Today feels like one of those days. I call it a “static-y” day. It means my energy feels out of whack and no matter how many metaphysical, energetic-correcting tools I pull out of my box, nothing seems to work. I have breathed deeply and made-up a ditty to sing in my head entitled “I surrender,” and sung it over and over (it goes like this: I surrender these feelings of stress, I surrender and know I can rest, I surrender all the stress I feel, I surrender and know that I am healed). I have left the present moment a thousand times to be in my angry head and come back to the present moment still mad as a hornet for no good reason. I’ve watched kitten and puppy videos, which temporarily made me happy, and sat on my covered porch listening peacefully to the rain. As soon as I gain a little calm, I’m pissy again.
And, I can’t seem to shake it.
I know partially why I’m in a dither. Today is the first day we are home for summer “break,” we meaning the kids and me. They are doing the normal things they do when it’s raining and boredom strikes. My son has his big red kickball and has been throwing it at the walls in the house, trying to play a multi-player game called four-square alone. Then he’s squeaking his shoes on the floor and asking me to “name that tune” to his squeak. My daughter is complaining her iPad won’t charge and letting me know that one friend called another friend, “messed up” for one daring the other to drink toilet water. (I plugged my ears when she told me if one of those kids actually drank the toilet water and read her the riot act about how she best not do that, ever). Every time I sit down to try and collect myself to change my attitude, one of the kids asks me for something or has another story to share, or my husband calls asking me for or about something.
I had the day planned where I would wake early, go to the grocery store, come home and exercise, get Jessie to an appointment at 10, work on getting caught up from the holiday (we went to Florida and just returned yesterday), and I had a real estate class to go to at 1:30, which is going on now and I’m not there because somehow I haven’t even showered yet, much less exercised.
I’m trying to practice acceptance, but no matter what I tell myself, I can’t seem to change the anger and stress I feel today.
I recently finished reading a book called, Chop Wood, Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf. One of the chapters in the book is called Principles Instead of Feelings. Because I tend to wear my heart on the outside, not able to hide my feelings well, this was a revelation for me – a real ah-ha moment.
Feelings come and go, but if I live by my principles I don’t have to be ruled by my feelings. In other words, it’s been hard not to go off on my kids or be unkind to anyone else crossing my path at every turn today. I can’t say I have been perfect either. The kids definitely know mom is a tad grouchy.
But, I have been studying The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement, Be Impeccable with Your Word, gives me a new way of living where if I’m feeling “static-y” I can at least be way more conscious of what I say to others, especially my kids.
Today, I don’t feel like being nice to anyone, but my living principles give me a good reason to try harder to be conscious of my choices and to do my best (The Fourth Agreement in The Four Agreements).
My principles tell me that I reap what I sow. I want to be impeccable with my word. I am aware I have the ability to pause before I say something and determine if I am, in fact, being impeccable with my word.
I also put up a couple of boundaries for my sanity, to help me be a better mom. I’m writing now. I told the kids I was going on the porch to meditate. Not that they haven’t interrupted. My daughter is now sitting on the porch with me, but she knows I am not going to be chatting this moment. The older my kids get, the easier I find it is to set these boundaries than it was when they were younger (I wish I would have known this when they were younger!).
Another principle that helps me today is, don’t take anything personally. Once my day morphed into something unrecognizable from what I envisioned in my head, I took it personal. I started to blame everyone in sight, including myself.
Living life from principles instead of feelings makes my life easier. I see it takes awareness to live this way. First of all, it takes knowing what my principles are. Right now I love The Four Agreements. They are sound and easy to understand. They are:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word
- Take Nothing Personal (my personal hardest!)
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
When I use these statements as a guiding force in my life, I don’t have to work nearly as hard to figure out what kind of person I want to be.
Motherhood isn’t for the weary. The days are never the same and rarely go “as planned.”
Most of the time I’m a “go with the flow” kind of person. I don’t sweat the small stuff and all that good stuff. But I’m human. I have days like today where the small stuff feels big and the big stuff seems even bigger. Some days I’m sad and can’t seem to “snap out of it.” But, those are feelings that come and go, like my thoughts come and go in meditation, or like the tide of thoughts roll through my mind all day long.
Principles give me a place to go. A shelter. For this I am grateful. I still feel “static-y” today. That’s not changing until it changes. What’s changed, for the better, is how I handle those feelings after determining that I want to live from principles instead of feelings.
Today, I live my life from principles instead of feelings. I appreciate that feelings, like the weather, change often, but principles are a foundation I can build my emotional home upon.