Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dwarf Hamsters And Unconditional Love

Oh my goodness, I just witnessed in dwarf hamster land what goes on in my world on a daily basis.  I got up while it was still dark outside and went to the keeping room to read and have quiet time.  I could hear a repetitive metal banging that indicated the hamsters had no water.  "Give me water!!"  I refilled the water bottle and attached it back and watched to see if it was working.  One of the two started pushing the metal and it wasn't as loud as before so it must have been working. Then I watched tiny hamster #2 come up to the trough as well. The first one made a tiny squeak that said "Get out of here, I'm not finished" to the other and then body slammed her to get her out the way.

As a mother of two tween siblings who seem to antagonize each other daily, I lost it and started laughing madly in the predawn hour.

Oh my gosh.  These tiny animals are the same as humans.  We all want a little bit of water, a little bit of love. If we don't get our needs met, we will push others in physical and verbal ways.  This has become so evident to me.  We had an incident a few weekends ago whereby I learned just what it can be like as a Middle School girl in a drama filled wasteland.

Not pretty.

I saw this video on Upworthy yesterday.  It says it all.  It's a simple message but one that is so hard to abide by.  When someone hurts myself or one of my family, the natural instinct  I have is NOT to love.  It is anger, and to think what did I do to this person for them to treat me this way? And over time, I have learned this isn't about me, it's about what is going on with the other person.

But what is more Godly than to give love back?   And as Jason Mraz says in the video, it will stop the aggressor in their tracks.

I really, really understand the noble idea of returning hate with love.  Learning how to do it in real time though, is the ultimate challenge for me.  It takes practice.  I practice it with my kids most every day.  They don't send me hate but they react and tell me everything is my fault, and I don't love them when something doesn't go their way (or their love tank is empty....)  As my stomach turns, I take a deep breath and in the moment try to figure out how to give them love and not react in defensiveness.  I have been practicing this with each interaction in earnest  for the last weeks after watching Dr. Shefali and her ideas of conscious parenting.  It can push every one of my buttons when someone reacts in what I discern as "against me."  Sometimes, I just become silent and know at least I am not yelling back.  Some days, I have been magnificent and listened to all of the emotion that the child needs to express and doesn't know how to handle and am just there, present.   I am there soft place to fall.  Sometimes, when I tune in and show sympathy, the emotion from the other person gets louder and more intense because they feel safe and have to let it all out and eventually it dissipates. And it is magical when the anger falls away.  Simply magical.

Not every day, do I have the where with all to do this or does it work out magically, sometimes boundaries have to be put in.  Some days, I'm physically or emotionally drained and I don't have it to give.  I have learned to tell the child I'm approaching my yelling point, so I'm going to walk away and calm down.  And after some time, I'm able to come back and engage.

It's a work in progress and it takes practice, so very much practice.  And luckily, there are opportunities nearly every single day (or at least the last two weeks there have been)!

The hamsters are just going to have to work it out amongst themselves.

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