February 24, 2016 § 1 Comment
Family Meeting 4:30 today, at the table.
Really it was a Mom-and-kids meeting because Dad was in Barcelona for work, but as they say, timing is everything. These are the words my kids saw written in window marker on our kitchen window when they came home from school today.
Flashback to earlier this morning when we were a spectacle of unpreparedness and harsh words flying down to the bus stop in the car cause we were too late to walk, lacing up shoes and pulling on jackets as they hopped on one foot, granola bar in hand, up the stairs of the school bus. Exhale.
How did this even happen? It’s the same routine every morning getting ready for school, and they’ve been doing it for years, so how did we get to this point? It’s not every day like this, but when it’s bad, it’s awful. Something’s gotta change.
So this is how the meeting went down. I spoke, while they drank hot chocolate and coloured (so they could sit still long enough to listen, well mostly listen, we had several tangents where I had to bring them back to the initial discussion).
Mom: This morning was yucky. For all of us. I’m sure you didn’t appreciate my behaviour any more than I appreciated yours. I don’t feel it is necessary to re-hash everything that happened, because it’s really the same stuff that goes down all the time, but that is precisely why I wish to talk to you right now. That type of behaviour, from either of us, should not be the norm. While it’s normal to get off balance every once in a while, what happened this morning should not be the expectation. There is no joy in that. And we should always strive for joy. And the quickest way to get there is by love.
It is true that we all have triggers. Things that spur us into a strong emotion. Buttons that get pressed in us that elicit a much larger response than would be expected: a sudden burst of emotion, sometimes you aren’t even sure where it came from, but there it is. You will find there is inner work you can do to release these triggers, but for now, let us agree that they exist and learn how to best support each other when we recognize them happening.
The answer to that, is bravery. It comes from a place of love, but ultimately it is bravery.
As a child your age, when my own mother was triggered, I did not understand what it was, let alone how to support her in it. Bravery is easier when you understand a situation. So I’m going to explain to you what is happening when I get triggered, in the hopes that you all can be brave enough to call me on it when it happens, rather than absorbing the negative energy yourself, or throwing it back at me, which as we saw this morning, leads to no good either.
You see, when someone is triggered, the emotion feels so much larger than anything else, so it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. Are you familiar with that expression? It means that if someone is on top of a mountain looking down, it is easier to spot where there is a forest, what its boundaries are, and how big or small it is. For someone standing inside the forest, there are so many trees in the way that they cannot see how big or small it is, or where it ends and begins. It becomes very helpful to get out of the forest, if that person on the mountain calls down to them and says, “Hey, you’re in a forest! But if you go in that direction, you can find your way out”. The person in the forest can then make their way out of the forest.
Does that make sense to you guys? Any comments or questions so far?
So my question to you is, are you brave enough to call me on my triggers? When Mommy is caught up in a whirlwind of emotion, will you please call to me from your mountain of different perspective, and let me know I’m in a forest?
And when you are in a triggered state, full of powerful emotions, will you receive my words when I call you on it, and tell you that you are in a forest?
If we can all try our best to be brave forest rangers, perhaps we can better support each other through our weakest moments, and we can all get on to more joyful moments?
I closed the meeting with a right hand in air promise to be brave and receptive as the moment may call for it, to treat our family members the way we ourselves would wish to be treated, and to lead with love whenever we are able.
Onward Brave Forest Rangers!
September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He was a very nice little boy, very sweet. He loved to play, loved music, loved life. He had a big heart, full of love.
One day, he decided to play outside. He was playing in the grass when a dog came by. He began playing with the dog. He threw a small ball and watched as the dog joyfully ran after it, fetching it back to him every time. He loved to run his hands through the dog’s soft fur and see the dog relax into him as he scratched behind his ears. The little boy was delighted at how simple it was to feel joyful.
After awhile, the little boy’s mom called him to come inside. But the little boy didn’t want to come inside. He started to feel angry. Why did she have to call him now when he was enjoying the day with the dog?
As she continued to call, he got angrier until finally he stormed up the front steps with a furrowed brow and dark eyes, fists clenched, stomping his feet.
As his mother watched him come inside, she saw her son whom she loved so much, but there was something different about him. He seemed to have a dragon on his back! The dragon was fiery and red, roaring loudly and bursting flames all around him. Her son didn’t seem to notice the dragon, so large on his back he could hardly be seen underneath. The little boy was too busy clenching his fists and grumbling about things not being fair.
The little boy’s mom was very wise however, and so she said “my son, I love you”. The little boy continued to grumble. The dragon on his back was roaring too loudly for him to hear his mother’s words.
His mother got down on her knees so she could see her son’s eyes and he could see the love in hers, placing her hands gently on his shoulders, she repeated “my son, I love you”.
As the little boy looked into her eyes and saw the love there, she noticed a small spark flickering in her little boy’s chest. She watched as it began to grow stronger and brighter, forming into a small ball of very bright, white light.
Suddenly, the dragon on his back noticed the bright light, and realized his power was draining. As the light grew stronger and brighter, the dragon shrunk smaller and smaller until POP! He vanished. The wise mother gently pulled her son into her embrace and joined her light with his. Suddenly the room was full of bright light and a feeling of love swept over them both.
The little boy looked up at his mother with his beautiful bright eyes, and said “Thanks, Mom”.
1. What is the dragon?
The dragon is anger. Like any negative emotion, it can sweep over us and take us over, completely covering our true selves.
2. What is the spark/growing light?
The light within us is our true essence: the divinity within each of us that connects us to one another and to God. When we tap into and harmonize our situation with our internal light, all negative emotion loses its power over us.
3. Why did the dragon shrink?
As soon as the little boy remembered who he was and felt that warm growing spark within him, the anger fell away. There is no scarcity when we are harmonized with our true essence. There is only joy, love and inner peace.
We all experience triggers that wake our sleeping dragons. The good news is that as soon as we become aware that the dragon is an emotion, and not our identity, we can be free of it.