Mine happened exactly two weeks ago. Driving home, I watched as a fire truck took a right turn toward my neighborhood.
Always an unsettling feeling.
When I arrived, I saw the truck had joined other emergency vehicles, just down the street from my house. Though everyone was physically okay, the event challenged people’s security in their safest of places.
When bad stuff like this happens, it triggers waves of fear-based emotions. And these waves form circles around those involved, extending to their loved ones, their friends, their neighbors, their town, and maybe farther.
So my bad day was a bad day for a lot of people.
And a big challenge for presence and gratitude. In fact, when people and bad things collide, presence and gratitude face a couple strong arguments:Read more
“Why is June going so fast?!? It needs to slow down!” my seven-year-old shouted, worried that summer break was slipping through her pink-tipped fingers. I had to smile at her being so aware of time and its preciousness. Usually she’s the one counting down months, not days, to her birthday and planning her Halloween costume in the spring, trying to hurry the calendar.
But because of my work in the mindfulness arena, I’ve tried to create a family culture that values our time together and points all four of us in the direction of peace. So here’s my formula:Read more
I thought I had things under control since I’d been living with presence and gratitude for a few years. But preschool graduation was just days away and there it was, that lump in my throat that foreshadows tears.
It couldn’t be happening because right there on my mantra card it says:
“When we have fully lived and appreciated the moments in the everyday and in the exceptional, reflection on the past brings satisfaction. Regret and longing soften. And from a place of peace, we enter the next moment of our lives.”
I’d been living and appreciating lots of my moments and had expected to meet graduation with a peaceful smile. I’d done just that when my daughter lost her first tooth—no tears, just joy. So why was this milestone different? And does that mean what I’m preaching is ineffective? Read more
It was 8:27 a.m. We shouldn’t have been home, but we were. And that’s when it happened.
The screaming, the stomping, the crying. I looked about and saw a homework folder and chapter book still lying on the table, a backpack hanging open, and outerwear scattered on the hardwood.
Yep, we’d be late to school today.
It’s these chaotic mornings, with tensions high, which test my own resolve to live the mantra “Be Present. Be Grateful.” So how do we stay mindful and appreciate the challenging moments?
Step 1: Press pause if you need to.
If I’m feeling something minor like annoyance, I can go straight to presence and gratitude. But when anger is pumping, I’ve got to clench my jaw and wait a bit for my inner storm to settle. We may be aiming for the high road, but we are still human, so take your time.
Step 2: Use a cheat sheet.
I remember doing a project on human error when I still worked in biotech. One of the cause categories was “memory,” meaning we were relying on someone to remember to do something versus having a visual reminder. It was a big no-no there and it’s a big no-no here. Don’t try to be a superhero–post some reminders! (We’ve got some great ideas for places to post and the perfect sticker for the job, just click here.)
Step 3: Lean into the shift.
Notice something small. In my example, “I hear my kids complaining about not wanting to go to school today.” Then lean a little further into gratitude, “And I’m so grateful that I get to be such a big part of their lives, that I get to talk with them about what might be upsetting them at school, that I get to build trust with them by really listening to their concerns.” And just like that, you’ve made the shift.
So while I can’t guarantee that following these steps means an on-time arrival at school tomorrow, I can at least promise that you’ll feel some inner sunshine as you hurry those precious ones off to class.
Ready to try these three steps? If so, leave a comment below and let us know how it goes!