Ah…summer. It wasn’t my plan to slow down with posting over the summer. I planned to have some outings with my kiddos, do some gardening, take a short vacation, etc. and keep up with posting a couple of times a week.
However, the execution of those plans has been very different from the planning. We’ve been to the zoo a few times. We’ve been to the sprinkler park, gone swimming, and had a little vacation. It’s been fabulous, but entirely more hectic than it was in my mind’s eye.
And I’m okay with that. I’m really serious about this whole shame resilience thing that I’m working on. I don’t actually suck because I haven’t gotten to do everything that I have planned. My plans were super ambitious. I don’t know that anyone can write a blog post, edit it, take lovely pictures of their life, have a big child friendly activity planned, cook three square meals, and keep up on the housework, and be nice to their family (and I’m including myself in my family).
The day before our vacation, I took Gracie to her pottery lesson, and I sat down to write the post about traveling with cloth diapers. I was feeling on top of the world. This is unusual for me the day before vacation. I tend to slowly simmer in stressful thinking when a trip approaches. The days leading up to a trip can be a veritable hotbed of marital dispute. But I have been working on shame resilience, and taking stock of the actual inner dialogue that takes place. The night before I had been feeling a little stuck.
You see, I had known that the day before we were leaving for vacation was going to be extremely hectic. We had planned the pottery class in the morning, and we were going to a local music event in the afternoon to celebrate Father’s day for Tommy. It was all fun stuff, but I knew that for us to be perfectly, note the word perfectly there, ready to go that we would need to be packed up two days ahead of time…..In the nine years that Tommy and I have been married, we have never EVER been fully ready to go somewhere one day in advance…let alone two. And so life happened, and we weren’t packed two days in advance, and I could feel the stress starting to come roaring in.
So, I went back to a book that sometimes helps me focus my evening meditation. I read a little excerpt about releasing criticism, learning to change, and how the process happens. I recognized that I am holding onto criticism like a crutch. I feel like I know best in all situations. I feel like if things would just go my way, that everything would be right. But you know what, that’s a whole heck of a lot of pressure. And so I began to meditate on letting go. Letting go of my criticism of myself. Letting go of the criticism of my spouse. Letting go of the criticism of my children.
“I release the need for criticism in my home.”
I said these words to myself as I lay in bed on that Friday night, and it was as if my body physically rejected them. I lay in bed feeling electricity run through my body. “How will we get anything done if I’m not keeping us on track?”.
“If the family is not living in fear of my criticism will we accomplish anything?”
I’m not proud that those were the thoughts that ran through my head, but they were. I’m not outwardly heavy with my husband or children, but they can just tell when I’m not pleased…and I’ve obviously been cultivating the inner seething for a while, because even the thought of letting it go was highly stimulating. I lay in bed with the feeling that I was being constricted. As if I were being held together by a tight layer of shrink wrap. As if everything was going to explode out of that tight wrap if I didn’t control it with the taming power of criticism.
“I release the need for criticism in my home.” I released it right through my heart.
And then I fell asleep.
When I woke in the morning, I noticed that I hadn’t been grinding my teeth…something that I have been trying to stop for the last 16 years.
I have so so much more to say on this topic, but as I was mentioning before, I just have to be okay with the amount that I can do at the moment. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here. Is criticism one of your issues too? How do you deal with it? Have you ever thought about it before?