So recently, like today, my middle-school girl came down from her room with obvious upset. I carefully inquired as to what had her so worked up. Apparently, she and her friends had a disagreement and one of her closest girlfriends had decided, after numerous emails, that they shouldn’t be friends anymore. To say that my daughter was crushed would be the understatement of the day! What do I do? Well, several things. I offer to “deal” with her annoying friend, as if she would really let me do that, of course she said no. I offer to rub her feet (it’s something)! I offer to give her guidance and advice. Okay, maybe, so I use personal experiences as learning opportunities. My husband and I begin to teach her what we think is best. We give her lots of advice, brilliant at times I might add, and she just doesn’t seem to be totally receptive. I even reach so far as to use another friend’s experience and how he handles “this sort of problem.” I was desperate. This had the potential to ruin her day, thus ruining mine. I’m her mother, I’m supposed to be able to help make pain go away. I couldn’t fix it. No matter how hard I tried, I seemed to have zero impact on her mood improvement. So, I just, waited. I sat with her tears. I sat with the pain, her’s and mine. I sat with all of the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that we were flooded with. I was angry, anxious, furious, impatient, sad and confused that this other girl had power over my daughter enough to ruin her whole day. Where did I go wrong as her mother for her to allow this happen?
Hold on a moment Shannon!!!! Just wait right there!!! Yes, I said just wait right there!!! I kind of had no choice, we were going to my Mom’s for holiday dinner. According to the ancient yoga sutra text, there are 5 main reasons for suffering; ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and clinging. Well, I can tell you that I experienced every single reason which can also be stated as the 5 obstacles to happiness. I was ignorant to the fact that at that moment, the best thing to do was wait, feel and welcome everything that was going on, nothing necessarily had to be DONE. I was putting myself up on the pedestal of parenthood and expecting myself to have the answer and then, the double whammy, beating myself up because I didn’t. I was totally attached to this outcome and to my daughter’s happiness. I experienced hatred toward this friend AND the situation for “ruining our day.” Then, well, clinging, of course, no brainer, I was guilty of that one too!
When we came home, my daughter went up in her room to do some homework and I eagerly followed her upstairs to see if there were any more emails and to see how things were turning out. She quickly dismissed my inquiry, put her headphones back on and said “what, oh that, we are all set, we are all totally laughing again.” I was like “what?????” I had no choice today but wait, turns out that was the best decision I could offer her, and of course when all else fails, foot rubs are the best!
Can you identify with this situation? Maybe you have felt panicked or anxious about a situation and you can identify with the urgency to make it better or just do something? What are the obstacles? Are you clinging to an agenda, an outcome, have you inflated your own importance (said in humility not unkindness)? What is the truth, in that moment, and could you afford to just wait and see if it really needs all of the attention you are giving it?
Peace, Patience and Power,