Bryant proposed Christmas Day, 2002. That meant that Mother’s Day 2003, we were engaged. Bry, being the romantic that he is, brought me a bouquet of flowers: For the future mother of my children. That’s not what he said. Ha ha. But that was the sentiment.

I was really touched. And I had high hopes for future Mother’s Days. If he was so generous with me when we were only engaged, I could only imagine how beautiful all Mother’s Days would be, with him by my side.

Fast forward one year to Mothers Day 2004. I didn’t have a child. I wasn’t even pregnant yet. But Bry and I were married and happy. And, based on the previous year’s experience, I knew he had something very special planned for this Mother’s Day, as well. And the more quiet he was about his Mother’s Day plans for me, the bigger I assumed the plans would be. I was brimming with anticipation.

It took me about an half an hour into the church service, having not yet celebrated Mother’s Day at all in our home, before it dawned on me that maybe there was no celebration that year. I leaned over and asked Bryant. I’m not sure what I said. And I can’t remember what he said. But what I do remember was the crying – ugly crying, let me tell you – right there in the chapel, when I realized that Bryant hadn’t planned anything for me for Mother’s Day that year. My crying was loud and messy, and Bry walked me out of the meeting before it was even over.

And every Mothers Day since, Bry has really made a special effort to make it an incredible day for me.

Having said that, the past few Mother’s Days have been difficult on me. And not because of a lack of effort on Bryant’s part. It is, of course, my thoughts that have led me to feel negative feelings surrounding motherhood and Mother’s Day. And these are not feelings that only appear on Mother’s Day. My feelings are just more visible on Mother’s Day and as Mother’s Day approaches. This was a new realization to me – an ah ha moment – listening to today’s podcast.

“When we have something big and maybe disorienting … we have an opportunity to get visibility into our minds that we normally may not get… an opportunity to look inside of our brains and see things that we normally wouldn’t see. It turns up the volume on our thoughts, so we can see them more clearly.”

And that is how I have felt about Mother’s Day. And I don’t think I’m the only one. I think Mother’s Day is hard on a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, all stemming from our thoughts.

Again, I can consider this an opportunity to get a good look at what my brain has maybe been trying to communicate to me for some time.

“A lot of times when I’m coaching people during times when there’s nothing really negative happening in (their lives), it’s hard for people to get access to their thoughts. It’s hard for people to have visibility on what actually they’re thinking because it just seems like a hum that’s going on in the background.”

And it’s always been there – the thoughts have long been there – but it takes a crisis or a holiday or a change in routine or something big to make it “bigger and more visible”. Right?

But now we have an opportunity to work on those thoughts that are now so much clearer to us. So let’s do it. I am committed to taking advantage of this Mother’s Day week, and look at thoughts that are not serving me well.

“I want to highly recommend that you take the time to do a thought download. And that simply means filling up one page of your journal with thoughts… It’s like we clean out the closet. We take out all the sentences of the brain and we have a look at them. We look at them outside of our brain and then we decide if we want to put them back in our brain on purpose or not.”

A couple of things to think about, as we do this thought download:

  1. “When you look at your thought download, ask yourself the question, ‘Why does my mind think the sentences that it does?’ My mind thinks very different sentences than my husband’s brain and my friends’ brains. We’re in the same world, in the same circumstance as the world, and yet so many different thoughts for so many different people. So many different sentences. So when you look at your sentences, it’s really interesting to ask the question, ‘I wonder why I think the way I think? I wonder why I have the sentences that I have?'”
  2. My emotional reality is not actual reality. A sentence in my mind (and now on my paper) about something happening is not the same as what is happening. “You need to make sure that you’re seeing these two things as completely separate things. There’s sentences in my brain and then there’s things in the world.”
  3. I want to think my thoughts are true. I will want to think I understand reality perfectly. It is scary to think that we don’t understand reality. We all want to think our thoughts are true. But be so careful, during the thought download, not to label thoughts as true.
  4. The question, in fact, in looking at the thoughts taken out of our minds during a thought download, isn’t if the sentence from our mind is true or not. That is not the question at all. “The question is, do I want to keep thinking this way? Do I want to believe this sentence – this thought? Do I want this to be the unconscious rhythm of my brain tone that’s going to continue to go on?”
  5. “All of your power comes from deciding what you want to believe. And you can see how that will determine how you live your life.”

“Your brain is turned on. It’s alert. It’s ready. It wants new information. YOU should be the one providing it. You can tell it what you want it to think. So you decide right now, what do you want to think and believe about the world and about yourself?”

What bricks do I want to keep in my Emotional Reality Wall? Specifically, what do I want to believe about myself as a mother, and my own mother as a mother, and my mother in law as a mother, and my neighbor as a mother, etc. I get to choose what I believe, and that is where all my power lies, in choosing. The most powerful thing I can do in my life is make decisions – to use my agency.

Previous DAY #188 EMOTIONAL REALITY (again)

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