Things have been hard lately. My reality has shifted to a place where I can no longer use my familiar distractions, leaving my mind stuck in a constant loop of worry, constantly running through things for which I have no control.
All I can do is breath. Breath in acceptance. Breath out release.
I recently spent the day in retreat with a powerful group of woman. The Mindful Mama Retreat, exactly what I needed to put a pause on my worries and to gain some tools for accepting life’s difficulties. Sheila Pai (A Living Family) and Lizzy Rusinko (Inspired Family) created a day full of nurturing and empowering experiences. Hunter Clarke-Fields (Hunter Yoga) led two powerful asana practices. I was also lucky enough to participate in a workshop session with Rebecca Wong (Connectfulness) on the power of play for creating connection with our partners and children.
These women reminded me of the power of “the pause.” There were several pauses throughout the day, but Rebecca really articulated it well in reminding us that once we learn to pause then it’s easy to re-connect to what’s important. The pauses of the day left me with two important realizations – I’m stronger than I thought and it’s within my power to choose my focus.
When I arrived home from the retreat these awarenesses allowed me to ignore the gigantic mess and to CHOOSE to kiss my husband in gratitude for the opportunity to be away for the day.
One of the aspects of eliminating roadblocks to energy is the skill of choosing to focus on what is actually within our control. I could choose how I was going to open to the experiences presented at the retreat; I had no control over how my husband parented during the time I was gone or whether or not they created a wonderfully peaceful space for me once I arrived home. I CHOSE to maintain my energy by not getting caught up in what I wanted (a clean house) and I added to my energy reserves by CHOOSING connection.
One of the pause techniques Rebecca introduced was the Six-Second Kiss, based on the work of Drs. John and Julie Gottman (The Gottman Institute, six-second kiss). And that’s exactly what I did when I got home that night – I chose my focus before I walked in the door (connection), I took a deep breath as I climbed over the obstacle course of toys, and I. kissed. my. husband. For six seconds. I gazed in his eyes. I saw his relief that I wasn’t starting off our hello with a complaint. It left me with a much better feeling than my usual approach.
When we make the mindset shift away from trying to control the uncontrollable and towards choosing our focus amazing things can happen. Space opens up. Energy reserves become replenished. Sometimes old feelings get stirred up but if we can stick with our limbic calming practices (here) then we can create the space for the feelings to be expressed and cleared. They don’t overwhelm us because we are clear about our focus, the feeling states we are moving toward being in the majority of the time – connection, joy, ease. It’s worth the effort.
I’ll be posting some of the tools I use that help me choose my focus, over on Instagram this week. Share your tools below or on Instagram, tagging me (@mandalasformamas). Be well, mamas.