He roared of rage yesterday. And the day before. For minutes and minutes, with all his might, until no voice was left in him.
To put things into perspective, picture this: I am highly sensitive to noises. If an ambulance passes by, I have to cover my ears with my palms. A natural reaction to a child shouting in the middle of a temper tantrum would have been, for me, asking him – go and shout elsewhere please, when you are calmer come back so we can find a solution together. And that, I thought, would have been the right thing to do.
We arrived few days ago. This small Mediterranean island is breathtakingly beautiful.
I adore the early mornings. I wake up at dawn and run a short and easy run in the shore, I plunge myself into the transparent water, swim a little. Except for the occasional dog walker, there is almost nobody around me. I meditate on the sand. Few yoga postures. Then a cappuccino. Alone. And when I go back home to wake up everybody else, I am all smiles and positivity.
Something in the chemistry of the saline waters with the hot summer temperatures must have gone wrong though. My son is fierce. And he is the least average boy on the planet (probably). Mothering him is a roller coaster of joys and worries. Pretty intense joy. And intense worry.
When he is frustrated, he sometimes struggles to cope with it. So, at times, actually quite a few times lately, he reacts with shouting, kicking, yelling, screaming, crying and whining. Puffing and roaring, too. (He is a lion, my little boy).
Two days ago, at the first sign of an anger crisis, I decided to behave differently. Instead of giving him time to calm down, I took a seat on the floor, in front of him. Neutral face. Not a hint of blame or worry in my open eyes. I took the easy yoga pose* and simply listened to his screams. At first, I had my palms facing down, so that the focus of my meditation was temporarily inside me. I learned from my meditation practice that you need to find your inner centre before being able to open up.
But as soon as I felt ready, I reversed my palms facing up. I was now actively listening to his screams, breathing them.
I was absorbing his fear, tasting his shame and taking his frustration upon me.
I waited for the littlest pauses in his yelling, the ones that he took to breathe, and said, with a low and calm voice, I am listening to you.
He kept screaming. Next micro pause, he answered: Do something! I repeated: I am doing something, I am listening to you. I am here for you.
He looked surprised. He kept crying, but his breathing pauses were longer now. We had broken a pattern.
Listening to what?, he asked. To you, screaming. I am here. Mommy is here.
I showed him that I was there for him, that I accepted him no matter what.
I showed myself that my shoulders are broad enough to take that all upon me and release it into the ground without being damaged by it.
I learned that I don’t need to protect myself from my child.
I learned that I can be a channel.
I chose not to be the victim; I must be the lighthouse**.
What a day.
** Yogi Bahjan.