while when she was really upset but now, now it is like breathing. It is almost as if everything I say is triggering a conveyer belt of ocular motion. She is ten. Almost eleven. It makes for some difficult mindful communication practice. I want to fall into some defaults of my childhood; scream, threaten, ignite, ignore with disdain or get snarky. This morning, I am breathing in the scent of my tea and imagining a cartoon conveyer belt of eyeballs rolling and replacing the old ones. It helps me stay calm and joyful through her moment of disgust with me.
This summer I read Tuck Everlasting by Katherine Babbitt. I have read it many times before. However, this summer I suggested it to my daughter. Sometimes when I suggest a book, she is reluctant and resistant to read it. I don’t know why. It is silly of her really because EVERYTIME I suggest something that she reads, she finishes it saying, “OMG that book was amazing.” Every. Time. Tuck Everlasting was no exception. I suggested it. She said Meh. I got it out of the library. She ignored it. I brought it on vacation with us. She turned her nose up at it. So I started re reading it. In the evening I took the book from her bedside to mine and read. When I was a few chapters in she could hold out no longer. She casually borrowed it and began ‘looking at it’. Before I knew it she was walking out of my room into hers still reading. She didn’t stop until she was done. When she finished, she ran to find me to tell me “OMG that book was amazing.”
We spent some time this summer off and on referencing and talking about the story. And then I surprised her and got the DVD out of our local library. I generally am a read the book first kind of person. If possible. She was so excited. We sat and watched it. We got to have in depth conversations about director’s choice in editing the storyline and casting and locations. But most of all I love the fact that we got to have all over again the talk. The Tuck Everlasting question of would you drink the water and why? Listening to her unfold the reasoning and layer it with her new connections to these characters and their acting choices, nuances was magic. We spoke about what being together forever might mean for us or what being alone forever might mean for one. We will continue to explore what we old dear in relationships with nature and humans. I am so grateful for this. I can’t wait to read it with her again when her brother is old enough to read it to himself. And so on.
today i am listening to water
today i am listening to water and i am thirsty for answers
i am still and quiet
i am allowing the rhythm and the flow
to enter my breath and awaiting transformation and direction
nothing is happening
no answers are here
more questions have arisen
i am more unsure of what is next
and yet more confident that this is the way to figure it all out
I am really great at making lists.
I can make a list for anything at anytime.
I list the lists I need to list.
I don’t think this list making skill is a true resume builder or asset to my future fabulous self.
The lists are not currently serving me up into greatness.
I know, I know. There are some who say that the lists are a mere distraction from the action that I need to realize and create.
The lists are an avoidance of fruition.
Perhaps, they are a clever trick to look busy while I am truly floundering into madness and despair.
There is also the chance that my next list will be THE LIST.
The list that launches me into a state of getting it done and making the dream a reality.
For a long time I have made checklists.
For a long time I have also been embarrassed of my need to make checklists. For some reason I felt that they were more of a signal that I couldn’t manage things. Or perhaps they were a tell tale that I am determined to set myself up for failure.
I now realise that the above statements are simply a frame of mind that I held and wasn’t the truth and certainly didn’t need to be my forever mindset. Checklists and To Do lists are something so valuable in progress. I have worked with students creating To Do lists with purpose, intention and joy.
I have guided others in projects and have facilitated sessions of setting intentions and working towards completion of these checklists. This became a more powerful tool in my teaching as well as my personal life when I unloaded the previous mindset and reframed the whole experience. I got honest with myself and saw that I was indeed making lists of things that I couldn’t possible accomplish. I was making lists miles long that felt overwhelming and self destructive. I knew I needed to shift.
The lists are important. I know now that they need to be with purpose and intention and focus. If I am helping someone on a project, we need to target what we know needs to be done, what we know needs to happen in a specific period of time, and then what questions do we have.
Recently I reflected on the power of my To Do list practice. I learned that making these lists help move me forward help me progress. And then it hit me, I wanted to start making To Do lists with Joy at the center of it all. Joy. Yes. simply add Joy and see what happens…To Do with JOY. What would your list become? To Do in Joy…what would your list becomeI
My to do lists sometimes have items on it that normally are NOT associated with joyful feelings, like laundry. And yet, I tell myself I am going to do the laundry with joy. How does that look? Well, try it and find out. Finding the joy in the routine of life is magical. It is a shift of heart that redirects the soul to the purpose. It sounds hokey perhaps. I learned that creating list of things I want to do with Joy has pushed me forward, kept me looking ahead to more joyful times. It has also empowered me that I can create my joy in the most obscure places.
Now as I am diving into this next season, I wanted to recommit to some goals and energy. Here is a formula I started using. I have a morning meditation and then write.
Five things I want to do (in joy) this year. Three things I want to do (in joy) this season. Two things I want to do (in joy) this month. One thing I want to do (in joy) today.
the choices can change everyday or you can see patterns arise. I give myself space to be joyful and specific in my intentions. I make it realistic as well as aligned to those little whispers of desire. Here is is one more time:
This year – five things
This season – three things
This month – two things
Today – one thing
If this is overwhelming – I take a breath and write down or come up with 1 thing I want to do in Joy.
Then I do it.
Then breathe and pick a new joyful thing.
I admit I use this tactic more often than the other big list. It feels great.
When working with children or even ourselves towards a behavioral change goal, it can be difficult to see the success. In setting a goal or an objective, one might make clear images as to how that NEEDS to look in order to be stamped as successful. However, I am learning and embracing the idea that success does not always match my preconceived notions nor does it always just “click” into place. There are steps and stages that link me to the celebratory objective fulfilled moment I am searching for.
I am training myself to celebrate and honor the small shifts. I believe that these small steps are the beginnings of the monumental change and cannot become such a wondrous thing unless we honor and motivate them.
There is so much I want to do to make my world a better place. There are so many mountains to climb and conquer. I am through thinking that focusing so intently on the big picture will get me there. I am taking much needed time to start small. Moment to moment I am thinking about what I can do to help create the things I desire. Most of the time, this is about carving out time to meditate and be good to myself. Enjoy my cup of tea. I have learned that if I simply sit and love that cup of tea, it creates a fluid sense of love and warmth coursing through my body. Now when I get up to help the kids or take on my next task I move with love and appreciation instead of rushed anxiety or emptiness.
I am practicing being with myself and savoring experiences. This is allowing me to make choices to shift and move towards something new with joy and motivation verses feeling forced to change myself and my habits. Savor the day moment to moment and move with it.
There is a voice inside me. It varies in volume but is ever constant. This voice is reminding me that I am on a journey. I am not done. I am not only who I was, but so much more I have forgotten and not yet discovered.
This is something I hear from deep within my body. my heart, my mind, my soul. When I hear these words I can become so powerful if I give myself the moment to say them out loud to myself. Honor these words and magic happens.
I drop the heavy load of guilt, shame, and judgement. I release the joy and pleasure into the universe. I make a contract with myself that there is no one beginning and no single end.
I am vulnerable and meek. I am quiet and cautious. I am observing the world and all its power. I am taking notes. I study the grace and strength of all around me. I take a pause with rage and anger. I am gentle and loving. I am pensive and full.
I am vibrating and steaming and boiling to the top. I can hear nothing but the sound of my own emotions. I spin with the force of generations of earth, wind, and fire. I am infinite in my powerful rage and fervor. I shake the core of my own existence with an outward tsunami of love and raw emotion. I am unstoppable until I am done and empty.
this voice can purify me. It can subdue me. It has the ability to motivate me to move mountains. If I listen and repeat, anything is possible. It is all inside waiting for me to breathe and release the transformative power. It is in me. I breathe. I believe.
Everyday we start again. Today I am starting with kindness inward then out. I am allowing the mistakes of yesterday to wash away with the smiles of today. I am forgiving myself for my fears, doubts, and anger. I am taking a breath of kindness inward. I know that then I will be full of the love I would like to give.
Sometimes I need to listen for direction. Listen for love. Listen for hope.
That is where I am today.
A year of motivation and power – a year of DO it.
My mind was focusing on this over the weekend. And somehow in the marination and meditation of the Monday morning chill, these thoughts have shifted.
I am still feeling motivated and powerful. Maybe I am feeling more of this. Now I am breathing in and getting my thoughts, breath, and heart in sync so I can turn this impulsive fervor into calculated action. Decisions can be made in a breath without derailment or hesitation. That is the goal.
I am like the little man spinning straw to gold with each turn of the wheel.