I’ve come into 2017 giving myself grace and not looking to set any goals that didn’t flow naturally. I waited to see what came to mind and manifested itself without force.
And here’s what came to me.
- Slow Down
Now, if you know me then you know that my mind goes a mile a minute, I have to literally tuck my hands underneath my legs while talking to keep them from flailing, and I speak like a bull running through a delicate china shop. I’m intense.
Growing up I felt quite stifled. I wasn’t able to do many of the things I wanted to do. And no I’m not meaning bad teenager stuff, though I did do those things too, but those weren’t things I asked permission for. No, I’m talking about things like getting a job, learning to drive, spending time with friends, and going on adventures in my neighborhood. My parents were quite…let’s just say, “not right.” I’ll leave it at that. I know that’s a bit deep and heavy for a post about intentions, but it’s what came as I began to tell you why I think I’m so intense and move so quickly all of the time.
I think I’m always trying to catch up and make up for lost time. I feel like I want to use up every minute of the day and make it all count. I have a hard time settling my mind and enjoying being in the moment. If I’m idle for too long I’m sure to come up with some new grandiose project. Really. It’s not good for me to rest for too long. Or at least it didn’t use to be.
My first intention for 2017 is to slow down. What I mean is that I want to learn to take in the moment. Take in the here and now. I know that I’ll still be working on projects and thinking of new ideas, but I want to take each thing one at a time. Like I said, it is an intention. It won’t be something that I beat myself up over for losing sight of. It will just be a constant reminder and focal point. It will be a point at which I’m always navigating to get back to. Kind of like flying or navigating a boat.
As I reflect on 2016 I’m happy with the many things I accomplished and the women I connected with. But what I wasn’t satisfied with was the way I was spending time with my Little Women. As I looked back I felt as though I was running with them under my arms everywhere. This is metaphoric of course. But what I mean by this is that they were more with me and not I with them. Many times the reason we were out somewhere was because of a planned event with other people or the focus was on something or someone else. Not them, my girls.
In a way it was the only way to survive. My husband was gone A LOT! So, to do anything they had to be with me. I had to still do life and accomplish things. But as I slow down for 2017 I want to make more times to be actually with them. No, that won’t be the case 100% of the time, but I want it to now be more often than it ever was before. I want to plan outings and events just for them. Just for me to look at and dote on them. It will be hard for me, because I’m a social butterfly and so is my Little Woman #1. We love our friends and playdates. But I know that this year may also bring more opportunities for me to work, travel, and attend school, and I want even the very seconds that I spend with them to be pure and unadulterated.
I think I have to also say that this revelation came at just the right time. I don’t know how I would have responded or reacted to hearing this six months ago or soon after giving birth to Little Woman #2. I was drowning as a mother. It was an enormous amount of work transitioning to two kiddos, while also having a spouse who was gone for weeks and weeks. I think that outings and playdates at that time were exactly what we needed. I needed the regular interaction with other women and the girls needed to hang out with their friends. I also think that having work to do outside the home in addition to my role as a mother, gave me an escape that I really needed. I needed a reason to get dressed, gather my thoughts, and push forward.
Another part of slowing down will mean that I also have to put down my phone more. I recently decided to fret less about how often I post on Instagram and to keep the app logged-out for most of the day. About a year ago I also set my phone to vibrate and haven’t turned the ringer back on. That way my attention isn’t constantly being taken away by pings and notifications. I’m able to focus on what’s in front of me and check my phone at the time most convenient for me.
Now this one is a little less clear for me, but still something I want to set as an intention. I have been quite skeptical of meditation over the years. Mainly because I knew little about it. I also think I didn’t really need it until more recently in my life. For one, I thought that it always had to be spiritual or ritualistic. There definitely are meditations that are religious or spiritual in nature, but not all have that focus. Secondly, not until I became a mother for the second time did I notice a influx of anxiety, tension, and exhaustion.
What I’ve come to learn is that meditation can be used to help us slow down, take time to relax, and recognize where we are holding tension. Meditation is a moment that you dedicate to not letting your thoughts and emotions rule your behavior. This can obviously take on many forms.
I want to do though is create purposeful moments of stillness. This can be in the form of sitting while trying to just stay in the moment and not let my mind wander or worry, this may be with me reciting a Bible verse, it may involve doing a few rounds of sun salutations. I’m not sure yet, but I feel a pull toward taking dedicated time to sit and listen or sit and relax, with guidance.
I know that if my life were to take a huge turn and I get the opportunities I pray for, like motivational speaking or teaching my Milk Boss book to women around the world, it will be paramount for me to have a clear mind and calm spirit. If I’m not taking time to get centered, still, and realigned with my values because I’m constantly moving and thinking, I’ll burn out.
I actually tried a free mediation app called RITUALS. It’s a beauty brand app with a meditation series in it. It’s fabulous! It allows you to choose how long you’d like to meditate for. You can decide on as a little as 5 minutes. It’s not spiritual at all. It is simply a woman guiding you through slowing down. Exactly what I was looking for. I did this in the early afternoon while the girls were napping and around 7pm when everything was getting busy with figuring out dinner and bedtime I was much more relaxed. I literally caught myself thwarting feelings of anxiousness. I also noticed myself standing taller and not hunching. I noticed a while ago that when I’m worrying too much and rehearsing anxious thoughts in my mind, I begin to hunch over. My goal is to do a few minutes of meditation every day if not multiple times a day.
So those are my two intentions thus far for 2017. I’d love to hear what things you’re focusing on for the year. I’d also love to know if you are doing meditation. I’m pretty new to it and REALLY would love to know other women who are pursuing the same thing. Maybe we can share about our progress and any positive changes we notice.
Thanks for reading love!