Joy and Mindset

Gazing through our living room window, it’s a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. Lizzie and Minnie are lounging in their respective comfy spots showing me how relaxation is done. I have a hard time sitting still for long periods. The overwhelming sense that I need to get something done invades my contentment. Making myself sit here and blog is an exercise in both personal growth and allowing my bottom to become one with the couch.

There is absolutely no reason for guilt. I spent the morning volunteering at our favorite animal shelter where after cuddle time with a pit bull I delved into my responsibility of cleaning the aviary. A bit of advice…if you get the choice between cleaning up after dogs and cleaning up after birds, take the dogs. Birds are the slobs of the animal world, and their poop is like super glue. When you’ve finished your cleaning and the aviary looks immaculate, a vindicative pigeon will come along, and with one eye glued on you proceed to spread seed everywhere.

So, after a well-earned session, I found myself thinking about joy…not concerning birds…definitely not, but how I ended up in this journey of making joy instrumental in my day-to-day life. Upon pondering, I realized that my joy journey has been largely evolutionary, but I do remember one day when I happened upon the power of mindset.

Once upon a time, there were three babies, a hardworking husband, and a hardworking, yet disgruntled, domestic CEO.

Cooking dinner for what seemed like the thousandth time, I whined (to myself) about having to cook dinner for an ungrateful family. None of this was true. My husband is usually appreciative, and my kids were too young to recognize disgruntled. I was just tired of cooking and needed someone to blame. This had been a song in my head for quite some time, and there reaches a point where even I got tired of listening to my whining. After all, I was in a privileged position of being able to choose to stay home for a few years with my kids before joining the working world again. Why was I being such a diva?

About mid whine, I asked myself a question that changed the way that I look at a lot of things in my life…”Is there a way I could reframe this situation?” The way I felt I had three choices…be bitter, don’t cook (no one was making me), or change my mindset. When I realized that I had a choice, whining no longer became a feasible option. I could not choose bitterness. My sense of humor prevents me from being too martyrish. Reframe it was. From that point (not always), cooking became an activity of love and an opportunity to practice mindfulness which as you already know is a breeding ground for joy. I found myself cooking recipes with myself in mind too…chicken fingers be damned.

The word joy didn’t enter my vocabulary at that point, but the feelings were there. It would be years later when I had a name for my reframe mindset.

This comes to mind chiefly because lately, I have been learning about how powerful mindset is. We have a choice to be confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, complaining, negative, stuck, powerless, joyless, angry, and sad. As an aside, I use these emotions as an everyday life example, not trauma. There are times when you need to feel the feels and not reframe.

To be honest, knowing this sucks. You can’t live your life the same way when you can’t blame the external for your internal state of being. Knowing the power of mindset takes away your excuses, and then you cannot choose to be a disgruntled, mother of three in the kitchen cooking dinner. You decide to be a joyful mother of three caring for her family through the language of food. There’s just no drama in that. Joy though is a better place to live, and while I continue my bonding with the couch, it strikes me…

I would be lousy on an episode of The Real Housewives.

The mind is everthing. What you think you become.

- Buddha

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