Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Practicing Mindfulness: Recalibrating

I was up from one until almost five last night reading.
Reading on boards, mostly.
I started to write yesterday about getting to the bottom of a couple of things that I'm missing - but I wasn't quite able to say what I wanted, or get to a place of conclusion.
I think maybe the reading was an external search for what I was trying to figure out.

Somehow I believe truth always comes from the inside, best from experiencing still waters, yet it seems that I'm often led to it from something outside of myself.
Maybe it's like second and third chances - if you can't/don't get it in absolute stillness, then you get lots of hints all around you - and eventually even a brick to the head.
I have not receives any bricks to my head (lately), just so you know.
Hopefully by exploring this topic I'll be able to avoid them.

A couple of days ago I was reading about grabbing and sharing, and conflict resolution. At first it appeared to me that the discussing parents were siding with whichever side of the dilemma their child most often found themselves (quite naturally). If they were apt to be the grabber or the grabee, if you will.
My hackles rose a bit, and I sided -though not voiced- with the child that originally had the toy.
Everyone agreed that there needed to be lots of validating feelings, and coming to a solution that was acceptable to all.
After thinking about it further (and being unsatisfied with labeling a grabbing child as "wrong" or "bad"), I saw clearly that I needed to recalibrate.

I think one of the reasons that I've had a bit of trouble with the writing of this post and getting these thoughts in order (ahem - most of yesterday and all day today) is because it hasn't emerged all the way. I wasn't sure exactly where I was trying to go, or for what I was searching. But this does relate to things that have been in my head, so I'm trying to put all of it together.
Of course initially my response after "I can see that you really want to play with that" is "let's find you another toy, and give this back to your brother - you can have it when he is done."
It seems fair.

But I am now reminded to practice mindfully - and to not get lost in automatic responses.
What I would like best to do (I am quite pleased that I've -usually!- gotten to a place where my initial response to what appears to me as disharmony is "is everything okay?" or "do you guys need help?" instead of "what's going on in here?" which sounds accusing and not open-minded) is enter with no judgments or assumptions, and come to a resolution as efficiently and lovingly as possible.

What is my ultimate goal in helping to resolve conflict?
Helping my children to learn how to get their needs met while understanding that others have true needs as well. With that knowledge/skill I believe they are assured self confidence, healthy relationships, empathy, and excellent communication skills - though I'm not necessarily attached to that outcome.

In practicing mediating/diplomacy (when a mediator is desired) mindfully instead of going by automatic responses I am hoping to become more mindful and engaged in the moment - in any moment. And hopefully that will lead me to being better prepared for people and circumstances that are not a part of our everyday lives. As well as to model skills, empathy, and diplomacy for my children.
My regular practices aren't too far off the mark. And just by writing these words I can see that I've come a long way, amazingly enough.

Another part of this quest and practice of mindfulness is wanting to refrain from the experience of so often getting myself into a really steep and uncomfortable ditch.
Usually it's a deep one. And narrow. Usually I'm upside down in it. Often with a face full of dirt.

While perhaps appearing lazy about posting on this blog lately, and doing any real personal work, I've been dedicated to my intimate Outside World.
In plain language friends, housework.
I've known for years that I am an organized sort of girl - I like knowing without a doubt where anything and everything in my home is presently residing. It's what makes me tick. Well, keeps me ticking in a harmonious and even time, anyway.

For some time things around here have been seriously out of whack.
Askew, awry, and slightly chaotic.

I find myself all of a sudden looking around, and the steam blows out the top of my ears, the electricity comes out of my fingernails, and fire comes out of my mouth.
Not my children's fault.
My responsibility.

I read from Sandra Dodd last night/this morning something about "don't think of your children at all while you're cleaning, unless it's to think of what a happy and pleasant place you're making for them to play and discover". (Not an exact quote, but it was like 3am, and I am not sure I could ever find it again.)
Oh yes.
That's what I most want, isn't it?

Every act to be mindful.
All deeds to be done with intention.

I am learning.

ps: I'm going to really miss the rain.


whimsigal said...

You have the best introspective posts as they really leave the reader with much to ponder for themselves. I know you write for yourself but I always take something, a little piece of wisdom, with me after reading here.

It's nice to read about your journey, all the glides and stumbles along the way. It really is a beautiful and inspirational thing. And oddly enough, your posts almost always coincide with something I'm thinking about or worrying over and it's reassuring to see you working your way through things, too.

Thanks for this post, friend!



Stephanie said...

I can hardly believe that you could even make any sense of it!

This post was a lot of stumbling and falling - I"m sure I'll be thinking more on it, that it will take me to a deeper level or a more subtle nuance.

See? That's what I mean. In my mind it's all sort of murky and uneven...

But I am so glad that you are able to get something out of some of the writings!
If anything I write leads others to discovering something important for themselves (aside from "don't drink the water at HER house! :) ) then I think that's wonderful!

Kim said...

I am going to be really shallow and say.....I am sure this is a great post (I only skimmed it...I'll come back later). But the Photography!!! MY, my, my! I was totally distracted by it. If you really want me to focus on a post, you need to put a picture of a blank wall or something.
I am almost wishing I bought that S3 that you rave about. Could somebody like me take pics like that? Did you put the camera on burst or do you capture a drop of water in mid air? Amazing!!
Love you lots. Your distracted sister,

Stephanie said...

Thanks, KimK.
I know nothing about photography - I just had a real need to walk around the yard and take some pictures. Took me a while to get into the groove, but I'm happy with these shots.
(grin) if you must know... I took about thirty shots of that leaf, and that's how I got the drop falling off. (shame on you for getting it out of me!) :)
love to you.

Melissia said...

A while back I was really aggravated about the mess in Arianna's room. I had this feeling like, "it has to be organized now". I took a step back and realized that my house was disorganized and maybe even my head. That is what I have been doing for the last 3 months. Organizing my house and my head a nibble at a time. I have taken a few steps backward in the last couple of days. Thanks for your post- I think it reminded me what I was doing it all for.

Stephanie said...

It's the same for me.
It's funny - the difference in my head and my heart is astounding! I mean, I"m not surprised, really, because I know how I am, but everything just seems so much easier!
Wanted to tell you that I've been checking on Trev's room every once in a while during the day, and just putting stuff away when he's somewhere else - not his dino "movie", or Ben10 stuff, or whatever he has created on his dresser (where he most likes to play), but most likely stuff Maddie drug out.
Yesterday I hear this wailing from his room, "Oh my room is RUINED! Now it'll never be clean, again! Maddie, how could you? I"ll never get it clean!!!" (He does like to be dramatic) I thought "OH NO!" and went in there, there were like seven things on the floor, not a big deal at all. Made me smile that he has become accustomed and aware of his room being tidy, and his liking for it.
Sure is much easier to maintain it a few times during the day!
I don't feel bad about doing it at all, as his play is on the dresser, as I said, and I never touch that!