Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I went out to the living room with my laptop and thought maybe this would be a good time to write. Instead, I had so many things I wanted to say circling around in my head that there I was, hypnotically staring at a blinking curser on a blank page – for hours. How could my brain be this messy that out of all of the ideas swirling around in it, I couldn’t separate just one to write about? So I closed the laptop lid, and decided to try to get some rest, right where I sat.
As I attempted to close my eyes, I kept feeling this sense of fear all around me. It was heavy and uncomfortable, like a bag of bricks sitting on my chest.
Each night I meditate just before going to sleep and usually wind up falling asleep during it. Part of meditation is being able to steadily control your breathing, but this fear had my breaths at a shallow and frantic pace. Whenever this happens, I usually force my eyes to remain closed as I remind myself to think on the love that I have for my children. I’ve tried many times to reach a meditative state by starting off focusing on the intention of love, but the way that is most effective for me — Is to think on my kids and then be engulfed by what I refer to as, “a mother’s love.”
There is no greater love I have ever known in my life, than the love that I have for my children. I would sacrifice my life in an instant to protect them. I would also allow them to face consequence for their bad decisions in order for them to grow, because I love them. No matter who or what they ever became, it would never make me stop loving them. I would defend them and protect their hearts, and give up everything that I had, in order to further their dreams. That is an unconditional love which most of us have only ever felt for our children.
I allowed that love to flow through all of my senses and as it did, my shallow breaths slowed down and become deep and purposeful. I could feel the stress in my shoulders, back and even in my tightly clinched jaw, completely lift and leave my body. And then I began to fall asleep.
Sometime later, I was immersed in a dream when the sound of my four year old whimpering from her room, immediately woke me up. I jumped up and made my way to her door as she met me there with tears running down her face, telling me that she had a bad dream. At this point, I was utterly exhausted. She decided to lay with me and tell me all about her dream as I struggled to keep my eyes open and my attention focused on her words.
My kiddo never has the typical child nightmares of monsters under the bed and things of that nature. Her nightmares are real life scenarios that would rattle anyone to tears. I gently rubbed her arm and listened as she slowly got the words out, in an effort to settle her enough to fall back asleep. I don’t know if it was the fact that she was snuggled up so close to me that I felt comfortable or what, but I wound up knocking out to dreamland while she stayed up watching television.
As I thought about it this morning I could see the resemblance between my daughter bringing her fear to me, just as I would bring my fears to God, with the desire for him to bring comfort, assurance and lull me back to a place of rest. In the Biblical scriptures we are told to, “Cast all of our cares (burdens) on him (God), because he cares for us.” For me, God caring for us, is a mirror reflection of how I care for my own children. When either of my kids are troubled by something — I want them to share with me whatever is bothering them. I want to shoulder their burdens and handle the things that are too far out of their scope to adequately handle, for themselves. My desire to even do this, comes from my love for them.
When we’re younger and our parents say, “It’ll be alright, I won’t let anything bad happen to you,” we believe them without question. It’s almost as soon as they utter that phrase, that our fears just disappear. It’s like all of the many times when my daughter comes to me with a scrape or bruise from playing a bit too hard. In that moment, she’s upset but as soon as I tell her she will be okay, she takes off like a bullet and right back to whatever she was doing before. Now as her parent, I might be concerned about her falling and getting hurt again as she’s zipping through the house — But she’s able to run off without a care in the world. I took her concern and reassured her that I’m here, I had it under control, and it would be okay — And she immediately gave up her worry.
In the act of me allowing my daughter to share her nightmare with me, listening, and assuring her that everything would be alright, it was enough to calm her previous fears and restore her to a place of comfort.
If only as adults it were that easy to trust something higher than ourselves with the troubling things that remain outside of our control. We all have worries of some form, from time to time. We stay planted in our fear and looking around for that source of comfort that we once had as a child from our parents.
As adults we adopt this unspoken rule that we have no choice but to carry it all. Through giving over to God, the Universe, whatever you believe in – All of the things outside of your control, which are creating your anxieties, means that you get to proceed unburdened.
What good is shouldering a burden for which you have no capability of fixing? Even if you do not believe in the existence of a supreme being, you can still ask yourself the same question and come to the same answer. There is no need to focus on worries that are outside of your realm to handle, and carry the weight of them around with you. It solves nothing.
My daughter eventually fell back to sleep, and woke up as happy as a clam this morning. She didn’t care to recount her dream, or talk to me about her rough night. She simply said, “Yeah, I had a bad dream, but I’m okay now!” and ran off to play. Meanwhile, I am downing coffee like it’s going out of style and trying my best to stay awake.
I knew last night that I was supposed to write something for all of you lovely readers, today, I just didn’t know what until now. I hope that it brings you the same insight and peace that experiencing it, brought to me!