This morning, on a walk down to the local pool, I had one of those ‘Aha’ moments. As Alice’s chubby arms gripped my neck, she chitchatted my ear off while riding along on my back. There was nothing unusual about the day, the weather, or anything really, but as Alice continued to narrate her sightings, I caught a sentence that really grabbed my attention.
“Look Mom!”, Alice exclaimed. “So many stairs (pointing to a tall building’s rickety fire escape). It’s a CASTLE! And look at the car (pointing to a dirty SUV in the parking lot)! So BEAUTIFUL!”
I stopped walking and burst out laughing. Oh, to see the world from a toddler’s perspective!
Alice’s joyful ability to see beauty in the every day is quite literally the holy grail of mindfulness and the key to happiness – something that I have been struggling with for so long. So why IS it so difficult to get out of our heads and to truly recognize the simply mind-blowing awesomeness that surrounds us when toddlers like Alice come by it so easily?
I recently listened to Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” audiobook. I’m not one for self-help books, but it came recommended so I thought that I would give it a try. Despite being off work, surrounded by my kids and husband and being on vacation, I was still having trouble turning my brain off and bringing my anxiety levels down. I hoped maybe this read could help me seek perspective. Basically, the ‘Coles Notes’ version of the feisty, tongue-in-cheek life advice was to get a grip and just realize that your life is already awesome.
Ok, truth time. Almost on the daily over the past month, Blake and I have had this recurrent, ongoing exchange:
Blake: “Celia, relax! Just relax!”
Me: “I AM RELAXED!” (While furiously tidying up toys, gathering strewn laundry and simultaneously trying to brush the kids’ teeth).
Blake: “Ok, you’re seriously not relaxed. Chill out!”
Me: ” YOU’RE MAKING ME MORE UN-RELAXED BY TELLING ME TO RELAX! I. AM. RELAXED!!!”
And on it goes until Blake pushes a generous pour of red wine into my hands and forces me to stop moving for an instant.
Much to my chagrin, I have to admit, Blake is right. I have a hard time relaxing. I come by it honestly (sorry, Mom) and feel like the world is spinning out of orbit if the laundry is in a pile, unfolded, or if I haven’t swept the floors in more than 2 hours. I know theoretically that the dishes in the sink won’t be the impetus for World War III, but I literally cannot sit down unless those oatmeal-covered breakfast bowls are rinsed and tidily placed in the dishwasher. Blake often jokes that I have a disorder and a true inability to chill out. Fine, I’ll be the first to concede that he is probably right, but seriously, how can anybody live with all of this mess everywhere (insert head-exploding emoji)!!!
In my opinion, there are definite benefits of my ‘disorder’:
Buuuuuuuuuuut, let’s get real. I also acknowledge the serious downside to my insanity:
So, here are my lofty challenges to myself after much reflection during my time off.
Let it go. Slow down – well, actually, sit my @$$ down once in awhile for starters. Put. Down. The. Broom. Understand that order can never be achieved with a husband, a dog and a three and four year-old in the house. Stop trying to ‘get a break’ from my life, but try to build a life that I don’t need to escape from. Recognize the awesomeness that surrounds me. Find beauty in the ordinary.
I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂
Anyway, here is to a fabulous three weeks spent as a family in Nelson, BC. Kelowna, we’re coming atcha next for some more spring skiing!