Leaving It All On the Mat

I have three sons. I love touting the throw back hashtag #mythreesons in my posts on facebook. In my day to day run-ins with strangers when they hear I have three boys (and you other boymoms can relate, I’m sure) I often hear in response, “wow you have your hands full.” While that is VERY true what is often overlooked and perhaps more important is not only are my hands full but my heart is too. There’s nothing like a mother-son connection. Well, I guess I have nothing to compare it to, but from what I hear from other moms of girls who also have a boy, they often say the connection is super special and sweet.

My middle guy is a wrestler. Thank goodness we found this outlet for him. He has so much energy and need to move it is unreal. I’ve never been more tired watching someone watch a movie. He finds his spot on our long shag rug and perpetually moves while watching the screen; back bends, headstands, you name it, he can do it. Oye.

This year we’ve been working with him about not holding back when he’s out there on the mat wrestling against a competitor. We try to instill the message that no matter win or lose, do your best and don’t hold back. We found a favorite phrase that we repeat before meets and is probably used in other sports like gymnastics; we tell him, “leave it all on the mat.”

What does that mean? Well it means give your best and throw yourself in. It means if you have another speed use it and be here now. Don’t make judgements about the other competitor, just take the moment on as it comes and bring all you’ve got. Leave it all on the mat!

I sat there as I watched my husband coach him, reminding him of who he is and what he has to bring to his skill and sport and I thought, “wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a coach like that everyday?” Someone to remind us not to give up, to throw ourselves in, and not look back? Someone who sees our potential and calls it out in us? I wish that for everyone of my clients, and I wish that for you.

Since I can’t be there coaching you through each moment I’ll just provide a little tip. So basically my husband and I are teaching our son one very important part of mindfulness. That is, to be right here, right now. It’s doing the work of fully participating. It’s throwing off self consciousness and diving in. And keep in mind, it’s not that you won’t feel self-conscious. Oh you will. You will definitely have opportunities to feel very self-conscious. So it’s about noticing THAT and throw it off with wreckless abandon and diving in anyway. And you do this over and over and over.

When we do we can shift ourselves out of significant moods and mental preoccupations. One of my biggest challenges is morning routine and getting my kids off to school. I’m not gonna lie. We have our fair share of challenges in the morning before the bus arrives. Some mornings feel like a battle. By the time I get into my car at 9am to head off to work I often feel like it’s been a full day. The worst one’s are the one’s when I blow it. I handle something wrong and send my kids off in a huff. As I drive to work I replay all the little scenarios and what I could’ve done differently and I can just feel the blanket of remorse, guilt and shame wrap around me like a heavy weighted blanket. Ugh. What a downer.

The morning is something I know I’ll need to come back to with my kids, likely in the form of an apology but for now I have to redirect my thinking. Nothing like a full day of work to do the best job of that. I use this as an opportunity to throw off the self-consciousness of all my failures of the morning and dive into my hourly sessions with my clients. And every time I’m reminded of my “wrongs” I redirect my whole self into “this moment right now.” And I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty amazing how I am able to move through “dull” mood that challenging mornings can trigger for me. It really does work.

So give it a try. Tell yourself you can come back to whatever is preoccupying you and throw yourself into something that needs your full attention. See what happens. While I don’t recommend becoming a wrestler, find something you can develop a skill in. Find something that will challenge that self-conscious vibe in you and do it anyway. Throw yourself in. Be here now. You are a force so “leave it all on the mat!”

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