As I explained in part 1 of One Blue Cup At A Time, overcoming my fear of telling the people closest to me that I was struggling with postpartum depression was a major hurdle. Fortunately, as I was first starting to find my way out of the dark, I received the most important lesson I would learn. This serendipitous moment came as I was talking on the phone to my good friend Nathalie who, despite living 3 hours away, called ‘bullshit‘ on my diversion tactics and offered me some advice that changed everything.
She told me I needed to live my life in the present moment. Yesterday is over and tomorrow isn’t mine (nor is 10 minutes from now). Nathalie made me realize that I only have today and really, only the single moment I am living in right now.
Think about that. The only moment you have is this one.
From our conversation, Nathalie could see that I was spending too much of my time thinking about things that happened in the past, and the worrisome possibilities I created about my future. They were the ‘what if’s’ that kept me from sleeping a wink many nights.
Then she shared a strategy with me that was equally simple and life changing.
She asked me what I was doing and I said, “I am about to wash the dishes.”
“Perfect!” she said. “What I want you to do is think about your dishes as you wash them. Really experience washing the dishes. Take a cup in your hands and say to yourself, ‘This is a nice blue cup. I love this colour of blue.’ Then count the cups, feel the cups, rinse the cups, dry the cups. Right now, you are washing dishes. There is nothing else happening to you but that.”
At first it was a bit awkward, but I knew something had to change. Over time; however, what I found was that it was actually easy to do and it worked. I began to bring myself into each moment by consciously focusing on what was actually happening. If I got distracted I would tell myself, ‘hey, I’m distracted‘ and would focus on my breathing to bring myself back. The more I did it, the easier it became.
Soon I started to notice everything. I saw trees in my neighborhood I had never seen before; I became aware of people, cars and houses that I didn’t previously know existed; and most importantly I saw my children again. I felt them, I smelled them, I heard them and for the first time since my son’s birth, I was totally with them when I was with them.
Now I don’t want you to think that a complete shift miraculously happened over night. It took months of conscious practice to be in a place where I felt I had my ‘well-being’ back. But each time I brought myself into the present moment I felt better .
I also read a lot about being present and the law of attraction during this time and began to employ other techniques that I still use today. One of my greatest resources was A New Earth (Oprah #61) by Eckhart Tolle. An incredible book about letting go of your ego and accepting ‘what is’.
Today, I continue to face challenges and experience overwhelm. We all do. However, during these times, I am now able to easily remind myself of where I am and what is actually happening and very quickly I am relieved of my negative emotions. And if I start to feel really overwhelmed, I simply go into the kitchen and start washing the dishes – ‘one blue cup at a time’.
Do you find your self spending a lot of time thinking about the past or wondering what might happen in the future? Try taking it ‘one blue cup at a time‘ today and focus on what is happening in each moment. Look, feel, listen. If you get distracted, don’t beat yourself up, it takes practice. Just acknowledge that you are distracted and try to focus on your breathing or feeling a specific part of your body. Close your eyes for a moment, open them and tell yourself everything that you see, it will help bring you back to the present.
You can only think one thought at a time. You get to choose what that is.
If you feel comfortable, share your experience below. If you have other techniques or strategies feel free to tell others in the comments below. I would love to hear what you have to say.
Got a few minutes? Check out Nathalie’s new website, Simply Be You.
Thank-you so much for spending this moment with me!
P.S. If you haven’t subscribed and would like to receive notice of new posts in your inbox, simply fill out the subscription box on your right!