Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dinner time is OUR Time

This is a follow up to "I Hate Dinnertime!" blog post from a few days ago.
Dinnertime was not fun. Pretty unpleasant for a week or so. Then I got present that I could create something and transform this area of my life.
I took a good look at it and what I had already been doing:

I was resisting making dinner until the last minute. It was a big "I HAVE to."
I was making dinner with a left over pile of dishes from earlier in the day stacked up around me...UGH and feeling like “it’s all on me” and stressing out.
I was throwing whatever food there was together, really bored with the food I was cooking and practically slapping it on the table.
I was hollering at the kids to help set the table like they are in trouble, as if they should have known already, read my mind or something and have the table set without me even asking. They were in trouble before dinner even started!
I was sitting down and saying grace in a rush.
I was getting really upset and resentful with the kids for putting their elbows on the table, maybe even feet on the table, playing with their napkin and not eating... or eating with their fingers. I would snap at them and feel a rush of anger.
I was yelling at them to eat at the table and someone often cried.
I was comparing my kids to how I think I was, an obedient child at the table and I am making them totally wrong.
I was wanting to quit being a part of this family.

The result was I had a miserable dinner experience. I had an experience of myself as a failure of a Mom.
I had a clenched stomach and kids with stomach aches after dinner.
I had kids who were being yelled at at a time of day when all we all wanted is to be together and enjoy each other.
I had a husband who worked all day to provide for us and came home to a stressful dinner and resentful wife.
This really, really doesn't work for me.
When I really looked at myself, who I was being was focused on my own stress.
I was being angry, unpleasant and frustrated.
But I was right to be this way. I was justified because of the way the kids were behaving!
When I looked further though, and really told the truth on myself, I could see I was being a victim of my own creation... the three kids, family, the idea of a nice dinner, was all my doing and yet "woe is me!". " I can't take it!"

When I blogged last week, I really got to see that what is probable is that I will continue yelling at dinner, having a miserable dinner and husband and kids who don't feel honored and appreciated, and I will, most likely, continue being angry, unpleasant, frustrated and self centered and continue to have miserable dinners.
That's just the way it's going to continue to go!

That was not okay for me. I know I could survive it. People do. I could. It could keep going like that, but I am committed to an extraordinary life, to creating love and aliveness, so I got to work.

I looked at what was missing that would make a difference and I saw being present, engaged in life, really creating dinner time as special was missing. What was missing was honoring my husband and seeing joy in my kids. I could see that being present, honor and joy is missing. And what that would make available is Loving Ease and Grace!

So I created the possibility of Loving Ease and Grace and suddenly a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me. I began to think like a southern belle, a hostess, and wonder what I could create. I dug out our fancy table cloth and china. I asked Mom friends for creative ideas. Last night I set up the dinner table a half hour ahead of time and when I put a candle on the table, the kids came over, curious and wanting to help. They set the table like a couple of adorable helpers, even folding the napkins. I cleaned the kitchen well in advance and made a delicious salmon dinner with dill, zucchini and roasted potatoes and brownie sundaes for dessert. When my husband came home with the candle lit and table set, I knew he felt honored. I was proud to place that dinner on the table that looked beautiful and my son even asked to do something which I had started from creating the possibility of Loving Ease and Grace, which was each say the rose, thorn and bud, from our day, the best thing, worst thing and something we learned. ( Thanks Pam for that idea!) The kids enjoyed taking turns and even though my husband had a bad day ( his father is in the hospital and work is piling up) I got that I could hold the space at the dinner table for us all to be connected anyway. And when my son puts his knee up and the other one was taking an eternity to eat, I saw that my automatic way of reacting would be to demand for them to stop, get loud and unpleasant. Inside of my possibility of Loving Ease and Grace, however, I simply whispered to them, and asked them whether or not that behavior was appropriate. They were surprised and corrected their behavior. No tears. No yelling. I got that I get to hold the space for the future of good table manners and in the meantime I am THE ONE to create loving ease and grace right now, matter what. I really got that it was ME all along that was creating the anger and miserable dinner, not them. They are having a blast eating with their fingers and playing with their napkins. It was ME that was making dinnertime upsetting by getting angry about it and yelling. I don't have to be that way! I could come from loving ease and grace no matter what.

So last night, my kids ate, shared about their day, felt heard and special.
And it wasn't the table cloth, china or brownie sundaes that made it special, it was me being responsible for creating the ambiance and being loving ease and grace.

At the end of the night my husband thanked me for the dinner and said that it really meant alot to him after the day he had, that I had dinner be that way for him and the family. The way his body relaxed showed that he felt supported and honored. He shared all about his day, which is something that probably wouldn’t have happened if we had all been yelling at each other at dinner the way we had been.
As he shared about his day, I got that everything he does is for us, and I am committed to him feeling love, support and the gratitude we have for him, everyday, and did last night, and will continue to, from me, being The ONE to get present and create from the possibility of Loving Ease and Grace.

Thank you Landmark Education and everyone who attends for the daily miracles of relatedness I get to create using this work and your coaching.
I get to have what matters most to me, present to the miracles of love in my family.

Zen Honeycutt

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