Do you make time for coffee, the drive to work, to make dinner? Do you stop what you’re doing to bathe your children, do the laundry and ask about their day? Do you plan ahead so that you can fit it all in? My BIG question is what have you made time for today that is just for you, for your goals, for your future? … Wait back the truck up… Have you made time to ask yourself what your goals are and what you want your future to be like?

Let’s start there…

Can you make time today to think about what you really want? Now. I think you can. How do you want to feel when you wake up 1 year from now?

Where to start…

The first time I asked myself what I really wanted, the vague lukewarm answer of “happy” came out…and when I was challenged to quantify that, I couldn’t. I didn’t know what being happy looked like…because for all too long what I thought happy was was actually just “not sad”…which is NOT the same. At the time I was using the word happy…which I equated to feeling less stress about all the shit I had to do, with real joy which is about taking back the power to choose what I will and won’t do, honor my body and my process, lean into the moments of stress and work through them instead of avoiding them and acknowledging the purpose and meaning of my life experiences…For me happy was defined as escaping and what I discovered is that I really wanted joy, which is about being more present.

How do you do that…

How do you lean in to stress without getting overwhelmed by it? Or fearful of it’s impact? How do you stop the worry that it will last forever or that “this is all that there is”?

Gratitude.

And I’m not talking about aimlessly saying out loud “I am grateful for my kids, and my house and the food in the fridge”…although it is good to be grateful for those things… It’s about allowing yourself to be grateful for the stressful experience as it is happening…whaaaaat?!? Dionne you’re nuts! Yes and hear me out…

When we face challenges and overcome them we grow…gooooood! Literally our brains develop new neurons and we actually grow! Awesome! And every stressful moment is simply a challenge to be faced. When we get stressed we have a choice as to how we are going to get through (or not get through) it. We are the ones who get to decide the value and meaning of what is stressing us out and ultimately how we physically, mentally and emotionally respond to what is going on. When we start down that road towards overwhelm, frustration, fear, anxiety we can work to stave off our usual response…break our habit of stress – overwhelm – anxiety – pain – numbing…stress – overwhelm… by simply interrupting our thoughts, by giving our brains something new to focus on and redirecting ourselves (like you already do with your kids and pets btw!!)

Here is what I do…

I ask … What is my body doing right now? What happens to my body when I pause and take 6 slow deep breaths? Inhale for 4, hold for 4 and exhale for 8. I am grateful for the influx of hormones that is preparing my body and mind to react and think quickly. I am grateful for my body’s natural response and for my ability to decide and control how long I will respond. I am grateful for my knowledge and awareness of my body’s connection to my mind and my ability to control how I show up in this moment by shifting my thoughts to identify the purpose and context of this moment. I recognize that although I may not know why this is happening, I trust that by focusing my energy on taking (slow) purposeful action I will figure it out. I am grateful for the time I have taken to reflect on what is happening to my body as a response to my thoughts. I feel powerful and capable of handling this situation as I trust that I am in control of how I respond. I choose to trust myself. I believe in my ability to shift from blaming and complaining to taking 100% responsibility and I know…

I am in charge.

I invite you to borrow my daily mantra…use it word for word or change it to suit your needs. Find the words that you need to hear, you need to say, you need to feel to know that…

You are in charge!

 

 

 

All good things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!