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My pony tail was dripping with sweat. I couldn’t help it; it was sweltering hot in that room. “Here he comes,” I thought.

As he snaked his way through the sweltering room packed tight with sweaty yogis in Lululemon attire, my intention, my focus was to nail every pose. Oh by the way, I should mention that he was not just any yoga teacher-- he was the yoga teacher; the guy who'd created the teacher training program I just completed. 

I had to look graceful, right? I had to be strong, right? I had to stick that reversed half-moon like I was posing for the cover of Yoga Journal, right? I was a yoga teacher now; the stakes were higher.   This is the story fear had created in my mind. 
 
We were all in a good flow, moving seamlessly between postures, when I heard his voice coming closer and closer. I tensed up. I wanted to look perfect. As he was nearly right in front of me, I gracefully stepped my right foot forward, ready to sweep my arms up to come into warrior one, when my foot slipped on the sweat on my mat, and I fell. 
 
“Yoga is a practice everyone, not a performance. This is not "Cirque de Yoga." You will fall, you will make mistakes. It’s all part of the journey…” he said calmly, and matter-of-factly. 

After I got over the initial freak-out in my mind that he was saying this because he'd just watched me almost take out a full row of fellow yogis in domino fashion, I thought about how great this line was for us, Mindful Mamas! Motherhood-- it's a practice, not a performance!

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MOTHERHOOD- A Practice, Not a Performance

This shift in perspective is very powerful. Thinking of motherhood as a practice and not a performance shifts the focus from fear to love. When we think performance, we think perfection. And where perfection is involved, there is always a fear that being less than perfect will result in pain. As mothers, this can be the pain we feel that our imperfections might be screwing up our children-- and we feel bad about that! Fear is the anticipation of future pain.

For example, have you ever noticed how fears about "screwing up" your child are projections into the future? You are worrying about a future child, a future experience, a future event that doesn’t exist today. It isn’t real (even though it feels so real…that's fear’s trick to making itself stick).

Now try this trick: Think about all the times in the past when you feel you totally “screwed up” as a mom (well, don’t dwell on them, otherwise this little activity may back fire). NOW-- step into the present moment. Look at your child TODAY-- right now, at this moment; focus your attention on how wonderful, vibrant, loving, forgiving, resilient, trusting, and well-adjusted your child is NOW! See? It’s always just fine in the present moment. And if it isn’t, I guarantee you are probably doing everything a loving mother would do in this present moment to help your child.

Remember that we are not supposed to be perfect mothers. Motherhood is designed to be a practice and not a performance. This allows us to shift our thoughts out of fear of the future and into the present moment where fearless love is always found. 

Motherhood is a practice. We are gonna make mistakes. And with mindfulness and awareness, we trust ourselves that we will do better next time.  That's what a practice is-- continual refinement and growth where it is required that we take 3 steps back before we take 1 step forward. Going through the poses of our mothering with this perspective allows us to come to this practice with a sense of relaxation, trust, openness and acceptance. And I just have to say, a funny little thing happens when we approach our mothering this way-- we stress, perfect, and worry less. And as we stress, perfect, and worry less, we tend to naturally do less of those things (like yelling, losing our cool, or getting lost in guilt) that make us "think" we are screwing up our kids.

This is not Cirque de Motherhood. You will fall. You will make mistakes. It's all part of the journey. Don't allow fear of the future to torment you today! Just remember that motherhood is a practice. If you come at it every day with love, perseverance, and awareness, your future (as in your kids) will work itself out beautifully one present moment at a time.

 
 
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ON THE COUCH
I agree with Bréne Brown when she says, “You know who you are when you call your friends and say, ‘I think I need to see someone.’”

Let's just say, I know myself very well. So there I sat on my therapist’s couch, gaze down, fiddling with my scarf, confessing, “I feel foolish for even being here,” I said.“I really have nothing to complain about. I have my health, my husband has a job that allows me to stay home, and my girls are healthy and happy. I should be happy, right?”

She just sat in silence, not giving me what I secretly wanted-- any verbal or nonverbal validation of my line of reasoning.

“The worst part,”
I rambled on, “is that I know all about mindfulness.” (Oh, yes. She was well aware of my passion project MMN!) “I study it. I read about it all the time. I watch my thinking, and I’m just seeing a bunch of unhappy, angry thoughts. I can’t think my way out of this.”

Like any really good therapist, she still didn’t say a word.

Two seconds later, wanting to fill the uncomfortable silence with something…anything… I said, “Ya know, I just have a hard time accepting that this is my life. I want so much to be different.” 

That’s when she smiled.  “You may know a lot about acceptance, but maybe you are not actually practicing it in your life," she said calmly.

Then I smiled. That’s the moment it clicked.

So there it was-- my AHA!! My anger, anxiety, and general discontent was a result of wanting things to be different than what they were. 

"Now what," I thought? It was painfully obvious I needed to start practicing acceptance, like pronto, but I didn’t have the first clue how to do it. How do I accept things, people and situations that seem totally unacceptable? Isn’t acceptance just giving up? Won’t acceptance simply keep me stuck in the undesirable situations that I am trying so hard to get out of and avoid? 

These were all questions I immediately sought to answer the second my session was over. So for the next 4 months, I made a commitment to truly do this acceptance thing; practicing it in as many moments as I could... every day. And this is what I learned….

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1) ACCEPTANCE is not what we think it is:
Our egos trick us into thinking that acceptance means defeat, total resignation, and failure. When we unconsciously believe that acceptance is weakness, giving up, or condoning, we want to resist what is. Our egos want us to think that acceptance is the way of weak because the moment we truly accept a situation, person, or event, we no longer have a negative emotional reaction to it. Our egos are rooted in fear, doubt, anger, and resistance-- our negative emotional reactions. Cease reacting (as in unconscious, habitual reaction), cease ego's control.
 
Acceptance is the act of incredible, conscious, compassionate awareness.


2) RESISTANCE never leads to positive change: 
I used to think that if I resisted (got mad and angry) about things that I found unacceptable, that would lead to positive change. But every time I have yelled at my daughter to stop crying, she just cried harder and longer. Never has punishing my body with intense workout regimens and restrictive diets ever brought about a healthy self-image and love for myself.  Never has pressuring my husband to get a different job or be something other than he was motivated him to change. If anything, all the negativity, resistance, and anger I infused in each of these situations only created bigger problems. 

We teach our children about the power of acceptance all the time! Every time our kids are fighting, you say to the one being taunted, “Just ignore  your older brother. The minute you stop reacting to him, he’ll stop pestering you.” For you know the longer your little guy whines, “stop it, stop it,” to his older brother, the longer (and with increased gusto) the older brother keeps up the pestering.

We think that our resistance will create positive change, yet it never, ever does. In fact, when resistance doesn’t create that positive change in our lives, we tighten more and attempt to control harder! The more we tighten and control, the more we narrow our mental focus (as in, we obsess about what we don’t want) and the less we are able to get out of our heads and see other possibilities for positive change. 
 
What we resist persists.


3) ACCEPTANCE is not emotionally reacting (which allows you freedom to choose your response):
When my child is throwing a tantrum, and I don’t react with anger and frustration, I practice acceptance. When I am calm, I see a whole host of other options for responding that I never saw when I got caught in my anger. In my calm response, I kneel down, look her in the eyes, and give her a hug. She stops the tantrum almost immediately.

When I see another mother living the life I dream about, and I don’t react with critical self-comparison and envy, I practice acceptance. In my calm response, I see how much I already have in life. I feel gratitude for the life I’ve created, and I’m inspired and motivated to evolve and grow.

Non-reaction is always the best action.

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MINDFUL MAMA PRACTICE
Mindfulness and mindful mothering is all about expanding our perception of things because an expanded perception empowers us with options. When we expand our perception, people, situations, or events, no longer need to change for us to be happy because we have the power to change our thoughts about them. The most direct way to expanding and changing our perception is through acceptance-- non emotional reaction
 
Resistance arises when we direct massive amounts of mental energy towards wanting things to be different than what they are. When we do this, we focus on lack; we focus on what's missing. The result is missing all the things (people, events...) that are really the most important because we get so caught up in negative emotions that always end up disconnecting us. You can harness the tremendous power of love and positive energy by practicing acceptance. I have a sneaky suspicion you will find that the moment you choose to not emotionally react to those seemingly "unacceptable" situations, they will change right before your very eyes. 

 Jen

 
 
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THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
Motherhood is a sacrifice... but you already knew that. Have you ever noticed how the sacrificing starts out rather small and insignificant-- alcohol, caffeine (okay, this is significant), your skinny jeans. Then, as your belly swells and that baby arrives, the sacrifices ramp up a bit. Hello baby, good-bye-- body, sleep, mojo, social life, rationality, a tidy home, silence, and for some moms, careers, financial independence, 401K contributions…(whew~I'm outta breath). 
  
Feels like a lot, doesn’t it? It is a lot. However, if you think about it, all these things are only temporary sacrifices. Okay, my boobs are forever gone, but no worries! Thank you Victoria's Secret Bombshell Bra. Seriously  though, I bet if 100 moms made a list of all the sacrifices they've made for motherhood, most would agree that what they’ve given up for what they’ve gotten is totally worth it. Hear, hear.

But there is one thing on my list that I am intentionally working to remove, and perhaps it's on your list, too. It's something that shouldn’t be there. One thing that isn’t designed to be (even temporarily) sacrificed.

ME

"When you give to others to the degree you sacrifice yourself, you make others a thief. They are stealing from you what you need, and they don’t even know it." 
~ Iyanla Vanzant

Okay, I'll come out with it. I'm totally guilty of this! But, I can explain. I never meant for this to happen. Seriously. I love being a mom. Love it. But without my awareness, this love for my girls morphed into an unhealthy, unrealistic expectation that I could and should be everything to them all the time. I created this unrealistic expectation in my mind. Thus, I always put off “me time” for when everyone else was good. Yes, I know...you can laugh out loud. That moment has never come.


The challenge as I see it is that motherhood is a 24/7 job, with no built-in breaks (coffee, bathroom, or otherwise), vaca's, or boundaries. This means that our job is infinite. Our kids always need something. Thus, it's so easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking we'll take care of ourselves later. Alas, "later" never comes. Every time we miss an opportunity to meet our own needs, we forget how good it feels to reconnect with ourselves. We forget how good it feels to mother from a rejuvenated heart. When we forget, we easily fall into the habit of completely neglecting ourselves-- making the ultimate sacrifice-- day after day.
 
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MORE THAN A FEELING
Feeling good is essential to mothering. Not only because our kids are so intuitive that we simply can’t hide our inner-emotional states from them, but because the way we feel directly impacts how we mother. 
 
I’ve  noticed that I can sacrifice all the things I’ve listed in that first paragraph and not feel bad about losing any of them. Perhaps it's because I know these things are not me. My boobs, my career, my body don't define me. They don’t make me, me. 
  
But the minute, no, the instant, I feel like I am sacrificing myself, I feel awful. Anger, resentment, and bitterness paralyze my emotional state and undermine all the giving and doing I do for my girls. Feeling this way tells me that sacrificing myself isn’t supposed to happen. 
 
The thing is mama, it would be easier (and you’d free up more time) if you could actually sacrifice yourself entirely for the next 15-18 years while you raise your kids. But moms are not designed to function this way. Why? Because YOU are the power source of the greatest power in the Universe: LOVE. Your passions, your dreams, your purposes, your desires, your talents are “you”-- YOUR LOVE.  This “you” is not sacrificial because if you lose this passion, this you-ness, you lose the love. And this love, your love, is the greatest power in the Universe.

“Love is the positive force of life! Love is the cause of everything positive and good. Without love, there is no life.” 
~ Rhonda Byrne, The Power

Because of the power of your love, sacrificing your you-ness, your passions, your desires, your dreams, isn’t an option in motherhood. Every time you neglect yourself, your needs, your wants, your loves, you diminish the vibrancy and magic of your love. The only way your love gets recharged and replenished is by the love you generate for yourself and turn inward.

Meeting your needs, showing self-compassion, taking a break from the work of motherhood, taking time for yourself, forgiving yourself for whatever guilts you, and engaging in your passions are all examples of ways to shine your love inward so that it can radiate outward more brilliantly. It’s your love that allows you to mother from your heart. It’s your love that allows you to give joyfully to your children. It’s your love that inspires your children to love themselves. YOUR love does all of this. YOUR love.

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YOUR MINDFUL MOTHERING PRACTICE
You've simply got to cultivate the love in your heart to be able to give to your children freely and joyfully.

Start with paying attention to how you feel. When you feel that desire to do something for yourself, or you feel yucky emotions like stress, anxiety, anger and frustration, it’s a sign you need to direct your love inward. The more you practice paying attention to yourself, the better you’ll get at meeting your needs before you become completely depleted. Mindful mamas strive for steady, balanced emotional states, instead of extreme highs and extreme lows.
 
Get into the habit of asking yourself, “What do I need," then take ACTION. Ask yourself this question every hour if you must. The smallest acts of love directed inward multiply and make a profound impact. If you need a cup of tea, make one. If you need to hit the gym after work, just do it. If you need to  choose a happier thought, choose it. If you need to plop the kids in front of the t.v. so you can put on your make-up and do your hair, plop away. If you need to order pizza for dinner tonight to give yourself a break, make the call. If you need to ask for help, for everyone's sake, ask.

Create "WIN/WIN" scenarios in your life. It's not selfish to meet your needs ALONG with meeting the needs of your family. This is how everybody wins. Remember, your needs are important, too. In fact, you are glue that holds the whole family together (my husband's exact words to me one day). If you come  unglued....well, you know what happens. Being a mindful mama, pay attention to when you begin putting your needs off for a later date. I've found it helpful to operate under the, "one for you, one for me," principle. Meet their needs, then yours, then theirs, then yours.

BALANCE the needs, mama. Keep your balance, and you'll allow the the greatest power in the Universe to flow freely from your heart and into the hearts of those you love.

 
 
A NEW STRATEGY
An inconsolable infant, a tantrum throwing toddler, a temperamental teenager; what do each of these situations have in common? Hummm, let’s see….they are all frustrating, maddening, and (let’s be real) aggravating! Not to mention, {sigh} they are inevitable in motherhood. 

Mothering is jam packed with moments that serve to trigger our anger and irritation. There is no avoiding it. It just is. But even though we have little control over the occurrence of these moments in our lives, we have total control over our response to them.

I know. I know. You're skeptical. I was, too. Every time my children ignored my 50th request to pick up their toys, moved at a glacial speed to get out the door, whined about, well, anything, I reacted. I got angry. I got mad. I yelled. I threatened. I resisted. And as we mindful mama's know-- (chorus, please) what we resist, always persists!

But, I have been employing a new strategy in my mothering lately. No, this strategy hasn’t put an end to those maddening mothering moments (just accept them, mama), but it has remarkably transformed my (over)reaction to them. The strategy is... compassion.

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I See YOU 
Our children want so very badly to be seen, to be validated, to be heard. Compassion covers these bases. Compassion is all about having empathy for another’s suffering coupled with a desire to alleviate their pain.

Okay. Let’s relate this to mothering and our kids. Consider those mothering moments that instantly ignite your anger and frustration. In my personal experience, a majority of these moments have to do with my child’s “suffering.” For example, when my daughter has a full blown meltdown, she is suffering in her own way. Something is not right in her world. Something is upsetting her. She so badly wants something to happen that isn’t, and she expresses this inner suffering by acting out. 

In this meltdown moment, I have two choices. #1: View the situation from my perspective, focusing on how annoyed I am and how difficult she is making my life, or, #2: view the situation from her perspective, seeing through her eyes and empathizing with her thoughts and feelings. 

Every single time I make the deliberate choice to put myself in her shoes, I act compassionately. Instantly, I am transformed. I become patient, kind, a good listener, attentive, emotionally available, empathetic, understanding, peaceful, and calm.

COMPASSION IN ACTION
The next time you are face to face with one of those maddening mothering moments, test out these simple steps and witness the transformational power of compassion:

Step 1) SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE: Instead of seeing the situation from your perspective, as in, "This is annoying the hell out of me," CHOOSE to see what your child is going through from their perspective. Switch your point of reference from you to them. This is empathy.

Step 2) IMAGINE THEIR PAIN: Put yourself in their shoes. Find commonalities in your child’s behavior and how you’d feel if you were them. Often times I say to my girls,"I understand what you are feeling. I would feel upset, too, if..."

Step 3) TAKE ACTION: You can't practice compassion without empathy + action. Once you have shifted your perspective and imagined their pain, you have just created the space to respond in the exact way your child needs you to. Trust that any action taken from this space will always be the “right action.” 

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YOUR MINDFUL MOTHERING PRACTICE
Compassion takes practice. Daily practice. Good thing motherhood provides us with countless occasions every day to refine the art of compassion.  

It's tempting to resist stressful and chaotic moments of motherhood. But the secret is it's these moments that give us the opportunity to demonstrate one of our most important, influential, and powerful mothering tools-- compassion

Compassion IS kindness, love, forgiveness, empathy, and acceptance. Compassion is all the divine traits of mothering wrapped up into one graceful action.

Set a daily intention for the rest of the week to show compassion to your child when they need it most. Be mindful, be aware, be compassionate, and be prepared to witness the amazing transformation that occurs in yourself and your mothering.

 
 
Today in yoga, I had a thought. Yeah, I know… I shouldn’t have. At least that’s the whole point of practicing yoga, right-- focus on your breath and fluid movements to stop the incessant line of thinking running through your head. Anyway, I had a thought-- actually, two thoughts: first, I realized how cyclical the yoga practice is (e.g., movement, rest, movement, rest, movement…) and how important rest or “non-doing” is in this cycle, and second, that the yoga cycle can teach us something very important about mothering. 

FEELING THE FIRE
Now, if you have ever practiced yoga, you know that you willingly put yourself through intense poses and movements which make your body feel like it is on fire. In fact, this tends to be what you remember most about your yoga session; the intensity, the trembling muscles, the burn. Well, as you know (or if you don’t) after every intense pose in yoga, you ALWAYS rest. After every moment when you feel that inner fire, and it feels like your body is about to collapse, you rest. You lie face down, arms by your side, sink into the floor, and you breath-- smelling that odd scent that the yoga mat puts off-- then the next pose begins.

It was during one of the rest poses that I had my “ah-ha” moment. This thought arrived in response to something in particular that my yoga teacher said, in the softest, most gentle voice you can imagine a yoga teacher having. As we lay there perfectly still, our ever-so-wise yoga instructor reminded our class of the importance of rest in the yoga practice. Evidently during these brief 5 second rest periods, the energy we just created throughout our movement is cycling, it’s still working throughout our body. 

This is when her words fell on fertile soil in my mind and thoughts and connections immediately sprouted. All of a sudden I realized that I had been perceiving rest time all wrong. Silly me. See, I used to think that when I rested in yoga, I literally did nothing. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that before having this profound realization, I would lay lifelessly on the floor and think: “C’mon. Let’s go. I gotta get more of a workout here! Let’s keep this sh*%$ moving!” Tisk, tisk, tisk. 

A-HA!
So, here is the epiphany that I had: the cycle of yoga-- movement, REST, movement, REST, movement,REST… is a great metaphor for us as mothers. I know that as a mother of a three year old and twin two year olds, I typically don’t make a lot of time to “rest.” My day is: movement, movement, movement, movement, movement, movement… collapse into bed. Not only do I have physical movement, movement, movement, I have mental movement, movement, movement. This isn’t good, and to be honest, I am feeling the fatigue both mentally and physically (especially mentally!).

Now, this is no one’s fault but my very own. I have the power to control my thinking that pushes me too far physically and mentally. I have the power to control the thinking that causes me to feel like I have to do 50 things that day, thus never sit down on the couch until 9 pm. 

IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU
Think about your daily, cyclical process of mothering. Like yoga, mothering gets intense (especially if you are home full-time with pre-school children or you are trying to balance the competing demands of your work and home life.) For example, I easily feel the fire of mothering several times a day-- the frustration and anger that accompanies dealing with irritable, whiney children; the intense mental burden of feeling that I have too much to do and too little amount of concentrated time to get any one thing done with quality; the intense feeling that I am doing this mothering thing all wrong-- that I “should” be better at how I react to my girls’ whining, that I “should” be doing something more as a financial provider, that I “should” be putting out (way more than I typically do) for my husband. This is the fire! But unlike yoga, my mothering cycle has no rest time build in. Probably not good…

There are multiple, beyond multiple, benefits of systematically incorporating “non-doing” or rest in our mothering. Jon Kabat-Zinn reminds us that “it is very important not think that this non-doing is synonymous with doing nothing…has nothing to do with being indolent or passive.” In fact, when we slow our physical bodies and our mental minds and rest, we are doing a lot. We are becoming still (in body and mind). In this stillness, we are able to witness the beauty of the present moment. Next time your kids are playing, sit down on the couch and just watch them. Notice their voice, their laughter, their creativity. Remind yourself that YOU made them. You actually made this human being in your body who is now laughing and experiencing life. You manifested their existence! Reconnect with the awe of that thought. Doing so makes you feel intense compassion and love for your child. Personally, since I am knee-deep in raising three children in the “terrible two’s” and the “three is the new two” phase, I have to create these moments where I stop, watch my children in their purest form, and witness the intense thoughts of love that I have for them. If I don’t actively remind myself to be mindful and be present in these precious, everyday moments, the predominate experiences I have with them revolve around whining, crying, and my utter frustration with this behavior. 


GROW YOUR MOTHERING MUSCLE
As a mother, when you stop and rest your body and mind, you rejuvenate and grow your mothering muscle. You give yourself time for the fire of mothering to subside so that you can grow stronger mentally and find that emotional balance that is critical to being a mindful mama. For me, I find that in those brief, far too few moments, when I rest, I reflect on how lucky I am to be home with my daughters, that this time will really go by very fast in the grand scheme of things, and that I am fulfilling one of my primary goals in my life. This feels good. Rest time allows me a mental break that serves to help me find emotional balance when it comes to how I think about mothering. 

What about you? Does your mothering cycle resemble A, B, or C:

A) movement, movement, movement, movement, movement….collapse

B) movement, movement, movement, rest, movement, movement, rest, movement, movement, movement,rest

C) rest, movement, rest, movement, rest, movement, rest, movement, rest

YOUR PATH
Here’s your task for this week, my over-worked, doing way too much, moms: every day, and I mean every day, take time to rest both physically and mentally. Consider “good mothering” as a cyclical process:movement, rest, movement, rest, movement, rest… It’s not a luxury to think of mothering in this way; it’s a necessity. After feeling the fire of daily mothering, you need the rest to rejuvenate and recharge your mothering muscle.
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Yes, you read that right!

I recently came across this simple yet profound saying written in the front flap of my book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. Since it was my handwriting and all, I must have liked this quote enough to place it predominantly on the first blank page of the text. Yet, as insightful I must have found these words to be, I can say with certainty I have not necessarily adhered to this straightforward declaration. I mean, c’mon. You’ve read my posts! They are anything but “less” right? Okay-- I am working on that…. you’ll see.

Since I am knee deep in thinking about mindfulness, mothering, finding our true selves, etc…, when I reread this one-liner, I couldn’t help but relate it to the topics in our blog. I initially thought that doing less to achieve more was not at possible when it came to mothering. I don’t have to tell you-- there is always way more to do than the time we have to do it. But then on second thought, in terms of mindfulness and mothering, perhaps this quippy quote is rather profound. 

As it pertains to mindfulness (paying attention in a particular way-- on purpose and nonjudgmentally), I think that “do less and accomplish more” directly relates to mindful mothering by doing less “thinking” to accomplish more peace, calm, and contentment. Yes. Ahhh… this I can do-- or attempt to do. 

The way I am thinking about thinking is in reference to those uninvited thoughts that enter your stream of consciousness daily. You know the ones-- the “shoulds,” the judgmental ones, the criticizing ones, the ones that worry. Seeking clarity in thinking about my thinking, I recently discovered this great site, SuccessConsciousness.com. They used a great metaphor for these types of thoughts I am speaking of. Imagine your true essence (like the one I talked about as the TRUE you being the watcher, not the thinker) as being the clear blue sky. Now, these uninvited thoughts are like clouds floating through your sky. Like clouds, they drift, they cover-up your true essence, and they float away. I guess as we think about “doing less thinking” to “achieve more clarity and calm,” I ask-- how cloudy is your day today? How cloudy is it every day? Is it continually overcast in your mind? Do you have patchy cloud coverage today? Or is your sky as clear as the eye can see?

Do less…. indulging in uninvited thoughts that keep you from finding happiness and calm. But how? 

“We enjoy freedom only when we are able to still the mind and choose our thoughts” (SuccessConsciousness.com). Okay. Sounds easy enough, right? Then why is this so hard? Well, it’s hard because as mothers, we have so many uninvited thoughts streaming through our consciousness, or clouding up our sky, that we don’t know when one ends and other one begins. Why is this the case?

Well, because our mind is like a filter. Think about that one. Your filter, your mind, was created, shaped, and built over time by what people have said to you, your daily experiences, and societal expecations. As SuccessConsciousness.com points out, every event in our lives has shaped our filter (the way we perceive the world and how we think about it). Now, before you start to freak out (like I did) and feel like your life, your perspective on life, and your thoughts are all out of your control and indirectly controlled by forces beyond you, it turns out that you have the power refine your filtration system. 

Essentially, your mind’s filter serves to either accept or reject certain thoughts. This makes sense. For instance, why do some mothers feel obsessed about keeping their house looking like it’s about to be photographed for Architectural Digest, while other mothers could really care less if magazines are strewn about, dust is about an inch thick, and loads of laundry are sitting waiting to be folded in laundry baskets? Why do some moms, myself included, feel this pressure to always engage their children in organized, structured, educational play throughout the day while other moms recognize the value of letting kids play on their own and use their imaginations? 

The point is we all have different filter settings. I love metaphors--so here is one more. Did you know that Gmail has a function where you can literally create a filter for your incoming messages? You can create a fancy-dancy filter that will allow you to automatically label, archive, delete, star or forward a message to your inbox. Imagine if you implemented this type of filtration system on your mind-- your inbox. Why not create a filter that deletes uninvited message of worry and criticism? Why not create a filter that forwards to the junk mail file, thoughts of negativity doubt? Why not create a filter that “stars” or highlights thoughts of appreciation and acceptance of the present moment-- and replays these over and over? You have the power to do this! This power lies in what we have talked about-- watching your emotions and watching your thinking. The power to reshape, refashion, and recreate your filtration system resides in present moment awareness.

As my new favorite website, SuccessConsciousness.com (no, I’m not getting paid to mention them this much) says, “Stopping the flow of thoughts may look infeasible, but constant training and exercising with concentration exercises and meditation, eventually lead to this condition. The mind is like an untamed animal. It can be taught self-discipline and obedience to a higher power.”

Love this...

So, the spirit of “do less, accomplish more,” I’ll stop.
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