It is cold...really cold. I think that even folks who live in regular houses are cold with all of this arctic weather going on. Last night, we returned from visiting a local restaurant and as we stood outside the door of the RV my husband's key wasn't working. Frantically and freezing I am digging through what my son referred to earlier as the bowels of my purse searching for my set of keys, the two layers of clothing don't seem to be helping at all. IT was 17 degrees!! Finally, I find them and try the door, it opens but the inside screen door seems to be frozen shut. All is well, we all file into the RV and huddle around the heater...my daughter is giggling uncontrollably as we are all hugging each other warming our hands and our hearts. Living this life for the last 16 months has brought about so many family moments. Moments that take my breath away in awe for the love we share as a unit. The five of us, living in incredibly close quarters. Our only escape from our togetherness is the great outdoors. There are no bedroom doors to slam shut, there is no place to hide from conflict...it's all here, right in front of us. And with this arctic blast of weather we are all here huddled together figuring out how to make it all work.
I keep presenting this lesson to our kids about how dealing with personalities, differences and emotions within our family is a microcosm for the macro of our relationship with our brothers and sisters of the greater world around us. Learning to love the things that annoy us the most in our siblings and even in our parents is a hard lesson (heck, I'm 42 and just now getting it) but if doing this work within our own family will help us to connect with the world around us easier and on some deeper level then what a great reward. Having that kind of compassion is difficult in so many ways but there it is everyday...right in our faces, over and over again. It wouldn't surprise me if there are those who think living this way is downright cruel to our kids. Togetherness can be too much of a good thing can't it? But my question is how do we stretch, how do we grow, how do we come to terms that there is always going to be things that exist in others that just rub us the wrong way?
Many times when I can get really present within my own self I realize that what seems to bother me the most is a quality or issue that I myself have within me. Ahhh! The great mirror of truth, how ironic that it shows us so much that there is yet to be seen. Reflecting upon that mirror I see there is much work to be done. On my path these kinds of revelations keep coming up. I see them in my kids too, with all this togetherness. The two that seem to have conflict the most almost always complain and fuss about qualities and actions that they both have within them. I attempt to point this out sometimes and it just makes them angrier with me and with each other. I think it could be a good thing to push ourselves toward understanding. That mirror always reflects some truth. I know this sounds kind of cheesy but lately when the kids have had issues/conflicts with each other I have asked them to stop and to breathe. I ask them if the thought, the action, the words are coming from their heart. In that moment, with my question, they recognize that it is not. Then I ask them, "Where is it coming from then?" I'm not sure if they actually know where it is coming from exactly, but just the recognition that it is not coming from their heart is a start.
Funny also because it encourages me to practice what I preach as well. I think being their teacher inspires me to greater growth as well. Hopefully all of this togetherness will help us continue to grow the warmth in our hearts for our little microcosm and for the macrocosm of it all.