I don't know about you, but I would have to say, on a day to day basis, that one of my biggest struggles, in general and as a mother is managing my own emotions and feelings. We women, we're an emotional bunch. We mother's, we're an even more emotional bunch...and, I don't know about you, but if you have girls in your house....HOLY MOLY...watch out...things are highly charged, always emotional and sometimes leave you feeling like you are on a perpetual amusement park ride that is whipping you around in circles leaving you dizzy and confused and unable to walk in a straight line once you get off...like at 10 p.m. at night after the children are FINALLY sleeping.
I'm beginning to realize that this may always be my struggle...trying to balance my emotions, especially when things start to pile up on my plate. They can be good things that are piling up-- articles to be written, leadership courses that I have the opportunity to attend, house projects we are working on, birthday parties to plan, holidays to shop and prepare for, the garden to think about in the summer, the list goes on and on.
BUT, for me...too much on my plate is just too much...no matter how good it is...You could load up my dinner plate with cheese, and bread, potatoes and fettucine alfredo, but if it starts spilling over the side, I'm going to get a little overwhelmed by the possibility of eating it ALL...everything in moderation, right?
That said, when you have little ones life is perpetual time crunch and so I'm learning to find the right balance between saying "NO" to the things that are going to leave my plate overflowing, and to trying to manage well what is on my plate without getting overwhelmed.
I used to have a teaching professor whose favorite thing to tell us was "Fake it 'till you make it". Well, the same goes with your emotions sometimes....or so I'm told...even if you are not "feeling" happy...start telling yourself you are. Start counting your blessings. Looking at the good and eventually you will not be 'faking' it any longer, but will actually be feeling happier.
I am currently reading a book called Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil (a brilliant Harvard educated naturopath who is a proponent of the body's ability to heal itself if we treat it well and offers a lot of great advice on nutrition, healthy living, etc.) This is what he says in his chapter on "Mind and Spirit"
"In Buddhist psychology, addiction to thought is seen as a major obstacle to enlightenment, because when our attention is focused on thought, we cannot experience reality. Thought takes us out of the here and now and into the past, into the future and into fantasy-- all unreal realms. On a practical level, thoughts are the major sources of anxiety, fear and sadness-- emotions that probably obstruct healing and certainly cause us a great deal of anguish."Oh my. This is SO true in my life. My EMOTIONS leave my head spinning sometimes.
Weil goes on to quote an 18th century Jewish mystic who says the following...
"Always be joyful, no matter what you are. With happiness you can give a person life." Every day, he further stressed, we must deliberately induce in ourselves a buoyant, exuberant attitude towards life; in this manner we will gradually become receptive to the subtle mysteries around us. And, if no inspired moments seem to come, we should act as though we have them anyway. "If you have no enthusiasm, put on a front," he says, "Act enthusiastic, and the feeling will become genuine."In essence, "Fake it 'till you make it."
So, I'm trying this...it helped me a lot yesterday when I was feeling a little crabby about needing to get the girls dressed and ready and to church on my own in the morning. "BE HAPPY Lisa. The sun is shining. Your girls are healthy. We have a home and food and so much else."
Eventually, I did really start to feel happier.
Today, feeling a little irritable again...trying to focus on the sunshine and planning to try a yoga class later..I met a woman at the gym this past weekend who is a lovely Christian woman and told me how much yoga has changed her life and her mind. It is a day by day journey.
I will write again next week about managing our emotions. What the bible has to say about it, and some of the other things I'm working on throughout the week to accomplish this in my life.