I felt rather foolish the other day. I was cleaning up the house and took the trash out to the garage. As I ran through the rest of my to-do list in my mind, I didn’t realize that as I attempted to move the trash can as close as possible to the wall, I pushed up against a snow shovel, knocking the shovel off the wall and right into my forehead.
It’s been over a week since this incident and as my forehead is still tender to the touch, I’ve found myself frequently returning to that moment in my mind.
Upon impact, the first thing I felt was pain. Strong, shocking, extreme pain. That part wasn’t surprising, after all, metal hitting the human head is bound to hurt.
What surprised me, was my emotional response. As soon as I began to feel pain, worse pain than I’ve felt in quite some time, I felt the urge to cry. Yet almost instantly, I berated myself, “No, you can’t cry,” I thought, “You’re home alone with the kids, you’re in charge. You need to pull yourself together and keep going.” And that’s exactly what I did.
This is the part I keep coming back to in my mind. Yes, I feel foolish every time I think about carelessly knocking the shovel down onto my head, but I’m more concerned with my emotional response.
Why couldn’t I allow myself to acknowledge and care for my pain?
What other pain am I disregarding in my life?
Does blocking pain really serve me, or am I only hurting myself further?
Beyond pain, what other feelings or emotions am I blocking? More importantly, why?
As a mother, I am also curious about what I am teaching my children. I’m noticing that far too often, we are teaching our children to tone down their emotions.
From, “Calm down, you’re too excited” to “Calm down, don’t cry, you’re okay,” as we try to teach our children to follow socially accepted behaviors, we’re inadvertently teaching them to tone down their feelings and pull back from life.
I want to live wholeheartedly and this means opening myself up to the full spectrum of the human experience, the beauty and the mess, the calm and the chaos, the bliss and the agony.
This is the message I wish to pass on to my children, “You can do this. Let’s leap fully into our lives. Don’t hold back. Open your heart. Let love in and pour love out. Feel your life with all of your being. There is beauty and wonder all around you. Choose to be fully alive. You were born for this (all of this). There will be pain sometimes, and that’s okay. Let’s choose to live it all, living with and through the beauty and the pain. You are so much stronger than you know.”
And so this is the message I challenge myself to live. I’m learning to check in with myself, to wake up instead of zoning out.
How am I feeling right now?
What do I need in this moment?
What will help me to heal and move forward?
As a mother, I’m also learning to pause before I react to my children.
I understand you’re upset, can you tell me about it?
I know that must have hurt, it’s okay to cry. Is there anything I can do to help you?
I know you’re so excited and I’m excited for you, how can we celebrate together?
Throughout today, I invite you to pause and check in with yourself.
How do you feel in this moment?
What do you need right now?
How can you allow yourself to honor and care for your feelings?
You can do this. Allow yourself to open your heart and feel your life with all of your being. You were born for this (all of this).