Which meltdown do I begin with? Me yesterday frantically trying to find my daughter’s Halloween costume (the one I purposely bought early since I knew I would be busy traveling for work) only to lose it and despair over the fact? Or the blueberry smoothie that spilled over half the living room rug and had me yelling at nobody in particular? Or maybe it was the bathroom desperately in need of mopping before someone mistakes it for a baseball stadium restroom. (Thank the kiddo and her pee-pee accidents for that.)
Yes, yesterday was a Day. It was a day where I felt so super-charged in my responses to fairly benign stresses (or at least routine ones) that it was hard at times to remember that I shouldn’t just blindly obey the part of my brain that desires a knee-jerk reaction, and more importantly that I should not identity with those emotions and distorted thoughts that demand I feel victimized, or resentful, or defeated, or righteous. What Jen Pastiloff calls the “bullshit stories”, the false soundtrack about our life that we all create as human beings. So much easier said than done, especially when the lizard brain is clamoring to be in charge.
Yesterday, as I was frantically looking for my daughter’s costume so she could wear it to a Halloween-themed birthday party, I got teared up. It was silly and I knew that, but the emotions overcame me and I just let them. I needed the cry and I didn’t fully understand it but I tried to just be with it. My daughter saw me upset and she playfully started poking me with her broom and said “cheer up mama!” I could not help but laugh. How perfect, right? The costume that was for my daughter (not me) and yet was causing me such distress. But she wasn’t in tears! We had found a dress that looked sufficiently “witch-ish” and she had her hat and broom and what was all this fuss about exactly?
A reminder not to take ourselves so seriously.
That as intense and strong as those emotions may be, they are not us, they are simply the wave that is surfacing and we can ride it and–yes–even laugh!
I needed that reminder from my almost-four-year-old. A young human being who knows all about intense emotions, and yet also seems to inherently know that sometimes you just pick up your broom, brush off, and keep flying.