The Invisible Notebook
One of the greatest sh0cks in my life came when I saw how something in me wanted a child to be and act better than they acted in a certain moment, yet there I was, not able to be and act any different than I typically acted when their actions disturbed me. It was like consistently walking into a wall, over and over again, but never really questioning if something on my part could be different, that could keep me from walking into that wall again and again.
When we live from a world of thought and not present to ourselves, the only discipline that we are able to give our children is "hand me down" discipline, which isn't discipline at all, but simply borrowed ideas of what discipline is. It is coupled with ideas of how our children should behave and act toward us and others.
It's almost like each and every one of us carries around an invisible notebook that contains a list of things that we believe are "right and wrong" - what others should or shouldn't do. Now I'm not saying that there aren't certain wrong and harmful behaviors. What I'm saying is that most of the things that children do or say that disrupt us, is in one form or another, something that we ourselves do as well.
As a nanny, I see siblings playing nicely with each other and, as life would always have it, suddenly one child does something that the other doesn't like. Yes, even children carry around that invisible notebook within themselves. So, one moment they are loving each other, playing with each other and having fun and suddenly, as if appearing out of nowhere, comes this anger, this rage, this resentment. That anger, rage and resentment is the by-product of carrying around an invisible notebook of rights and wrongs.
Look at your own life. Your day is going well. You are feeling very grateful for your beautiful family and what you have in your life. Suddenly out of nowhere, you get an email and again, as if appearing out of nowhere, comes this anxiety, this blame, this panic or anger. What happened to the part of you that we just feeling grateful only the moment before?
It was replaced by a new identity that came to life from that invisible notebook that we carry around unknowingly. It comes to life when what we believe is right or wrong is being threatened.
Now all that being said, it doesn't mean that we roll over to our children when their actions are harmful. The only true thing that can help our children and this world is self-understanding. It is an absolute necessity for each and every one of us to learn to observe what is actually taking place in our own minds because that is what creates the outer world we live in.
We never truly see an event as it really is. I know that may be hard to swallow, but it's true. We see through a lens of our own perception based on past experience - meaning we see in the moment what the invisible notebook inside us is claiming is taking place. It always claims it's perception is real, yet what is real never repeats itself. What is new never repeats itself. Only what is old always repeats itself.
We are in this life to have the ideas and beliefs that are carried around in our invisible notebooks erased so that we can learn something new, something whole and complete about ourselves in the moment. The only way that can take place is if, in the moment of a disturbance, we agree to watch how that notebook wants to give us its story and instead suffer its demands that we listen and obey it. It is a process of learning to wait and watch for truth to reveal itself to us.
We will then know not only how to guide our child properly, but what action, if any, to take with anyone. If we take action based on what that invisible notebook tells us to say or do, we add pages to that notebook. More pages in that notebook is the same as more pain in our life.
If all of the pages in the invisible notebook are eventually going to be erased (and they will be), then why keep adding more pages?
It's always our choice as to what part of ourselves we choose to feed - something old or something new. Choose wisely.
Image courtesy of: Photo by Emma Tsui on Unsplash