New experiences is the first thing I say to may son when I wake him up in the morning. He is not a morning person like his mother. He needs a little extra encouragement. Actually this practice didn’t happen intentionally. I was saying, wake up little Nigel. So the next morning after the first day of school, I said it again. Then Nigel said, “Mommy, I want you to say new experiences like you did yesterday.” Actually, that wasn’t what I said, but it was a good practice to start. Now I say it to him every morning when he wakes up.
I have been putting that practice into action in my own life. I am very fond of rituals and routines and I think that is just fine, but there are times when you need to give new things a chance. I recently started drinking coffee. Now I love it! I don’t drink it every day, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I don’t use it as a stimulant as I have been accused of being caffeine personified, but I drink it for the taste. In the past I refused coffee because I felt that I had no use for it. I viewed coffee as a means of staying awake or jolting one from a groggy morning, things I never had an issue with. One day I decided to give coffee a try. It happened in a very strange way. I was watching an episode of Satisfaction on Netflix and I saw one of the characters making a cup of coffee with a french press. The whole process looked interesting and I wanted to try making coffee that way. That particular way of making coffee appealed to me for its simplicity. So I purchased a french press, a hand-crank ceramic burr grinder, bought a bag of coffee beans from a local coffee shop, and made my first cup of coffee. I enjoyed the process of heating the water, grinding the beans, and waiting patiently for the coffee to steep. I found the experience to be therapeutic. It is nice slow down and savor an experience, and now I have a new ritual. It forces me to slow down, take my time and really enjoy the moment.
I would not have gained this new ritual had I not been willing to try something new. I have learned to let go of feeling that I cannot benefit from something that is not necessarily marketed to me or the identity I have assigned to myself. I must remain open to new experiences. We all must let go of notion that something is “not for you” or “you are meant for something like that.”
I would like to challenge all of us to try something or experience something new. Try a new food. Visit a different place or just take another route home from work. See what’s out there!
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I pack my son’s lunch for school. When he started kindergarten and I became acquainted with some of the other students’ mothers, I got several questions about my son’s eating habits. Many of them wanted to know if there was a reason for such a healthy lunch and if he had some sort of digestive problem. What was really perplexing to them was my son’s declination of candy and other sugary snacks. I simply told them the reason for my son’s healthy choices was preventative so he would not develop any problems in the future. I could not believe the comments I received after. Some of the mothers said that although it was fine that I was giving my son healthy food, I should also allow him to be a kid. Some felt that I was depriving my son of something just because was not given food that is known to be harmful. Of course I didn’t care and neither did my son. My son loves food – real food. I made a decision early on that I did not want to get him accustomed to eating junk. I also did not want my son to feel like an outsider for being healthy. So I had to make another decision and that was to find other moms like me.
The wonderful thing about finding healthy people is that they are very easy to spot. They are best looking with the clearest complexions and shiniest and healthiest hair. I began striking up conversations with these people and sharing my experiences with them. Then I began to develop a community of people that understood my family’s health decisions and did not see our lifestyle as one of deprivation.
What I would like to challenge all of us to do is to place yourself in the company of those who understand and appreciate your choices. Making positive decisions in your life can be difficult. Not everyone has come to a point in their lives where health is a priority. Sometimes, in an attempt to justify their choices, they will try to make what you are doing seem unnatural. All we have to do is look at the evidence of our healthy lifestyle and its benefits. Just tune them out and surround yourselves with those who support and encourage you. We hope that the rest of those in the world will realizes that we all reap what we sow, but until then we can’t let negative comments and judgments pressure us into fitting in with a group. Find a new group or create your own.
I took my son to a movie. We sat down and waited for the movie to start. In front of us came a group of women with an even larger group of children. They sat in front of us, but before they sat the children and women stood in front of their seats while their mothers first, thoroughly wiped down each child’s seat with a lint brush, then dolled out a generous squirt of hand sanitizer to each child. I along with the other parents in the theater glanced at each other with looks of both annoyance and inadequacy. One woman even said, “I wish had done that”. I thought to myself “Who does that?” Then I wondered if I should have done that. My son, husband, I just plopped down in ours seats without a second thought about lint or what ever else a lint brush removed from theater seats. So as I began to second guess my parenting skills, I watched the same group of germ-fighting moms pass out jumbo packs of candy to each child. Immediately I sat a little higher in my in my lint infested seat because inside my over-sized purse were zip-lock bags of raw almonds and bottles of distilled water that I could not take out until the lights were turned down because I smuggled them in. Instead of worrying about what may possibly get on my child from the theater seats, I was more concerned what was going into him.
So I felt a little better about not lint rolling our seats. I chose to make sure my child was not only enjoying his movie experience, but also getting a healthy snack. My son loves raw almonds and he gets a kick out of Mommy sneaking snacks into the movies. I picked my battle that day. Although I feel that the other mom’s were also doing a great job of protecting their kids, I was also doing the same in a different way.
Once the movie started and I noisily removed the zip-lock bags and water bottles from my purse under the cover of darkness, I judged that my purse was big enough for a lint roller and hand sanitizer. Maybe I will bring them next time and I hope that the moms in front of me will take a tip from me and chose a healthier snack option. We can all learn from each other.