Peace in Obsessive Thoughts

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This week I started up a conversation with a stranger in the hopes of learning something new. I didn’t want to talk with this person, per se, but money had been paid to learn at this seminar, so I thought to ask a question or two. I still have my father’s “get my money’s worth” mentality every now and again. (Thanks, Dad.)

I asked my questions and in no time, a longer conversation had begun. No surprises there, if you know me and my subconscious desire to keep conversations going, for no apparent reason. Chatty Cathy? Never heard of her.

A few minutes in, this person said something to me that, upon later reflection, I could NOT get out of my head.

Enter: obsessive behavior #413, thinking and rethinking and then thinking some more.

I’ve been dubbed a person who overthinks things before. But I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I kept replaying this particular conversation in my mind.

“Am I meant to learn something here?” I asked myself.

“Is this triggering something I need to pay attention to?”

“Why would I get reactive to this random thought shared by a stranger?”

“Why is this having such an effect on me?”

I played out the answers to these questions, journaling and considering which seemed to fit best. And what I came up with is this:

Obsessive behaviors, no matter what they are, are sometimes simply excuses to distract ourselves.

Most of the time, I distract myself with online shopping or tidying the house. Those things were pretty much taken care of this week, so I gave myself a different distraction.

The answer to all my “whys” becamse this: “It doesn’t matter. It only matters that I stop the actual process of obsessing so I can take care of that other thing I keep procrastinating about.

And what do I keep procrastinating?

This week I had to prepare for a presentation and I DID NOT want to do it. So, I gave myself the excuse to think about this other thing all day, talking with Hubs about it, talking with my mom about it, talking with anyone who would listen, all under the guise that I was under enough emotional duress that I could not POSSIBLY work on my presentation.

Well, when I finally called a bird a bird and recognized this pattern in my thinking, that thing that stranger said to me stopped playing on repeat. I heard the phrase in truth, honored its truth, and let it go.

So, what did the guy say to me?

“Kim, I’m sensing a little analysis paralysis. I’ve suffered from that, too.”

A stranger noticed my obsessive thinking and called it out. And it bothered me because it was true.

As soon as I heard it for exactly what it was, I shut up the voice in my head and moved on. I got to work. I started to have fun again. And fun always brings me peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace Among Besties

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It has been so hectic this fall. There are so many school events, sporting events for the kids, professional sporting events to watch, parties, social gatherings, you name it. After coming through “The Covid Years,” all of this hustle and bustle feels…..well……it feels strange!

It is overwhelming and at times completely exhausting.

A cutie mom friend of mine said to me the other day, “Remember when it was COVID times and we never realized how great we had it?”

Now, I’m not trying minimize or downplay the craziness of COVID and the incredible strain it placed on many families. At the same time, there are two sides to every story. And some of those COVID days were sort of magical. They were quiet and aimless and gave us time and space to breathe a little.

I’m a mom who has a hard time saying “NO” to opportunities for fun. Hubs is pretty much the same way. We love saying YES, YES, YES! We would love to do that!

But sometimes, especially when stress and tension seem to be running higher than usual, saying NO has so much more value for us. I need time and space to quiet my mind and my heart, recharge, and find the peace again.

Try explaining that one to three kiddos under 9 years old.

“Let’s be quiet and take time to find our mindful spirit!”

Yea, the kids don’t quite follow the logic on that one.

When the kids are small (this rings true for my 4-year-old the most) I need to find ways to engage my littles while also finding time for Mommy. And when silence isn’t an option, I have found peace in community with my besties.

When my little sister welcomed her second baby into this bright, brilliant world, our shared bestie, Aunt Nono, came for a visit. The three of us have known each other for over thirty years and we can basically say anything to each other. The hardships and challenges of being mommies was front and center in our chats. And we found peace coming together, not to kvetch and gripe, but to hear each other. We needed to sit in a room, covered with our kids, with other women who were willing to listen and hear what we were going through.

I hope you can find peace with your own special community this week. When you can’t find enough alone time, maybe you can find a way to find peace among people you love and trust to share your experiences.

What brought you peace this week?

Peace in the Soil

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The weather is finally warm enough to get my hands back in the soil. It has been for a few weeks.

Oh, the peace.

My gardens are, clearly, my happy place. And I have returned.

There is something so incredible about working gloveless in the soil. I like to feel the dirt under my fingernails. I don’t even mind when I graze a worm or grub. They used to be “gross” when I was a little girl. Now, they’re a part of being outside, of gardening, of knowing the earth beneath me.

This year I have a ton of maintenance to do. Weed pulling, mulching, moving paver stones, etc. I’m trying not to buy new flowers, though it’s tempting. The nursery keeps the plants so beautiful and thriving (how do they do it?!). They look so gorgeous I often feel like I can’t help myself.

So I focus on peace.

It’s a practice.

It takes patience and concentration.

I don’t need more plants. I need to wait; for things to grow and spread and fill in the holes. This will take years, but it will save money and give the plants their freedom to blossom and bloom and spread. I must let the plants be what they are– living, growing, thriving organisms that will fill in the gaps in the garden beds when given the nutrients and time they need.

I am peaceful when I’m in my garden, doing the work. I’m peaceful when I’m dirty and grubby, my hands dark with earth. I grew up with garden-loving parents, and a vegetable-growing grandfather. So, I’ve always seen others in the soil, but I never understood the joy of helping things to grow until I bought my first house.

I dabbled in the soil there while my babies napped, a monitor close in hand, waiting for them to wake up and beckon me.

In our second home, I have the gift of sunlight on multiple flower beds. While we have deer that munch many things, my garden is full of things they won’t eat, and full of brilliant flowers I never could have planted in house #1’s shadowy, tree-filled yard.

I have come into the light.

I have come into peace.

And I couldn’t be happier.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Friendship

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I have to admit that for the most part, I don’t mind being alone. I find myself craving it often, given that I live in a house with four other people. There is nearly never silence. Never alone time. Sometimes it gets quiet, only to be punctuated with, “I AM THOR! I WILL ATTACK YOU NOW!”

Given that I crave more alone time, it might sound strange to admit that I also crave grownup friendship time, too. These cravings feel like such opposites. When “free-time” finally does present itself, do I choose the quiet, peaceful moment or do I phone a friend?

This week, I reached for my cell and phoned a friend.

There is so much peace in loving friendship. 20 minutes can make such a difference in the day. Hearing a friend laugh or share similar experiences makes my day. It’s so simple to pick up a phone, make a plan, share a lunch, FaceTime, or otherwise. This sounds so simple it’s almost silly. But, somehow, we forget the most simple salves life has to offer us.

So, I encourage you! I implore you! Phone a friend. Feel the peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!