This was a busy week. Things I had let go for a while snowballed, and I was overwhelmed. Typically, this is a time for an emotional disaster. Instead, I found success. This time I kept two things to attend to, and let all the others go. I kept my family commitments, and I kept my mindfulness practice. Nothing else was important enough that I needed to throw myself into a tizzy.
So often I will let the shoulds overcome the able tos. I forget about what is realistic to accomplish. I think about what I promised, to others or myself. I think about what someone else might say. This time, I just took a deep breath and gave myself a reality-check.
- Did I really make promises about getting things done, or was it just that I expected myself to be able to accomplish x, y, z?
- Was it likely that anyone else was going to say or think anything, or was I just telling myself a story to go along with my time-crunch panic?
Surprisingly, I realized that I was making up a crushing story, but a story non-the-less. Yes, it is actually the stories that drag us down the road of unhappiness and upset.
- Placing blame on others for whatever is less than perfect
- Imagining what others might be saying about us
- Negative self-talk about what is never enough or good enough
- Repeated worries about the same thing over, and over, and over again
- Making mountains out of molehills, so that each incident is a potential catastrophe
- Exaggerating the negative so that, no matter what I do get done, it will never be enough to satisfy myself
Can you just imagine how many times you have done this to yourself? I believe I might have earned a gold medal in the category of negative story-telling. But, maybe I've now turned a corner. Instead:
- I spent a weekend with my husband and two of my grandchildren, and enjoyed the gifts that they are in my life.
- I read books with them, cooked with or for them, played with them, and took walks with them.
- We made popcorn and watched movies together.
When the weekdays started, I still avoided the panic. Each morning I woke up a little early and gave myself the gift of meditation. I set my intention for each day, deciding to work during my grandson's naps or after he had gone to bed at night, but was committed to enjoying the time we had been given together. I was able to write the lessons that needed writing, the script that needed completing, and the comments for the reports that needed writing.
Were they perfect? I must say, I believe they were perfectly fine. They were the product of a woman leading a complete life. One where family comes first, and a career, while not cast aside, does not come in first place every time.
Will it always work out so well? I can't promise that it will, but I am certain that I will never look back and wish the work had come before the family this last week.
I won. Actually, we all won. And I think it will happen again in much the same way.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Thank you, mindfulness meditation, for helping me find a place of peace and calm in what could be such a crazy, hectic life. Thank you for helping me focus on the blessings in my life.
Dr. Wolbe can be contacted via her website at www.drsusiewolbe.com and Facebook