I love my life as a full-time home-educating mother to my two kids. It took awhile but I finally feel like I have a handle on how we learn best – and of course, now that I have said that, it will all change and we will enter a new phase 🙂
The one area, however, which I have consistently relegated to the back-burner is caring for myself. A few months ago, I decided to actively teach myself more about self-care, just the way my kids and I learn most other stuff, and incorporate small changes to help me stay more balanced through the cyclical ups and downs that are part of life.
I discovered Cheryl Richardson, a huge advocate of self-care – her books, her interviews touched a chord within me straight away. My favourite book is the one she co-authored with Louise Hay – You Can Create An Exceptional Life.
This is something she said – I can’t remember if it was in a book or in an interview – Ask yourself at the end of the day “if this was the last day of my life, am I happy with how I lived it?” You can apply the same to the week, month, year etc.
I liked the idea but promptly forgot about it though I did incorporate some of her other suggestions such as taking time to breathe deeply every now and then, to give myself a smile in the mirror, to learn to take time and space for myself with grace. I am still working on these, writing this blogpost now because I really want to, being a prime example. First, though, I had to say no, lovingly and firmly, to reading a book with Gibbon and had to encourage both kids to take their own down time. A good start, wouldn’t you say?
Last week, I suddenly recalled the “last day of your life” question and decided to give it a go. It has only been a few days, but already I can feel a difference. The question keeps popping into my head at odd times, helping me to be aware more and more of my thoughts and words – a kind of meditation in the midst of my daily life. Of course, it is going to take constant practice to make it a part of my life, but it doesn’t feel like work. It is joyous and almost like a game – a safety net waiting to catch me when I slip into negative mode, a trampoline to send me bouncing back into positivity. And it feels so good to catch myself in the middle of a diatribe and just be able to stop, as opposed to going on an after-tantrum guilt-trip. I have been searching for this magic mantra ever since I became a mother!
At bedtime, I ask myself “if today turned out to be the last day of my life, am I happy with how I lived it” and immediately I see all that I said and did like a movie trailer – the good and not-so-good bits and know what I want to tweak – that is, if tomorrow comes 😉