Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seeing Clearly

This morning I was working on a class for the Power of Moms Retreat coming up on June 11th.   Saren and I will be team-teaching a session called "Taking Care of the Person Inside the Mom," and we're dividing it up into spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of "personhood."

One quotation we are going to discuss is by Adlin Sinclair: "You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon.  To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions."

Sometimes changing our circumstances doesn't mean becoming more wealthy, more talented, more involved in the community, or more like all the people we admire (in the possessions we acquire, the clothes we wear, the causes we support, etc.).  Sometimes the best way to change our circumstances is to change the way we look at our lives and to finally begin to see things clearly.

Saren sent me an email tonight telling me that one of our Retreat attendees is looking to figure out how to "get it all done":  


"There is SO much that we as moms need to do right?  Right now, I am stressing over my three-month supply, mind organization for mothers, house cleaning, decluttering, exercise, cooking, the list could go on and on and on. I want to be a mom that can do it all. Sometimes I think that I should and could do it all.

"In my sane mind, I can see that doing it all is not possible all the time. Sure, I hope to come home with some better ideas on how to do some of the important things we need to accomplish. But today I had the thought that what I hope to get out of this retreat is that I am who I am, and I need to learn how to be happy with that. I love my children, I love being a mom, I love my husband, I have a good life, and I want to enjoy it. I don't want to be "trying" so hard all the time. 

"So the question on my mind is this... How can I learn to be content and enjoy my life?

"I'm not one that strives for mediocracy, or is happy just living.  I'm constantly pushing my limits, trying to do better, trying to learn how to be better, trying to be like this person or having what this mom has.  I truly do like setting goals, and trying to improve. But seriously, should life be full of pushing ourselves? Or is there a line and a balance of trying, but not trying so hard we end up being discouraged?"

This email struck such a chord with me because I have felt this way so many times.  I know that progression is essential to life, but it absolutely must be balanced with having joy.  My husband frequently reminds me of two scriptures that teach us to be anxiously engaged in a good cause without running faster than we have strength.  In fact, the whole reason I'm so excited about Mind Organization for Moms is because it is the first system that has actually allowed me to move forward with my goals without feeling stressed out.  But I'm still not a master at seeing my life clearly.

Back to that quotation by Sinclair, we ARE the embodiment of the information we choose to accept and act upon.  My mother taught this to me beautifully the other day.  I visited her at the hospital for a couple of hours while she was recovering from a knee replacement surgery, and she was asking me how I was doing (that's just like my mom...asking ME how I am while SHE'S in the hospital bed).  

I opened my heart to her and said, "Mom, I'm trying so hard, but I feel like I'm failing so often.  Like today...I had these great intentions of teaching my girls piano lessons and playing with the children after school, and then I felt so tired, I just collapsed on the couch and cat-napped while they played with the train set and took turns on the computer."

My mom looked me in the eye and said, "April, you don't really believe you're failing, do you?"

"Well, yes, sometimes I do."

And then she said those words that I was aching to hear, "You must not listen to that negative voice for one minute.  If you sit still, you'll hear another voice--a more powerful voice--telling you that you are doing a wonderful job."

She continued her pep talk for a couple more minutes, and I said, "Mom, I need a tape recorder of you telling me that."

To which she replied, "No, you don't need a tape recorder.  You KNOW this.  It's in your heart.  It's inside you from everything you have been taught.  It's everything that you are."

I couldn't stop the tears as I walked out to the hospital parking lot that evening.  She's right.  In spite of all the voices that are out there telling mothers that we're not doing enough or being enough, there is a quiet, more powerful, more accurate voice that helps us to see our lives clearly.  It helps us to know what we need to improve, but it isn't a harsh, critical voice.  It is one that sees us as who we really are and who we're meant to be, and it is THAT voice that I am going to accept and act upon.  It breaks my heart to think of so many moms (including myself) who get so confused by the whirlwind of life that they forget how needed they are, how important they are, and how irreplaceable they are...just the WAY they are.  I think it's time for all of us to start seeing things clearly.

7 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. You are not alone. I think all of us have those times when we feel like we are failing. Thank heavens for other mothers in our lives to remind us of all the good we are doing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. My Mum is wonderful like that too, even though from my point of view, she always got EVERYTHING done and I can only remember our house being spotless. When I got married I thought I'd suddenly be a perfect wife and our house would look amazing, complete with dinner on the table smelling fabulous at 6pm on the dot each night. I was shocked when I couldn't seem to always get everything together while I was still working full time, and when we had our first baby all the progress I'd made went out the window!! I found your blog this morning and I've just read over a few of your posts. You sound like a wonderful Mum :)

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  3. Oh my goodness. I'm crying now because I feel like I'm in the failing stage and trying to figure out how to get out. Before coming to your website, I just wrote an e-mail to a friend telling her that I feel like I'm swimming everyday and I'm not getting anywhere. I get so frustrated with myself lately and I just don't know what to do.

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  4. I love this post! Your mom is such a wise woman. As we hear the various "voices" in our heads, we can choose which ones we will believe. We do not have to believe them all! When we tune out the negative messages (that mostly show up when we're overtired or totally stressed out and not really well-equipped to deal with them) we can usually discern a quiet, true voice whispering that we are pretty darn good at many things and the Lord is pleased with us.

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  5. I completely 100 percent relate to this April. I'm working on clearing away the negative voices and realizing I am enough.

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  6. I love this post! Your mom is such a wise woman. As we hear the various "voices" in our heads, we can choose which ones we will believe. We do not have to believe them all! When we tune out the negative messages (that mostly show up when we're overtired or totally stressed out and not really well-equipped to deal with them) we can usually discern a quiet, true voice whispering that we are pretty darn good at many things and the Lord is pleased with us.

    ReplyDelete



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