Monthly Archives: December 2014

Day 11 Be Present: Keep Going No Matter What Fears Pop Up

Day 11 Be Present: Keep Going No Matter What Fears Pop Up

When asked, “What disturbs him now about himself?” E.B. White answered, “I am bothered chiefly by my little fears that are the same as they were almost 70 years ago. I was born scared and am still scared. This has sometimes tested my courage almost beyond endurance.”

-E.B. White, quoted in “Notes and Comment by Author,” by Israel Shenker, New York Times, July 11, 1969

You are here for Day 11! YAY! Give yourself a big star today for sticking with this blog, for continuing to read and question, and do the work of being present and working towards more inner peace. Nobody said life was going to be easy. But I still want it to be. And when I get scared, overwhelmed, criticized, or feel otherwise unloved or unappreciated, I want to run away. Single parenting doesn’t let us do that, no matter how badly we want to. The work and the situation are still there. The kids with their bright, shining faces, their hungry bellies, and yes, their hugs and love and forgiveness for our past mistakes are there, every morning. Thank goodness!

If E.B. White had little fears that still plagued him, after so much literary success, then perhaps we aren’t the only ones with fears and trepidation about our lives? Perhaps the bus driver and the guy you sit next to at work have fears too. Maybe the check out lady at the grocery store does too, or the postal worker, the teacher, or the flight attendant. Maybe we all just have to persevere anyway, despite fears of not being good enough, or not getting it right (again), or offending someone, or looking stupid.

Running away from our fears, rather than facing them, and shutting off/shutting down doesn’t do anything but remove us from the present. No one benefits when we don’t stay present in our lives and keep on keeping on.

Action Item: Describe in your journal what fears you have about today (just today). Decide what you can do to help yourself with your scary task. What can you do to prepare? Who can you ask for help? What can you remind yourself?

Affirmation: “I am capable, strong, and have just enough on my plate. I can handle it, one day, one moment at a time.”

Visualization: Stand with your hands on your hips and smile as you look out at the world you are creating for yourself and your children. Do this 3-10 times today, and smile with gratitude and pride for what you are accomplishing. (see, you are doing it!!)


Day 10: Be Present Accept Present Parenting Situation


… and find the gifts in the situation!?!? I do NOT relish getting up in the middle of the night ot take care of sick kids, or to go pick up kids at the movie theater at 11 pm, or calling and harassing the 17-year old who is blowing off his curfew. But I do it. And I try super duper hard to remember that this phase will not last forever. In a few years, they won’t be asking for rides, or even sharing breakfast with me on a daily basis. So the time we have together, even if it is after my bedtime, and inconvenient, and feels bothersome, is somewhere along the precious scale.

One horrible epidsode, which is a family joke now, my then-5-year old daughter wa projectile vomiting pink stuff. It got on the floor, the door, the sink, even in my eye! I then, 2- hours later, got the runs myself, which made it a challenge to take care of me and her. An hour later, after everyone was in bed and asleep, I heard my DOG HAVING DIARRHEA in his crate, of course… That was a hard one to beat, that bug! The only gift or blessing in that is the laughter we all have over it now, and actually, that is a really pretty good blessing, to laugh with our kids, to have old inside jokes with them, and to smile and know that they feel loved and taken care of, even when it is a pain in the neck.

And, there are gifts to parenting alone- our ex is a coparent usually, and that is extremeley important to put energy in to preserving that relationship for the kids’ benefit. But our ex isn’t there on a daily basis any more, helping with dinner or carpools or soccer cleat tantrums. BUT- we get to choose consequences without repercussions. No one can go behind my back and let him spend the night with Nick after I said no. We get to decide, alone, how much of our family budget goes towards winter boots vs. power tools, or family vacations vs. hunting trips. We get to choose our family rules about movies, drinking beer at 18 at family occasions, and how short the homecoming dress hemline can be. I especially like the rule I made 12 years ago that we all take very seriously: Every single Christmas morning, we MUST have cinnamon rolls and bacon while opening up presents. Nobody messes with me on that one.

Action Item: Write down 10 things you love about your lifestyle and find 5 more reasons you would NEVER DO IT DIFFERENTLY if you had the chance.

“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.”
Gary Lew

Visualize: Imagine you are surrounded by that golden loving light, dripping all around from you, while repeating your affirmation 10 times. Pick your affirmation: “I love the life I have built for my kids and me”; “I am capable, strong, caring, and loving and all will be well in our world”; “I claim my own power, and I lovingly create my own reality.”


Day 9 Be Present: Find the Gifts in Now

Day 9 Be Present: Find the Gifts in Now

Stop. Take a breath. Smile. Be Present. Be the Present to each other.

Our Presence is our Presents.

Here it is, December 9th, and we are all freaked out about how to buy the material items- what if we commit to bringing spiritual wealth to our families rather than material wealth?

That is a lasting legacy we can provide- the way we live our lives today, and in this season has a much longer reward than the materials we buy them. It will last longer than just this lifetime.

Action Item: Ask yourself what is it that you can leave behind for them, aside from wealth and material items?

Affirmation: I love to be present and give others my golden love and energy.

Visualize: (this is very groovy, but try it anyway) Imagine you are surrounded by golden light. It is coming from the Divine, and it swirls around you. You have so much of it, it drips off of you as you walk though your day. This light feels amazing and is amazing. It is inside and outside of you, and you happily share it with others.

Day 8: Be Present: Accepting Our Parenting Situation

Day 8: Be Present: Accepting Our Parenting Situation

Stop. Breathe. Be in the Moment. And smile.

They are beautiful, aren’t they? And you are doing a fabulous job, taking care of their hearts and souls. You will continue to do a great job. We might crack a few times. But we will not break. We will hold them and keep them safe. We will teach them well, and we will all be fine. Better than fine!!

Day 7 Be Present: Letting Go of Expectations

Day 7 Be Present: Letting Go of Expectations

We know we can’t control people, places, or things. We can control our own behavior. We can let past mistakes go, too. Can we also let go of our expectations?

This is truly difficult. We have lots of ideas and plans! What if we let go and it all falls apart?! (But will it really?) Does life truly ever work out the way we think it should?

I am all for planning. I love my Google calendar and its reminders. And, I have four more hard copy calendars to help keep track of 4 categories of plans (work, family, workouts, dates)- each with their own time zones. (I also make lists, like crazy) I probably go overboard…

How does a plan differ from expectation? We can plan a date. But is it fair to expect to fall in love? We can plan a family game afternoon. Is it realistic to expect everyone to have fun? We plan meals, but does dinner ever turn out the way you thought it would?

AlAnon* has a saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell (her) your plans”.

I planned to have a quick early few hours in the office last Friday (possibly to impress my coworkers, or maybe just to kick off early). I got in there bright and early with a ride from my son. I started tapping away on my keyboard, (with self satisfaction) and then sniffed around, confused. I smelled cat pee somewhere… Where? Every time I turned my head, I smelled it… Yes, you guessed it- the cat pee was on me! I had put on my daughter’s sweatshirt in a rush, thinking I would look so hip in the Burton look I stole from her while she was away at swim practice. I was hoping to impress my coworkers with my youthful casual Friday look… But alas, hipness evaded me- my daughter’s cat had peed on it and my back was being marinated- the sweatshirt, the shirt under, and my back were soaked. Totally disgusting. The cat had saved up apparently. My manager’s manager stopped by to talk to me, and I saw her visibly take a step back from my door… I had no change of clothes, and I was there at the office early, which meant there was no one there, to give me a ride home (I had loaned my car to the cat’s owner). So I was totally grossed out, distracted, and of course, lost my self-satisfied focus. I ended up at the office for 6 hours, not 3, missed my scheduled time at home, but ended up light-hearted the rest of the day, and had a great time being present with friends later in the afternoon. So, did the cat get me to be in the moment? Who knows. Don’t try this at home.

Do we notice when we are called to get off of your programmed life and show up for something different than we had planned? I think we all need a shot of cat pee every now and then, especially when I am trying to impress, sneak around, be overly proud, or overly expectant.

Action Item: Try the Serenity Prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. Sometimes I say this at night when anxiety is making it hard to keep my eyes closed. I just repeat it over and over, as a prayer, an affirmation, a thank you, a plea… Try it!

Also- Stop. Breathe. Be in the Moment. And smile.

You are aware enough and present enough to know that shirt you are wearing is dry and clean.

*Alanon is a fantastic free place to go when you feel like you have lost control/never had control/ wish you had control/want to control. It is for families and friends of addicts, who, as we know, have no control, and sometimes luxuriate in it, causing their families and friends large chunks of pain. Alanon meetings are different everywhere you go, but I usually find health and a small space of serenity when I attend. A large bit of time is spent on the concept of acceptance and what that means, really…

Day 6 Be Present: Fear and Acceptance- Onions


Christmas is a fearful time for some. Birthdays and anniversaries are fearful for others. One day I realized that about the only holiday that didn’t have wreckage and memories I wanted to run from was Flag Day. The time-travel thing makes it hard to not fear the holiday coming up. We remember other holidays that went quite differently than this one will. And then we wonder how we can make it through. Time helps so much– getting one year under your belt away from the trauma/drama/divorce/loss can sometimes feel like a waiting game. So how do we get time between us and our trauma/drama/loss, and yet live in the present?

Many times, we have people depending on us figuring it out- those short people that live in our house, eat our food, and get rides to school every day from us depend on us figuring it out! That is what this blog is about- exploring ways that we can find the peace inside, the presence of mind to thoughtfully parent our children and live our lives, despite our lives not turning out how we expected.

Like in Alanon, where they tell you to try it for 6 weeks, and “take what you like, leave the rest” , I am asking us to just try these ideas out. Not all of them will work, but some might, and they might help us to live a little calmer, a little more peaceful, and a lot more joyfully as we continue on the voyage of single parenthood.

The next topic is fear of accepting. In order to cultivate being present habits, we could think about what we really fear, and how it steals peace of mind from us, slowly and stealthily, we build habits up to protect ourselves from what we fear. And that protection, those walls, keep us from our hearts. The walls we build in fear keep us from experiencing our lives fully.

Action Item: Write down or discuss with a friend what you are feeling fear about today. And notice the shape and size of that fear. Describe it, and then peel back what is under it. What do you fear under that? Like an onion, keep on peeling… and see what the kernal of fear is in the middle.


When you get to that kernal of fear, think about it, pray about it, write about it, and come back to it later. Then give yourself a hug and smile. You are very brave, and you can do this!!

Day 5 Be Present: Accept and Allow


Day 5!!! Woo Hoo!!! Do a Happy Dance for you. You are still here, and still willing to take on the new habit of Being Present in order to have more Inner Peace. Your life is not easy, this quest you are on is not easy, and no one ever said it would be easy. But we still whine when it gets hard… (I do!)

What if we let go a little more, and let The Man (which is also The Woman, The Universe, the Divine, The Spirit) help us out?

“Surrender and Release. Either it will be washed away from you and replaced by a better situation, or the situation will heal in a miraculous way. Let go and let God help you!
-Doreen Virtue, PhD

Action Item:
Watch this music video and smile today.