It's incredible what a difference one day makes.
My husband and eldest son have been out of town and I slept very poorly both the night before they left and the first night they were gone.
Yesterday I awakened (if you could call it that: a half-lucid stumble, bleary-eyed into the kitchen) to make pancakes out of a box, cover them with fresh strawberries, and then lay back down right next to the table where my little ones happily sang and ate.
The first part of the day passed in a blur. Somehow I managed to bathe and dress the kids, pay some bills and supervise while they drew with crayons and played with toys. I made all of the appropriate mommy sounds, "Mmmm-hmmmmm?" and "That's wonderful, honey!" but overall I was just barely holding on and found myself wondering anxiously how I would ever make it to their nap time before falling asleep.
Worse, I had promised to make every day "special" for the little ones with their Daddy out of town - so my middle son asked me about once a minute, "When are we going to do something special today mommy? What are we going to do?" Despite his runny nose he ran in circles like the Energizer bunny and I knew that spending an entire (sunny, beautiful) day at home was not going to cut it for him.
Just when I began to despair over how I would manage to be the mother they deserved on such little sleep, I opened up a book that I've just purchased and an entire paradigm shift took place in my mind and heart.
This book, "Money and the Law of Attraction" by Esther and Jerry Hicks (and Abraham) was highly recommended to me by my pilates therapist because it has a section specifically dealing with health. She explained, "You're doing well and you're doing your best, but inside you still think of yourself as someone trying to "get well" instead of remembering what it actually feels like to be well. As long as you keep telling your body that it isn't healthy yet, it will believe you."
This dovetailed perfectly with what the guest speaker on Stress Management said the next morning about the 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts we program ourselves with each day. "That's a lot of programming!" she'd said, and when I thought about it, both the pilates therapist and the guest speaker were right.
So I'd picked up the book at a local store two days ago and yesterday, right when I was sinking into exhaustion and despair, I pulled it out and began to read.
The subject matter is dense and I could barely keep my eyes open, but I did make it through a few pages and those pages changed not only my energy level but also my attitude and the tenor of the rest of my day. In fact, small miracles began to spontaneously occur.
The message of the book so far is that we have to give off the vibration of a certain state of being: wealth, health, happiness, contentment ~ in order to have that state of being manifest itself into our lives. We have to do the hard work of actually seeing ourselves somewhere that we haven't gone yet emotionally or mentally... of feeling the emotions of appreciation, joy and gratitude for a wonderful life before we've actually seen the positive 'real' events occur.
My pilates therapist had referenced this as "Playing a game with our minds" but I read it a little differently than that. From what I've heard many times about the physical stress induced by watching a scary movie, our human brains cannot tell the difference between watching a scary event take place on screen and actually experiencing a scary event. Our fight-or-flight response is activated even if we are simply sitting in a dark movie theater holding a tub of popcorn.
Our bodies respond physically to stimulii given to the brain. So if my brain is constantly imagining the bad things that may happen (like getting bad news from a doctor's office) then my body will receive signals from the brain that imply that all is not well... and the body will respond accordingly. My cells are literally receiving information from my brain telling them what to do - how to replicate and divide successfully, how to regenerate - and all of the instructions they are getting are coming only from me.
Similarly, that guest speaker on stress told us that for every time we are feeling stressed out we are virtually taking ten minutes off of our lives. She told us that we cannot control the external events in our lives, but we CAN control how we respond to them or whether we accept feelings of overwhelm, frustration or anxiety into our minds and hearts.
All of the messages that have been coming into me this weekend are uniting into one overarching theme - Relax. Take a Deep Breath. Turn your perspective around. It's not worth it.
So yesterday in my burst of stress and sorrow over not being the mother I would want to be, I read about changing my inner talk and the vibration I was sending into the world. I took a very deep breath and then began to make an active effort to follow these rules.
"I'll never manage to stay awake," turned into, "I *will* manage to stay awake, I will rest if I need to, and everything is going to be fine."
"There is no way I'm going to get everything done today," turned into, "You know - I'll do what I can and that is a great start."
It may sound Pollyanna-ish... just one more bit of the optimism and cheer that have defined me and sometimes annoyed my friends and coworkers over the course of a lifetime.
Yet, it works for me. In fact, it worked for me!
One of the advantages to having my husband out of town is that I had basically no other adults to talk with yesterday so I got to be 100% on top of my own inner speak. I really stayed on it all day, noticing every time I had a negative, tired or worried thought and turning around the inner language immediately.
"We WILL find a good parking place, because I feel relaxed and I've always been a good attractor of parking places," I thought - and amazingly, there was not only a parking place open RIGHT in front of the Children's Museum, but also one open in the front row in EVERY SINGLE place we traveled to in the car yesterday. We had front row parking without any wait at 4 different locations including a packed gardening center and popular grocery store.
I found myself having taken a wrong turn when I left a local thrift store where we'd been purchasing gently used (adorable) clothes for my rapidly growing daughter. Normally I would have grown frustrated with myself but this time I said, "Maybe it isn't a wrong turn after all. You never know..." and resolved to continue driving north on the side street on which we were traveling. Two blocks later I looked left and realized that we were basically at the front door of a gardening center I'd forgotten about, and remembered that I've been planning to buy a new garden hose and sprayer. "Amazing!" I thought. "The car and that wrong turn brought us to EXACTLY where we needed to be!"
Then, while in the gardening store my tired toddler daughter began to pull sharp metal posts out of a display unit - which unbeknownst to me had small glass beakers sitting precariously at their tops. I dashed over in time to grab the first metal post from her hand at which point she grabbed another post with her other hand and began to laugh and wave it around, brandishing the sharp end toward me and her brother. That one apparently had a glass beaker in its top, because the next thing we knew little shards of glass were bouncing everywhere around our feet. Even my daughter looked stunned.
I could feel myself breaking into a sweat but for once, I didn't panic. I took a deep breath and told my body that everything was in fact okay, that all of our needs as a family were in fact taken care of.
Within seconds, two women were by our side. One - a fellow customer in her 60s? - kindly distracted my children from the mess of glass on the floor and led them ten feet away to the cage of a bunny rabbit to show them the bunny. They were mere steps from me and still in direct view, but I myself did not have to be struggling with them around the broken glass.
The second woman - an employee of the store - was there with a broom, dustpan, and consolation. "Oh goodness," she smiled, "This happens all of the time. That's actually why those stakes are being sold at 50% off right now, these glass things fall out almost every day."
"Can I please pay you for it?" I asked. "I'm so sorry."
"Oh no," she responded. "Not at all. Like I said, this happens every day. We have a ton of those extra little beakers in back. There's no need for you to pay for it. You're fine."
Within two minutes of the accident, all was back to normal as though there had never been a problem. The glass on the floor was completely swept up. Metal stakes back in their display box, children happily entertained by a bunny rabbit and I had the gardening hose under my arm - ready to hold hands with my kids and bring them to the cash register.
What could have been a stressful, potentially disastrous experience involving a two year old, a sea of glass and two metal stakes instead became an example of perfect, instant manifestation. Just like the book said, I wasn't sending a message of stress into the world - so the world brought me peace.
The entire rest of our day went like this... every single step. It felt like I was some small musical note appearing in a vast orchestral score, just flowing along in harmony with the world. A more cynical part of me would never have believed it possible... and if I HAD LISTENED to my own cynical inner voice, I'm sure the day *wouldn't* have turned out in the perfect the way that it did.
Maybe it is dorky that I've become my own internal cheerleading squad. But hell, it certainly isn't going to hurt anyone for me to redirect my own barrage of negative self-talk. And if *I* am not my own personal motivational speaker, who else is going to do it?
The stakes are high enough. My body is listening to every inner word. Like my three year old son, my body does believe everything I say. If I tell it that I am stressed and tired, it will listen. If I tell it that I am capable of rising to any occasion, that I am healthy and whole, it will believe that too.
Last night after putting my kiddos to bed I got a fantastic, full night of restful sleep and when I awakened today the FIRST thing I did, before stumbling out of bed to begin again, was reset my inner voice to the positive.
I'm really looking forward to another relaxed, successful day.