Last month I took some time to focus on speaking my praises. I'm a firm believer in the process of managing your thoughts in order to manage your feelings, which lead to your action and then your results. Over the years, I've gotten really good at in the wisdom of Peter Pan, 'thinking happy thoughts,' and I can tell you it has made a bigger impact on my life than I originally thought it would.
Last month, I worked to take those thoughts a step forward and speak them. Whether by a comment on Instagram, a quick phone message, text or a quiet word while tucking someone into bed, I worked hard to speak my praises. I already knew that managing my thoughts had a profound effect on keeping myself settled, that I wasn't all that surprised to realize, that speaking those praises, well it magnified that settled feeling. Each time I did it, I realized that not only was it a gift for the person receiving the kind words, but it was also a gift to myself. As I spoke those praises, I began to notice more and more things worth praising, and it was a bit humbling to recognize more fully the goodness and abundance in my life.
Moving into November, I'm switching my focus up a bit and it might seem a touch counter-intuitive, but this month, the phrase I'm going to focus on is: Take time to be curious about yourself.
I realize November is supposed to be the month of giving and extending ourselves to others and while I am certain that will still hold a place for me, I often times feel so very stretched this month & I think most women in my stage of life feel the same.
Most mothers & women I know are natural born givers. They give and give in any way they can. They are happy to help in the classroom, and want to host a wonderful birthday party too. If you've had a baby, they want to bring you dinner as well. They want to coach the volleyball team and if you need a volunteer for the soup kitchen, well they'll do that too. On top of that, they'll wake up early for work, pack lunches for their kids, drive carpool, a make homemade neighbor gifts for everyone around them. I've noticed the problem is never a lack of givers. Perhaps it is that we ask too much of our givers, that flat wear them out before they are able to cultivate their ultimate gift to give.
And then November shows up and so much is asked of us this month. It starts with Halloween parties, rolls into family photos, charges towards Christmas with a full day of cooking and family at the end. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy every single one of those things, but if I'm not careful I can get so caught up in being a part of those things and doing them to a level that I'm satisfied with, that by the end I'm completely deflated and verging on resentful.
And that's not who I want to be.
So this month, I'm going to take time to stay curious about myself. I'm choosing to check in on myself more and perhaps not to give my whole entire self to all of those activities. I'm choosing to carve out some time and space for opportunities for me to waste time doing something I enjoy, because if I enjoy it and it refills my tank, it's not time wasted. It is going to take some trade-offs. It might be choosing a simple dinner, so that I can go on a hike with my family (November is the best hiking weather!). It might be allowing myself to go to bed early so that I can tackle a full day the next day. It might be practicing my lettering, because every year when I'm addressing Christmas cards, I think, 'gosh! I wish I would have practiced this more.' I know it will certainly include wasting away a Saturday, planting my flower pots, full of red geranuiums. It's not necessary, but its enjoyable and I'm seeking out more enjoyment for me this month.
I realize these are simple examples, but the enjoyment is usually in the simple. What happens when I allow time to march on by while I toil away planting flowers is pure magic. Instead of rushing from thing to thing, I find myself thinking of my grandmother and her flower gardens. I think of the letters she wrote me prior to my marriage and the advice contained therein, I think about the amount of effort she exerted on my behalf, planning elaborate family reunions and sacrifices she made to love those around her. Then my mind wanders to my own mother and the time we used to spend planting red geraniums. The care and precision she had in her process. Preparing the soil, removing the weeds, making sure it was done just right. By the time I'm done planting those flowers, I'm a different person than when I started. I'm renewed to try a little bit better, be a little kinder and full of gratitude. Each time I water those pots I'll be reminded again and again. I encourage you to take a minute and ponder on what you want to explore and pursue this month, then set about doing it. It doesn't need to be grandiose, but it does need to feed your soul.
I'm saving this as my screen saver on my phone to remind myself to not take myself for granted. To take care of myself, so I can better take care of those around me. To feed myself, to cultivate my gifts, so that I can more fully and deliberately give them to others.
You are worth being curious about. Do not lose yourself in this season of giving.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.