“Wherever you are is where you are supposed to be,
and whatever you are doing in the now is what you are supposed to do”
Wow. What a statement.
This incredibly powerful quote by Elkhart Tolle can be difficult to accept when you’re in the middle of changing your 17 month old’s shitty diaper…
THIS is my purpose?
But what if we accept the moment for what it is - a moment. A small amount of time, but the only one that currently exists. What if we try our very best and only focus on it.
“But, we need to be out of the house in five minutes!”
“What if she puts her hands in the poop?!”
“Did I remember to put wipes in the diaper bag?!”
Do these thoughts sound familiar? Let’s face it, no one wants to change the diaper… But, what if we remove these thoughts, because really, the only thing that you can control, is finishing the diaper change. If we manage to do that, then we free our mind from these useless thoughts of the past and the future. And when we do that, they no longer hold power over us.
Yeah.. maybe not.
Developing this skill takes a lot of practice and repetition. It takes changing your perspective and more than anything, it takes you wanting to learn this skill. If you are tired will feeling overwhelmed with diaper changes, cleaning up the house, listening to your toddler scream… then this article was written for you.
I’m a huge fan of Eckheart Tolle. His book, A New Earth, was a huge reason why my husband and I bonded in the beginning of our relationship. Although he practically had to beg me to read it, I’m so glad he did. I’ve since read it multiple times and have gotten something different from it each time, depending on what’s happening in my life at the moment. It’s about opening your mind to a new state of consciousness. It delves into the crazy and chaotic world we live in and teaches methods to transform our minds, let go of our ego, and become awakened.
**Stay with me.. I’ll explain more**
Stress is something that we all deal with, in different amounts, but we all face stress regularly. But how do we approach it? I know you’re sleep deprived, you’re worried about money, you’re at your wits end and just want to take a nap… So I’ve broken this down into a more simple strategy to use when you feel stressed. Here we go!
Recognize that you are stressed and admit it. Go ahead, say it out loud. Release it.
Next, let’s acknowledge the root of the stress. Maybe it’s obvious. But maybe it’s not. Tolle says that the root of the stress is usually not external circumstances, but rather our own thoughts and emotions about those circumstances. By becoming more aware of our thoughts and emotions, we can begin to manage stress more effectively. So by admitting what is causing us to be stressed, we are taking the steps to remove it. I find it helpful to say it out-loud to someone I trust. Journaling is also a great way to do this.
Stay present. It is crucial to stay in the moment and not get lost in thoughts about the past or the future. For me, I find this easiest when I go take a shower (I have short hair, so I don’t get stressed out about hair wash day). When I feel the hot water running down my body I find a sense of peace, calmness and what feels like a total reset. This is the feeling that we are aiming for, but whenever we need it, at any moment.
Now, we need to learn to practice acceptance. Acceptance is the key to managing stress… but it is not easy. Rather than fighting against what is happening or resisting it, we can learn to accept it as what it is.. even if we don’t like it. I don’t want to change this diaper… but I have to... because my baby needs me to… so I will focus on changing the diaper and do only that.
Observing your thoughts. Tolle suggests that we can manage stress by observing our thoughts without getting caught up in them. By becoming the observer of our thoughts, we can gain a sense of distance from them and avoid getting sucked into negative or anxious thinking patterns. Pretend you are an outside person looking in… are you talking to yourself? Probably.. but what exactly are you saying? Are you aware of the negativity that you are saying to yourself? Do you often saying things like “of course this is happening to me, bad things always happen to me”. This may be difficult at first. Actually, it may be easier to notice this about someone else. Do you have a relative that you know is going to talk about their problems all night at the family dinner? Chances are they are not aware of the negativity they are projecting. They probably don’t even recognize the words coming out of their mouth. This is being “unaware”. To find awareness in yourself, you need to look at yourself sort of in the third person…on the outside looking in. What am I thinking right now? What did I just say? Why did I say that about myself. Why am I allowing this diaper change to control my emotional state? It’s a diaper. This is the idea of awakening.
I hope I haven’t lost you completely. Thank you for taking the time to read through what works for me. When I follow these steps, I am able to release the stress and find clarity again. Maybe you feel inspired to read A New Earth for yourself. Or maybe you’re in the throws of new motherhood and the thought of that seems way too overwhelming. Take whatever you can from this and implement it, if you see fit. If you can recognize that you are struggling, then you are already taking the first step in admitting it. Talk to someone, it’s so important.
But can you do me one favour?
When you finish changing that shitty diaper…
Don’t carry it with you.
Leave it in the diaper genie along with those negative thoughts.
"Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." - Eckheart Tolle