Saturday, December 27, 2008

shining light upon Discord

It seems that many things are wacky?.. going awry?.... off?..... discordant! right now.
There's been lots of disharmony with Trev, I'm edgy, I shout just because I can and want to instead of coming from a place of authenticity and peace.
Re-acting instead of Creating.
No good.

I guess I'll start with sharing the problem highlighted by Trev - I'm hoping to come to a definitive place of understanding.
He's an emotional little boy. Period. He comes by it honest - both of his parents are, as well.
In his ...uh, vigor.... he often has melt-downs. Like when he puts on pants over his shoes. Or when he tries to put his shoes on and can't get them on. Or socks. Or like yesterday when he went to the hill next to our house to slide down, he became terribly upset because there's lots of new snow and it wasn't icy anymore, and the slide needed to be "built", if you see what I mean.
In our house we hear lots of wails -sung by him- of "Ooooh, this is The Worst Day, ever!" Sometimes (often!) several times a day.
Now, for a Mama that believes with everything she is in making sure her children are happy, and providing a magical childhood (life base) for said children, these sentiments (shouted and wailed, mind you) are rather discomforting at best, and nerve-grating at worst.

Of course it has peaked right now, as I've paid particular attention to it over the last few months.
I'm wise enough to know that my focusing on it is of course pronouncing it, and that my own outbursts are most certainly contributing to the disharmony.

Yesterday I looked at Eric, and voiced my being at a complete loss.
I know what needs to happen -- he needs to be empowered to handle his emotions.
It occurred to me yesterday (when I could finally calm down enough to break it down even a tiny bit) that I am probably encouraging him to think they're HUGE, because my reaction to his outbursts is rather explosive, as I've gotten to the breaking point myself.
What I mean is - since I'm thinking and feeling "Oh God, HereWeGoAgain, what-am-I-gonna-do? Run! Hide!" I'm encouraging him to feel that his emotions are Too Big to handle, and they'll break him.
Which is of course the direct opposite of what I want him to feel and think.
Ya with me?

Unfortunately, I have these same emotions (though I don't usually freak over my shoes), and was not given any tools or wisdom in How To Deal With Them.
So I'm flailing a bit. Er, a lot.

The good news is that I own a copy of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, and also Every Day Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Thanks Jon and Naomi.

Practicing Mindfulness, especially in a Buddhist way, teaches us that the best way to take care of an emotion is to simply Be with it. To experience it, accept it, and to just let it Be.
When I think of such things being in my Store Consciousness, or simply accept it for What It Is, and not as something I've done to myself because I lack skills or wisdom or a mature, rational mind, I can see my emotions without judgment or shame, and they lose their tremendous power.

So in this I come to the first hint of the answer.
Just let it be.
And as already concluded, I need to stop running from it. I need to be centered enough in those moments that I can come from peace, steadfastness, and wisdom in such moments, instead of running from them.
The next part of it is recognizing that it's temporary.
This was a discovery just yesterday. While I was seething and reeling and flailing about trying to figure out what to do (in a permanent sense) I noticed a few minutes later that he was calm, and peaceful, and happily playing again.
Which took its edge off - as I was able to see that it was not The End Of The World for me, either. A biggy, that. It lost some of its potency in that moment. The whole situation lost some of its power.
So I can suppose from this that I also need to recognize that I not only need to let my own emotions Just Be -and in doing so I am taking care of them- but that I need to allow his emotions to Just Be. Thereby taking better care of him.
I don't freak over his outbursts, I show him that feelings are not the end of the world, and I show him that I can handle his.
Seems right.

I mean, what else is there? I've been trying it different ways for thirty-s0mething years, and I can liken it to trying to get a mountain stream to channel up the mountain, as there is a village up there whom is in need of the water. I can curse it and plow it and scream at it all I want, but the damned river isn't going to travel up. That goes against its very nature.
No more than I can try to get rid of my emotions.

The best and healthiest thing to do is to let them lie, and to center myself in such a way that I don't find them to be overwhelming or shameful.

In this then, is one of the places where I found the need to get Into the Still.


DarklyFey said...

I really needed to read this today. I was raised in a shame-based way around emotions, and I still have a really hard time just being with whatever I'm feeling. Today's one of those days. :) Thanks for sharing what you shared. It's helped.

Stephanie said...

Overcoming our childhood is tough work! :)

Life With Us said...

That was great. Thanks.

Pam said...

Wow, this could have easily been a scene from my life.
I wasn't nearly as patient nor as wise.

denise said...

I have an intense child too. He has a hard time with too much...everything. Change, texture, taste, smell, feeling, chaos, unpredictability, uncertainty, you name it. It gets hard. But as you said, I know he needs to vent and find ways to figure out how to manage himself when things get too much. I can try to help, but I can't make it go away. I try to meditate and breathe. And on the days when I feel like yelling anyway, I try to crank the music, get silly, and sing at the top of my lungs. Doesn't always work, but hey...I'm human too, just like he is.

The books you mentioned are awesome - I re-read them often. Helps get my head in the game again...


Sarah said...

I love Naomi's book. Love it. And I need it. It's my anchor in parenting.

Wonderful post.

Stephanie said...

Denise - that's it, exactly.
Getting my head back in the game. I was just telling a friend yesterday that I had sort of drifted away the last few weeks, and found myself floundering and lost.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that drifts once in a while.

Sarah - the appreciation goes for you, too!

Though my Auto-Pilot of today is much different than the one of years ago - it still needs to be fine-tuned and advanced regularly.
(Though living through Presence and Mindfulness is always preferred, of course.)

carri said...

Boy can I relate! All of my kiddos, plus the hubby and I as well, have these huge emotions to deal with regularly. We are constantly fine tuning our reactions and such.

Great post!

Stephanie said...

Carri - Glad to hear it! :)

peggy said...

Naomi's book is a must re-read for me, now is a good time for that. I love your stream up a mountain analogy.
Happy New Year to you and thanks for the insights here.

Mon said...

This was my favourite bit, "...I am probably encouraging him to think they're HUGE..." I think that is so integral to these sorts of things.

My own LO is spirited and I feel that the best I can do is be a source of calm for her, and help her understand that there is nothing wrong with her outburt. I think children learn this, that there is somethin wrong, before anything else. And I don't believe it's the most helpful learning, ay?

I don't know if I'm doing it 'right' but it feels right, at the moment. We'll see when she's a toddler.... lol

Stephanie said...

Mon - if it feels right, then it is right.
I have no doubt.