And the Sticky Sweetness of this Trick

[Note: This post was originally posted March 11, 2014 on my old website.]
In my dream book of wishes, I have an affirmation written down:
I love the children in my life and never feel burdened by them, but blessed beyond measure for what they teach and draw out of me.
In one sense, this is totally unrealistic. Of course I feel burdened; my boys can irritate the hell out of me. The constant reminders to sit up straight at the table, that our living room is not a jungle gym, to please, for the zillionth time, please, try using good words with your brother before you haul off and hit him. In Tantra, we recognize that each person is Divine and perfect. So how is it these dollops of God in sticky, syrupy human boy bodies can drive me so insane?
My affirmation isn’t meant to describe how it actually is with my kids, but to remind me of the best way to be in relationship with them. The boys are precious reflections of my mood at any given moment.

How does that spilled box of cereal all over the floor make me feel?

The answer to that is really good information on a central practice of Tantra: self-awareness. Self-awareness means I ask myself, how am I feeling? What do I need to calm my inner storm, so I can make a non-reactionary decision reflecting Who I Am? There is cereal all over the floor! Can I laugh it off, knowing my baby’s self-esteem is far more important than the $3 I paid for the Honey Nut O’s? Can we clean it up together, knowing it benefits him to learn broom skills and teamwork? If yes, II know love is flowing through me. Or, do I feel irritated or even angry? Do I just want to haul off and YELL that he should be more careful?  If that’s what I’m feeling, and I can see it as just as much of an opportunity for growth, I’ll take a ten minute bathroom break and balance, so I can respond as the loving person I am.
I’m not a self-awareness queen yet. A lot of times I yell, and both of us feel like crap. And really, even that’s a lesson–a lesson in feeling like crap. (Like I need more of that!) Eventually, I’ll get to the point where I know feeling like crap no longer serves me. S’the long way around, yet it still works. I’ve even developed a little trick for this route: the Try Again. I say, “Mama made a mistake. I yelled over something stupid, and I need to try again.” Lucky for me, my sweet gurus forgive me and we do indeed, try again.
So, I really am blessed–beyond measure–for what my boys teach and draw out of me. They show me my hell so I can transform it into a flow of love. This is why I love Tantra so much! It’s meant to be practiced in the every day chaos, turning poison into nectar right in the midst of frustrations and messes. And since we’re now out of cereal, and they’re already sticky, let’s have pancakes.