As I shared last week, I had the honor of being given an advance copy of Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Life. I have loved her blog for years, I want to engrain her philosophy of life into my soul. Our lives are busy. Busyness invades every aspect of our daily routine- get up early to get stuff done, spend the day racing around to cross off your to do list, stay up late to prepare for your early morning. It’s a vicious cycle. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with how to be faster, more streamlined, more connected. Too busy to meet a friend for coffee? Thank goodness for texting and Facetime. Too young for Facebook? Have you tried Periscope? Too old for Instagram? Better set up a Snapchat account. Need to deposit a check? No need to go to the bank, there’s an app for that. Is grocery shopping taking up too much of your time? Order on line and pick up on your way to the next errand. Sometimes I stop and think what are we racing towards, streamlining from? Isn’t there always another item on the to do list despite all of our efforts to get tasks done quickly and efficiently?
When I first read Rachel’s blog, I was enthralled with the idea of “hands free”. Could it be possible to have empty hands, palms up, waiting for life to settle there? I am passionate about building a business to help people journey to their healthiest selves. Sharing those small steps towards whole food and regular fitness. But almost all of my business is done on line. I NEED that iPhone to connect, my laptop is a MUST to reach people outside of my hometown. My hands are always busy. In fact, I have a phrase I say to my four children more often than I would care to admit, “Don’t you see mama’s hands are busy?”. I am busy cooking, cleaning, folding, planning, loading, unloading, messaging, texting, creating. So I ask these little souls not to interrupt me when my hands are busy. The only problem? My hands are never not busy. (apologies for that double negative…). And then this beautiful book arrived at my doorstep.
Hands Free Life is divided into three sections: creating lasting connections, living for today and protecting what matters. In each of these sections, Rachel shares habits to help develop these ideas in your own life. I have decided to write a mini blog series about each of those sections. Over the next three weeks, I will share how I’m working to implement this “hands free” approach into my life, my family, my home. It’s not easy but I’m trying and that’s all this mama can do.
Creating Lasting Connections
First I had to humble myself and apologize to my children for not modeling what I expect from them. I am constantly reminding them to look at an adult when someone is talking to you. Rather than twirling around, staring at their feet or, worse yet, an electronic screen, I want them make eye contact. But when those same little souls speak to me, I am often responding to that latest Facebook message, typing out that last to do, approving that great blog comment. Looking down, hands busy. So I apologize to them and ask them to help me out. We create a simple statement “eyes up”. Eyes up is how they can gently remind me to look at their faces when they talk to me. Eyes up is how I can assure them that their tales of an incredible game of kickball is more important than anything else. Eyes up is a small step toward creating a lasting connection.
In her Creating Lasting Connections section, Rachel writes one sentence what I want most to achieve as a mother. My husband and I want independent children who create success on their own terms, love themselves and the world around them with abandon, dream the impossible and reach for it with every fiber of their being. But all of that can only come out of confidence, security in their position in the business of the world. As Rachel writes,
Isn’t that what we are all striving towards? The busyness is our attempt to ensure that we matter in this world. That our voice is heard and our value is recognized. As a mother, I want my children to embed that confidence into their souls so I vow to be hands free and “eyes up”.