So far there’s been a lot of positive stuff on this blog. Lots of creative, energetic and uplifting ideas. But not everything is love and light and right now I’m not feeling any of that, just angry and frustrated. Well, also a bit relieved. Why? Because I just managed to get my beautiful little daughter Joy off to sleep after a half-hour screaming session. I’m talking full-tilt, soul torturing screams, for thirty minutes. Now that might not sound like a long time, but even just a few seconds of a little baby screaming their head off is enough to tear your heart out.
I felt utterly helpless. The more stressed I got the worse she screamed. And then came the anger. At the point where I felt like there was absolutely nothing I could do to console my little daughter, who sounded like she was screaming for her life, on some level I basically lost it. It’s happened a couple of times before, and today’s little adventure into the darker part of my soul has resulted in a broken light switch. Yup, I really did just punch a light switch, and I smashed it real good. Of course straight after I felt like a complete loser, and it obviously didn’t help to console my daughter. In these moments the stark contrast between this raw, deeply aggressive and very dark force and the pure, sweet and true innocence of my daughter is really intense.
I’ve really struggled with becoming a dad, in ways I could never have imagined. It’s really, really hard! It brings up so much of our easily hidden patterns. In a sense it’s like having a really strong mirror that can reflect all of your shit. There’s been, and of course continues to be, some hard lessons. But I can honestly say I am making progress! Even this little incident that just happened; as painful as it was to experience this, and also to let one of my demons out of it’s cage momentarily, I can see how much progress I have made. In the beginning I would get locked into a cycle of feeling like an awful dad. Something would happen where I felt like I wasn’t dadding it right and I would feel shit about it. I felt like running away from it all on some level and I emotional withdrew myself from the situation, which in turn makes things worse and again makes you feel like a terrible father. Just keep hitting repeat and you get the picture. But after some beautiful, loving and direct reflection from my wife, coupled with my desire to really be a good father, things have really changed!
It was quite hard to swallow this kind of reflection initially, but the more I let in the whole situation and started to digest it, the more things started to naturally change. Of course it takes effort, but I think the deeper point is letting in as much of the situation as one can, and that’s with anything in life, especially things we find challenging. I haven’t really found a technique, practice or method that consistently works with this. But there continues to be a mysterious quality to being able to be open and interested in your experience is, is and being really willing to let it all in; to feel it, to let it move you. Sometimes that means taking a good old fashioned look in the mirror, or it could mean getting help, whatever works for you, or is right in that moment. But what you don’t want is stagnation. We all know what that is. It’s when a problem that has come up in life, usually between people, stays unresolved, and essentially stagnates. This is where so many of our problems that we experience between people get stuck. It’s part of the hard rub of being a human being; we exist in relationship, where we experience all the pain of conflict and separation, and all the beauty of love, connection and intimacy…oh how wonderfully complex we are!
So yeah, life can be really tough sometimes, but it’s really worth it! And with my daughter, along with the obvious challenges, has come something really incredible; endless love and joy! There is nothing quite like it. Not only is it unique in it’s purity and innocence, but it is helping me grow, shining light on parts of myself that are stuck in such a way that I can see how to grow, and am inspired to do so. I used to think this whole thing about my child is my teacher was bullshit, but I see it now. This isn’t about whether one has kids or not, or will have them or not, because that is between you and you, you and life, and no one should ever judge that. But I just wanted to share my own experience of this because it’s whats going on for me now. And in some way the birth of my daughter, and the growing love that we share, is probably the biggest inspiration behind me doing The Freedom Lab project, because she is inspiring me to the best me I can be. I hope to one day be someone she can truly look up to, and to give her the ground, love and understanding so she can truly be her own self in the best possible way. Dear Joy, I love you. Daddy is sorry for his occasional freak outs!