Self-Reflection Question 17

Today’s self-reflection question coincides with yesterday’s blog post:

“What lesson have you learned from being a parent?”

When our oldest daughter was two and a half years old, we moved her from a crib to a toddler bed. A cute, little bed that was perfect for her – and that is when her sleeping issues began. I don’t know if it was leaving the safety of the crib (although that is my best guess), but night after night, I would eventually hear her little feet tromping into our room to tell us she was scared.

Although taking her into bed with us would have solved the issue, for several reasons, we did not go that route; a) we slept in a 3/4 bed, b) her dad was an extremely light sleeper and c) I worried about long term effects for her. Eventually, we settled on a system – she would go to her own bed and fall asleep (with one of us checking on her every ten minutes until she was out), then when she woke up she would come to my side of the bed where there was a little cot set up. She would wake me (that was her non-negotiable), and she would settle on to the cot – my hand draping over the bed to hold hers until she managed to fall back asleep. This went on for several years – eventually her sister was able to begin sleeping with her and although she still had fears at night, at least the cot was put away.

There was no doubt in my mind her fears were real. We never did manage to figure out what she was afraid of, nor what triggered the sudden change. There were times when my patience was low and I would get cross with her – and I would immediately feel bad, as I could see that getting angry or impatient did nothing to make the situation better; if anything it added to her fear.

Perhaps the biggest lesson that I have learned from being a parent was that I let my own worries dictate my impatience. It was my fear that this wouldn’t resolve itself quickly enough, my fear that somehow we had caused this, my fear that we weren’t good parents, my fear that anxiety would ‘plague her for life.’ (As you can see, like any worries, mine grew out of proportion.)

I can look back now and know that it was all okay. That it didn’t matter how long it took, or that we didn’t get it perfectly right – that what did matter was the consistent manner in which we plodded along, providing a sense to her that no matter what, we would be there at 2 am to hold her hand.

I have learned that I won’t always have the answers as a parent, but that I can have faith in the underlying principles of love and attachment. My faith has moved into knowing that ‘everything will work out’Β  and as a result, I act much more quickly to put my worries to bed. πŸ™‚

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Photo credit: Me! This is my oldest daughter at age 3.5Β  πŸ™‚

Self-Reflection Question 16

In our continuing series of questions to reflect on, today we explore the thought:

“Write about the place you call home.”

When I think about the current home that I live in, I think about its peace. I have views of the forest and the river. I love the grounded elements that we chose in terms of colour and texture; the walls and shelves feature treasures from all of our travels. I share my home with my loving and supportive partner, and my gentle and soulful-faced Great Dane. I love my home when I sit quietly in my comfy chair first thing in the morning, and I love my home when it is bustling with our children, grandchild and families.

But this isn’t the only place I call home. My home is the house on Albert St that I spent 25 years in; raising my girls, with the patter of footsteps and the lovely sound of laughter. My home is on Borris Rd where I spent my childhood, playing with my sister in the farmer’s fields behind our home, family dinners every night, quiet, languid summers and starry winter nights. My home is on Quinapoxet Lane where we visited our grandparents and American family twice a year; Christmas memories and summer seas. My home is on Ash St; my aunt teases that it is our summer vacation home and really, it is. πŸ™‚ My home is on Mast Rd, where my sister serves family supper on Sundays and my kids come in and out of there as though it is their own. My home is the house on Ivy Ave, where my parents lived for their remaining years; sitting for visits on the swing outside, family dinners, Christmas joy.

These are all the places I call home. Home is far more than a dwelling – home is a feeling, home is family, home is love, home is where I find peace.

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Photo credit: Me! My youngest daughter spending time with her niece πŸ™‚

Self-Reflection Question 15

There are times in our lives that we can look back with regret. Perhaps we wish we could take back something we said or did; perhaps we left something unsaid, perhaps we wish we could have done something and now it is too late.

“If given the opportunity, what would you go back and rewrite?”

I appreciate the way this question is worded as it implies that our story includes choice. Perhaps there is a wrong that can be righted, or we can set a goal in relation to a regret. Mine is one that fits into the “too late,” category, but still brings to me a valuable lesson.

Every summer since his retirement, my father would spend time in his home town in Cadillac, Abitibi. Although my mother would join him for part of that time, he would go for most of the season as he was very drawn to the simple life of a trailer by the water, fishing daily. For two years, he mentioned to my sister and I that we should come up together to spend a week – no kids or husbands, just us. I don’t really know why we didn’t make it happen – I can guess that it had something to do with short, busy summers, trying to also fit in our family vacation to Maine, my father’s way of ‘mentioning’ something without clearly asking it. I can distinctly remember a conversation that my sister and I had intimating that we would plan it for “next summer,” as we knew, that in his quiet way, it was important to him. Unfortunately, we never got the chance as he passed away the following May.

I can’t rewrite this part of my story. I sorely wish I had those memories of seeing my father where he was the most content, time spent on his boat, campfires, battling the bugs of northern Quebec – but I don’t. I was reminded instead that we can’t let life get in the way, most things can wait andΒ  that our relationships are what need time and attention – for it is within those relationships, and time spent together, that we experience the richness of our story.

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Photo credit: Me! A young pic of my Dad πŸ™‚

 

 

Self-Reflection Question 14

This question is for all the people pleasers; it’s for those of us who have trouble with the word “No,” and can tend to take on too much as a result.

“Am I honouring myself while serving others?”

Very often, we can become people pleasers because of our internal need to give; to take care of – hence the propensity to say “yes.” When we feel naturally inclined to help; we get meaning and purpose from serving others. This is a lovely quality and one that we don’t want to compromise within ourselves as it allows us to derive a purposeful feeling from being able to help another.

Saying no is what creates the dichotomy; when we say no to someone, it creates friction with the part of ourselves that desires to give. And yet, saying yes to everything allows us to forget one very important person – ourselves.Β 

I rather appreciate the way this question is worded, because it takes into account the position of “I am important and so are you.” It encompasses our need to serve others while at the same time honouring ourselves – by making sure that we are finding balance between self-care and helping others, that we learn the value of slowing down and examining just how much we have piled onto our plate, that we have begun to realize that learning to say no is possible (and healthy!)

This can become a good reminder question when we are feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, weighted. And if the answer is no, we can gently remind ourselves that by honouring ourselves as well as others, we have moved into a healthy and balanced position. Sounds like a good plan to me πŸ™‚

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by Andy Willis on Unsplash

Self-Reflection Question 13

Today’s self-reflection question is one that feels timely to me:

“What is life asking of me?”

Right now, I would answer that by saying that life right now is asking that I keep things simple. Working from home and keeping up a routine that allows me to get outside and feel refreshed. Daily prayer in the morning, walks with Cricket, finding time to read, cooking supper every evening, drives for a DQ treat, shows in the evening with Kurt.

Life is asking that I stay in touch with my loved ones. As a mom, that means still seeing our kids. It also means socially distanced walks with friends, phone calls, texts and video chats right now. Staying connected and committed.

It also means processing my feelings. I have had some blue moments about having to cancel travel plans including a trip I had planned with my girls to the Azores in June, sad feelings about not getting to see extended family, disheartened feelings about how long this will last. Processing how I feel helps me to land in acceptance (it is what it is) and gratitude (I still have so many blessings in my life.)

And lastly, I believe that life is still asking that I continue with my goals. I write in my blog daily and have started advertising it. I added training into my work day as client hours have shortened. My flower gardens make me feel accomplished, and our new house is organized and (almost) finished – it is amazing what you can order online!

And so, I would say that life has asked me these days to slow down, keep things steady, look forward to life resuming. I can handle that πŸ™‚

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Photo credit: Me! This is a video family chat where we all represented a colour πŸ™‚

Self-Refection Question 12

In our self-reflection series, we move to Question 12:

“What are my small victories this week?”

Based on our current climate of social distancing and staying at home, it is important to recognize our small victories. Mine include:

  • not eating the rest of my birthday cake in one sitting. (This is actually a big victory as it was double chocolate.)
  • having a positive attitude about postponing my birthday plans on Sunday. (We are all doing our part!)
  • figuring out the technical side to HIPPA compliant video sessions. (I can do this!)
  • getting outside every day for our walk along the river. (The earth is still beautiful.)
  • not allowing my fears to take over. (This can be a tough one but every day I remind myself to continue to count my blessings; take it one day at a time, and do what I can to flatten the curve.)

We often focus on our big victories, our milestone accomplishments – but our small victories are part of our every day life; they are the building blocks that pave the way for our bigger goals. Without our small victories, there would be no summit to reach πŸ™‚

What are your small victories this week?

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Self-Reflection Question 11

When we look back at what has shaped us, we can ask ourselves this question:

“Who has had the greatest impact on my life?”

We all have pivotal people. We have people who have shaped us, influenced us, helped to move us in direction. There are times when the answer is easy and we are able to list those who have loved us unconditionally and who have supported us in our growth.

But there are times when the person who has impacted us has done so in unhealthy ways; where the impact has come with hurt and pain.

It is important to acknowledge that sometimes the impact that we experience comes in both forms; I often say that we learn just as much about ourselves from what hurt us as from what loved us.

The people of greatest impact may be in our past, no longer with us, or are presently still in our lives. They were perhaps only meant to be part of our story. In any case, understanding the impact is an important part of our self-awareness. It may include the act of grace, the need for forgiveness, the practice of gratitude and being able to pay it forward.

Who has had the greatest impact on my life? An interesting question to think about πŸ™‚

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Self-Reflection Question 10

Here is the next question in our Self-Reflection series:

“When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?”

When my girlfriends and I turned 40, we headed to Anna Maria Island in Florida for a long weekend. Part of our adventures that weekend was the suggestion by Kim that we try parasailing, but the caveat was that we all had to go – which for my friend Tara and I was out of our comfort zone. After some deliberating, it was decided that we would go; Tara and I would be partners (they were tandem sails) so as to fight our fears together. I can remember also wanting to go first (let’s get this over with!) and having to wrestle past the nervous energy.

Once we were strapped in, the release into the air from the boat was gradual and relaxed. We were soon at 400 feet and experiencing the exquisite views of the Florida coast and the infinite ocean. I will always remember the absolute stillness that we experienced – it was an unbounded quiet that I have yet to experience again.

Three things to remember?

  1. Don’t get lost in the hesitation. That will keep you in your comfort zone forever.
  2. Take a deep breath. It helps every time.
  3. Remind yourself “I can do this.” We can be our own biggest fan.

Stepping out of our comfort zone is an essential part of our growth. It reminds us that we have the ability to push ourselves past what we thought our limitations were. This can include trying out a new skill, moving past a relationship or job that is holding us back, attempting something new, or challenging a fear.

When we push past our comfort zone, we feel stronger and more capable – creating a balance between what allows us to feel safe and what allows us to grow.

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by AJ Garcia on Unsplash

Self-Reflection Question 9

Today’s self-reflection question taps into what we have learned in our lifetime. The growth that we continue to experience as we age, will bring to us knowledge about ourselves and the way we process the world. The question:

“What are five things I have learned?”

will likely change as we enter different stages of our life. As a 48 year old, here are my answers:

  1. I have learned that despite who surrounds us, has shaped us, or continues to love us – we are for ourselves, the greatest agent of change.
  2. I have learned that “I am important and so are you.” In other words, it is important that we recognize our own needs and learn how to ask for them (this has been a working challenge, yet so wonderful to see results).
  3. I have learned that authenticity, grace and creating soulful moments keep me grounded. Having my two feet firmly planted gets me through the storms.
  4. I have learned the importance of movement forward. Process, action, plans, goals – they all equal growth.
  5. I have learned that laughter truly is the best medicine πŸ™‚

What are 5 things you’ve learned?

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Grateful for 2019

Yesterday’s post looked at some self-reflection questions for 2020, today we look at some gratitude prompts for 2019. Taking time to jot down our answers reminds us that even in our challenges of the year, we have found moments to be grateful for:

  • A memory I am grateful for:
  • A person in my life this past year who made a difference to me:
  • A change in the past year that I am grateful for:
  • A strength of mine that I am thankful for:
  • Something that comforted me in the past year:
  • Something that I learned about myself in the past year (to which I am grateful):
  • A challenge that I was grateful for:
  • A memory in nature that I am thankful for:
  • A memory of a trip I took:
  • Something new I tried this past year:
  • A decision I made in the past year I was thankful for:
  • A memory of something that I felt in my soul:

When moving into the promise of 2020, we can look back and thank the universe for 2019; paving way to a new year with acceptance and gratitude. πŸ™‚

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Photo credit:Β http://Photo by Danil Aksenov on Unsplash