I've been listening to a pod cast by Pema Chodron, the Buddhist nun whose written a number of very good books about living with uncertainty.....and it's put me in a contemplative mood..... She is addressing the ways in which we get "hooked" in our habitual reactions to life......judgment, blame, anger, resentment, worry, fear, etc. She is offering teachings on how to "choose a different response" and to practice those responses each day without self condemnation..... but with the knowledge of our basic goodness. I am enjoying this immensely. I was thinking about us here, with our troubled kids and our responses to their lives, their choices, their behaviors.........and how much suffering it causes us. We've talked here about changing our responses and in the final analysis, I believe that is how we stop our suffering, by not getting hooked in our "habitual reactions." It occurred to me that this entire process of learning how to let go, learning how to accept, learning how to give up control over what I have no control over, learning how to surrender, learning how to not get hooked and learning how to live in so much uncertainty........ has broken me.......broken up the old defenses, the illusionary belief that I have any control, broken up the false persona which included perfectionism, judgment, blame........and it was that breaking and my incredible resistance to the breaking that caused so much suffering.......fighting reality with everything I had in me......fighting what is.......fighting the way life was showing up...........fighting life. Once I finally "broke" (and I mean that my defenses wore out).......that tiny bit of peace began to show up. I could see the futility in holding on so tightly to what I thought life SHOULD be like......rather than the way it is. Clutching so tightly to those illusions of control are what kept me stuck in suffering.......and killed the joy, the peace, the gratitude. As I've let go, I can see that it really is an everyday practice of learning how to unhook from my habitual responses, and as Pema Chodron states, first we have to acknowledge them. I think when we land here on this site it can be the beginning of acknowledging that we indeed have been stuck in a habitual response to our kids and we can then start to change that response. We can't change what we don't acknowledge, so that first step is crucial. She says that the second step, 'choosing a different response,' is very difficult .........and a clue to being stuck, is the response, "yes but" ......which essentially gives us permission and in fact, righteousness to continue whatever passionate reaction we have. The example she gave is when you are criticized or blamed. That gave me pause. How do I respond to that? How much time do I spend defending my position? These are more tools for me to continue my practice of staying in the moment and choosing peace. Each day presents me with many opportunities to respond to life with either a willingness..... or a battle, to respond with love.......or with fear......to hold on......or to let go.....the remarkable thing for me and the thing I am most grateful for...... and in awe of......is that it is my choice, that I have the choice, that I've made the choice and I can make the choice every single day. Today.......I choose peace, I choose love, I choose life. From that broken place, life begins.