Tuesday, December 23, 2014

To see what we don't want to see....

We were just leaving to go home, after spending the whole day at my parents' place with my sister and little nephews. Raghav was packing all his stuff into his bags. My little nephew was trying to help him, and picked up Raghav's new Lego creation - a train that he had just finished building over two days. As he was carrying and moving it to the bag, it fell from his hand and parts of it came off. Raghav screamed - his eyes closed tight, his hands fisted, his teeth grit hard, his whole body taut with anger. My little nephew looked a bit rattled and upset as he clung to my father, hugging him tight while sitting on his lap. He didn't budge from there for the rest of the time that we were there.

Soon, there were more screams from Raghav (when Raghav screams, he really SCREAMS!!) as he picked up the pieces and figured out that one piece was actually broken. Six adults (each with their own thoughts), one bewildered little baby, one kid who was like a mini volcano erupting, and another little kid who seemed confused and upset.

Raghav ran away screaming into another room. I went with him. For the first time I think, Raghav allowed me to go near him and hold him. Usually he needs and would ask for his space (to be physically away) when he was going through some strong emotions. I held him and asked if he was feeling angry. "I am really really very angry!!!....with A!!", he screamed, bursting into tears. "That piece is broken.....it cannot be fixed! he should not hold it that way...he must carry it with two hands!", he cried.

I understood how he felt. This was a new set that we had got him for Christmas, after many many months. Both my nephew and Raghav had sat down to build with their new sets today. Raghav was heartbroken that the set he had wanted for so long, what he had waited to get and build for so long, was broken. It was a little piece that was broken. But it was not only a little piece.

My husband and I sat down to try and figure out with Raghav as to which piece had broken. Everyone else was around watching us.
My mother added: " What do you get out of screaming? Is it going to get fixed?"
Raghav replied vehemently, screaming even more:"I can't help it! I am angry!"
And I added quietly: "He is very angry and so wants to scream."

My husband picked up the train and examined it. Raghav showed him where it had broken. We realised that it could not be fixed, nor could it be stuck with strong glue, as that part would then become immobile. But the train could still move on tracks. My husband showed that to him. We suggested that he could remember to carry that part separately in his hand, every time he was carrying the train, so that it would not fall off again. Raghav agreed. He then tried to fix the other parts that had come off. But they weren't fixing properly as he was already very irritated. We heard a few more screams as he tried to fix them again and again. My husband suggested that he put everything in the bag as they were and go home and try and fix them, as he would be in a better space - calmer and less angry. "No, I won't be calmer!", Raghav screamed.

All he was looking for was for us to stay with him and his anger in that moment. He was not asking for it to be fixed or wished away. "I am very angry. Can you all just listen to that and accept that? Can you stop telling me how to make it go away?" Those were his words without words. I am not sure how many of us really 'listened' to that.

I looked at my nephew. I wanted to hug them both. But realised that both were not in a space to receive that. I asked him if he was trying to help Raghav, when he carried the train. He nodded and said yes. I turned to Raghav and shared with him how A was trying to help him, but that it probably slipped from his hand and fell. "That's not the way he should carry it", said Raghav. "I know, but A didn't know that," I added. And we left it at that.

Soon enough, he finished fixing the parts that he had been trying to fix through his anger, and was ready to leave. I went over to my little nephew, rubbed his back gently and whispered to him that Raghav was now very angry, but that he would probably be okay tomorrow. I told him we would meet tomorrow and we said our byes to leave to go home. My husband whispered to Raghav, asking if he would like to go and give A a hug and say something to him. Raghav shook his head vehemently, refusing to do that. We said bye to everyone and left quietly.

Later that night, just before getting ready to sleep, I asked Raghav how he was feeling.
"I feel better now. I am not angry," he said with a little smile.
I told him how I had spoken to my sister and that they were planning to come over to our place tomorrow.
"Ok....oh, then I have to remember to give those two red Lego pieces to A....his set doesn't have them, or he has lost them....I want to give two of mine to him, so he can finish off that car tomorrow. I have to help him finish that", he said. We both smiled, hugged each other and went to sleep.

So much had transpired in that little time. There was so much to learn for all of us. It wasn't about the children. It wasn't about what had happened. It was about a lot of other things....things to do with each of us and how we look at ourselves and our own thoughts and emotions. What was important to us? The process or the end? To sort things out and 'fix' them, or take things as they are, let things be and find their own levels in their own time?

This was my learning today....

Often we are so focused on the pattern we are creating or the stitches we are making, mostly focusing on trying to 'finish' the pattern or stitch, instead of watching how we are holding the cloth or needle, how we are moving it, and how it disappears into one hole and comes out through the other.

It is in these gaps between holes that the most important things happen.

Yet, we often forget this and get lost in how we can get down to 'bridging' the gap between the holes.

This is what we mostly do with all our interactions. We are often so focused on finding solutions and managing the situation, rather than staying with the emotions and our humanness. We get caught in the 'product' instead of the 'process'.

A knitter only appears to be knitting yarn. 
Also being knitted are winks, mischief, sighs, 
fragrant possibilities, wild dreams. 

~Dr. SunWolf

I also want to add here, the lovely piece about ANGER, written by the poet David Whyte. I feel that it is quite a misunderstood emotion and one that is often wished away by most people.....


is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.

What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our own inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body or identity or voice, or way of life to hold it. What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of our caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.

Our anger breaks to the surface most often through our feeling there is something profoundly wrong with this powerlessness and vulnerability; anger too often finds its voice strangely, through our incoherence and through our inability to speak, but anger in its pure state is the measure of the way we are implicated in the world and made vulnerable through love in all its specifics: a daughter, a house, a family, an enterprise, a land or a colleague. 

Anger turns to violence and violent speech when the mind refuses to countenance the vulnerability of the body in its love for all these outer things - we are often abused or have been abused by those who love us but have no vehicle to carry its understanding, who have no outer emblems of their inner care or even their own wanting to be wanted. Lacking any outer vehicle for the expression of this inner rawness they are simply overwhelmed by the elemental nature of love’s vulnerability. In their helplessness they turn their violence on the very people who are the outer representation of this inner lack of control.

But anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here, it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it. What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete and absolute mirror-opposite of its true internal essence.

©2014 David Whyte
Excerpted from ‘ANGER’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

1 comment:

  1. I just finished sharing this post when something happened related to this, this morning.....I want to share it here so the story is complete...Please read this again after you read the post to understand the story ...R was taking something out of his cupboard, when the train he had built yesterday dropped from his hand and broke. He was upset and angry with himself this time. "Why is this happening again and again?", he cried. A little later, after he had fixed the broken train, he came out of the room and told me this:"Maybe it happened again today for me to understand that what happened yesterday was an accident," he said to me. I was stunned at the way he was thinking and at his insight. :)


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