Conflict, frustration, and anger are pretty normal things in parent-child relationships. We get used to them, learn how to navigate them, and (when we're lucky) learn that love can bring us back together even when things are very hard. We accept our children as worthwhile, lovable people even though they can be really difficult.
This opens our hearts. Our children remind us that our hearts don't live entirely within our own bodies. As parents, we know that we aren't separate from our children. We are deeply interconnected.
A little imagination, a little openness helps us to understand that the same is true with other people. Listening to the news yesterday, I heard an interview with a young man who had been in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando just before the shooting. I cried as I heard him describe getting texts from his friends on his way home, telling him what was happening. I felt the pain in his voice. His heart was my heart right then.
I know there really is no 'other,' we're all connected. I feel it with some people easily, with others it's hard to sense. But it's always true. By recognizing the heart connection, I expand. I am stronger, even in pain. Each time one of us builds this connection, the world is more whole.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.