In 2013, I reset the relationships in my life, let go of the illusion of control and learned how to live in the moment. This ultimately led to me creating an app that helps people be present in their own lives.
The illusion of control for me was that somehow I was nurtured to understand that anyone else’s feelings and behaviors were dependent on me. If I was good, if I was perfect, if I got good grades, my parents would be happy. If I was a perfect mother, my sons would be well adjusted and not get into trouble. I had this illusion that somehow, I was all-powerful. It sounds like I really thought a lot of myself, but as I’m sure you know, it doesn’t always work out that way.
I had some incidents in my life — my mother died after a really painful and sad illness, and in the same hospital two months later, my younger sister gave birth to her first child. She’d had difficulty getting pregnant, and my mom was instrumental in her journey and then sadly, she didn’t get to see that birth. That same summer, my oldest son started driving.
There were all these what felt like slaps in the face, but were really gentle taps on the shoulder telling me, You can’t control these things. It doesn’t matter how hard you try — people are going to be disappointed, you’re going to feel sad, your son’s going to probably hang out with the wrong people. It’s just not in your control.
Being present became the only way I could kind of let go of that control. It was scary. I had such a tight grip for so long.
There’s a kind of therapy called DBT [Dialectical Behavior Therapy], I had learned about. You say to yourself: “My feet are on the floor. I’m sitting in this green chair. That flower is really beautiful.” You’re narrating the present moment so you can be mindful, really.
That really helped me. It helped me reset pretty much all of the relationships in my life, and it has made a huge difference. It helped my younger son. My older son was kind of my test version and by the time my younger son was a teenager, I had really become much more into focusing on my own world and letting him do his thing and learn from his own mistakes.
Mindfulness is really the key, and meditation is is the way I keep it in check. I find if I don’t meditate often enough, I can really get caught up in future-tripping and worrying about the past and having regrets — all the things that mess up the present.