When I look back at the journey of my life, it’s like a series of train crossings.
We recently moved homes, communities and state parks. It’s a little more than 2 hours away so we have to change ALL the stuff--doctors, dentist, school, of course, and dance studio for T3. It’s a time to make new friends, find new favorite places to eat and explore, and get to know our new home.
I was thinking over the times in my life when I had to relocate and this idea of stopping at a train crossing supported the process. Where we used to live, there were many train crossings and often on the way to work, school, or a friend’s house, we would be stopped by a train. Sometimes it was predictable and other times it was not. This is just like changes in life. Sometimes you see it coming and other times, the bar starts lowering, you hear the ding ding ding, and see the flashing lights before you know what's happening.
You have a decision to make as you see other cars pass through and go on their way.
Do you turn around and find another way around?
Do you wait and see how long it will take for the train to pass?
Usually our thoughts go to the future.
I’ll be late or how long will I have to sit here?
Will I have to deal with some discomfort while I wait?
Sometimes we compare ourselves to others.
If I were just a few seconds earlier, I would be through and going on just like that person.
I wonder where they are going? They are going to get there on time.
In reality, we don’t know they’re journey after that train crossing. Any number of things may happen. We also don’t know if they even need or want to be on time!
So what would it be like to just sit in the presence of being stopped at a train crossing for ‘what it is.’ A momentary pause, a time to check in with yourself, maybe you need a drink or a look out the window and a deep breath observing the train and your surroundings. You have a moment of peace.
Or you clean something in your car, you think of a message you forgot to send, you listen to music or a podcast. New creative ideas may form.
Ok so back to how my life has been a series of train crossings. When I have moved or had a change in jobs, even when having each child it feels like being stopped a train even though I know I have choices.
The what ifs always enter the mind...
What if I went a different direction.
What if I did what that person did.
"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt
With each change in life, it’s become easier to enjoy the pause. I still have to check in with myself and my own needs. And now that my kids are involved, I have to ask myself if my concern is my own or that of my children.
For example, with this move, T3 had to leave some really good friends, her favorite choir, and she was getting much more experienced in her dance studio. I worried so much and I started comparing that other kids would start to advance faster than her. In reality, Taylor didn’t care. She was actually excited to meet new friends and research new places to sing and dance. She shows me the present moment all.the.time!!
Parenthood has showed me that I am really adaptable to life's starts and stops. I have a choice when the bar starts to lower and I hear the bell of the train coming.
If you are looking for ways to remain present with yourself, check out Finding the OM in Mom, the only coaching community you need to build presence and keep awareness through the starts and stops of parenting.