I have two children, a boy and a girl, and the look in their eyes when they are paying attention to me, or needing comfort from me is priceless. Sometimes, I’m not gonna lie, inconvenient, when they are looking at my actions or words. Actions and words that may come from an emotion other than loving kindness to myself or others. Then I would rather, they watch someone or something else. But today, the look in my daughter’s eyes was a learning moment. A moment of pause, and realization that she is watching and building something as she does.
I am a therapist, and yoga instructor. I love both, but find I still become nervous (in a good way) when I see a new client on my schedule, or when I teach a new class. I work to sit in those nerves, like I encourage my clients to do. Like I encourage my children to do in moment of fear or unease. It offers a deliberate transition from discomfort to some form of contentment, however it may end. But it is really difficult! Its filled with being vulnerable, trusting that those feelings will pass, and that on the “other side” of the feeling, something will become clearer, more comforting. We will be better or more confident.
Today was one of those days for me. My daughter was looking on, paying attention to what was happening, and how I was navigating my way. But also looking at me and the situation, in a new way, a way I had never observed before today. She is growing, 6 years old, going on 20 years old. She has a will, a strength that is beautiful. She is a risk taker but in a way that causes fear at first, and then triumph. She is small, and kind, filled with words and thoughts, that go far beyond her years. and she is an observer.
We live in an age where communication is more over a text or email than in person or over the phone, voice to voice. An age where life is faster than it was when we were children, and things are scarier, bigger, and harder. A world where sitting and waiting, watching isn’t always available. These however, are the moments of learning, and growth.
I worry as a mom, and as a therapist “what should we be focusing on,” ” what is important for our children, our girls to gain strength, awareness, assertion, and success.” I worry sometimes, wondering how much I need to cover before she grows older, and begins experiencing each phase of life, transition, risk, and new task. And I worry how I am modeling for her what strength and confidence looks like, especially for a young woman, so that she can navigate, succeed or fail or both, and still walk away feeling like she learned, and experienced something valuable.
You may be asking yourself, “Sara, what did you today that brought about this moment?” I simply taught at a new yoga studio this morning, with new students and with a new energy of space, not knowing how my way of connecting others to yoga would be received. But I have done that a few times lately, and in the past year, have worked hard to take risks and get out of my comfort zone. Feel fear and excitement, and push myself past what I know, and find growth.
Today, however it felt different, and as I watched her watch me, I realized this time, she wasn’t just in my same space, she was taking something away from this time, this moment, and this experience. She was connecting that life will continue to offer that feeling, in the very pit of your stomach, that makes its way up to your sternum, and makes it hard to breath sometimes. And that that feeling is not always negative, but can be so overwhelmingly rewarding, that we just let it be there, we will move through it. and that feeling, that moment will change. Whether you are a child or adult.
We don’t want anyone we love, anyone we work with, or connect to, to experience discomfort or fear. Or to experience anxiety or sadness. We do however want those we love, work with, and connect to, to experience life, and growth, and confidence. We want them to experience the other side of fear, the other side of anxiety or sadness. But we have to let that happen with balance, with just sitting and being still, and with the power of observation and breath. and with the unknown of what the outcome will be, knowing it will offer growth.