If you were to ask my mom, I believe she’d tell you that I could sing before I could talk. Singing and music have always been an important part of my life. It is often easier for me to communicate through a song than to come up with words on my own. When I’m experiencing emotions or challenges and uncertainties in life, often a lyric of a song comes into my head that helps me get ideas or solutions or simply provides a moment of reflection.
Recently I started watching a show called Truth Be Told. It’s about a podcaster, Poppy Parnell (I love the alliteration). In the beginning of season two, she quotes a line that has stuck with me. She is sharing a blessing she heard at her first communion. “Teach your children scriptures early and they’ll be able to access armor they didn’t even know they had.” I think it’s important to note that the armor referred to here is armor that protects us, keeps us safe and helps us to be strong. That’s different from the armor Brene Brown refers to, which is what we put on when we’re avoiding being authentic and vulnerable. Depending on where you find inspiration or wisdom in life, you could insert poetry, or mantras, or songs or inspirational quotes in place of “scriptures.” I can still hear the voice of my mother any time I get going too quickly or am doing too many things at once. “Haste makes waste!” Usually I’ve already spilled something or made a mistake I have to fix. It’s there to slow me down, to help me pause and think about what I’m doing. Haste makes waste is one of those “scriptures” that gives me access to being mindful and present. What “scriptures” do you have? What comes into your mind often that helps you access your better self or gives you inspiration when you need it or calms you down when you’re feeling upset?
My brother was sharing a story with me the other day about a mindfulness practice his daughter learned in kindergarten. Their teacher gave them a tool for when they were unable to control their emotions. “Smell the flower, blow out the candle.” This pausing and thinking about their breath would help calm them down. He mentioned he’d even used it with his work team. They refer to something as a “smell the flower” project. It acknowledges that this may test our patience and emotions may get amplified. Remember to smell the flower, and blow out the candle. I love that! What are some of the messages you give to your team that come to mind and give them “armor” to make it through a difficult situation or challenge? Or maybe it’s a positive quote that praises or uplifts. I have a post-it in my line of sight that says, “You will be happier because you were kind.” I refer to it often during the day and it often runs through my head when I have the choice to be respectful and kind.
Science tells us that self-reflection takes us out of our lizard brain (fight/flight) and causes us to access our prefrontal cortex (thinking brain). What does that for you? What messages come into your head that guide your thoughts and actions? Feel welcome to share one with me.