So on a lighter note…when I was 6, I was rushed to the ER for a very peculiar predicament. I know you’re thinking life or death emergency, but calm your nerves and put on a smile, we are about to go for a wild ride!
Preface: Of all the gifts I have ever received in my childhood, my favorite gift was a 5 gallon ice cream bucket decorated with glued felt on the outside. I remember having to really pry the top open carefully using my fingertips to inch my way around, lifting as I went. Finally, I peeled the plastic teeth apart to reveal the most magical sight. The old 5 gallon jug of ice cream was repurposed as an art studio on the go. It was filled with every art supply a kid could imagine; pad of paper, watercolors, crayons, markers, glue, scissors… GASP!
Over time that 5 gallon jug that went everywhere with me. I was never without it. However, now its a bucket filled with the equivalent of crayon quicksand made of paperless wax nubbins.
And the smell…was HEAVEN!
So, fast forward to me spending some time at my grandmother’s house approximately 6 years old. I am sprawled out on the green shag carpet (circa 1979) with a sketch pad and a brand new box of crayons to add to my hoard. The 64 pack with the built-in sharpener…AHHHH…in my world, that was the equivalent of the golden ticket to the Wonka Factory.
All the tools I needed to make the pages come alive and keep me occupied in wonderment for hours. Now, at this precise moment my 6 year old brain felt a booger. I can see you smiling…what would you do? Time to strategize. I realized I had to make a choice. I looked at the box of all the beautiful new crayons and had pick the “one.” You know, the sacrificial pawn? It was SKY BLUE…
Sky blue was the one crayon in the box that never had a chance with its waxy like texture. It never looked smooth and would glob up the more you used pressure. Yuck! I carefully extracted the tool from the box and…
I WENT IN….ALL IN!!!
Using the perfect point to reach this nose goblin, carefully of course… and the tip breaks! WOW. If I didn’t dis-like this color before, I really dis-liked it now. The search and rescue mission failed. I pushed the fragment farther up my nose. I walked calmly to my grandmother to show her my stupidity and her efforts to retrieve it were also futile. It was really lodged in there…off the ER we go.
I sat on the table while doctors forced mini-forceps up my nose, trying to hold back their laughter while they were digging for gold… well actually sky blue.
Now, as I look back at this experience, I am not traumatized or embarrassed. I am grateful to have grown-up in a generation where imagination ruled.
Problem-solving skills on point! (PUN INTENDED)
Mindful parent lesson: Take the tablet or phone out of your child’s hands and yours. Teach them to interact with people. Talk with your child and let them ask a trillion “why” questions. Teach them to use art, music, or reading as an outlet. Let your kids know it’s ok to be silly. It’s ok if their imaginary friend wants to come for dinner. And if they want to color their grass purple, encourage them to make it the most beautiful purple anyone could imagine.
Praise them for their open minds and unlimited potential.
“The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere.”
We need to talk because I can’t stop laughing…I did it! I motivated myself to dust off the yoga mat after 6 years and get my life together. First of all, I didn’t choose a difficult type of class, and thought “No problem, I can modify, I’m experienced.” Oh yeah, and to make matters worse I dragged my mom to come along for her first time.
It went sort of like this:
1 min in: We give a confident smile to one another thinking “Let’s do this.” 10 minutes in: She and I look at each other in disbelief, “Wow, this is difficult.” 15 minutes in: We look at each other again and add, “WTF!” 16 minutes in: We are both in child pose bowing our heads in shame, as the rest of class doesn’t whimper. 17 minutes in: We sit on the mats glancing at each other, drenched in sweat, giving the universal facial expression for “DYING!”
Just then, the teacher starts to walk around. We both start casually stretching our necks looking behind us, so we can avoid the teacher’s glance. We lay on our stomachs ready to melt into the floor with some corpse pose soon?! (fingers crossed). 30 minute in: We added in some floor work, not by choice, but we were already down there…why not?! 35 minutes in: We unanimously express that we both feel like barfing, and we lay with our foreheads on the mat until the teacher says get ready for the final savasana. (Here it comes, some desperately needed relaxation!!) Now, at 36 minutes precisely, something magical happens. A synchronicity of proportions occurred because just last night my husband added a wonderful thought to the universe that people tend to fart in yoga class, so stay classy if that happens.
Cue the release of intention into the universe as easily as blowing dandelion seeds into the wind…
36 minutes in: I roll over to get on my back and let it RIP (unintentionally, scouts honor!) I stare at the ceiling holding back the smile thinking how unfortunate the dude was in front me. I know it sounds crazy, and call it what you want, karma, intuition, synchronicity, de-ja-vu, signs, coincidence…but it happened. It was at 45 minutes that it got real serious…my mom DOES THE SAME THING! BIGGER! We can barely roll up to sitting position, our hands come together giving thanks for today….(I shutter a high pitch squeal trying to mask my laughter). I bring my hands to my heart…NAMASTE! (I squeal again, and this time I look behind me giving that old “please don’t look at me”, while I try to physically restrain myself from laughter with every muscle that still works). Breathe! This was for sure the most intense relaxation technique I have ever attempted, some real seriousness. It worked. Until the class was over…. 47 minutes in: We acknowledge our immature behavior practically peeing our pants with laughter over the realty that we both did exactly what our most embarrassing fears would be…. In that moment, I was happy. In that moment, me and my mom shared a bond of powerful emotion, an exchange of respect, an understanding of humility, and an innocence that transcends any material gift. We made a connection.
Lesson: It’s the small things in life that are really big, so stop worrying about the big things because in the end they are so small.
Today I woke up to a familiar situation in my life…
(Insert anyone here, whining): “Why doesn’t anyone else know what I mean when I’m silent? Why can’t others know I have expectations?”
Me: “Did you explain what your silence means to others?”
(Truly, insert anyone): No?
Me: “Did you tell others what your expectations are?”
(Really, anyone will do): No?
Me: I think you’ve answered your own questions!
…end scene (click)
Not everyone is at the same pace as you
Through this journey of becoming mindful, there are going to be people in your life that just don’t get it…yet! I used to allow this to make me angry. I used to think I had to fix the problem for them. I would hold on to the resentment of someone stealing my positive energy with their own agenda ALL DAY. Here come’s the thought bubble…”why?”
I have realized over time and with expereince that only I have the power to allow myself to be affected by others.
Now reach up and grab that thought bubble, gently pull it over yourself like a fort of solitude. You know the kind that you would make as a kid with a sheet? You have your trusty flashlight, some music from a small boombox ( the one speaker cassette player kind blasting Joan Jett singing “I love Rock and Roll”), and a pad of Mad Libs waiting for friend to fill in the blanks so you guys can laugh at the funny story.
Feels good, right? Are you smiling?
That’s what it is like to survive in our society today. We need to embrace our fort of solitude everywhere all the time. Do not allow negative vibes to penetrate your bubble. People that are not ready to change will try, unknowingly, to steal a glimmer of your shine to feel better. Don’t let them. You have to be in control of your emotions. This means not getting angry, not fixing anyone else’s problem, and definitely not taking their emotional baggage with you.
Sometimes in life, we can help people by not helping at all!
Give them back the responsibility of owning their own closed mind, emotions, and opinions. When you do, their hard shell will soften and their insides will become strong. Just like an egg in hot water. Confidence grows when you really get to know “you.” A person learning to be mindful addresses where their emotions are really coming from, and knowing their opinion is just that…their opinion!
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi
Your world consists of anyone you allow to be in it, and if you’re patient the people you choose will catch up to your pace.
The fort of solitude is really safe, but it is much more fun with a friend!
I sit on the edge of the bed dipping my hand in to a jar of some sort of sweet butter creme and massage myself around the neck to ease the tension away. Taking care of myself is essential and that means ALL of me. (Cue the cheesy porn music) Just kidding! But there is some truth and sensibility in making sure you are mindful of your body. Segue
Stress is a killer
I wear many hats such as Student, Mother, Wife, Business Manager, Leader, and Artist to name a few. I wouldn’t have it any other way for the past 20+ years. I have an insatiable motivation to learn and have new experiences to broaden my understanding of everything. A lucid soul search that continues today. The only difference now is that I’m aware of the consequences of poor time management.
If your list of characteristics is anything like mine, it looks like this:
Pros: workaholic, insatiable knowledge hunter, meets a challenge with enthusiasm, die-hard optimist, selfless, confident, and humble.
Cons: workaholic, insatiable knowledge hunter, meets a challenge with enthusiasm, die-hard optimist, selfless, confident, and humble.
Notice anything? I stare dumbfounded at the computer screen, reading along with you. Life is too short to not live your best life.
Please have a rock bottom, a final straw, and an end of the road! It will help the cause…
Peek at my journal entry from 14 years ago…time flies when you’re having fun!
“Things are getting bad at work. I don’t know who to trust. I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction. What will happen to my reputation, my career? I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my life and I have to stand at the fork in the road until the green light signals. Problem is, the light hasn’t been built yet. When can I move on? What can I do in the meantime to pacify my wandering spirit?”
Life gets in the way and we are on the proverbial hamster wheel.
This entry 14 years ago just solidifies that I need to change. I haven’t fully committed yet… I only talk about what could be. No more bullsh*t!!
I am more mindful at this moment, now more than ever….
The moment is here! I’m perched at the starting line ready to run. I’m waiting…waiting…the shot never fired!
Fast forward 20 years, and I am still crouched at the starting line with my eye on the prize and getting nowhere. That was one of my first lessons about life, stop waiting for someone else to dictate when it’s time to GO. Live now because time moves really fast, and in a blink of an eye you will look back at your life and wonder where you are. Guess what? You’ve been at the starting line the whole time. This is midlife! That moment you realize you are not living at your full potential and it’s time to change.
Time to get moving! I don’t mean let’s sweat to the oldies, ride through Watopia on a Peloton, or dust off that yoga mat (not just yet). I mean really start thinking about your thinking process. Imagine about how many times you think negative thoughts about yourself and don’t even realize it! If you are anything like me, it is a lot. Here’s my solution. Stop attracting negative energy. Yes, you are a giant magnet attracting the energy you put out.
Try these 3 simple rules for one week, heck, try one day. I guarantee you will feel a difference:
Stop and think before you speak; If its kind, continue. If its negative, find the positive and only speak that truth.
Forgive yourself and others; nobody is perfect.
Smile; everyone is going through something and could use the support.
For those of you still at the starting line, here’s your gun shot! Make an effort to never give up or look back, and if you truly want to get your groove back know that it takes time. Be patient with the process, and I promise it will be easier as you continue through the journey.
I have chosen this platform to share my thoughts and experiences as a woman, mother, artist, wife, student, educator, and leadership professional. I am vulnerable and excited all at the same time, but I’m going to stay positive and trust my intuition that I’m not the only one learning to be mindful. I encourage you to comment about your process and how I may have helped you through sharing my story.