How sitting with feelings, even upsetting ones, can create peace for you — and your child.
“I hate you!” my son, Rowan, screams. He’s upset, frustrated that I’ve asked him to stop playing video games online with his friends. Disappointed that he has to break himself away from his source of strongest connection with his peers during a time when he can’t see them in person. Can’t go for sleepovers, or hang out with them on their couches, eating chips from the same bowl and laughing themselves silly.
It’s super tough being 12 during a pandemic and not having the experience of a lifetime to fall back on. Not knowing how to sit with your pain or sit in stillness, for that matter.
When he feels angry, he needs to know that it’s real and good to feel it all the way through.
It’s also super tough being a mom and hearing those words. To not defend myself. Not tell him he can’t say those things. Because he can, and he should. When he feels angry, he needs to know that it’s real and good to feel it all the way through.
It’s hard to remember I’m there to support him as he holds emotions he doesn’t know what to do with. When all both of us want to do is snuggle under a blanket and make the pain go away. But he’s got to learn how to do it on his own. To open his heart and be compassionate with himself.
So I try. I open my own heart and trust it knows what to do.
The path to contentment is clear and simple
My heart is my knowing. When I trust it, I’m strong and confident. I’m walking on a smooth path, with joy and beauty all around, just waiting for me to jump in and enjoy. The sun shines. The sky’s a cloudless blue. Warm breezes tickle my skin. Opportunities sparkle around every corner.
My heart knows me and what makes me happy. What brings me joy. It has this quiet contract with the Universe, I’ve come to realize, so that when I listen to it, when I’m open to the love that emanates from it in gentle waves, when I’m present with its easy rhythms, its effortless voice, its uncomplicated ways — I soar. I find the path to contentment and peace, and it’s clear and simple. I see that who I am is beautiful. That I am always loved and welcome.
When I’m hand in hand with my heart, I’m warm and safe, compassionate and full of love. Full to overflowing.
Even if I’m walking on the coldest mountain or gliding through the deepest sea; wandering in a shaded forest or unraveled by the fiercest storms. When I’m hand in hand with my heart, I’m warm and safe, compassionate and full of love. Full to overflowing. So full, it can pour out of me to everyone. To my son, when he lashes out. To my husband, when he feels stuck. To my sister, when she’s overcome with fear. To my mom, when she’s immersed in the past and can’t remember her way back.
When I feel pushed down or lost; in pain or stepping toward despair, my heart has the power to see me back to peace and warmth. Not anyone else. Not anything else. My heart. Me.
Looking at the world with new eyes
It’s this I try to teach my son on this warm, fall morning. When he doesn’t want to do homework. Doesn’t want to read or make his bed. When all he wants is to forget his heartache and feelings of loss.
“Let’s breathe,” I whisper to him. “I’ll breathe with you.” And together, we sit with his fury. We snuggle next to his anger and his loneliness. We talk to his hurt in whispers and we tell each other it will be ok. And he knows it will because it is our hearts speaking together in this moment, gently, softly, with such care. Our arms wrapped around each other, warmer than any blanket. Enveloped tenderly. Utterly safe.
Within minutes his feelings, so big and overwhelming at first, are now small and quiet and soothed. He looks at the world with new eyes. He’s found his way through to another self. Another feeling. Another way of being. This one, hopeful and energetic and full of joy. And he looks at me, smiling, asking, “What can we do now?”
He learns to hear his own heart when it speaks to him. To listen to it and see how smooth the way is, like a round, precious stone.
He knows that I’ve seen and heard his pain and have not abandoned him. He understands that I’ll always open my heart to him and he can always look there for love and acceptance. And in doing this, he sees the power he has inside himself for the same healing. To be there for himself and the people he loves. That it’s the truest thing he can do. The thing that is most himself.
He learns to hear his own heart when it speaks to him. To listen to it and see how smooth the way is, like a round, precious stone. How easy it is to live in that stillness, that presence. Like gliding through calm water or floating on a warm, steady breeze.
It is his own heart, his own breath, his own knowing, his own truth, his own kindness, that make his path easy. That allow him to soar. To see his own power and thrill in it. To love himself and trust it. To see the sparkles on the path and follow wherever they lead.