"AWWWWW.......I don't want to go to bed!!!! It's too bowing!! Can't I just stay up fow anover few minutes?"
"No Lily, it's bedtime sweetheart. Come on, I'll rub your back and sing you a song to help you fall asleep. Do you want to walk to the room or would you like me to carry you?"
"Awww......" whines and thrashes on the couch.
"Lily....do you want to walk or do you want me to carry you? If you don't choose by 3 I'm going to have to carry you. 1......2......"
"Ugh! Walk then." Slumps off the couch into a ball on the floor, writhing and whining the whole way down. Sloooowly.....she pulls herself up to her knees, crawls a few steps, and then collapses on the floor.
"It's too hawd! I can't walk."
"Okay.....(deep breath)....then I'll carry you...." reaching down to pick her up.
"No! I can do it mysef." Walks slowly to the bedroom, arms flailing, sighing and whining the whole way; as if this single act of going to bed is the greatest inconvenience of her very short 4-year old life.
Of course, this carried on for much longer - "I don't have to pee! Can I have some water? Can Daddy give me another hug? More water!! It's too dark in here. Aww.....these pyjamas are too scratchy! This is so boring!!! This pillow's too flat!".....and on and on and on.....
The weekend before this I was sitting in a room with 12 amazing human beings at an advanced coaching course. We spent our time learning new coaching tools, meditating, discussing the latest neuroscience and how it relates to the consciousness of individuals. I got coached by some of the best in the world, cleaned up a bunch of stuff that had been holding me back, and was reminded of the abundance of kindness and love in the world. It was an incredible weekend.
So, as you can imagine, being confronted with an irrational, over-tired 4-year old after a weekend like that was a bit jarring.
I actually got an eye twitch from the contrast. Literally. My eye started twitching that day and kept going until I was lovingly reminded of something I had forgotten.
Our kids are an incredible spiritual work-out. Zosia and Lily truly are my spiritual Zen masters. Just like the long moustache dude in Kill Bill trains Uma Thurman how to collect herself so she can punch her way out of a casket in the ground, my Zen masters are teaching me.
A weekend of meditating is lovely, but the real work happens in everyday life. My job is to be present to it all and decide what choices I want to make.
So here's a new motto - Thank you Master.
Lily ignores me after I ask her 14 times to put on her shoes? Thank you Master. Executive throws an irrational tantrum in a meeting, blaming me for a process I have no control over? Thank you Master. Homeless man tells me to fuck off for not giving him money? Thank you Master.
Let's be clear - this does NOT mean I am allowing people to smash through my boundaries and do whatever the hell they want while I smile, curl into the lotus position and passively meditate in a corner.
Discernment plays a big part in this exercise. Remind Lily about listening, call out the leadership behavior, let the f-you comment go. And then.......once balance has been established and all the emotions have been honored, acknowledged and moved through......that's the time to thank the gift.
Thank you Master. Thank you for reminding me what all of this is teaching me.
There's a beautiful poem by Hafiz that goes something like this,
"Don't do a thing, just rest.....For your separation from Love is the hardest work in this world."
........that feels like a good place to stop.