Wide open arms of love

Just when we think we ‘have things (somewhat) figured out” children fortunately continue to teach us.  Sabriel, myphoto(4) youngest, has given me many mothering moments where I have felt relaxed and experienced AND he has also challenged me immensely to keep growing.  In his sensitivity and extreme sense of dignity and self-respect, he does not tolerate anything that feels remotely harsh, embarrassing, or controlling.

Throughout the last few years of parenting him, I have tried to use what worked with my first two in so many situations, only to have it fail miserably with him.  This I am familiar with.  From many years of working in the schools with young children, I learned and taught my students that children do not come with a one size fits all formula.  Instead, throughout parenting or any work with children, we try to find the language and approach that resonates with each.

Of course, it’s so frustrating and humbling.  Like life in general, there really is no arrival.  Simply picking ourselves up, repairing any mistakes, and trying again to live from love rather than fear/control in whatever that moment is presenting.

This morning, Sabi was in a stuck place, appropriate to his developmental age, over having been given the choice of what to wear.  Oops, I forgot, choices (that thing that everyone recommends) don’t work well with him!

We weathered that storm and he eventually got dressed.  A house full of visitors, lots of fun and some over stimulation later, he is ‘acting out’ (i.e.. overwhelmed and expressing it) and I move through all the gentle yet firm parenting approaches that worked with my other two (even though I have done these and failed before with him) out of sheer habit and my own overstimulation. They don’t work and instead infuriate him. He  punches me over and over again, so wound up and stuck in his primal impulse to fight.  Any limit I try to set around this hitting, makes him feel even more threatened and want to fight more.

I am of course, feeling incredibly helpless and perplexed.

Finally, I remember the thing that works, which I am grateful that he has been reminding me.

I give up on trying to ‘figure this out’ and ‘use the right approach’ and I drop down into my breath and get present in my heart, into love. Pure accepting love.  I open to my guidance to ask for help, (moving from my ‘stuck’/wounded self to Loving Adult).

Now I am remembering. “Please help me to have the wide open arms of love,” I ask.  Please help me to expand past my notions of what I “should be” doing as a parent, what boundary “I should be” teaching my child and simply help me remind him that he is safe and loved. Help me to BE safe. Help me to BE love.

It takes a bit because I am wound up and exhausted. So I sit, eyes closed, focusing on bringing peace and love in.  Sabriel crouched away from me, begins to cry sensing my shift, indicating that his defense is lowering and he is getting to his real feeling, but he is still feeling unsafe/angry enough that he doesn’t want me to hold him.

“Please help me to communicate that he is safe and loved,” I pray, as I focus on bringing that feeling into my heart, for both of us, and sending him the feeling of my wide open arms of love.

Of my unconditional acceptance no matter what. Of my willingness to let go of trying to control him.

This is the only way he can rest and stop fighting.

This is the only way I can rest and stop fighting ‘what is.’

Wise and patient teacher that he is, he has reminded me of this many times.  I remember the first time when he was having a “tantrum” in his car seat on a long drive in Maui, when I realized he was resisting any subtle control even if it seemed caring. I was kindly, patiently trying to help him, calm him, but underneath it, I really just wanted the crying to stop, and this very subtle control is what he felt.  While I have worked diligently to avoid overt control, practicing Inner Bonding with my older two, Sabriel calls me to refine this practice of opening my heart.

I prayed to my guidance to help me to surrender control even more and simply honor him. That is when I first saw the image of wide open arms of Love surrounding me, as I wrapped wide open, unconditional arms of love around him, both of us wrapped up in the warmth, light and peace of God/Love.

I felt guidance reminding me that this is all there is, pure, deep, boundless, timeless love and all we need to do is stop trying and simply rest in it. As I surrendered and felt the peace there, he stopped crying instantly.

Over and over this has worked, yet I still forget at times.  In the same way that I forget and contract when I judge someone, or recoil from another in a moment of conflict. This is only natural, part of our human-spiritual journey.

But he keeps teaching me.

Only love mama.

Only love and acceptance (surrender).

For both of us.

For all of us.

In this moment, he is still upset, not quite ready for a hug. So I tell him and send him, “I love you honey. I’m here when you are ready for a hug.” I pick up a broom and begin to sweep.  I don’t ‘know’ why, it is just an impulse from my intuition and Guidance, and feels like what is needed.  I would never have ‘thought’ of this when trying to ‘fix’ this from my mind, which is why I love intuitive parenting.

I sweep away the cobwebs all around us and maybe in doing so, I am sweeping away our messiness too.  With each firm swing of the broom, reminding him that even when things fall apart, I am here to make it right. That safety and belonging (order) can be restored.  I tell him I love him again but with more lightness, this movement helping me move on energetically, freeing him to do the same.

Soon he is on his way to feeling better and returns to playing with his friend that my older son Lucas and playmates were so brilliantly entertaining, while mama went for a learning ride.

I’m so grateful to this boy for helping me unpeel more layers, showing me those crusty protective habits and unhealed places in me and bringing me back to LOVE.

Over and over.

Deeper and wider.

xoxoxo

Sylvia

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