Last year at this time I was a frantic basket case. I might have looked like I had it all under control with my little heels, curled hair and make-up all in place but inside I was a ball of exhaustion. What I really felt like was a hamster on a wheel juggling many balls to include but not limited to:
- 3 kids
- Stress relief
- Where to find my next bottle of Jack (you get the point)
But I put on a nice facade. I played the “I am all together” card very well. So this year with the start of school and busier at work than ever, I knew JD and Pumpkin Ale would only take me so far! So, I bit the bullet and started asking for help. I know, you want to raise your glass and give me a great big old Salute! Well go ahead, throw one back for me. Yet, guess where asking for help got me? Nowhere and perhaps way worse off.
Who is going to help a strong, independent mother of three busy boys who maintains a business, a home and exercise routine all while being Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker on the side? NOBODY folks. Nobody. There is a big price to pay when you are strong and able to bounce back like that weeble looking inflatable thing-a-ma-jiggy that little kids punch and kick at birthday parties and it never falls down. You might have even played with old weeble at a corporate team building seminar too. Anyways, that is what happens.
Now don’t you go get all soft on me and no need to rush to me with open arms, crutches or a bottle of Jack. Like the woman everyone expects me to be because well I am, I have found my current status quo. It happened one morning when I sat down. I know really right? I. Sat. DOWN. I was woofing down egg whites and a power smoothie because that IS the breakfast of super-mom’s and I had a little moment of zen. I glanced across the kitchen to the three boys sitting at the countertop bar eating breakfast.
Without needing a ticket, a box of popcorn or a dim-lit theatre, right there in front of me played the sweetest little number. Live and in 3-D without those goofy glasses either. This was usually about the time that I would be running around with paper towels, busting out the vacuum and repeating the eat your breakfast mantra a gazillion times. But I refrained. I let it play on and I was still.
I let them use their shirts as napkins, watched as the eggs fell to the floor and yogurt dripping from their chins. I watched them as they were fidgeting in their chairs with yogurt mustaches coming up with their after school game plan. Who would be Yoda, who would be Luke and which one would get the light saber that actually works. I let it play on. I let them talk more than eat and I saw the beauty in the moment. The beauty in the fact that these were my little boys who absolutely cannot make yogurt get from bowl to mouth without a huge mess. I just let them be and plan who will end Darth Vader‘s behavior once and for all.
They had no idea I was watching them and it was a very rare moment that I actually was still. Just being and listening and watching. My chest got lighter. My breathing was slower. In that instant, as my chest opened, so did my heart to just being in the now. It was an amazing feeling and truly a moment of stop and smell the roses. I don’t mean a slow yield and a casual whiff either. I mean stopping everything. Chewing, thinking, fearing, wishing and just being present.
I realized that no matter how hard my days may seem there is no time like now. Right now. No matter how many times I beg and plead for help. No matter how many times I bite off way more than I can chew. No matter how many times I swear I will do it differently tomorrow. You can’t take back the past. You cannot predict the future. You can try to manipulate it or stress about the minutes, hours and years that just past or you can just embrace right now. All we really have is what is happening in this very minute.
By being more present and accepting of what is, I am able to calmly feel at ease. Since then I have witnessed more than I would have ever noticed a year ago. Like a random hug from my five-year old when I was trying to get my camera to focus while kids were running and screaming everywhere at a picnic. Or like when coming out of the grocery store and a man on a bike approaches a lady in a wheel chair.
As she was trying to dodge people, cars and parking lot speed bumps, this very present man, could sense she was having a struggle. He rode up next to her and said, “Hey there champ, want to race because I bet you would win?” The smile on her face was worth a thousand bucks. The feeling of gratitude was with her and the sense of making someone’s day was with this man. I found myself in the moment. If I was on the phone or looking at my day planner or running a tally of things in my head of all I needed to accomplish before my commute home, I would have missed this.
Sometimes the best things in life are free. So, I challenge you to take a moment and just be. To observe and listen. To watch and learn and grow calmer. Do you think you can do it? The real answer to the mystery is to be still and just be. Feel free to share your zen moments too. I’d love to hear!