“I was so broken that I believed pieces of my being could scatter in the wind like dust.” That was a quote from the blog post Are You too Broken to be Happy. I was referring to a painful period of my life when it seemed as if everything was falling apart. My husband and I refer to this as the time in which we experienced for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. We also almost experienced in death do us part.
I was paralyzed, fearful that any movement would result in more pain or sorrow. I was stressed out. I refused to answer the telephone fearful that a bill collector would badger me for money I did not have. I avoided people in the store thinking that they would know about my failures. I jumped when the doorbell rang convinced that it was a delivery of more bad news.
I was overwhelmed with stress, my spirit was broken and I was extremely unhappy. I did not believe that I could be happy. I was wrong. I thought about our daughters and recognized that they were so happy. We shielded them from our struggles. They knew that mommy and daddy loved them and that they were safe. They did not fret when the car did not start. They did not cry when the car horn spontaneously started blowing as we drove south on I – 95. They laughed. This made us laugh too.
Our daughters’ innocence fueled my desire to find what I needed to be happy. I could not get rid of our trouble, but I began to think that I could view my daily life differently.
I set out to re-establish my personal priorities. Prior to our years of struggle, my husband and I were told we were a power couple. Both he and I had notable positions. We were on boards of directors of local agencies. We were also moving to become leaders in our community. We were becoming ‘people to know.’ Every community has people you need to know. We enjoyed the notoriety. Then all hell broke loose.
Very soon, our professional careers drastically changed due to decisions we each made. Unemployment, health issues, financial issues all followed. Helpless, I started falling apart. Then I chose to address my personal feelings and I began to re-establish my priorities.
When setting priorities we tend to choose what is important to us. I use and teach a different tactic in my R.E.S.T. System of Stress Relief. I teach establishing priorities based on compelled actions. Priorities that are based on what we are compelled to do are easily sustained and encourage self-satisfaction. They also decrease the level of overwhelming stress we experience.
I was compelled to reaffirm my faith and belief in a power higher than me. I was also compelled to state and affirm my own personal mission which was to be “the best mommy I could be.” I was compelled to learn to experience the present moment without judgment. I later learned that this was mindfulness. These priorities established a course of action that allowed me to reign in my response to the craziness that surrounded me.
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