I remember as a young girl how my mother would react to seeing an ambulance. Her whole body would start to shake and she would worry herself sick until she could verify that all four of us kids, her parents and my father were okay. With a constant flow of breaking news, I see many people in a continuous state of reactive panic. One thing that has taken me years to get a handle on is not getting myself crazy over a new grade posted on parent portal or the latest memo being released by our panic causing political parties. So how do we stop reacting and start responding? One way is to just breathe and remind yourself that everything changes from one moment to the next. What seems like devastating news one minute doesn’t seem so bad the next. My advice is to stay calm and put things in perspective. How will this news affect me a year from now? A lifetime from now? We have to stay centered and carry an internal calm that will see us through the intentional chaos being thrown at us from every direction. Rise above it. You are stronger than you think and more in control than you let yourself believe. Shut it all out and move inward. Focus on your breathe and create your place of calm.
One of the hardest, most painful lessons I have ever been forced to learn is that I do not have control. Ever. I have kicked and screamed and begged and pleaded and still God has not granted me the ability to control a single thing. Not a situation, not a person, nothing. Most things are not in my hands. Life will not go a direction that coddles me softly as I sit in my make believe comfort zone. In fact, I realize that the comfort zone was never even possible. My comfort depends on very specific factors. The fact that everything is constantly changing rips the reality of that zone out from underneath me. Acceptance was the first step. After spending countless precious moments fighting against what was and fighting for something that was just never going to be, I have found a place of calm. Initially, it feels like a place of anxiety and panic but I remind myself as I slow down my breathing that everything will be okay. I have to consciously make the choice to be okay with whatever is, each and everyday. No amount of freaking out on my part will undo my daughters speeding ticket. No amount of screaming and panic will take away the fact that my son got a horrible grade. We just have to live with the things we don’t like that we cannot change. We have to learn to live in that zone that feels uncomfortable like it or not. I say this in several posts as I repeat these words to myself even now. The sky is not falling. I am okay. Life will go on and tomorrow will look like a completely different day. One problem at a time, one fear at a time, one moment at a time. Stop telling yourself it’s the end of the world.
This week I have been a body of calm. I used to be the kind of person who would wait for the ball to drop. I would be certain that the calm wasn’t a constant state but instead a temporary distraction before the tumultuous storm that was out there lurking, about to hit. I would waste that feeling of serenity anticipating the rock blocking off the middle of my path once again leaving me stuck and helpless with nowhere left to turn.
Lately I’ve realized that my place of calm is permanent. It is a place inside me where I can go when everything around me seems to be spinning out of control. I’ve spent years trying to find that little island that was inside of me all along. I can’t find it in yoga or meditation, in Hawaii or on a beach in France. That calm is me. It’s the quiet place of confidence and strength that is there to remind me that I have everything I need to get me through. It is my greatest weapon, my biggest strength. It is my rock, my home, my heart, my soul.
I am in heaven tonight. I am sitting here in the quiet watching the dancing flames inside my fireplace. I made a promise to myself today that despite the crazy going on all around me, I would be calm tonight. I know it doesn’t sound like too much to ask but in the middle of the last week of school before break, calm is not something that comes easy for me. It is in these peaceful moments of solitude that I feel like I am home. This is my natural state, this is the way I am meant to be.
What makes you feel calm?
I went to see the doctor today. All of the craziness this month has finally started to affect me. I knew I was in trouble when the nurse asked if she could take my blood pressure one more time. Isn’t it amazing how one situation can take over mentally, physically and emotionally? Keep yourself calm was the last thing the doctor said to me as I walked out the door.
We had another homework assignment with no instructions so by the time my husband and I figured it out, Chase was already in bed. Stay calm right. We were frustrated by the time we figured it out but I kept telling myself to breathe and let it pass. I tried to stay calm while the cement barrier ripped the front of my husbands Audi off over the weekend. No problem. I even chuckled when I backed into my garage door not too long ago. However, when my husband held his hand up and said,”don’t move”and I looked down to see a tiny snake slither across my kitchen floor, that grabbed my calm and ripped it right out from underneath me. There I was standing on my countertop shaking as we figured out a way to get it outside. Finally, it was time to throw in the towel and head to bed but my fight or flight was working overtime and the deafening ringing in my ears made me panic at the thought of never hearing quiet again. Tomorrow’s another day. Let go of this one and stay calm. Repeat after me, stay calm.
I don’t have anything particular to write about today. It’s hard to believe but my anxiety has disappeared and my mind is quiet. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I do believe the two go hand and hand. I did take Writingbolts advice and I did yoga at home today. As soon as I started moving through the positions, I was swept away by a gentle calmness. I am grateful I found something that offers that type of relief for me. Today is a calm in my storm and I will bask in it’s stillness. How are you doing today?
One thing I’ve learned about dealing with teens that can also be applied to adults is this. Once you lose your cool, as soon as you raise your voice or use an angry tone, it is game over. You have handed over your opportunity to make a point. You have now become an enemy and someone the other person only sees as mean instead of hearing the message that was intended to be spoken. Sometimes that’s what I believe people want. Being mean gives my kids an excuse to retreat to their rooms instead of staying downstairs and cleaning up their own mess or being responsible for what is expected of them to do. I see it so clearly when there is an exchange between my husband and my kids and how this allows a point on the teens score card and zero on dads. It’s not so easy however, when I am the one that completely loses my cool. I guess I have to work on that a little more. Remember, if you want someone to listen, you have to say it in a way they are willing to hear. When you yell or berate, the person you are speaking to will stop listening and you will look like the bad guy while they escape the lesson. That is lose lose for everyone involved. Stay calm and speak in a nice voice.
The world is spinning. It’s a blur. I can hear sirens in the distance barely audible underneath the sound of chirping birds. I can hear the receptionist on the phone and I can feel the “busy” going on around me. But in this moment, as my son is getting his bracket fixed and I sit in this orthodontist office, I find escape. I find a moment to pause and hide from the crazy all around me. It is a time to regroup and refocus and take some time to breathe in the calm. In with calm, out with crazy. And so I sit here quietly feeling the genuine gratitude I have for this moment.
It’s a noisy world. I don’t know why it happens but noise makes me anxious. One thing I have learned is that it is imperative for me to start the day off quietly. It is in that quiet that I find the calmness that sometimes gets forgotten beneath the noise. At bedtime I go to a place to find that quiet again. After the tv is on for more than an hour, my insides start to shake. I retreat to my room and become one with that calmness again. I wonder if there are other people like me that feel anxious with every loud voice, screeching of a chair over a tile floor, the bouncing, banging of a washer that sits right outside my bedroom door. I wish I could ignore noise, drown it out or find distraction in it, but for me that is not an option. How about you? Does noise bother you? Is there a particular noise that really gets under your skin?
I admit I am feeling a bit trapped today. I was stuck home, sick with the flu and now this is our second snow day this week. That’s the great thing about weather, when people don’t have the common sense to take a step back from the busy of life, the weather has a way of forcing them to pause, to jump off the endless spinning of the merry go round that never seems to stop. Most times, we don’t even recognize how dizzy we really are. That music gets stuck in our head and inadvertently we keep its pace. But today, the world is quiet. It is still. People are home. The world is the way it is meant to be. Enjoy it, embrace the calm. These days don’t come along often enough.