Live Inside Your Walls

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!

Take a MENET and Enjoy the Moment

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.

Wrong.

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!