“Don’t wait for the perfect moment;
take the moment and make it perfect.”
— Author Unknown
My daughter and her sweet laissez-faire attitude towards life; something I aim to cultivate more of.
It’s 6:00 am.
The morning sun dances in golden streams across my floor, and I savor the stillness as I settle in to start my day. Cupping a perfectly foamed latte, I sit down ready to pour the idea in my head out onto my keyboard, when a loud crash breaks the blissful silence.
I investigate to find my son has scaled the kitchen cupboards to treat himself to a morning bowl of cereal. He’d done a fine job until it came time to pour the milk in. A full carton too heavy for his little hands, he’d lost his grip and the bowl, its sugary contents, and the entire gallon of milk now coat everything within a 6 foot radius.
And just like that, my writing plans are foiled again.
Selfishly, my heart sinks a little. I’m really not sure when I’ll find another window of time to write.
With a five and seven-year-old, a million little messes like this happen on any given day, and I do my best to respond with patience and love. To remind myself that the way I react will teach them how to respond to their own upsets in life.
I have to confess however, on days where I haven’t accomplished something for myself, I sometimes find it difficult to respond compassionately to anyone. It’s like the frustration (at myself, at a difficult situation, at everything!) bubble up in my body like a pressure cooker, and it just needs somewhere to go.
Rationally, I can process that raising small humans is important work. But logic doesn’t speak the same language as repressed emotion and the feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing in a day, in a week, in a month. Parenting is often invisible and absorbed into the abyss of hectic schedules, and it most often isn’t financially compensated.
I came across this quote from Brenè Brown, and the truth of it came crashing down on me so profoundly, it brought me to tears.
Unused creativity is not benign–it metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us. — Brene Brown
It gets shamed out of us.
Let me read that again.
It gets shamed out of us.
Who am I to take this time to write?
To just be?
To do anything just the joy of it.
There are deadlines to meet. There are dishes to be done. There is laundry to fold. There are conflicts to diffuse. There are kisses to be given on skinned up knees and bedtime stories to be read. There are meetings to attend. Carpools to coordinate. Reports to write.
The list is endless.
And then the accidents that are sure to happen.
. . .
Enter my secret weapon to the inherit chaos of mothering — a journal.
Over the years I’ve evolved the process, adding paint and other mediums, but the key ingredients have always been simple: me, a notebook, a writing instrument and my swirling head.
I list my swirling head separately from “me,” because I truly believe we are not our thoughts. If we don’t separate ourselves from them, they can threaten to consume us.
My journal becomes the safe place where I can confide my weaknesses and messy humanity. Where I can scream out what I really wanted to say. It becomes the place where I have the time and space to reflect and rewrite my story making me the person I aim to be, vs the person I’m capable of being on any given day.
I read once that we can spend all day trying to avoid or deny an emotion, but that if we acknowledge and identify said feeling, it takes a mere 90 seconds for that emotion to move through our body. Done. Honored and released. I like that.
Motherhood is filled with moments where we feel like we’ve failed, or we’ve fallen short. And yet, there’s no time to sit around and mope about how we wish we’d done things. Our families need us, and its no secret we’re the rock everyone else leans on, making it imperative we create our our own fortress. For me this is my journal.
“I merely took the energy it took to pout, and wrote some blues.”
What a beautiful reminder that creativity is the magic wand that can help us transform anything into a thing of beauty. Wether it’s pain, sadness, frustration–whatever–it’s all energy and we can shape it into the tonic our soul needs.
Hope and possibility live on the blank pages of my journal.
There’s no pressure to be good, to be right, to be anything other than what I am. It’s for my eyes only. And if there’s something I create in there that seems to good to keep to myself, I gently coax it out to the rest of the world, in my own time.
If you’re searching for a retreat that’s easily accessible (because let’s face it, time is the last thing we have), I invite you to join me and pick up a journal and transform those days of mayhem into something meaningful.
. . .
A few tips tips to get you started in your own sanity saving journal:
- Pick a notebook that easily fits into your bag. That way you can steal moments whenever they present themselves—waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting at school pick-up, on a park bench—whenever that window presents itself you’ll be ready. For this reason, you’ll want to take weight into account.
- Consider sharing this ritual with your children, too. Mine love it—and that guarantees me at least an hour when they also get into the journaling groove.
- Cut images, words and quotes that represent your feelings from old calendars, magazines, and books. Or print out pretty quotes from Pinterest to glue into your journal.
- Take sturdy paper and create fold out pages, and secret pockets to make your journal completely personal and a bigger canvas to work with.
- Paint over your words to ensure your privacy, or take away your fear of the blank page. A technique I learned from Lisa Sonora was to take an old credit card and smear cheap craft paint around on the page. It’s fun and mindless and feels a lot like meditation! (and the kids love it!)
- Write a disclaimer on the first page. This is an idea from Lisa Garrigues in her book, Writing Motherhood. So often we feel like we have to make excuses for our work—and we rarely feel like it’s good enough. So just get that out of the way right away on the first page, and tell us all the reasons this is not your best work.
Each of the ideas above are only an invitation.
Remember all you really need is a pen and some paper. These serve as inspiration only, so if any of them feel daunting, just skip them. The biggest benefit comes from simply having a safe place to process.
Below are a few photos from my journals—some pages are beautiful and some aren’t—but they all mean something to me. It’s really about the process not the outcome. Try it–and let me know what you think.
This was a practice we kept up during our long-term travels. Since my kids were still not writing words with ease, the paint and cut out pictures allowed them expression without the stress of language.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Meet Tiffiney Lozano
Tiffiney Lozano is the creator of the Mama Said Project and two crazy humans. She offers workshops for women craving connection with themselves and the world around them. After 18- months of continuous travel she and her family are finding adventure in the everyday from the comfort and beauty of their home in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe.
Watch the video and join the free Mama Said Project…
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Expressing our creativity is a vital part of cultivating the best life possible. Here are a few more great posts that inspire us to get creative: