Parenting often feels like a crash course in mindfulness. The past week has provided me with some excellent lessons in presence. Two significant ones came courtesy of our younger daughter.
On both occasions, one the result of a tick that we found on her, and the other the aftermath of a fall from her bike and the ensuing bruises and bloody scrapes, she responded with panic and even moments of hysteria. As she is only five years old, this is to be expected. However, I was struck by a realization in both situations when, in one way or another, she expressed a desperate desire for the experience to be over already.
I have spent a fair amount of time trying to impart to both of our girls, probably far less than ideally, that our best option is to accept the experiences in which we find ourselves, lest we make them more difficult than they need to be.
I am not suggesting we resign ourselves to live in less than ideal circumstances. Certainly, it makes perfect sense to work toward a solution and manifestation of more desirable life circumstances. But when we refuse the experience present at any given moment of our life, we deny ourselves the wisdom, and even joy, present in the only moment that truly exists, the now. And there is a very good chance that if we are resistant to any given experience, we are resistant in one way or another to many situations in our life.
This is, no doubt, a very challenging discipline, requiring much mindfulness and repetition. Although I myself have made significant progress, I am far from what I would consider mastery of the practice. It is difficult enough to experience some form of pain. To accept that pain, even going so far as to embrace it and search for the wisdom present in the experience, is quite another matter.
So as I observed her literally wailing, kicking, and screaming in some desperate attempt to escape the inescapable discomfort of the moment, I became aware of my own desire to be free of the pain present within me.
I felt the pain of witnessing one of my daughters, my dear child, struggling in fear and pain. I felt the pain of the powerlessness that comes with being unable to ease her pain. And like her, I felt the pain of resisting the present moment by wishing to be feeling and experiencing something other than what I was living at that moment.
As I observed this in her and in myself, I felt a longing for her to understand that at this moment, this is what is, and it is what needs to be. And I wished for her to try and accept the moment as it is, since it is what is here, and therefore what she must experience.
However, since I cannot control her ability to realize such a truth of life, the best that I could do, was practice the very acceptance I was attempting to impart to her. After all, I want to be the example of what I am offering to my girls, or anyone else for that matter.
This led me to consider other ways in which there are experiences that I have anticipated and avoided despite recognizing their necessity on some level of consciousness. Challenges I must face in order to achieve established goals. Qualities I must embody despite the discomfort they might cause me directly, or through the discomfort they may cause others. Actions I must take despite the fear and anxiety they evoke within me.
And in these realizations I was reminded to face the challenges which I have been avoiding in my own life. I was reminded that I cannot run from the issues that are facing me. I cannot turn my head, close my eyes, kick and scream and cry in my own way, wishing quietly to myself or out loud to the world for the obstacles I am facing simply to go away and be over.
To get where we want to be in our lives, we will have to experience pain and discomfort that, understandably, we do not want to experience. But we increase the pain by adding our own resistance to what already may be a difficult situation. And we delay our arrival at our desired destination.
Sometimes, we might even find that the pain is minimal or quite possibly completely created by our mind. Often, the only pain we endure is generated by the anxiety derived from some lingering painful memory and our projection of that memory into an imagined future.
Regardless, there are times when we must take a breath, drop the resistance, and do what we have being avoiding.
Are there ways in which you have been avoiding doing or experiencing something despite feeling compelled at a deep level to act? If so, how might you take steps through the fear and into the reality that you feel compelled to experience?
Please reach out to me if there is any way that I can assist you.
At your service.