Friday, April 8, 2011

Do Yourself a Favor - Let It Go!

I once read a story about a Zen master and his student. I can't remember exactly, but it went something like this: They were walking and came across a very grumpy and rude woman who demanded the Zen master carry her across a puddle of mud so that she didn't get mud on her shoes. The Zen master happily obliged and then he and his student continued on their way in silence. The student looked extremely annoyed and when the Zen master inquired his student furiously asked, "Why would you carry that awful woman across the mud? She was mean and ungrateful!" The Zen master replied, "I put her down miles ago, why haven't you?"

I thought of this story this morning. I was rushing to get ready to leave the house on time for my physical therapy appointment when I received a text message from my daughter. She forgot a basket that she needed for a gift that her and some other students were preparing for their long-term substitute teacher. Today was his last day in their class. The text said, "I need that basket!!!!!" I replied that I would bring it later in the day after my appointment and another meeting I had scheduled. She asked, "Can you bring it soon?" At which point I felt myself getting extremely angry! "No I can't bring it soon," I thought. "I have an appointment and a meeting to get to. It's not my fault she forgot it. She should be more responsible." And on and on, but still I replied to her,"Fine I'll just be late for my appointment." There's that lovely mommy martyr coming out!

After a few moments of this train of thought and the associated aggravation, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it is rare for her to need me to bring something to school and that all-in-all she is a very responsible person and that really this was about her and her friends doing something kind for their teacher. I reminded myself that I certainly didn't have to bring the basket right then or ever. I could say no, but I was choosing not to. So if I was choosing to run out the door with wet hair and no makeup on so that I could deliver the basket as soon as humanly possible, then it was time for me to let go of my frustration and martyrdom and all that other good stuff I was holding onto!

By breathing deeply and reminding myself that I was choosing to risk being late to my appointment because I wanted to help my daughter out, I was able to do just that! I drove calmly, I entered the school serenely, and I continued on to my appointment in peace. Believe it or not, I actually got there early and sat in the parking lot applying my makeup! I know that my morning would have gone a lot different if I had held onto my initial anger. Worst case scenario I could've been hurt or hurt someone else by driving around in a mad rage. Best case scenario I'd just be irritated on the inside and my stress response would activate, elevating my blood pressure, interfering with my digestion, and making me more susceptible to illness, amongst a host of other negative physical and emotional side effects. To me, it is SO not worth it! If you choose to carry a grumpy, ungrateful lady across some mud, do yourself a favor and truly put her down the moment you reach the other side.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Dreams

Happy April! We (finally) have no snow left on the ground here in Niagara Falls and I'm hopeful that soon enough Spring flowers, like the gorgeous ones from the Botanical Gardens shown above, will be blooming! As the seasons change, join me in reviewing the past month (or even past three months if you prefer to work with quarters) and planning for the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

Some tips for making the most of your dream/goal reflection:

  • Grab your journal and set aside at least 30 minutes
  • Find a quiet space where you can ponder your dreams without interruption
  • If you have previously created yearly goals, reflect on progress made so far
  • When considering your dreams/goals, think of all the different areas of your life (i.e., physical health, home environment, life's work, service, self-care, creativity, spirituality, relationships)
  • Be specific (i.e., rather than "get in shape" try a goal of "go to the gym 2x/week")
  • Write your dreams down and consider sharing them with others (research has shown this makes it more likely that you will reach your goals)

March Dreams:

  • Attend fabulous continuing education course on the role of yoga in healing trauma. Further ponder group for women affected by violence that incorporates yoga. DREAM COME TRUE! I loved this workshop! It was awesome to learn about all of the scientific research supporting the psychological benefits of yoga. I felt so refreshed after spending the day with other like-minded professionals! It really reminded me of the importance of connecting with other people in my field, especially as a solo-preneur who works alone day after day.
  • Fun night out with my mom at Art by You! DREAM COME TRUE! We had a blast! I highly recommend visiting Art by You for a fun and creative excursion!
  • Signed leases in hand for additional offices at Living Wellness of Niagara. DREAM IN PROGRESS! I'm hard at work exploring ways to find and connect with other holistic health professionals so that I can choose the right people to share our wellness center space with.
  • Savor a solo weekend away to attend continuing education course on Yoga Anatomy & Alignment. DREAM COME TRUE! I'm not sure how much I savored it though... I missed sleeping in my own bed and my pregnant body was beat after the 4 hours in the car and 18 hours of training! This is the event that prompted me to (sort-of) accept that it is time to slow down and be more gentle with myself.
  • Attend fabulous new workshops at Tree of Life Yoga Studio: Dance on the Wild Side & Prayer Flag Creating Experience. DREAM COME TRUE! I adore Christina and Chris who lead us through the Prayer Flag workshop and I had a great time being a participant and chatting with the other attendees!
  • Continue preparing for baby's arrival with first class at Care Connection. DREAM COME TRUE! It was a great class! I have the hubby and I signed up for two more classes in April!
  • Save 40% of my earnings toward my maternity leave. DREAM COME TRUE! Yay for saving money!
  • Paint BIG! DREAM COME TRUE! Read more about my thoughts on BIG here.
  • Write! DREAM IN PROGRESS! I've been journaling a lot and blogging here and there, but I haven't dedicated any real time to my books in progress.
  • Read another Martha Beck book - I'm thinking The Joy Diet. DREAM DEFERRED. I'm focusing most of my reading on books about birth and parenting, but I'll get back to Martha soon enough!
  • Continue to care for my pregnacious body by practicing yoga, going to physical therapy, swimming, and getting regular massages. DREAM COME TRUE! I have been keeping up with all of my promises to care for my body. I am deeply thankful for the amazing medical professionals that are guiding me through this challenging time and helping me nurture my physical self.

April Dreams:

  • Celebrate with friends and family at a baby shower in our honor.
  • Ponder ways to bring more mindfulness into my daily life at the Creative Mindfulness Workshop.
  • Enjoy a week's vacation to visit my husband's family before le bebe arrives.
  • Continue to paint BIG and think BIG!
  • Host diaper shower for my brother's girlfriend in honor of my soon-to-arrive niece.
  • Celebrate with my YaYa's at diaper shower for a dear friend also expecting a baby next month.
  • Save 40% of my earnings during my last full month of work before maternity leave.
  • Clear some clutter in preparation for baby's arrival.
  • Slow down... more naps; permission to do nothing; less striving to achieve/produce, more acceptance and enjoyment of the process.
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