It is beginning to dawn on me exactly how powerful the stories we tell ourselves become.
They can become the difference between a successful day and a disastrous one, a bitter life or a flourishing existence.
We had a rough start this morning. Dave had to leave extra early and I was abruptly awoken by a far too chirpy Hudson peering intently into my face and poking me. I eventually staggered down the hall to find Eli and Ivy screeching with laughter in her cot, playing with her teddies. The day had started without me, it would seem.
A quick toilet break turned out to be a disaster as I came back into the kitchen to find pink paint smeared all over Hudson’s face, hands and clothing. And the bench, drawers and cupboards as well. I snatched bites of breakfast in between breaking up fights, preventing injuries and shouting instructions at children not inclined to listen. It was a runaway train heading for destruction.
“It’s barely 10am and I feel as if I’ve already used my energy quota for the day.” I wrote to Dave, in between other more colourful descriptions.
After putting myself in Time Out for the third time that morning (pointlessly it turns out, as somehow fleeing from the room seeking alone time is translatable to pre-schoolers as ‘please follow Mummy and do somersaults on the bed over her’), I sent an SOS to the girls for help.
“Arghh, this morning has been really s&%! so far- I really need help changing my narrative!”
Monica shared emphatically of similar difficulties and gave some suggestions of ways to cope in the meantime. Naomi offered perspective and encouragement and I was reminded of my usual coping mechanism of writing furiously in my Gratitude Journal, a method that had slipped my mind in the chaos.
It turns out that my subconscious and insular ‘woe is me, no one else must be having this type of morning’ perspective was very toxic and only succeeded in sinking me further into the quicksand of despair. I found out that another of my friends was having an even tougher morning than I and actually needed some practical help.
These realisations and the importance of changing locations to reframe the story, actually ended up bringing me completely out of the funk and we had a memorable and beautiful day. With picnics at the playground, staring into the sky sharing a net swing with Ivy, making stories out of the dragon shaped clouds in the sky, painting Stormfly and Blades on enchanted faces, fish and chips on the trampoline for dinner and adventures in the garden with the boys. I also soaked up Dave’s generous offer to duck out for some leisurely reading time at a cafe before dinner. Even three quarters of an hour turning pages over savouring a piccolo latte is more than enough to reset the energy meters, I find.
I’ve been reading Bob Goff’s book ‘Love Does‘. His life is littered with inspirational examples of powerful gestures and experiences, as he fully engages with life and embraces the whimsical nature of the world in which we are placed. From taking his kids on slave rescue missions in India to sending flowers (of forgiveness) to the very apologetic elderly lady who T-boned his jeep at an intersection, to wooing his wife with life-sized cards and peanut butter and jam sandwiches under her windscreen- he chooses to seize each moment with reckless abandon.
It is far easier at times to succumb to the chaos and feel as if the day is something to endure or just ‘get through’. Yet, when we are able to rise above the emotions controlling this narrative and choose a different story, reaching out in solidarity with others, we somehow tap into this bewitching undercurrent that has the power to transform us and those that surround us.