After a sweet early morning Easter meditation yesterday, I left my husband asleep and headed downstairs to see my 13 year-old. Reading on the couch in his pajamas, he looked up and begged me for raspberries and blueberry waffles for breakfast. I was feeling loving and had the time and bandwidth for this, so I said, “Sure.” I threw on my clothes, grabbed my purse and headed out the door to the store for fresh fruit reminding him, “Don’t forget our agreement, the Easter sweets are not for breakfast–save those for after meals.” (When my kid eats sugar, the whole family pays!) Thirty minutes later, I returned home to find my son lounging around watching cartoons, an empty overturned chai latte cup dripping on the carpet and a ravaged Easter basket.
I was angry and heard a long list of negative thoughts pounding at my front door, lining up to be heard: nobody listens to me, I’m doing all the work around here, I’m not a servant, doesn’t anyone appreciate me?!, what does my son think this is–a hotel … and on and on. My husband came downstairs and as I prepared to launch into the rights and wrongs of what was unfolding, I let out a deep exhale and stood quietly for a moment, barefoot, in the middle of the kitchen.
This was my day, my morning, my peace –and I wanted it back.
Most great spiritual teachers and traditions tell us, we only ever have two choices in how we approach our lives and day-to-day interactions: from fear or from love.
When we come from our hearts and family relationships are viewed through the eyes of love, we
• trust — and allow those we love to follow their unique path (even if we don’t agree);
• practice acceptance and let go (of homework struggles, of who’s right, and so on);
• listen from our hearts in our interactions and respond in the moment;
• communicate openly and are more receptive and flexible;
• come from a prosperity mindset and see that there is always “enough” time, attention, space, and resources;
• see everyone’s true essence, who they really are, not how they’re acting in the moment; and
• slow down and experience gratitude for all that happens.
When family relationships are viewed through the eyes of fear, we
• try to control, manipulate, and micromanage people and situations, thinking we always know best;
• think things are good only when they’re going “our” way;
• operate from our heads all the time — over thinking and over managing;
• become reactive and get easily triggered;
• react negatively and see problems first, instead of acknowledging what’s good;
• come from a poverty mindset and feel like there is never enough;
• punish, judge, and close ourselves off from others.
Reading these extremes, who wouldn’t want to choose love over fear (read more) when relating to those around us? We all want to expand and open rather than contracting, shutting ourselves off from one another and from feeling good. But learning to do so involves cultivating awareness and consciously choosing to come from love moment to moment. This is hard and it takes time and lots of practice—especially when our tendency to see what’s wrong before we see what’s right, is as old as the pyramids.
After a family heart-to-heart, later that morning my husband and son returned from their church service and I heard a sweet high voice say, “Mama, look what I brought you.” And as my child handed me a beautiful mosaic Easter egg with a heartfelt message painted on it, my heart melted and I remembered why love will always beat out fear … if we soften and choose to let it.
TAKE ACTION: Want to start choosing love (over fear)? Pick up a copy of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family for more peace-building tools and practices and find/facilitate a Personal Renewal Group for mothers in your community where you can gather monthly with like-minded parents who also desire to choose love over fear.
P.S. We’re so excited we have to share the great news! This Friday (but you have to wait until Friday!) we’re launching a beautiful Year of Self-Care Mother’s Day Giveaway (a $1850 value). Mark your calendar to enter to win beginning Friday, April 10th-April 18th~ read more! And, you don’t have to be a mom to enter.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering speaking, custom workshops, training, books/telecourses and individual coaching, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 13 year-old son. More on her background here.