It’s been just over a year since the scariest day of my life to date. A day I’ll never forget. A day that started off rough, which should have been a red flag of what was to come.
Every year — often multiple times throughout the year, I either individually or together with Bobby, reflect back on the time since a year ago that same date. Each anniversary we reflect on our favorite memories of the year prior. Recently in a book I was reading by Valorie Burton, she prompts us readers to do a ‘Year in Review’. As the one year anniversary approached on the incident with my son, I had already been having flashbacks of that day in particular, but taking a few minutes to assess the year in full was eye-opening.
“Near drowning,” — the reason for hospital admittance written on the discharge papers. Thank God we received discharge papers and the outcome didn’t go an even worse route. Thank God “near” was in the equation. Neither my husband nor myself were present that hot June afternoon at a local community pool, and I’ve come to believe that was a blessing. However the aftermath of guilt and fear said otherwise for quite some time.
I’m not sharing that story, at least not in this blog post anyway. Maybe a different day, another year. Maybe in a book some day amongst some of life’s other challenges and lessons. Today, I write as I’m so utterly grateful for my now three and a half year old son who is peacefully napping in his room — adjacent to his nine month old brother. God has a funny way of planning our lives. Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to have uninterrupted time with my kiddos — time to reflect, to be fully present, and appreciate the day (diaper blow-outs, three year old tantrums and all).
It seems as though most people need a scare in life, a near death experience, to get a wake up call that life is too damn short to live it doing work you dislike, staying in toxic relationships, or taking each day for granted assuming what doesn’t get done today will tomorrow. It all sounds so cliche, trust me I know, but pay attention to people around you who are truly content.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones who seem to have a natural balance on friends, family, work, and life in general. The ones who are rarely stressed or anxious and typically drama-free. The ones who seem to rebound without much hesitation when things get tough.
Part of that contentment we see may be what our perception views, rather than what happens in reality. Ever hear the saying, “Your perception creates your reality.” It’s one of my go-to reminders when I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Social media in all its glory often adds fuel to the fire — a few seconds scrolling through the feeds and instantly you feel like you need a new wardrobe, you have no friends, you need a lemon + cayenne 14-day juice cleanse, where do people get all this extra time?!, and a large dose of FOMO.
That my friends, is your perception getting the best of you, but really at no fault of your own. You’re seeing what they want you to see, only the good stuff. But that’s not their life 24/7. It’s a snapshot in time and if you try to compare your life to that moment, you’ll be continually chasing happiness.
With that said, sometimes that contentment we see in people is real and leaves the majority of us feeling like how is that possible? I know, I’ve been one of those skeptics. And if these past few years hadn’t led me through some of my most profound life lessons and self-realizations, I may still be living as if the grass is always greener on the other side.
If you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your life.
For the longest time I often wondered how we landed on the name Louis Jay for our first son. ‘Louis’ was a decent-enough good idea of a name my husband randomly came upon one day, and ‘Jay’ was my dad’s middle name. The punchy combo was one we liked and continued to grow on us in the months leading up to his birth, but even after he was born both Bobby and I would look at each other in slight disbelief — this whole naming a human thing is kind of a big deal. Louis Jay it is.
I’ll admit, I am one who looks for signs. I pray often and study the Bible, but in looking for validation from God I usually need a fairly obvious answer or shove in the right direction. When those serendipitous moments occur though, that bring clarification or serve as an answer to a prayer, it is hard to justify it as anything other than His plan.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered Louise Hay and her infamous work in helping people find their full potential for personal growth and self-healing. The renowned author shared her philosophy about the mind and body connection decades before this movement exploded. Her positive affirmations and outlook on how to live life have been monumental for me (and millions of others), and it was in one of her book’s that she shared this empowering phrase: “If you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your life.”
Oddly enough, I didn’t realize initially how closely Louise’s name resembled my son’s. I was first drawn to her teachings and methods— her way for awakening your best self and not settling for less. Then it was as if God said, “And here’s your sign, Bec.” Louis Jay may not be named after Louise Hay, but I do see the connection as an indication that the type of work she did is a similar path in store for me.
Louis’s scare last year shook our family. I didn’t consider myself as one who needed to change her thinking and perception, but regardless of what I thought I needed my outlook for each day we’re given heightened immensely. Starting my morning with thanks and gratitude journaling has become my norm — wake up, brush teeth, give thanks. For those of you who are familiar with gratitude journaling, you know how impactful this simple practice is. However, for those of you who haven’t yet given it a whirl, do it. Dedicate a small notebook to jot down each day’s thoughts of thanks, and start to take note how this brief ritual starts to positive transform your life.
Here’s to Louis, Louise, & owning your perceptions.