Man, I think if someone asks “when was your self-discovery age?” I would have to say the past 12-18 months I have done more soul-searching and self-discovery than ever before. I’ve asked myself the deepest questions and I have found myself changing habits due to this transition. This also means the past 12-18 months have been the most difficult in my life. I don’t think it is fun for anyone to look at themselves through a microscope – a lot of disappointment and discouragement is what I experienced during the bulk of this season of my life. From the disappointment and discouragement I found a strength and desire that I never knew existed. I needed to learn about the weakness in me in order to allow my strengths to do what they needed to do to help me overcome my weaknesses.
I’ve also learned a lot about people in general. I can’t tell you how many books I have read on the subject of self-discovery. I prefer the term self-discovery over self-help. Self-help sounds too desperate to me. But anyway, the common theme of these books is if you look at people, as a whole, from a high-level every person’s actions are in an effort to make themselves happy. And while it may seem that the action is against you or the universe, they believe that what they are doing is going to make them happy in the long run. Hearing this and reading this and understanding this was more than just a lightbulb for me. It was like fireworks going off in my subconscious. I started looking at every person differently. I began to see a shift in my response to other people. I was always a person who took things – large or small – personally. Of course they were in some way plotting against me! That was the only rational explanation to what they were doing. When I started to comprehend (and this took quite a bit of time to sink in – so the fireworks had to get super-loud and bright before it had enough of an impact – haha) what was actually going on – at the root – my heart started to feel the compassion that it was supposed to feel.
I share this with you – my internet friends – only to maybe spark this thought process. I’ve found that since my heart was in a place of understanding and compassion, I have let go of so much unwarranted, self-inflicted pain. I am not perfect and this place is sometimes so far from my train of thought and my temper gets the best of me, however I am much stronger today than I was this time last year. I find it no coincidence that this awareness comes at the same time as Mother Teresa’s canonization. Her words have been a great teacher for my soul-work so I will leave you with her words as it directly pertains to my point:
People are often unreasonable and self centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat on you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be Happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
I try my hardest not to see things so black and white and to realize that each choice is unique from the next. It is something I have to constantly be present about because my natural instinct is to prejudge situations based on previous experiences. To add fuel to this fire, motherhood and parenting has become increasingly difficult over the past year – probably because we have 3 young children who are all in the age of discovering what they like to do. Which means, too many activities to manage PLUS two full-time working parents. I think this has led me to have a heightened sensitivity about my current season of life as well as increased amount of “Mom Guilt”.
Geez – I could write a novel about “Mom Guilt”. About how it is unavoidable, unpreventable, and untreatable. But, I won’t. Because who likes to read negative ramblings anyway?
Recently, I started investigating alternatives for the twins daycare/schooling. They are currently at the same school my older daughter attended for the first 6 years of her life. It is a great school that happens to be going through a bit of transition. Unfortunately, the transition hit hard for the twins’ age group. There have been a lot of teaching transitions, schedule transitions, etc. While I have been going through this, I felt like my world and the twins’ world was falling apart. I found myself thinking “how are they ever going to survive? They need stability in 3k”. Then the dreaded “Mom Guilt” kicked in… “This would have never happened if we were in a better place where I did not have to work.”
Y’all. I was considering turning our lives upside down to move them to a school that could not keep them for a full work day and hiring a sitter to pick up my 3 children and drop my 3 children EVERY DAY just because I wanted to protect my children from hardship. THEN I would come to work and complain to my boss about the millennial I have working under me – She is too entitled. She has too high of expectations – someone failed her along the way because they never let her experience anything tough.
So it didn’t hit me that I was a living hypocrite until I was driving to work this morning – sans kid drop offs because of a teacher in-service. I would have never thought I would be causing my children potential harm by trying to create the most perfect external environment possible.
SIDENOTE – – I need to work on my control issues.
I guess my purpose of this rambling is to provide some sort of “I’m going through this too” content instead of writing about the roses and glory moments that DO exist in my life. Parenting is tough. Choosing when to push and when to pull back is not black and white. And I don’t know everything. And my children will be fine – and WHEN they survive this transition it only means that they now have a solid life experience to help them with the next change that happens down the road. They have that experience because they overcame it on their own, while i sat on the sidelines prepared to hug them when it was at its toughest.
On a brighter note… we had a lovely time last night at their book fair. Both of my 3-year-olds sang and danced and smiled alongside their buddies. This great school that is going through a tough transition made my kids smile. And I am eternally grateful. Here are some snapshots of those smiles:
Four things occupying my headspace right now:
- What the heck is snapchat? And why does it matter? And why are businesses talking about this being the next big social sell network? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were hoping your teenage daughter didn’t have this app downloaded on her smartphone?
- Simple Life: it makes my heart happy to hear so many people talking about getting a grasp on their lives and striving for more of a simple life. This leads me to start thinking about why businesses have not caught onto this yet. For so long, people believed that they were the only human being who was not capable of working 90-to-nothing during the work-week. Why have employers not caught onto this yet?
- Heat: It is so bloody hot in the South this time of year! Why do I pray for hot weather when it is cold and cold weather when it is hot? I probably belong on a tropical island somewhere where it is 75 degrees year-round. Or maybe I have control issues and I need to come to terms with these issues.
- Why does my 3 year old all of the sudden have a stutter? A friend of mine who works in the speech therapy industry tells me it is “developmental disfluency” and it is very common at her age. It drives me crazy though – I don’t know what to do when she does it. Do I try to correct it? Do I just allow it to happen and pray she self-corrects? It makes my heart hurt and my mind go wild wondering if there is something wrong. She did send me this article, which eased my mind slightly – knowing that it is typical for her age. Have you experienced this?
I feel better now. Thank you for allowing me to have a place to dump these thoughts so I can get through the rest of my week. Happy Humpday!
By the start of my second week I am starting to feel more aware of my surroundings and the effects this challenge is having on me and my daily choices. I find that I am putting more thought into each move I make rather than relying on my impulsive feelings and gut reactions. This is new to me. I am the reason that checkout lines in grocery stores are so profitable. I walk into a buying situation and I am immediately distracted by things that were not on my list but somehow they ended up coming home with me as a deemed “necessity”.
My biggest failure during my second week is that I was not as reflective as I would have liked to have been with the challenge. When I started this journey, my expectation was that I would review my notes each day and reflect on the items of the challenge to measure what I was doing and what I was not doing. I find that when I am not organized and focused, my life really does spin out of control. I know this is common sense, but my lack of self-discipline masks this from my logic on a daily basis. Its like I go through the motions and don’t even realize that I am defying common sense! So, I’d like to spend week three focusing on developing my self-discipline. I believe this challenge is actually challenging people to do just that – develop some dang self-discipline! My method to attack this madness – slowly! – is baby steps.
- CHECK-IN 3x/day – how am I doing? Am I staying focused on my daily needs?
- EVALUATE how I am feeling at each check-in to gauge my efforts and adjust.
- MEDITATE. Start out small – with 5 minutes of quiet.
While my lack of organization in the project makes it seem like somewhat of a flop – I am comfortable by the small victories I have had with checking my internal voices. We are very close to finishing our kitchen renovation and the timing could not be more perfect – my oldest babe starts Kindergarten next week, and with it a new chapter of chaos.
So I want to know your tricks! If you have been living a more minimal lifestyle – how did you get over the transition hump? How did you stay focused and motivated? Thanks in advance for sharing!
Days 3-7 seem to be a blur for me. It is as if I blinked and it was Tuesday of the following week. I have had some victories over the past few days. My number one victory is following #10, No email or social media before lunch. I would have to say that while this is a difficult feat in our tech-savvy world, I am ever so mindful of this habit now. My instincts still reach for my phone as my internal alarm clock jolts me awake at 4:32 am every morning, but I now freeze as I touch the phone and withdraw back to my pillow. I am finding it difficult to hold of from the email before 8am – as the business I am in depends on being reactive to inquiries immediately. But my personal world waits. And I am enjoying the peace that it is bringing me.
Another victory has been instilling a morning ritual (#6). I decided to tackle this one before really starting on an evening routine because I am much more a morning person (hence the fact that I automatically wake up at 4:30am).
I also took a super-long walk on Sunday morning. I think I was gone for well over an hour. I finished listening to The Minimalists’ Everything that remains on Audible. I am not sure if my walk would count for (#19) “practicing mindfulness”, but I am counting it for myself. There is something so satisfying about feeling like you are the only person awake and alive when I wake up with the sun on a walk.
I have also discovered that TV has become a crutch for me. I like to have it in the background while I am cleaning or doing mindless chores. We have a lot going on right now and last weekend we spent inside our home working on house projects. Next weekend I am going to be preparing to send my oldest baby off to school for the first time, so I imagine I will be deep in organization mode trying to prepare for the beautiful chaos of back-to-school.
Since today is going to be mostly a computer day for me at work, I plan on taking my break-times as reflection — is anyone else like me in that I have to fully commit my focus to reflection? — I want to study what my stress triggers are (#26) and then evaluate my top priorities (#9). I believe this will help me get into a better mindset for my weekend of prep and organization.
Tomorrow will be another fly-by-the-minute day as I am headed to a town in North Alabama to see a good friend of mine who is headed to Texas to start a pretty lengthy treatment for a health concern. No matter your spiritual preference – good vibes sent her way would be greatly appreciated.
I did this while riding in the car with my boss as I listened to him battle his day over the phone. I naively see myself as an empathetic person, but there are so many instances in my day-to-day life where I am shocked when I learn something new about a person that I did not see before. I am naturally a judgmental person – not because I am know-it-all, but because I am genuinely intrigued by human lives and interactions. I am curious about what is going on in a person’s brain and why they act/respond the way they do. This causes me to pass judgement too soon because people are so complex and hardly ever show all of their colors at one time. It is important for me to sit back and digest what I am taking in and look from all angles instead of the 2 dimensional view I have at any given moment.
I digress – it was an emotional day for me at work, so my brain is in overdrive trying to make sense of it. Today I am back on track. I consider the previous paragraph my journaling time. I almost went bare-faced today – and honestly got very close – but I decided to test those waters this weekend.
Have you been on this journey before? Any suggestions to keep the momentum up?
30 Day Minimalism Challenge | cissyromano.com
7:45a So, Day 1 and I completely forgot about my promise to challenge myself in my hazy wake up at 5:30ish this morning. That’s OK. I quickly caught myself by 7:15 on my way to work. I currently have my Outlook closed (#17) and my notifications on my phone are now silent (#29).
I am not preparing for my day. It is early and quiet in the office. Hopefully I can use this time to strategize my 30 Day Challenge. I am going to start with these two items to get my momentum going:
- Create/Follow a morning ritual. (#6)
- Create/Follow a relaxing bedtime routine. (#22)
11:30a It is now my lunch break, so I have a chance to transcribe my brainstorming session from this morning. Here are my plans for the first two challenge items:
MORNING RITUAL: this one is actually pretty straightforward for me. Because I am a mother to three small children, I naturally already have a routine in place. However, there is always room for improvement (i.e. maybe don’t hit the snooze from 5a – 5:30a…) For this challenge, I am committing myself to the following:
- Rise earlier – 5a.
- Journal for 20 minutes (#21)
- Meditate for 15 minutes (#2)
- Learn to enjoy solitude (#8)
- No email or social media. I am taking this a step further and adding no electronic devices before I leave for work. (#10)
- Be ready – showered and dressed – before the kids wake up for breakfast at 6a
- Eat breakfast with my kids
BEDTIME ROUTINE: this one will be slightly more difficult. We are currently in the middle of a home renovation project, so it causes our nights to be slightly chaotic. However, I will try to get this as close to “relaxing” as possible. I get home between 5:30p and 5:45p every night, so I am going to start there.
- Cook dinner and eat at the table. (we have a terrible habit of watching Wheel of Fortune during dinner – don’t judge… at least we eat together)
- Clean up the kitchen and wipe the counters down.
- Bathe the kids, then storytime. (no TV)
- Kids in bed at 8.
- 8-8:30 evaluate my challenge progress and update the blog.
- 8:30-9 read
- 9 – lights out!