You know how sometimes we have to hear something over and over before we “get it”? I was told several times to drop the shoulds. I’m a mom of 3 elementary school boys. There is so much I want to do for them. There is so much that I know I “should” be doing for myself. Let alone all the “shoulds” I should be doing for my marriage. That’s a whole lot of pressure when it feels like I should do rather than I want to do. I was conscious of my shoulds for a few days….maybe even weeks after each time I was told. And then, like any normal person, I stopped thinking about it and just tried to keep up with my busy life. Sound familiar? All good intentions, right?
Well, it just so happened that I was in a cancer support group and we were discussing all the good things we can do for our bodies and what each of us was concentrating on. I recalled the wonderful feeling of doing a few breathing exercises before leaving for work for the day. I really feel grounded when I do them and my whole day is smoother. Then I admitted that I only do them a couple times a month because life is so busy and I prefer to sleep. The facilitator started by suggesting ways that I can fit it into my day. Some very valid, but what I choose to concentrate on are the feelings it brings me when I do them. I choose to concentrate on awareness and not scheduling. I choose to do my stretching and breathing when I feel myself getting off track or when I want to indulge in a deeper connection to myself. I will not schedule this. I will not schedule this because more SCHEDULE will only bring me more STRESS and then how much am I really getting out of my practice? I choose to actively keep my mindfulness in check by surrounding myself with opportunities by reading and coloring and whatever else keeps the calm- grateful feeling in my life. I practice a couple times a month but I am always working towards more, but naturally. If it’s in a way that adds nurturing and lightness to my life, it’s more apt to be a practice I keep and even look forward to doing. To me this is a very organic way of making a lifestyle change. I’m working from the root of it into the practice and for now I’m very happy with it. It was such an “ah ha” moment for me. I went from understanding it at a surface level to it really sinking in to my life on my level. There is freedom in letting go of what is weighing us down. There is hope!
I should eat better, I should exercise, I should plan our dinner menu. New mind set says I always feel better when I eat healthy. I’m happier when I exercise and our family time goes so much smoother when I plan our meals in advance. Reframed to healthier, happier and easier existence makes these things seem much more do-able!
My challenge to you is to think about the shoulds in your life. What ones can you release yourself from and add back in, if you must, in a healthier more enjoyable way?
In Mind Body & Spirit, Tosha