April 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
Raise your hand if you have ever watched a sunrise?
Not seen, but watched.
I have seen many sunrises but it was only until recently that I watched what actually happened as the sun’s light slowly edged its way across the earth. As the sun gradually peeks over the tops of the trees on the horizon, each part of the earth that it meets starts to glow. As each tree, rock, and blade of grass receives the sun’s radiance, it transforms from the dull shade of early morning to an awe-inspiring golden glow, and continues to bask in it until the sun eventually gets high enough in the sky to become daylight. I was mesmerized, watching the glow unhurriedly inch across the grass towards me, lighting up each thing in its path, including me! As I looked down at my dark coloured jacket, even it was glowing! Breathtaking.
Reminiscencing throughout the day afterwards, recalling how beautiful an experience it all was, it occurred to me that we are capable of doing the same for others.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the unpleasant experience of being “triggered”. When someone or something hits a button inside you that sets you off in the direction of anger, frustration, sadness, or whatever – it can be difficult to come out of that tailspin. But what if we triggered others, back to themselves?
I read a story recently of a woman whose washing machine had broken and so, deciding to create a teachable moment for her children, she decided to bring them along to the Laundromat to experience a coin-operated, out-of-the-comfort-of-home, laundry adventure. While there they watched as an older woman started swearing and grouching at the dryer when she realized she had put the coins in the wrong machine and her clothes had been sitting wet for the entire time. The mother watched as her daughter approached the older woman and offered her some of her own coins. Instantly, the face of the older woman fell, realizing how badly she had behaved, swearing and grouching in front of young children, and apologized immediately, thanking the young girl for her generosity. She had been triggered by the dryer, but then triggered right back by the generosity and kindness of the young girl!
How powerful! To trigger someone back to their true selves, back to their joyful, peaceful being, much in the same way that the sun coaxes a glow out of all it touches each morning. As if to strengthen this realization, I was offered an example in my own life shortly after.
In one of my typical Saturday morning rants, I was grouching at my kids for making such a mess, preaching to them about cleaning up after themselves and laying on a thick layer of guilt, asking why they would expect someone else to clean up all the messes they make. Sound familiar anyone? In the middle of my tirade, I suddenly felt a warm hug around my legs and a small voice say “I love you, Mommy”. With one small, brave gesture, my five year old had dissolved my frustration and triggered me back to myself, reminding me how blessed I am to be a mother.
And there was the glow.
Everything we need is within us. The next time you see someone who has been triggered into a tailspin, resist the temptation to judge or react. Respond with love. Choose kindness. Then be prepared to bask in the glow.