Today I was sitting in the nursery’s rocking chair with my two year old Zara while trying to put her to sleep, when my four year old (Dorian) walked in the room and started talking to me.
I quietly listened to him while smiling and pondering about my life over the last decade. I remembered in that moment a younger self when my first two were exactly the same ages of my now two youngest children. In a way I was a calmer parent back then. I was less busy and I enjoyed doing more kid things with my children. Yet there is something that I did not know how to do back then. I did not know how to forget about my problems and focus on what was good right in front of me.
I remember as my husband and I started life on our own, I quickly realized that there seemed to be so many challenges. I often chased after things hoping that all my problems would some day go away.
I would often think about my happy childhood days, so I thought that all I needed to do is recreate the life that I once had with my husband. I thought that we needed a more stable career, a home to call our own, toys, clothes, cars, a yard, all those little things that I could remember that made my childhood so special.
But I also often felt that there were outside problems caused by others that I just could not stop from coming at me. I often struggled with people being extremely critical of my situation. And that would cause me so much pain. I seriously could not stop the voices from the people that had hated me so much in my life, to stop from coming at me in my head.
I would often feel pain from my troubles. That pain was almost daily. I was always told that the weight came from what was called depression. And that burden was something that I would take with me everywhere. But I knew that I couldn’t keep living like this.
So I spent a lot of time trying to fix my outward circumstances.
But as the years went by, I realized that just as a set of problems would be resolved, a new set of problems would always seem to unfold. All of my problems were never going to go away.
I soon realized that the reason why I was also happy as a child was because I did not dwell on my problems. I forgave quickly, I moved on from things quickly, I didn’t spend a lot of time evaluating whether I was a good person or not. I allowed the love from God to just be inside of me and didn’t questions things.
I remember arriving at a point in my life where I just wanted everything to stop. I wanted a mental vacation from what seemed to be all the cares and problems of this world.
I wanted to stop feeling the pain from the death of my mom, I wanted to stop the thoughts that kept on coming reminding me of all the mental abuse I had suffered from other people. I wanted to stop feeling inadequate because I hadn’t met a certain financial or personal goal. I wanted to stop feeling inadequate that I wasn’t in my final home, and that I had scars on my face from years and years of acne. I wanted all those things that I knew I did not have to stop bothering me on a daily basis.
And so I started completely pushing away those negative thoughts about what was not right in my life and replacing them with what was good right around me.
It wasn’t easy at first. I had to start by doing meditations where I would imagine I had the life of my dreams. In my head I had to tell myself ” you are going to lie to yourself Serena and believe what you cannot see.”
I would sometimes write in advance what I was going to say to myself because whenever I would start a meditation I didn’t even know where to start and what to think about and say to myself.
But slowly, I also started recognizing the real blessings I had around me right then and there. For the first time, I started to truly appreciate every moment I got to spend with my children. I started recognizing how blessed I was to spend each day with them at home, the cute things that they do and say.
I started to live more in the present and truly appreciate the wonderful feelings that come from the small little daily blessings. Like holding my baby on my chest while reading a book, the joy that comes from snuggling with my husband and children on the couch while watching a movie on a Friday night. Etc, etc.
And so today for me that moment came when I took the time to snuggle with my girl and listen to my four year old son as he walked in my room and started talking to me. Because I remembered that right before, I was actually spending some time worrying about my life. Thinking about my future and how I am not sure if everything is going to be ok. Not sure in this world if I will always be able to make it financially, if we will always all be healthy. Yes, life still brings its challenges, and as a mom I often tend to worry when I think about our future. I try and plan and strategize and with that often come so many stresses and concerns.
But I am learning that while there are a million outside circumstances that I cannot change, now I can turn off my brain and soak in the good moments. And this part of my life I no longer need to lie to myself to believe in it. This is what I tell myself is called turning the negatives in my life into a positive. Because sometimes I cannot change what I don’t like, but I can change what I choose to focus on. And by shifting my perspective a little bit, all of a sudden I don’t feel so sad anymore, but I can see my blessings. And I no longer need to lie to myself, but I can now truly say that I am seeing what’s good that is right in front of me.