Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Exploring the layers of "yes"........

Something happened at the zoo yesterday- I don't know if I'd call it a break through but some kind of shift of understanding.....

We were having a great day, totally in flow.
Then we went to the dolphin show, where Kathrynn decided she wanted to sit up close to the trainers, the area where you get wet. So we sat there, and then didn't really get that wet. In retrospect I see now that she totally expected to get soaked or at least kinda wet, not just get a few drops of water on us.....
So after the show, she was devastated that she did not get soaked. She had one of her classical "allergy reactions"- and yeah I actually think it could have been a reaction to the ice cream she ate- but really it doesn't matter to me in the bigger scheme of things.

She was so so so so SO upset and just kept going on and on and ON about it.
I just held her, offered silence, empathy, explanations, based on what she was wanting from me. Eventually she just kept saying that she wanted to get wet.... over and over, as if by saying it enough I could magically make it happen! I'll get back to this later. :P

Eventually she asked me something she'd never asked me before- how I'd feel if I was the one who had been disappointed. I told her that I might have been sad and angry, and that I would have felt my feelings until I was done. And then I would have tried to enjoy the rest of my day. It was really interesting to have that exchange with her.

Well, eventually she moved through her feelings, and we sat outside for awhile so that I could get some good old deep breathing in as well as get clear myself. We were both in good spaces when she remembered the elephant show she wanted to see. We were about 5 or so minutes late and it was over by the time we got there.... when we walked up kids were petting the elephant (so I'm actually thinking they skipped the show? not sure). Kathrynn was not interested in petting the elephant (although she usually is) and then sobbed some more because she'd missed the show.

Then we went to visit the goats, where you can pet them and sit down next to them. When she pulled at the gate and it wouldn't open she started to sob again. It was like she really needed to unleash all that emotion, until she was really done- and after the first thing that set her off (the dolphin show), it didn't matter what it was, she just had to keep releasing and releasing.....
Turns out you just had to turn a knob for the gate to open, so she quickly flowed into everything being ok and then had a great time w/ the goats and then there was a snake talk right next to that that she loved, and all was well......

At some point, after the elephant breakdown, she was sobbing that the only way that things would be ok is if we got more tickets and went on more rides. We'd already used up all our tix at this point and I was not wanting to spend anymore money, and was wanting to leave around 4 to avoid rush hour, and was tired and ready to go (the zoo can be a bit of stretch for me on a variety of levels) , AND I pretty much realized that she was doing whatever she could do to put off the inevitable... the transition of leaving the zoo. (transitions are particularly difficult for us)

In retrospect I also see that she was wanting me to do things that would "make it all ok." It started with- if I could have magically fixed it so that the dolphins could have splashed her, if I could promise her that next time we went to the zoo she'd get splashed, if we could come back tomorrow so that she'd get splashed then, if, if, if, if!!! When I could not make her dolphin experience any different then it was, those "ifs" morphed into- if I bought more tickets, if I bought more ice cream, if we went on all the rides again, THEN things would be fine....

I was thinking about an exchange on a yahoo group last week- how sometimes saying no to someone else can be saying yes to yourself, and conversely that sometimes saying yes to someone can be saying no to oneself..... I *could* have said what the hell, lets go on more rides, or, yes let's have more ice cream, because that would have made her happy, in that moment. But then we'd still have to transition out of there, and I'd have spent more money, and I'd be in the middle of rush our traffic, and I'd be further into my own mental breaking point. I could have chosen all that, and have in the past. And to be honest, it probably would have been "fine." But that's really not what I wanted... It's not what felt 'right.'

I wound up explaining the rush hour situation to her, and that we'd already used the 14 ticket pass that we'd bought for the day, and that she'd gone on every ride at the zoo already, and that at some point it was just going to be time to leave.... and then proposed an idea of what to see last, which she then added something to also, and then somehow, we were done talking about it, and we both flowed through the rest of our zoo experience together. And the rest of the afternoon went perfectly.

I'm not sure quite what I'm saying.... I'm wondering at what age kids stops thinking that parents can make everything right in the world..... and I'm wondering if I've elongated that for my child because in the past I have gone to the ends of the earth to kinda make sure everything *is* right in the world for her...... Admittedly, I have often done all that has been in my 'power' to make those "ifs" happen for Kathrynn, often times because her discomfort was too much for me, and other times because I felt I *had* to self sacrifice *for* her.....

Many of you may be wondering what the big deal is. You see, I'm a "Yes!" Mom! I heard no a lot growing up, and probably would have been that way myself if I hadn't found unschooling when Kathrynn was about 6 months old. Over time I found that saying yes to Kathrynn was an amazing part of my own internal growth- wanting to be able to say yes more then no forced me to really examine my choices, my fears, my belief systems. It became immensely freeing and expansive to say YES! And yet, there have been times when for reasons I alluded to above, I have said yes to her, which resulted in a no to myself. I have only started to really internally deal with that pattern in the past year, and it's been a slow trip for me to uncover the foundation for being a proud yes mom. :)

Yesterday I had the 'power' to say yes, but that it didn't feel good to me to say yes, and on many levels would have been saying no to me....... Instead we talked about it, expressed emotions about it, and came out on the other side in connection and in peace.

I guess all of this sounds trite, but there is a subtle shift going on inside of me, on all sorts of levels, and this is just one of them that I can grasp.... There is a shifting of consciousness going on, for both Kathrynn and myself. I'm full of appreciation that we are partners on this journey.


  1. So interesting! I SO wish I could remember which book I read about this topic in, but what resonated with me is there is always a way for everyone to be happy in a particular situation. It may take some negotiating to get to a point where everyone will be agreeable with the outcome, but we can all get our needs met. Sure, there is some compromise and some discussion, and those are all good life skills. Great post!

  2. Such an interesting read. Thanks for a great post.

  3. :) Thank you for putting this into a post! We've only been unschooling for a year and living the life of "yes!" for about 1.5 years. We have come a long way but saying "yes!" in a family w/ three children means that saying yes to one child may mean no to another. And I too grew up in a "no!" family and there have been times when I feel like we say yes to everyone but me. This post has given me some good thoughts to ponder. Thank you!