It’s no secret that children can often be our best teachers but it comes as a surprise that a five-month-old baby is teaching me something no one else has been able to.
Our newest little Goddess is teaching me how to calm myself – from the inside out.
Perhaps it helps she is not yet able to talk.
I recently saw a thing on Facebook that said; “never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down”. Truer words have never been spoken.
NOTHING CALM ABOUT THESE WORDS
Recently I was walking in a crowd towards a football stadium with Hubby when we overheard a young girl say to a middle-aged woman; “where’s the fire?”
“What fire?” the woman asked.
“Exactly” was the reply. Then the girl went on to say the woman needed to “take a chill pill”.
They are almost fighting words for me and Hubby asked if I was tempted to hit her. I was.
I may be a bit touchy on the subject – perhaps from living so many years in a house full of men who constantly told me to ‘chill out’, ‘calm the farm’, ‘take a chill pill’.
Again; never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down – no matter which way you phrase it.
The point is, telling someone to calm down actually increases the stress and intensifies the feeling they are not coping.
I guess our little Goddess is telling me the same thing but it makes a difference she does it with tears instead of words.
I started babysitting her one day a week when she was three months old. She tends to fight sleep so gets a bit overtired and cranky by the end of the day. This is when she starts to cry.
I’ve raised three babies and taken care of countless more so I’m no stranger to baby tears and can usually cope quite well.
This little girl’s cries are different. She sounds like she is being tortured. Many times I’ve felt the need to reassure Hubby, working in another room, that, despite the screams he’s hearing, I’m not sticking needles in her.
The first time she did it I was horrified and tried everything I could think of to make her stop. No amount of cuddling, rocking, soothing or giving her space seemed to work. Naturally, I made sure she was not hungry, windy, or wet, or cold, or hot – all the things you check with babies.
I couldn’t understand what was going on. I was Grandy, the woman who made the Goddesses laugh and play and create and have fun. Why couldn’t I make this baby happy?
The following week I felt much less confident and the crying seemed to last longer. It intensified along with my feelings of concern and helplessness.
It was getting to the point where I was on the verge of panic when this sweet little bundle – she’s all smiles and laughs in between the tears – arrived in the morning.
Then I finally realised our negativity was feeding off each other. She would cry and I would get stressed and anxious. She would feel this and cry more. I would get even more stressed. It was a vicious circle that was stressful and exhausting for us both.
By the time I had this light bulb moment, my mind and body were used to going straight into panic mode on hearing that angry little cry. It was a thought habit. I was sort of programmed to panic the minute her sweet little face started to contort into an expression of rage.
FINDING MY INNER CALM
I knew I had to find my inner calm, for both our sakes, not to mention Hubby and her three-year-old sister who also spends the day with me.
So it was afternoon and the cry had just started. I looked the Goddess in the eye and told her I understood what was going on and I wasn’t going to let it panic me. As I held her in my arms. I took a few deep breaths and then concentrated on a ball of light I imagined sitting inside me – near my heart.
This ball of light represented calm and I turned it into pictures, like the sunset over the ocean, to increase the feeling of calm. I was so busy with the visualisations it took me a moment to realise the crying had stopped – even before it was in full swing.
I had found my inner calm and it worked – the little granddaughter was looking up at me smiling as if to say; “well done Grandy, you’ve got it now”.
After that, it was all smiles, tickles and laughter with not a speck of panic in sight.
It occurred to me I didn’t need a dark, quiet room and a certain amount of time to achieve the calm that meditation gives. I had done this holding a screaming baby while The Wiggles were singing (for the three-year-old) in broad daylight in a matter of moments. It was very empowering.
I realised I could use this new found talent in any situation I found stressful because I had tapped into hidden reserves of calm that were sitting inside me all along.
The next chance I had to test this was when working on our desktop computer. Can anything make you more stressed than a computer that is vital for work but persistently breaks down? It seems every time I touch this computer there is some major issue and often just walking into the office makes me feel stressed – another thought habit I guess.
Anyway, the usual glitches presented themselves and instead of allowing this to destroy my mood I walked away from the computer and used my visualisation technique to feel the calm once again. I pictured that bright light, had fun turning it into calming pictures and, as it grew it gave me a warm, comforting feeling and I was once again tapping into my inner reserves of calm.
I was tested yet again shortly afterwards when this site broke down. Bloggers will understand the term ‘white screen of death’ – sounds scary doesn’t it? It’s when no one, including you, can access your blog.
While something like this would normally send me into a panic, I knew I couldn’t afford this as I was having a playdate with two of the Goddesses.
With that thought, the beautiful little face of my baby Goddess – the one where she seems to be saying ‘well done Grandy’ came to mind and I immediately felt calm – a new thought habit.
There are sure to be more stressful situations to challenge me and maybe times when I let fear and panic take control before I remember my inner reserves. But for now, I am grateful to the baby who, without saying a word, helped me find my calm.
All the same, if you tell me to ‘chill out’ I may have to hit you. 🙂
Wishing you serenity and a gleeful week, Tamuria.