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On the Desire to Hold Still

It is a strange space when things are suddenly better after they’ve been very hard. The slide downward was so slow and inexorable. I turned myself inside out trying to figure out how to help my children. I configured and re-configured schedules. I lowered the bar trying to make things possible for my son who was struggling. Time and again he went under the just-lowered bar. Everything hurt for months. He hurt. I hurt. Howard hurt. After all of that, to have things suddenly better is disorienting. I don’t trust it. Surely the climb back out should take as long as the slide downward. Also, we’re on summer schedule where stresses are next to none. There is every possibility that the advent of school will mean a return of emotional pain. So I’d like to rejoice when my children easily manage something that was a source of conflict or meltdown. I’d like to be happy that the son who moves through my house now is the one that I remember from before things got hard. Instead I feel like I’m holding very still, as if a wrong move from me could scare away the current good state of things. I’m afraid, but I know that hold-still-forever is not a viable life strategy. So I try to take each day as it’s own capsule, like a glass ball with a scene in it. If today is a good place, I hold it in my mind like a small treasure. No matter what comes next it can’t change the good I had today.

2 comments to On the Desire to Hold Still

  • Mike Barker

    Hum… I’ve been reading David B. Coe’s urban fantasies, Spell Blind and His Father’s Eyes. One of the small points of the magic there is what is called clearing, where you close your eyes and return in memory to a particularly poignant point in time. His protagonist has trained himself to do this, to prepare to work magic and to deal with whatever tumult is going on around him.

    It seems to me that this might be a strategy worth working on with your son, of picking one particular happy, fulfilling moment, and learning to make that the reference point to go back to in the middle of stress and problems?

    Centering, meditation, null-a, most of these disciplines have a similar notion of teaching yourself to stop and put yourself in the mental state you prefer, usually symbolized by a specific mental picture. Not so much holding still, but using that “good place” as a resting spot to get ready to take on tomorrow. Just a thought.

  • Peggy :)

    I know that feeling. The memory of the last time(s) you thought things were okay and then they weren’t make it so hard to believe that “okay,” “better,” and “good” can stay that way. I hate not feeling like I can trust things going well!

    The mental collection of small treasures/good times is such a wonderful idea. Thank you!! 🙂