Shortly after having my 3rd child, I found myself on my hands and knees one morning at 6:00 am on the floor of my dining room, cleaning up dog pee (from one of our 3 old dogs) and just being so mad at my life, that I just started crying. It just seemed that I spent day in and day out cleaning pee or poop off dogs or children. I felt that I was always knee deep in baby mess, laundry, and dishes. I had a 2 year old and her one million questions or occasional explosive temper tantrum and a 1st grader with upcoming anxiety troubles. That's all I could see.
The truth is, I had 3 beautiful daughters who were healthy and smart and really super awesome. I had a husband who was always willing to help. And little did I know that I only had another year or two with all of those dogs before they left us for doggy heaven. And I hadn't made a single move to do anything for myself because I had spent the last 6 years diving into motherhood and allowed that to consume me and become what defined me. I didn't even consider that doing a little something like getting up early to enjoy my coffee alone would make on impact on my day and my whole perspective.
I didn't practice yoga. I didn't meditate. And I had never heard the phrase "practicing gratitude." That fact that these things weren't in my life seems so foreign to me now because I simply cannot imagine my life without them now.
So I started yoga. As I practiced on my mat, I would remind myself to stay in the moment. To remember that I was in a yoga class, it smelled like lavender or incense, and I was doing something for me. It didn't matter what the poses were or what the theme of class was; its was the valuable time I was spending there on that mat that mattered.
Eventually I would occasionally come up with an intention for the class. Pretty quickly it evolved into "Find the Positive." I wanted to have more positivity and gratitude in my life every day! My grandmother was always good at that and it had a big impact on me. Shortly after that, I started taking that intention into my life and made it my mantra for the month, one time. Find the Positive Every Day. So instead of feeling self-pity as I cleaned up dog pee, I reminded my self of something positive that came out of that moment. If my child breaks down, I reminded myself of something positive. I started to re-wire my brain so that I didn't immediately go to the negative. I started to cultivate gratitude for everything in my life - the good and the bad - because they all brought me something that would help me grow or learn. They all had the possibility to make my life better, if I just shifted my perspective. Immediately, I realized the positive impact that it had on me - my relationship to my dogs, my children, and my husband. Everyone benefited because my gratitude for everything in my life was greater. I was happier. By creating a mantra for myself to find the good in every situation, I was able to cultivate more gratitude in everything I experienced and in my life's moments. And the gratitude that I feel every day radiates from me to all of my family. My children have a happier, more patient mom. My husband has a happier, less stressed wife. I am am just happier!