Saturday, February 25, 2012

And Then There Were Tantrums

My beautiful boy is a year old now.  He's is cuter and more fun than ever. He walks, talks a little, charms us to bits. And just to contrast those adorable moments, now we have tantrums. Screaming, wailing, thrashing of limbs. You know what I'm talking about. Even if you don't have your own children, you've seen this. It's not pretty.

Uh-oh. He's getting mad...

I think I need to reread The Power of Now. But this time, during the entire reading, I need to imagine a screaming baby. I thought I was calm. Zen. Quiet. Peaceful. Present.

Then my one-year-old started throwing temper tantrums that make me want to unleash some kind of fiery, volcanic maelstrom. I don't want to unleash it on him, but I feel it there, simmering, wanting out. It's a primal discontent penetrating my every cell. I feel bombarded, besieged. I want my mommy.

OK, yoga, get me through this one. Please.

I remember Eckhart Tolle writing something about a dog barking constantly next door, and that you could choose to be immune to it.  You could imagine yourself transparent and let the sound pass through you. I don't feel transparent when that boy screams. I feel helpless, overwhelmed, agitated, on edge.

Then I breathe. It helps. A little.

And praying. That helps too.

And of course, eventually, it passes.  That helps a lot. He smiles and giggles and amazes me with his new knowledge and skills. He hugs me like I'm his hero. He cuddles up to me when he's sleepy. He presses his whole face against mine in a toddler kiss. He brings me bliss.

He teaches me that I'm not immune to frustration. And that I still have a lot of work to do.

Deep breath. Back to the mat.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bringing Light Wherever You Go

Do you know what a smiling baby does to a grocery store?  He makes it a small piece of paradise.

When I go grocery shipping with my adorable son, he is in absolute bliss.  He sits in the front of the cart, looking around and thrilling in every new sight.  He babbles and waves his tiny arms, bounces like he's dancing.  He just loves every second of it.

And everyone who sees him is transformed.

I mean, I see people who look about as miserable as a person can look, suddenly convert their posture, facial expression and voice to something really pleasant.

Wells at 6 months old, his first ride in the front of the cart
I said to Wells the other day, as I pushed him along the aisles, "You know what, buddy, you make a lot of people happy."  And it makes me happy to see people like that.  It changes the whole experience of grocery shopping!

So I wonder, is this capability of carrying infectious joy limited to babies?  Could each of us bring a similar light with us everywhere we go?

I'm not saying you should grin inanely, wave your arms around and go hopping through a grocery store.  I'm not sure that would have the desired effect.  But is there a way to bring light with you wherever you go?

Here's what I can piece together. . .

1) Wells makes people happy because he's happy.  So to bring light I can try being happy!

2) People aren't afraid to smile and coo at Wells because he's not judging them (at least not more than, "Who is that funny lady?" kind of judging).  I can try not judging every person I see.  This is a tricky one because judging has a lot of nuances.  There is the really harsh kind of judgment, "Ugh.  What an idiot," or, "She looks like a real bitch." And then there are the subtler judgments, the assumptions.

One of the people who recently thrilled at Wells's cart time reverie was a man in his early twenties, shaved head and goatee, sleeveless shirt, lots of ink, with an armful of beer.  He wasn't the guy I would have expected to take notice of or interest in a baby (cue the judgment).    But as he walked towards us his face lit up in a huge smile.  "You're having more fun than anyone in here," he announced to my little one.  And that was the truth!

3) Wells returns people's smiles and they love it! I can try smiling at people (in a sane way).  This one should be fairly easy as long as I can remember follow steps 1 & 2, to stay happy and not judge.

Let's see what I can do to a grocery store even without my little cutie pie.