No I Shouldn't!!!

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