On being tipsy and resenting children and Eckhart Tolle

My nearly 4-year-old J has really been getting to me lately. God love him, he knows how to push my buttons. (Perhaps anyone’s buttons–because really, who likes being communicated with in a steady stream of whiiiINE?)

I’ve found myself wishing, at times, that I had a different child. One less kinetic, less fiery. One less interested in turning every object into a weapon. I’ll take that boy over there, the one talking to himself while he colors at the table, absorbed. Or that little girl, sitting in her mom’s lap, watching the other kids at the park.

As luck would have it, I’ve started leafing through my still unread copy of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve had previous love affairs with Eckhart, but the last few years, I’ve found him so hard to relate to. Does he ever wear colors? Or burst out laughing? Or swear? Is he really a person? Or just a little alien elf, ported down on earth to write unnervingly insightful books and high five Oprah?

Anyhow, I stumbled into this:

Place your attention on feeling the emotion, and check whether your mind is holding on to a grievance pattern such as blame, self-pity, or resentment that is feeding the emotion. If that is the case, it means that you haven’t forgiven. Non-forgiveness is often toward another person or yourself, but it may just as well be toward any situation or condition–past, present, or future– that your mind refuses to accept… Forgiveness is to relinquish your grievance and so to let go of grief. It happens naturally once you realize that your grievance seres no purpose except to strengthen a false sense of self. Forgiveness is to offer no resistance to life–to allow life to live through you…The moment you truly forgive, you have reclaimed your power from the mind. The mind cannot forgive. Only you can. You become present, you enter your body, you feel the vibrant peace and stillness that emanate from Being.

Thank you, Eckhart, for this life-altering little nugget. You may be a strange, impish man with a monotone voice who wears too much beige, but damn, you’re good.

This whole forgiveness thing helps me understand a momentary break from my resentment towards J that I had last night:

After the 35th whiny intonation about why the chalk road I was drawing needed to be longer or orange or “more crazy,” I poured myself a nice big glass of wine.

I had a few sips. And I felt a little less resentment over the fact that I was squatting in our driveway, maintaining a slight jiggle to to keep baby C asleep in the moby wrap, and managing by some feat of flexibility and balance to draw a road for J’s dump trucks and dragons with teeth and spikes.

Halfway through the glass, I was actually enjoying J. Well, first, I was angry because I couldn’t find him, and was ready to enforce the rule about staying on our side of the white fence. And then I saw a rustling in the grass on the little planted strip between the sidewalk and the road. There he was, all nestled down, staring up at the golden seed pods arcing into the sky.


I had done the same thing as a child. I followed our black and white manx cat, Dolly, up a grassy hill near our garage and found her in a perfectly soft and matted cove in the tall grass. I crawled in after her, layed down, and had that dreamy feeling of being underwater, light filtering down through the green.

The nest in the grass that J had found was a few feet beyond The White Fence border past which he is not supposed to go unless he asks. But in that moment, in the glow of the wine and my childhood memory, I just connected with him.

As we smiled at each other and talked about how beautiful the grass was, I felt less angry, less resentful, less a beast of burden.

I don’t know how Eckhart would feel about this, but I think the wine helped me forgive. I think the wine helped me get out of my incessant mental chatter stream about all the really good reasons I have to feel resentful towards J. And I was able to just see him. And be there. And see how beautiful he was all nestled down under a grassy sky.

5 thoughts on “On being tipsy and resenting children and Eckhart Tolle

  1. What a beautiful post! I have to share that I was reading an Eckhart Tolle (even his name seems elfish!) book when I became pregnant with my 2nd child, and the book seemed to have lost all relevance to my life at that point! I haven’t picked it back up sense then!! But the quote you posted was absolutely beautiful, and also your pausing of your “safety boundaries” to experience a timeless, peaceful moment with your child…. those are the moments you will remember! What a good reminder to take the time to pause and cherish our young children! (well, the wine helps!) xoxoxo

  2. FYI: My son was pure kinectic energy for his first four years. I wrung my hands, I tried to get us outside for as much of the day as possible, I watched the mellow, sit-and-draw types with envy.
    Around 4, the balance began to tip just a little. Now, at 8, he can sit and focus for long periods of lovely, mellow time. Weapons are still of interest but he can shoot his bow for long periods, working on the practice of focusing attention.
    And hell yeah I drank a lot of beer during those first four years.
    So, here’s to celebrating their firey kinectic spirits and knowing that things do change.

    1. Thank you so much for writing this. I actually just had a break town about J’s non stop kinetic-ness. He just freaked the baby out with how fast he was bouncing him and I had to admit to myself that he really SCARES me sometimes. I doubt he would hurt the baby maliciously, but he totally could REALLY HURT the baby badly by accident, since he’s regularly jumping, smacking, zooming, banging around. He just doesn’t know how to slow down or settle unless he’s reading a book with me or watching tv or sleeping. And I struggle so much when I have to set limits with him when I’m feeling upset. I just get so angry and freaked out and lo and behold, our interactions don’t go well when I’m in that place. Ok. Balance tip around 4. That should be any day now….

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