Last week Lola was on edge off and on for a few days. She has trouble with transitions and the weather has been crazy around here - sunny one day and snowing the next - and basketball season ended on a Saturday with lacrosse starting a mere two days later. She expressed her discomfort with the upheavals in her routine by erupting in to hysterical outbursts of screaming about seemingly pathetically small upsets (like being told she had to put her laundry away before watching TV). She was unpredictable - teary one minute and her normal, smiley self the next.
Thursday morning she woke up slowly which is terribly unlike her. She normally bounces out of bed with enthusiasm and a rush to greet the new day. She balked at being asked to eat breakfast and gather her schoolwork up and just wanted to sit on the couch and watch television. She moped out to the car and when we arrived at school, burst into tears when she remembered that her least favorite teacher was teaching that day, substituting for her favorite teacher who would normally be there.
I asked her to climb in to the front seat of the car and close her eyes. I turned on the seat warmer, told her to place her feet on the floor of the car and take a few deep breaths. I guided her through a simple chakra-energizing routine (she loves visualizing the colors of her chakras and sending energy from one to the next) and then asked her to sit quietly and think of a few things that make her unique and special. Is she generous? Funny? Loving? Clever? Artistic? Musical? When she had a short list in her head (I didn't ask her to share them with me or justify them in any way), I asked her to choose one of her favorites and hold it in her mind, surrounded by a color of her own choosing. I asked her to think of a few examples or ways she exhibits this trait in her daily life and sit with those for a moment. When she was done, I had her breathe deeply one more time and open her eyes. The whole thing took about five minutes.
She seemed much more calm and relaxed when I walked her into the classroom and said goodbye.
At the end of the day when I came to get her, she bounced into the car with her normal mile-wide grin, clamoring for a snack as she rattled off details from her day. Mid-sentence, she stopped and said,
"Hey, Mom! You know that meditation we did this morning? You know what I chose? Funny. I'm funny. And I swear that I was the funniest today I've ever been. Just congratulating myself this morning for being funny in my head made me more likely to be funny all day long. I swear I cracked everyone up all day long. It was awesome!"
We agreed that this was a cool new meditation to keep in our bag of tricks and I tried it myself the following morning. The trait I chose was generosity and you know what? Lola was right. I found myself being more generous than normal all day long. Simply because I had recognized that generosity was one of the things about myself I like the best.
What trait would you choose?