Tag Archives: calm

It’s Okay

My mom told me a story once.  It was about me in grade school.  My teacher, Mr. G, told my mom what happened.  He said he was helping me zip up my coat and the zipper broke.  He said, “Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry” and he said he felt really bad like it might be his fault.  But he told my mom that I made him feel so much better.  I just looked at him and calmly said, “It’s okay. My mom won’t be mad.”

This story has always stuck with me. Now that I’m a Mom I realize she shared that story with me because she is proud of that moment.  I couldn’t have explained grace or kindness at that young of an age but I knew it because my mom taught me.  Just by the way she lived.

I want to be that kind of mom.

As you know, we moved to Texas a few months ago and it has been amazing.  I am  processing so many things, it’s tough to write about it.  I start and stop because there is so much to say and I want to say it all but I don’t think it’s time yet. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I’ve been trying all along to just roll with whatever is going on.  I don’t always succeed.  I’ve been saying, “It’s okay” to the kids a lot.  I’ve been showing up, meeting people, asking questions, laughing, staying open, trying to manage my expectations.  All along, saying to my kids, “it’s okay” and trying not to fly off the handle at the little things.

The other day I went grocery shopping and the refrigerator was loaded to the max.  I opened the door to get something out and strawberries and blueberries flew everywhere! I was not calm.  I yelled, “OH S**T – NO -UGH!”

You know what happened?

All three of my kids came running.  They saw me on the floor and they got down with me to pick up the fruit.  They said, “It’s okay Mom”, “It’s no big deal Mom”, “Don’t worry, we can wash the fruit Mom”.

I couldn’t have been prouder at that moment.  Or more grateful.

I will remind them of that story one day.

The way they offered me kindness and grace and understanding.

It was just a tiny moment, but to me…it was huge.

I don’t know where they will go to college or what their jobs will be or who they will marry or where they will live.

But I do know they will be okay.

They know it too.

And that gives my heart rest.

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved




Word Up

Last week I went to yoga class.  On the way there, I was driving and talking on the phone.  I was talking to a friend about a lot of things.  I was talking really fast and apparently really loud.  (This is not a surprise to some of you.)  It was a frantic conversation filled with exclamations (!) And attitude (“Homey don’t play that sister!”) You get the point…I was energized…frantic…fired up…manic?

Anyway, I get to yoga and I’m talking on the phone outside of the yoga studio.  I hang up and walk in the studio and immediately I’m overwhelmed by the quiet.  I’m calmed by the energy in the space. I sign in and then I say to the owner of the studio, “Wow…it’s so calm in here”…as I stand up straight and make a sign on my chest that represents calm to me.  (To everyone else it represents nothing, just Sue making a weird sign with her hand to her heart.)

This is what this beautiful, centered, calm yogi says to me…she says, “Are you the one that was on the phone?” and I say, “Yes” and she says, “You NEED yoga”.

So there you have it.  I felt like I was slapped and hugged at the same time.

That’s one of the truest things I’ve heard lately.  She was calling me out on my hyped up, overstressed, narcissistic behavior.  She was telling me what I know but need to be reminded of which is…I need to be responsible for the energy I bring to each situation.


By the way,  someone told me Oprah had that sign in her Harpo studio offices. And if Oprah loves it enough to hang up a sign, chances are I’m loving it too.

My friend on the phone had frenetic energy and so did I.  We know we feed off the energy of the people we are with.  Who started it?  I don’t know but I have to “Be the change I wish to see in the world”, right?  (That’s Gandhi)

I realize I can bring calm to a space and to people or I can bring chaos.  It’s my choice.  I choose calm.  But then sometimes I don’t. That’s when I thank God for people who remind me.

I looked for a Bible verse to put in here about being calm and I couldn’t find what I wanted.  I wanted to find the perfect words from Jesus to fit my needs.   Then I read a book I’ve been assigned for Holy Yoga training and the author talks about the dangers of “using” the Holy Bible only to serve the “individualized personal Trinity of my Holy Wants, my Holy Needs, and my Holy Feelings.”¹

Ugh.  Slapped and hugged again.

Sometimes hearing what we need to hear can sting a little.

To hear audio click on this link sue blog – word up

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
1. Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book

Fight or Flight… or Faith?

In November of 1994, I was held up at gunpoint.

I lived in the city.  I was walking alone at night and a man came up with a gun and said “give me your bag”.  I gave him my bag and then I ran as fast as I could.

It changed everything.

For months after that, I went through a transformative experience.  At the time, I didn’t know what was happening to me.  I couldn’t get on the “El” or a city bus without being completely out of breath and shaking.  I thought I was having a heart attack and couldn’t breathe.  There were times when my chin or my arm would go numb.  I had cat scans and EEGs and EKGs. 

Two really important things happened at this time.  I was talking to my mom about it and I was really freaked out.  I was not sure what was happening to me but I knew that I was not okay.  She said to me, “Have you prayed about it?”  No, I had not prayed about it.  I had talked about it with everyone, I had seen many doctors, I had tried to fix it myself, but I had not prayed about it.  I went to everyone who I thought could fix it and I didn’t go to the One who actually could.  It was an “AHA moment”.   My mom, again, was wise and faithful.  That moment stands as a turning point in my life and in my walk of faith.

The other really important thing that happened was that I went to a doctor many times hoping for answers, getting tests, often just hoping she would give me “something” to take away the symptoms.  I guess it’s a Western thing but we love medicine.  We love the idea that pills can make us better.  I know this is not true but at the time, I was desperate.  I would have welcomed a prescription. 

However, God had other plans.  He led me to a doctor that was enlightened.  She asked me what is going on in my life.  I went through a list of things, I told her I just got married, I just got mugged…she stopped me there.  She asked for details and we talked about what happened. Then she pulled her chair closer and said, “You are having panic attacks.  Your body senses that it is in danger because your mind is telling it so. Your body is reacting with a fight or flight response.  Your mind is tricking your body into this reaction.  Your mind and body are intricately linked. We need to address the mind and the fear in order to stop the panic attacks.” 

Then she taught me how to breathe.  She essentially taught me yoga breath. She told me I should practice this breath to calm my central nervous system.   I practiced this breath as I was facing my fears of the “el” and the city bus and walking alone.  It worked and my symptoms were gone.  When they would return, I would “check in” with my mind and then begin my breath.  I would tell myself, “In this moment, I am not in danger.”  This was the beginning of my walk with Mindfulness.

How ironic that in the middle of what could be the worst thing that has happened to me I learned two things that now define me. 

1. Rely on God. What matters to me matters to Him.  Talk to Him. Pray.

2. Be mindful. The mind and body are intricately linked. Take care of both. Be present and in the moment. Do not fear.

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)


I am excited to be posting an entry from my second guest blogger.  Her name is Mary and we are in a faith sharing group together.  Mary is insightful and kind and interesting and thoughtful.  She has a great curiosity and her willingness to learn and grow is inspiring.  You can read Mary’s thoughts on Mindfulness by clicking on Voices at the top of the blog, under the header.  Enjoy!

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved