This morning, I needed a pep talk.

A pep talk for myself, by myself.

Many mornings I wake up (and almost) immediately joyful and ready to face the day. Some mornings I feel it even more strongly—not just face the day, but own the day. To make it the best day ever. Those are the magical kinds of days—the ones that start with inspiration.

This morning wasn’t that morning. Not by a long shot. Among other factors, it was one day too many I was woken up quite early. Way too little sleep, for way too many nights. This was a morning my first thought upon waking was Why won’t anyone let me sleep? and then, immediately following came the onslaught of lists ticking in my mind.

Things I have to get done, things the kids need, all the places I was supposed to go, on and on and on. Thrown in there too was a bit of my critical self—she tends to pop up when I’m over tired and over whelmed:

You haven’t baked with the kids in ages. Why don’t you bake with the kids? Other moms do that. You really should be reading more with Tucker. Even if he says he’s too busy to sit and read—he’s going to Kindergarten, he needs to read more books. Other moms read all the time with their kids. You snapped at Grace yesterday. Don’t snap today. She’s only 3 once!

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I tried my first line of defense for my anxiety-filled mornings—an approach an old teacher taught. She advised us to lie in bed for a moment and take in a few big breaths. She said there were two ways to start the day, and the variation on three words could could create your attitude for the day. One could either say “Good God … morning...” OR “Good Morning, God!” (Substitute whatever you need for God…Sunshine, World, Love…)

I tried it this morning. It sort of changed my attitude. But not quite. Still felt heavy.

Nothing was really wrong, per say, I just didn’t want to do it. Didn’t want to be in charge of everything for everyone else. Wanted to crawl back into my bed, hide there a few more hours, then slowly rise, sip a coffee (that would remain hot until I finished it), walk the dog, and maybe, just maybe, then join the world.

But. Not a possibility. Not even close.

It was time for a pep talk.

What matters today? What truly matters today?

1. I show up with love.

2. My babies are safe and loved.

And that’s it. That’s truly it. The rest of it doesn’t need to be done—TODAY. All other expectations can go out the window. Nothing else is imperative. I needed to feel that.

This, I believe, is the great advantage I have as a person who has dealt with depression and anxiety in life before becoming a mother. I have a tool box to help me see the light. I have tools to call upon to help me swim my way above water.

One of the biggest tools is to let go.

So long as we are safe and sound—we are okay. The rest can wait.

I let go.

I got my kiddos involved in an activity, made a cup of tea, and meditated. I sat quietly with myself until I could feel my heart soften, notice my brain slowing down, and relax into truth.

My most important job of the day was to love. To approach the world with an open heart and an open mind. To find delight in what came my way—not to attempt to force the day into the vision I had. To remember I don’t need to do anything better, or more, or differently, but that I’m already doing enough, more than enough, by showing up. By being present. By bringing love and joy to my little corner of the world.

I reminded myself to lower expectations for myself. I took another breath and lowered them again. I’m already enough—my anxiety and heavy heart were unnecessary.

I moved through a couple of quick sun salutations, inviting my body to stretch. I decided to change out of yesterday’s comfy pants and I put on cute jeans and top, actually brushed my hair, and put on a little mascara.

I would own this day. I would fill it with love.

I opened Mary Oliver’s Felicity, knowing whatever poem I opened to was the one I needed to hear. I opened to The World I Live In.

I have refused to live/locked in the orderly house of/ reasons and proofs. The world I live in and believe in/is wider than that. Any anyway,/what’s wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn’t believe what once or/twice I have seen. I’ll just/tell you this: only if there are angels in your head will you/ ever, possibly/see one.

At that point, my babies seemed sparkly again and I was ready to rock and roll. I’m now writing this from The Little Gym, watching my courageous little three year old cross that dreaded balance beam all by herself, “Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now” blaring from the speakers, and yes, tears of complete and utter love for this life are spilling out of my eyes.

Some days it comes easily. Some days it needs a pep talk.