It’s hard to appreciate the whole story when you’re fixated on a page, a paragraph, a few lines that keep repeating themselves like flashing neon lights inside a dark mind. It feels like someone has ripped out all the other pages from the book. You frantically search for them, hoping this isn’t the way the story ends, that something will change soon, and fast.
“He doesn’t get me. She isn’t listening to me. It’s all their fault. It’s my fault. And there isn’t enough time to fix this.”
You might have a different set of repeating aversive thoughts, depending on the day, your experience, and energy level.
“My body isn’t behaving like it should. The car won’t start. It’s not supposed to rain today.” And so on.
What if there’s more to the story? What would happen if you kept reading? What would happen if you turned the page? What if there were also moments of connection – joy, gratitude, kindness, compassion, patience, forgiveness? Would it be worth the wait?
Thanks to some wise mothers from MBSM Moms, I’m learning that my story does not have to end on a tragic note. I can keep reading. I can turn the page. I can even pencil in simple words to bring more equanimity to my character.
I can use concise, clear, and compassionate communication with my tween daughter to covey my care for us both.
“I see you. I hear that you are feeling (fill in the emotion of the moment). And I need for you to treat me with kindness.”
These words are like magic. Though they make logical sense, they aren’t always intuitive when you’re tired, irritable, hurt, or in a hurry. They say, “I see you as a valid, vulnerable being who experiences difficult emotions living this human incarnation. And I don’t want to be treated like trash.” These words aren’t rocket science, but a real help when you are at a loss for comforting words because you are looking for a sharp comeback that aims to draw blood.
I know that I will continue to ride the highs and lows of life: basking in the warmth of sweet connections with others, shivering uncontrollably in the gray apocalyptic pictures my thoughts paint after moments of disconnection from those I love most. During those love moments, may I pause long enough to allow joy to fill me completely. After moments of disconnection, may I pause long enough to allow the following mantra to fill me completely with compassion:
It’s like this right now.
It’s not my fault.
May the repetition of these words create space for body and breath, for self-compassion to be a salve soothing wounds, for this lotus heart to blossom open when it’s ready to give and receive love again.