Finding your happy place - despite those lupus lumps.

Whether it's an abnormally hectic schedule, too much disease activity, or cranky kids, there are some moments in life when I find myself ready to explode. I don't have a terrible temper, but I'm not as level headed as I could be when I'm under pressure, or when little munchkins are purposefully agitating me. As of late, though, I've been able to reduce my fury to a mild simmer, simply by taking a moment to talk myself through my exasperation.

My self-talk usually involves reciting a familiar prayer or saying, something that shifts my focus from my charged emotions to the concrete task of saying the words. Here's my usual go-to:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury,pardon where there is doubt, faith where there is despair, hope where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console to be understood as to understand to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Depending on how stressful the situation, how symptomatic I am, or what the sass level is in the house, I say this prayer several times a day, sometimes multiple repetitions at a time. In fact, I just keep repeating the prayer until my anger all but dissipates. Sometimes, it takes a lot of repetition (like, a lot), but almost always, I'm able to find my center and deal with the issue with a new found sense of peace.

And in moments that are particularly trying, I don't even get past the first line. I just focus on the words that are so beautifully captured in the first line,

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."

That just says so much to me - as a mom, as a lupus patient, as a business owner. In reciting this one line, it enables me to detach from my anger, resentment, or frustration. It puts me in a mode of proactively seeking to improve the situation, while simultaneously asking to share the burden. It's quite empowering.  And after repeating this phrase 20 times in a row, it's pretty hard to fly off the handle!

There have been a few select times (with more to come, I'm sure) where I stop myself at the very first word. Life really does throw some serious lemons, and sometimes, there are so few words that can bring comfort. In moments like those, I may start out by saying the whole prayer, but after a few repetitions of even the first line, all I can muster is that very first word. But oh, what a word!

While this prayer may not be your kind of thing, I encourage you to find the right combination of words or phrases that allows you to step back and reassess. I think we all need to reset every once in awhile. The bestselling book and one of my favorites, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert touches on the idea of a mantra, and you can click here to read an excerpt from the book on this subject.

For me,  I'm sticking with my prayer. It's working, and it seems to be making an impact. In fact, just this past week, my kindergartner came home and said, "Guess what our new prayer of the month is? It's that one that you always say with your eyes closed."

Yes, my eyes are usually closed, my sweet little pumpkin, as I'm trying my best not to see red because you've just sassed me to death!

Of course, I don't say it quite like that, but if I'm able to help Deirdre and Bernadette find their happy places sooner than I found mine, all the better. I realize in moments like these the responsibility I have as a mother to lead by example. Despite the fact that sometimes, I'd rather throw a tantrum myself!


Amanda said…

i'm slowly finding out what autoimmune disease i have and i'm suffering from medical bills and missing work so that limits my income... please help!
Monica said…
Sara, thank you for this reminder. And yes, that first line of the prayer is very powerful. I have recently included affirmations into my morning ritual. I find myself recalling those affirmations throughout my day; they help me get through rough patches.
Anonymous said…
Dear Sara,

Thanks for this post. I love the prayer. Prayer is such a great way to re-direct our thoughts, isn't it? My other tool for getting through the rough days is singing hymns and songs. The words just lift my spirits and can help me get through a painful time.

Ron said…
Yes it is amazing how prayer and song can change the mind.
Sara Gorman said…
Thanks so much for commenting. So glad you can relate!
Sara Gorman said…
A few stanzas of Amazing Grace can do wonders, eh? :) thanks so much for sharing!
Sara Gorman said…
Thanks for taking time to comment. Glad I'm not alone!
Anonymous said…
God places some of those hectic moments to make us turn to HIM and pray and surrender sometimes. I've broken down crying so much lately because my lupus has been more active and we are playing the waiting game like you've mentioned... but also I've been told that's the side effects of being on higher doses of prednisone.. But the power from the prayer it seems like such a relief. Whatever may come to hand it all to HIM to lift us through! Thank you for sharing!
Sara Gorman said…
Totally agree with you! From where ever the tears come (that darn prednisone!), always nice to find a way to lift your spirits. Thanks so much sharing!

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