Sit down and ask yourself – What do you really want to do?

Boy, what a week I’ve had. There must be some astrological convergence creating the constant barrage of jumbled mess this week. Is Mercury in retrograde? This isn’t the first time my day or week hasn’t gone according to plan, but it felt more bewildering this week, somehow. I had fallen into a pretty good routine in the previous weeks. I’d get up, do some yoga, get to work, do some housework or errands, relax a bit and go bed. Oh, how I’ve fallen in love with routine in recent years.

I hate to admit it, but the mere fact that my beautiful, constant, reliable, routine was upset, may account for the unbalanced feeling I’ve had all week. My only saving grace was the way I responded. And honestly, that’s really the only grace any of us has in any given situation. It is impossible to predict what will come at us day by day and moment to moment. We couldn’t possible plan for every circumstance or contingency no matter how rock solid our routine.

I’m going to give myself a pass this week since I believe I perform great feats most weeks in all I coordinate and accomplish, as do most women. Shout out ladies!! You rock!! This week alone I cleaned out my garage, moved back into my recently renovated office, coordinated kids and school activities, launched a new program, began a class of my own, and managed a household, and so on. If that’s not enough, I made homemade tomato paste, cleaned out closets, switched out summer clothing for cold weather clothing, stripped the beds and put on heating pads. (I know. Can you believe it? It’s only September!).

It’s easy to forget to be forgiving and patient with yourself when you are surrounded by calamity; house blown up, behind on homework, burning tomatoes on the stove, and trying to function when every electronic device dies at once. Yup, that happened too. Told you it was a challenging week. All I had left was my response and my mindfulness practice to guide me.

Luckily, my practice has helped me to ground in the moment of overwhelm and confusion. When it’s all too much I know how to pause, take a breath, check my perspective, and then proceed wisely. The old me would have lost it. I would have gone nuclear melting down and adding to the felt chaos. The old me would have grown impatient and disgusted with myself, angry with my inability to meet my own inflated expectations.

Well it’s Friday and I’m still ok. In fact, it’s all worked out fine, even well. My old computer will be ready on Tuesday. My new computer will arrive in 10 days. Tomato paste is done and delicious. Dishes are washed, dinner is planned, homework completed, the house is clean-er and closets are coming along. Best of all, I didn’t let the circumstances around me affect me in way that would create more pain and suffering. I didn’t get angry or upset. I didn’t cry or throw a fit. I didn’t beat myself up or anyone else. I suspect if I didn’t describe my week, no one would even know that I was feeling stressed and off balance.

I’m satisfied that the time and dedication I put into my mindfulness practice showed up this week. It didn’t happen overnight and not without some effort, but I got to see the fruits of my practice in action. These are challenging times. Although the mayhem that surrounds you may be a different flavor, I’m sure it too will require some skill and practice to navigate. If ever there were a time to establish or strengthen a meditative practice, I dare say that time is now. Practice now, so when life gives you rotten tomatoes you too can make tomato paste.