Reflections on Isolation
We are not alone in our parenting ways. We are all here together, connected as part of the whole. And the parents who do it all differently are connected with us, too. We just may not recognize it yet.
The illusion of separation hurts. If I look at a mother who yells at her child in the park and see her as ignorant and careless, I create my own isolation and pain. If, instead, I notice how she is at her wits’ end, feeling helpless and out of control, I am with her. She is part of me. She is a mother in my own movie, my own life. I have a mother here with me who is having a hard time, and a child who is hurting. How can I help? For my sake, I help because I want a kinder view for me and my children.
If I see garbage on the ground in the park, I pick it up because I want the park to be clean. If I see a yelling parent, I want a kind parent and child; so I help. I bring kindness into the world of that moment. I may validate or offer physical help if I can and if it is needed and welcomed. If I can’t help, I hold loving and validating thoughts toward the mother and child. Sometimes a loving and understanding eye contact will make the whole difference. In that split second, the mother connects with me, knowing she is not alone, not judged; she and I are a community. She may calm down and kindness may flow through her.
I often receive calls from mothers who feel isolated; no one else sleeps with their children, lets them be their own way, etc. Let me tell you what I see: They want to, they just don’t know, and all human minds are designed to defend their position. If you see them as separate, wrong, or stupid, you isolate yourself and exclude them from the possibility of love. It is the same when we brag about our children: The joy is not personal. Each child is part of the whole. We can rejoice with the successes and happiness of all children and parents. Any child’s happiness is mine and yours, and any pain is also mine and yours. Each parent is part of creating the whole. Our children are not mine or yours as individual parents, but ours to celebrate and nurture together. To create peace, all of us have to get to this loving place of connection. We must take care of every mother and child.
Taking care does not mean intervention or judgment, only inclusion and responsibility. This mother is part of me. I have in my community a hurting child and parent. I help, or I hold my loving thoughts. It is like having pain in my arm. My arm is part of the body—I see it as me and I care for it. The upset mother is also part of my universe, to be taken care of—with love.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #22.
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