Tag Archives: thoughts

pretending

Stop pretending it is important when it isn’t

Pretending something is important to you just because it seems to be important to others is a highly misleading way of life. There are things considered to be important and substantial. Considered by whom? By the society, mamas and papas, teachers and preachers, friends and their mothers, brothers and sisters, authors and their granddads and many more.

Fresh moms, like I used to be once (I can still be refreshed), tend to fall into the trap of pretending something is important, because they were told it is important. For example,: you should always have breakfast, you should not go to sleep after midnight, kids should be sleeping by 8 p.m. and wake up accordingly, oatmeal is good, being angry is bad,  green tea is good smile when you say hello and so on and so forth. This list looks like a swollen jaw: it’s big, ugly and you don’t want to look at it. Well, I don’t know about you but I know that I don’t want to look at it. Because I no longer want to pretend that something is important when in fact it is not.

There are things that are valuable to me. My list, however, is elegant and shiny like a diamond ring. It’s not even a list, just a few things that turn in my head like a merry-go-round. Something like this: keep the balcony door closed when kids are unattended. Change socks. Eat fresh. Drink clean water. Breath.

Don’t lie to yourself about what is important

pretending

I remember when my first child was two I always put her to sleep around 22.00. It  was the convenient time for our family – we could enjoy the evening together, I didn’t have to be “half-asleep” after putting her to sleep at 20.00 just to find out at 20.30 that I’m already too sleepy for anything. I could dive with her at 22.00 for a full night’s sleep. She made her sleeping hours because a 2-year old doesn’t have to get up to work, and kindergartens are flexible with arrival time. I got my sleeping hours. Everyone was happy, until I discovered that I’m doing it all wrong and children must go to sleep at 20.00 otherwise… (you put the scary things that happen otherwise). Nobody could explain me why kids have to go to sleep early, it was stated more like an axiom.

The main disadvantage of being a young mom

Since I was a young mom and took advice to heart, I honestly did my best to ruin my schedule to shift the bedtime two hours earlier. It even worked once, and I was almost proud by my educational and parental achievements. Only it did not work for long and soon we were back to the old convenient regime. When the number of kids grew, however, the bedtime hour became, unlike before, something that matters. And it has naturally shifted to a mutually acceptable hour like 21.00 (plus bedtime stories and night conversations, but let’s not count that now for the sake of this brilliant example). Things have settled naturally when the time was right. 

This example had taught me a lesson, something I have been carrying with me all through the years. It’s so obvious, self-explanatory and yet – so many fall into the trap of trying to be “normal”. I myself was shocked when I discovered that a relative of mine (child, at that time) used to go to sleep at 1-2 a.m. during summer vacation. But then I caught myself being in this “shocked” state and said: hey, weren’t you the one, at the time, claiming to have learned the lesson that “to each his own”? After these words, my “shock” has killed itself at once.

When is it pretending and when is it real?

pretending

This is the question I’ve been asking myself – how do I know it is really important? How do I know I am pretending something is important? The answer is, again, so simple it’s a shame to write and I will do it nonetheless: it’s the mom’s intuition that tells her what really matters. It’s the reaction of the child to certain events and changes. It’s the overall  family atmosphere that changes for the good or for the bad.

Pretending it is important to wake up veeery early

For example: my children do not wake up easily in the morning on school days (let’s talk about it?) And the next big questions is: how important is it to wake them at 6.00 a.m. so they have “proper” morning with breakfast and all the other things that honest people do in the morning? If put another 30 minutes of sleep on one scale and breakfast and other organizational stuff on the other – what will weigh more?

Most parents I know do wake their kids early enough (at least about 40 minutes before going out of the house). Or at least this is the official version of most parents I know (I don’t really visit their houses at 6 a.m. to check things out). Therefore, my big doubt was – am I doing anything wrong when I dress my kids right in bed, help them brush their teeth on the way out and give them snacks instead of breakfast to devour while waiting for the bus?

Had it been 7 years earlier, I would have followed the common advice and would torture my kids with the commonly acceptable practices of morning routines. Since I am more aware of things now, I do what’s best for them. By the way, there is no need brag about it on every corner (bragging and sharing personal information will only lead  others  to misjudge, misunderstand, misinterpret and all the other “mis…”).  Since – to each his own.

What are the benefits of not pretending?

The benefits are immerse. The best part of living life in a comfy mode is, that benefits flow on you immediately. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year for dividends. Life turned out to be miraculously easy and almost fun when I started tailoring  and customizing every little bit of life according to my preferences. It works like magic and yet, it is nothing but a tedious conscious routine. Pretending that something is important to me while it isn’t is a huge vacuum hole that sucks life energy into nowhere.

However, only living by my own rules is not enough: I need to know, deep inside me, that what I’m doing is really good and has the best possible influence. Otherwise, it’s easy to go astray and shift back to the “acceptable” mode, blend with the crowd, start losing energy and individuality and, eventually, suffer from “cruelties” of life.

As a bottom line: each moment is a door to wisdom and truth. Pretending means taking a step back. Being true to oneself at least on milestones is a leap forward. It is vital to remind to oneself why I am doing it and whether this thing or another  (small things like waking up and big things like choosing a country to live in) derived from a conscious choice. Consciousness and affection, once again, yes.

the feeling of guilt

The feeling of guilt

The feeling of guilt is something every mom experiences once in a while. Mom that prospers in an office, stay-at-home mom that makes (or bakes?) doughnuts for the entire class on a special event, and mom who doesn’t do both. It’s only a matter of degree, how far is each mom willing to go and kill herself for doing something wrong or not doing something right.The root of this feeling, though, lays far beyond “mom’s feeling of guilt”. It’s more of an overall, overwhelming feeling of guilt, something that is dragged from the childhood, from bad education, from bad examples and bad teachers. But in this post I am going to focus on the feeling of guilt that grows in mom’s head, which is related to her children.

Where does the feeling of guilt come from?

Lack of self-appreciation

The feeling of guilt comes with lack of self appreciation. Lack of self appreciation comes with negative emotions. Negative emotions come with tasteless thoughts. Tasteless thoughts come with lack of consciousness (who let them in? Have you? Or have they made their way in with no permission?)

The feeling of guilt grows exponentially as a result of physical and emotional exhaustion. When nothing shines inside, when there are no ideas, no dreams and no energy. All there is are these kids running and jumping around.  And there are all the others: other moms, grand-moms, friends, unknown agents advisers and tons of other energy-suckers who have the best intentions (beware, beware, beware!) to help the poor, unqualified mom to manage her shaky life. All these unwanted guests add weight to the feeling of guilt like a huge, rotten cherry on the top of a sour cream on a outdated cookie. You got the metaphor.

Broken pattern

For the first time in her life mom has tried something new. She deeps her toes in cold water: a new job, a new project, a new dress (toes?) – it does not matter what it is. Mom, who has previously dedicated all her time most of her time to her kids suddenly takes a leap aside. Her kids, at that time, stay with the nanny, the grandma, the husband, the partner, the cat – anyone, who, naturally, is not qualified enough to treat them as they deserve to be treated (it’s all in mom’s head, definitely).

Another example is when moms scream break their patterns of behavior.For example, I see myself as a calm and caring mom. Therefore, occasional outbursts can make me feel really bad about myself. How could a meditating, balanced and conscious mom like myself break down, shout at her kids and send them to bed right away? Yep, these things happen to the calmest moms.

Secret Pride

Pride is in a way related to the previous reason – breaking the behavioral pattern. Some moms consider themselves flawless and feel secretly proud about themselves. Something they would, typically, never admit. Whether they do or do not fully acknowledge their secret pride, it is still there.Once the image of the perfect mom is distorted, for whatever reason, mom feels devastated to an extent. She has less reason to be proud of herself. She has come down from the Olympus to the harsh reality – she is the ordinary, human mom now. Ouch.

 

Why is it important to get rid of the feeling of guilt?

 

The feeling of guilt is like a worm, eating the mom from the inside. It does not let her concentrate on what is really going on at the moment. It throws her to the past over and over again, sucks her energy in gallons and adds pain and agony to what has already been experienced. Therefore, in order to make the right conclusions and go on with life, it is vitally important to cut any slightest feeling of guilt. Learn the lesson – yes. Eat myself up about it – no.

 

Techniques to kill the feeling of guilt.

There have been many teachers in my life who said “get inside this pain, feel it to the bones and then it will disappear”. Well, it does not work for me, or at least has not worked so far. Once I plunge into the pain, it becomes a never-ending story of chewing the agonizing gum of upsetting memories.

So here are my personal techniques, and maybe, they will work for you too. Consistency, as always, is the secret weapon that makes things work.

Here is what I tell myself on the rare occasions when feeling of guilt strikes me (not necessarily in this order):

 

  1. I might have been wrong as I see it now. But back then I reacted as my mind told me. I was conscious of myself (was I?), and this outburst was completely in time. Life is still good.
  2. Children know their mom is human and she gets angry. I am not a raging mom on a permanent basis. The way I expressed myself was not perfect, but it happened so. Let it be.
  3. This outburst was a good lesson for me. I let it happen because I was tired and exhausted. The lesson I have learned is – plan my day in a better way. Let myself have some more time alone. Save more energy for the evening when everybody is more tired and things might heat up.

And the most important mantra: I am still the very good mom. There will be tomorrow when we’ll have the chance to start a new day with the lessons learned. My children have learned their lesson and I have learned mine.

 

Knock loose thoughts that spoil the magic

Bad mood can be reached in seconds. But does a mom want it? How to knock thoughts loose? Thoughts that can spoil a sunny day, a romantic evening, a relaxing afternoon? I call these thoughts – laundry thought – and here you will learn, from my perspective, about the hidden danger in these seemingly harmless mental wanderings.

What are “laundry thoughts” and how to knock them loose? First, it’s important to recognize the wrong mental objects that appear in mom’s head at the wrong time: a cooking pot… a broom… carpet with scattered toys… speckled socks. You get the point. 

Imagine a mom walking home on a magic spring evening. Cool, refreshing breeze, full moon, twilight. Amazing night, and she does not even have a stroller to push, or loads of grocery shopping or anything like that. That mom is in the most romantic mood, which can be spoiled with just a hint of a thought. Let’s not spoil that mood, and here, in this post I am writing (from experience, of course), how to say “no” and knock thoughts loose. 

The worst thoughts to spoil a happy mom’s mood are thoughts about the mess at home. The laundry. The dishes. The homework. The laundry again (the wet, the dry, and the one in the machine). The unprepared dinner (even if for tomorrow, but why not think about it in advance). The toys, generously spread all over the place. The small Lego parts, waiting for the bare feet at the night time…

These redundant thoughts clamber into mom’s head in the most natural way, like undesired guests who call in the least appropriate moment.

So, just like you would say “no” to unwanted guests (unless they bring food with them), you can say “no” to unwelcome thoughts. Here is how I think about it: “These thoughts came to steal my energy, to spoil my magic, to gnaw from my happiness. I knock thoughts loose right away, I send them away on a speed train, I clean my consciousness from them with a magic broom. 

Awareness is the king

If a mom is aware enough of what’s going on she will chase them off, free her mind from the unnecessary cognitive activity, from the vain trouble-solving process (because it’s not actually solving anything), from the painful process of rewinding the dirty laundry of her life in a mixing bowl called “head” by a machine called “mind”. Once a mom is aware she will easily knock these thoughts loose. 

I know, that people like guidelines and lists, so here I prepared a short and comprehensive guidelines on how to recognize, avoid and knock loose thoughts that spoil the magic. 

Step 1: Knock thoughts loose – recognize when it starts

It’s the hardest and the most important step. Because once you catch the thought from its very beginning, you can get over it more easily. Tracking thoughts should be a mom’s healthy habit, something she does on a regular basis. When the “laundry” thought creeps in on a magic night with a sky full of start, a conscious mom has two ways to handle it: either she smiles to herself and says “No. This is not happening because I don’t want it to happen.” Another way is, if the thought brings a great degree of embarrassment or unpleasantness – mom can boil a little, then – puff – let it out. 

And here we come to step two:

Step 2: Knock thoughts loose: cut and replace the “laundry thoughts” by “magic thoughts”

Cutting thoughts to zero thoughts, stopping the process and staying alive is, in my opinion, kinda impossible. The author of this post surely cannot just hang in there not thinking about anything at all (though she tries and maybe some day she will do it). Therefore, the easier way to do it, for now, is to REPLACE the “laundry” thought by a “magic” thought. Something good that matters. Something positive that seems good for real (not something a mom has read in a book or seen in a movie). A wish to come true, an old dream – anything that brings the authentic, good vibes. Don’t try to fool yourself, don’t fake it – the thoughts should be about something that matters and it is the key point here. Otherwise, you simply won’t believe yourself and the trick won’t work.

Step 3: Focus, count, repeat.

It’s vital to focus on this positive thread, be it anything that makes you feel vigorous, powerful and happy. Breathing and counting works great, but if it sounds boring just walking out there counting and focusing you may try other technique. For example, repeating words that matter, words that help knock the laundry thoughts loose from your mind. I say to myself sometimes: “the sky is blue, the breeze is fresh, isn’t it a miracle that I can walk like this, watch these blooming trees, this graceful architecture, these fascinating cars. Isn’t it awesome that I can breath, smile, enjoy good food, listen to music, watch movies, read books, paint, dance, stretch, jump and feel good about myself?

Once it becomes a habit you don’t need to do the counting work anymore. Things happen naturally, you learn to stay focused on what YOU pick from the diversity of the world. You watch the movie you choose and you knock the awful thoughts loose in a wink of eye.

inspiration

The unknown school girl who inspires me

Every time I take my daughter back from school I see school children from older classes (about 13-14 years old) who share the same bus and we always sit opposite to each other. Two girls and two boys. I like watching them laugh, joke and flirt with each other. It’s refreshing to remember oneself in this age and I wonder where it has gone.

One of the girls looks like a potential movie star:– ideal face features, tanned skin, sunny smile. Of course she is fully aware of it and uses the opportunity to spread the light of youth and energy to every direction (my direction gets the most since I sit quite close).

So every time I feel like an “old”, heavy mom burdened with endless duties, the image of this happy girl emerges in my imagination. I see her spotless, untouched joy of life and some portion of it gets inside me, too. I become her for a while.This is what I call positive inspiration.

Mom needs a constant source of inspiration, even if she is a bookkeeper.

Life with children is a marathon with dubious reward in the end. Expecting dividends of any kind is very wrong at its basics (my opinion), but we still secretly do, don’t we? We expect our kids to be this and that, we expect our life to look this and that. Some of us even think that we actually deserve something. This is where disappointment hits the most. Who knows what waits for an elderly mom:– caring, loving kids or dispassionate, indifferent adults who sometimes share the same last name with her.

That’s why I reach the obvious conclusion time and time again: it’s best to cherish the present, to dive into every given moment I spend with my children here and now. To worry less about the future and care more about what I do today to make our moments together vivid and memorable.

Every one of us can find these little sources of inspiration – if we only look closer. You don’t have to work hard: the muse of joy is light and natural, it will find you if you let it.

Once my current source of inspiration fades, I will surely find another.

“

Two men looked out from prison bars,

One saw the mud, the other saw stars.”

Dale Carnegie

fairy

All the good things about painful childhood memories

No matter how tough you are, no matter how grown up and mature you are, there is a little girl living in every mother. A little girl that wants love and attention, that wants to be hugged and listened to, a little girl that has her own very sacred wishes, dreams, fears and emotions.
Who is that little girl and should we, moms, do anything about her?
Especially, when there is so little time to take care of our own children.

I think this little girl deserves attention. The kind of attention she was deprived of in her real childhood. The kind of understanding she never received (lucky you, who did). She deserves to get answers to her childhood questions (lucky you, whose parents always answered your questions as honestly and openly as they could).

If I learn to take care of that girl, I will be able to better listen to my own children and become a better mom. The painful memoirs from our childhood, the insults, the moments when our parents hurt us (intentionally or not) – all this is our personal “stairway to heaven”, the key to reach a better understanding and deeper awareness in our conscious adult life.

water-drop

In these moments of painful childhood memories, it helps me to make a short list of main things that hurt me most. When I shared a secret that was revealed to the whole world. When I was looking for a helpful advice but remained alone with my own doubts and fears. When I was looking for solitude but instead was disturbed and questioned. This is not a list of “things I will never do to my children”. This is only a list to remind us how wrong parents can be, how blind and insensitive they can behave, how deaf they can be to their kids.

And eventually, when I remember all the “bad” things, now, as a grown up, I feel grateful. I know it sounds weird but I do. Had it not been that sour experience of childhood betrayal, sorrow and all the big, unanswered Why’s –- –I would never become who I am now. I could have become rude and inattentive. I could have given these auto-pilot answers to my children’s questions or ask these silly auto-pilot questions and lead the most meaningless conversations with my kids. (“So, how was school today?” “Normal”).

But instead, every painful memory is a reminder, that the little girl is still there. Every time my child asks something I look in their eyes and listen carefully (even if I’m tired). Every time my child tells me something, I put my phone face down and it’s just us in the universe. My child, myself and the little girl in me, who grabs some attention on the way.

Mastering the skill of handling mom’s thoughts.

stones meditationWe take lots of things for granted without really paying attention. Health, income, blue skies, waking up every morning. Who has the time to put thought in all that when there are so many urgent tasks to take care of?

It’s only when we are about to lose or actually losing some of the good stuff, the thought strikes, but it’s too late.

One of mom’s healthy habits is learning to appreciate the “obvious” good things in life.

Here is my personal observation from my own life:

I see a mom entering a store with her child.

Her face is twisted, she is busy thinking about something or maybe has headache. Her child is jumping happily nearby but she doesn’t notice him. Is it taken for granted that she has a healthy child who has legs and arms, who can walk and jump? Is it taken for granted that this mom lives in a peaceful country and she doesn’t have to hide from bombs or suffer from hunger like millions of people? Is it taken for granted that she can afford to buy stuff she probably doesn’t need in a cosmetics department where I see her heading right from the entrance?

Why are the good things taken for granted but the bad things are always highlighted?

Since I’m the mom who likes to take action I decided to start the big change from myself.

frog change

The journey to the true being started long time ago but putting it into words isn’t an easy task – it took me a while to decide how to put it together nicely. I’ll break it into steps:

Step 1:

Creating a routine of watching one’s thoughts – any mom can do that, and kids can only help, since they constantly remind how messy life is, how useless lots of things are, how meaningless is everything (in a good way, I mean). Here is an example: mom cleans the table, child spills milk on it, mom cleans it again, then notices crumbs on the floor, she starts cleaning the floor, another child comes and accidentally steps on the accurate pile of crumbs ready-to-be-thrown into the garbage can. Mom has to start all over again. Do you see what I mean? Meaningless it is, and this is just an illustration, a reflection of everything we do. A super important project, a work plan, a diet or anything that looks important to you at this stage of life – on the big scale, it’s not more important than cleaning the bread crumbs. Remember, I said “on the big scale”, don’t catch me on this one.

Step 2:

After creating a healthy routine of watching one’s thoughts, a mom can start slowly pushing the thoughts in the right direction but never analyzing them too deeply (a very distracting and useless habit). By pushing thoughts into the right direction I mean actually planning the scenario of what is the next thing I am going to think about. Of course thins is not possible with kids screaming around, or when you are running late on the bus or any crazy thing of that kind. Once having mastered the skill, a mom can handle her thoughts pretty well even in stressful situations. It’s better to start practicing in calm environment though, better when you’re alone – spend the precious 10, 20, 30 minutes of solitude to watch the movie going on in your head. Some people call it meditation but you can call it white bunny if you like.

There are other steps but they are related to a more advanced stage of white bunny meditation (as you have guessed, it was all about meditation from the beginning of this article).