Thoughts rushed in, “Why is this happening now?” “This shouldn’t be happening.” “I should send them to camp.”
I felt anger radiate down the insides of my legs, my stomach tighten, and throbing at my temples.
I willed myself to stay conscious and not react by employing two techniques:
- Deep conscious breathing to allow myself to feel what was happening inside of me.
- “Positive Self Talk.”
Negative emotions are painful and it is normal to want to contract away from the emotion and/or “lash out,” that is, fix the external condition.
Reacting from anger or any negative emotion perpetuates that emotion by either inflaming it or causing it to go dormant.
So, in the case of my kids fighting, I could have yelled at them which would have both inflamed my anger but also would have caused a sense of temporary relief.
Unfortunately, by yelling at them, I only teach my kids that yelling solves problems and so the cycle of screaming would perpetuate itself.
The second technique is “Positive Self Talk.” This is where you literally talk yourself down from the ledge.
I asked myself, “Is it true that I need absolute quiet to do my meditation?” NO.
“Isn’t it true that even when it’s quiet there can still be drama in my head?” YES.
“Doesn’t the sound of their fighting sound like the mental arguing in my head?” It absolutely does.
“What do I do when I am distracted by my thoughts? I move my attention away from the thoughts and into the refuge of my breath and body.”
So that’s what I did. I moved into the refuge of the breath and body.
Of course my mind wanted to argue with me but I didn’t listen.
As I quieted down, I kid-you-not, so did they. It was magical…at least until they decided to wrestle each other for the Wii remote ;-)