The (four) barbers of Seville

Meditation, Motherhood

When my eldest son and I came out of the cool, hipster new barbers’ near where I live yesterday, he hung his head and quietly said ‘I look like Violet Beauregarde. But that’s ok.’

Well, it was not ok with me. He wasn’t going for his first school photo today with a retro 20s bob – no way! Being afraid of confrontation as I am (meditation is not a panacea) I took him straight to another barber. She assessed the situation in a fraction of a second and barked out ‘I don’t do corrections here. No way. Cutting kids’ hair is hard enough.’ We left.

I took him to a third barber, who looked at my son and nodded sagely. I thought no words were needed, really. It was clear that my son’s awesome, shaggy cut had been hacked into a style more suitable for a grande dame of fashion like Anna Wintour and not a 5-year-old at the tail end of his Junior Infants year. I turned for a moment to the other two boys, who were running wild with clutches of free lollipops in their hands, and by the time I turned back, this barber had merrily hacked off all of the hair on one side of my son’s head.

So this is when I totally lost it. Something exploded inside of me, an absolute fireball of foul temper. A beat passed. The barber looked at me, scissors hovering over the child’s head. ‘You didn’t want… short?’ he asked hesitantly. No, no, no I raged and wept internally. In real life, I calmly said, ‘Ok, you must have misunderstood me. We need to even it up now and make the best of it.’ But then, I legged it – three straggly, sticky boys in tow: he’d brandished the buzz cutter thing with clear intentions to completely decimate what was left of my son’s floppy, wavy blonde hair.

We went to a fourth barber. He was a broad and big man called Teeno. He took one look at Kit’s hair, shook his head, whistled, exhaled and said: ‘Let’s fix this.’ He gave my other two sons cars to play with, he made me a coffee. His lollipops were shaped like feet, so the boys were beside themselves. He made my (patient) son’s hair look normal again.

Meditation boosts this thing called adaptation energy. It gives you more rope to work with before you snap. It’s all relative; I get that hair is not a big deal. But before I started a regular meditation practice, I would have probably lost my temper at barber No.1, barber No.2 or barber No.3. I’d most likely have cried when barber No.3 lopped the entire side of my son’s hair off. And I might not have been quite as ecstatically grateful when barber No.4 – Teeno the Conqueror – remedied the whole mini-saga with lollipops shaped like feet, coffee and some skillful cutting.

Having that little bit of extra rope elevates your daily life, making things easier for yourself – and so for everyone around you.

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