I recently watched a Reel where a woman shows how she gets rid of stress by one by one taking out of her home her kids, her dog, her husband, and some objects representing house chores. Funny video, and relatable. I also sometimes wish to take everyone and everything out of the house, except for my cat, of course, or simply run away from it all.
Although meant to be funny in a very simple way, this Reel kept me thinking, mostly because I have been reflecting lately about how I keep going mentally to the same spaces that create stress related to my family life. We all want to run away from what creates stress in our lives at some point. Even the great warrior Arjuna before the battle of his life, as described in the Bhagavad Gita:
- “Sanjaya said: After speaking this way to Krishna, the Lord of the senses, Arjuna, who is the terror of his enemies, said: “I won’t fight” and became silent. “Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers (Ch 2 p. 12). Integral Yoga Publications. Kindle Edition.
It is the Eater break and with it comes more time spent together in the house, and multiple expectations, many of them unmet. Some are my own expectations, and I have to “deal” with the emotions they bring, and some of them are my kids and my husband’s and for some reason, they feel like my responsibility too, so I also “deal” with the emotions they bring in me and in them. This has been the dynamic since I can remember every time we are on holiday.
The easiest would be to go on a holiday on my own, but I like to spend time with my family, so this time, I decided to be mindful of my frustrations and use my breath to let go of them or communicate in a positive way. When it comes to expectations and frustrations from others, I am working on not making them mine. Allow my kids to feel what they feel, ask critical questions if relevant, and let go as much as possible.
The Easter break has become in our family a time we spend at home, relaxing, the girls and I usually have some handcraft projects, our oldest son does his thing, and my husband does too. This, in reality, should be a very chill holiday, but I make a mental mess out of it having a bad conscience for not taking the kids anywhere, having a bad conscience for not doing something in the house like Spring cleaning or deep tidying up, or any other chore that requires more time that I have been procrastinating for long. The bad conscience is then mixed with annoyance because “only I see the work that needs to be done” while my husband “just sits there are does nothing”. The funny (or tragic) part is that no one knows about all these thoughts. I go through the holiday dealing with them myself. So, this Easter break, when I went into the shed to get something and I saw, again, the mess “nobody” takes the responsibility to clear, I took a deep breath and asked myself “Do I want to tidy up now?”, the answer was obviously no, so I made a mental note, I will do this at the beginning of the Summer break. No expectation of anyone else doing it, I see it, it bothers me, and I will do something about it, but not now.
- “You can rise up through the efforts of your own mind; or in the same manner, draw yourself down, for you are your own friend or enemy.” Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers (Ch 6 p. 80). Integral Yoga Publications. Kindle Edition.
I am a strong believer that stress and distress are mostly a result of our thoughts, and although there are situations that do create immediate distress such as illnesses and accidents, it is how we deal with them that makes the difference. Life is full of surprises, and we owe to ourselves to live mindfully in the small moments (like my frustrations of everyday life), so we are equipped to deal with what I see as the “real” moments of distress.
I have now been studying Yoga for eight years, and most of what I study and learn makes sense, it is about time that I have a more conscious approach to its modalities and apply them more actively if I really want to see a change happen in my mindset. Little by little, step by step.
And in moments where I feel nothing else helps, I like to think of the Self, this deeper part of myself that is pure, at peace and unaffected by whatever happens in the palpable world.
- “Weapons do not affect the Self; fire does not burn it, water does not wet it and wind does not dry it.” Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers (Ch2 p. 16). Integral Yoga Publications. Kindle Edition.