Today I share how the power of choice is always available to us and yet how easy it is, even for those like me who teach this concept, to be triggered by old thought patterns and limiting beliefs.
Let me set the stage for this Jungle Journal…
Woke to the early morning sites and sounds of my jungle home; the bedroom lighting up in quick flashes followed by unrhythmic crashes of thunder and then the onset of crushing water on the roof. Rainy season in Costa Rica.
One thing I rarely, if ever, have experienced in Canada is massive thunder bolts that actually rattle the house. This is what I experience this morning and even in a state of slumber the analogy isn’t lost. Amidst the external turbulence of life, we always have a choice; to be drawn in by, submerged, in the drama around us, feeding its energy and even becoming it, or to simply observe without judgement and see what there is see.
The Power of Seeing vs Being
I begin to reminisce on the life-changing times when this level of self-awareness was simply not available to me. One of the more painful recollections, and yet one of my greatest teaching moments, happened some 6 years ago with my son. The pain was so intense for me, and I’m sure for him too, that it doesn’t take me much effort to step back into it except that now I have the awareness of my breath. It guides me through the visual recollections without the suffocating feeling in my chest.
“If you see me as him every time I mess up, even though I am a completely different person, I feel like him. Why can’t you see me for who I am? I can’t get out from under this” he screamed at me as he got out of the car, slammed the door and raged away up the driveway of the house he rented with his friends. “Nice job, Mama” I recall mumbling to myself.
The full impact of the words took some time to really sink in but the nausea in my stomach was immediate. I’d done it again. I pushed a struggling young man further into darkness by comparing him to my own baggage. There was no malice. It was simple an automatic response to my own unhealed wounds. I didn’t realize I had a choice to observe without judgement and see what there was to see; a teen struggling to find himself, his confidence, his self respect, in the shadow of a family whose deep struggles had impacted each of our little family. And here I was making matters worse as he turned to me for support and I basically told him he was just like the others. My fear and what I later saw, his fear too.
I could have, like so many of us do, continued on tightly connected to the story and the drama. I could have taking his words personally, been a victim, been angry and hurt. I’d done it many times before. But self awareness was becoming a big part of my life. Choice was a reality and as I let my son’s words soak in I could see, with a soft heart for myself, what I had done. The fear of seeing my kids grow up and suffer as I’d seen my ex-husband suffer gave me only one story to write that cold night when my son called me drunk after being kicked out of someone’s house party for fighting; he’s turning into an alcoholic. In that constricted moment, I left no space, no awareness, for the possibility that he may just have been a young man with hormones, confusion, frustration and 1 beer too many looking for a fight to release some fairly normal pent-up teenage energy.
The gift my son gave me that night by telling me how he felt, by bringing awareness to what I was doing and how that was landing on him, is something I come back to time and time again. Its one of my greatest reminders that we always have a choice; we can always connect to the drama and become the story that swirls around us or we can realize we have a choice. We can choose to see what there is to see, without judgement, and perhaps love a little deeper all the characters in our story, including ourselves.
As the storm crushes through my jungle home this morning, I connect to my breath and with slow, deep inhales and long releasing exhales I observe mother nature in all her loud, pounding glory. I am not in the storm, I observe the storm from a place of calm gratitude and nourishing love.
Pura Vida xoxo