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The Use of Force

Have you ever been around a very loud, forceful human being? What does it bring up in you when you are around them? For me, it brings up this pain, this resistance of not wanting to be around them.

But interestingly enough, forcefulness can hide itself in many subtle ways. On one extreme, it can take form in the raising of one’s hand or voice. That’s pretty obvious to see. But more subtly, as I have seen in my own self, it can take form in something as simple as helping a child put on their coat.

One day I was running a tad late for something and I had a couple of children to get ready. As I was helping one of the boys put on their jackets, I became aware of this pushing force, a part of me that was using force to “push” the jacket on him. In that moment, something in me knew that I was teaching that child that the use of force was an acceptable thing. When we are in the “grips” of the rusher, which is always a voice of the past telling us that we need to rush, anything that we do will contain force, whether it be through our words or our actions.

Have you ever watched yourself doing dishes? Scrub, Scrub, Scrub. Scrub, Scrub, Scrub. Whip the dishes back and forth to rinse and then cram them in the dish rack. The use of force. Now I’m not saying everyone does that, but I have seen myself do that not just with dishes but in many different areas of my life. That happens only when we are caught in thought (caught in the past) and aren’t present to ourselves.

If we are truly present in the moment when we tend to things, there is a certain gentleness that is used in our actions and words, not forcefulness. Being “in” our lives that way means we “are” the instrument of Life itself and Real Life never calls for the use of force, ever.

It’s really quite shocking, but there is a need to SEE that use of force. Don’t be afraid to see it. Nothing can change unless it is seen. If we aren’t aware of the subtle and not-so subtle ways that force is used, then we are unconsciously passing that forceful nature down to not only our children, but others in this world as well. The past, then again, breeds the future and nothing changes.

Here are just a few ways that I have seen in myself using force over the years in my nanny work:

· Handing a child an article of clothing that they need to put away

· Changing a child’s diaper

· Tickling a child

· Brushing a child’s hair

· Strapping a child into their car seat

· Walking fast while holding their hand

To be a true warrior for our children, we have to be “inspectors” of these past, unconscious parts of ourselves that just “do what they do” because they were never questioned.

Exercise for the week: Be an “inspector” of force. See the subtle ways that it has been hiding in your life. If you catch yourself in the middle of a forceful action, stop, become aware of yourself, and continue doing what you were doing without the use of force. You will, most likely, feel that “old” pattern of force wanting to push you back into the old pattern, but do not agree to give it your attention.

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