Autumn is my favorite time of year. I am one of those freaks who loved school, loved when it started and summer was over, and still get wistful for it when hit by a crisp October morning. But more than just the school thing, autumn has, for me, always been a time of reflection.
As busy moms we usually don’t take enough time for ourselves to shower much less find time for reflection. Even our prayers (or meditations, if that’s your expression of spirituality) are said on the fly while we are rushing out the door, or they are mumbled in the car while driving around on a myriad of errands, or, they are whispered while we are trying to get a baby to sleep at one o’clock in the morning.
But sometimes our busyness is a convenient excuse for not looking at things in our lives, our relationships, our own selves that could use some mental, emotional, and maybe spiritual, attention. It takes time and energy to reflect–precious commodities that moms almost never have enough of, it seems. However, when we keep pushing through the days (and nights) at the speed of light, never taking several moments to look at deeper “stuff”–put it in order, let it out of the box for air, fix it, or end it–we set ourselves up for explosion or implosion at some point. Let’s face it, these things demand our attention and if we don’t reflect on some of these things on our terms, in a way in which we can control them a little, they will rear their heads when we least expect it.
These days my “BIG THING” that demands reflection is my relationship with my dad. Or the lack of relationship with my dad. I put on a brave face, a mask to hide behind; I develop a good story that keeps the tears from spilling out when the subject of “dads” comes up. But I know stuffing the pain, the hurt, the anger, the truth, and the love of it for too long turns it into a cancer in my heart and soul. So, every now and then, especially this time of year, I find ways to look at it. And it is H.A.R.D. But I know my heart is brave and up for it.
And so is yours. Whatever that “thing” is for you, you have what it takes to dig in and give it a good, honest examination. Is it a relationship, current or past? Is it a habit? Is it a health issue? Is it a need that isn’t being fulfilled? Is it a dream?
I will share what I do that helps me look at “stuff.” Some of it might help you as you do the same.
First, I choose only one thing at a time. Especially if it’s emotionally charged. Second, I give myself a time limit. And sometimes I have to break it up over a few days or even weeks. Third, I journal about it. And, fourth, I have reinforcements to turn to–those SUPER close friends who know the story and can listen without fixing or judging.
Whatever the “thing” is, I ask myself questions like: What about this is important? What will I gain by examining this (again)? What have I learned by this? Where’s the triumph, the “win”? What do I need right now?
When I’ve answered the questions and shed the tears (if needed), I end the process by letting go and accepting that things are what they are and where they are right now. Maybe nothing got fixed or decided. And that’s ok. I was brave enough to spend some time looking at it and now I can put it away for awhile. I know it’s less likely to blow up in my face unexpectedly because I let the pressure off just a bit.
And you can too. You are brave beyond what you believe and can look at your own “stuff.” And if it gets too big and overwhelming, you can bravely step back out of it. That’s ok, too. If you want to really examine something but it feels way too scary or hard, I encourage you to take your brave, wonderful self to a counselor or therapist.
Sometimes it takes one brave soul to help another brave soul walk a journey. Whatever you do, my dear mom, be you, bravely.
I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend, professional coach and licensed marriage and family therapist who is always seeking ways to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
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