Over the past few months, James has learnt to walk, as a result, he's into everything faster than I can react. I've had far more practise walking, running and jumping than he has, yet he's still faster than me. How's that?! As a result, I can no longer protect him from the myriad bumps, knocks and falls. The result? Crying, punctuated by piercing screams, has become a daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence. And I can feel my patience slipping, my frustration rising...
About a fortnight ago I decided 'enough was enough', the crying is likely to continue for the short to medium term, so I had better find a way to deal with it. Crying is an alarm bell, so I've started using it as that: when I hear James cry, the first thing I do (when I remember) is breathe out, to still myself. I try to use his cry as a wake-up call for myself, to remind me to become conscious, to come back into myself, to return from my thoughts and become fully present.
I will be the first to say this is not a perfect plan. As I race to him as he's just fallen into a box, out of a box or over a box, I don't always remember. But sometimes I do remember and when I do, I'm so pleased because I had turned a potentially negative reaction into a more peaceful response.
In order to try this at home, you don't need a screaming baby (but it does help!!), we can reprogramme our reaction to any source of stress: the phone ringing, the boss yelling our name, the rude driver who just cut us off... We have a choice, a small moment of opportunity, when we can choose to respond consciously instead of reacting blindly to life around us.