On a recent night, my daughter came undone by a string of particular frustrations, ranging from refined sugar consumption to the tricky magic that is the modern holiday season. I hovered on the brink of echoing her screams.
For a long while, I’ve prayed for greater access to calm and patience. That night, I grasped something.
I remember the square of floor where I stood when I made the unpracticed decision to listen to my speeding heart and push my breath through the flame, extinguishing the anger rather than spreading it with a fiery tongue. All while not leaving my daughter’s side and taking a much-needed time out; if I try to physically separate us during a fit or argument, her emotions escalate.
I hope she knows I write about this only because I am crazy with love for her and I want to calm down and be better and meet misunderstandings with understanding.
Intuitively, we sense that self-control works like a muscle, becoming stronger the more we practice. We are capable of more than we know, including change in any capacity.
I’m on a quest to find peace in everyday parenting challenges. The eye of the storm. The root of the madness. The hope for tomorrow. The possibility that stretches beyond this Milky Way. Can I strive for sweetness in the stressful moments, while also forgiving myself when I fail? Can I accept my failures? Can I do better in spite of, because of them? Can I summon this polarity?
Somehow, my daughter can despise me and still know she needs me in her moments of darkness. I cannot smudge out her suffering, but I can help her carry it. This whole time, I’ve chastised myself for my lack of calm, yet even my frenzied presence brings her comfort. I did not realize this until now.
On said night, after I’d extinguished the anger, I saw the situation for what it was. The cause, and effect. Emissaries from the great well of divine intelligence. We can take them, or leave them. You know how they say the universe will keep giving you the same problem until you wake up to it? It was one of those. [And I’m still wrapping my head around it.]
Anger stops us from seeing the truth of the situation. Anger is like dirt to a wound. Anger blinds us and shames us and robs us of precious moments. But anger has a purpose, too. Anger illuminates the hewn patches that need tending. If we can notice the anger as soon as possible, rather than succumb to its deceitful promise of satisfaction, we will find peace in its place. With the stillness of peace, we can hear the instructions, the questions, the answers.
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