The “Do Over”

Do you wish that you could do over something?  Wipe it clean.  You know, pick the right words, the appropriate actions and perhaps have a more kind or gentle spirit?

At our home, we’ve been practicing the “do over” often.  For children from hard places (a term Karyn Purvis uses often in her books), do overs are essential for retraining the brain. You simply walk through the same action or actions again, this time doing them in the right and appropriate manner.

It’s not often easy to practice a “do over.”  Emotions and shame can often cloud the opportunity to redo something that had been just done.  However, each time a do over happens, it’s amazing to see peace and calm arrive in our home.

Do Overs aren’t just for Desta though.  I’ve found myself sitting in the space of needing mental and emotional do overs as well.  While Desta might need a do over to train her brain how to kindly and without yelling speak to one of us, I need do overs to train my heart how to accept love.

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift this Advent season.  Daily I’m amazed at how that morning’s particular reading was exactly what I needed to hear.  This morning was no different.

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I’ve been reflecting on joy and happiness, particularly after Caroline mentioned to us the other day how this year it doesn’t “feel” like Christmas yet.  I remember the first Christmas when it dawned on me that I was in charge of making it happen – the adult responsibilities kicked in full force and if I didn’t do something, the “feeling” for others wouldn’t happen.  Ah, the joys of growing up.

I read this from day 18 and thought of that conversation with Caroline –

“Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other.  

As the cold can move you deeper toward the fire, struggling can move you deeper toward God, who warms you with joy. Struggling can deepen joy.”

I go back to the “do over.”  Without retraining the brain to do the right thing, creating new neurological pathways, there is never the opportunity to see a failure become successful.  And when there is success, there is joy and peace.

It’s not an easy process – it requires intentionality and discipline.  It means setting aside pride and practicing humility.  Same goes with struggle and joy.  It’s easy to get bogged down in the blahs and failures, not seeing the good in the middle.

It takes us back to thankfulness and gratitude.  Ann says it so well, “A song of thanks steadies everything.”

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This Advent season I’m working hard on the gratitude bit.  Seems I can’t quite seem to learn that lesson so I’ll keep practicing.  This year I’m continuing in my quest to keep a 1000 phrases of gratitude.  Come with me and do the same!  It won’t change the circumstances but it will change the attitude.

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