Let Hope Guide Your Steps

Let Hope Guide Your Steps

Words are born in my life regularly and molded genuinely, lit up from a spirit of desiring deep connection.  Projects take on a life of their own, coaxing me to follow their lead as I continue putting one foot in front of the other.   With this hope, I believe my baby steps will eventually cover a mile and climb a mountain.  

Without any promise of success at the peak, peace surrounds my every move as I relax into the rhythm of daily work accepting that the vision at the summit may only be seen by me and a few companions who travel along with me.

The end-point is not always the goal. And in the case of creative development, it is even more clear that the journey only refines the goal.  Yet hope reaches out for all of us with it’s supportive caress, even if we have not yet arrived.

Joys of life are often discovered in today’s moments without eyes on tomorrow or our hearts being lost in the struggles of yesterday.  Take notice of what gives you hope as it surrounds you.  Let it guide your steps forward.  And when you think you’ve arrived, contentedly accept there is always a next leg in the journey.  

©Erika K Rothwell

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In Hope We Prosper – Day 19

In Hope We Prosper – Day 19

What does it actually mean to prosper?  If you start with the definition, you will read words like thrive, flourish, flower, bloom, blossom, burgeon, grow vigorously, expand, spread, improve, succeed, advance, get on in the world, go up in the world, arrive, fly high, make one’s mark, or become rich.

With those words, I not only want to prosper, I crave prospering.

The promise exists…with hope, we will prosper.  We want to make it in this world.  Whatever our personal goals or wishes for achievement are, we hope to reach them.  

What we so often forget to consider is our current place and how we have already prospered.  The riches are too great to count when we focus on what we possess outside of what money can buy.  I once read,  “If you want to find out how rich you are, count how many things you have in your life that money can’t buy.”

We all know the fleeting promises of material goods.  The next best technology item brings us a momentary thrill until we move on to what really matters…the treasures of life as they surround us. 

 As I sit and consider the differences between the words used to define one word, I am moved by the power of subjectivity.

The hand of hope is at work in my life.  I reach for the familiarity of its grasp and realize the promise is real.  The “riches” surrounding me are too great to count, yet I know there is more in store in a future beyond what I see today. 

Living in the moment does not prevent us from hoping.  Appreciating the now only lays the groundwork for tomorrow.  When we believe we can grow, expand, and improve there is always hope.  It is in that very same hope, we prosper.

-Erika K Rothwell

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Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty to Drink

Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty to Drink

It strikes when we least expect it. For the most part, we are content with life, and yet there is a longing for something out of our reach, a mirage on the horizon, a thirsting that can no longer be ignored.

Days pass with normal rhythms of life, often without a second thought given to ourselves. As mothers, serving others often becomes the priority.

Undeniably, motherhood is a rewarding profession. Watching babies grow and blossom into young adults and then on to parenthood is joyous.

So why does it sneak up on so many of us?

Feeling out of balance and running on empty startles us into facing a reality we strive to avoid. We are thirsty. We can no longer function at a high level, and what do we do? Instead of drinking the needed water, we work harder while ignoring basic necessities. We push away the first warning signs, by prioritizing our family’s needs as first and using our last bit of fuel, only to stall at empty.

Conflicting advice exists about whether to drink before you feel thirsty or when your body tells you, you are thirsty. Either way, if you disregard signs of thirst, you will eventually become dehydrated which can lead to a state of imbalance or worse, immobility.

When signals of nagging thirst call for your attention, ignoring the warning is the wrong strategy.  Overlooking your own needs, physical or emotional, is tantamount to self-neglect.

Do Not Neglect You

Unfortunately, once you begin following that path, it becomes extremely difficult to turn around.

My tears fall, today, for all the moms out there that work tirelessly to support their families in every way possible, and then beat themselves up for not doing enough or being good enough. The following is an excerpt from my journal written some time ago exemplifying my own struggle with the same.

Not good enough. Not skinny enough. Not smart enough. Not successful enough. Not enough. When is enough, enough? The standards that burrow into our psyches and souls define us or destroy us.

When did I stop feeling that sense of true accomplishment? That overwhelming feeling of “I did it!” So many “dids” yet so many “I’m not good enoughs”, “I need to do more”. Wow, I’m tired. Tired of trying to be everything to everyone. Tired of dressing to impress. Tired of sacrificing my sanity for someone else’s sake. Yes, I’m trying too hard.

When I can accept me, I will have accomplished enough.

– Erika K Rothwell

You Are Good Enough

It is clear from my experience, once you neglect your needs…the result is a “not good enough” theme song that plays repeatedly in your mind. The moment actually calls for self-attention to survive, yet that is in direct opposition to everything you’ve built your foundation on…putting yourself last. This is when emotional exhaustion takes hold.

Working mothers are most susceptible to this malady as they just run out of time. The planned end-of-day self-care turns into end-of-day collapse.

Empathy motivates this recognition. Not too long ago, I walked in those shoes. And I forgot to grab ahold of a crucial lifeline. So, I implore you, drink before you get too thirsty.

Define Your Needs  

Make some time for yourself, pour yourself a glass of water.  In that refreshing space, you will be able to see things clearer…then write it down.  Follow your definition as a path to rejuvenation.

You deserve that attention. It’s time to accept an embrace of compassion. You are made of love and you are made to love. Now, allow yourself to be loved.

I love you,

Mom

-Erika K Rothwell

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Potty Mouth

Potty Mouth

Potty Mouth

I’m here again,  trying to practice the art of consistency.  This awakens a strange memory, teaching my kids to change the toilet paper roll.  I’m not sure why I made such a lesson out of such a mundane task.  This memory is shared by my grown daughter, who now holds a master’s degree and is an R.D., (Registered Dietician).  Although I question whether I had anything to do with her success at all, she repeatedly tells me one of the reasons is because I taught her “to be the person” to change the toilet paper roll.

It seems like such a simple task but undertaken by so few.  The opportunity exists to consistently be the one.  This brings me to a stark realization; consistency doesn’t require a master’s degree, but a master’s degree requires consistency.  I watched my daughter grow and achieve by her consistent efforts to overcome the challenges and obstacles she faced.  There were times she grew weary and yet she pushed forward. 

Today, I am the student, still practicing.  I taught the lesson, but did I grasp its true meaning?  The lesson lies in recognizing opportunities to grow beyond the norm, pushing limits of established comfort zones, and not expecting someone else to do the work.  Yes, It’s difficult to keep showing up and consistently deliver results.  Planning is one thing, results need action. 

When a student signs up for a course, yet never attends class or studies for the exam, they most likely will fail.  It’s great fun to sign up, but when it comes time to do the work, do we show up?  

When life rushes by and excuses pile up, consistency itself becomes a monumental task.  Once again, I am reminded to consider the question, Can I make something happen when life keeps happening? 

Oh, the overwhelming weight of my realizations could derail me at this very moment.  However, I choose to stay present and continue sharing.  And now let me take you back to the toilet paper story.

At an early age, I had to teach myself how to change the toilet paper.  I was not prepared for the real world, having been cared for in an extremely protective manner.  There were days when I felt paralyzed, and it clearly showed in my inaction.  The more I sat, the worse I felt about my inability to accomplish.  The day came when I realized I may not be able to accomplish great things, but I can feel great about accomplishing small things.  The help came in words written by Helen Keller,  “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  And thus the lesson of the most seemingly insignificant task on this planet, changing the toilet paper roll, was born. 

We teach our children what we have learned, in hopes that they embrace the message and it helps them reach greater heights than we could.  So the lesson was told as follows, “If you change the toilet paper any time and anywhere it is needed, you will have achieved something greater than most.  For how many times, have you come upon an empty roll?   That was someone leaving the job to you.  If you do this seemingly trivial chore, you will be able to achieve great things in life.”

Many other repetitive duties remind me of the importance of these words.  These tiny tasks are the cornerstone of our character.  Each time, I’m able to value an ostensibly insignificant task with an appreciation for how it helps me grow, I feel more capable. 

That humble lesson leads me here today, taking action by writing at my desk, and sharing what I know, in hopes that it may help you consistently grow and accomplish all the great things!

-Erika K Rothwell

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