Monday, 19 October 2015

The art of anger

"Once again, it's very hard being six!.. And you are all loosers!" yelled my son out of his room, while barricading himself inside. He felt he was treated unfairly. I felt he needs to spend time alone.

I thought indeed, it's probably very hard being six years old. You don't know where your reactions are coming from. You merely face the storm, while being in the middle of the ocean. How can he learn about respect and dignity without being fully conscious of why is he becoming disrespectful in the first place.

If it took me over 30 years to become aware of my own thoughts that produce my emotions, how can I expect anything of a six year old?

Yuri got his time out for not handling it well this time. When he was ready to come out, Sean, my partner, spoke to him about handling his emotions and respect. I find it miraculous what a profound change a man-to-man conversation can bring. Yuri apologized with a cool headed acceptance.

I yogaed later that evening. As I grounded in the flow, I began to accept that for now it's only a boundary of allowed behavior that he received. For now, it's only a rule. I know that he cooled without grasping the whole concept of trigger reactions. It's not his time yet.
He will break that boundary. He will make his own rules.

Maybe then, when I see that he can look in the mirror and really see clearly I can ask him the question that may change it all for him:

Who do you want to be in the face of not getting what you want?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Slow down to grow

Eckhart Tolle talks about using traffic jams and line up as a pause to stay present in an uncomfortable situation. I take it further. I use my anger as a cue to slow down and find the work.

As I am leaving the house without a goodbye, pissed off at my partner, I can't help but think: is he really the one who is an as*hole? Or did he just yet again didn't fit into the box I created for him as to how he is supposed to be and act?

Subtle feeling arises that it's not what he did, but my own fear of not being loved enough that created the incident. I stop and listen to that.

As I am clenching my jaws trying to get Yuri to get dressed faster in the morning, I realize that I'm about to make it a "fun morning" for everyone. I slow down. Maybe he needs to settle into the day with a few pauses. Maybe it's a good thing. Again, it's the fear that if we won't be on time, won't be organized and on schedule, it will mean that I'm not good enough of a mother. Now, I ask myself, how is that his problem?

Do I really want to bring my fears into action?

I notice that physical fatigue is closely related to emotional. I react faster. But if I take it as a cue to slow down, fatigue and anger will become my triggers for introspect and growth.

 Anger is always a secondary emotion. It also comes with physical pain. Sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint or say what came first. But maybe it's not so important. There are Shiatsu specialists who believe that going through the physical pain takes you to the source that created the emotion that caused the pain. For me it worked backwards: as soon as I can pinpoint and release the mental source, the physical pain moves on too.

Look for the boundaries of the fear and you will find what to let go off.

Pain that lingers for a long time usually has a dry edge, like a scab that covers the healed wound. The boundaries of it will tell you what to pull. The thing is, it still takes courage to pull the scab.


Friday, 9 October 2015

How you teach what you can't teach

"Daddy got me XBox and new Skylanders, because it's expensive and daddy has a lot of money and he loves me"...

I clench the jaw. Direct hit to the ego. I'm analyzing why am I having a reaction.
I made a decision to not invest into video games.
I'm afraid that he won't understand my decisions. That he won't accept them
. That he will think it's selfish and I don't want to spend money on him. There - that's what I'm reacting to. The fear of being perceived as either cheap, or unable to make a good living. Well, that's my fear, it's not gonna do any good if I react to the trigger. I just need to address the fear.

The decision of not having video games is not supported by my partner and that's affecting my stance. It becomes a lonely fight.

Once again I recognize that my son was born to challenge the depth of my integrity.

The concept is simple. I've experienced the mind-numbing effects of gaming first hand. I don't want that for myself or for my family. Especially at this vulnerable age.
I don't feel free to convey that to Yuri just yet. Blanket statements will be remembered and re-used to judge dad, cousins, friends, who do use games. So, without the key reason to not have the games at home, I become cheap and unloving in his eyes, or so I fear...

"You are so lucky you can play with expensive toys at daddy's. Good for you. Your daddy is awesome."
I'm seeing the internal dialogue on Yuri's face. Trying to figure out another way to get me to compete and comply.

After some deliberation, he chooses direct approach.. "Mom, I wish I had XBox at home to play."

There. Now I start choosing every word. Truth, but careful.
- Sweety, I made a decision not to spend a lot of money on expensive toys. They don't benefit you much."
- But I really want to..
- The decision is made. What would you like to eat?

He was sad, but he took it. He knows how my "no" sounds.

Small win. Mostly internal. He may come back with request. He will definitely try to get me to compete with my ex-husband again. But my stance just got stronger.

The more you love your decisions the less you need others to approve of them.

So, you can count me out of this race, sweets...

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Morning. Relived faces of parents just dropped off the kids to daycare. Understanding nods and holds of the door to the ones that are coming in still with the little wanderers. One walking child will get you a patient door hold from a stranger. Two, and you'll catch a sigh of agreement and compassion. If you are walking in with three, it's usually a wonder/pity/gazing-at-hero kind of stare. I thought I was busy and run down before kids. It's all relative.

Kinda reminds me of Bob Marley's "If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you wont give up. If you give up, you're not worthy. ... Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."

Only it works for anything in life. Parents seem to be epidemically exhausted for the heart softening reward of a quirky grin, a monkey hug and a smoochy kiss right in the lips, because kids refuse to understand the civilized cheek pecks. But somehow, the reward does seem to be amazing and all-worth-it.

I feel the unity of the parents marching in after a hectic get-up/feed/get-dressed/get-them-in-the-car/survive-the-hyper-drive-on-the-road, dropping off the miracles of life, just to head to an 8 hours of "actual work" that feels like a vacation, quite frankly. Just like combat solders in a war zone that everyone knows will not be over any time soon.

As I realize this, I feel the tension rising up my shoulders into oh, so usual crow-like posture.
The mornings are truly a humbling experience. If you attempt to stay present with it for a length of time you will confront your bodily, emotional and mental weaknesses. They will present themselves, so they can be addressed.

I instinctively start to breathe space into my shoulders and try to relax them down. If I don't enjoy this now, as it's happening, I won't enjoy it at all. I better start enjoying.

The stories I tell myself start to dissipate, the ego lets go of the grip. "How do you always seem so together?" I hear behind me from another mom. I smile. It's interesting what you assume about what you don't see.

Monday, 5 October 2015

A mother continues to labor long after the baby is born

One morning last week after we went outside I realized that he is dressed too lightly for the weather. I dropped him to the bus, but then turned back home and got a heavy jacket for him. When I came to school the kids were standing by the school in groups and waiting to go inside. There he was, in the alpha boys circle, consumed by trading Pokemon cards. I came over and helped him to put the jacket on. He looked at me, in a matter of fact kind of way, put the jacket on, then backpack, and I knew I shouldn't try to give him a hug. He is in his male herd. Busy. I turned around and run back to the car. It was raining.

I knew this day would come. When I would become a matter-of-fact, not anymore a big deal appearing on the horizon after a whole day with these strangers he happens to make friends with. I knew other people and trading cards will become more important then my magnificent presence.
I knew he will grow up.

It still broke my heart.

So, last weekend I shared "the tragedy" with my parents. Dad said something simple:
Invest your time in him, and you'll be important. 

It took a bit of time to sink in, but I guess that's how grownup relationships work.
You invest time. One-on-one, up close and personal. The juice. The quality. Then, and only then, you can count on being  an influence.

I can no longer get discounts for giving birth, breastfeeding and getting 40 minutes of sleep per/every night. My mere being isn't going to be rewarded with a "MAMAAA!!" anymore no matter how far I go into zen.

It's right about time to stop the self-importance crap, embrace the change and get humble.

I can try to teach my kids how to live, but in the end it's them who teach me what life is all about.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The only way out is through

Everything happens to you and for you. Milk it.

With the recent neck injury, my body went into a downward spiral of inflammation. Immune response slowed down. I picked up a cold. Day by day I was getting stiffer and weaker. Came to a point that I couldn't go through the first 15 minutes of my usual workout. I started reacting defensively to people, tried to control the kids.

Once again my body has left me no other choice but to figure this out. So, I started with neck stretches and hip openers. Both were too tight to stretch out. I took a deep breath and got the dowel from under the couch. If you are not familiar with dowelling (self massage, here is the link, it's similar to foam rolling, but done with a rounded piece of wood, hence making it more precise, going through deeper tissues, and waaaay more painful. 3 hours and numerous moans and thoughts of suicide later, I was knots free. All of me. It felt almost unnatural. I slept like a baby for the first time in a month.
The next day I went to the gym. Weights felt like feather, routine barelly broke my sweat. Why was I avoiding the stick for so long? Well, I did what I did. Now that it's done, what can I learn from it?

You gain courage and strength by every experience that makes you stop and look fear in the face.

If adversity would not present itself, I would not get the courage to take the steps to better a bearable.

Silence is better than bullshit

The other day I went internal. Barely spoke to anyone or made eye contact. Kinda hard to do when you have to make dinner, feed kids, give them bath, do homework, cleanup, put PJs on, take them to bed, all preferably without crying and arguing. Amazing thing happened - they were cooperating. Yuri made sure Alissa had her snack and gave her the watter for painting, she shared iPad with him.
They took bath on their own. They put on PJs I layed out for them.

Before bed, Yuri came to hug me and said "Mommy, thank you for taking care of yourself."
You never know how influential you will become if only you listen to what you really want to do, instead of pleasing everyone around you.
I could've stepped over my need to be quiet and play a happy mom, participate in the activities, but would I see them care for each other when I can't? Would I get overwhelmed and humbled by my son's wisdom?

Being true to who you are serves everyone.
Keeping yourself silently unhappy because you are afraid of not being liked harms everyone.