I posted the following photo on Instagram a few weeks ago and shared these words:
Post coming soon about how we're trying "rainbow dinners" around here to get her to try new foods. (What you aren't seeing in this photo: 3 huge Uline boxes with shipping supplies, an IKEA candle chandelier with about ten spider webs, bird poop on one of the cushions, weeds taller than EJ, and the face of my daughter as she whines "fine I don't want dessert because I'm NOT trying that plum. I'm only eating corn and strawberries!")
I wrote all that extra "what you aren't seeing" info because I know that so often when we scroll through Instagram, we see dreamy, filtered photos and start to fill in the blanks of what we think our "friends'" lives must look like. I know this because I do it too.
I've been known to create a whole story by looking at just one photo.
This might have happened for someone reading my "rainbow dinner" post earlier this week, looking at the table filled with colorful bowls and plates and a happy tablecloth.
They might have even had a thought like, "We're lucky if we take the Mac and Cheese out of the microwave container." (I'm writing that example because it's one we live too some days.)
But again, it all comes down to choices. Here are just a few of the choices hiding in the filtered photo above:
- More joy at dinner time: I've gathered quite a few happy bowls and mismatched plates over the years because they always make me smile and can make the simplest dinners full of more joy. Happy straws and flowers on the table more often helps me access this joy too.
- My everyday life is worthy of using the good stuff: I've started using the vintage tablecloths I've been collecting instead of keeping them for the parties I will throw one day or only using them for retreats. I've begun to own that my everyday life is is worthy of "using the good stuff."
- Quieting the self-judgement: We've been sitting on the back porch even though we're sometimes surrounded by boxes of shipping supplies or a few cobwebs or weeds because eating dinner outside makes us happy. And sitting at the table is a habit we are slowly cultivating. It isn't happening every day but I'm trying to record evidence that it does because it helps me soften self-judgement.
Each day, I'm making small but tangible choices toward the life I want. When I'm waiting for things to all come together or for life to get easier or wishing for my habit of stacking instead of putting away to change, I'm not paying attention to the awesome life we are already living, to the moments full of love and joy.
Of course this doesn't mean that every day feels like it's full of rainbows and ease. Quite the opposite actually. It also doesn't mean I'm trying to wish this current life into something else. Nope. Making small moves every day toward the life I want is actually about being in the present and seeing the beauty that is already here.
And I want my daughter to see the ways I live my dreams into reality even in this small house with the weeds growing next to the hosta plants.
Perhaps more importantly, I want to look myself in the eyes each day and know I'm making the choice to open my heart more each day and really live.
Today, I invite you to notice what comes up when you're scrolling through Instagram (or other social media). Do you find yourself feeling longings inside to step inside the photos you see? (And if you notice judgement coming up, look closer to see if a longing is actually inside that judgement.)
Then, take some time to listen to those longings and what they have to teach you. Do you want to travel more? Cuddle more? Read more? Do you want to make more space for writing or adventures or rest?
Think about what moves you could make toward those longings.