I’m sharing what I’m learning and experiencing in conversations, particularly those with my four children (because they give very honest and direct feedback), ages 2-12, in hopes that it will ease others on their journey toward effortless expression and sharing.
I am learning to be guided by feeling rather than logic. I suppose I am learning to live in a way that logic is servant to heart, and heart guides all. Not emotion (the unstable), but heart, the stable and never-changing truth of who we are. In the midst of this journey, it seems as though I have one foot in the world of fear and one in the world of comfort and love.
Kids are not born with a tendency to turn toward fear, judgment and blame for guidance. We teach them that way because we don’t know any better until we do. I’m learning better, but I still teach fear, and now I can witness myself doing that.
In conversations with my kids, I am now getting very clear stop and go signals. The stop signals relate to nearly anything I would have said before. The go signals relate to whatever they are willing and able to hear.
They are not willing and able to hear theory–the ideas about life that we are not yet embodying–ideals. They are willing and able to hear the words that we don’t have to think of. They are able to hear the words that emanate from the stillness and the quietness of us.
Emotional, disordered, painful words may seem to come without thought, but if we look closely, the accusatory and judgmental words that come from pain are based on a whole nest of negative assumptions about separate selves–our victimized self and someone else’s aggressor self, most often.
Beneath the surface disorder, there are words that just occur and feel very true. Those are words to share. Those are words that can be heard.
In my case, in order to get to that wellspring of words that just comes and seems to be truly helpful, I had to get past a couple of layers. The top layer was (and is) the layer of doing and fixing. It’s the layer of a self thinking it has to order and control its experience, so it has to get this person moving in this direction and that person moving in that direction. It’s the layer of a self thinking that it has to make things happen rather than knowing it will be inspired to the happenings that benefit all.
After that layer comes silence. Having a conversation with kids with nothing at all coming to mind as a response can bring on all sorts of emotions–anger, fear, awkwardness, boredom, depression. All of these are opportunities to move through. Move through and release. Move through and release. This is all the “stuff” I thought I was but am not. all the “stuff” I had running my life because I didn’t know who I was.
I remember saying to my kids a few times, “I don’t have any words right now.” Sometimes I would say it while in deep distress, because I thought my role as a parent was to always be a stable and helpful guide. I couldn’t fake that role, though. In order to access that which is truly stable and helpful, I had to (and have to) continue to walk through my own dysfunction so I can release it.
With every step I take through the dysfunction (believing I am a separate self who must control a life properly and successfully) and toward the light, I am better able to hear the voice that gives me the words to speak–the ones that are truly helpful and not about achieving outcomes.