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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How to Thwart A Devil’s Plans

We want him to be in maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with unpredictable pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy.

~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

If you are not familiar with The Screwtape Letters, it might help to know that it’s written from the perspective of a devil named Screwtape. The Enemy is God. And C.S. Lewis (I think) is brilliant. How insightful he is on the nature of us humans to be obsessed with “what if….”

The day that I left for the Type A Mom Conference, my daughter had a “crisis” with her homework. By crisis, I mean she had a complete and total meltdown about a book report that was due in two days. When I asked her what was the matter she cried to me, “My teacher is going to be so mad and I’ll have to sit in at recess and finish it and it will be only the second time in my whole history of school that I will have to sit in at recess!!!!!!!!”


But none of that has happened yet? You don’t know that it’s going to happen at all!

She’s only eight and already her mind has created pictures of the future – fearful ones at that.

So I coached her back to the present, using the breathing techniques we teach in Yoga Parenting. I like to say that our bodies are the only parts of us that have no choice but to be in the Present! There is real Grace in inhabiting our bodies. Uncle Screwtape wants to keep us mortals obsessed with the yet-to-be named future. And since he’s a demon, I’m making it my intention to stay firmly in the “Enemy’s” Now Camp. [Read more…]