“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”– Buddha
This quote speaks volumes to me, specifically because my parents are still vacationing with us.
Before my parents arrived, I was all wrapped up into getting my house “in shape” and “just right” for the visit. I was slightly stressed about tackling the house because I had other things I wanted to do (play with the kids, write, read, rest) and I was not talking kindly to myself (Why didn’t you start earlier? Ugh, why are you waiting to the last minute to clean out closets?).
My inner voice was nagging at me to not go into overdrive about the visit or predict any potential issues. I was ignoring it pretty well until I had a dream, about three nights before my parents arrived.
In the dream I was in a canoe with a great and inspiring friend, N.C.W, who just entered my life last year. N.C.W. and I were paddling through what seemed like a jungle. We were having a good time until I started to tell her about all the stuff I had going on and how I was falling apart because I was feeling overtaxed. As I continued to inundate N.C.W. about my misery, the canoe was filling with water. N.C.W. was scooping the water out and she kept saying to me, “Why are you making something out of nothing?” She kept saying that to me until our canoe ran into a pile of mud – and then I woke up.
I was journaling about this dream and doing some analysis work. What did I make this all mean?
What I realized was I was holding on to some old conversations and disagreements my mother and I have had during past visits. In our multigenerational home, we are pretty relaxed as far as where the kids play and do projects. I like this. We bought the house so it could be used and where we could make memories. Things are fairly organized and with five people in the house – we do have some episodes of disorganized chaos. It’s just our reality.
During some previous visits, my mother has rearranged cabinets, suggested closets be cleaned out, written a “tidy house” plan, and has been somewhat critical of some of our house rules.
As I journaled some more and really picked apart my canoe dream, I realized I was holding on to old stories and recalling them in the days leading up to my parents’ arrival. I was not being present and I was creating unnecessary suffering for myself.
What did I do about this?
- Called my coach to discuss this.
- Released it and moved on.
What I realized was – I was truly making something out of nothing. No, I didn’t like those previous “your house isn’t good enough” interactions with my mother – but when I slowed down and thought about it clearly, that’s not what she said. That was what I had heard.
My takeaways from my latest not staying in the moment episode were:
- My mother has good intentions and she really wants to help me out.
- Perhaps her delivery wasn’t the best, but I should be able to focus on the intention.
- I haven’t been the mother of an adult child – so I guess my mother and I are still figuring that out.
- My mother sees how helpful my mother-in-law is on a daily basis, so my mother wants to leave her helpful mark when she’s visiting.
- In reality, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the house as long as it’s working for my multigenerational family.
- I need to stop making something out of nothing.
Once I got myself back into the present and stayed there, I didn’t worry about the house. My parents arrived and we are having a marvelous time. My mother has mentioned a few things in the house she wants to help out with, and great, I will let her do that because it actually sounds helpful. Plus, I’m not adding an unnecessary “side story” to her generosity.