Did you ever go fishing when you were a little kid? Didn't it seem like you could sit there all day long with wild unwavering anticipation of the next nibble? It seems like those days of infinite patience are long gone in today's age of technology. Most of today's cell phone users have never known what it is like to have all of your friends' and family's numbers memorized or made weekend plans days in advance with no chance of last-minute cancellations or plan changes.
Unless you remain mindful about it, patience and planning are almost by-gone virtues thanks to modern day technology. We can order something off of Amazon and have it to our doorstep in 2 days. We get instant downloads of a book we want to read. We get instant credit reports. The list goes on and on- you name it, it is to us faster than ever at the click of a button.
It's no wonder that when we embark on trying to change something in ourselves that our first instinct is to get frustrated and give up if our change does not happen immediately. This is where it is imperative to understand the need for separation. Instant gratification has its place, I am not saying that it is inherently bad. But when it comes to making a lasting change in your life, you will only sabotage your efforts if you expect instant results, or even results too soon. This is where mindfulness and patience come into play. You have to consider the scope of the change that you want to make or set your goal and make a realistic timeline for your desired outcome. Let's take it back to the fishing metaphor. Scenario 1: If you sit down to fish in a pond stocked with rainbow trout, you can expect pretty immediate gratification of catching a nice fish and you don't need to exercise great strategy or patience. BOOM. Nice fish on the line, didn't have to work much for it, you can go home and show off your prize. Scenario 2: If you sit down to fish in a natural lake (meaning no one has tampered with the natural ecosystem), you can expect that it is going to take a while to catch a fish, and you will most likely have to employ some strategy. After all, the fish aren't just waiting to be caught and may very well be busy feeding on some particularly juicy bugs on the other side of the lake. You can decide to sit on the same dock in the same place and expect the fish to come to you, OR if you want the prize, be willing to experiment with trial and error and a practice a great deal of patience. Eventually, you will catch a fish that you can take home and show off.
This analogy can be applied to so many of today's modern conveniences, but in the end, the outcome is the same - you get the fish, but which scenario will make you feel proudest? Which one did you really have to be patient with and learn from trial and error? The take-away here is so simple, but so profound: The greater the investment of time and energy toward your goal, the greater the pride in your accomplishments.
So if you want that fish, but need help planning your strategy and exercising patience, I'd be happy to accompany you on the way from the first step until you reach your goal.
You did it!
Congratulations! You made the decision to move on to bigger and better things! however, you may be feeling a bit nervous and uneasy. If you have expressed some uneasiness to your friends, how many times have they said, "But this is what you want, right?". Of course it is what you wanted, but in the end, it is new, it is unfamiliar, it is change. And it is scary. When you have a big unkown in front of you, you feel a great range of emotion. When the excitement abates, fear, doubt and uncertainty remain behind.
People from the outside only really see the EVENT. They see the move to a new city, the new job, the baby bump, the break-up. What they don't see are all of the questions in your head, the various emotions and the second-guessing you may be doing. Even though your friends and family love you dearly, they may tend to brush off your fears with the common response, "it's all going to work out great, you'll be fine!".
When uncertainty strikes, there are steps you can take to combat it. The first thing to do is identify exactly what it is that is making you uneasy. Is it really the move to a new place where you don't know anyone, or is it the fear of leaving everything that is familiar behind? The key to peeling back a few layers is to spend time expressing your anxieties, fears and doubts. It's best to talk them out with a trusted friend, family member or life coach- but choose somebody who isn't just going to listen- choose someone who is able to ask you questions to help you reflect. If that seems intimidating, try journaling until you are ready to talk to someone. Often there are underlying reasons to your fear that you haven't given conscious thought to and simply putting them into words may help you discover some themes you never really noticed.
Once you have identified the thing that is making you uneasy, continue to talk it through with someone who listens well and asks insightful, unbiased questions. You'll be surprised at what you discover - and from there, you can move forward with your fears identified and hopefully set aside so that the excitement of your new endeavor can again shine in limelight.
I have no trouble admitting that I love sloths. Most of my friends and family are aware of my strange love affair with the Bradypus mammals and quite honestly, they just don't understand. But I just... can't.... help it! I am magnetically drawn to their seemingly peaceful and satisfied demeanor. I can gaze into that sweet little face all day long. Maybe I just long for that same sense of peacfulness and carefree attitude that the sloths seem to embody.
Which brings me to my topic. I was given a small book called Sloth Wisdom for Christmas this year. This book is full of cute little quotes that you could imagine a sloth living by. One that struck close to home for me is from Maya Angelou:
Each person deserves a day away
in which no problems are confronted.
No solutions searched for.
Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which
will not withdraw from us.
Is it because I am a working mother that this resonates so loudly with me? Because I am always thinking about the next dentist appointment, tonight's nutricious dinner, whether I can make it to school before my little one gets shuttled off to aftercare or the next birthday present for... which classmate was that again?
Honestly, everyone needs to take care of themselves. We all know that, but many of us, especially busy moms, have a hard time giving ourselves permission to take this much-needed time. So take this advice: it is not a crime to tell the kids to entertain themselves for a few hours. Who cares if the laundry sits for another day in the laundry basket (that is what the steam setting is for, right?). Your significant other can take care of the kids/household/pets/grocery shopping while you escape, even if that means going out into the back yard with your headphones and a good book.
If you still can't get past the mom guilt, it's time to get together, because you need to figure out how to honor yourself as well as your family. And it's okay to do so.