Do I Have to or do I Get to?

One of the many reasons Yoga is so good for me personally is that I get overwhelmed by life very easily. When all of my commitments and “have to’s” are flying around my head, I feel like I’m back in grade school playing “monkey in the middle” and I have undoubtedly taken the place of the primate. What I know is true, but tend to forget, is that all of the stressors are blessings and I’ve brought them on myself.

In 2004, I went from being a single mother of one to a wife and mother of three. Now, 10 years later, my husband and I have three healthy, smart teenagers who, I hope, are on their way to being strong contributors in the world. And, they stress me the hell out.

After years in Corporate America, I have worked to create a tapestry of a life, interweaving my passions with my long time career as a digital marketer. About four years ago, I brought one of my passions, writing, to the forefront of my life. I’ve published a children’s book and am nearly done with the next. This year, I added one more passion to the mix when I got my yoga teacher certification. I have a summer gig teaching three mornings a week at a local park. All of this makes my soul sing. And, sometimes, it stresses me the hell out.

Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” To which I would add “…and overwhelming.” Most likely, there are times in your life when your blessings get the best of you and it all seems like too much. (If this never happens to you, please tell me your secret.)

So, what can we do about it? A yoga teacher recently told me that when she struggles for contentment, she goes toward gratitude. Feeling grateful for just one thing brings her back to a place where she feels content and peaceful.

I’ve tried this for the past few days by making one small vocabulary change: “Have” becomes “Get.”

“I have to put away the groceries,” turned into “I get to enjoy an abundance of food.”

“I have to weed my garden,” turned into “I get to live in a home with a piece of land to call my own.”

“I have to drive my daughter to her friend’s house,” turned into “I get to experience this beautiful human’s life.”

See if this word game helps you go from feeling discontent to grateful and back to contentment. The toughest part, like with making any change, is remembering to do it. I know I have to keep at it because, when I do, I get to be a more content human.



All the stuff I am grateful for and stressed about.


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