Photo Credit Scenic Reflections
I am here writing without giving myself a chance to think about it.
A slogan that has been working for my good friend Julia has been showing up constantly in my mind like a flashy neon sign: Don't think about it, just do it.
How is it that Nike knows? How is it that Just do it is printed everywhere, and has had as little effect on me as the Got Milk slogan. It doesn't make me buy milk.
Why have I always had to take the long route--I could argue that it has been the scenic route, but c'mon, poet or not, I need to function on this planet.
Oh, how many endless minutes have I spent in that place just before moving, feeling stuck--overwhelmed by a sensitive nature that jams the engine, an eternal winter icing the gears--overload of information pouring in, needing to be parsed and dissected from every angle, all possible scenarios to be scoured, all possible thoughts of anyone and everyone to be considered, filtered through guilt-charged conditioning and mind-mess--only to arrive in a barren land called INDECISION.
I am warming to the flame, realizing how cold it has been. Clarity. It has a little kick-ass flavor that is undeniably new and spicy.
Lately I have been extra energized with life. Pulling weeds, digging into rock-hard clay to transform my garden into a place where I actually want to spend time. I've been enthusiastic about kids and their activities, their growth, their upkeep. I've been showing up with friends, in situations that I'd have avoided favoring a reclusive nature, feeling ready to engage and exchange. I've let fear visit like a missionary, greeting it kindly, without remorse when the door is shut and the footsteps recede.
Again, I don't recognize myself.
Mostly what has been so great is that I have been doing, without thinking about it.
The big SO WHAT, just may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has always been hard for me not to get caught up in the stories, riding their highs, and finally letting them drag me down, way down.
So the SO WHAT just cuts through all of that mental noise. The secret to some kind of mental homeostasis.
So, I've been watching my kids and their resistance to little things like chores, homework, practicing an instrument, and I see myself very clearly in them. Scary!
My kids have been good at hooking me into their resistance to soften what I expect of them. They've been so good, that I see that I have my work cut out for me, as I finally get up to bat.
They tell me that they hate chores.
They tell me that everything is toooooo hard.
They tell me that they aren't any good at anything!! Anything!!!
In the past their tears have kept me wanting to swoop in and help them to see the amazing little beings they are, to be gentle on themselves, to understand that they are just at the beginning of the journey.
My soothing has had no effect. PERIOD. In fact usually they just spew back hate. And I realize that it is because I have been pandering and giving space to a part of them that really deserves very little attention.
At the risk of sounding insensitive, I am convinced that giving this part of them coddles is only making their monsters bigger.
Enter the big SO WHAT.
The key to all of us functioning despite our minds, (who, I am convinced, served as THE defunct model for politics. In fact without the mind, I don't believe politics would be possible--oh and not to mention the justice system) is giving space for the good stuff to grow. I realize I've been letting my inner garden run rampant with life-sucking weeds, for fear of harming the weeds! Why would I want to do the same for the inner-gardens of my children?
I finally get that it isn't helpful for me to soften my requirements, pandering to my very apt-to- resist children's minds. They want a war and that is what they get. The goal is to hook me in and get me to fight and bring me to my knees in submission.
My goal is to recognize that they are hooking me in and then let go. Then state clearly the game plan, for the sane parts of their minds to hear. What I notice is that in letting go and hooking in less, the game plan is heard by them as the sane part of them perks up and listens to the sane part of me.
And it just happens that this ah-ha coincides with being much more aware of the bodily sensations that act as a very important gauge to tell me how things are going. And what a very bad feeling I have when I do cave to my children's broken record resistance. What a very good feeling I have when I push through their resistance and my own, and come out the other side.
So, things are changing. When I push them a little to begin their tasks, they meet me with a fresh feeling of completion and pride on the other side. Wow, this feels good.
Coddling feels tired and painful, and mostly stagnant and depleting.
I don't think I could ever be a tiger mom, but it is different now that I realize that I have been transferring my own resistance and inability to move to my kids.
Why has it taken me so long to understand this?
Probably because I've always hooked in with my mind.
Of course, we know that this really has nothing to do with my children. It has everything to do with what is showing up to help me to be free.
Everything I say to my kids to help inspire them to move, is loud and clear--yes, I hear it!-- for me. I am thankful, because I've needed to hear it. I've needed to say it.
It feels so good just to get up and get moving without being under a dark cloud. The day unfolds so differently. There is a feeling of flow.
Oh, and this has been so helpful for those critical minds around me who like to back-seat drive my life. Getting a lot easier to tell them to get out and hitchhike.
This changes what it feels like to be in this world. No matter what I am doing, who I am talking to, running into, at odds with--I can interject a big SO WHAT! And nothing matters. There is only love left, and movement. No useless wavering, humpty-dumpty-teetering, precariously perched thought forms-- no gory messes to clean up when it all falls apart. No more freakin' egg shells to contend with!
Oh so what can bring so much!
And I can't very well tell my kids to move it and shake it, to lose their minds, and not do that myself.
If I have learned one thing as a parent, it is this. Kids learn by watching what you do and who you are. They don't give a shit what you say.
Good for them. Gives us less space for our own weeds to take over.