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Lessons From A Child About Accepting Reality

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Pitching a fit - April 12, 08
Creative Commons License photo credit: ThrasherDave

My 14 month old grandson has been clingy towards his mama lately, constantly wanting in her lap and crying to be held. The other day, he sat at her feet crying while she was trying to work and I asked if I might help by taking him off of her hands for a few minutes. She seemed only too glad to accept. I swooped him up off the floor, and he complained loudly in resistance. Obviously I was NOT who he had in mind!

Nonetheless, I walked into the other room and sat down, placing him so that he was facing forward as he sat in my lap. I placed my arms around him, holding him in place as I held his hands loosely in my own. I spoke softly to him, “Sweetheart, I am your reality right now. And reality is that I am not letting you down until you calm yourself.”

But he was having none of it. He fussed, railed and ranted, kicked his feet, and even thumped his head back into my chest, screaming in protest. I did not get angry, or impatient. I did not make demands or threats. I simply sat and held him, knowing only one thing … that he and I would be sitting there together until he could relax and regain his composure.

You see, having raised three children, I knew that the worse thing I could do, for me or him, would be to reinforce the idea that ranting and raving works to get what we want. I was prepared to sit calmly with him as long as it took for him to accept his present reality.

We treat our children unfairly when we change things in their world just to try and make them happy. To do so reinforces a false notion that the world should tailor itself to fit their demands. But we all know that reality does no such thing. To foster such an attitude in our children only prompts them to make increasingly unrealistic (& unreasonable) demands which then alienates them from others, leaving them feeling left out or rejected when no one wants to be around them.

Well, my grandson and I sat there for forty-five minutes while he vented his rage. Every time he would begin to calm down a bit, I would say a few encouraging words, or stroke his cheek and he would be off and ranting again. Finally I sat holding him, silently, relentlessly calm, as he ranted on. There was only one outcome possible as far as I was concerned – his surrender to my loving embrace.

As my grandson sat in my lap in the midst of his self-generated misery, I reflected on the times in my life when I have reacted to reality in similar ways, kicking and screaming, waving my fist at reality. On the inside, if not outwardly, I, too have been guilty of generating just such misery for myself! Just like him, I too have, at times, resisted loudly when I thought life wasn't cooperating with my idea of how things should be!

What a perfect model of what our human relationship with reality might look like, I reflected. And what a perfect metaphor for how Source/Reality responds when we resist!

Reality simply and relentlessly holds us; without judgment, without blame, it goes on being Reality, unmoved by our demands for things to be different. Reality just is, whether we approve of it or not, whether we understand it or not, no matter how right we think we are that things shouldn't be the way they are. Reality is simply, unapologetically, what it is.

Finally, my little protester, with a deep sigh, let go of his resistance. He let it go with every fiber of his being. He relaxed, leaned back & looked up at me. I smiled at him. He nodded slightly and then fell, exhausted, into a deep sleep.

CARAVAGGIO Rest during the flight from Egypt, detail of Mary and Jesus, c1597

Ah, the rest that surrender brings.

“Rest, my sweet, sweet child, you are held in the arms of a Reality that consistently, gently holds you.”

May your own let go be so sweet. May you realize and surrender to the loving embrace of Reality, a Reality that lovingly holds you no matter how much you may resist and protest against it.

Blessings

Creative Commons License photo credit: carulmare

2 Responses

  1. Hi Tracy, Yes, the reaction you describe is common when we are operating from a state of Victimhood. We make ourselves miserable with resistance and then blame others as being the cause of our pain. That’s the way most humans live.

    Acceptance is the alternative. Acceptance starts when we take complete responsibility for our own discomfort. When we notice resistance, we find & investigate the thought we are believing that is producing it. Rather than blame some external cause, we realize ourselves as the sole reason for our discomfort. The shift is subtle, but powerful. When we accept responsibility for the thoughts that are producing our unhappiness, we are freed from the victim mind.
    Blessings, Lynne

  2. I have felt like the small child so many times even as a grown up…Reading this post explains the process i go through and its interesting to identify how similar my actions are to that of a young child…
    This often happens when something doesn’t go right and my anger builds up and i noticed lately that i direct that anger on everyone else i encounter with the rest of the day…for some reason everything appears to be wrong and people appear to be mean and distrustful…I feel angry at everything…I am not really sure if i am angry at myself for what didn’t go right in the first place or the world for not being “Okay”
    It brings about a frustrating feeling and i feel stuck in the situation.What makes me feel worse is that i direct my anger to other people and i would like to learn how to control and ease and maybe correct my way of handling such situations…
    How do you accept reality and identify the bad feelings without affecting those around us?

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