Monday, June 15, 2009
I know I've written about this before. I can't help it. This book is a gem. Yesterday I read the section on forgiving your kids and re-read it this morning just because I wanted to cement it further in my brain.
I find myself wanting to write out the whole chapter because it is just that good. It's a good thing I own the book and can just keep it handy.
Being a mother is just code for being in the forgiveness business. On a daily basis, our children act in ways that require us to forgive them. Siblings harm siblings, we are purposely ignored or disrespected, rules are broken, property is damaged, and we are put into awkward and unpleasant situations on their behalf. Sometimes there are periods when we lose touch with the loving, wise, and peaceful nature of our child.
When I find myself saying or thinking while in conflict with my child, "You are always so..." or "You never...," then I know I need to work on forgiveness. At these times I have become fixated on one particular quality at the risk of missing the bigger, deeper nature of my child. When I find myself lost in the wish that they could be other than they are, I look to forgiveness.
The first mantra is to whack the pinata. In a nutshell, she says to think of all the frustrating things going on with our kids, put them in a pinata (the things, not the kids...), mentally plant your feet, and whack away!
Whack the pinata is a reminder that we have the power to release our anger by choosing to let it go. Sometimes we have to sit with our anger for a while -- and that's fine.At times I want to keep my mad, as my grandmother puts it.
At some point, however, we will most likely find that we want to be released. Or perhaps we realize that by not surrendering our anger, we're constrained to act and think in certain ways.
Sometimes just the fact that they are children (and at times are noisy, messy, inconsiderate, forgetful,l and needy) can make us angry and resentful. We look at a clean house and see it single-handedly destroyed five minutes after the school bus arrives. People are hungry and tired, but rather than request food or a drink, they bleat like possessed goats. Our rational minds know that these are behaviors that all children demonstrate. But our subjective, tired-of-cleaning-up minds are ready to snap at the children we have labeled as careless, selfish, and unreasonable -- ours.
Our children might show us all kinds of unpleasantries, but forgiveness is a decision not to be fooled or put off track. Instead we look beyond fear, insecurities, and frustration and see our child's true nature, his innate power, lovableness, and promise.
There are nights when I use every mantra written in this book and still find my ears ringing at the end of the day. I stumble to bed and ask, "Did that really happen?" More important, "Will it happen again?"
At these times it is very easy to create a story about what my kids are like -- whiny, impatient, demanding, self-centered, dependent, and unimaginative...What doesn't help at this point is turning up the heat under the pot by stoking the flames of my annoyance and disappointment. What does help is the mantra wipe the slate clean. After they have gone to bed and we have been separated by at least two hours of sleep-filled noncontact, I make my rounds. I go into each of their rooms and look at them sleeping peacefully.
As I watch them breathing, I let go of the day. I release my judgments. By wiping the slate clean, I undo the prediction that tomorrow will be just as bad or that they will act the same way. I unlace the straitjacket I have clasped them in with the story of how they are always this way or that. I see a thousand possibilities instead of one. I am reawakened to their divine nature.
By practicing forgiveness each night, I release us all from the hamster wheel we sometimes get stuck on. By choosing to forgive, I find them again and again.
What a wise woman, huh?