This is going to be a short post because this highly complicated skill is actually very simple.
When you are trying to do something and your child (or whatever else) is not behaving the way you want, stop leaning forward to push your way, to try to MAKE it happen. As soon as you notice yourself getting tense, uptight, defensive, irritated, righteous – stop. Just stop right there – mid-word if you have to. Just stop. You are fighting what is. You are trying to paste a preconceived picture over what is actually right there in front of you. You are deluding yourself. You are missing out on some important information that will help you get to the next step of where you want to go.
It’s like being in a foreign country and looking for a road sign but because you are holding up the map to look for what you think you should see, you can’t see the actual road sign standing right there in front of you.
So, as soon as you notice yourself getting upset with someone or something for not going the way you think it should, just stop in your tracks. Stop. Then take a deep breath and lean BACK. When we try to force something we tend to lean forwards towards it, so lean back. Let go. Stay stopped as long as you need to calm down. Stay stopped and let your energies settle.
When you are ready, say to yourself in the kind of voice you would use to help a scared child be curious, “Hmmm, it’s not going the way I want. Something is getting stuck here. I wonder which way it IS supposed to go? Let me wait and look and see what good thing is trying to say hello to me.”
Get curious about what is about to happen next, what is beginning to unfold. Remember that you can only see a small part of any given scenario. Know that what you want is on its way to you, but the route to it may look different to what you imagine because there may be a number of important qualities and experiences you need to fetch along the way so that you are fully equipped to best handle the thing you want.
So again, let us repeat:
- When something is not going your way and you start to feel frustrated, irritated, scared, tense – STOP. Even mid-sentence, just stop.
- Lean back and relax your body.
- Let go of your preconceived picture.
- Say, “Hmmm, it’s not going the way I thought. I wonder what way it IS going to go? What wonderful things await me here? What guidance am I receiving? What wonderful things am I about to learn?”
You are never off your path. Every step you take is your path. When something isn’t going the way you want, it’s just a road sign. Stop and read the sign instead of shouting at it or pushing it and trying to make it say something else.
I wish you curiosity in the face of losing control 🙂
I’d love to hear how this goes for you or what you think.