happiness

A few new mantras

It’s been a while since I’ve written the mantras I’m using right now. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, really, but I’m back in the headspace where I think of things I’d like to share, so I’m hoping to do some of that in the next few weeks.

My favorite thing about mantras is that you can interrupt your own thoughts with one and repeat it as needed. If you notice thought patterns that are negative or unhealthy, you can track them and write a mantra to say to yourself when your brain goes down that road. They’ve been a huge help to me in interrupting the negativity in my own head and shifting focus to positivity and growth.

We can opt out.
I have a lot more to say about this one, particularly how it relates to motherhood and social media, but the main idea here is that I’ll find myself thinking about something or devoting time or energy to something that simply doesn’t align with my personal priorities or what I want for myself and my family. They’re often those moments of “everyone else is doing…” or “should we be…” or “are my kids missing out if we don’t…” that sneak up on us. When that happens, I ask myself, “Is this serving me right now?” (the answer is usually no). At that point, I remind myself that we can opt out.

That’s capitalism.
This one serves me in big ways and little ways. If you find yourself shopping more than you’d like or giving in to ads that tell you that your kids need certain subscription boxes or gadgets or extracurricular activities to be smarter / happier / better, this mantra may be for you. Now that we’ve entered the world of school and endless opportunities for more stuff to do and have, I remind myself to stick to my priority of adding just the very best activities for us to the calendar and saving as much family time as possible and to follow the same pattern with physical stuff.

Abundance. Abundance. There is enough.
Closely related to that’s capitalism, right? In this case, sometimes I need to remind myself that there is enough–enough time, enough opportunity, enough chances to make memories with my kids. It’s so easy to get caught up in this idea of scarcity, particularly worry related to scarcity. This is a super specific example, but I notice it during Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. People will camp out on the parade route “to get a good spot,” as if parades aren’t meant to be a complete ruckus with crowds and people and the fun kind of mayhem. I wish people could lighten up and just enjoy it. When I find myself worrying about something instead of enjoying it, I ask myself, “Is this a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?”

My joy is mine. No one can take it from me.
I have my counselor to thank for this one. Yes, I have a counselor–some would call her a therapist, but she always uses the word counselor, not sure I know the difference, honestly–so I’m truly a millennial now, right? I was navigating a particularly challenging relationship with an extended family member and felt like the next best step was to talk to someone who could coach me through it, so I signed up for a few sessions with Better Help and have had a really positive experience. Something my counselor focuses on is the idea that we can refuse to let others take our joy from us, and she gave me this mantra as a way to remind myself of this truth when I’m in a challenging moment.

This is my one wild and precious life.
There’s probably not a soul left on Earth who isn’t familiar with at least a line or two from Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day, but it’s linked just in case. This is a mantra that shows up in the most random moments for me: when I’m deciding whether or not to go to the trouble of a fun family activity that will be a good bit of work for me, when I’m debating whether to deep clean a bathroom or wipe it down and pour that energy into something more worthwhile, even when I’m deciding between a pretty-but-high-maintenance haircut or an easy-brush-and-go style. This is it. This is the one life I get. And it is wild and precious, and I have no idea how long it’ll last, but I’ll be damned if I spent it fighting with a curling iron, for crying out loud.

So there you have it. A few mantras that are serving me well. I hope there’s something here for you, even if it’s just the inspiration to write a mantra of your own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.