I was at my local grocery store and decided to use the self checkout lane. These lanes are designed to make our life easier and assist with us getting out of the store faster. However, like most things designed to make life easier, they don’t always do that. Sometimes you go through the self checkout and you find yourself thinking, I should’ve just stood in line.
Thats the thing about life there are no real shortcuts.
As I was checking myself out, I probably had way to many grocery for the self checkout, I heard the machine next to me saying “Help is on the way!” “Help is on the way” over and over. The lady using the machine was frantically looking around for said help. The cashier was busy assisting someone at that moment. The machine continue to sing out “help is on the way!” “help is on the way”. The lady tried to hit a few buttons, move her groceries around in the bagging area, but still nothing. She sighed a loud sigh and looked around again. I glanced at her and gave her a gentle smile and she shook her head in frustration, as she said “where is help when you need it. I can’t get this stupid machine to stop talking this is ridiculous.” I smiled a smile of it will be ok and said “Yes these things can be frustating. I’m surprised at how busy it is today. I’m sure she will be here soon.” She sighed another heavy sigh, poked the machine a few more times, and then finally gathered up all her grocery, “I’m just going to go get in another line, this is ridiculous. I don’t have time to wait around.” And she sped off.
No Sooner than she sped off, help walked up!
The cashier looked around and said where did they go? “she went to another line, I responded” The cashier cleared the machine and moved on to the next person. This moment was so profound to me.
In the alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes about the universe testing everything we have learned right before we are about to reach our destiny. He says things will get really hard and this is usually when most people give up. They give up right before the thing they really wanted is about to come true.
In life things will get hard, the road to success will be a bumpy ride it is only those that continue the road who will reach the success.
The key to staying the course is being patient and having trust that help is on the way.
When we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to get agitated, irritated, frustrated. It becomes the norm to complain. in fact, people expect you to complain. They say things like I don’t know how you are dealing with that, that is crazy how do you do it, better you than me, I couldn’t imagine, maybe you should go back to doing what you use to do, that’s why you don’t do things like that and so on and so on. Often times, they will hop on the bandwagon of complaining and even lead the path. (steer clear of these people)
You have to trust that you are on the path that God has laid out for you, you have to listen to your heart and persevere, you have to be patient knowing that good things come to those who wait. You have to trust the universe and believe that the universe wants you to succeed. You have to trust the lessons you are learning and believe there is something to be learned in every situation. You have to trust help is on the way.
“one dies of thirst just as the palm trees appear on the horizon”-the alchemist
Believing these things will allow you to continue to forge on during the moments of difficulty. The lady in line was just a few moments away from being seen. Had she taken just a few more moments to be patient and maybe ask herself what can I learn in this moment as I wait, her journey may have been easier and in the end faster. On my way out of the store she was still standing in line. Although she may accomplish her goal (checking out) it took a lot longer because she wasn’t patient and she didn’t trust help was on the way. There are no shortcuts to life, we will be tested, we will struggle along the way, but if we are following our hearts the journey will be faster than if we derail from the path, try to turn around, or worse stop.
In the famous words of Dory…..
“just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”
After brushing my teeth, I begin to put the few things away that were straggled on my counter. As I cleared the things, I stumbled across a spiderman toothbrush cover. I picked it up held in my hand and begin to smile. It was covered in old, hard toothpaste. It must have fell behind my counter, because the kid that adored this toothbrush holder was now in college. I sat down on the edge of my bathtub and listened to the silence. The silence that was once bliss and desired more than anything in the world. Tears begin to stream down my eyes as I held this tiny toothbrush holder in my hand. I looked around my bathroom and it was spotless. Not a thing out of place. I had spent yesterday cleaning it which explains how this tiny treasure had surfaced. I had longed for so long the desire to have a spotless bathroom, you know the kind that you see in magazines. And finally the day had come, and I was sitting in my magazine worthy bathroom balling tears of sadness. Why was I so sad? I pulled myself up and got dressed. Life was so different now, my house stayed clean, I had ample amount of quiet time and I was never short on me time. My career was thriving, yet my heart wished for the ‘good ole’ days. The days when I had tiny feet running about. The days when I had people storming into my bedroom asking me for help. The days when I had tiny arms wrapping around my neck and pecking me with little kisses. The days when my days were full of joyful chaos. Why had I rushed those sweet days away? Why was I in such a hurry for things to be different? Sure, I loved my life now and I enjoyed how things were, but there was still those sweet memories of yesterday.
What is it that makes us rush our present, in hopes of a better tomorrow only to get to tomorrow and wish for another yesterday?
I find myself, as a mother of 9 children at home, hoping for better tomorrows. Hoping that one day I don’t have to fuss as much. Hoping that one day my house will stay clean. Hoping that one day I will have an hour to myself. Hoping that one day I will get a moment of peace and quiet. I find myself daydreaming of these tomorrows. The problem is while I am daydreaming of these tomorrows the today is a blur. As a mother of 1 child out of the house, I find myself wishing for yesterdays when he was tiny. I know all to well what is to come, wishing for yesterdays; however I still find myself hoping for better tomorrows.
It’s almost as though society has arranged it for happiness to be impossible. The system has been setup to never be satisfied always wishing for something. It would have us believe we are incapable of living in the present. We have been programed to be living in the past or looking to the future rather eagerly or anxiously.
I have spent a lot time talking about kicking down walls and living outside the box. But for a moment I want us to live in the box. I want us to stop and look around our tiny little box and recognize the beauty of our box. Not concerned with what is going on outside the box, not wondering how we got into the box, but simply enjoying the box. For a moment we aren’t going to try to rip down the walls and get to a better place, instead we are going to say our box is our box and it’s enough! Can you make up your mind Tanyell….. I know, I know it can seem confusing. But, part of living beyond the walls is recognizing that our walls are our walls.
Let me explain. We take the time to build our perfect little four walls. For me my walls consist of my husband, 10 children, a dog, cat, a few small animals, my private practice, our inflatable business, our spirituality and view of the world, and a few other bricks. I have been careful with building these walls, being very strategic with each brick. However, inside these walls is chaos, craziness, madness, messiness, laughter, yelling, love, tears, laughter, and a plethora of other things. People will often come inside my four walls and begin to tell me what I need to change what I need to do different. I sometimes find myself comparing my four walls to other people four walls. And slowly, the beautiful bricks that I have strategically placed and the perfectly carved wood I have placed, I begin to chisel and hammer down. I find myself beating my bricks up and cutting my wood up with should and could. I find myself saying I can’t wait until this brick is gone or this wood is moved so I can_________ fill in the blank. My once perfect walls slowly get destroyed piece by piece by piece. The light shinning through isn’t a bright happy light of promises of freedom. The light shinning through is a blinding bright light that forces me to cover my eyes. My walls are crumbling and it doesn’t feel good.
In order to repair the holes in my walls, I must begin to plug them with memories and moments of the present. Take time to enjoy the tiny moments that are happening within them. The heftiness of life and all of it’s imperfections. It means allowing my littles to sleep in the middle one more night while my husband and I hold onto the edge of the bed. It means wiping tears and cleaning non existence booboos. It means stepping over toys and framing literal wall art. It means listening to the yelling and screaming and the details of who did it. It means putting the phone down to make eye contact and fully engage in a 20 min story about a teddy bear and barbie doll. It means reading one more bedtime story. It means walking into a bathroom with tissue hanging off the roll and toothpaste spilled across the counter top from little hands brushing little teeth.
Sometimes life beyond the walls means remaining in our four walls. Sometimes it means not allowing others to come inside of our walls and try to tear them down with their ideals and opinions. Life beyond the walls can mean seeing beyond our walls to know that everyones four walls are different and the beauty inside of each of them is to be held by the person living inside. Before you begin to chisel down the walls in your life, make sure they aren’t your four walls that you built.
After brushing my teeth, I begin to look around at the toys in the bathtub from last night baths, the toothpaste splatters on the mirror from big spits, the clothes on the floor that lead into the closet were pajamas were kept, the tissue dangling from the roll from someone who needed a piece to clean their nose. I looked around at the beautiful mess of life, fun, and memories. I took a deep breath, put my toothbrush away, and walked out of the bathroom leaving the mess for another moment. I went out into the living room and embraced myself for all the mommies and feels that were going to flood me before I could make my way to the coffee pot. I took the time and hugged each and everyone of them looking deep into their tiny eyes and feeling their tiny arms try to wrap around me. I hugged my bigs and remembered their tiny arms. I took mental pictures of this moment and listened to all the dreams and the plans for the day. I didn’t think about the dishes, the work load, the better tomorrows. I held onto this moment and closed in the holes of my walls so no light could get in and I could focus my eyes on the beauty of what was happening inside of my walls. And at that moment I begin to live life beyond the walls within my walls!
Funny thing about communication is everyone is talking about it but no-one is really doing it. Want to learn about communication, better ways to communicate, how to communicate with your spouse, how to communicate with your child, how to communicate at work, how to communicate your feelings you can easily walk into any bookstore and find 100’s of books surrounding the topic of communication. Don’t feel like stepping foot in a bookstore enter communication into the magic google bar and be ready to be overwhelmed with 1000’s of results on the topic. To lazy to type then push that magic button and ask siri and she will have tons of wisdom for you. If you rather talk to a real person, ask the person next to you about communication and they will have a wealth of information for you. You get it. Basically, information on communication is everywhere and everyone is talking about it, even me! However, many of these people aren’t doing it. It’s cliche, I know, however it’s time that we start communicating. Not just any kind of communicating but TLC.
What does the word communication mean? If we look at it’s latin roots, according to dictionary.com communicate comes from the latin word communicatus which means to impart or communicare impart or inform. However, like many things over the years, decades, and centuries the definition changed. Today communicate can be defined; according to merriam-webster.com, to get someone to understand your thoughts and feelings. Hence, this is what communication looks like for many Awww, this explains so much. Let’s begin, shall we?
Many people communicate with the intentions to get the other person to understand their thoughts or perhaps to try and sway or change another’s persons thoughts. There are many books that will even proclaim they can teach you how to do just this type of communication. Here is the problem with this type of communication, you aren’t communicating. Convincing possibly, swaying maybe, judging plausibly, debating probably. The issue with this definition and style of communicating is you aren’t simply informing but you are trying to get the other person to sway or understand your side.
If we stick to the basic definition of communicate, to inform, we can change the entire way we communicate. Inform is to simply give knowledge. What the person does with it, doesn’t really matter to you. Thus the saying agree to disagree. The type of Communicating I want to discuss consist of Talking, Listening, and Connecting. Yep, taken from my beautiful initials TLC. I base the principles of my therapy and coaching around this form of communication. Today I am going to break it down for you.
Talking – to communicate exchange ideas through speaking (Dictionary.com)
In order to properly communicate you must actually speak to the person. What I can’t send a text? Nope, you have to open your mouth and allow the beautiful sounds and words come out of your mouth. Let me pause for a second, and discuss this whole idea of communicating via text.
There is a time and place for communicating via text. Want to send a quick message, sure you can text that person. Already have a strong foundation of communicating, understanding, and a secure attachment, then sure you can communicate some things via text. The problem with texting as a foundation of communication is; I can’t hear your expressions and I can’t see your face. I can, however, misread and misinterpret your words that I am reading. Think about it, when we read a book, we all read the characters voice in different ways, we interpret certain things differently, we allow our imaginations to run free this is the beauty of reading. So, what makes reading a text any different. If I don’t have a strong foundation and secure attachment to you, then chances are I am going to misinterpret your text every single time. You text K, I read they are mad, they don’t want to talk to me, they are busy, they don’t care, and so on and so on. When in reality, you simply meant OK. Nothing more nothing less. You text, hey, how are you. They read, they really like me, they were thinking about me, this is going to be My future spouse, they are feeling me. When in reality, you simply wanted to say hi. You get the idea. Without the ability to look you in face or hear the expressions in your voice, I don’t really know what you mean. What this type of communication leads to is the new age communication debating. Trying to convince the other person of something, usually what you meant by the text and/or what they read.
Ok, hit play.
When you talk to someone you are telling them all about yourself, you are sharing your views of the world with them, they are learning how your mind works. Talking, when done properly, is a way of sharing your inner thoughts, your soul.
How do we effectively talk? The idea of talking is to converse without expectations. It’s a moment when you can allow yourself the freedom of expression without judgement. (we will get to that in a moment) I ask each of my couples to spend 15 min each day talking. I usually give the stipulation of not discussing kids, money, or work. Why do I give such a stipulation? Because this type of talking isn’t soul connecting. Many times people will have filler type conversations. You know the kind of conversations you have with someone while waiting in line or with the grocery cashier. You aren’t exactly bearing your soul to these people. Well, some of you may. I call this type of talking filler talk because you are simply filling space and time. You aren’t interested in really talking or listening to the person and you surely aren’t trying to connect with them. When I take out these 3 topics, many couples say, “what the heck will we talk about then Tanyell?” How about yourself, each other, your relationship, your dreams, your sorrows, and the list goes on. What many people fail to realize is that we are forever changing. Yes, you hear all the time. I am who I am, I can’t change them, I haven’t changed, and blah blah blah. If we didn’t evolve and grow, we would die. We would cease to exist as a species. If you haven’t changed since you were 20…. you get the gist. By constantly talking to each other, we are constantly connecting and learning.
Listening- to give attention with the ear. (dictionary.com)
Can you see how texting in the context of TL C communication isn’t effective. If you are communicating via text, you are reading with the eye, not listening with the ear. I won’t pause again to lecture on texting. Listening is an important part of communication, in fact I would say it is probably the most valuable part. When we listen to a person, we are simply hearing the information they are giving. We aren’t waiting to reply, rebuttal, report, refute, review, restate, or any other r word that I can’t think of right now! Wait, I have another one, respond. (I humor myself) We are simply listening. When we truly listen to a person speaking, we are able to hear their soul. A person who is being listened to doesn’t feel the need to convince the other person to see things their way. They feel heard and when they feel heard they feel secure enough to talk. See what I did there? (insert emoji wink) Missed it? Ok, let me break it down. In order for a person to feel secure enough to talk to you they must feel that you are listening. This is why filler conversations will take place in lines, because honestly, who feels secure enough to actually talk to the person in line with them. (yes, I put a period. That wasn’t a question. (inert emoji side eye))
How do you know you are listening? When you are listening to a person, they don’t feel the need to change their communication style to convince. In order to listen effectively, you have to hear the person without judgement. A lot of times, when we are listening to a person talk, we are judging. Listening for certain words and key words. Listening with an intent to respond. When you are listening in the context of TLC, you are hearing the person. There aren’t any distractions. This means no cellphones, no tv, no video games, no cleaning, no chores, no computer, and definitely no kids. (the ultimate distraction) You are focused whole heartedly on the person speaking. Giving eye contact. Asking non judgmental or accusatory questions. Really hearing the expression in their voice. It isn’t about you. Ok, I am going to attempt to give an example of this, but remember reading vs listening is different. Here it goes!
P, "How was your day?"
J, Breathes hard, "Long."
P, "Wow, it sounds like it. Anything happen in particular today?"
J, "Not really, I had a report due today, and it wasn't quite right. So, I had to reconfigure some things and it just consumed my entire day."
P, "Awe, Sounds like you spent your entire day redoing work that felt like you already did. That seems like it could be frustrating."
J, "extremely frustrating!"
P, "I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it?" and the band played on
What would usually happen in this conversation is A. P would ask how was your day. J would respond with long. P would get irritated with the short response because they missed the exasperated breath J took and the look of exhaust on their face. or B. P would begin an interrogating round of questions because P has an interior motive of trying to figure out why J didn’t answer their phone or text earlier. See the difference? In order to effectively listen, you have to be selfless. This part of the TLC isn’t about you, it’s about the speaker. You had your chance or your chance to talk is coming. It’s their chance. When you remove yourself from listening, you are able to effectively listen to the person talking. And you will be able to officially hear what it is they are trying to inform you about. This leads us to the final and most beautiful part.
Connecting- To join, link, or fasten together. Unite or bind latin- tie (dictionary.com)
Feeling connected to someone is one of the most important human needs. Connection comes in many different forms for humans. There is emotional connection, physical connection, mental connection, spiritual connection, sexual connection. Communication can provide all these types of connections. When you Talk to someone and Listen to someone, it ties you together, it unites you. You feel a connection to them. When a person opens their soul to you, and you receive it, an exchange happens that allows you to connect to the person on a deeper level. Keep in mind this is a double lane road, it isn’t a one way street. This is the difference in a relationship, say with a, therapist. Sometimes a person will begin to feel a connection with their therapist, but that connection can’t be solidified or deepened unless the therapist crosses boundaries and begins to talk to the client. Without both persons being active participants in the T and L, you can’t have the C. How will I know I am connected? Because you will feel it… ok, ok, ok…. I will give detailed answer. You will know you are connected because you will feel secure. You will be ok with a text message that reads K. You will be ok with those short conversations via text. You won’t feel rejected when your phone call isn’t immediately answered. You won’t get defensive when your talking and they are informing. You will feel secure, safe, satisfied. The feeling of connectedness is individual. We can’t tell a person when she or he feels connected, but we can see it. Actions are different when people feel connected. The entire purpose of communication is to become connected. You communicate to inform to connect. Communicate is equal to connect. Definition numero 2 of connect, according to dictionary.com, is to establish communication between. I want to connect with you, I want to communicate with you. You can’t have connection with communication and you can’t communicate without connecting. They are joined at the hip.
Finishing it up…..
I saw a funny post the other day.
The thing about this post is the husband who wins, probably, gives TLC to his spouse. They have a secure attachment to one another. More than likely he has already effectively communicated with his wife and she doesn’t feel the urge to call him, text him, dm him, FaceTime him, snapchat him, message him, or whatever else she could possibly do via phone. The wife who calls first, unless of course there is an emergency, more than likely is lacking TLC. So you see, you can’t define connectedness, but you can see it. It shows up in actions. More than likely the moment the rules where stated, the husband with the best communication skills, cheated, and informed his wife about the game! No? Ok, I guess we are the only ones that would cheat…. (insert embarrassed emoji)
This post inspired this blog. I see the couple who lost in my office and I hear the partner exasperation when they say to me, “I called and text him all night and he didn’t answer!! His excuse, he was playing some dumb a@$ game! A game was more important than calling me or answering my calls?!” I hear the defeat/confusion in his voice when he says, “I didn’t know this was going to cause ww1. It was just a game, it wasn’t that serious. They knew I was out, where I was, I don’t understand. I was only gone for a couple of hours.” This is the result of lack of TLC. Rather than the husbands laugh, high five, and poke fun at the husbands who lost and got a phone call, they should be turning to the husband who didn’t get a phone call, and asking them about communication.
Often times, life gets unbalanced and we feel an uneasiness about different areas of our lives. We may not feel as happy or drained. This is a clear signal that our wheel of life needs to be rotated and balanced. Here is a free tool for you to regain control over your life and happiness. Download and print off the wheel of happiness.
Choose 8 areas in you life that you want to be happier in. Then on a scale of 1-10 10 being 100% happy and satisfied score how happy you are with each area of your life.
After you have scored your wheel, it is time to take action! Use this worksheet to begin taking action on getting your happiness back.
Feeling stuck, enlightened, or want some encouragement to help you begin taking action. Setup an appointment today and let’s work together on getting back to your happy!
Have you ever watched a baby learn how to walk? Have you ever watched how a baby seizes the day and every single moment? Have you ever marveled at how babies are able to continue on after the difficult times in their lives? Babies are a perfect example of how we are suppose to live our lives. What we are designed to be. Imagine if we immersed ourselves into every single new day focusing on what we were learning at that exact moment. Imagine if when we were blessed with a new day we never looked back at yesterday. Imagine if we focused only on today as though there was no other day.
It’s amazing to me how when babies begin to walk they don’t revert back to crawling. (well most times) No matter how many times they stumble or how wobbly they are,they continue to press forward with walking. They don’t fall and say, “to hell with this, I’m going back to crawling”. They pick themselves up and continue to wobble forward laughing and marveling at the new skill they have learned. They don’t think about the ‘good ole days’ or ‘when things were easier’ They don’t focus on running or what they will do next. They are simply focused on putting one foot in front of the next! Isn’t that simply amazing!
The problem with adults is, we get stuck in the past. We get stuck with the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. We get stuck with the remember when. No matter where we move in life, the past somehow continues to creep up. Unable to not only forget the past, but also unable to move forward, we are frozen in what use to be. To add to this dilemma, adults are delusional and have a false reality that they are getting a tomorrow. Adults just automatically assume the future is a promised thing. (entitled much) Post on entitlement of the future coming soon!
What is it about the past that is so enticing? My theory is it’s because we have the capability of looking back without futuristic vision. We are able to have an unobstructed view of the past. We are no longer in that moment only to be thinking about the future, so we are able to separate our feelings and really see it for what it was. But the funny thing is the past is happening right now. It’s unfolding taking place even as I type these words. The 1st paragraph of this topic is now in the past. Isn’t that amazing!
With this new found information, can you begin to grasp how important it is to embrace every single moment as it is happening and live it out to the fullest? Where are you right now in your life? Maybe not exactly where you want to be, and that is ok. Like a baby you may have just started walking, still wobbly, and not quite as fast as the other toddlers around you, but YOU ARE walking!! You did it, you stood up on your two feet and took steps! How amazing is that. Immerse yourself in that feeling of goodness. Applaud yourself for your efforts. I guarantee you, when you start running, you are going to find yourself thinking about when times were simpler and you were just starting to walk. You are going to want to take yourself back to this moment of time, partly because you didn’t allow yourself to really and fully enjoy it when it was happening. While you were learning to walk, you were thinking about how hard it is, how you keep falling, how you should go back to crawling, how you can barely stand and you wish you could run like everyone else. The moment you start running, you will be tired and tired of running wishing you could go back to days of just starting to walk. See this vicious cycle?
The past wouldn’t be as glorified in the present if we actually were present in the past. And the present wouldn’t appear so unpleasant if we were fully present in the present.
Ok, Ok Tanyell I get it I need to focus on the present. This isn’t new information, I have heard this all before. You got me there! However, you still aren’t living in the present. Why is that? My theory, glorified partial past and glorified promised futures. See society has a way of making us think we are suppose to reminisce about the good ole days. Even the word reminisce definition is glorified.
Thesaurus definition: Reminisce – indulge in enjoyable recollection of the past.
My definition: Reminisce- indulge in a filtered recollection of the past.
Yep filtered because we are able to filter out the bad or filter out the good to meet our needs. Don’t believe me? How was your day yesterday?
Why do people come together to talk about the good ole days, when they should be focused on the time they are spending together at that moment. Society has a way of making us think we are all promised a tomorrow. Save for the future, better days are coming, try again tomorrow, you will get it next time. All these little catch phrases that were designed to encourage us, however, they somehow prevent us from enjoying this day. Basically our today is never good enough until it’s our yesterday.
This same backwards thinking is often tried to be pushed onto to our innocent little babies.
Think about it. Your beautiful baby is born and you enjoy that first month, but then you start saying things like I can’t wait for them to sit up by themselves. You will even prop them up to sit up. The race is on for them to sit up at 3 months. But baby just wants to suck eat, drink, sleep, and poop. Baby isn’t in a hurry to sit up. Baby doesn’t even know that there is a such thing as tomorrow. Then the day comes they sit up, for like two seconds. The next day you are trying to get baby to sit up again, but baby forgot that it sat up yesterday. Yesterday is history. They are only concerned with the little piece of paper in front of them at the moment. Finally, finally baby sits up for like 2 mins and does it again and again! How awesome is this. Clap, clap, clap, clap! Your ecstatic. But a short three week later, you are pushing for them to crawl. They sit up, they clap their hands, they laugh, they smile, still excited about this new thing they are doing. You. Crawl baby crawl. Baby sits up, claps hands, laughs, still amazed at what it can do. You. Put baby on belly, crawl baby crawl. A few months later. The baby begins to crawl! Hallelujah! You rejoice, you post pictures, you call family members, you show everyone. Your baby is finally crawling. I mean they are only 4 months (they must be a baby genius) or It took forever they are like 7 months. (what is wrong) Either way, they are finally, finally crawling and you are thrilled! Until you find out baby g down the street is walking. (gasp) Now you are pushing for baby to walk. Walk baby. When will my baby walk. All the other babies are walking! Then one fine Friday morning your baby finally walks! Everyone is soo excited. The day has finally come! You have been waiting for this moment forever. Your baby is walking. (he is only 8 months baby genius) Your baby is finally walking (she is 15 months, something is wrong) But then suddenly and unexpectedly a sadness comes over you, and you remember the day that your now walker was first born and so tiny. Where did the time go? Those same people who were asking you if they were sitting up, crawling, walking are now saying to you, don’t blink time goes by fast, you better enjoy it they grow up fast, before you know it they will be grown. You now want THOSE days back. You wish you could slow down time. You know it’s only a matter of time that this now walker will be running. You long for the good ole days. You wish your walker would let you cuddle them. Now your filtered memory has forgotten the late nights, the colic crying, the spilled milk. What you have filtered through is all the good and you want it back.
Tell me, when were you ever fully present? At any of these moments did you get down on your knees and crawl with your baby? Did you marvel at how their little knees hit the floor? Did you see how their belly would drag along the floor as they slid across it? Did you wash their facial expression as they crawled day after day. Sure you have tons of pictures, but when you see those pictures can you recall the smells, the sounds, does the picture come to life? Sure you were excited, but did you feel your heart beating, did you feel your babies heart beat? Where you fully present? Did you ever fully enjoy that tiny milestone? Do you remember when your baby had you up all night crying and crying, what did your baby smell like? What did their cry sound like? What did their tears taste like as you tried to calm them and kiss their tiny cheeks? What did their skin feel like, their tiny heart beat, their hair on your lips? What did their face look like, what did their eyes say to you? Or do you just remember how miserable you were.
Let me ask you. When was the last time you stopped and looked into your chid’s eyes. I mean literally looked into their soul. Your partners eyes. Your eyes. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and looked into your soul? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and actually heard what their voice sounded like. The way they pronounce certain words. When was the last time you tasted every single flavor in a food or a drink? When was the last time you felt someones skin and felt how soft or rough it was? When was the last time you felt the air on your face. Being present, is more than just putting your phone down. It’s about taking in the moment with every single sense that God gave you. Think about the caveman days. They had to live in the present or the dangers of the world would have made humans extinct. They didn’t have time to reminisce about the yesterdays. They couldn’t worry about tomorrow because they were too busy trying to stay alive today. There is a reason we have five senses, but most of us only use one them. Can you guess which one?
Babies live in the very essence of the day. They use every single one of their senses every single day. When they look into your face they examine it intensely, they touch it, they smell you, they listen to your words with such intensity, and then they go in for the kill and taste you! (we call it kisses) They are fully immersed in you as a being and that exact moment with you. They aren’t distracted with anything else going on. You could have just let baby cry it out. (I hope not) Yet, baby isn’t mad or concerned with what just happened they are focused on the right now. They aren’t worried that in a few minutes you are going to put them down for a nap. They are only thinking about this moment. How incredibly beautiful is that.
If you haven’t figured out how to live in the now, after reading all of that. I’m going to tell you now. Every single day take a menet and be present with what you are doing. Umm you spelled minute wrong. Nope, not that kind of minute but a Mouth, Eyes, Nose, Ears, Touch menet! (if you don’t know by now, I’m cheesy) 😉 But you won’t forget it!
No matter what it is you are doing take some time and use your five senses! Sure you don’t want to walk around tasting every single thing, but you can take a moment and realize the taste you have in your mouth during that moment or the sensations in your mouth. Is your mouth dry or watery. However, when the opportunity fits, use your mouth and taste. I remember my now 13 year old daughter eating dirt one day as she was playing. She wasn’t a baby, but much older. I said to her why did you eat dirt. Her response, I wanted to know what the earth that I was playing on tasted like. How profound!
Now that we have went through all of that. I want you to go back and reread this, only this time take a menet while reading it!
Over the past few months, my life has been turned upside down. (yes that happens to all us) I have found myself having to take a step back and really reevaluate this thing called life. It’s amazing how we can be on the journey of life cruising along, thinking we are heading in the right direction, but suddenly, we look up and think, wait, where am I. Often times, we have to stop, pull over at a rest stop, take a break, and reassess our journey. This journey of life isn’t a short road trip, it’s a long journey.
Many times, I hear people ask what is my purpose, what is the purpose of life, what does it mean to live? We often think, that we have to have some grand purpose in this life and if we aren’t doing something majorly huge, then we aren’t living or our life serves no purpose. During my rest stop break, I started asking myself these same questions. I was confused, discombulated, and honestly I felt lost. I had to get off the road and recollect my thoughts. The funny thing about life is it doesn’t stop when we do. The season keep changing, the earth continues to spin, and people continue to drive right pass you. I realized that taking this rest stop was good for a short time, but I needed to get back on the road and continue on my journey, the longer I sat here the more time I wasted.
I got back in my car and began to drive. (I resumed life) But what was life, what was I resuming? Sure I was functioning, doing the basic things in life. I was driving, turning on my blinkers, stopping at stop lights, turning, checking my mirrors the basic things to get by and survive, but was I really living. This question alone snapped me out of my trance for a brief second. One day, I was on my way to do a mundane, basic life duty and I glanced out of my window to notice a tree that was losing all of it’s leaves. I thought to myself, wow that is such a beautiful sight. This got me to thinking. I started looking at all the trees, some had more leaves than others, some had lost all of their leaves, but no matter the amount of leaves they had they all stood tall and firm! The branches swayed with the wind and there was something majestic and moving about the way the trees lived. It was a heart stopping moment for me. Trees are not concerned with how many leaves they have, the amount of leaves does not define them. A tree with leaves is a tree and tree without leaves is STILL a tree. They are not concerned with the seasons or what will happen to them with each season. They aren’t concerned with the trees surrounding them. Each tree no matter how small or tall stands proud on it’s own. A trees only concern is to LIVE. WIth each season, with each mighty wind, the trees only concern is to blow in the wind and LIVE! How prophetic and profound is that? (i’ll wait while you meditate on it)
Trees are not concerned with how many leaves they have, the amount of leaves does not define them. A tree with leaves is a tree and tree without leaves is STILL a tree.
Yeah, it’s pretty amazing! With a new sense of reality and thought process, I began to think about how we live our lives. I began to think about how we react when we lose things or people we get angry, sad, we fall over, we shrink, we slouch, sometimes we lose a little of our boldness, and with different seasons we are affected. Society has created this box and forced us into it, making us believe this is how we are supposed to respond, react, and live. In reality, society tried to do the same thing to trees. They try to define a trees purpose and decide when a tree is dead or alive. But despite society attempts trees refuse to succumb to these titles, definitions, and they certainly refuse to live in a box. A tree, society has said, purpose is to provide us shade, even when there is no one to provide shade for a tree still stands tall. We had a tree in our yard that was no longer growing leaves, and my husband declared it was dead. However, the tree still stood tall and strong, was it dead simply because it didn’t look the way society says it should look? I then began to realize, I have been lied to my whole life. The one and only purpose in life is to live, THAT’S IT. No matter what religious, spiritual, or belief system you come from every one of them talk about living. The only command given to Adam and Eve was to live. We taint our very existence with our own thoughts. But thoughts that were given to us by whom? Even Adam and Eve didn’t get the thought of eating the apple from themselves. If you listen to your core, authentic self, it is screaming let me free let me live.
I have been lied to my whole life. The one and only purpose in life is to live.
Ok Tanyell, but how in the world do I live? What does it mean to live? You are doing all this talking about living, but I still don’t know what it means to live. Okay, Okay! To live, means to be free, to enjoy life no matter the season, the ups and the downs. To live, means to see and marvel in the beauty given to us by Nature. To live, means to love someone and share love with those around you. To live, means to smile, laugh, feel joy. To live, is taking notice of your body and the miracle that it is. To live, is to do more of what makes you happy! To live, is fully grasping how massive the universe is and how small we really are. To live, is to know that you breathing alone and standing tall, is fulfilling a purpose in this universe you may never know nor understand. Do you think a tree knows that it is providing us with oxygen? Does a tree brag and marvel in the idea that without it, humans would die? A tree is simply content with being a tree, swaying in the wind, standing tall and strong, and living through another season. Living, is stepping outside the box and allowing the light to hit your eyes. Living, is seeing all there is to see right in front of you in the present moment. When you are truly living, walls begin to fall down and you begin to experience opportunities you never knew existed. You meet amazing people and hear amazing stories. You go to places and see things you never been or seen before. You gain an unlimited amount of knowledge. You find purpose and joy in things you never knew could bring you such emotion. You focus on each present moment and the beauty that lies within it. Your world opens up to endless possibilities and experiences. You fully understand that life is an amazing adventure given to us as a gift. When you are living, you understand, truly believe, and feel with your heart there is no other greater purpose in life other than to live. This is our purpose in life.
I use to think life was predetermined or that we all had a fate. I had the thought process of what’s meant to be will be what’s not won’t. And although I still believe this to be true, I don’t believe it is completely true. My thought’s on life are shaped and reshaped daily. I am forever growing, changing, and evolving. This, to me, is what leads to wisdom, enlightenment, and peace. I recently had a growth spurt, and my view on life shifted. I have come to believe that life is simply several choices being played out in reality. Each choice that I make leads to another set of choices, that ultimately leads to my reality. Think of it as a movie, choices is the script, life is the movie, and you are the director, The director writes the script and the script determines the movie. You make the choices and the choices determine your life.
I recently read the book The Other Wes Moore. It was a well written and fascinating story about two young men who share the same name, similar backgrounds, grew up in similar neighborhoods, yet one is serving a life sentence in prison while the other one was a Rhodes Scholar. While reading this book, it was interesting to see how each one of their choices lead them to their current realities. They were each faced with several life changing choices and their decisions shaped their fate. You often hear people say, “I was dealt a bad hand” this saying holds truth. There are many people who are simply dealt a bad hand in life, however how they play that hand can determine how the game ends. We don’t always get to choose our cards, but we get to choose how we play those cards. What I took away from this book is that my current situation is an outcome of the choices I have made both good and bad. My life is a reflection of my choices. There are some choices I regret making and some that bring me joy, however, every single one of those choices lead me to this exact moment. To remove or change any of those choices would certainly change the movie. While this idea may explain why many people suffer from depression and have regrets do to their past choices, it also gives us hope in understanding that with every new day comes an opportunity to change our future. Understanding the power choices have on our lives makes me take pause. The good news is, if you don’t like where your life is going, you don’t like the script you can change it! With one little choice your entire life can be set on a new path.
When I look at my children, especially my babies, the joy, thrill, and new expectations they have for every single day, it becomes clear to me on what I could experience with every new day. Waking up every day with no regrets from yesterday, because today will bring new opportunities, new choices, new direction, and a chance to course correct can be liberating and freeing! There is freedom in knowing that life offers us new chances every single day to get it right. In order to fully enjoy this gift you must be mindful in your present moments. Taking each and every choice seriously and using great thought. To take a choice for granted can be detrimental, because that choice may ultimately be your last choice. Here is another analogy (for those that love analogies). It’s like a game of chess, you have many choices in the beginning of the game, but with each choice comes either more choices or fewer choices. As you continue to play, if you continue to make bad choices, one of those moves are going to be your last moves because you will have nowhere else to go. That one move became your fatal move your last choice. Knowing and understanding this, you must be direct in your choices. One more analogy! Life is a journey. We are going along for the ride and on the road we will come to lights, stop signs, crossroads, and many other traffic situations that require us to make a choice. How we choose, and what we decide to do will ultimately determine our destination. If you can make conscious choices while enjoying the journey, life will certainly be good.
Here are 10 Steps that could improve your life and begin to break down the walls in your life. Try to apply just one of these to your life for a week and see the impact it has on your life and watch the walls begin to crumble. Then share your experience with me!
What is with people and complaining? Seriously, what does complaining do for people that they insist on doing it? Does it provide some type of euphoria? Why is it sooo extremely difficult for people to just be happy? No matter what the circumstance is people just never seem to be happy. I was watching The Bible over the weekend, and they came to the scene from the book of Exodus when Moses had assisted in setting his people free from the hands of pharaoh. In the scene, the people were at the red sea and they were all complaining, yelling, and so upset with Moses. They were complaining about the location he had brought them to, complaining about food, complaining about everything. I thought to myself, really people this man (with the help of God) just rescued you from slavery and a life of poverty and torture and yet all you can do is complain. Then it dawned on me this is true for many people. You can give some people the moon with a red bow and they will say, I asked for the sun or why is the bow red. You have those women that complain about their husband, their children, their job. Those men that complain about their wife, their job, their life. I decided to dig a little deeper into understanding complaining, and what I learned is that complaining does in fact provide people with something, it’s called connection! What every human being wants is connection to feel connected to other people. Because complaining is a universal language, what better way to connect to others than through complaining and sharing in unhappiness. I have been to several play groups and the moms will sit together and somehow it turns into a big complaint fest almost to the point of competition on whose complaint is bigger and worse. It amazes me that you if don’t participate in this complaining fest you are isolated, and sometimes even frowned on. Even though connecting to other people is essential for human survival, and complaining can be a healthy outlet, there is a such thing as too much complaining and becoming a chronic complainer.
“I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.” Indian Proverb
My question today is, are you a chronic complainer? Well, Tanyell, I don’t think I am. I mean I don’t really complain, I just state the facts. It’s not complaining when you aren’t happy about something. I wouldn’t necessarily say I complain, I just say when I don’t like something. These statements are fair, valid, and may prove that you are an expressive complainer, however they may also be cover ups for a chronic complainer. So let us explore the chronic complainer.
Symptoms of a Chronic Complainer consist of but are not limited too:
complain without the hope of connecting or resolution
complain but never listen to others complaints
compare their complaints to others in order to prove theirs is worst
unable to see when others aren’t interested in hearing their complaints
complain to anyone who will listen
always the victim
When a person is around a chronic complainer they leave feeling depressed, drained, sad, annoyed, and feeling like the conversation was pointless and time-consuming. They feel as though the relationship may be one-sided and unsure on what they are getting from the relationship. As a chronic complainer, the person tends to complain to just about anyone about anything. When the person offers advice or solutions, the chronic complainer typically does not adhere to them. They complain without purpose. In their complaining they are usually the victim and it is everyone else around them that is the problem. A chronic complainer will typically dominate the conversations with others. If you find this to be you or find yourself surrounded by a Chronic complainer, have no fear there is treatment.
Treatment for Chronic Complaining
The next time you find yourself getting ready to launch out some complaints, ask yourself three questions. Why is this complaint important, who am I complaining to, and what do I hope to accomplish by launching this complaint. By asking yourself these questions, it allows you time to really marinate on if the proposed complaint is in fact a valid and expressive complaint or if you are on your way into chronic complaining mode. I don’t get it Tanyell, this isn’t making sense to me. Ok, let me give you an example. You have a complaint about your friends children never cleaning up after themselves when they come over to play. You’re friend just left and you are getting ready to launch this complaint to your loving husband. The first question you ask yourself, why is this complaint important? (Because you are tired of your friends kids leaving a huge mess for you and your poor child to clean up after they leave, adding one more thing to your already long to do list. You feel as though it is inconsiderate). Ok, that is valid. Next, Who are you launching this complaint to? (My husband). Ok, valid. What are you hoping to accomplish from launching this complaint? (I need validation in knowing that I am not wrong for feeling this way, and I need a way to approach her and address this issue). Valid. This complaint passes and may be launched. The second part to treating chronic complaining is when you approach the person who is receiving the complaint let them know before launching what you need from them. “Honey I need to talk to you about something. I need to make sure I am not crazy in feeling this way, and if I am not crazy some suggestions on the best way to handle it.” By doing this you are allowing the other person a clear understanding of their purpose, therefore, they do not feel drained after the conversation. By taking these very easy steps prior to launching a complaint, you can easily deter yourself from becoming a chronic complainer.
“People who never achieve happiness are the ones who complain whenever they’re awake, and whenever they’re asleep, they are thinking about what to complain about tomorrow.” Adam Zimbler
Although complaining can provide some relief and it can be healthy, there are times to see the cup half full and not complain. Many times complaining doesn’t serve a purpose at all. Going back to the story of Moses and Exodus, did they really have reason to complain? What was there complaining going to achieve? In reality their complaining was pure proof of ungratefulness and the inability to be satisfied. Complaining can sometimes say, yea sure I have somethings but these things aren’t good enough. What is for me isn’t good enough for me. When you really look at your life, should you be complaining? This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be better or do greater things, it simply means instead of complaining be like Nike and Just do it. There is no need in complaining about the cup being half empty. Complaining isn’t going to fill the cup up. What will fill the cup is direct action from you. Complaining simply slows this action down. Imagine what would happen if you went one full day without complaining, and instead made improvements or actions toward improving the things you were unhappy about. Imagine the joy you would feel, the relief, the freedom from worry. How much easier would life be if you simply went to the friend and expressed your dislike of her behavior and rather than complaining about it. Although complaining can be an outlet, it often times leaves us feeling worse, drained, confused, upset, madder, and array of other unwarranted feelings. The bad far outweighs the good when it comes to complaining. Typically people who complain less and see the glass half full are happier, less stressed, and many times successful. Why focus on the negative, if you don’t like something change it and if you can’t change it, there is no sense in complaining about it. The time and energy you spend complaining on things you could be using changing things.
“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
The next time you find yourself at a complaining party, really take a moment and ask yourself am I getting pleasure out of this, are these people happy, is this how I want to spend my time, what am I getting from this, and what could I be doing right now instead of this? Then focus in on the people at the complaining party and decide if you want to be like any of these people. Do any of these people hold traits, qualities, or even the kind of life you would like to see for yourself? If you find the answer to these questions is no, it may be time to find yourself a new party to attend.
“The person enjoying life is to busy living life and therefore does not have time to complain about life” Tanyell