In HABITS, SELF-CARE

I create a personal mantra every year and this year the words I choose are “Transform the Mundane into Magic.”

I’ve been creating mantras for myself for the past 2 years.

It all started with a course I took with a fellow mom that was all about becoming a calm mom and eliminating stress. It was a 5-day course and one of the assignments was to create a mantra for the year. As someone who has trouble deciding what leggings to wear on any particular day, choosing a mantra for an entire year felt like a truly daunting task.

It took me days – well beyond when the program ended – but I finally came up with my first mantra for the year which is still the background screen on my computer: “Share joyful moments to create magic”

There’s that magic again.

I loved creating that mantra so much that a few months later, I started to create a mantra every week and then making a watercolor painting of the mantra as a way to keep myself accountable, while also flexing my creativity.

This weekly self-care practice made such an impact in my life, that I added it to one of my online programs, Transform Chaos to Calm.

Over the years, my approach to mantra has shifted.

It used to be that I looked to my mantras to help me be a better person.

I thought I could use my mantras to prevent me from yelling at my kids or feel less hostility towards people I felt competitive with.

And sometimes they did.

I wanted my mantras to do corrective surgery on my vision towards myself.

And sometimes they did, although it rarely lasted.

I hoped my mantras would transform me into the person I wanted to be instead of the person I felt like I was.

I don’t think my mantras have really ever done this, although this is up for debate.

Now I realize that none of those things are the real purpose of a mantra.

The purpose of a mantra is to help get me into a better conversation with myself.

And this my mantras have done exceptionally well.

See, the word mantra doesn’t just mean “affirmation” or “intention” although this is the familiar western understanding of a mantra.

Instead, the word mantra is composed of 2 sanskrit words:

Man, which means mind and Tra, which means a loom or a machine.

So a mantra is really a machine for your mind.

It’s a way for you and me and everyone else to process their thoughts. To comb through them and try to understand things better.

Your mantra should help you ask yourself interesting, probing questions.

A mantra should make you question, period.

The best mantras won’t give you the answers, either. That’s not the point.

The point of the mantra is simply to give you a way to learn more about what you want, what you need, what will support you best, and give you a pathway towards the actions you want to take.

So you can see that a mantra isn’t just an affirmation: “Be magical” or an intention, “I will have a magical year,” but an ongoing program where you can input and process data.

This has been the biggest shift for me.

Now when I create my mantras, I always first see if the mantra leads me to ask a question that has more than a yes or no answer.

For my newest mantra, “Transform the Mundane into Magic,” I’ve been asking myself, “what does that look like? What does it mean to transform the mundane into magic? How would that feel on a daily basis? How would that alter the course of my day, the week, the month, the year?”

And finally, “how do I create that?”

And in answering these questions, I’ve gotten to know myself a little better.

I think about this mantra every time I turn the TV on for my kids as well as every time I climb the tree in our front yard with my daughter.

I’ve considered this mantra as I practice yoga in the morning and when I to the grocery store with one or both kids.

I don’t always end up making a decision that feels “magical” or even that makes me feel good, but it also usually leads me to reconsider my actions in the future. The mantra always gives me the opportunity to process my thoughts and shift my thinking, which is a good start.

Here’s how I’ve been slowly transforming the mundane into magic:

Yoga while doing ordinary tasks like laundry or vaccuming

Music on while doing the dishes (aka spontaneous kitchen dance party)

Saying yes to climbing trees

Letting Archer stop on walks to look for worms (he is obsessed)

Swinging on the swings at the playground

Changing up where I work in the house

Reading books to Archer instead of checking facebook when I need a break from work

 

How would you transform the mundane into magic? Leave a comment below and let me know what small shifts you’d make to live a more magical life!

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