We live on a quiet street at the end of the cul-de-sac where a line of trees forms the perimeter of our home. The trees were green and lush what seems like just yesterday. Today, they display vibrant fall hues as their leaves accumulate in piles along the base of the trunks.
While the clocks rolled back an hour last weekend, causing darkened skies and bedtime rest to visit us earlier each evening, the official change of the season coincided perfectly with the one taking place within my little family.
The four of us have entered a new rhythm. It’s one in which we're familiar and have crossed the finish line twice before.
Yet, it’s the type of cadence that requires large amounts of mental and emotional stamina, both of which I’ve been tucking away in my internal reservoir for months now.
A few weeks back, while the big change still stood looming around the corner, a conversation with Pete centered around mindsets.
I took a sip of my chamomile tea; the heat burned down my throat as I hid my toes under the knit blanket and blurted out the words that had been swirling about my heart and head:
“Did we make a mistake? I've been gearing myself up for this...but I don't want to feel like I'm losing my marbles again. I want to be a loving and patient mom, but I suck at it when I'm tapped out..."
Pete was silent while I rattled on longer and gave voice to everything that had internally been eating at me until he finally asked me if this was the type of mindset I planned to have. "I mean, honestly Boo...you know you can't do this to yourself," he challenged me.
I should disclose something:
I spend an inordinate amount of time doing what I’ve dubbed to be “mood maintenance.” There's the shame, self-doubt, insecurity, comparison, and a whole slew of thoughts, emotions, and wounds I actively sift through and present to God, my therapist, and the pages of my journal.
For me, the work of mood maintenance involves reversing the negative mindset I’ve waged about myself for years. Along the way, I've been learning about neuroplasticity and the role it plays in altering the mind-brain-body connection. Our mindsets essentially affect everything from our thought-lives, to our relationships, to our actions, and our bodies.
What I choose to think about rewires my brain. And what I choose to think and dwell upon when it comes to this new way of life has the potential to affect not only me but others around me.
That's pretty sobering.
As the season continues to evolve both inside and outside my home, I've pledged to myself to also keep pursuing change within my headspace by being evermore intentional about the thoughts and words I allow to occupy it. I believe it's one of the healthiest things I can do for myself as well as those around me.
And at the very core of it, I want my mindset to be centered and grounded on LOVE—
Love as God, God as Love.
To think and dwell upon Love.
Loving others with that Love.
And loving myself with the same.
I’m not entirely sure what all of that looks like just yet outside of these few ways:
meditating upon Love and allowing it to fill every crevice of myself. Letting God’s Love overflow through me onto Pete, my girls, and others. Speaking in Love. Acting in Love. Thinking in Love and Feeling in Love.
It sounds simplistic, right? This way of being, where Love is the guide. Yet, I have a hunch it'll take more than sheer willpower to allow its power to alter every part of me.
But I’m ready to set out on the new journey before me, with Love leading the way.
**What do you think and dwell upon during times of life that are uncomfortable, and how do you keep yourself from getting stuck in an unhealthy space? I'd love to know.