Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Now....

There is a beautiful children's book called Milton's Secret by Ekhart Tolle.  Milton is a young 11 year old boy who is a happy child.  He lives with his parents, has a cat, and loves to play outside in recess.   But soon, things start to change for Milton - a boy Carter in his class begins to bully him.   Milton's mood begins to change.  He becomes withdrawn, now all of a sudden does not seem to keen on going to school-that is until his grandfather visits him and notices the changes in him.   Milton slowly opens up to his grandfather about what is occcuring in school - and his grandfather's response is - "Be in the Now."  Milton as you can imagine is extremely confused - "THE NOW?" what does that mean - and then the grandfather begins to explain to him - as best as he can - being in the now means not worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow or what is going to happen while on the way to school - but more so being in the now means just living in the moment.   Milton is still confused - as so many of us may be - until he has a dream.   The dream he has is of him being chased by a dog and some boys and he ends up inside an icecream store.   And he sees a woman who shows him the inside of the NOW - The inside of the now is very simple - learning to feel good about yourself - and figuring out what it takes to get you to feel good about yourself.   In this book, the inside of the now is Milton imagining himself to be filled with light - and if the light makes him feel good, then that's what he will do to keep himself in the now.  There is another key point in here - that about the bully - that he is sad, he is angry at himself, he is upset at something and so he takes out his feelings of anger, etc on someone else to make himself feel good about himself.

Milton's Secret has been made into a movie and I would strongly recommend this book to those in the school system and educators who are working on violence and anti-bullying measures. 
I bring this up because recently, my son started complaining of headaches - and very unlike him not wanting to go to school.  His words to me were " I Love school, and I want to learn, but I don't want people bothering me."   For me, this was an indication that he was building up tension  in himself.  Very unlike a child who is typically very verbal.  But just like in the story, the grandfather began asking Milton questions, we began doing the same thing.   I started asking, and he started talking.   The headaches since the time he has talked have subsided, but something else happened - he began focusing in the NOW.   The NOW for him is not worrying about what is going to happen when he goes on the playground, The NOW for him, is not thinking about the words he has to use to defend himself, The NOW for him means that while he is in class, he is going to enjoy class, and while he is in line, he is going to be in line and when he wanted to feel good about himself, he knew he could turn on that inner light in him to begin to feel good about himself.   We read this book together, and something in him clicked - he said he was going to try to focus on the NOW.   Is his story the same exact as Milton's? No it isn't.   Is it the same type of severity? No it isn't.  The issue is not about how mild or severe it is, the issue is about the effect this can have on someone if they do not have an outlet to talk about things - from both ends. 

At some point or the other each of us have been subjected to a similar type of situation - and we either internalize it just like Milton started doing or we begin to externalize it like the "bully" in the story.   What I liked about the book, is that it showed compassion - and learning to understand where the bully was coming from. So while it is not okay put up with their actions, it is okay to try and understand why the other person is hurting.   And it began to make sense for my son - he began to realize that we are not all bad - and if someone does bad things, it doesn't make them bad, but more so that maybe they need help or something has happened to them to make them do bad things.  

I share this personally for those that may be struggling with this either at home or in school or even in the workplace.  Just as I told my son, we always have a choice - we always have a choice to act or not act, to respond or not respond, we always have a choice to take what someone does to us personally or not personally - and if we begin to realize that, together we can create more healing communities and environment.    Below is the link:

Journal Prompt:   If you have difficulty expressing what you are feeling, draw it out.   Drawing helps get the emotions out especially when the words are stuck somewhere.  Draw out the scenario that keep replaying in your head, Draw out the pain if that's what it is and describe what it feels like, Draw out the person hurting you.   Now once you have finished drawing, write for five minutes.   If you are doing this with a child, then just let them draw or sketch.   But have them do it more than once.   One more idea, sketch or draw what THE NOW looks like to you. 

Happy Journaling!

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