In my attempt to focus a little more on finding energy, my second method is to slow down and enjoy the moment, even though that sounds a little too pie in the sky for me.
Last night, while my 1 year old was quite feverish and finding no comfort in a bed, laying on his stomach or belly, walking, playing, or being held, I found my first method being tested- no sleep of course and a reminder of the exhaustion of parenthood. Remember my secret of adulthood- having kids is exhausting but joyful?
But that moment came when I was holding him and he adjusted to be laying belly up on me while we were laying on the couch. As I held him with one arm holding one side up and my other hand laying on his warm and exposed belly (his shirt had pulled up from moving), I saw him relax for only a couple moments. But he was there, in my arms, relaxing on me. That was special. And in that moment I slowed my mind from all the concerns of sleep, work the next day (and whether I’d make it), and what sickness he had…instead I was moved by the sheer love and connection of a father and a son, and that I got to be the father in this special little moment. I loved being a father, loved being someone with whom my son could relax and know that he is loved. It was a fleeting moment, as the hours that followed still had lots of tears and discomfort. But for that moment that I was able to slow down and see the bigger picture, I could feel tangibly my love for Ryan, and that is what I needed for my extra energy to get through the night.
Sometimes, slowing down is more about not complaining or being negative. The more negative I am about whatever it is, the more I pass by the good things that are available to me. For instance, I was driving home a couple weeks ago and I was not thrilled about the traffic. I was a little bit bitter and unhappy (also possibly from my long day at work!). Okay, maybe a lot, but I certainly wasn’t grooving. But I remembered to slow down and to take what I was given, and I decided to turn on some music and just listen mindlessly. Even though it was seemingly nothing, I was able to be in the moment and use it positively rather than being overly negative. Plus, it allowed me to start de-stressing about my day at work with a death, and that was probably the most important upshot of the experience.
Complaining in my life becomes the enemy of appreciation. It blocks me from any ability to receive from others or that thing, and unfortunately, what I complain about one time tends to stick in my mind for a long time. Complaining about my wife in one small way leads to not appreciating the time together on the couch. Being negative about eating at the same place for the third day in a row keeps me from actually making dinner enjoyable. Complaining about a struggle at my church blocks my ability to be there fully and hear Gods word that day for me. Anyway, I am by nature an optimist and positive but I am also an internalizer, and complaining becomes the framework for my attitude and what life is bringing at that moment!
So, I have those times where I need to stop and reflect in the moment and see the beauty (with Ryan) and I have those times where I need to stop with the complaining and negativity and appreciate the moments, and then there are those opportunities where enjoying the moment is all about being adventurous. This is not rule for everyone, just what I know allows me to be in the moment. A small example of this is last night we went out to eat with an old and good friend. It had been a while since we are somewhere new, and his encouragement to go to the new place was perfect. Further, it was a Mongolian grill that has the option of creating your own bowl with the tons of different veggies, sauces, seasonings, and meats. I had thought of getting some recipe they already provided, but doing it myself and trying this simple but new experience made for a ton of fun! My friend and I both really enjoyed this simplest of treats- creating our own fun meal. Ah, what the hell, let’s just go for it. That’s a pretty good mantra most of the time in my life. Life gets fun and the moment becomes sweeter when the path, even a simple one like the Mongolian grill dinner option, is new and full of surprise. Anyway, slowing down in the moment can be about reflection, about positivity, and about adventure, but it does help when I let small moments be significant and speak up!