Skip to main content

Enjoy the Journey

Once our eyes have been opened to behaviour we want to change, what is it that we need to focus on to maintain and sustain that change? How do we prevent ourselves from slipping back into old patterns?

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” 
- Cardinal John Henry Newman

For me and the season of life I am in, I imagine a dashboard in a car. There’s a speed gauge and a fuel gauge. If the speed gets too high, or the fuel gets too low, I know I am entering dangerous territory.

The Speed Gauge
The speedometer reminds me to take one thing at a time, peacefully, letting go of urgency. I need to ensure the pace of life inside my home is slow. 

If I’m changing a nappy, I’m changing a nappy and looking in my baby’s eyes. Getting him to pinch my nose or find his ears. Being present for those two minutes several times a day, rather than being distracted or too busy to have time for simple connection.

Keeping the speed slow allows me to see, experience and be present to what truly matters. It allows me the space and time for connection. 

When the speed is high I often feel ‘too busy’ for connection:
Connection to God…spending time with Him and being aware of what it is He wants me to accomplish for the day. 
Connection to myself…to how I am feeling and what it is I need. 
Connection to my loved ones…to knowing them intimately, to giving and receiving support, to living in loving communion with them and others.

If I am perpetually distracted, I am being kept from connection. I am disconnected. And the pain of feeling disconnected drives me into remaining distracted. It is a vicious cycle. 

If I am multitasking more than I need to…taking on more than I need to…doing for others what they ought to do for themselves…going about life with a frantic energy…feeling overwhelmed…feeling busy but not actually getting to the things that matter the most to me…if I am allowing news and other negative content to occupy my mind… then the speed is too high and I need to adjust.

I need to take one thing at a time. I need to simplify. I need to say no. I need to stay on my side of the street and allow others to do for themselves what would benefit them to do. I need to acknowledge my limitations and say “I can’t”. I need to omit negative media and replace it with encouragement, inspiration, support and hope. I need to re-focus my attention on what truly matters. I need to slow down.

Similar to travelling in a car when the speed gets too high, we run the risk of losing control during our day if the speed is too high. We risk having a speed wobble. We risk not being able to cope with an unexpected event; with a twist or turn on the journey. We risk even a small unforeseen happening leading to us veering dangerously off track. Potentially precluding us from being able to reach our destination at all. 

The Fuel Gauge
Having too low fuel leaves us at risk of stopping far short of our goal; far short of our destination. If we ignore that flashing fuel light trying to show us that we’re close to our limit…if we think we can push through and run on empty, we will keep going until we can run no more. Until we break down.

Two things fuel my day: faith and self-care…what I call mom fuel. Before I start the day’s journey, I put fuel in the tank. Every day is its own journey so every day needs fresh fuel.

Faith: connection to God, the source of all good. There is no better, more premium fuel than God Himself. Spending time with Him. Allowing Him to pour into us several times a day - whether it is a short mental prayer, a request for help, or a longer period of time spent in quiet meditation and contemplation - we connect to God by spending time with Him, by inviting Him into our daily duties.

Self-care: paying attention to how we feel and what it is we need. Connecting to ourselves. This may be hard if, like me, you either never knew how to do this, or lost the ability to do this somewhere along the way. If you learned to always put others above yourself.

Begin to notice your stress level, your energy level, your patience level. Begin to notice when you need to top up the fuel. For me, it is not just a case of filling up in the morning and then I’m good to go. It also takes several pit-stops during the day. 

As mothers, our tank can be depleted fast…sometimes instantaneously. So several times a day I stop to re-fuel with faith and self-care.

What drains your tank? What causes the fuel light to start flashing? What can you do before it gets too late and you risk breaking down?

Wherever you can fit in a fuel stop, do! On the more hectic days, more will be needed. From hard-learned experience I can say that it is easier to come back from low fuel than from no fuel. I know now that I need to be proactive with self-care. I cannot wait until I am running low, until I am depleted. I fill up with premium fuel, in advance, and keep topping it up at every opportunity. You ought not be last on the list, but second, as God designed

Free to Focus on the Journey
When we take care to ensure that we are travelling at an appropriate speed and with the appropriate amount of resources to fuel us, we are then free to RELAX and enjoy the journey. To relax and enjoy our days. To relax and enjoy life!

Travelling slowly, with faith and self-care tended to, leaves us free to connect. To be present. To have the space and time to witness the beauty of this life each and every day.

Fuel yourself, take your time and enjoy the surroundings! Sooner or later, the destination will be in sight and we may look around only to suddenly realise all the beauty we missed along the way.

It is inevitable that we will at least occasionally slip back into old patterns. This is not failing. This is being human. Failing is when we stop trying.

A saint is not someone who never sins, but one who sins less and less frequently and gets up more and more quickly” 
- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

How balanced the dashboard is at any given moment affects our behaviour, our thoughts, our emotions, our physical symptoms. It can also affect how open we may be to God’s grace.

If we get sucked into a higher speed, we can catch that and re-adjust. If we have been disconnected from God or if we have abandoned ourselves in favour of others, we can learn to switch to premium fuel and to right order again: God, me, others. 

We can learn that we matter too and that taking care of ourselves is not only not selfish but it is being responsible.

Enjoy the journey. Take care of you. And Let Truth Bloom.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to be notified of new posts by email you can sign up here.


Popular posts from this blog

Vision Board

What do you want? A simple question, perhaps… but not one that may be all that easy to answer. Do you know what you want? I am not asking if you know how to go about getting what you want; but rather if you know what it is your heart desires? It is very easy for me to have a fleeting idea of what I may want and then quickly depart to “but we don’t have the time for that now” or “but that is far too expensive” or “we have small kids so that’s just not a possibility for us” or “with work and family commitments that isn’t doable” or hundreds of other logical reasons as to why my desire cannot be fulfilled.  And that is where I used to stop. Allowing my desires to be limited by the bounds of my own imagination. Quenching those desires before they had a chance to see the light of day. There was also a deeply ingrained perception I seemed to have that it was selfish to have desires. It took a lot of practice to get in touch with what I truly want. Honestly, it still takes effort. Even when

What We Focus On Increases

What is good and right in your life?  When we are feeling overwhelmed, overburdened and that life is hard, it can feel too much to even try to find things to be grateful for. It can feel like yet another thing we’re failing at. We  know  we have much to be grateful for and feeling low, depressed, overwhelmed or not able to cope when we, logically speaking, have so much to be grateful for can add to the guilt we already feel. Particularly as perfectionists, it can be easy to focus on the 2% we have not achieved. On the flaws. On the problems. On what is not working, not done, not good. On the issues we are facing with our spouse. On the worries we have for our children. On the frustrations we have with others in our lives.  When our focus is on these things, it can become all we see.  Think just for a moment about when you learn you are pregnant, or when desiring to have a baby. Suddenly you begin to see pregnant women and babies everywhere! It is because your mind is focused there. Wha

Self-Care: Isn’t That Selfish?

Are you responsible for taking care of others? Do you usually put other people’s needs ahead of your own? Do you feel selfish when you have needs or desires of your own? Do you feel like taking time for YOU is wrong? Have you learned that the right thing to do, the Catholic thing to do, is to deny your needs in favour of the desires of others? Are you wondering why continuously doing so is leaving you feeling drained, unfulfilled and resentful? As mothers, we see very quickly how the neglect of a need in our children develops swiftly into meltdown: an emotional outburst, overwhelm, anger, drama, tears. Yet we expect that, because we are adults, the consistent suppression of our own needs will have no such consequence.  Why is it that we consider the presence of our  own  needs as wrong or bothersome? And the taking care of those needs as unnecessary or redundant? Do we think we are exempt from being human? Are we expecting ourselves to be super-human? I don’t know about you, but withou