A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: peaceful parenting

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

What would happen if just today you let go of the tight grip you keep on your life?

Would the world fall apart?

Would YOUR world fall apart?

What if you didn’t care about what your children ate, the activities they did, if your husband packed his lunch or even if he was going to be home late, again?

Will the sun still come up tomorrow? Will your family still be OK?

What if just for today you didn’t care what other people thought and you just did your own thing without worry or societal pressures?

Would all that authenticity make you shine brighter?

What if all those balls you’re juggling in the air just fell one-by-one onto the ground and shattered on the floor?

Would you be upset or would you be relieved?

How would it feel to just be without trying to get to the next best thing that you simply must achieve? That next blog post? That next level of management? That next big screen TV? The bigger car?

Would everything you have right now, this very second, be enough?

What if you just stopped caring so damn much about life’s minutiae and started paying attention to all the beauty that surrounds you instead? Who cares if you really say no to volunteering, just this once? Who cares if you really say yes to skipping the latest social function, just this once?

Especially if it means more time to yourself. Or more time with your family?

The image of losing my tight grip on all the many things I try to control all day is a beautiful, profound thought to me. Breathing helps. Doing less helps. Saying yes to more fun things helps.

The idea of not needing to be responsible for every. little. stinking. thing is WONDERful.

But the idea of losing that tight grip that I have on my children’s day is even more appealing. Are they old enough to start learning valuable mistakes? Are they old enough to pull away from me just a bit? Are they old enough to start doing more things on their own?

How about you? What could you care less about today? Beds not getting made? An unkept house? Piles of laundry? Children’s squabbling in the other room? If they ate iced pop tarts over the new box of organic shredded wheat? If their clothes match? Finding the perfect photo to share on your blog or on Facebook or to send across the miles?

That everything is perfectly perfect?

Original Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

WRITING PROMPT ONE: Write a list of all the things you have to do today. I mean truly have to do today. Now, circle only the ones that are life or death — meaning they have to be done today or someone gets hurt. What’s left?

WRITING PROMPT TWO: Is there anything in your life that you’d like to let go of …  maybe a long-held belief, an insecurity, a personality trait? Perhaps it’s a constant worry. Or a fear that just won’t let you relax. What have you done to let go of it? What could you do to try harder to let go of it?

Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments or on your own blog, linking back to this post. I’ll always share your links on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

We’ve all been there. Stuck with a challenging situation — maybe a crying newborn, maybe a tantruming child, maybe a tantruming adult. Stuck and you can’t leave for whatever reason.

We’ve all been there. Rushing around trying to get out the door or in the door or up the stairs or to the next place.

We’ve all been there. Appalled by the impatient parent in line at the grocery store, in line at a big box store, on the way into school in the mornings.

We’ve all been there. Mind over here, over there — when really it should be right here, right in this moment.

Peace comes from within. It’s what we’re trying to teach our children. It’s what we, the parents, have to teach ourselves.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all took a few minutes each day to decide to choose peace rather than war, hate, anger, distrust, control, being right over being kind … etc.

Peace isn’t a destination. It’s the way. We won’t suddenly find some ephiphany that keeps us at peace forevermore. We have to find what gives us peace in our own hearts and use those tools each day. We have to find our own ways, every single moment of every single day to be at peace, even in the chaos.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it. And it isn’t enough to to believe in it, one must work for it.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

So, just how do we do this, how do we find peace? How do we find it among the chaos at work? How do we find it among the noise in the car? How do we find it at home or everywhere else in between?

It’s entirely up to you.

I don’t have the answers for you to be at peace. But I can share what works for me. These are my peace tools — my inner peace gadgets — that I use as often as possible to ward off the crankies.

Thank you to "D Sharon Pruitt" on Flickr for the original white board photograph that I have altered.

Here are some Peaceful Steps to Take Each Day:

PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Saying thanks for the teachable moments, thanks for the hard times, thanks for the learning curves, thanks for the blows and blunders is just one way to find peace in your daily life. Rather than dwell, say thanks. Thank you for this moment. I do not know what it means just yet but I know it will turn out just fine.

LOWER EXPECTATIONS: Yeah. I know. It isn’t how you thought it should be. It didn’t turn out right. Things will be all messed up. I know. I get it. Now get over it and find peace.

LOVE HARDER: Forget the tough love. Love yourself. Love your partner. Love your imperfect child. Being kind is so much more peaceful than being right. The days I choose kindness are the days I feel most at peace … and then, oddly, peace falls into place, naturally.

SAY YOUR SORRIES: Sorry I yelled. Sorry I snapped. Sorry I didn’t do the dishes like you asked. Sorry I messed up. Sorry I wasn’t nice. Say it and move on. This teaches our children to say their sorries, too.

MAKE TIME FOR SOLITUDE: I am a person who needs, needs, needs silence. It’s why I choose to not watch television. It’s why I have been declining more and more social events. I don’t have enough quiet time in my life since I work in an office all day, have the kids all evening and the weekends are jam packed with things to do. And yet I need it like I need water and food and sleep. It’s that essential. Once I figured that out, I became more peaceful knowing that those moments are all mine.

ENERGIZE YOURSELF: Yup, bringing back the trusty energy list again. It works like a charm. That’s all I can say. Write one. Keep it close. Guard it with your life. Follow it to a T.

WALK AWAY: When things get tough, walk away. When things get loud, walk away. When things get frustrating, walk away. Find your peace corner. If you can go outside, all the better. It’s not always possible and so if it isn’t, go to your room,  your kitchen. Clean. Scrub. Do something that can get your mind working in a different direction, a more peaceful direction.

LET GO: Stop caring so much. Stop controlling every thing. Simply let things go. There you will find peace of the most amazing kind.

Photo Credit: Nazer K on Flickr

FIND WAYS TO LAUGH: Seek out the silly. Eek out a smile. Follow your bliss. Indulge in things that make you happy.

BREATHE: Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. I came across this quote on Kind Over Matter this week and I just adore it.

Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is meditation.

— Jonathan Haidt

What peace tools can you offer here today? What do you need to do or have to do to stay peaceful inside? Please share. I’ll share more of what I’ve added to our family’s peace corner FOR MYSELF on my Facebook page on Thursday. Maybe your ideas will spark new ideas for a brand new mom or dad who found this post when they were at their wit’s end and couldn’t take it anymore. The more ideas we can offer, the more our positive energy will flow out into the world. Let’s welcome these ideas with open arms in an effort to inspire others to muddle through another hour, another evening or another challenging phase.

Big super-sized thanks to Chintermeyer on Flickr for this really fine photo.

You begged for help today and no one answered.

Just breathe.

The children woke up a half hour too early and will be a mess by 9 a.m..

Just breathe.

Milk was spilled all over the counter and the clean clothes.

Just breathe.

She had another tantrum over nothing. Again.

Just breathe.

He only wants to watch TV and play video games.

Just breathe.

The twins are fighting again.

Just breathe.

The house is a total wreck because that’s the kind of day/week it has been.

Just breathe.

You need more sleep.

Just breathe.

You need quiet time and cannot get it.

Just breathe.

You couldn’t find time to exercise, again.

Just Breathe.

You don’t have the money to pay the bills.

Just breathe.

You just lost your job.

Just breathe.

Your child failed another test.

Just breathe.

Your child had a fight with a friend.

Just breathe.

Your child is being bullied.

Just breathe.

Your child is the bully.

Just breathe.

You haven’t talked to an adult in days.

Just breathe.

You have too much to do and no nap time to do it.

Just breathe.

You work all day and come home to housework all night.

Just breathe.

You have dreams and you cannot — not for the life of you — reach them.

Just breathe.

The babies are growing up faster than you ever dreamed would happen.

Just breathe.

We’re in this together. This is your village. This is where we support each other. This is where you are reminded what peace feels like. This is where you know it’s OK to do less, to be imperfect. This is your place to find your silly side again. This is the place where we remind each other to stop and play. This is the place to feel inspired, to say yes and embrace the wonders of the world.

Photo via Katerha on Flickr

“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace”.

Joan Borysen

Every week, I choose a different mindful topic to focus on as a woman, a parent and a creative soul.

This week’s intention is peace. But every week it should be peace, shouldn’t it?

In his book, “Peace is Every Step,” Thich Nhat Hanh writes that “Anger is an unpleasant feeling.”

“It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later.”

He goes on a bit later in that same paragraph to say, “A mind without anger is cool, fresh and sane. The absense of anger is the basis of real happiness, the basis of love and compassion.”

May you have peace of mind this week. May you have peace in the heart. May you have peace with what is and what isn’t and what may never be.

Peace for what we have and peace for what we will never in a million years find.

May you have peace when angry feelings rise to the top and want to burst out of you.

May you have peace when the noise level is so loud you can’t hear youself think.

May you also have a minute’s peace.

Peace for others who struggle.

Peace between siblings. Peace in the family.

Peace in knowing that right here, right now is perfect just the way it is.

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. John De Paola

Peace comes from within.

And may you find it everywhere you look this week.

Awesomely Awake Duo Posing in Anger

Even in the middle of chaos. Even in the middle of an argument. Even when you know you are right but lose the argument anyway. Even in the car stuck behind a slow driver, a bad driver. Even when you watch the news and you hear things you do not like, even when you want to plug your ears at the sounds of it all.

Practicing peace is simple. It is a matter of closing your eyes, breathing deep and uttering these words:

I am peace.
I am peace.

Om Shanti.
Om Shanti.

You can read about more weekly intentions HERE.

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