How do you stay present in the face of perceiving an unexpected attack? What happens in your body as you take in the heightened expression of your child or loved one? As children move through adolescence, it can feel emotionally rocky, not only for the child, it can feel rocky for the parents. We can find ourselves reacting when we’ve promised ourselves we will stay present. Today let me share an experience I had with my youngest son, Rylan.
I remember feeling momentarily stunned as I heard him cry out, “You’re not my mom, you’re a hologram!” His eyes were wide, and the corners of his lips were turned downward.
I automatically slowed down my inner experience and took a deep breath in through my nostrils. I noticed my stomach was tight and my breathing was shallow. As I monitored my inner world, I further noticed my back was rigid, and the whole of my experience felt surreal, as if I was looking out of my eyes from a great distance.
I remember when Rylan told me about his fears in the night. He said, ”I just get so scared! If I wake up and you aren't there I think you are dead!"
"I'm hearing just how scared you feel when you wake up and think I'm dead because you can't see me," I reflected, "you really like it when you know I'm okay and you aren't alone?" I guessed.
"Yeah," Rylan's eyes widened as he continued, "but I get so scared my stomach hurts and it terrifies me! I want it to stop and I don't know what to do."
"So you feel so scared your stomach hurts and it's terrifying? You really want it to stop; yet don't know what to do? I'm guessing you might like some support and new tools maybe?" I reflected with an empathy guess.
Rylan nodded and leaned towards me slightly. Taking in his nonverbal cues, I drew in a deep breath to ground myself, then asked, "Do you remember the tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) we did together when you were six...
Have you ever woken up early in the morning with a million thoughts racing through your head? And each thought is telling you what you should be doing, or better yet, telling you what you should already have done? Well, I remember when that was my experience one morning!
I was telling myself, "You need to get up now, before Rylan wakes up, so you can write your newsletter?" "Hurry, before you run out of time!" "You were supposed to already have published your newsletter, hurry up!" "And don't forget to update your website." "Remember to create those new seminars while you are at it." "You really need to spend time connecting with the horses at least three times a week." "You ought to spend more time with your friend before she leaves." "Don't forget to plant seeds in the green house today." As the thoughts sped up I had the sensation that a balloon was about to burst within my chest.
I recognized my familiar thought-life and paused deliberately. I took a deep cleansing...