Daily InspirationToday, think about what brings you joy to give to those you care about and those you love - and then give it! Does it bring you joy to give smiles, compliments, time, attention, affection, flowers, a great meal, gifts? How wonderful to give to others what brings you joy to give! By Dr. Margaret Paul
Real Love is Messy SometimesBy Sylvia Poareo
February 26, 2013
Parenting is a continual process of bringing ourselves back to love, when we get triggered. It is not always easy or perfect, but the more that we bring ourselves back to loving, the more our children learn to do the same and find safety to be their full selves in the foundation of our love.
Although the afternoon began well, with my daughter giving me the sweetest Valentine’s card ever…melting and opening my heart…
a few very small conventional candies later (that I allowed from the bag of way too much sugar brought home), both of my children were exhibiting the very real emotional/behavioral consequences of processed sugar and food colorings. Their bodies are so pure now that we are on the GAPs diet, that we see the effects magnified greatly. (and that is another post entirely)
My daughter was suddenly being ornery and my son whiny. It was literally heartbreaking to watch because it was so clearly food related. I felt incredibly frustrated because I had envisioned having a sweet connecting blessing that evening. And of course, their behavior was pushing my buttons.
So, after dinner, in a mostly grumpy way I told them to go to their rooms so we could prepare the blessing. Though I told them ‘to relax and take a break’ they felt my energy of irritation and wonderfully ironic thinking, “I just want you out of my way so I can prepare the LOVE blessing, darn it!”
What an invitation!
Even though that was not how I wanted to introduce the idea and wasn’t feeling very blessing-ish, I did my best to consciously regroup.
I focused on remembering the bigger picture;
that we are sharing life together, that they are gifts to us, that we love each other so much and this is what I want to celebrate.
I saw clearly that, as in each moment, here I had the opportunity to meet challenge with love, to refuse to be reactive and to hold the greater vision of the deep love that we share.
I focused on the deep gratitude I have for our children, for their sweetness and their beautiful essences. I BREATHED in to reconnect to my knowing that this current blip was just a part of our life; the contrast that provides us with the opportunity to know the brightness of our love. I channeled my intention to love into our preparations…
With our seasonal tree in the center of table, Sean and I scattered cut paper hearts, rose petals and lit a candle for each member of our family. We put on some soothing classical music, and invited our children to come to our Love blessing….
Given the stress and confusion of the moments right before we sent them to their rooms, we clarified that we were not going to let some sugar grumpies get in the way of us telling them how much we love them. With hope, I suggested that it was good we all had a break from each other and now we could be with each other more fully.
We began by saying we love them so much, that they and our family’s love are what we want to celebrate this night. Then we explained that the hearts were for each of us to write something we love about each other on…
It took them a few moments to shake off the understandable defensiveness they felt while being in their rooms. I made notes to myself in my mind: be more clear next time…and accept the way it was this time…messy.
Soon enough, Lucas was covering his hearts entirely with his tender sentiments, including “I am honored to be your son” or “I am honored to be your brother” at the end of each.
Maya began to well up with tears after she wrote on one heart, “I love my mom and dad and Lucas and Sabi and Puff…”
Puff, her sweet black silkie hen, the only farm pet that she cuddled and tended to daily, had disappeared recently, presumably taken by a hawk or evening predator. Her little heart was broken with grief about this and it re-emerged, as grief does throughout life, but especially now…in this safe time and space to share love.
Her heart opened wide and waves of grief poured forth….
I will never forget the wide eyed disbelief and utter devastation she expressed the morning we could not find Puff…and then a repeat of her shocked heart breaking and wailing the next morning when it was still true, Puff had not returned…and in every little moment like this since.
My little girl’s heart was as broken as it ever has been,
she had loved this little chicken so.
It reminded me of the grandness of love, right there in that moment…how she can deeply love a chicken…and how deeply we can love each other if we only slow down and remain open-hearted and present, as is natural for her at her age.
And yet this pain right here…is also why so many keep themselves closed to such a love…
I know that avoiding this heartbreak is what leads us into so much of our self-protections and avoidant addictions as adults. So as I always try to do (and teach my clients), I invite her to go deeper into her pain with my support, to know that she can weather life’s storms with courage.
I hold her on my lap while running interference with her baby brother who is trying to soothe her by gently patting and stroking her head, but being an unpredictable toddler holds the promise of a sudden smack in the face as a possibility as well!
I remind her to put her hand on her heart and let her feelings come. Grief comes in guttural weeping and heaving…
We are all doing our best…
Lucas waiting patiently, dad and I passing baby and Maya back and forth, as needed…but all the while holding space.
It isn’t exactly how I envisioned our blissful blessing of love…but it is real.
And it’s a good reminder of…
what we risk to love fully and walk around with an open heart…
what it can look like to weather these normal heartbreaks of life; to know that we can take time and space to hold ourselves in the face of the downside of love…
and the truth that this ‘downside’ is a necessary part of the fullness of love.
Even as my daughter grieves her pet and longs for her to be with her, she still holds the fullness of the memory of their time together….which she would not have had, should she have shied away from loving.
I shared with her, how just that morning as I was looking at old photos and found pictures of my mother holding Lucas as a baby…seeing the sweet way that she loved babies, seeing the sadness in her face, and knowing the disconnect between us, my heart broke and I allowed myself to cry and cry and cry.
I told her how I thanked my mother’s spirit for her love in the ways she could give it.
That afternoon, I had reflected on how even though I felt sad that there were so many challenges and I did not recognize my mother’s love more in the moment, I was grateful that we had muddled through in our own ways, that we kept finding and honoring the points of connection we could find, however, messy.
In this moment, I realized that this earlier recognition was a significant part of what inspired me to push through our collective grumps back to love, tonight.
“What else is there?” I often say to my children…but to be with each other and share love together, in each moment that we have.
This moment, this moment, this moment….without expectations of things being a certain way, but with acceptance for how full they are, what they have to teach us, and how real and messy and beautiful it can all be….
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