Koemba Blog

Shopping lists. Last minute tasks to complete. Another card you forgot to send! Here is how to stop the mind spin, how to stress less and enjoy Christmas. Yes, sometimes sad and bad things do happen at Christmas, but how we think about the situation can add to our stress or diminish it. 

The sixth blog of this CHRISTMAS series by Val MullallyMan with Santa hat relaxing by clock

T is for Thought Minding 

Don’t you sometimes wish you could let go the Christmas stress and just relax and enjoy?

“But there’s so much to do!”

The thoughts we tell ourselves add to our stress.

We can ease the stress by noticing our thoughts, because negative, self-defeating thoughts erode our sense of well-being.

It’s often not so much the circumstances that stress us  – it’s our thoughts about the situation.

“I’ll never get this finished.” 

“The meal’s ruined.” 

“But aren’t our thoughts our thoughts?” you may be asking.

We often have ANTs – Automatic Negative Thoughts.

ANTs are thoughts that jump into our heads  – that we often react to without assessing them.  Negative thoughts can make us reactive, which can cause the other person to react. So our thoughts become self-fulfilling. The good news is we can change our thoughts, when we are aware.

How to Let Go Of Thoughts That Stress

Notice what you are actually saying.

Is it 100% true all the time?

Is this thought helpful or is it winding you up?

To let go of unhelpful thoughts, first we need to recognise them.

Can you spot any of these in your own thought patterns?

Automatic Negative Thoughts

Mind Reading ANTs*

“She’s deliberately trying to wind me up.” 

“He just wants everything his own way.”

We presume we can read the other person’s mind.

We think we know their intentions are “bad” or uncooperative.

Fortune Telling ANTs*

We predict the worst-case scenario outcomes.

“The day will be a disaster.” 

Acknowledge that thought is not true. Consciously rephrase the thought to something that builds hope.

“Even if everything doesn’t go smoothly we will still enjoy ourselves.” 

“Always” / “Never” Thinking ANTs*

“He’s always late.”  “I can never …”

These words add to our stress and disempower us.

Whenever we notice those words and test the truth of our thoughts, it can help us to gain a more realistic and helpful viewpoint.

“Always late?” If the thought is not true 100% of the time, then it’s not true.

What would be more accurate? “He’s often late” or “He’s sometimes late”.

Change your words for something that reduces your stress.

“Guilt”  ANTs*

These often sound like ‘I should have … ’  ‘I must…’ ‘I ought to …’   

“I must give them a three-course meal.” “I should order that gift online.”

These “guilt” ANTs need careful testing.

“I ought to be kinder to myself” – probably yes.

“I ought to be doing more” – probably no!

“Guilt” ants make us feel stressed.

Test to see if this guilt causes s a vague thought that just unsettles you without creating any helpful outcome, or if it’s nudging you to take helpful constructive action.

Righteous Judgement ANTs⁠1

We pass judgement on ourselves and on others, causing a sense of comparison and stress, often leading to unhappiness.

e.g. “good” / “bad” ; “right” / “wrong”

“She’s behaving badly”,  “I’m right.” 

Unless you’re talking about a legal or ethical issue, where there is a defintive right or wrong, recognise that the strong line of  “right” or “wrong” is generally stressful.

Find words that are more helpful.  Perhaps reword your thought as a question. What happens when you view the situation with compassionate curiosity?

I wonder what might be going on for her that she is behaving that way?”

“I wonder what leads him to think that way?” 

Inviting our thoughts and feelings into awareness allows us to learn from them rather than be driven by them.    Daniel J. Siegel

Change thoughts to change feelings and behaviour

If your children’s behaviour is challenging, minding your thoughts will help to calm your reactivity, which will impacts theirs. For helpful insights  and practical tips on how to respond rather than react to your children’s behaviour, see my book, “BEHAVE – What To Do When Your Child Won’t – the three pointers to mindful discipline”

 

What is the impact of my thoughts on myself and on others?

When I change my thoughts,

it changes my feelings,

which in turn impacts my body reaction

which in turn affects my behaviour,

Which in turn affects other people’s behaviour.

Our state of mind can turn even neutral comments into fighting words, distorting what we hear to fit what we fear.  Daniel J. Siegel

It’s not that we won’t still have difficult situations to face.  It’s how we respond to them, rather than negatively react to them,  that can lower our stress levels.

 Becoming more aware of the thoughts, feelings ands body sensations evoked by events gives us the possibility of freeing ourselves from habitual, automatic ways of reacting, so that we can, mindfully respond in more skilful ways. Mindfulness notes – Oasis Centre, Dublin

M is for Mindfulness in the next blog in this CHRISTMAS series.

When I change my thoughts it changes my feelings which in turn impacts my behaviourSo it’s over to you:

What ANTs do you spot in your inner talk?

Try rephrasing any ANT you spot with words that reduce your stress.

Notice the impact this has on your reactivity and on others.

*. These Automatic Negative Thought categories proposed by Henslin, Earl  “This Is Your Brain On Joy”, 2008, Thomas Nelson, USA

1.  Added category proposed by Val Mullally – Koemba Parenting

Escape the Christmas stress by developing the mindful habit of “wait a little”. When we take time to slow down it not only improves our well-being it can also make life more enjoyable for those who are with us. The fifth blog of this CHRISTMAS series by Val Mullally.

S is for Slow Down

When I think back to my childhood in the Africa “bush” so many images come to mind. The huge red sun dipping slowly over the horizon in the evening, swimming in the river with fish nibbling your legs, raucous birdlife of amazing colours, moths and spiders as large as saucers, dry dusty soil – and thorns.

African sun at dusk

Thorns of all shapes and sizes, each inflicting its own type of pain. People who haven’t lived in that climate cannot imagine the variety of thorn:

  • large, spear-like woody acacia thorns that cause your foot to ache for days after an unfortunate encounter
  • the annoying little paper thorns that pepper your bare feet
  • the wicked devil’s thorns, like singular wooden marbles with vicious spikes in every direction, making it impossible not to get spiked
  • And the “wag-n-bietjie” thorns – “wait a little” because when you are caught by a string of these sharp, curved thorns which hook into your flesh and clothing, you have no choice but to “wait a little” and disentangle yourself.

Wait-a-Little As a Daily Habit 

Often it is the unpleasant things like illness or injury that hook into our lives and force us to  “wag-n-bietjie”. What if we choose to slow down and notice where we are in life, rather than waiting till circumstances force us to stop.

When we slow down we become mindful –  we become more aware of new information, we notice how one thing impacts another and we become more sensitive to the intricacies of situations.

Between stimulus and response there is a space… In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” Stephen R. Covey

Within the bustle of Christmas, let’s create pleasant slow-down moments.

Time to stop for a cuddle.  To go for a walk.  To watch children playing. To do nothing. To reflect.

 

Slow down this Christmas and enjoy peace joy love

Make space for the things that breathe life into your being 

Wait a little –  in an inner place of quiet stillness.

Each of us needs periods in which our minds can focus inwardly. Daniel J. Siegel

One simple way is to notice your breath. Stop the rushing. Just notice your breathing – in and out. Take time to notice the beauty around you. Open the door of awareness to experiencing awe.

Awe puts on the brakes, and keeps us still and attentive. Hedy Schleifer

The word “awesome” has become an overused superlative that has lost much of its meaning. Awe is not about “cool” – awe is much deeper. It touches our souls. Awe shows up when we slow down.

Why slowing down matters

Slowing down matters for our own well-being and it matters for those who are with us. We become more aware, more attentive, and we take stock of our lives. When we slow down, we open the door to awe.

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. Henry David Thoreau. Walden 

Paul Piff says awe makes us nicer and happier: “Awe causes a kind of ‘Be Here Now!’ that seems to dissolve the self, and as a result makes us act more fairly, more generously, more ethically.”

escape Christmas stress - slow down

So over to you: 

  • What helps you to slow down? 
  • What do you see are the greatest benefits when you slow down?

 In the fourth blog of this CHRISTMAS series, Val Mullally looks at Inspiration – how to breathe life into your passion. 

What’s been your film of the year? For me, the film of the year has been the BBC documentary “Drowning in Plastic” presented by Wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin. We urgently need to do things differently.

 I is for Inspiration

What about the mental pollution that we’re drowning in? Like the plastic in our lives, we initially think all this information and technology is useful, or fun, and we don’t realise how it’s seeping into every corner of our existence in ways that are toxic and destructive.

Seabird -Drowning In Plastic

Like the seabirds that are swallowing rubbish, are we unaware what we are ingesting? We don’t recognise how it’s strangling us – mental pollution that leaves little space for the psychological nutrients we need to thrive. Like the seabird chicks with stomachs full of useless plastic instead of life-giving nutrients, are we gorged on negative news, useless trivia and manipulative advertising that screams we are not good enough.

It is as Kabat-Zinn says,

Not only does unawareness go with the territory, it is the territory.

What can a person do?

It’s time to stop the madness.

Become aware. Notice what inspires you –  what fills you with hope and joy.

The root of the word inspire comes from the Latin inspirare – “to breathe or to blow into”.

What dreams do you want to blow life into?

Interestingly, in the paragraph above I accidentally typed “dreams” instead of “screams”. And it got me thinking – what is screaming in my life and how do I replace that with my dreams?

It’s time to clear the psychological clutter.

How do I substitute the mental pollutants with the things that inspire me?

Make space for the things that breathe life into your being

I know as a parenting author I  have to deliberately and systematically create space and time to write. If I wait until I am inspired I would hardly ever write. It’s about getting my bum in the chair every day and beginning to write. Then Inspiration comes. Not only when I am writing, but, she whispers to me as I walk the dog. She nudges me as I iron a shirt or stir the soup. I’m attentive to hear her when I’ve given the first part of my day, while I’m at my freshest and best, to writing.

Whatever inspires you, whatever your passion, breathe life into it daily.

whatever your passion breathe into it daily

At a global level, we urgently need to do things differently. It’s not only about the supposed “big stuff”.

When we follow our passion we each find our unique way of contributing to the greater good.

My passion, my inspiration, is that we can raise a generation who will:

think more clearly,

connect more compassionately,

behave more response-ably

and live more joyfully.

Will you join me in breathing life into that dream?

This Christmas let’s slow down and become aware of what matters.

(More about this tomorrow).

So it’s over to you.

In what ways will you choose to cut the mental pollutants in your life? 

Who and what inspires you? 

What things breathe joy and hope into your daily life? 

How can you bring more of these into your life in the year ahead?

whatever your passion, breathe life into it.

The third blog of this CHRISTMAS series:

What bugs me about Santa is that the one question he asks children is, “Have you been good?”

Where’s the unconditional love in that! Have we even stopped to question that!

What are the presuppositions in our society that are shaping our perception of the world?

At an individual and a societal level, we create a narrative of life from what we experience. This narrative subconsciously influences our thinking, our interactions, and our way of being.

R is for Relationship

Neuroscience is opening amazing new doorways to understanding that Relationship is essential to our well-being. But for at least the last century we’ve been seduced into believing that relationship is the poor cousin to what really matters. We’ve been brought up to perceive a false narrative as truth.

The narrative we have been sold is snake oil. We have ingested it, believing it will do us good. But it is a lie that has eroded our societal well-being. It undermines the fabric of society.FAKE NEWS that independence is maturity

And what is this snake oil that has been promoted as the solution to our problems?

Here is the 20th century deception that is still plaguing us, stated by Nathaniel Branden in The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem:

the central goal of the maturational process is evolution toward autonomy

What is True Maturity?

We were fed the lie that independence is the pinnacle of maturity. We were made to believe that if we were truly mature we wouldn’t need anyone else. Autonomy – pursuing a course for myself , often regardless of the consequences or impact. Doesn’t that sum up what’s wrong with our world today. Autonomy as the mark of maturity has been a dangerous and destructive narrative. That narrative is one of the greatest 20th century deceptions. It’s a narrative that destroys lives and destroys society. If we are focused on independence we lose sight that we are born to be relational beings. We forget the humanity of the other. It is a narrative that feeds fear and war. It’s a deception that has caused us to disconnect from who we are – beings who are made to be in relationship.

It is FALSE NEWS that independence is the mark of maturity!

Scientific Discoveries About Human Well-Being

A new and healthier narrative is evolving – one our world desperately needs. And interestingly that narrative is evolving from science. Neuroscience has proven our brains are designed to be in relationship. The neuroscientist Cozolino perceives a parallel between the neural synapses of our brains and what he terms the “social synapse – the space between us’. He states that our brains’ development is directly impacted by social interaction as “people, like neurons, excite, interconnect, and link together to create relationships.” Amie Senland*

Neuroscientist and parenting expert Daniel J. Siegel states,

For ‘full’ emotional communication, one person needs to allow his state of mind to be influenced

by that of the other.

It’s time to create a new narrative – a narrative of interdependence and co-operation as the goal of maturity – drawing from both ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science for a healthier, happier society. Human well-being is dependent on healthy relationships. We are not designed for isolated independence, we are made to be in relationship – to be collaborative and interdependent. We need to model this to the next generation, while there is still time to create a tipping point back to harmony and balance.

If we use how we were taught yesterday to teach our children today, we are not preparing them well for tomorrow.  Daniel J Siegel

Relationship

At an individual and societal level we need to heal breaches in relationship. What makes us fully and joyfully human is being in collaborative, nurturing connection with others. And this is especially true in parenting. Our children rely on us to heal the ruptures in relationship. We as parents are responsible for the emotional temperature in the home.

If this thought challenges or inspires you, you may enjoy reading my blog post on MyKidstime, “How to Avoid Christmas Meltdown By Understanding Your Child’s Temperament”.

Maturity is about collaboration and cooperation. This Christmas I invite you to think about how to create relationships that recognise this as the true goal of maturity. In our homes, education, work and social environments, how do we let go a narrative of authoritarianism and independence to embrace a narrative of collaboration and cooperation?

FAKE NEWS: independence equals maturity

So it’s over to you. I invite you to notice where you may have encouraged or modelled independence rather than cooperation.

What’s the one doable step you choose today that nurtures interdependence and cooperation in your relationships?

 In what ways can you support others to value cooperation and collaboration?

* Quoting Cozolino: “The Neuroscience of Healthy Relationships: Attachment and the Healthy Social Brain”   https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057240.2014.971483 15/12/2018

Hope in the Darkness

In the second blog of this CHRISTMAS series by Val Mullally

H is for Hope

What a strange year. Global chaos, and for some the turmoil is much closer to home. 

Perhaps every generation has years where the future looks incomprehensibly bleak. 

Yet there are glimmers of hope – of what is possible when people pool their resources and respond with compassion.

Stories of hope and courage, like the amazing international response to rescue a huddle of Thai boys, who would have been doomed to die, if people had not been inspired by hope. 

Light In The Darkness

Many years ago I visited the Sudwala Caves in South Africa, which also tunnel many miles into the bowels of the earth. There are caverns so huge that music concerts have been held underground.

When our tour group had walked some distance into the interior the guide warned us she would turn off the lights for a few minutes for us to experience the darkness.

We think we know what dark is. But unless you have been in that situation without even a twinkle from a star, you cannot comprehend a darkness that feels stifling in its totality.

So intensely black that nothing is visible. Not even your finger right before your face.

A cold fear begins to rise, even though you know this darkness is only temporary.

And then the guide lights a match.

The light of one little match flickers into the darkness.

I can see my hand. I can see my husband next to me. I can see the tour group members and the guide and the cave walls beyond. My anxiety melts away.

How amazing that in such extreme darkness the light from one little match can make such a difference.

Hope Lights The Darkness

Hope Lights The Dark

Yes, there is darkness.

And light dissipates darkness.

Every time you and I hate, fear, compete, attack, judge, separate—thus avoiding the necessary letting gowe are resisting the full flow of Love, the energy which is driving the universe forward.   Richard Rohr 4/11/16

The rescue of the Thai youngsters is a narrative of hope. Somehow those youngsters did not give up – they had hope. The task to rescue them seemed impossible – but those involved had hope.

Not a vague, wishy-washy hope – but a hope that takes action. A hope that makes the difference.

Collaborating. Cooperating. Drawing from collective wisdom. Ingenuity. Determination. Giving of oneself. Experiencing hardship and discomfort for the greater good. Taking action despite fear. Forgetting differences of religion and culture. Creating a different outcome.

Will we be light? Will we be hope?

Hope is what inspires us to keep going, to have courage, to find a solution, in our own families, in community, and at a global level.

Hope

You may also like

my blog that calls for a clear strategy to create a happier peace-full world.

If you are battling with post-partum depression, or want to give hope to someone who is,  here’s a true story from a guest blogger.

Mindfulness, hope, and compassion enable us to be resilient and function effectively even in the face of challenges   (Boyatzis and McKee, 2005, p. 63)

So over to you.

Are you allowing yourself to stay stuck in the turnip of your world or are you seeking narrative of hope?

Who inspires you? 

 What stories inspire you? 

How do you model hope in your own situation? 

In the next blog in this series, you’ll discover the 20th-century deception that erodes Relationship.

The first in our Christmas 2019 series.

How do I offer Charity without undermining a person’s dignity?

Here are two words that can make a huge difference: 

C  is for Compassionate Curiosity 

“All I want is a room somewhere…”

I hum along to the familiar tune on the radio.

And suddenly I notice the words in a way I never have before.

“Far away from the cold night air.”

 Eliza Doolittle is homeless!

My Fair Lady - Eliza Doolittle with Henry Higgins

I’ve never thought about it. I’ve known this song as long as I can remember but I’ve never seen the situation through Eliza’s eyes.

I watched the film “My Fair Lady” years ago.

And what I most remember are her amusing mismatched interactions with ‘Enry ‘Iggins.

I’ve never stopped and seen her as a person who has suffered.

A person who has had to face the dangers and the freezing conditions of sleeping rough. Nowhere to call home. Nowhere to be safe.

What is it like to have so little that your life’s wish is to have just one room where you can be out of the cold?

To wish you had just one chair!

What Can We Learn From Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle?

Yes, we want to make a difference.

We want to ease the other person’s suffering. But how do we offer charity without undermining a person’s dignity?

The secret to offering help without damaging a person’s self-respect can be found in two words: compassionate curiosity.

We need a curiosity that goes beyond a scientist’s passion for discovery. We need a curiosity that is infused with compassion – a genuine desire to understand and respond to the other person’s unique situation and experience.

It’s much more than dropping a few coins into the bowl, or writing a cheque.

We need to see the other person.  We need compassionate curiosity for the vulnerable people in our own communities, and also the people we see through the television screen, who may be on the other side of the globe.

We need to see the humanness of the other. We can fall into the trap of  Henry Higgins mindset that we must clean them up, and make them look and act like we do.

Let’s stop. Let’s stop and recognise their need for human dignity, as well as their need for food, shelter and safety.

Compassionate curiosity - the path to Charity

 

When we want to offer charity let’s recognise we’re in danger of seeing the other who is in need as our ‘project’ – like Henry Higgins did. He demeaned Eliza by not seeing her as a person in her own right.

Yet ultimately it was Henry himself who was probably most impacted.

It was Eliza that made him confront his own shortcomings, and the shortcomings of the system of which he was a part.

 

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.  (attributed to  Aboriginal activist Lilla Watson)

Isn’t it time that we see the other with compassionate curiosity –  to seek to envisage life through the other person’s eyes.

And, like Henry Higgins, we often are oblivious to the systems that keep people trapped in poverty.

Power systems that replicate fear and war.

Isn’t it time we address the real issue of systems of power that seek to hoard humanity’s privileges for a limited few.

Starting From Home

I believe that the solutions start in the home and in our school systems.

It starts with viewing ourselves with compassionate curiosity rather than with critical judgement.

If I want to be a kind, connected and compassionate person it begins with being kind, connected compassionate to myself.

I’ll only be able to give to others what I give to myself.

“Charity begins at home.”

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

Charity in our communities will grow from having a compassionate curiosity for those closes to us; we need a compassionate curiosity for those in our care.

What is life like when we see it through their eyes?

Eliza, like so millions of others, was a victim of her circumstances.

She didn’t choose poverty.

We overlook the huge disempowering impact of the systems of society.

CAN we make a difference?

If we want to change the systems of power it starts with changing those systems in the very first environments our children experience – our homes and our schools.

So often, with the best intentions, we have a Higgins’ mentality towards those in our care. We expect them to “behave” as we think they should, rather than seeking to understand and support them in ways that are meaningful to them.

We expect the other to behave as we think they should

 

I perceive the systems of power in the world will only be transformed when we model compassionate curiosity and mutual co-operation in the very earliest interactions in life, rather than impose our agenda.

It’s an old adage, but we often overlook the potential within it:

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

If you’d like to perceive what this looks like in the practical day-to-day living with a young child,  you will likely enjoy reading my book, “Baby and Toddler On Board – mindful parenting when a new baby joins the family”.

Isn’t our culture still  immersed in a Victorian “Henry Higgins” mentality that we have to “fix” the other  person, whether it’s our own child’s behaviour that we don’t like, the child in the classroom,  people who’ve taken different life choices to our own or people’s situations that threaten our own  level of comfort.

Higgins wasn’t able to make a difference, no matter how good his intentions were, as long as he saw the other person as a project.

He had to come face-to-face with Eliza’s humanness – and that transformed him.

My awareness challenge today is to notice when I slip into a  Henry Higgins’ mindset.

So over to you,  is there any way in which these thoughts on compassionate curiosity have challenged you?

Cathy

Thanks Val for a powerful, inspirational and creative coaching session.

Parenting Expert Val Mullally gives a call for peace –  a  call to every parent to take action for a happier, peace-full world.  

Do you ever worry about what sort of world your children will have to survive in? 

What sort of future will your child have?

It’s scary to have people in control of situations who are not in control of themselves.

It’s time for change. We need to be clearly anti-war. War is not an option.

“The cost of war not only to lives but to minds and imaginations, to the integrity of whole societies, is still unsurpassed.”  Rowan Williams

Cost of War to Lives, Minds, Imaginations and Society

 

It’s time for us to do differently. It’s time to raise a generation of people who know that all of us need and deserve mutual respect. We all need to learn how to cooperate.

It’s time to raise a generation who will lead well.

It’s our job as parents – and as grandparents –  to raise that generation.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Such an old saying we often don’t stop to think about the power of that statement. You, mothers and fathers, parents are the ones who rock the cradle. And grandparents, we rock the cradle too.  This task is so huge and so urgent that every one of us needs to be on board  to make peace a reality.  You, parents, are the ones who rule the world because you are raising the next generation. You are raising the next generation who will either continue to repeat the same patterns of using aggression as their tool of choice to force their own way, no matter what the consequences, or you can raise a different generation who know how to calm themselves so they can stay in the clear thinking “Green Zone”, and model how to find better, kinder solutions, that take everyone’s needs into account.

We, as parents – and grandparents – need to demonstrate by our own lives that any form of bullying behaviour is NOT OKAY.

Will you choose to set the example in your own home?

“There is a choice in everything, but in the end the choice makes you.”

The choice is yours. The opportunity is here.

We all hope we will be parents who act in a loving way, but, as my colleague Elizabeth Garry Brosnan says,

Hope is not a strategy

Always we hope for better, more, greater… but dear friend, hope is not a strategy!

If we want to stop having bullies running the world we need to have a quiet revolution in our homes and schools. We need a clear strategy to raise a generation of children who know how to navigate relationships in a way that is mutually respectful.

We CAN make the difference.

Homes where there is joy, where there is harmony, start with ourselves and with our family interactions.

And we have the potential to raise happier children who will create a happier, more peaceful world.

You are the cradle-rockers!

Decide to be one of the growing numbers of parents who have a strategy for a happier home, for relationships that model cooperation, communication and connection. Let’s rock the world! 

But how?

One small step in the direction to peace in the world and peace in our families is to be more peace-full in ourselves. Then we will have the inner calm to perceive what’s needed and to respond helpfully, even when things aren’t going smoothly.

When we know how to respond, rather than react, we’ll also be able to model to our children how to move from conflict to connection –  a core skill that makes for happier day-to-day living, and is needed at every level of our social, education, business and political interactions.

But how?

May I suggest you have a look at my  live online bootcamp “Stop Yelling – nine steps to calmer, happier parenting”.

It’s a starting point to being the cradle-rocker who makes the difference – even when your children are well past the cradle stage!

Let’s call for peace by living it. Let’s BE the difference that makes the difference.

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Every parent remembers those sleepless nights when your child isn’t well. When you are so tired all you want to do is sleep – but your sick child needs you!

Here is a beautiful reflection from our guest blogger Rebekah Florence. Please share your thoughts in the comments

Sick child - sleepless night

Ewan the dream sheep’s playing his harp,

Your blue teddy dummy is glowing in the dark.

My hand feels warm on your tiny toes,

I wish I could clear your snuffly nose.

It’s the third time tonight that we’ve heard you cry;

Your voice cuts through the silence and I heave a sigh.

It’s past midnight and the whole village is asleep

As in the creaky rocking chair our vigil we keep.

You cry, I sigh, ask God why? and curse your reflux –

Back arching, fighting, til your tired head to me tucks

And then, rocking together in our unsought midnight diad,

Met somewhere in between our dreams, and feeling deeply tired,

It strikes me how enormously this moment cheers my heart;

As we hold each other in the darkness, not wanting to part.

We would not these sacred chance embraces have collected

If your sleep was as the books on babies told us to expect it.

Shared with permission:

Rebekah Florence

copyright©RebekahFlorence2017

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