Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Drama, The Energy Hog Of The Emotional Environment

We learn a lot from our children, from our parents, from anyone for that matter, if we are willing to be their student. When my mother used to tell me what other family members should be doing, I would remind her that we only get one life to live and that's our own. Today I got to remind myself of this. And when I said this to my self, I could feel the irritation and coldness behind those words. I could feel how she might have felt when I said this, slightly reprimanded. And while I could feel the emotion behind the words, I could feel their truth. Without the emotional charge, these words are simply a statement and a true one.

But I digress. Today my daughter offered me this lesson and with it I found an invitation to let go, to drop the story line. I had suggested that something she was considering doing might not be a good idea. And when she did it anyway I felt a deep pang of disappointment, followed by a cascade of other feelings, anger for one. And then a big story started to brew on the mind's horizon, a feature length drama kicked into full production; lights, action camera. I decided to close the movie set down pretty quickly as these things are simply too tiring, too boring and suck up far too much energy. Drama is definitely the energy hog of the emotional environment.

So instead I just breathed in the hot, stinging breath of disappointment and anger until it passed, until I realized it wasn't a big deal, that I didn't want to add a layer of tension to the relationship. In my heart I know that as a parent my intention is to be helpful and to approach any situation filled with the anger of "I know what's best for you" is never helpful. What I imagine to be helpful and what is helpful can be two different things so I need to be vigilant.

So my hope is to just be with her tomorrow when I see her and let my response come from deep inside me. And I realize that the best thing for me to do is simply to have faith; to have faith in her, in her wonderful intelligence and inner knowing and to have faith in life, that it brings us all what we need.

So a simple text message offered me the opportunity to let go, to not be attached to my version of the world and to know that even if it is my fierce, motherly wish, I can never protect anyone from their pain.


  1. Live and let live. Beautiful words and reminder, thank you:)

  2. I repeat the statement about 'living only my own life' so many times with my grown children...without emotion it is so so true...that is the twist isn't it?

  3. "I can never protect anyone from their pain" - YesYESandyes... I resonate deeply with this as it is the lesson I have been learning all year with family members! It's a biggie :) So many layers.

    "What I imagine to be helpful and what is helpful can be two different things" - and sometimes what we think another person needs is really what we need or want... I found that out too this year:) Still finding it out...

    It's so humbling isn't it... :)

    Thanks for this sharing that speaks to the Heart of things... Christine

  4. Oh! How much I can relate Carol!

    Both of my daughters have given me huge lessons in letting go. Not that I necessarily wanted those lessons . . . but I took them nevertheless :) I have gotten so many lessons in the last few years, from unwanted teachers . . . This is actually what got me to the path. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

    May you accept this gift of loving kindness, that I heartily send your way.

  5. Thank you. This really touches me because we have been experiencing a similar path with our daughter. A client of mine once told me that as a parent we have to practice "hamburger tongue" - biting down often... you get the picture. It takes trust in our child's ability to make decisions and live the consequences. It takes faith in ourselves that we did well as teachers, guides, and role models. And I now after 27 years of learning from her, have to say it takes generosity in letting her live into her questions (riffing on Rilke here).

    Last night, I was stranded in a dark parking lot after pulling off the highway when my windshield wipers failed in the rainstorm. She rescued me and we convoyed to the mechanic's shop, stopping frequently to wipe off the windshield. She was so patient and reassuring. Today I sent her a paper I had to write for a project so she can have her turn at editing my book reports!

    Karma rocks! :-)

  6. Thanks everyone for your heartfelt comments. It is easy to see that we are drawn together in our humanness by this situation of learning, as you put it Marguerite, "unwanted lessons from unwanted teachers". And yet we were in some way willing to be students.

    And sometimes, as you point out Genju, "karma rocks"

    And MeANderi, I have followed you in your difficult student's role with your mother and sister.

    And Blue Sky Dreaming, it does seem where there are children, there are these lessons. We are fortunate for both, I think.

    Patricia, it is that simple, isn't it, live and let live.

    And hello Dwan, welcome