Being a parent is always hectic; nothing new there. Life has been especially busy recently, with one daughter moving back to live with us temporarily and the other moving into a new house. The distractions/demands come thick and fast and my response to these demands/distractions is something for me to take a closer look at. What is good to do?
I want to be supportive but is it always good to say yes? I know the answer to that one (N0 if you are in any doubt!). But in the moment, when I am caught off guard, when the dynamic pull of parent/child stuff occurs, I find myself saying yes far too often. Old habits die hard and the years of being the single parent who did it all has meant expectations sometimes run high. And, in the not too distant future I am to be a grandparent and with that will come yet more demands/distractions, some of which I happily anticipate, however………….
Last year, in a conversation with Rev Mugo, we talked about this. She gave me a suggestion and since then, when I remember to, I have put her suggestion into practice. The first time I tried the idea it went like this: the phone rings and it is my daughter, wanting something from me. What usually happens, and it happened this time, is that I feel a strong mental pull in a forward direction. This pull feels like I am being sucked forward, both by the words I am hearing and the kicking in of my habitual responses of OK, I am needed again, I am wanted therefore I will. I want to say no but I can’t. But this time I chose to change my perspective. I allowed myself to become aware of the physical space behind me. I immediately felt a loosening, a relaxing of the tension I was feeling. The pull forward stopped and I was able to be still in a way that I haven’t experienced before.
My daughter must have noticed something because she stopped talking and asked me if I was OK. I just said that I was listening to her. But something had happened between us and she and I noticed a difference. Our communication softened. I can’t remember whether I said yes or no to her request; my actual response isn’t relevant. What is important is that the experience gave me a sense of how it is possible to be really present by a simple change in my perspective. And in that space I was more able to respond fully.
Since then, when I remember to, I bring my attention to that space that isn’t in front of me. There is also the space that is behind and either side of me. When I am not just focused on forwards I can connect myself to the space I inhabit. I don’t just exist in relation to the pull of pressures, distractions, demands, habits. What a relief!