Some nights, I am filled with resistance. I feel it tugging at me as my 5 year old autistic son pushes back the world hard as the day nears to an end and he is weary of it. I am weary too and each request he makes of me feels like he is cornering me and berating me for everything I do wrong.
The resistance has a voice that barks harsh ideas in my head. He’s doing this on purpose. I can’t take one more thing. I am close to losing it. Why does it all have to be so hard? Each thought feeds the resistance until I have full blown aversion and then all I can do is hold on tight and try not to let it roar out of me. It has done before. It hurls nastiness and covers everything in a thick cloud of pollution that will make a film on the surface of our skins.
Tonight, I found the pause button between feeling and reacting. I stayed with the feeling and let the thoughts float away before giving them power. They are the story that adds fuel to the fire and none of us needs a fire at days end. I heard them, those familiar taunts, and saw how ugly and useless they were. I saw how they didn’t tell the true story. They storified my feelings and wanted to make a movie all about me and my big, hard life.
I didn’t believe them. I saw them for what they were. Instead, I stayed with the feeling of resistance. I found it in my balled up stomach muscles, tightened as if I was about to be punched by life. I found it in my throat, closing up hard to keep out a full breath. I felt it hot inside me, spreading over all the other feelings so I couldn’t feel that they were present too.
Feelings like love. Like joy. Like gratitude for another night with my boy, safe sleeping at my side.
Resistance is only a part of my story as a mother. Sometimes, it is a strong part and that is true. But I won’t build it bigger by following the thoughts that make it louder and ultimately lead to damage.
Instead, I name the feeling when it comes. There is resistance. There is aversion to having to do another task that makes no sense to me.
I feel the feeling in my body. There is heat and hardness and contraction. I stay there, feeling what I feel and not adding to it with toxic thought bubbles.
I make it through without flinging hurt around me. Without judging my son for behaviours that I don’t fully understand.
Lying next to him listening to his soft breathing as he sleeps at last, I don’t bother with those thoughts and not bothering with them allows them to float away from me faster than they would have done if I’d given them voice.
I feel the resistance and it is waning. I breathe into the spaces it occupied and notice that they are loosening their grip. All that is left is a residue.
Resistance will come again and that is true. I will feel it and let it leave and when it is gone, I will return to breathing next to you.
I will try to see the many tasks that you need me to do that I don’t understand as opportunities to show my love to you – to serve you – to bow to you.