I am in the field of stress reduction. It is what I study and teach. But when you specialize in something the lessons in life around that theme multiply at times. Well, this is exactly what is currently happening in my life. I ask myself, “How do I teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, especially to mothers, when I am soooo stressed and overwhelmed myself?”
I am trying to be “mindful” and curious of this very pertinent question so that I can use my stress as a tool and learn from it – But when change happens, it creates loss – When change happens, the familiar and “normal” things gets rustled about and even if the change is for the better, a part of myself wants to cling to what is known and … NOT CHANGE.
I have started a new job this month, which in itself is a transition. Leaving my 14-month old in the care of his beloved babysitter is ok, but crying because mommy is leaving each morning, or not wanting to go to sleep for fear mommy won’t be home when he wakes, just doesn’t feel ok. I love the work, I am a grief counselor for children and adolescents through Hospice of Boulder and Broomfield County. It is my path right now, and it’s incredibly meaningful work. I get to work with horses, do art, run a summer camp, and work in the school system. But not long after I got hired, my mentor and trainer resigned leaving me to fend, basically, for myself as a newbie. Sink or swim as they say. So that began the overwhelm.
I am building a new website and determined to find time for private practice, meanwhile, my son is getting three more teeth, learning to walk and developing a high pitched scream that could out reach most sopranos.
I could go on and on, but really, when it comes down to it – how do I find peace of mind and ease of heart without destroying my health, marriage, and friendships?
Creativity and the arts are essential and finding time to maintain self-care is a personal requirement.
There is so little time though these days. And that’s what needs to change. Not the time but my relationship to it!
Our perspective about our experiences shapes how we react or respond to them. For example, just by saying, “I have so little time!” is a perspective that almost immediately creates tension and tightness in my chest. What if I were to reframe that perspective? How would that change my attitiude and the way I SPEND my time? Admitting there is less time but I will do what I love while Grayson naps, creates a bit more ease in my heart. The remembrance of gratitude for even being able to spend time with this little guy also grounds me and reminds me of this gift.
How we SEE things is how we will react or respond to them. We have choice in this – I have choice in this, and I see it as a practice that needs everyday mindfulness and maintenance. This idea is just one aspect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, but the more I teach it and live into my own life, I realize it is essential.
When a challenge or problem arises, do you feel like you have choice? Are you able to look at the experience or challenge from different viewpoints? Can you get support in shifting or reframing your perspective on this issue so that it may reduce stress and strain?
These are questions I ask myself as well. Having a mindframe of curiosity, as opposed to judgment, will help.
And remember, in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”