TWO LESSONS LEARNED FROM J.K. ROWLING
1.) Moms are creative human beings who can manifest their dreams while raising children.
Even though J.K. Rowling was a working mum with very little time on her hands, she found an hour or two every day (while her infant daughter slept) to focus on cultivating her unique self and talents.
2.) She didn’t let negative habits of the mind, like doubt and fear, convince her she wasn’t good enough or trick her into thinking she was a failure.
Thus, she managed her thinking (we’ll talk more about this), and it paid off, both literally and figuratively!
So what do the lessons from J.K. Rowling’s story have to do with “mindfulness” and your mommy mind? A lot, actually. Here’s how it all shakes out-- without mindfulness or being mindful, you can’t watch your thinking. If you don’t stop to witness your thinking, thus recognizing those pesky negative thoughts that play over and over in your head, it will be difficult to hear the whispers of your inner-voice. Listening to your inner-voice is important because it speaks divine wisdom that shapes how we take care of our kids and ourselves.
YOU ARE NOT THE THINKER
The biggest revelation for me in regards to coming to understand the power of witnessing my thoughts came when Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, said, “[t]he beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the thinker.” What he means is you are not your thoughts. When thoughts run through your head, you (the “true” you) are the person who watches them, and as that witnessing presence, you have the freedom to choose the ones you want to believe and let the others pass on by. Trust me, you can do this!
If you only remember one thing from this blog today, remember this… YOUR THOUGHTS ARE JUST THINGS! They have no power until YOU chose to believe them. Otherwise, it’s just a thought. And if it’s a negative thought like, I’m a bad mom because I scream every now and again…,or I don’t spend enough time engaging with my children on a daily basis…,or Every other mom probably knows what to do when…, just think that thought and then let it go. Yes-- LET IT GO! Pretend it’s one of those balloon bubbles that pops into your head, you see it, you decide this thought doesn’t serve you, so like a child letting go of a balloon, let that thought simply float away. Letting go is actually the easy part. Ya wanna know the hard part? The hard part is becoming conscious of when you are thinking negative thoughts.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when as a mother (and when I think about my dreams aside from mothering) I simply do let my fears and negative thoughts become “truths” too quickly. When this happens, it almost instantaneously paralyzes me. If I don’t recognize my negative thoughts right away and consciously make the decision to “let them go,” they take a hold of my brain, and before I know it, my bad mood has gotten 10 x worse.
I’ll give you a concrete example to prove my point, and perhaps as you chuckle, you’ll identify with it:
A couple months ago, I made the decision that I needed to get out of the house more with the girls, and I wanted to be in the company of other moms. I was craving commiserating with other women who were also experiencing the challenges of staying sane with multiple children under the age of 3 in one household (remember-- I have a 3 yr. old and twin 2 yr. olds-- ouch). My grand plan was to start attending the local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group. I found a local MOPS group, and the timing was perfect; they were meeting the very next day! That night I crawled into bed, took a deep breath to calm my mind, and then they appeared-- those darn negative thoughts. This time, here is what they said:
That should be fun tomorrow. How nice to get some time to speak to other moms. I really need that. And, the girls will be able to meet other kids. Wait, did she say there were one or two babysitters to watch the kids? How many kids total will be there? Are these babysitters capable adults or are they like kids themselves? Can they handle my three girls let alone others in addition? Did she say the playroom was downstairs and our meeting room was upstairs? What if I can’t see my girls? What if someone off the street came in, went to the playroom, told one of the babysitters that they were there to get the girls for me, and took them? The girls are still so little. They probably wouldn’t put up a fight. Oh my god, what if I went downstairs to get them and they were gone. Uhh… kids disappear all the time like that… one minute they are there, then they are gone! I don’t think I could survive if that happened to me. Oh my god, what would someone like that do….”
Okay. I’ll stop there and not even get into the horrendous things I envisioned a child snatcher might do to my children (it upsets me to much even think about it now). Long story short, within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, I was balling! Balling! My husband woke up and was like, "What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
I wanted to say, “No! No, I am not sick. I’m mental!” But rather, I proceeded to tell him, choking back tears, all about the horrible mental-movie in my head. As I babbled on, I said, “I’m not ready for this. I’m not going tomorrow. I will never let the girls out of my site with people I don’t know!”
True to my word, I didn’t go to MOPS the next morning. We didn’t go, and we totally missed out on the much-needed fellowship with other mothers that I so desperately wanted and the building of friendship my girls needed because of my unchecked thinking!! Moral of the story-- it’s not necessarily what you think that’s bad. What’s bad is whether or not you chose to believe the thoughts that cause you pain. In this instance, I chose to believe my irrational fears, and they held me…I mean…they held us back.
IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU
The path to self-awareness is never straight, well-lit, or smooth. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start the journey. In fact, it’s the challenges in life that make us stronger.
Self-discovery is essential to being a mindful mama. Why? Because when you shed light on the dark corners of your mind and beliefs that hold you back from being your most enlightened self, you take one step closer to living your life in alignment with your most authentic self. Think about how you would mother differently living your life from your Truth as opposed to attempting to mother from what society says you “should” do.
Wanna find that inner-wisdom? This week try to stop your thinking. If you are new to this, you might need a sign to help you to remember to stop and “look at” your thoughts. Maybe tonight, when you are washing the dishes, stop your thinking. Stop for a minute and recall the thoughts that were just streaming through your head. What were you just thinking about? Were your thoughts stressful: How is it already 7:00 pm?! I have so much work to do tonight… I gotta…I will never get this all done. Were your thoughts worrisome: I can’t believe I spanked her today. I am such horrible mom. I swore I would never spank…. Now I feel bad about showing her how angry I was. No wonder she acts the way she does…. Or, were your thoughts calm: Ahh… my second glass of wine… keep on screaming kids, doesn’t bother me. We actually had a nice day today. It was so sweet when…
Just a tip-- designate one particular time of the day (e.g., doing the dishes, making dinner, whenever you wash your hands, the moment you get into bed…) to remind yourself to stop and reflect on your thinking. For one week, every day, at that particular time, try to watch your thoughts for just a couple seconds until watching the thinker becomes more of a habit.
Come on back later this week, and post a comment on how this is going for you. What are you finding out about yourself? We’d love to hear!