The Practice Of Non-Yelling
You ain't gonna like it, son, but that's just the way things is.
~an appropriate line from an imagined country song I'm humming in my head
It started with awareness. All this blogging, this contemplating peaceful nature, existing with human nature flowing with divinely creative spirit....and then I go and yell at my kids. Lethargically address my hubby when he arrives home. Eat pizza two nights in a row because it was easy and just sounded good.
My life simply isn't matching who I feel called to be.
I've had glimpses of this before. During that time, I tried changing what I'm doing. I'd pursue a different career path or try a new workout, go shopping or re-decorate the house.
I might have felt better (or different) for a short time, but I noticed that no matter what I did I still got evil pleasure out of driving exactly the speed limit when someone was tailgating me. I still talked about others behind their back, knowing full well I'd die of embarrassment if they heard what I was saying. I still tried marketing techniques for LifeUnity, even though they felt dirty and cheap.
I still yelled at the kids.
This all came to a head this weekend when I disciplined my 7-yr old son for whining nearly an hour after I'd put him to bed. (For a sense of where I was mentally, try reading "Go The F*ck To Sleep". You can listen to Samuel L Jackson read it here: "Go the F*ck To Sleep".)
I reacted out of anger. A couple of minutes after, I went upstairs and, through sobs, my son asked to snuggle.
Like the grinch, my heart grew ten sizes in that exact moment. I laid down in the bed with him for nearly 30 minutes, just holding him and listening to our breath. Awareness had slapped me in the face with an open palm.
The next day, (even announcing it on Facebook), I made a vow to practice just one thing that day: Not Yelling. It was somewhere to start, somewhere important, somewhere that acknowledged a behavior that was not matching who I wanted to be.
It was insanely difficult. I made it until 5:34 p.m. when - after a day of the kids arguing, high humidity, the dog using our house repeatedly for a bathroom, and countless other provocations - I entered my daughter's room. I noticed the clothes I'd handed her less than 60 seconds ago and asked her to put away were pushed tightly into a box on her table.
A mom can only take so much.
Please note: This is REALLY difficult for me to admit, and even more so to share. I never pretend to be a perfect mommy or always-calm human being, but publicly stating that I react solely out of anger with my kids, that I yell almost daily, that I (used to) purposefully annoy people riding my car bumper, that I am no where near the bodhisattva I desire to be? Humbling to say the very, very least.
Regardless, I am now aware. And there is no going back.
I am aware how much this daily practice IS my practice. I am aware how much of my life I am ignoring because it is uncomfortable to face.
I have so much more to share on this. It is morphing into a practice much deeper and continuous than I imagined it would be as I lay there with my son.
For now, I must get to the Y - to train a few last days for the triathlon this Saturday. This too is my practice.
I will continue to share - either tonight in or another post tomorrow - how I avoided yelling throughout the day, techniques I tried, triggers I discovered and how I tried to avoid them, what this discomfort showed me about myself...and others.
Until then, I encourage you to look at your own life. You don't need to share publicly what it is, but I found the simple act of sharing creates a small amount of commitment. If you'd like, you can simply add in the comments, "Today, I will practice." Know that each and every person reading it understands...and hopefully practices alongside you.
I will be.