Wednesday, June 14, 2017

100 breaths.

In the creativity course I'm taking, we are focusing on Space this month. Space to create, space to be a woman in addition to a mother, space to breathe.

Unfortunately, space is closing in, rather than opening up. 

Erin Loechner revealed in an interview that she wakes up at 2 am each day (!!), going to bed by 7 pm in order to be well rested. While 2 am is a stretch for me, I think conceivably I could work my way back to 4 am. I tried to be smart about it. Last week, I set my alarm for 5. This week, it's been 4:30. 

I skipped my hour long writing session after dinner Monday night in order to be up by 4:30 on Tuesday. I overslept, and planned to skip cleaning up after dinner--only to receive a phone call from our property manager. The realtors were coming over to take photographs of our house at 11:30, and could I tidy up a bit? 

Insert groan here. 

I was up until 10:30 cleaning, and decided I would grit my teeth and just get up at 4:30 am anyway. I'd just be tired for one day, in order to get myself in this routine (and I have some deadlines that I need to meet). 

Unfortunately, Nolan woke up at 4:29, and refused to go back down in his crib. Rather than wake the whole house and have him be ready for a nap by 9 am, I settled into the rocking chair and tried to get comfortable until everyone else woke up an hour or so later. 

Nolan wasn't having it, though. My Fitbit alarm kept going off, and he was curious about the flashing lights and vibrations coming from my wrist. Then he spent several minutes bemoaning his skinned knee, pointing to the scab, and saying, "Ouch, ouch," mournfully. (It's his first big "owie," and he's been milking it). 

I was getting tense and angry--not the way I wanted to start my morning. I was going to be sleep-deprived and I wasn't getting any writing done, not to mention that if Nolan didn't go to sleep soon, he wasn't going to let me put him down all day long. 

Nolan started poking me in the eye. "Eye!" He grabbed my nose. "Nose!"

I took a deep breath, turned my face from his jabbing fingers, and decided to take one hundred slow breaths. 

The first thing that happened as my body relaxed was that Nolan was able to relax, too. By breath 25 he was nuzzled under my arm, pacifier dropped from his slack mouth. 

Next, I found myself reasoning out how to get through the day. No, it wasn't ideal that I wasn't going to meet my goals for the day, or that I would be tired, but it was one day. I rested my head on Nolan's silky one, smelling his baby shampoo. My impatience ebbed away, replaced with a sense of peace. 

Around breath 99 I started dozing off. I woke up half an hour later and read my scriptures, prayed, read a magazine, and read a chapter of an ebook. 

I hadn't planned on spending two and a half hours trapped in a rocking chair with a sleeping toddler on my chest, but when Cal barreled into the room at 7, Nolan blinked those sleep lashes a few times, exclaimed, "Mama!" and hugged my neck. And I was able to enter the day peacefully and circled by love. 

I know I won't be able to take 100 breaths every time my plans go awry. Lack of flexibility is my downfall, and I'll probably be working on it for the rest of mortality. But today, letting my mind and body slow and rest brought peace to a day I thought would be fraught with stress. I've tried meditation programs with varying degrees of success, but I think this one that came to me in desperation at 4:30 in the morning might be the one I need. 

How do you find calm when you're stressed? 


  1. I can SO relate, Lorren. There are times when I've had a plan for the day and my kids throw a wrench in them and I find myself worrying or getting annoyed with how I can't get anything done. But I try to do what you do - take a deep breath (or a million) and remember that they need me and that one day, I'll wish they were still coming to me to fix all their problems. Mom life, right? :)

  2. This is beautiful, Lorren! I absolutely plan to use this tip. :) I am overly flexible, I think. Schedule changes and what not don't phase me, but that makes it hard to commit to things that are important to me. And I don't always realize what external factors are making me feel frustrated until I've gotten snippy about something small and realized, oh that's not actually what I'm mad about. The worst part (for me) of being "trapped" in a rocking chair is knowing I'm supposed to be enjoying those fleeting moments. Thanks for sharing your truth!

  3. I LOVE this! Love love love! What a beautiful message and of course, beautiful writing.


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