The Perfect Moment

Have you ever had a perfect moment? One where you think “I will remember this for the rest of my life!” I had one of those perfect moments while enjoying a rare one-on-one date with my fifteen year old son at Universal Studios amusement park this past weekend.  Let me preface this store by saying that I am quite afraid of heights and any rides that fall suddenly from tall heights, such as Dr. Doom at Universal Studios. So when my son asked me to ride his favorite ride, Dr. Doom, I was facing a battle between my fear and my desire to connect with my son.  At first, I gave into my anxiety and tried to convince my son to ride alone while I wait.  He wouldn’t have it and said, “Mom, I would rather stay with you.” Hearing those words helped me find the courage to face my fear and honor what I value most, relationship. I heard myself reply, “No, I am riding this ride and facing my fear with courage like you have so many times son.” In my heart I wondered if I really could.  I knew that I had asked him to do things he feared so many times and he had done them and grown for it. It was my turn to practice what I preach. My unforgettable moment was looking at his face after we dropped, went up to drop again, and we were all smiles and laughter.  Of course, it wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be, and it ended up being my favorite ride all day.

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Why do I pick this experience for today’s post? Because it contains key elements that come into play at those pivotal moments that define who we become.  Do we choose to move forward with faith or do we choose to be hindered by fear? After all, perfect moments don’t just show up, but instead perfect moments are created one courageous step at a time.  Moreover, perfection is found in reality, not in imagined states in which we do not struggle.  You see, my nagging fear kept telling me to shrink from taking this new step, but I wanted to have a new experience with my son more, so I chose to override that fear with courage. It took all of my skills including: deep diagram breathing, affirmations that “you are really safe,” and even some healthy distraction like looking around and people watching, just to gradually take steps forward in line.  The moment of choice came, as it always does, and I had to choose to do the thing that most scares me.  I had to choose to loose control.  Yep, I used the “control” word. Isn’t that what we all fear, letting go of control of our perceived safety and instead choosing trust.  Everything I value in my life has required taking that step into the dark with trust and believing good things would come.

You see perfection for me isn’t a life without mistakes in which we never suffer, but one in which we fully live in the present and take full advantage of the gift we have to learn and grow. One thing I know for certain is “this too shall pass,” so seize the moment and really take full advantage of your ability to choose what you value now. Perfectionism, and the suffering that perfectionism brings, rejects the present as not being good enough and gets stuck in a cycle of dissatisfaction. We compare ourselves to others and a theoretical best. Reality will always fall short of our theoretical best. If you look at the origin of the word perfect, perfectus, meaning completed or done, you can see that your past is already perfect. Your past can’t be added to or changed, and is compete.  All you take from the past is what you learned so you can apply that to your present reality. One of my favorite ideas is this, “a perfectionist pursues perfection, a realist perceives it.” Your perfect moments are all around you, waiting to be seen and courageously embraced. Acceptance of our reality, and fully living in it is not surrender, it’s courage. As you embrace reality, rather than struggle against it, you can apply what you have learned and improve the next moment.

Back to the story at hand… ultimately, I decided I wanted to live without fear and see what came of it more than let it hold me back. It was my perfect moment because it represents the joy that comes from choosing relationship, trust, and courage, over pulling away, distrust, and fear. Remember, “this too shall pass,” and choose to fully embrace the ride of life and all it can teach you. Are you willing to ride up and embrace the fall?

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Book referenced – “Present Perfect: a mindfullness approach to letting go of perfectionism & the need for control,” by Pavel Somov, PH.D.

How to balance all the “spinning plates” in our lives

Ever feel like you’re spinning so many plates in your life, that at any moment they can all come crashing down? If so, you’re not alone! However, one thing’s for certain, you’re doing better than you may think.

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Some of the “plates” you’re spinning may represent the following:
  • Your faith
  • Your health
  • Relationship with your spouse
  • Relationship with Child #1
  • Relationship with Child #2
  • Relationship with Child #3
  • Relationship with Child #…..etc.
  • Relationship with your Mother
  • Relationship with your Father
  • Relationships with extended family
  • Friendships
  • Volunteering at your child’s school and/or in the community
  • Employment responsibilities
  • Employment/Job relationships
  • Home management
  • Children’s activities
  • Any other area in your life that you’re CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT

Just reading this list is exhausting! How do we keep up and meet all those needs?  One suggestion is simply the realization that we’re not alone.  Checking in for some quality time may provide insight, perspective, distraction, or a much needed laugh.  Instead of looking down in despair, look around.  You may be surprised by all the “back-stage” hands that are helping us with the show.  Despite our efforts, while some plates may stop spinning, the world certainly will not!

Here are a few ways to keep everything up in the air…

SPIN PLATES CLOSEST TO YOU FIRST

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Nothing is more distracting to all other areas of our lives then troubled relationships or family members at home.  It’s important to remember that the people closest to us should not receive our least amount of focus.  Unfortunately, this is often the case.  Balancing relationships in our homes require checking-in with one another, while checking-out with everything else.  A little quality time with some quality questions will go a long way: “Hey honey, how are things at work? How was school today kids? What was the best part of your day and what was the worst?”

Communicating with our loved ones will empower us to fulfill our other responsibilities without distraction or guilt.  Our family members are like fine china and everything else is a paper-plate.  One’s disposable, the other’s not.

SPINNING YOUR OWN PLATE

How have you been feeling lately?  Are you run down? Overwhelmed? Short-tempered? If so, perhaps the plate that needs the most attention right now, is your own.  Self-care is critical to our overall effectiveness.  When I began working on my business and launching this blog, I was exercising daily, reading scriptures daily, and feeling up to the challenge.  Fast forward a few weeks later and I was staying up too late, missing my morning work-outs, rushing scripture study, and feeling overwhelmed.  It took a while to realize that self-care was the ingredient I’d been missing.  Once back in the routine of healthy habits, the ideas began to flow and I felt mentally and physically capable of more things being thrown my way.

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SPINNING HOME PLATE

Our home is the place where we spend a lot of time. Home management involves things like:

  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Paying bills
  • Washing laundry
  • Folding laundry (this is the beast in our house)
  • Cleaning

Depending on your household, some of these are easier then others.  But considered all at once, and you may throw this plate out of a car window headed for “somewhere other then here.” Designating different days for different tasks will help with overall production and prevent you from doing it all at once. Utilize your family members in areas you can. It’s not only going to help you, it will help them have a realistic view of what it takes to be an adult. Not that adulting stinks, but it’s not all play. Scheduling activities for certain days can focus your efforts, while freeing up time for everything else.

YOUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH

We’re not perfect and sometimes those plates around us may fall.  The best things in our life take consistent time and check ins. Think about it, being healthy is not a single meal or exercise.  Healthy relationships aren’t built by a single experience, or one kind gesture.  It takes effort little by little. We will make it through whatever challenge comes our way as long as we remember to breathe, and enjoy those beautiful people that are placed in our lives.

balancing the plates

About the Author:

“Hello! My name is Maristella Webley and I am a mother of six small children.  I married my childhood sweeheart (who went on to become a firefighter), and together we are building a home of learning and fun.  I also own a small, thriving preschool with classes for 3-6 year olds.  I have a passion for early childhood and know the importance of the first five years!  Parents as first teachers is the motto I have structured my kindergarten readiness kits around.  I hope to empower parents to have an active role in their child’s life, especially when it comes to early education!”

http://littletimewitharhymeandreason.com

Chaos and Crumbs

For the past few weeks, I’ve watched how the feeling of things being out-of-control can suddenly switch us from able to disabled. The “out-of-control thing” can be a feeling of trying to set a routine and it keeps slipping away. A partial opinion someone has of us that we just can’t help them see our full picture. Trying to support a sick loved one. Or the clutter that has crawled into our closet, kitchen, or computer from loved ones or ourselves as we’re trying to manage life’s demands. Whatever that out-of-control thing is for you, know that you’re not the only one who gets incapacitated by it every now and then. We’re not weak for feeling that way. We’re growing.

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Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

When chaos comes, we may feel all we have left are crumbs of ideas, energy, support, or solutions.

But at least we have crumbs.

I’ve been thinking about this when random moments of chaos have affected me or those around me lately. For some reason, the idea of crumbs brought me solace. In the midst of pain and pressure from chaos’ crumbliness, I think we can learn from our little leftover remains.

  1. Its ok to have days of hearty harvests and days of scraping from the bottom. Just like the seasons, our days will vary in abundance. Some days we’re functioning at a Spring state with bounteous energy and flowing ideas. Other days we’re more in a huddled, frigid Winter state. Both seasons, we have something to give and receive. When I have those free flowing days with buckets full to share, I find myself still needing to receive my husband’s counterbalancing thoughts to prune and hedge my decisions. During the winter freeze and crumby days when I have little to give, I can still offer warmth to huddle next to. What this looks like may be extra delegating, voicing my needs more, or drawing loving boundaries for activities or people to better care for myself.
  2. Every crumb counts. Imagine your favorite meal or desert. Every last drizzle and morsel of that deliciousness is savored and celebrated. That means that when we’re depleted, every little bit that we do have to give to ourselves, our families, or our work is enough. Even if they say otherwise, let it be a truth we can anchor in knowing that our best is enough (1). Because our seasons can change, that means our best also changes. We can give ourselves some space in productivity, in helpfulness, in nurturing, and wherever we tend to excel in or be leaned on, knowing that it’s ok for our status and abilities to fluctuate. But what we do give, if given with our best, will be for good.
  3. Be determined to move forward. Crumbs can only support us for so long. I’ve used these crumby moments to be a flag and indicator to myself that things have got to change. And the things I can change are 1) my attitude and 2) my actions. For my attitude, there’s nothing like listening to a favorite song that anchors me to remember truths or to be grateful. A few of my favorites are “Blessed” by Martina McBride, “Baba Hanuman” by Shantala, or any song by JJ Heller. As for actions, you know the list: exercise, sleep, talking/counseling, nutrition, praying, serving, exploring nature, acupuncture, or reading.
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Photo by Abele Gigante on Unsplash

This has been a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while and so writing it was actually a challenge because it’s been a learning by observing process rather than anything measured or clinical. I hope through this conversation we can each be more patient with ourselves through the chaos and crumbs. We’d love to hear what you’ve found helpful when you’ve felt out-of-control or crumbly. Who knows, if we as women link our crumbs together, maybe we’ll end up with a loaf to share.

(1) Ruiz, Miguel. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. San Rafael, Calif: Amber-Allen Pub, 1997. Print.

SELF COMPASSION: THE SECRET TO GROWTH

Guest Contributor – Ganel-Lyn

The way I talk to myself….

Well let’s just say I would never talk to you that way.

This isn’t just great research or therapist talk. This concept is essential to not only surviving but thriving. I am talking about practicing more gentleness and kindness. Not to your neighbor or your child but to yourself.

As the spiritual teacher, Dalai Lama says, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

A society cannot survive without compassion – but neither can the human spirit. So -how are you talking to yourself?

Have you noticed what happens when you feel like you have failed or show up less than you wanted to? Do you feel like you need to beat yourself up?

Tonight was one of those nights. I got frustrated with my family. I was so less than my best. I snapped and had an emotional break.

After taking a time out, I started to notice the guilt. It crept in ever so slowly. My self-talk sounded like, “You always do this. Your family deserves better than a stressed out momma. You are a hot mess.”

I paused and considered what had been going on. I had been sick for the previous four days and in the doctor’s office running tests. I was out of steam.

Practicing doesn’t mean perfect. So instead of sinking down the hole of shame, I considered what I would say to a dear friend in that moment. What would I say to another mother who was trying to make dinner, handle homework time all while being sick? I would show her compassion. I would be gentle and understanding and put my arm around her. I would thank her for trying and validate how difficult things had been. I would remind her that she has done so many things right and tell her to breath. And start again.

Self-compassion doesn’t mean avoiding responsibility for “bad behavior”. It just means not sinking into the shame pit. Beating yourself up never changes behavior. Back to my “mommy moment”. I walked into the kitchen after practicing self-compassion. I apologized to my family and shared my vulnerabilities. I communicated with them how hard the past few days had been and that I was really struggling but that I was sorry for not taking a time out sooner. Honesty and taking responsibility changes behavior. Not beating yourself up.

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And stop with the comparison. I know all the other mothers on your street were patient tonight and cooked an organic dinner including brussel sprouts that your kids LOVE. I know it feels like everyone else is winning at life and you – well aren’t. The truth is this we all feel like a “hot mess” sometimes. Stop with the comparing your worst with a neighbors best.

You live with you. And you will- for the rest of your life. Start practicing being your own best friend.

Try to be a little more gentle. More tender. Especially when you are less than your best because that is when it counts the most. I have come to discover that it is the quickest route to growth and change. And it is a whole lot easier than the alternative.

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BIO: Ganel-Lyn is a popular motivational speaker and best-selling author – known for inspiring others with her unique honesty, authenticity and spirit. She is dedicated to her family, faith, and inspiring others. Ganel-Lyn loves teaching others with speaking and writing. She has healed from a major chronic illness and is the mother to two miracle children. Ganel-Lyn lives with an open heart and feels passionate about sharing principles that will empower others to live life with more joy and conviction.

www.ganellyn.com

Self-Love: You are a 10!

You are a 10! This a phrase I use to break my negative self-talk that has a habit of resurfacing at times. Nearly 12 years ago, a mentor of mine could see that I was struggling with self-acceptance, and like most of us struggling to love and accept ourselves, that internal criticism did not leave me feeling motivated to become better.  Instead, it paralyzed me from moving forward and being the best version of myself. I erroneously held the belief that if I loved and accepted myself as I currently was that I would stop seeking further excellence.

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Enter the mentoring that forever shifted my paradigm… my mentor asked me to rate myself in areas I was currently performing such as a young parent, wife, sister, daughter, etc from 1 to 10. 10 being the highest possible rating.  After giving a rating to each category, I gave myself an overall score. I think I gave myself a 4. She then asked me to think on my newborn child and rate my child’s worth from 1 to 10. Without hesitation I said, “She is a 10.” She asked me to ponder why my child, who had not yet performed any of the roles in life, was a 10 while I was a 4.

I thought, “Well, I guess I lost it somewhere in all my weaknesses.” She then gently said, “You have always been a 10, you have just forgotten. Perhaps, it is time to remind yourself.” Bam! That hit me to my core and I then began looking at messaging all around me.  The common messaging was that my worth was based on performance, status, comparison to others, and arrival at some determined achievement. I started to see the lies that I did not want to pass on to my infant daughter. I hoped she would always know she is a 10. I knew I would become the mirror that she looked into first to understand her value. No pressure right! I spent hours in prayer letting the spirit speak to me on my worth . Worth is not just in some of us but in all of us. I realized that if I could learn to accept and love myself and my own uniqueness, I would then be able to understand that weakness does not equal a decrease in worth.  Worth is constant.  Worth helps us use our strengths to address weaknesses with less paralyzing fear.

I share my story with you as I know it is a common story among women I know, love, and work with. Self-love really does lead to change. You don’t have to earn your worth, You were born a 10 and still are! When you can embrace that, perhaps even identify the source of the voices that told you that you were less then a 10 and speak back to those voices with the truth, you will free yourself and have the confidence to align your choices with your true identity and what truly represents you. Love really does set us free.

I conclude with some of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:

-“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us”

-“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”

-“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here”

I cannot agree more.