Picture courtesy of Awesomely Awake.
Picture courtesy of Awesomely Awake.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because the world needs more people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
I went to school for Tish’s conference this morning. All is well enough. She’s doing fine- especially in her own estimation. As we were waiting in the hall, I saw [some] art work on the wall. Tish explained that the assignment was to write about their biggest, boldest dream.
You guys- I only had time to get three pictures, but over and over- again and again and again- I read: “My dream is for my family to be happy.”
Tish’s poster wasn’t done yet. I asked what her dream was and she said: “To be Taylor Swift and for my mommy to be happy.” Oh, I said. Then she added: “Everyone at my table wrote ‘I want my mommy to be happy!’” Oh, I said again.
You guys. They want us to be happy.
They’re not saying: My dream is for my mom to be perfect. Or my dream is for my mom to be thinner or better looking. Or cooler. Or have more friends. Or have better things. Or to have had a prettier past. Or have a cleaner, bigger, nicer house. Or be richer. Or be divorced or reunited. Or work less or more or outside the home or inside the home or part time or what-have-you. None of that.
Just: My dream is for my family and my mommy to be happy.
Holy crap, you guys. We’ve got to get our joy back. We think it’s love to allow our roles –mother, wife, volunteer, career woman – to consume us like a fire until we can’t even be seen anymore – but that’s not love. I think our kids want to really see us. They want us to leave a part of ourselves unconsumed so they can see us. I think our kids want to see us come alive sometimes. Our kids never asked for martyrs. It is not love to allow yourself – your spirit – to be buried and then fade away.
At first- these thoughts stressed me out this morning because I am passionate and I am kind and sometimes I’m ecstatic and I can usually find gratitude but I’m not “happy.” I’m intense and up and down and I get depressed and anxious and my anxiety makes me hard to be around sometimes. Because I’m impatient and snappy. I snap at people I love all the time and that makes me feel bad about myself. I want to be zen. I am so not zen. Whatever zen is- I’m the opposite of it.
But you know what- none of those papers said that, “My dream is for my mom to stop snapping.” None said, “I wish my mom would stop being so anxious and just relax and be more like Jesus or Buddha.” Their dreams were less about us in relationship to THEM and more about what they really want for US. As PEOPLE. They want us to be happy. Because they love US. And because they know, likely, that they are supposed to learn how to be happy during this beautiful life from us. And so if we’re slugging our way through life without joy- they are probably thinking- deep down– if she can’t pull some joy out of life- how will I?
And so those posters served as some SMELLING SALTS for me this morning. They woke me up. And I thought: WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY? What is one thing that I could do today that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ROLES I PLAY and just FEEDS MY SOUL?
Because that’s important. It is important to feed my body, mind and soul every day. If we are going to ask for our daily bread- we’ve got to take the time to receive it and eat it. God provides –but we’ve got to slow down long enough to TASTE AND SEE. And we cannot say that our list of things to do is too long to slow down and feed ourselves. Because there are URGENT things and there are IMPORTANT things – and no matter how much URGENT there is – we must fit a few TRULY IMPORTANT things into our day or the URGENT things will consume us every day forever and ever ’till we die. We feed ourselves or we die. It’s inconvenient- especially in a culture that worships productivity and efficiency and busyness for busyness’ sake- but it’s THE TRUTH. We eat or we die.
WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE? WHO ARE YOU BENEATH ALL OF YOUR ROLES? HOW DO YOU FEED YOURSELF?
Listen. This is a thing. We are going to figure this out together. If joy is so far out of reach that you don’t even remember what the word means- let’s talk about getting to a doctor. That’s step one. If you can’t remember how to feed yourself but you remember what joy is: BE STILL. YOU HAVE TO GET STILL BEFORE YOU CAN REALLY GET UP. GOD MADE EVERYTHING WONDERFUL AND CREATIVE AND BEAUTIFUL OUT OF NOTHINGNESS- STILLNESS AND GOD STILL DOES. So find some quiet. 10 – 5 minutes a day. Try this- Travis sent it to us last night:
1) Prepare to pray the Psalm in 5 consecutively diminishing sentences.
2) Either aloud or quietly to yourself, say the words, “Be still and know that I am God”
3) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be still and know that I am.”
4) After a couple deep breaths, pray “Be still and know.”
5) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be still.”
6) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be.”
7) When ready, pray, “Amen.”
AH! 12 years old. That’s when it happens. That’s when we start looking to find our joy in other’s expectations and boys and magazines and cigarettes and food and we start getting buried. Go back. Before you were 12. What did you love?
MY FRIEND: YOU ARE NOT DEAD. YOU ARE JUST ASLEEP. YOU JUST NEED TO GET UP AND EAT.
LITTLE GIRL, GET UP!
GET UP AND EAT!!!!
Ironically, I came across this video on Facebook! It’s very interesting, in my opinion, especially as we plan to get together with friends and family for Thanksgiving.
You may have noticed that this page looks a little (or a LOT) different! In anticipation of a new year, we are proud to present you with a new look!
Check in on Mondays for posts from Dr. Diane Sanford and on Thursdays for posts from Stacey Glaesmann! We are re-focusing our energy and providing our readers with consistent, uplifting, relevant posts that you will be able to draw positive energy from.
We also have a surprise in the works! Keep checking back – or even better, subscribe – so you won’t miss out on our big announcement!
All our love and respect,
Diane and Stacey
Hey y’all! I’ve been featured on Good Enough Mother! Here’s the article:
The word “happy” always throws me for a loop.It’s kind of vague, so I have defined what “happy” means to me: inner peace and contentment. So, at this time in my life (age 42, married almost 20 years, 14 year-old daughter), yes, I am happy!
I would tell myself that while everything seems earth shattering now, most of what I get upset about wouldn’t matter in the bigger picture. I would teach myself how to be in the present moment and to not worry so much about what other people think about me, including my parents. I would encourage myself to speak up to my mom and dad instead of burying my feelings deep inside, creating a landmine waiting to explode.
I’ve been gradually learning that other people’s actions, reactions and general behaviors have nothing to do with me. I’ve been learning this slowly over a couple of years, but it really gelled with me this year. When someone says or does something that stings, I can finally step back, ask myself what (if any) part I had in the interaction and determine what to own and what to walk away from.
Personally, I want to achieve an almost-constant state of mindfulness. I’ve found that this is the key to inner peace (happiness) for me. Professionally, I would like to start getting paid to write! Socially, I’d like to nurture some important friendships and let go of toxic ones. I want to continue supporting my daughter emotionally with respect and build more emotional intimacy with my spouse.
I’ve found that as I get older (and maybe wiser), I have learned to pick my battles in many areas of my life. Being in the present moment as much as possible and choosing to look at emotional things objectively has given me a freedom that I have never known. I used to be a people-pleaser and would always put others’ needs in front of my own. I know now that I am the most important person in my life and if I’m not happy, I can’t wear my mom/wife/counselor/writer hats with any real effectiveness.
Staying in the present moment (mindfulness) has been the best tool for me to stay grounded. I wish I could say I am able to stay present all the time, but I can’t. I use mindfulness mostly in situations in which I experience stress and/or negative emotions. I am such an Empath – I feel other people’s feelings – that being able to remove myself from my emotions and look at them objectively has been the key to staying grounded.
I personally don’t believe in regret. Everything that has happened to me, including my own choices and behaviors, has shaped me into the person I am today, which I am generally happy with. I also don’t believe in failure. Not reaching a goal is not really a fail, it’s an opportunity to learn something to apply in the future to get more positive or healthier results. Are there people out there that I’ve hurt? Sure there are! I have done all I can to make nice with the folks I am aware of that I have injured emotionally. If someone is angry with me and doesn’t let me know, there’s not much I can do about it.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but mindfulness has been the biggest lesson I have passed on to my daughter. She has been diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and is a highly anxious kid. She takes medication, which helps her ability to tap into her natural internal resources. She has told me several times that staying in the present moment helps her overcome her worries, fears and anxiety.
I do not exercise much at all. I’d like to WANT to get out and get moving. I am not overweight and don’t have Diabetes or anything, but while I know that getting my blood pumping will feel great and help deal with stress, it seems I can always find something I want to do more. My motto is, “Follow your bliss,” as Joseph Campell said, but doing this keeps me from being more physically fit.
I don’t mean to sound cliché, but my personal growth over the last few years is what I am most proud of. I have a long list of achievements and recognition from outside sources and that’s where I used to get my sense of self-worth. But now, even though it’s nice to hear good things at times, I know I am awesome without anyone else having to tell me or even agree with me. I went through postpartum depression when my daughter was born. I believe now that the endless tears, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, constant anxiety and eventually, my suicide plan were all of the feelings I had stuffed for most of my life coming to the surface. I never want to remotely feel like that again. I have bad days just like everyone else, but this was a dark place that I don’t ever want to see again. I was able to take that awful time, go back to school and get my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and start a private practice specializing in helping new families who are going through the same thing that I did. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to pay it forward (wellnesspearland.com)!
Without a doubt, I am now the happiest I have ever been. For people who are afraid of 40, I say don’t be! It may be the first time in your life that you feel like you may know who you really are! I wrote a book in 2007 about the importance of self-care, but even though I knew intellectually that my words were true, I don’t think I connected them with my heart until recently (wellnesspearland.com/book-store/).
Loyal, intelligent, compassionate, clumsy, empathic, free thinking, reasonable, bitchy, independent, and curious. I’m sure if you asked people who know me, you’d get a few others, but hey – this is about me!
Stacey Glaesmann, MA is a Life Coach, freelance writer and author who lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas. She specializes in treating new moms and families with postpartum mood disorders. She has written a book called What About Me? A Simple Guide to Self-Care in the 21st Century and has been published in several online and print media outlets. Samples of her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/self-help-in-houston/stacey-glaesmann and her website is wellnesspearland.com. Stacey has been happily married for almost 20 years and has a 14 year-old daughter, who is as neurotic as her mother.
We here at Living Self-Care would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been full of changes for us, and I think I can speak for Diane when I say we are very grateful for each and every one of them.
When things happen, they’re just things. We are responsible for what we label them (good or bad). It’s hard to imagine something like a cancer diagnosis being something GOOD, but I have also heard from several survivors and current cancer patients that their diagnosis and journey has ultimately changed them for the better.
It’s easy to be thankful for the obviously positive things in life, but most of the time, the negative (or what we label as “bad”) presents a learning opportunity. The trick is to be open minded and try to look at the situation outside of your usual way of thinking. There’s usually the proverbial “silver lining” to be found, and I truly believe there is no such thing as failure, only lessons.
This year, as challenging as the change has been, I am so thankful that my mother moved in with us. We don’t have to worry about each other long distance anymore. And though we bump heads often, I am so thankful that we are learning how to relate to each other again (in a much more healthy manner this time).
As you go about your Thanksgiving traditions, remember that there are so many things to be grateful for – even the things that you may have categorized as “awful.” Have a safe and happy one!!
All of our love,
The holidays are here with fun-filled and stress-filled times sandwiched together, not unlike raising children, work, marriage and other life pursuits. So, here are some recommendations to make the holidays calmer and happier.
First, have realistic expectations of yourself. Many of us feel disappointed because our “fairytale images” don’t materialize. Instead, focus on feeling good from the inside out. Build a fire and roast marshmallows, shop with a friend, or take a long walk in the woods. Meditate, workout, read, or listen to music. Feed your soul.
Second, have realistic expectations of others. No one’s family or friends are perfect, and the holidays won’t change this. Since we can’t change them, we need to rely on ourselves to gather what’s positive and let go of the negative. Create new family traditions so they don’t stir up bad memories. If a situation becomes too negative, leave.
Likewise, don’t take relationship stress too personally. If your partner snaps about household clutter because they’re stringing Christmas lights while baking cookies, understand it’s their problem. Don’t let them take their bad mood out on you but don’t react poorly either. After all, love is the true intention of the season and it starts with you.