That Facebook scroll that shows me a million articles on how my life is not quite good enough, the political rhetoric on the media that has me so confused that I feel a loss of control, the pressure to have my kids involved enough to enjoy activities but not involved too much to induce a loss of family, working on the Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Marriage – even though we don’t have a babysitter, feeding my family healthy food – is it organic – should it be organic – or more simply are they finally full, friendships that mean everything – you know, those friends I haven’t really spent quality time with in months, giving back to my community, taking care of the earth…so on and so on… The list is endless. Then one day I realized the only person actually putting the pressure on me to get this list of demands completed was me. I was allowing the stress.
So, to simplify, I began to pick away at the list in small tiny steps.
- Turn off the Facebook scroll – going from looking daily to a couple times a week.
- Turn off the TV and confusing media and watch a show or two on Netflix instead. Get my info by reading trusted sources.
- Just give myself a moment to think and watch. Are my kids happy? Are we having meals together? Write out their schedules and look at their lives.
- Grab my honey’s favorite gelato at the store. After the kids are asleep put some of our favorite old songs on my phone, lay in bed, talk and eat. The dishes will be gross in the morning and it will be harder to start the day with a messy house, but the light in my heart (and hopefully his!) will make it worth it.
- Send my friend a text, preferably with a funny memory from our childhood and a quick I miss you. They know – they are in the thick of it too.
- Pick up garbage around the park while the kids play – or better yet have them help. Small steps are still steps.
Now I didn’t do these things all at once, but gradually I have been taking each stressful situation in my life and trying to find some way to make it a little simpler. I didn’t take the situations completely off my plate, there is room for improvement still. But as I’ve mentioned before, lightening the load does just that – makes it all lighter. If gives us a little extra time to take a breath, to sit and smile, or to have a warm peaceful cup of tea and be grateful.
“I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” Wendell Berry
We are living in this crazy time that is starting to feel extremely polarized – right or wrong, get it done or don’t, say yes or no – and we are forgetting that our lives don’t have to be like that. It stiffens our hearts to always feel we are doing it perfectly right or we are failing. Allowing ourselves to let go and take small steps to being a better person allows us to actually live, and breathe, and enjoy this crazy thing we call life.