I digressed on my last post… our vacation took me a tad off track, even if the content was valid to what I’d spoken about earlier. Today, though, I’d like to reference my second post, the one where I admitted life had gotten out of control around here and what kicked me in the shins to seek a new direction. Perhaps in the telling of what measures I initiated, I can help some of you start digging out of your own hole, regardless of how you got down there.
I’ll be frank here; we’d been figuratively living from fire to fire in our family for close to two years, and our reactions to life in general reflected that – anxiety, depression, lethargy and sudden flares of anger, to name a few. Then, as I said, I’d watched The Secret on Netflix one night. I had probably heard of the Law of Attraction before then, but had not given any thought to what it truly was. When I saw the movie, though, it really resonated with me, and I started thinking, “Could it be that simple? Maybe we can actually make things better without therapy or moving or changing schools, or…” (fill in the blank – I’d thought of it all.)
So I immediately started working on changing how I thought. About EVERYTHING.
When faced with all the crap that typically made me nuts and caused me to think, “NOW what?! On top of everything else, why this?!” I began to pause, take a deep breath, and say to myself, “It’s OK – this is no big deal. We are strong, and we can manage this calmly.” And to my great surprise, in the gap where I paused and took that breath, it really WAS OK. The world did not cease to revolve because I wasn’t shrieking at my kids about missing the bus and making me late for work. And it didn’t stop when dinner didn’t get finished on time, either. Or when the child responsible for taking out the garbage forgot it was trash night. It even kept spinning when my spouse groused at me about leaving piles of paperwork on the kitchen desk, as I’d sworn not to do when he built it for me.
I quickly got better and better at not letting those little daily annoyances like sloshed coffee or having my turn at the four-way intersection usurped get to me. I stopped taking everything so damned seriously – and personally – and started looking for the humor in those moments. I made it a point to laugh at myself more often and remind myself that no matter was going ‘wrong’ (on a side note, today I believe nothing is ever really going wrong; even when it’s painful, it’s all unfolding as it should) we’d survive it, and that it was all just a blip on the radar anyway in the grand scheme of things. Seriously, is anyone ever going to point out that one of my kids got a C in math one quarter in elementary school? Yes, it felt like a real concern at the time, but now I can emphatically say to myself, “Get a grip, Jen! They are safe and healthy. It’s their life, and C or no C, they will still get into college, should they choose to do so.”
After implementing the shifts in my thinking, my next course of action was to begin meditating. I’d always heard how effective the practice was at affecting change in your life, but until I actually started doing it, I didn’t ‘get’ it… allow me to stress emphatically that the days I get up a few minutes early to meditate are WITHOUT A DOUBT easier, happier and smoother than the days I don’t. Life with meditation in it is just better, period. I will share about how I started doing that below.
Next, I made a concerted effort to seek out all the Law of Attraction and other related wisdom I could get my hungry paws on. The Secret offered some of this support… a plethora of amazing people are interviewed in the movie, and they are all readily accessible online. I’ll share more of my favorite resources in another category on my site as soon as I’m able, but let me say here that Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) was the big standout for me in the movie, and nearly three years later I’m still reading his books and newsletters, and watching his videos on his web site and youtube. With his gentle manner and down-to-earth personality, he never ceases to inspire me. One day I intend to be sitting in the audience at one of his seminars.
Next I discovered a really wonderful resource through my friend Anya, who is herself a New Age thinker (one thing I quickly figured out is that the Universe will send you the right people when you start asking the right questions!) She told me about a woman she’d found online named Lilou Mace, who set off on her own journey after losing her job a few years back. This bubbly Frenchwoman travels the world now interviewing all her favorite New Thought leaders on her “Juicy Living Tour.” Check out Lilou’s web site for a glorious wealth of people to get your mind moving!
Anya also led me indirectly to one of my other early influences… when our little Peach began struggling with some major school anxiety in second grade, one of the symptoms rearing its head was trouble falling asleep. Anya recommended playing guided meditations for her to listen to at bedtime, and suggested one her own daughter liked called, “The Hot Air Balloon.” We fell in love with the engaging story as well as the man’s voice, and eagerly sought out more meditations from him. He has some especially sweet story meditations for kids, and I have recommended them to other friends when their children were going through stressful times. Everyone feels as positive about Australian Jason Stephenson as we do, and he has become a fabulous resource for me. Jason is another person who made the decision pursue his dream of inspiring and helping people through his self-penned guided meditations, daily affirmations, stories and music. Notably, he led my first foray into meditating, and I still look him up whenever I need a meditation for something specific, or a boost of positive energy.
Then there’s Dr. Wayne Dyer, aka “The Father of Motivation.” You have probably come across one of his talks at some point on public television, and although he left our physical world in 2015, he’s still a constant source of uplifting and insightful thought for me. He lives on through his many books and his wonderful web site, which is updated regularly to bring his wisdom to all of us. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong where Dr. Dyer is concerned.
Lastly, check out the web site for Hay House Publishing. Founded in 1984 by author Louise Hay, Hay House offers an enormous library of self-help, motivational and New Thought media. They have a radio channel as well, and I’ve passed many afternoons listening to the wonderful speakers on their channel while working around the house. I always get worthwhile information from their newsletter as well, so consider signing up for that when you visit their site.
Thanks to the Internet, seeking out any one of these resources exposed me to even more, and the whole thing snowballed like a ginormous game of Connect the Dots… before I knew it, even my brain was along for the ride, making connections from one author, speaker or thought to another as in, “Things That Make You Go ‘Whoa!’” It’s pretty exciting when the ball starts to roll, and I sincerely hope you will find something of value in at least one of these resources, so you can experience the same feeling.
So now you know the story of how I took my first steps. Like all new endeavors, walking this path has not been without a wobble or two, but things have, for the most part, been steadily improving for us since I first ventured forth. Like our house, Sistine, we are a work in progress, but I’m content as long we keep moving forward (just like our house,) and I pull the family along however I can. Some days they’re on board, other days not so much. It’s OK. My path is my own, and I feel certain I’m making a positive impact on them whether they realize it or not. But I think they do. Thanks to my newfound calm, we regularly avert a disaster in the making. Then, once the drama has passed and we’ve taken a step back, one of my children will sometimes come up to hug me and say, “You’re the best mama ever.” And that’s all the confirmation I need.