Last week, I had “one of those days” …. double booked appointments, a miscommunication with a vendor, tech gremlins gone wild, a lost check— and suddenly everything felt like it was going from bad to worse. I was trying to wrap up an intense week filled with deadlines before leaving town on a family beach vacation, yet my swirling negative thoughts were slowly morphing from a small dust devil into a powerful full-scale tornado that was bound to affect our family respite.
Then something surprising happened. After stewing for a few minutes on all that had gone wrong, I paused (one of the many benefits I’ve received from a regular morning meditation practice). Within that pause, I recognized this familiar emotional terrain and could feel my body constricting and tightening. I put the brakes on and asked myself, “Do you really want to succumb to this downward spiral of negative thoughts? Is this really where you want to go and who you want to be?” Of course not! I wanted to be open, loving, spacious and compassionate. What I really wanted was to just let go of all my negative reactions.
And so I did.
Actor Larry Eisenberg reminds us, “For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.”
How do we start to let go when we’re used to managing every aspect of our lives? It’s a moment to moment process. For me, often it looks like:
- Committing to keeping self-care at the top of my list, especially when I feel stretched way too thin
- Surrendering my relationships with my partner, child and extended family to Spirit—a source much wiser and larger than myself
- Trusting that I will listen, allow synchronicity to unfold and be guided exactly how best to use my talents, energy, time and resources to serve others
- Allowing myself to hit the “reset” button as often as I need to, and begin anew each day (every breath can be a re-set!)
- Being kind and compassionate with myself. I’m a former control freak who adopted “over managing” as a way of creating safety for myself when I was young
I’m not always able to let go so easily and not every situation ends this successfully. Sometimes the allure of a good argument (cue tape #47, track number three) takes me down an old worn path. But increasingly, I’m learning to pause, check in with myself, to challenge my old habits and make sure I like the destination this particular train is headed. If I don’t, I wave it on and consciously choose to L.E.T. G.O. More and more I’m learning, peace of mind is only a thought away.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.
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