My 17 yo daughter brought down a mason jar this morning. Seeing a new combination of orange, rosemary, and star anise, I looked at it with interest and wonder…
As I typically do, I made an assumption. “How did it taste?” I asked. She responds “It’s not to drink, it’s to smell,” and I perceive the familiar tone that I know well and receive as ‘Duh, mom, you’re so dumb, you never get me.’
I inhaled the aroma, I liked it, it was sweet & pleasant
I thought of all the times that she came downstairs in complete disgust of the smell of certain ethnic foods, receiving her dislike in the form of criticism, anger, and ‘you people are repulsive.’ And all of a sudden, perhaps resulting from the sweetness of the aroma I had just inhaled, I understood. I perceived something different- she has to notice what she doesn’t like to find the things that she does like, and indeed, the process of noticing is often UNPLEASANT.
the magic is the shift in perspective, seeing it all in a neutral light,
allowing it to be as it is, dropping the judgement
I have been inspired this week by the dozens of talks in the Parenting Teens in Uncertain Times Summit – the lesson that our teens are neurologically wired to detach and become independent reverberates through each and every talk. Teens are determined to explore the world in a way that is unique from their parents’ experience and so they must willfully exert their dissatisfaction, disdain and dislike for our ways. Ouch, whoa, the cruelty of parenting…and in surrender I place my hand on my heart to eject a release of oxytocin to sooth my soul.
How much gentler could it have been if I had never taken personally the process of discovery that showed up as anger? Will my brain and body rewire so that I can remember next time? The science tells me that yes, indeed, with mindful attention, my physiology is programmed to rewire and be gentler over time. Everyone has that capacity. Let’s drop in to what’s here, right now.