A few days ago, I recommended? demanded? required? pleaded? for ya’ll to do THIS exercise in gratitude, from the Tim Ferriss interview with Tony Robbins. Start at minute 3:50. Get a notebook. Do it. Around minute 7, Tony (yeah, we’re tight like that) asks us to reflect on ONE thing that makes us incredibly proud. One thing we’re grateful that our heart has guided us to give, or create, or do or enjoy.
These two. If you know me at all. These. Two.
I recently had a conversation with a man who informed me that he had never desired children. Which is totally cool. I didn’t either. Like, for real, wanted to be a career woman, opera singer, and kids were just a distraction, annoyance, life-long commitment, and somewhat painful. He continued to say that his inventions/creations were like children, in that he felt the same commitment, passion, love and emotions towards his business ideas and ventures as I do towards my children. NOW… I’m not an inventor or entrepreneur, so I don’t know. But his comparison seemed off the mark in my experience.
I am scared of EVERYTHING. Marriage and children were no exception.
I also do not respond well to cultural expectations or pressure. So growing up Mormon really put me off in regards to the baby thing. How in the hell did I wind up with two children with all of this sh*t going on in my heart and head? Two VERY intentional, planned, not accidental babies?
This question brings me to minute 7:50 of the Tim and Tony exercise.
7:50, he asks us to remember ONE moment that we could be extraordinarily grateful for. ONE. My immediate and almost visceral response? The moment I knew I was supposed to have a child, and that I would not totally f*ck it up.
Mormons have two types of buildings, chapels and temples. Chapels are for day to day meetings, pot-lucks, community, congregation, and family parties and events. They are the “kitchen” of the Mormon house. We USE these buildings over and over, and they are very utilitarian.
Then, we have temples. Yes, these are the places where you get the “magic underwear” and do all of the secret stuff. Honestly people, nearly EVERY world religion has some sort of religious clothing that is a reminder of our commitment to God. The Mormon undergarments are no different. And for real, if you actually KNOW any Mormons, you also know we are way too uptight and boring to be having naked orgies in secret buildings. GET A CLUE.
Temples are for ordinances and rituals that are considered by devout Mormons to be necessary for salvation. If y’all are dying to know more, you can google it, or join up, wait a year, live by all the rules, (which includes no sex outside of marriage, no booze or coffee, and paying a 10 percent tithe) and go through the temple ordinances yourself. Temples would be what I consider the “front room” of the Mormon house. They’re incredibly beautiful, and the workmanship and sacrifice that goes into these buildings is representative of dedication to the Lord. Over the course of my life, I’ve had people rip on me for the opulence of Mormon temples. 1. This is not my call, so quit bugging me. 2. Why do you care? 3. Get over it. If you don’t like it, don’t join up.
I first went through the Mormon temple and ordinances when I was 20 years old. On the night before I got married. This is pretty typical for women, and men usually first attend the temple before their 2 year missions.
Now, skip the sizzle, get the the bacon:
I’m sitting in the Provo temple after completing a service. I think it was in September of 1991. I had gotten married in August, just a month earlier. KIDS, children, pregnancy were NOT on the radar. I was entering my junior year as a vocal performance major, and Jake was at about the same place in his Portuguese degree.
It’s quiet, and I’m just sitting there thinking, meditating, and kind of blissed out. And I’ll be damned if this seriously loud, persistent voice came to my head. I sat there, kind of stunned, and I KNEW I was supposed to get pregnant, KNEW. Like on a cellular, no questions, no fear kind of way. I’m guessing that God and the Universe kind of knew this is what I would need to ever take the plunge on that type of commitment. You can laugh, think I’m naive or crazy or a brainwashed Mormon kid, I don’t really care. My blog, my story. So, I talk to Jake, go off the pill (which I was on for all of two weeks) and we proceed to get pregnant. One horrible miscarriage and surgery and one long-ass pregnancy later (I threw up every day all day for about 7 months, yes that WAS me on the side of the road at BYU every morning!), on November 17, 1992, Dane Frederic Olsen entered my world. 9 lbs 8 oz, 9 of it head. 4th degree episiotomy (google it) and for real, that kid had a melon like no other.
I have spent 24 years getting to know Dane, and I’m pretty convinced that persistent voice was him. He can be a real pain in the ass when he wants something. Like, worse than Stewie. If I don’t respond to a call or text with the appropriate speed, I will be bombarded with a series of pings, “ma, ma, ma, ma, ma” You get the idea. This kid is a total ballbreaker, and will be an amazing attorney. So, the nagging was Dane, but the peace I felt and the departure of fear? That was all God. God who knew me well enough to know exactly what I needed in order to grow and have the best experience of my life.
That moment in the Mormon Temple? That is my ONE extraordinary moment.
Why the f*ck does it matter? Why do you care? Where are YOUR unicorns and size 2 jeans?
- Do this exercise.
- Define, remember, and record ONE extraordinary moment for which you are profoundly grateful.
- Contemplate the circumstances surrounding that moment.
Recognize that you are loved. You are known. You are seen. You are held close. This knowledge really helps cut down on binge eating/drinking/f*cking/ and other negative behaviors.
If you are unable or unwilling to complete this exercise, you are an ungrateful dookie-head and I cannot help you. For real. If you cannot come up with ONE thing for which to express true gratitude, it’s time to look within and see what is causing you to be such a self-absorbed jerk. And I don’t say sh*t like that lightly.
Remember, the purpose here is to bring the JOY. Not to bring you down or call you names, so if I’m willing to make such a bold statement, there is a reason.
So do it. Do it now. It will make you skinny and help you find your unicorn. Promise.
Light and Love,