A month ago, I started to ask myself three questions.
See, I had fallen into the habit of staying up late and then getting up when the kiddos get up. Disaster! With “no time” for my morning meditation practice, I often felt frustrated with one kiddo jumping on me in bed, another wanting milk. I’d get all agitated with everyone in our bed – all before 7:30 a.m. I’d end up feeling like crap because I just started the day off for everyone by reacting and getting annoyed. And come evening, I’d stay up late trying to get things done and then not have the energy to really reflect on my day.
I justified staying up late because there was work that I just “HAD” to do. Brian once asked, “What can you let go of?” I nearly bit his head off and said, “Nothing! It’s ALL important! I have to do it all!”
The truth is, there was (and still is) lots I can let go of. (That’s a whole other post). The truth is some of my priorities were all off. I realized that, again, the wise sages throughout the ages are right on: BOOKEND your day with meditation when you wake and meditation in the evening.
So, I started to get back on track by waking up before the kiddos. I ask myself, “How can I love today?” And I start to visualize loving – starting with myself and the dear ones in my life and then extending out to those I see in our day. Even if it is a brief moment of “turning inward,” tuning into my breath, and preparing my heart for the day, I am doing it.
While I’m used to practicing (practicing!) pausing in my day, I started to get really focused and ask again and again and again, “How can I love in this moment?” Sometimes, I’ve still held back, still closed off my heart. Some times I’ve chosen to open and soften.
And in the evening, instead of staying up late and trying to get more work done, I decided put aside writing the next blog post, returning emails, etc. I get real with myself. “Ok,” I ask, “How fully did I love today?” I ask this with gentleness, tenderness and honesty. And I’ve started to open my eyes to really see how I’ve loved or not loved. And I’m letting it inform how I wake up and imagine me going through the day.
And I notice three things:
~ I noticed that I react a lot during the day when I was multi-tasking. Loving in the moment is difficult if I am trying to get myself ready, get the kiddos ready, make breakfast, make my to-do list, be present with the kiddos, make sure we aren’t missing anything important for school – oh and get everyone out the door.
And I have a choice — I can slow down. Do less. Let go of what reallllly doesn’t have to be done. And focus on what matters most.
~ I’ve noticed that I tend to pull back from loving when I feel alone, responsible for everything, and that my deeper need is not being “seen.”
And I have a choice — I can choose to tune into my breath, put my hand on my heart, give myself loving attention and then see how this softens me, connects me, and helps me let go of old worries and responsibilities I no longer have to carry.
~ I’ve noticed that I really am mindful and heartful. I’ve noticed that by forgiving myself, seeing the good, and gently bringing to light the shadow sides of me, I let love in. I soften. I go to sleep with fewer regrets.
Here are a few Haiku poems I wrote to inspire us all to ask these three questions every day.
I held back my love
Did not share what’s on my heart.
Fear lodged words inside.
Let Love In
I want to pull back
Old habits weaved within me
Yet one choice now: Love.
I opened my heart
Spoke the words I longed to say
Freedom kisses me.
Lisa A. McCrohan, © 2014
Dear friends, try “bookending” your day with these three questions. Begin your day with visualizing how you can love today. SEE yourself as you go about your normal, everyday routine — and see how there is an opportunity for you to choose to love.
As you go about your day, ask yourself how you can love in this moment. THIS IS HARD when you are stressed (being hit by a toddler, yelled at by a teenager! I know!) But the more and more you practice, it WILL come into your mind as an option!.
And in the evening, get real with yourself by asking how fully you loved today. Be gentle and compassionate toward yourself. Remember to ask how fully you loved YOURSELF! And let that inform how you will go about your day tomorrow.
Share how this practice changes you and your relationships!
Lisa A. McCrohan
MA, LCSW-C, RYT
Mom. Compassion Coach. Psychotherapist. Delight passionista.
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