My good friend Leslie is a life coach and I have had the pleasure of doing some work with her. One of the most profound lessons I have learned from her was that at the most fundamental level in any given moment and in any situation I can respond with only 2 things – fear or love. That’s it. Underneath all of our wild and crazy emotions, thoughts, decisions and reactions…..just those 2 simple choices.
I can make my decisions as a parent based on fear (oh my gosh my 12-year old son is texting his girlfriend – I have to read all of his texts and ban that freakin’ ipod!) or based on love (I trust my son and respect his privacy and we can maintain a mutually respectful relationship if I give him some independence and he shows me he can handle it). I can make changes in my life based on fear (I have got to sign up for more exercise classes and work harder because I’m not skinny enough and I’m going to have to squeeze myself into a bathing suit soon) or based on love (this body gave me 3 beautiful children and I am going to embrace my curves and exercise doing things I enjoy to improve my overall health and wellbeing). And I can move forward in the world focusing on the fear (war, crime, poverty, hatred) or the love (philanthropy, compassion, charity, family, laughter).
I know, I know it’s easier said then done. And I’m certainly not going through life with rose-colored glasses on (or a bikini for that matter) thinking that bad things will never happen. But here’s the thing – there is a ton of negativity and fear-mongering coming at us all the time. And we have a choice to make: do we believe that life is scary and frightening or loving and supportive? Will we constantly focus on the stuff that scares the hell out of us or redirect ourselves to face the positive things that are also right in front of us waiting to be acknowledged?
Bottom line– you cannot love and fear at the same time. These two states of being cannot exist in the same space. You have to let go of one or the other. So for me, that means I purposely set my intention to come at things from a loving perspective as often as possible. I offer up green smoothies in the morning as an energizing and healthy way to start the day vs a dreaded mandatory drink to keep my family from getting sick. I keep open lines of communication with my children and I am willing to admit my mistakes vs always telling them what to do and acting invulnerable. I workout to feel strong, flexible and powerful vs frantically chasing a warped ideal of the perfect skinny body. I offer my time and energy to help and volunteer when I can vs sitting at home and bemoaning the state of the world. And at the end of the day, even though I thoroughly muck things up on a regular basis, I just keep reminding myself to come back to a loving place.
AND speaking of LOVE – I have some of the most wonderful and amazing news to share. Back in February, I posted an article on my friends Bill and Susie and their baby boy Ben who was born at just 24 weeks gestation and 1 pound. Well guess who finally came home this past Monday?! Weighing in just over 7 pounds, after 125 days in the NICU, Benjamin Finley is enjoying life from the comfort of his own crib surrounded by his parents and big brother Liam. I am sure there were many, many fearful moments for this family, but every communication they sent out over the past 4+ months was focused on the love they felt for this beautiful little fighter and the love and support they received from doctors, nurses, family and friends. Congratulations on the next step forward in your journey Coy family- you are an inspiration. Welcome home baby Ben!