Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fall in Step/The Gift of Loving Listening

I have been processing some relational issues for a few days and just started to feel like my head was too small for all the thoughts swirling around.  My brain must have been breaking the speed  limit.  Before I could get a hold of one specific thought, it scampered away into a corner and 10 more jostled for its place.  This issue was demanding exploration and everything else was crawling at a nail's pace, I was so otherwise occupied.  "Mommy, are you going to make the smoothie?" someone asked pleadingly.  It was almost noon and the food consumption tab for the tribe only had two items so far: vegetable juice and water.  Such meager rations reminding me of Oliver Twist, I tried to shake myself out of my snail like pace, clear my head of the bombarding thoughts and get to the work of the day.

Interestingly, this week, I facilitated a discussion on Self Care among some parents of special needs children.  I defined self care as anything a person does that helps them experience more personal health and energy.  What was clear is that parents know what they need, they know when they need it, yet they often times talk themselves out of it, providing arguments that minimize their need in the face of some other issue.  We had a lively discussion about this dilemma, and encouraged each other to be willing to observe it happening more specifically and ask ourselves questions about it.

This morning, I knew I wanted to stop and explore the my responses to a few recent happenings, but I insisted on continuing the tasks at hand.  I had a lot to do, the children needed blah blah blah, I can do the exploration with myself, I have explored this before, who can I call on such short notice, do I really need to talk to someone, ....  Finally, I decided to call my cousin.  We have a great relationship and I knew she would be the non-judgmental presence I needed.

I told the parents this week about my bout with post-partum depression after my first baby.  I remember so clearly getting up one day and deciding to do something about how I felt.  I opened the phone book and called a therapist.  The feeling of relief and calm after setting the appointment was palpable. I decided to act and I acted.  The act of deciding was more therapeutic than the actual therapy.  I regained my position of personal power.

I had the same feeling after deciding to call my cousin.  It was as if I stood up to my full height in the swirling chaos of my thoughts and said, "Order!  First you, then you, next you.." as I pointed out my thoughts and prepared them for an orderly examination.  I decided to resume my position of being in charge.  I was taking care of myself.

When I did call her, she wasn't available.  We scheduled some time in 2 hours, yet when she called me back, there were at least 8 things needing my attention.  Though tempted to try to attend to all 8 things before speaking with her, I stopped.  I paused the reading of "Emily's Runaway Imagination" (quite a fun description of drunk hogs in chapter 2, you should definitely let your young person read it), sat by myself and just talked.  What a wonderful treat!  It's a pleasure to beloved and listened to.  Thank you, Judith!

Loving listening is an amazing gift!  More than anything else, today's experience was organizing.  I got some of those unruly thoughts sorted and filed so that I had access to them for further exploration (which I have been doing all day almost automatically).  It was as if I dumped out the entire contents of my desk drawer, neatly organized it, threw some stuff out, and put the rest back in.  The gift of an extra pair of hands to help with the sorting, without interfering, judging the contents or the state... it was delightful.  I can't say it enough.

So, if you see a frazzled looking mom with some children asking her tons of questions, yet she looks dazed and unable to answer then quickly (or even ask the children to put a pause on the questions) she may just need someone to fall in step with her, take a child by the hand and lovingly listen to her explore what's on her mind.  Maybe you can be that miracle for someone today, as we keep the miraculous happening everyday.

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