Get my zen on

Today I returned from a 24-hour getaway to Portland, Oregon. My big sister was shooting a wedding up there and she didn't have to ask me twice if I wanted to tag along! Thank you, Sara!

I highly recommend:

1. Visiting this delightful and quirky little city

2. Feasting at Oven and Shaker, Blue Star Donuts, clarklewis (!!), and Tasty n Alder

3. Leaving the kids home with daddy ;-) 


As a parent, it's easy to neglect my own wants and needs in favor of the forty-seven other things that need my attention. A weekend away with good food and better company was most welcome and appreciated.

It made me think about how and why I allow myself to become so depleted......?

The other day I had a quiet couple of minutes while the kids played dress-up and joyfully tore apart their bedroom. 

I stretched out on my bed, closed my eyes, and consciously fought the urge to reach for my iPhone.

The truth is, I didn't put up much of a fight. The habit of scrolling through social media is so automatic and easy. It's one way I steal a moment for "me."

When I eventually hear the kids holler down the hall that "Megan is drawing with red marker on the carrrrrpet!" or "Grace disobeyed me again, Mommy!" I sigh, click off my phone, and notice this yucky, hollow feeling.

The feeling has nothing to do with my kids or stepping back into reality.

Really, I think it's regret about having plugged into my phone, instead of enjoying a quiet moment to myself.

It's amusing that I'm willing to tolerate outrageous amounts of whining as I enforce screen-time limits on my kids, and yet I hold myself to no such standard. I can recall many occasions when I flatly denied my kids' requests to use electronics, while keeping one eye on my own glowing screen. Pshhh. 

Let me be clear that my issue is not with technology or social media itself, but with my thoughtless habits around these things. The way they so readily tempt me to disconnect from real life, the present moment, the NOW.

Last spring I started practicing meditation. I was dragging myself to the finish line after a particularly grueling school year, and it seemed to help me cope with my exhaustion. Then suddenly, school was out for summer, and meditation went out the window, along with our routine and my good intentions. 

My dad is the one who first inspired me to try meditating. He's also the last person you would expect to choose meditation as a daily practice. He is a practical, task oriented, checklist-checking, productive kind of guy. And yet for over a decade, he has carved out 15 minutes, sometimes twice a day, to set aside his to-do's and observe the rhythm of his breathing. It makes him feel good. 

I've asked Dad how he maintains this habit amidst the commotion and distractions around the house. How can he possibly meditate with all the RACKET?!

He explains it kind of like this:

Russ and I often talk about having hindsight, now. What perspective would my future, wiser self have to offer about how I'm choosing to spend my time?

I'm sure I won't be wishing I spent more time staring at my iPhone.

I'll wish had the sense to "fill up my own cup" so I'd be able to give more of myself, to serve others without feeling drained.

I'll wish I took time to know myself better.

So, I'm going to get my zen on. (Not quite like this guy but it's one way to do it.)

When I have 30 seconds to myself and I feel that magnetic force drawing my hand toward my iPhone, I want to remember that I can choose to pause.

I can choose to spend that 30 seconds just noticing my breathing.

Will I always choose well? Probably not. But if what I'm craving is to steal a moment for "me," how about turning inward and seeing what I find there?