I gave a talk at one of our local parishes this evening. I wanted to share some thoughts from that talk and some resources. The resources are listed at the end of this general commentary.
Why does joy matter? We are drawn to beauty. Beauty is part of his creative flow, his plan from the beginning. And is part of his redemptive plan for us through time. Because we were created by and for beauty, we are constantly being drawn back to it. Beauty calls us home.
Joy is the human-experience, emotional manifestation of beauty. We long for it. It completes our human experience.
To attain joy as our normal default, it’s vital to build our own resilience.
Resilient people have many attributes, traits, habits and natural inclinations that make resilient possible. I’ve listed a few here, the ones that are the easiest to practice, employ or obtain in our daily walk in growth.
List makers? You’re already half way there. A simple to-do list for the day, a larger accomplishment that you can do a little of each day, 15 minutes of reading, 15 minutes in the basement cleaning, 15 minutes walking with the kids outdoors.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Do things daily that nurture yourself. Be balanced about HOW you nurture yourself. If you are uncertain about balance in your life, here’s a simple exercise:
Make a list of all the things you do in a week: write it all down, driving, cooking, dishes, work, driving kids, getting groceries, walk, workout.
Then make a note whether each of things depletes or nurtures you. Write an N or a D beside each thing. There are many things that need to be done that are required (like feeding hungry people), but they might be depleting activates. Once we realize an activity depletes, if we can’t eliminate it, can we mitigate its effects?
We’re working towards balance, that which nourishes, that which depletes. And awareness of depleting and nourishing activities can help us know where our energy is being sapped or recharged.
Every. Single. Day. Find one or two or three very specific things that you can start your day with; a small account of the blessings you’ve been given. If it’s the only prayer you say, start here.
DEVELOP SELF AWARENESS. Best way we know ourselves is through prayer. Teresa of Avila said, “If we turn from self toward God, our understanding and our will is nobler and readier to embrace all that is good.”
Come before God daily to know yourself better.
The Temperament God Gave You is a lovely book on developing self awareness, easy to read and adaptable pointers for self growth and understanding others (link below).
RESPOND INSTEAD OF REACT This tends to be a quality that resilient people have. But we can all have it! It’s a learned behaviour that can be practiced. The most helpful thing we can do, in most situations where we are frustrated, angry, hurt or overwrought is *nothing*.
It’s harder than you think.
But if we can pause, tread emotional water, breathe, note what’s going on in our head, our response, when it comes, is likely to be better said AND better received. Don’t make it worse. DON’T MAKE IT WORSE. Breathe, girl.
Training ourselves to be responsive instead of reactive is totally possible. It requires practice, and lots of it. Thankfully our lives as mothers are rife with opportunities to practice patience. Over and over and over and over and…..
Use them well, be aware of your tone of voice, how you are looking at your spouse or child. Be aware of your duty of the moment. As parents, our duty of the moment is whatever is in front of us. What ever is in front of us must be treated kindly. Kindness is our duty of the moment.
- To be kind is to be pro-life.
- To be kind is to imitate Christ.
- To be kind is to fill the tanks of those around you.
- To be kind is a salve in this broken world.
To be kind is JOY in action.
“NO” is not an unkind word. But it must be administered kindly, justly and tenderly.
Mamas, love like crazy every day. Stop battling, stop the fight. Lay down your weapons of distraction, reaction and resentment. They are self destructive and cannot help you find joy. Ever.
Love with abandon in this short life. Be a crazy person of love.
I wish you joy.
- Bishop Baron on prayer (youtube, 13 minutes)
- Bishop Baron: Seven deadly sins, seven lively virtues, youtube video (one hour)
- Brene Brown on blaming (youtube, 3 minutes)
- The Temperament God Gave You by Art and Laraine Bennett
- Resilience and Happiness by Father John Muir (youtube, 2 minutes)
- Resilience, Experience, and what it means to be a Catholic Woman