Two nights ago my ten-year-old took the letting go project a quite literally and “Let go” of his lunch and dinner all over our bedroom – and I mean all over our bedroom. It was one of this those half-asleep-can’t-find-the-bowl-but-I-can-hit-the-bed-floor-and-walls kind of letting go. This happened at about 10pm, just as my husband and I were getting ready for bed.
“Not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck” – The Dalai Lama
Now, there are obviously many frustrating aspects to this kind of situation. To add fuel to the fire, Christian had been complaining about a headache and stomach ache for a few days, but we thought he was crying wolf over his anxiety about his new school (more on letting go of anxiety tomorrow). So I was frustrated about the mess, and fighting a voice in my head that was saying “you’re a bad parent, you should have known he was really sick.” At this point I had a choice in how to react. This was obviously not the way I planned on spending my evening.
Here’s today’s letting go exercise: The gift of plan B:
1. When something unexpectedly unpleasant comes up, watch your phyiscal reaction. Is there a tightening in your stomach or sholders? Are you hands clenched? Especially watch what the breath is doing. Take deep even breaths (even if you have to do so with a lavendar-scented tissue over your nose).
2. Ask the magic question, “what is the best thing to do in this moment,” and a follow up question, “how can I use this situation to show compassion?”
3. What is the gift of plan B? Look for the gift in the situation. There is always a gift in plan B. The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying “Remember that not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck.” In my case, the gift came the next day when I was able to take a sick day with my son. We hung out, I pampered him, and we took a nap. He’s ten. The days when he will let me cuddle with him are drawing to and end, and he’s my youngest.
This was a small detour in the grand scheme of things, but maybe you can look back at a bigger detour you had to take, and see the gifts that were hidden along the road.
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