Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass


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On Morning Rituals

My morning routine goes like this:

Wake – around 5:30

Start the coffee pot

Grab my phone and begin Headspace, my meditation ap

Read the daily Mass readings

Pray

 

But today I decided to change it up. I flipped the order of the last three. The meditation is last, so that I can think about the Bible readings and pray during the 15 minutes I dedicate to clearing my mind of clutter.

I go through my prayer requests in order of urgency.

For healing from cancer

For strength

For healing from colitis

For justice and truth – and an open heart

For protection

For relationships

We have some serious crap going down in my family right now. Its crazy. I take stock of the  troubles and think “this doesn’t happen to normal people.” And I’m straight up normal. But life is flowing, it all its weirdness. And I’m swept up in its current.

So I pray for resolutions, for peace, for and end in sight. I know that God is in control and I surrender the outcomes to a higher power. That whatever happens is part of the divine plan.

And I expect miracles to happen. There will be miracles. Life will unfold according to God’s amazing plan. A plan I cannot begin to imagine. And the craziness, the illnesses, the loneliness, the scariness will evolve into experiences that shape me and the people I love. And everyone else they touched.

And life will go on.

I like this new order to my morning routine. I believe its been out of order for a while and that I’ve got it all straightened it out now.

Time to run some intervals for 50 minutes.  And then … get ready for work.

Let’s see if I can get there on time today.

Have a great day people!

 

 

 


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On “Leaning On”…

A cyclist/friend of mine shared a story about the time he was riding with a large group. They rode in formation; two by two. The rider next to him lost her balance some how (due to a soft road shoulder or she lost her concentration and drifted…who knows?). As she and her bike leaned toward my friend, he instinctively knew to lean back toward her. He was able to drop his shoulder and push her upright. She regained her balance and realized he saved her from falling and quite possibly from taking the whole group of riders down with her. He remained stable and strong as she regained her posture. She popped back upright, said “Hey, thanks!” and continued the ride. Just like that.

If you ride a bike you understand that my friend has mad bike skills and a whole lot of bike riding experience. I’m not sure my instincts would have led me to lean into a falling person. His reaction to a near miss accident was calm, smart and it worked.

It made me think about the times I lean in looking for support
or am leaned on by someone who needs it.

I’m not so good at being leaned on.
Especially if you lean on me and ask for advice….then you do the opposite of what I’ve said.
Or if you are a heaping anxious mess of a person and want me to validate your anxiety. I can’t support that.

All this discussion about leaning on made me think about dear friend I saw the other day. She texted me and said that seeing me helped her feel grounded. I’m glad I could give her that gift.

I’m glad she felt my grounded-ness could be leaned on for a moment. And that I was able to offer support.


 

As triathlon season approaches and my training increases, I find I have more blog posts that bubble up inside my brain (which almost always occur on long bike rides, swims or runs) and less energy to write them down. Trust me, these insights are brilliant. I’m sorry you have to miss them…she said tongue firmly planted in cheek. The plan is to get back on track this month.


Have a great day blog readers! March is here! Be happy and grateful.

Peace,

Good Natured Mom

 

 

 

 

 


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Epiphany

January 6, the day we celebrate the visitation of the Magi, is also the traditional “taking down the Christmas tree” day for my family.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the day of revelation is the day of putting away, decluttering, clearing out and bringing our lives back to normal.

A day of revelation does not, in my mind, mean back to normal.

I’ve been thinking about the new year. It’s not about resolutions, do overs, a list of big races, or big goals. I’ve gone there before and resolutions don’t inspire me at this point in my life. Mostly because I don’t keep them.

I’m also not spending a long time looking back at 2015. For about 35 seconds I did a little year in review in my head. And it was pretty darn good in terms of epic adventures and exciting experiences with family and friends.

10 mile trail run, Seneca 7, road trip with Janel to bike and run with the Iron Cowboy ,  a simulated 70.3 in Lake Placid, Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee…so many stretches and reaches!

And sheesh…I was scared a few times (the Keene decent on the Lake Placid Ironman course, in the rain and fog, the insane in-water start at AGN)…But glory hallelujah! I’m so much more capable, braver and stronger than I think I am. I got through those events, safely and intact – which is always my main priority.  I’m not a huge risk taker. Being scared is not my thing.

But 2015 is over. Let’s keep it moving. Let’s not spend too much time lingering in the looking-back.

What is my epiphany? What is my revelation? Here are some ideas:

Keep it Simple – Don’t over complicate the straight forward solutions. Don’t add unnecessary details which shift the focus off the goal.

Tell the truth – to others and myself. What I believe, what matters to me, what’s right and wrong…say it with courage and have confidence that what I speak is authentic and sincere.

Measure myself against me… and no one else – I am a unit. I am unique. I have strengths and weakness that, in combination, are only mine. That said, it is useless to compare myself to another human being in order to measure my own success or failure. My trial and challenges, just like my triumphs, belong to and have value only to me.

Do something, even if you don’t know what you are doing – I’ve had a passion for wellness, fitness, nutrition and health my entire life. But I never thought I had the right background, smarts, experience or credentials to make anything out of it. Finally, I am starting to see that I don’t have to know everything to make my passions be a source of information and inspiration to others. I’m going for it. One baby step at a time. Writing, posting, sharing, tweeting…speaking out about my experiences to bring encouragement and support to others.

Joan090912…these are sounding like resolutions. Maybe resolutions are really just the beginning of a revelation. Maybe through resolutions we begin to understand who we are and what we can become. Is it possible that the revelation can come through a resolution?

I think so.

Peace and Happy New Year.

 

 


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10 Habits of an Optimist

Did you see the movie The Martian? Its a story about an astronaut who is left behind on the planet Mars and how he copes…how he attempts to survive. I connected with the main character. He was brilliant and clever… but more important to me, he was confident and optimistic. And he didn’t give up hope.

My default setting is optimism – I believe that, no matter what else is going on around me, no matter how dire the circumstances, or grim the outlook…that everything will ultimately be okay.

Because I always expect a favorable outcome, some think I’m out of touch with reality. Others think I’m naive. For me, optimism has nothing to do with either reality or my lack of experience with a situation. It has much more to do with a gut feeling… intuition. Optimism is an internal, preset in my brain that always directs my thoughts toward confidence and faith in the good. And there are a few beliefs and habits I’ve developed to maintain a healthy sense of optimism.

  1.  I believe that love always wins and good is stronger than evil. It may only occur on a micro level, but you can always find the essence of good, in any situation, if you are open to it.
  2. Along the same lines, even when bad things are happening, there is a simultaneous, counteractive force for the good. Think of a situation, like a house fire or car accident. First responders arrive to help. By standers reach out to assist.  Let’s face it, bad stuff is going to happen. It’s part of life. Having people around you to mitigate the loss or help you through it in some way…that’s a very good thing. See the essence of good in everything.
  3. Stay mindful. Stay present. Stay aware. Don’t allow worry and fear to take hold in your brain. Realize that we only exist from one moment to the next… not in the past or the future. The only life we have is happening right now. Keep the anxiety and worry at bay by keeping your focus on the here and now.
  4. Cultivate a heart full of gratitude. For me, waking up each day, putting my feet on the floor and having coffee in the coffee pot are at the top my thankfulness list. I’m grateful for my husband, parents, children, food, colleagues, meaningful work, the ability to move, a warm bed, a car that starts when I turn the key…I am blessed and I know it. I will not lose sight of that.
  5. Take care of your self, mind, body, and soul. Eat whole foods, mostly plants, which are unprocessed and nutrient dense. Move your body; stretch, bend, lift heavy objects, run, swim, dance… whatever it is, keep at it.  Pray, meditate or sit and be quiet every day. Make these part of your daily routine. You will feel better physically and your mind will respond with a better, more positive attitude.
  6. Be a giver. Think outside of yourself and reach out to someone who needs your help. Giving of yourself does as much to help mankind as it does to foster your own sense of humility and gratitude. Give freely without expecting anything in return.
  7. Smile. You’ve heard it before. Smiling rewires your brain to create positive thought patterns. Smile often and retrain your brain to be happy.
  8. Live a balanced life. Don’t give in to pressures or people (real or imagined) that throw your life out of balance. Stay healthy (see number 5) and happy  to avoid burnout. This will help you maintain an optimistic vibe.
  9. When problems arise, look for solutions. Don’t consider a problem a roadblock. Rather, consider it a speed bump. Slow down,  review your options, think creatively and figure out a new plan.
  10. Give yourself a pat on the back and rest in the knowledge of a job well done. When you’ve accomplished a task or met a goal, don’t rush right on to the next project. Take time to recognize that you’ve done a good job. You will find that your day is made up of many small successes.

These days optimism is a survival technique as much as is it a mindset. What do you think?

 

 

 


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Panic Attack

sad-crying-girl-alone-black-and-white

I  can hear you crying.
You’re upset. You are locked in the bathroom stall because you want privacy.
But I’m here… can I help?
What’s going on?

Panic attack

Oh – I’m an expert at panic attacks. Come on out and let’s talk…

Look at me.
Take a breath.
Inhale…exhale.
Good, we lived through that moment and we are okay.
We made it to the next moment.
Do it again… breath in… and out…
Let that breath reach all through your body…right to your fingertips. Bring oxygen to every cell in your body.

This panic attack will pass. Are you all right?

Are you feeling better? Starting to? Okay, cool.

Want to wipe your face?

What thoughts are fixated in your brain, looping over and over….building and overtaking every bit of reason? You know they are just thoughts, right? They are not real…they are not events…they are not happening. You are thinking about them, but they are not real… Breathe…

Do you want to take some more deep breaths? How about if we just listen. What do you hear? The humming of the lights? The sound of feet shuffling in the hall? See, life is going on around us…notice what’s happening. Breathe

Are you ready to get going? Do you think you are going to be okay now? Do you know what to do if that panicky feeling returns?
Right…. deep breaths….focus on the rising and falling of your chest…like waves in the ocean…
Listen carefully for every sound…birds, wind, laughter, motors…all of it. Breathe

If you need me I’m right around the corner. You are going to be okay. I promise… no matter what happens, you will be fine.

Just keep breathing…


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Day 25

After dinner, after the dishes are washed and put away, after the movie has been watched and we are too tired to go on… I’ll sit down and attempt to convey some sentiment… or feeling of gratitude… because it is Thanksgiving eve, after all.

It was suggested that I not write about how difficult it is to write…because I’ve done that twice already this month. But maybe something along the lines of a free association poem or story might be good. Or maybe a line or two about what it feel likes to be a guest at Thanksgiving, instead of the host.

All good ideas…but not what I’m thinking about.

So now I’m in the kitchen where its quiet(er)…this house is very quiet. Everyone is ready for bed. The feeling of fatigue is as heavy as our eyelids. We have three more days together… to say everything we need to say.  Without repeating our stories. (I’m the one who repeats the stories…the rest of them have interesting, ever changing lives… or they have lots of secrets they are now willing to share). Three days will be enough for them. It’s not nearly enough time for me.

But for now, we will just be still. And we will think about sleep. And be grateful for this lovely, warm house filled with some other families’ memories. We will head up the stairs and tuck into bed.  Someone else’s bed. And be thankful for this time and place. bloodmoon ecclipse 09272015


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Mom’s always on call

A long weekend…
An extra day off to wander in the woods and climb over boulders and rock-hop through streams…
A day to forget about everything…work, to-do lists, schedules…

And then, in the middle of the densest part of the forest, you have a cell signal (the first one in hours) and your phone responds wildly…lighting up and chiming with some important message…

One of your children needs you…needs to talk…needs to unload, to vent, to share…

All that work you did to stay present, aware, mindful, as you step each step on loose rocks and over half hidden roots in these lush woods, is nothing like the awareness you have when your child is falling and needs a soft place to land. So you listen and comment and ask and listen some more. And hope the landing is soft.

Moms are always on call.

Mom’s always on call.