When I Stop Trying So Hard

rear view mirror

I’m sitting in my car, fumbling for the clasp.

It’s the om necklace my husband gave me days after our first child was born, and I can’t get it to hook.

Four kids and a decade and a half later, this necklace remains my favorite. I’ve put it on a million times and though the chain the om pendant hangs on is on the short side, it has never been difficult to fasten. So there I sit, fumbling with the thing, already running late and wondering to myself, ‘Why am I having so much trouble getting this thing on?!’

I can see my hands working the small hook close to the chain just under my chin in my rear view mirror. Small-metal-ring, heading towards open-silver-lever aaaaand…

it’s a miss. And a miss. And another miss.

“I. AM. SO. LATE!” I think-yell at myself for encouragement.

I miss again. And again.

My shiny ohm necklace glares back at me in the mirror, mockingly.

“This is RIDICULOUS!” I lower my tired arms, hands dropping into my lap with defeat.

I stop. I take a little breath and I sit still for the first time that morning. And then it dawned on me. I hadn’t sat still all morning long. Not even for three seconds. My mind had been jumping from one thing to the next from the second I woke up (ten minutes late).

I’d rushed to get my kids out the door to school. I’d rushed to get home, pick-up from the tornado that had surely hit our kitchen that morning, shower, dress and get back out the door to my next thing.

Sitting in my car, going over the morning, I take a deep breath, and just like that, some internal reset button is pushed and I know what I need to do to get this necklace on.

I turn away from my car mirror to have another go at the necklace.

Immediately, things felt different. I feel different. My mind is settled. I’m breathing. My hands move the way they want to move. There’s no reflection staring back at me to confuse things— just my hands, going the way they know to go.

Three seconds later, wa-la.  My necklace is clasped.

I sit in the front seat of my car, close my eyes and laugh.

This moment. This lesson. How is this my life?

What happens when I force things? When I hold too tight or push too hard? When I’m too busy to pause?

What happens when I soften? When I breathe and trust? When I hold on to letting go? When I allow myself a moment (like, literally, as few as 10-15 seconds) of stillness and silence?

“Ommmmmmmm” my mind teases me. I open my eyes and see the shiny pendant in the mirror, at long last, hanging from my neck. I breathe deeply and say ommmmm again, this time out loud. And as I get my purse and move slowly to open the car door, the place I’d been rushing too next feels far, far less important.


ps: I’d love to hear of a parenting moment and/or new awareness about yourself that helped you feel more present, even admist the chaos of everyday life. xo


I hope you walk with me and other moms here because we are not alone. Let’s connect on twitter, facebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone!

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A Curvy Road
Connection and Baby/Kids

How to Trust

My dad’s side is Roman Catholic. My mom’s side is Born Again Christian. I grew up thinking that at any given moment, half of the people I loved were going to burn in hell. Maybe that’s why I married a Jew. :) Perhaps I was looking for a more compassionate God.

Seek and ye shall find, right?

God. Spirit. The Universe. Source. In my lexicon these labels are all synonyms, as is Intuition and Self. Even then, no words can really describe that… I can appreciate why in Judaism, one only refers to God by title, and not by name.

“Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions,” says Elizabeth Gilbert. I chuckled about that as I went down the 10-story slide at City Museum. When I first read the sign, I actually thought it meant a 10 slide presentation. Yeah! That’s where my head was.

And the sign at the top of the 10-story slide said “People with ankle problems or heart conditions should not go down.” Why? Because if you’re a control freak like me, you’ll try to brace yourself with your ankles and just might break them, that’s why! No, I didn’t break my ankles… but only because I was practicing my Yoga Breathing all the way dawn. Sliding down also took long enough for me to contemplate what God’s instructions were… er, of course… LET GO!

And when I did, it was actually kinda exhilarating and pretty… FUN!

I was blessed with many skills and attributes that led to a certain amount of worldly success and recognition. But over a period of many years, I realized that without knowing Who I was and for what meaningful Purpose these gifts and talents were for, all my efforts were like a hamster’s on a wheel. Yes, I rode the giant hamster wheel at City Museum that day too. What did I discover: not only do you keep going around in circles but this contraption actually requires going faster and faster just to keep up with your own effort. At some point, the hamster always collapses and just lets itself get taken a few full 360 degree rotations. I wonder if that’s fun.

It has taken years to “give up the driver’s seat,” I like to say. To trust and recognize that alongside my hamster-like self, was a Constant — my Self. As I nurtured this intuitive side, a whole world of magic opened up. I found that I could actually trust my heart, and this has actually always been so. In each of our hearts, the compass to our dreams has been embedded. Just like in the Pacific salmon. Just like in the whooping cranes. Just like the in monarch butterflies… we’re just the only creatures who’s heads keep getting in the way of our hearts.

No, that's not the 10-story slide. But it is at City Museum. :)

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?