Recently, my youngest son came home from school with a thank you note from his teacher that read: "We are so proud of your son! He led a version of one of your home rituals -- we held hands and repeated him as we spoke of happiness, peace, and love. It was just what the class needed."
As you can imagine, my initial reaction was of pure joy and appreciation for what this young child was expressing into the world. It seemed our family rituals were sinking into the fabric of who he was as an individual. To see him taking a leadership role in spreading loving-kindness warmed my heart beyond belief.
And then it set in -- the inner critic. What follows is a window into my mind not long after reading the note: "I just regressed and yelled at my kids this week... do his teachers think our house is all butterflies, flowers, and unicorns? I'm not the perfect mom or anything... this feels like a lot of pressure to live up to. I hope this behavior continues and doesn't shift into something less desirable." (etc., etc., etc.)
Stop! Seriously Michelle? Your son did something beautiful. One thing. One moment. Stay present to what is happening now. Feel it deeply and appreciate it for what it is... a young boy on his path of growing consciousness. He noticed tension in the classroom and used a tool from his toolkit to support him and his peers. That's all.
It shouldn't surprise me that even with all of my meditation practice, where I spend time noticing when my thoughts are going to the future or the past and gently come back to my breath -- to the present -- I still end up thinking these crazy thoughts. I will say however, how grateful I am for these same practices which allow me to catch these thoughts in their tracks. At times, finding the humor in what emerges from my mind, rather than believing the storyline is nothing short of a gift.
We have a small sign hanging from our refrigerator door that says "Don't believe everything you think." I think I'll keep it there... and consider hanging one around my neck.
Visit my website here.
Follow Michelle Gale on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mgale