***The Power of a Word What one word is most powerful in your life? Why? If it is a positive word, explain what it means to you and where in your life it applies. If it is a negative word, explain what you feel comfortable sharing. Then think of a word that could replace the negative word. Work on repeating the positive each time the negative comes to you... *** For me, the word is CHOICE. As long as I focus on CHOICE, life is manageable. It takes manufactured chaos out of the equation. I know that things happen that I'm not anticipating. Life means loss and tragedy and stress and trauma. But I can choose what I do with it. The emotions might rock my world. But I will find the place where I can choose to come out of it, to be stronger, to keep my family together. I've had horrible things happen in my life. I can choose to live as a victim, using my past as an excuse for everything that happens now. Never letting go, letting it control all that I am, all that I do, allowing it to poison my now. But I make a different choice. I choose to accept what was done to me. And I choose to take responsibility for the decisions I've made, for my own attention seeking behaviors. And I chose a long time ago to release it. Release what was done to me. Release the anger and rage and shame and hurt. Release. I chose to release. As I go through the Love Dare (blog link over there in the right column), I'm learning that love isn't a feeling that just happens. It's an action that you choose. Choice. Every day, every moment. When I feel like life is out of control, I can find choice. I can choose to react to the stress. I can choose to make a list and then choose what is priority. I can choose to take action. I can choose to observe. I choose. Choice and choose and pick and decide are important words in my parenting style. I want my kids to grow up understanding that they choose how they act, they choose their actions, they choose their outcomes. They can't control everything. When it is bedtime, it's bedtime. You choose to cooperate and have a nice, loving bedtime. Or you have a meltdown and cry and scream and are choosing to have a not nice bedtime. And all these choices link together. It's bedtime. Teagan can choose a nice bedtime- she chooses by her behavior. And then we can read books, sing to each other, snuggle and hug and kiss. Or she can choose to have that screaming, crying meltdown. Which means I choose not to read to her. I also have to choose how I will respond to her in those meltdowns. Do I choose to be gentle and calm? Do I choose to yell? Do I choose to threaten? Do I choose to ignore? Choice is back to her. Does she choose to respond to my gentle approach? Or does she choose to continue screaming? It's like watching tennis. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I can choose to be open and accepting. I can choose to be judgemental. I can choose coffee or tea. I can choose happy music or angry music. I can choose. Choice. I find it to be inspiring. Powerful. Hopeful.