I took my kids to swimming lessons today. As they splashed around practicing front crawl or rocket ship, I heard one of the other parents complaining about his son’s performance in the pool.
Trying to ignore the negativity and something that was none of my business, I focused on keeping my attention on my own kids and smiling or giving them a thumbs up when they looked my way expectantly.
After quite a few really negative comments and groans of disappointment, I realized that I wasn’t succeeding in blocking out this man’s negative energy. I felt something simmer inside of my chest and so instead of saying something rude or inflammatory to him, I picked up our towels and moved to the other side of the pool, where I wouldn’t be able to hear him.
The lesson passed and all of the kids climbed out of the water and as we walked to the car, my older daughter asked me why I had switched seats. So I told her the truth. I told her that one of the other parents was saying unsupportive comments to his son and it was making me feel really sad. It made me feel sad for that boy, because he was trying his best, and that we don’t go to swimming lessons because we already know how to do things perfectly, we go so that we can learn how to swim.
There have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m making the right choices as a parent. There have been times when I feel confident and times when I don’t. I want my children to know love, to understand respect, to feel confident in themselves. I hope that a sense of centre has been instilled in them at a young enough age that as they come into challenging times during their life, they are strong enough to stay true to themselves. Or at least that they don’t stray too far for too long.
When my first child was born, I was overwhelmed by the love that blossomed inside of me. I was humbled by the honour of raising another human being. It felt to me that motherhood was a sacred duty. I’m not saying that there was never a long day or that I never lose my patience or speak too sternly, but I have not lost that feeling: my children are sacred gifts to this world and I have been given the privilege of being their mother.
Being a mother opened my eyes to the fact that all children are sacred gifts, and as we were all children at one time, then we are all sacred souls here on earth for a short time.
It broke my heart to hear the words coming out of that man’s mouth; the frustration and displeasure that he directed towards his son. I knew in my heart that the frustration was coming from deep within, from a place that had nothing to do with anyone other than himself, and that there was no way his son would be able to perform well enough to earn praise. I felt sadness for that boy, because he was trying his best. I felt sadness for that man, because there was deep pain living within him.
Lately, I’ve focused a lot of my energy on staying centered. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. Over the last few months, my center has been elusive a lot of the time. I’ve eliminated a lot of things that seem to pull me away from myself (alcohol, wheat, processed food, toxic energy) in an attempt to stay true; in an attempt to honour myself. It hasn’t always been easy, and I haven’t always been successful, but I remain optimistic that with practice and patience, it will become easier.
That’s why I switched seats at the pool. Out of the shade and into the sun. Away from the negativity and into a place that allowed me to keep the focus on my kids.
I remind myself that it’s all part of the journey. That everyday is one more step on the path, that everyday is going to be exactly the way I decide that it will be. Each morning (and sometimes multiple times through the day), I take breaths and think positive thoughts. Whether I’m meeting contractors, scrubbing the tub or reading a book to my girls, each experience will be the way I decide that it will be. It makes a difference in my life, in my kids’ life and in my husband’s life. Who knows the ripple effect that could cause.
“Yours is the energy that makes your world. There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in. ” Jane Roberts