I've been writing all week about 'when things go wrong' because that's when we usually need help. When things go wrong in my family (hard as it is to admit this), I often forget all of my mindful practices. I get upset, angry, worried, hurt, judgmental, withdrawn. But what has changed over the years is that I don't always react out of those feelings. Mindfulness has helped me build the capacity to slow down, take care of my feelings, and use some of the practices that I've been writing about (respond in two parts, WAIT, keep going).
The most important thing to remember when things are hard, though, is to connect with love. Love is a practical, game changing superpower in parenting and other parts of life. I've learned that I can reach for that superpower to comfort myself during hard times, to connect with and support others, and to see my children and other people with love rather than fear or judgment when I consider how to respond to them.
The best starting point, even though we may want to start with an outer response to an outer situation, is inward. When things go wrong, slow down and look inside, even it has to be brief. Notice how you feel. Breathe. Try the very accessible breathing practice that I've shared before, 'Breathing in, I am aware that I feel _________. Breathing out, I allow this feeling to be here.' You don't need to act on the feeling, just accept it.
When we connect with our loving energy and turn it inward, we are infinitely more able to respond outwardly to an angry child, a worried friend, a sick parent, a catastrophic natural event, the news, etc.
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 helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.