In the past, I’ve had fits of rage that were so violent it felt like my body was being taken over by outrageous weather. Like a hurricane. They were brief, explosive bouts of emotion that I couldn’t control.
In week nine of my first pregnancy, when the hormones were peaking and I had no understanding of what was going on in my body, I ripped an enormous, framed picture off the wall and flung it down the stairs. The glass shattered into tiny shards across the hallway, the beautiful painting flopped down, as if its artistic spirit was broken by what I’d just done.
It was horrifying. I couldn’t understand how anger like this came from me. Why it was so ridiculously out of proportion to whatever it was that had sparked the rage.
Inside me, a little life was unfolding.
I had to find a way to face the anger. Not shove it down and pretend it wasn’t there. Look at it properly. That was five years ago and the storms still come, less often and much more gently. Mild winters, not monstrous monsoons. Becoming a mother made me want to change, and learning how to meditate changed me.
I use the vocabulary of storms now with my own children, whose meltdowns are frequent and a necessary part of growing, day by day. Can you feel the storm inside you? I say. Let it pass through you, I tell them. The weather always changes. The waves will die down. That wild sea isn’t you, I explain.
You are the boat.