Episode 42 – From Resentment to Kindness (with a Fever of 103)
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel talks about anger and resentment. When we feel wronged or hurt, instead of lashing out, is there a way we can use challenging situations as a way to grow? As something she’s personally dedicated to working on in 2018, Rachel gets candid and honest about her personal anger issues and how harboring resentment holds her back in relationships. While struggling through her baby girl’s first bout of sickness, she finds herself feeling fearful and sleep deprived, eventually leading to anger and feeling resentment toward a close friend. Acknowledging your anger is important – it’s when we cling to it and it becomes resentment that is starts tripping us up! Realizing that resentment takes us away from kindness and compassion and separates us from finding a solution to the problem is the first step to letting it go.
[001:25] Hi and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. I am sitting here with very mixed emotions recording this podcast this week. Before I dive in, I would love to invite everyone listening and myself in this moment to just go ahead right now and take a really deep breath. [Breath in, breath out] Okay. (laugh)
[001:56] Hi everyone! Hi hi hi. How are you doing? Hope you guys are having a way better week than I am right now. If you’ve been you’ve been following along through my social media, you already know I have a sick baby girl at home. However, I know this is not a big deal for, I’m going to say, “Regular Parents.” When I say Regular Parents, I mean people that have been doing this a while. Like, a seasoned parent. A parent that has had more than one baby, that isn’t a new parent, that’s kind of, like, been in the game. You know the ins and outs of what this, you know, rodeo ride is like.
[002:32] For me, Luna has never been sick before. Ever. Not even remotely sick. The worst thing she ever had happen was that she had a lot of mosquito bites a couple of weeks ago. That’s literally it. She’s never had a rash, never had a fever, never had a cough, never had anything. And I was just kind of thinking that that’s normal and that’s the way we roll. I’m starting to find out now that in the world of parenting, having a sick baby is probably the norm. (laugh) That eventually they are going to get sick. That’s just how life goes.
[003:06] However, I’m having a super hard time right now with everything! Yeah, just speaking these words, I feel like I could burst into tears right at this moment. I know that is very related to the fact that I went to bed at 8 a.m. after holding a screaming baby for the past two nights, who just won’t stop crying. She won’t stop screaming. She’s in total pain and agony and it’s just … Yeah, it’s awful. Awful, awful. So, aside from the pain of having to watch her go through the struggle, which of course is horrible … me not sleeping brings all of my emotions to the surface, and I just really … yeah, not sleeping just brings your heart to your sleeve in a way. Which is really beautiful, and also super challenging and a huge struggle.
[003:53] I’ve decided to, for this week of the podcast, I’m going to talk about some stuff that isn’t super easy. It’s also one of my really bad sides that I’ve actually noticed comes out, especially when I’m feeling unstable, when I’m feeling emotional, when I’m feeling like I’m unfairly treated, somehow. I have this really, kind of, I have kind of a nasty side of harboring anger and resentment toward other people. Usually I don’t act on it, it’s just it sits within me.
[004:23] I wrote about this for my New Year’s Resolutions, actually, this year. If you haven’t read it already, I shared it on my blog on RachelBrathen.com, I shared all my New Year’s Intentions and what I’m planning to work on for the year. It includes everything from … you know, I spoke a little about this in last week’s podcast as well, but it includes everything from I want to floss everyday, still going strong, yay! I want to go for a run twice a week, that’s going well too. Stay vegan, that’s going really well too. But then I have some really, uh, emotional, personal development stuff that I want to work on this year. I do that every single year by trying to really check in with what my challenge has been in the past year. So what patterns repeat themselves again and again? And that’s how I can sit with and really recognize, okay, what’s my work for this next year? Instead of thinking, “What can the universe provide me with,” or, “What do I want other people to give me?” I’m trying to really look at, okay, well how do I show up for other people, and how does that reflect back my way?
[005:22] One of the things that does keep repeating in my life is I am super bad at letting go of a grudge. I can hold resentment toward another person, if someone did me harm, if someone hurt me somehow, or, yeah, just anything at all, really, that didn’t sit well with me, I will hold onto that shit … to the grave. (laugh) That’s just who I am. I don’t want to say that’s just who I am, because I don’t want to be that way. I guess, it’s really a character flaw that I have, or a character aspect that I have that I want to change, because it’s not a really beautiful quality. I’ve been kind of choosing not to talk so much about this on the podcast just because it makes me look like kind of a shitty person … (laugh) You know, I’m always very honest with everything that I feel, but specifically the things that I know are true about me that maybe aren’t the prettiest? You know, the ugly, the nitty-gritty shitty stuff that comes up in the heat of the moment. Like, I have an issue there when it comes to holding onto resentment, and how that shows up in my relationships and all around me. It’s tripping me up in ways I really am aiming to change this year.
[006:37] I thought I would actually dedicate this podcast talking about that. And, of course, I’m going to share how I arrived to this place and everything. So, right now I am, yeah, I’m sitting in my office, I’m holding two turmeric almond milk lattes, trying to boost my immune system. At home we’re eating garlic like crazy, we’re overdoing the green smoothies and the greens. We’re just taking extra Vitamin C and doing everything we can to stay really healthy and to hear really quickly.
[007:02] So, how the baby got sick, and this is a story that’s going to weave into everything I’m about to share. We live in Aruba, so it’s a small, small, small island. We don’t have a ton of friends that have babies our age. Very, very few friends in our lives have babies that Luna can play with. So, she’s not in daycare, and it’s a conscious choice that we’ve made. One, because we’re two people, we run our own business, so we can choose our own hours, we can work from home. We don’t have the need to put her in daycare. Or, in Aruba here we call it “The Crash.” Which is great!
[007:38] Then Dennis has been kind of pushing that he really wants her to go to daycare anyway, maybe just once or twice a week so that she can interact more with kids, and of course, you know, make new friends and all of that. I’ve been super resisting it because everyone we know who has a kid in daycare here is always, always sick. I don’t know if it’s worse in Aruba because the island is so tiny and maybe people don’t care so much about, you know, just putting their kids in daycare or in school even though they’re sick? It’s kind of hard, I’ve heard, to stay home with a sick child. The laws that support you in that way, social stuff, is not super great. In Sweden, if your child is sick, you actually get pay and you get support and you can stay home with your baby if you need to. Here in Aruba, it’s a lot more challenging. I know also in other countries it’s not that easy. So, I can totally understand that. But what it means is that everyone in all of these … in schools and in daycare and in kindergarten, they’re always sick, all the time. So, what we hear from friends is, “Don’t put your baby in daycare, because she’s going to get sick right away!” And I really have been so, just, stoked about the fact that she’s never, ever, ever been sick. I really, of course, don’t want her to be either.
[008:48] We made that choice, and then a couple of days ago, we had a little baby playdate with a really good friend of mine who has a baby. She’s only three months older, or four months older than Luny, so they play really well. The last time we saw her, she was sick. Like, kind of sick. She had a really runny nose and she was coughing. Then I purposefully kept the babies really far apart. I just said, you know, “This doesn’t feel good for me. Luna’s never been sick, I don’t want her to get sick.” Then, of course, my friend, she was a little offended, like, “Oh my god, what do you think, my baby is going to make your baby sick? She’s not that sick, she just has a little cough.” So, she was a little, you know, of course, defensive when I brought that up, which I can understand. You don’t want to be the mom who’s bringing your kids places when they’re sick, so I get that.
[009:31] Then we had this playdate a couple of days ago, and they show up to the house and she has a super runny nose. This sweet, sweet, sweet baby girl, who I love so much. But her nose is just running! Like, snot into her mouth. I had this total moment, the moment I opened the door, and we had this pool day planned and all of this stuff, and it was going to be so much, where I was like, “Oh shit!” Like, “She’s clearly not 100% well!” Maybe this is just normal for babies when they are in daycare, that they’re just always a little snotty? But snotty, meaning, like snot running down their nose, not snotty as in stuck up, because I know, I got those words confused once. But yeah, like, the nose was running.
[010:10] But then I had this feeling of like, ugh, I don’t want to ruin this awesome day! I don’t want to ruin this playdate for the baby, and I don’t want to ruin this relationship that I have with this girl, who’s a really good friend, who’s awesome, right? I don’t want to bring it up, because last time I did she was really, like, she got kind of upset about it. So, I just thought, you know, she wouldn’t bring her baby here if the baby was sick. So, I was kind of hinting like, “How is she doing? Everything good?” “Yeah! Super super good, everything is great. Yeah, no, everything is …” You know. “So awesome and so wonderful and…” Yeah. She didn’t say anything else.
[010:37] So, what I did, and this, looking back at this now, this was very clearly me ignoring all of my gut instinct, pushing that very loud voice that I had in the back of my head that said, “THIS IS BAD. ABORT, ABORT, MOVE. ABORT MISSION, WALK AWAY.” I just ignore that voice because I really want the baby to have friends, of course. I’ve been working really hard at having friends that have a baby her age. I’m cherishing this relationship a lot, which I’m realizing now put me in this place of not … I guess, feeling a little bit fearful to speak my truth, because I didn’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. Which I just should have, you know? If you have that intuition and it tells you something, and it’s a loud voice, just trust it, trust it. But I didn’t.
[011:25] So, I spent the whole day, in the back of my mind, and this is ridiculous, but I was keeping track of which toys the other baby was touching, and she would take a stuffed toy and push it into her face, and I could just see the snot attaching to the stuffed animal, and I was like, “Oh my god.” I put all of those toys aside and washed them afterwards. That’s how conscious I was about the fact that, okay, this baby isn’t 100% well. But I still didn’t say anything.
[011:48] Then they were both in the same pool, they were playing, I tried to keep them separated a little bit. But then the whole time I was like like, “You know what? Why am I this paranoid mom? Why do I have to be this stuck up, anal, paranoid mom who can’t just relax and be easy going?” Like, all the other moms are so chill, and who cares if the baby has a little cold, it’s not the end of the world, why would I interrupt a play date that we planned for two weeks just because of a little runny nose? Like, who gives a shit?
[012:12] Then when I came out, I went in to get something, I came out, and then my friend was feeding the babies with blueberries, and she was putting the blueberries in her mouth, biting them in half, and then splitting them, so that each baby could have half a blueberry each. My whole body was like, “Uhhhhhh, like, nooooo! No!” I just knew, this was not good, but I still said nothing! Ugh, I don’t know why. I still said nothing. So fucking stupid.
[012:38] Anyway, we had a really nice time, it was a super sweet time, of course, of course, and I love them dearly. This is not a reflection at all about of how I feel about them as people. They’re good friends, I love them to death. It’s just a lesson for me to trust that immediate instinct of, like, okay, is this a good place for my baby to be right now? Is it worth the risk? Probably not. We could have pushed our playdate to another time. But we didn’t, I didn’t say anything, and here we are.
[013:01] I took all of the toys, all of the blankies, everything that they had that they were playing with, I put it in the washing machine immediately when they had left. And the baby was fine. I was thinking, you know, Luna, she’s vegan, she eats super healthy food, she’s still nursing, she’s a really healthy baby, so we’re probably totally fine, no problem.
[013:18] The next day we wake up in the morning and Lea Luna has a huge, swollen left eye, with, like, yellow-white goo coming out of her eye. It was just super, like, from out of the blue, Boom. This big swollen, kind of infected looking eye. It was so shitty. I looked it up, it looks like she has pink eye. I start googling, WebMD, fork you, I hate the internet when it comes to … I mean, it’s a good thing if you can get good information and you know a little bit about it. But, I feel like if you have a headache and you google, like, “Why do I have a headache?” Google or WebMD is going to tell you you have cancer or something, you know? It’s always going to make you feel worse.
[013:59] So I went online, and then I found out there’s all of these variations of pink eye. It could be bacterial or viral or this or that, and if it goes left untreated you could go blind! It could be this … you know, I start spinning out of control in my head. Where, at the end of the day, you know, it’s just a little eye infection. No big deal.
[014:18] Anyway, I decided to go all natural. I don’t want to give her any medication, this is just super stupid, so I dripped breast milk in her eyes, which everyone said is really good and I’ve heard has great antibodies and all of that stuff. We used chamomile tea on little comp pads to clean the eye. You know, we did that for like a day. Then it started getting progressively worse. So, at the end of the day, we went to the doctor and the doctor said, “Okay, this is a pretty bad case of bacterial eye infection,” so she really needs these … what’s it called? The Antibiotic drops. She’s going to need one drop, three times a day, and it will just clear up in a couple of days. That’s all you need. It’s going to be fine.
[014:51] So, I decided, okay, I don’t want to put her through this, because it’s getting worse. I’ll just give her the drops and it’ll be fine. Because she had no other symptoms of any kind. Just this eye thing. I even thought, like, probably it isn’t the baby from the playdate. Probably it’s just, you know, we were on the beach, she puts her hands in the sand … You can pick pink eye up anywhere. It could literally be me, who just transferred that bacteria her way. It could be anything, who knows?
[015:11] Right before we’re about to go to bed, she just all of the sudden runs a huge fever. Like, really, really gets super hot, she starts coughing, her nose starts running, and within, like, an hour she’s gone from just having a little eye infection to her whole entire body just, like, shutting down. She got so sick, so fast. And, it’s terrifying! So terrifying. I mean, I get it, when you’ve had babies or you’ve had many babies, or you’ve done this parenting thing for a while, you start getting a thicker skin and you realize, like, not every fever is a big deal, most little colds and little stuff like this, it’s not a big deal. You learn how to deal with it.
[015:52] I’m really bad at dealing with anything surrounding my baby’s well-being. I’m already super freaked out about so many things. I’m trying to act like I’m this cool, laid back, relaxed parent. Trust me, I. Am. Not. At all. The laid back, relaxed parent in this family is my husband, who literally is the most relaxed person ever. He would probably, like, he would go to the doctor, like, “I have a headache.” The doctor could say, “Oh wait, this might be cancer.” He would say, “Eh, it’s fine, it’s fine. I’ll just go put my head in the ocean and it will clear it right up.” That’s his solution for everything. Just put your head in the ocean, everything! Everything will be cleared up, it doesn’t matter what you have. You have cancer? You have a rash? You have a headache? Just go swim in the ocean, it’ll be fine! He’s like that guy from … um, what’s that wedding movie? The Greek wedding movie? My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the dad puts Windex on everything. That’s my husband, except he just puts everything in the ocean, basically. Oh, and he duct tapes. If there’s ever any would, ever, on his body, he just duct tapes it. I kid you not! That’s what he does. If he has a little scratch or like a big cut, he just doesn’t even put any Band-Aid. Nothing medical. Just duct tape, flat, straight on that thing. Even once, when was this? This was a couple of years back. He went to surf in Reunion Island. I don’t know if anyone knows where Reunion Island is? It’s an island off the coast of Africa. Like, far east from Madagascar. Like, in the middle of forking nowhere. It’s close to Madagascar, it’s crazy, crazy, crazy far away. He was on this tiny little French island, an island that’s known for sharks actively hunting humans! You can google this. Reunion Island and Shark attacks. They’ve had more shark deaths than any other place in the history of the world. It’s totally crazy. He went the for a surf trip, and I was home. There was no Wi-Fi on the whole island, for whatever reason. He couldn’t text me or call me, so we spoke, like, once every two days or something. Then, the last thing he tells me – and this was so intense, I was so worried something was going to happen to him. He’s kind of a clumsy guy. He’s big and always surfs and dives and free dives and does all of this crazy stuff. And then he calls me, like, “Oh, finally, I have service! Life’s so good over here! Oh yeah, I cut my whole foot open on a reef. I probably could have needed like 15 stitches, but I just duct taped it, it’s okay. Okay, I’m going to go surf now! Bye, I love you, see you later.” And then he hung up! That same day there was that huge earthquake in Japan. Do you remember? This must have been 2013 or 2012, maybe something like that, a while ago. And then I didn’t hear from him for three days. He told me he cut his foot open, he needed 15 stitches, but he duct taped it, and then he’s going to go surf shark infested waters, and then there was a giant earthquake, and then he just didn’t call me for three days. That’s my husband. And then we he finally called, of course I was panicking for so long, like, “Are you okay!? What’s going …” And he was like, “What? What do you mean?” I was like, “There was an earthquake, you went surfing with a cut in shark waters…” He was like, “What? What do you mean earthquake? What do you mean shark? Nooo. Honey, everything’s fine, everything’s chill.” That’s him. He’s so relaxed, so laid back. I wish I had just a little ounce of his chillness, because it would really help mellow me out.
[019:05] So anyway, back to this story. Baby gets sick, I am not cool at all. We go to the doctor, she gets the drops, whatever. She gets super sick, fever runs high. Then we have the first night of fevers. She’s never had a night of fever before. She screamed nonstop! For eight hours straight. She’s not a crier. Like, you see her on social media, I share little snippets, little videos of her, photos. People always ask, “Are you making her smile? Do you force her to smile? Is she always this happy?” She is that happy all the time. She had a couple of grumpy weeks when she was seven or eight months old. She’s always happy. She’s always smiling. That’s just who she is. She never cries.
[019:41] Then this first night of fever she screamed in agony for eight hours straight. I gave her something to reduce the fever because she got super hot. She had over 39 degrees, which is, what 103-something in Fahrenheit. So, okay, not scary high, but high enough that, yeah. Scary high for me! Everything is scary for me.
[020:00] So I gave her something for that. Then I didn’t know, because the doctor didn’t tell us, one, the doctor checked her ears and said her ears were fine. Told us to give her this thing for her fever, but didn’t tell us that she needs to eat in connection with that medication. It was Motrin, or something. Just a fever reliever, or a pain reliever, or something. What happened is she got this super pain in her stomach and started screaming even worse! But I didn’t understand, of course, I can’t understand where her pain is. I don’t know how many hours we had of that.
[020:30] Then finally, after screaming, screaming, screaming, couldn’t sleep, wouldn’t stop crying, I nursed her, which she normally doesn’t want to do at all in the night. She nursed for like 25 minutes straight. The biggest feeding she’s had in a really long time. And then passed out. Because of course her belly was hurting from the stupid medication I gave her. Then I felt like the worst mom, and (groan) everything is just total crap. That was that night.
[020:54] And then the next day everything was kind of worse. The infection is now in both eyes, she’s still super cranky, super crying. So, we went to another doctor where they checked her ears and said she has a double-sided ear infection in the inner and middle ear. So, really bad ear infection, and that’s why she’s crying, also, because she has this super pain in the ears. It’s worse when she lies down, for whatever reason, something with fluids going into the head, so she needs to be elevated. So, I don’t know, anyone who doesn’t have kids listening to this now, I’m so sorry, I’m just ranting about my baby’s little cold, which, I’m making it sound like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me!
[022:46] But, anyway, as this is going on, I am starting to build up, because she’s in so much pain, I am freaking out. Right before this happened, I wrote a blog on my website that I shared on my overwhelming, obsessive fear that something is going to happen to her. I just, I have this fear all the time. It’s a paralyzing fear. It’s horrible. Everyday there’s like a hundred moments of the day where I envision how something happens to her. I can even see the whole scenario of, like, oh we get in the car, we crash the car, she dies. There’s a funeral. I envision the whole thing. Like a little storyline, like a little movie. Like a little psycho movie in my head of how she dies, and then life is over. I have this little flash of total paralyzing, gripping fear. Maybe 100 times a day. Like, walking down the stairs with her, I can just envision, for a split second, how I fall, she cracks her head on the tile floor, or she chokes on something. She drowns in the pool. I have so many of these horrible moments everyday where I have to pause and focus on bringing my attention back into the moment, or this fear just takes me horrible places.
[023:54] I don’t really speak about it a lot, because one, I feel like a crazy person. Just saying this right now, I feel like a crazy person. Two, I don’t really want to feed this fear by talking too much about it. But I’m also realizing now that I’m keeping it in the dark, and it’s growing there. So I think it’s probably a good thing for me to talk about, although it’s hard for me to talk about. But, I’m going to do it more.
[024:17] When I talk to other moms, three, I find out that I’m actually not a crazy person, but it’s normal. Which, I have a hard time understanding living your entire life with a fear this big. With a fear this paralyzing? How is this normal? I don’t know. I kind of want to call bull shit that this is normal. It shouldn’t be normal! Who? I don’t know. How do we live? How do we have babies, and then life happens, and there’s a whole world out there of dangers? And then eventually they grow up and she’s going to go on airplanes, and she’s going to go to a party. Like, all of that stuff. I cannot even imagine, at all.
[024:57] Like now, she has an ear infection and I feel like I’m going to die from fear and from worry. It sucks! It totally, totally sucks. So, I shared that blog. Then immediately after that blog, she got this sick. So I’m spending every hour of the night, when she does fall asleep, she sleeps in tiny little increments before she wakes up with this pain. I have to just sit there and watch her breathe. (sigh) Also, saying this now makes me feel like an insane, crazy person. But, that’s what I’ve done for the past two nights, the past 48 hours have basically been me holding her. Like, she’s only slept on top of me, or if I’m holding her and I can tell she’s in so much pain, she has to be in a certain angle and kind of upright to be able to sleep. But I can’t sleep. So when she sleeps, I’m just there, like, staring at her, making sure she’s breathing. I had to put a little mattress in her room, pillows and stuff so that I could sleep in there, so that I can just … Yeah, I can’t not, because it’s so overwhelming and intense.
[025:51] But, I find myself, throughout these days, in this, and I know it’s because I am in pain over this fear. I’m in pain because she’s in pain. I’m freaking out because everything is hard and she’s screaming nonstop, and I’m not sleeping, which is a big piece. I find myself building up this intense resentment towards this friend of mine who brought over her sick baby. I feel horrible about it. Now that I’m out of that bad, negative, kind of hateful loop. It was kind of like, okay, I’m holding Lea Luna. She’s screaming, she’s crying. She won’t stop. Dennis can’t hold her. I can’t put her in her crib, she screams. I can’t just hold her, she screams. I can’t sit down. I can’t stand … Like, no matter what I do, she’s just screaming. It’s horrible.
[026:38] I find myself wanting someone to blame. Like, why did this happen? Why? Who did this? And I keep coming back to the fact that my intuition told me that I shouldn’t have had that play date, and now we did, and now look what happened. And I start getting so obsessed … upset, I mean. Super upset, and super resentful toward my friend. Really pissed.
[026:58] On day two of this fever I text her, and she says, “Oh, wait, I heard Lea Luna was sick. Is everything okay?” I said, “Well, she has this eye infection.” “Oh, that’s so strange, I wonder how she got that.” And I was like, “Uh-huh, yeah, I wonder how she got that too.” That was back when I kind of thought that maybe it was something else, I didn’t want to blame anyone, and I didn’t want to say anything, because I don’t want her to feel bad either, you know? Because she is a friend. It doesn’t help me if she feels horrible. It’s just shit.
[027:20] But then day two of this fever, she texts me, she says her baby is now super sick and woke up in the morning and couldn’t breathe, and they had to go to the E.R., and she’s in the hospital right now with pneumonia. So, when I heard that, there was insane intense bacterial infection that starts off as a cold, and for her baby led to this insane, actually dangerous thing that they have to be in the hospital now for three to four days and breathe through a machine!
[027:50] This feels like, just saying this, I feel like I’m a horrible person. I did not even think about her baby. At all. She just told me this, and I just took that as like, we have to go to the doctor NOW. We need to get a blood sample. Now someone needs to listen to her lungs right now. I’m not going to wait a couple of days for this to blossom into pneumonia. Like, are you crazy? We leave right now. I don’t know if this is like a mama bear protective instinct thing. I did not even, for the first – I don’t know – hour, I didn’t even ask, like, “How is your baby?” (sigh) oh my god, I’m a horrible human being. I’m so sorry, Jesus. But I couldn’t not think about, like, my own! You know what I mean? I just got this super fear that something crazy horrible was going to happen to her, and it was already getting worse. The fever is getting higher, she’s coughing more, she now has an ear infection and and eye infection. All this stuff! In my mind I go from, like, “It’s just a little cold, it’s not the end of the world,” to, “Holy shit! We’re going to have to go to the hospital. She’s going to be hooked up to a machine,” to, “Oh my god what if she dies? What if she can’t breathe?” My panicked mind, there’s no limits to where it takes me! And it’s not a pretty place, it’s just not.
[029:01] So, we go to the doctor. We find out her lungs are 100% great. Her lungs are fine, everything is fine with her breathing. What she has is ears and eyes. So, the difference between our two babies is that, you know, Lea Luna’s never been to daycare, she’s never been sick before, where this other baby has been sick a lot and probably had a lower immune system already. You know, just two totally different babies, different stories, all of this. Just because, you know, it doesn’t mean it has to play out the same. Same bacteria, but two very different symptoms, I guess.
[029:33] Then after we came home, then I’m like, “Wait, how the hell is her baby doing? Holy fucking shit!” And then I pick up the phone, and then I find out about everything. I was holding onto all of this resentment, and then I realized, you know, hey, who’s in the shittier position right now? Who is in the actual shittier position? Me sitting at home … Okay, I have a screaming baby, a crying baby who is sick. I have a husband, you know? I don’t have to go to work. I’m okay, I can just cancel my yoga classes and be home with my baby… or my friend, who’s a single mom, who’s sitting at the ER right now with a baby who can’t breathe. What kind of a selfish asshole am I that it took me that long to even connect to the fact of how horrible it is for my friend to be going through this way more intense situation.
[030:20] I was holding onto all of this resentment of, like, “Why did you bring your baby over to my house when she was sick?” And, “This could have been avoided if she wasn’t so irresponsible,” and I was telling myself this [frustrated sounds] angry story. Where in fact, of like, fuck! Where is my compassion in that moment? Why couldn’t I find just that piece of loving compassion immediately, of realizing in this situation, like, of course she did not mean for this to happen. Of course not! If she had any inclination of the fact that this was going to happen, she wouldn’t have come to our house! Of course, of course, of course. I spoke to her today and she said she feels so horrible, and the baby had had this runny nose for three weeks, so she just thought that that was normal, and she wasn’t coughing, she didn’t have anything else. She said if she had any idea that it was going to turn into a sickness, she would never have taken her out in public with other people and other babies and stuff. She feels horrible as it is. There’s nothing I have to do to make her feel crappy, because she already feels crappy, and her feeling crappy doesn’t improve my situation in any way. But there’s that, like, resentful part of me that immediately wants to kind of attach to, like, fuck this shit. Like, we do not deserve this. Why did this happen to us? …
[031:29] What happens, when I get into that resentful state, one, I lose the ability to be compassionate immediately. I lose all my compassion, all my loving-kindness that I focus so much on on a regular basis. It’s out the window. And two, I get really self-absorbed. I get completely self-centered, self-absorbed. I’m unable to step out of my own personal situation in that moment. My own personal pain or fear, this story that my mind and my ego is telling myself. I’m unable to step away from that, which makes this pain worse, right? It makes it feel like the whole world surrounds around me. If I get stuck in that tone of voice, in that story for too long, it actually shapes my reality in a really, really shitty way. So, if I stay there with that resentment, it builds. It builds, it builds, it builds. That space for loving compassion never opens, because I’m just in this kind of hateful, like, [anger sound]! Especially in that moment of not sleeping and feeling super terrified for my baby, you know, it can actually build to being like a nasty thing, where I almost, I want to tell her how much she sucks, and fuck you … The super angry, angry, angry side of me comes out. If I’m not careful, it will build, and it will actually explode and go beyond the confines of my mind, and it will kind of seep out into my relationships, into the world.
[032:55] [Commercial break]
[034:27] So when that happens, and it is, you know, it’s not in my regular day-to-day stuff. It’s always when I’m under intense pressure, or when I’m in pain, or when something isn’t right, because then I’m in this already weak, I guess, fearful state. Fear brings it out. What happens is I start getting this resentful and angry, and then it leaks out, and it goes to Dennis. That’s the first … because he’s my immediate second person in my life, right? Last night, instead of just being worried, if I’m just worried and I can speak to him about my worry, he can calm me down, we can worry together, he can maybe share some of his very relaxed, chilled space with me, and then I can calm down. But when I’m angry, it doesn’t go anywhere. All it does is my anger wants to trigger his anger, and I want to poke him in all of the sensitive spaces that I know so that I can trigger some drama or some discussion, or a fight out of him. It’s really … it’s really not a fun place to be.
[035:25] Last night, for instance, I’m putting the baby to bed. She’s crying, crying, crying, screaming, screaming, and we’ve had the whole day being really supportive of each other, and I’m just getting, you know, extra exhausted. Of course I was the one up the night before. I didn’t sleep. I can’t sleep in the day. There is something wrong with me. It doesn’t matter if I’m up the whole night, I just can’t sleep in the day, at all. So he had more sleep, I guess, that’s my one excuse. But I go in with the baby and I said, “Okay … will you. We have food, right?” I say, before I go in. He’s like, “Yeah yeah yeah, yeah. Yeah, we have food.” Okay. Then I’m in with her, maybe for 90 minutes. It took so long for her to start to mellow out and to stop crying. So maybe 90 minutes before I come out, and she’s still not sleeping. She’s just kind of calming down so maybe she can fall asleep. I go outside and what is my … you know, I’m starving, we didn’t eat for, I don’t know, forever. We had an early lunch, I’m starving, I’m super tense, I’m exhausted, and I’m worried about the baby, and I come out and what is my husband doing? He’s watching soccer on TV. Sitting on the couch with his phone. The kitchen is a mess, the living room is a mess, everything is messy. And he’s just spent the past 90 minutes sitting on his ass on the couch watching sports!
[036:37] I know my husband, I love my husband very much. This is who he is. I don’t know if it’s a man thing, or whatever, but when I come home, no matter what I’m doing, I’m always cleaning something. I’m always picking stuff up, I’m always cleaning off the tables and putting dishes away. You know, it’s like a second nature of just, I like to keep the house clean. But for him, he can just sit surrounded by ginormous mess and not even notice. He doesn’t even know how messy it is. I can’t start cooking unless the kitchen is clean, because there’s nowhere to put your stuff! But he doesn’t have that kind of second nature of that.
[037:12] But now, you know, I’ve been in with the baby for so long, I’m kind of assuming, because I said, “We have food, right?” Which was my way of saying, like, “You’re going to fix this food, right?” He just took it as a question, like, “Is there food?” (laugh) I don’t know, I mean, you guys can hear how silly this conversation is in the first place. But he’s just sitting there! And of course, I like, lose my shit. I’m like, “I thought you said there was food?” He was like, “Well, yeah, I mean, there’s stuff in the fridge I think.” I’m like, “Okay, am I going to cook us this food? Who is going to prepare this food?” He’s like, “I don’t know, do you want to cook us the food?” I’m like, “Well it’s 9 pm … Maybe, since I’ve been with the baby for like 2 hours in there, it would have been nice if I came out and there was something to eat.” I say super aggressively, of course. I’m just, like, seeping out. It’s like poison, this anger. And he’s like, “Well, I mean, you didn’t ask me to make food. You could have explicitly asked, ‘Can you prepare food?’” You know? And then he gets triggered, and then we’re fighting about fucking dinner, while the baby cries over there on the other side of the house. You know? Just stupid marital relationship stuff.
[038:19] It totally came out of, okay, I still withhold the fact that I think that, you know, he could have been a little more thoughtful than to sit on his ass and watch soccer when the baby is sick and we’re both starving, yes. But I am not helping the situation by coming out and lashing out with the super anger right away. Which just triggers a fight. At the end of the day, no one is eating, baby is still crying, we’re not a unified team anymore. We’re just fighting with each while fighting the baby, trying to get the baby to sleep while still not having any food on the table. So, doesn’t take me anywhere, right?
[038:54] Step two, I guess, or the continuation of this is if I don’t get myself in check when this anger and resentment is building out of this pressure, or whatever, it starts going other places, and suddenly my mind starts looking around for shit that isn’t working in my life. Okay, I already know I have a husband who doesn’t support me. I already know there’s no food in the house. I already know I’m starving. I already know that this friend of mine made my baby sick! Maybe she did it ON PURPOSE! (laugh) You know? I start going totally insane. Then I look around at, like, what else is messed up in my horrible, shitty life? Then I see, like, did the dogs even eat? And I turn to Dennis, “You didn’t even feed the dogs?! What kind of a parent are you!?” And I’m all dramatic and just trying to find things to poke holes in.
[039:42] If I’m very unlucky in that moment, maybe there’s other people around. I have a husband, he knows me, he knows when I get angry, this stuff passes. I can apologize to him later, he can apologize to me if he did something, we work our stuff out. But, if there’s a person who isn’t that close happening to be in the surroundings when I’m going through one of these anger moments, that shit is not pretty. I speak my mind very clearly, very loudly. I’m really good at finding other peoples’ weak spots, and I’m really good at kind of poking at them until something comes out. Sometimes, if I’m unlucky, I’ll open my computer and I’ll see there’s a work issue going on, something isn’t good at the studio, or something isn’t good over there in that office … Then, all of the sudden, I can send an email out to someone and be, like, really fiery, angry, of like, “Why the hell is this not working?” Of course, for the person on the other end of that email who know me as a very fun person, a calm boss, I’m firm, I know what I want, but we have a fun work environment. Then all of the sudden comes this kind of passive-aggressive fuck you email at 9:48 pm? You know, at the beginning of the week? It’s kind of a shitty thing to do, and I’m really, really working on, one, holding myself accountable for this stuff. So if I get caught in a place like that … So, luckily now, I didn’t share my resentment with anybody, just Dennis got to see the end of my anger, and I got to see the end of his anger, because he said some shit to me too, in that moment. So, we can work that out as a couple.
[041:21] All of this, finally, blew over, I guess. What happened in the night is I went back to the baby because she was still crying. Then when she was almost asleep, or she was, like, I was lying on the floor. She was on top of me just whimpering. Dennis just comes in, he’s like, “Hey, there’s food on the table.” He prepared food. Kind of his way of saying, like, “Okay, should I take over, do you want to switch?” And then we switched, and then I ate, like, really quickly. The baby just wouldn’t stop screaming, so we switched back. Then I was then in there with her the whole night. Just in the bedroom. She fell asleep at 8 am. Which means we had, I don’t know, let me think … I can’t even count. What, 12 hours of sleeping, just screaming, just crying, fever … You know, a horrible, horrible night.
[042:11] [Commercial break]
[043:27] Somewhere in the middle of this 12 hour shitty, shitty night, it just hits me. I don’t know, like, all the anger just drained away, because the moment passed and there’s no one else to bounce the anger off? I guess anger can only attach and become worse if there’s something to attach it to. I can’t attach anger to my baby, of course not. All I feel is this overwhelming love, and this overwhelming worry for her. I’m holding her, and she’s shivering with fever, and she’s in so much pain, and she’s trying to sleep. It’s like my heart is going to burst in a million pieces just looking at her, just holding her in this pain, like, oh my god, how did I get here? How did I get to a place where I feel so much love I can’t … almost, almost, I can’t bare it. Like, I’m trying to put it into words. It’s not unbearable, the love. Because, yeah, then you wouldn’t live. But it’s just bearable, the amount of love I feel for this child. If I felt any more love for her, I don’t think I would be able to live a life. Now the love is so big, it’s so intense, it’s painful at times. Like really, really, really painful at times. I realized there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I would go climb a mountain, swim a river … like, I would walk through the gates of fiery hell for this child, because the love is just so primal, it’s so intense.
[044:57] Then, in the middle of the night, just holding her, I just had this total softening of, oh my god, like, I’m so exhausted and I love her so much. And then it hits me, well, my friend and her baby, you know, it’s the same! Of course it’s the same. And poor her! You know, here I am sitting … at least we’re in our own bedroom, in our own house dealing with stuff here. And I have Dennis. I have this guy who, yeah, I get to fight with when I need to fight, I get to vent to when I need to vent. Someone to hold me at night, someone to support me, someone who can say, “Hey, let’s switch.” And then he’ll switch with me. Someone to do this together! Someone who actually, yeah, cooked me food that night. She doesn’t have that! She doesn’t have that. She does all of this stuff alone. Which is a goddamn miracle! It’s a goddamn miracle. … I’m crying now. Like this shit is so hard. Hard in the most, like, gut-wrenching, eye-opening, mind-exploding way. I have a person to share this with, right? And she doesn’t. And I feel really, really, really shitty about that right now. I feel really shitty that in that moment I wasn’t able to recognize my own privilege, that I have this support, and that she doesn’t, and that instead of immediately asking, like, “Wait, you’re in the hospital. How can I help you? How can I support you? Can I go there? Can I send something? Do you need food? Do you need something? What do you need?” Because of course she’s the one in greater need, and I completely failed. Completely failed to see that. I failed in every way. There is a friend, and I couldn’t even bring any loving-kindness into that moment. And how she does this, everyday, all alone, literally with no family, with no husband, no one there to cook her food, no one there to hold her hand in the middle of the night when the baby can’t breathe to tell her, like, “It’s going to be okay.”
[047:08] Like, fuck! That woman is a warrior goddess of a woman! I mean, every mom out there, we’re all … If we’re doing this, we’re all warrior goddesses of women. That’s just the case. We’re all super human, the fact that we hold this love, and that we walk through this, and that we’re able to just continue and soldier on through all of the hard shit, and that at the end of the day, no matter how hard it is, it’s always worth it by a million? Like, that’s also totally insane. But in the middle of the night last night, holding my baby, I just, I started weeping just thinking of my friend and just seeing my whole actions of the past 48 hours and how this fear turned into pain turned into anger turned into resentment, you know? Instead of just sitting with the actual love that lies at the root of that fear. If I can bring myself back to that love again and again and again, and I don’t have to react in that way … It would be really awesome to just immediately arrive at a place of loving-kindness. Immediately.
[048:15] This morning we talk and I immediately ask, like, what can I do for you? How can I help you? What do you need? Should we come over? Okay, maybe not with the baby (laugh), but can we send something? Do you have food? Do you have support? How can we help you? And the moment I shift that awareness, so I’m not so self-absorbed on me and mine and my pain and my stuff … Immediately when I look at the objective and I look at the world and I look at the fact that, whoa, I am actually the one in the easier position here, and of course there’s no bad intention here from any place, of course not! Like, Jesus, it’s the simplest thing ever. It’s not a big deal, there’s no one to blame, kids just get sick, you know? That’s it. Kids just get sick. And, how can we support each other through that? And what can I do to be of service for someone who is actually in greater need than myself?
[049:08] The moment I switched that, everything turns. It’s like the whole energy of the whole situation now is totally different, and not just between her and me, because she didn’t know. I mean, maybe she felt it a little bit, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say that I was angry or resentful or blaming her, or anything like that. So, I don’t know if she knew, or if she just felt a little bit of it, or all of it, or nothing. I have no idea. But just now that I, for me, internally, that shift just made everything easier. Whereas, wow, all day today all I could really focus on and think about was how grateful I am that I have Dennis to do this with. Just everything, how grateful I am, and no matter how much he pisses me off sometimes and, you know, we don’t think the same ways, and there are certain things that I kind of pick at throughout the day, and nag, and all of that stuff. Come on, you know? It’s just a ginormous waste of time. I have this amazing husband who is with me every step of the way, who supports me in everything I do. Who is there through the shitty times, through the hard times, through the fear, you know? Who is there to lighten the mood when it needs to be lightened. Like, who I can today just sit with at breakfast with our baby and (sigh) and drink coffee together, and everything is okay. You know? I’m so, so, so, so, so grateful that I have this man in my life. That I have this husband, this father to our amazing daughter, this total … I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude I’m going to cry again right now … If it wasn’t for all of this, if it wasn’t for the resentment that I felt going through all of this hard stuff, maybe today would have been just another hard day, where I am annoyed with him for not cleaning out the dishwasher, or for not doing this. Where I just focus on the things that don’t work instead of the overwhelming, like, Jesus, holy shit, fact of the blessings that I have in my life. The blessing that he’s here, that we have this baby who yes, right now is a little bit sick, but in a week, I’m going to look at it like, “Ah, that wasn’t a big deal,” you know?
[051:13] Every time we go through something like this, we grow and we learn and … I don’t know if things get easier, but definitely a little manageable, and I’m learning more about myself throughout every scenario. So, this is my intention for the year. Not to say that, oh, I have this thing I want to change, or something that I don’t like about my personality, or something that I don’t like about how I react to things. I’m just going to change that, I’m just going to fix that. This, at least for me, is the work. It requires going through the difficult shit. It always requires struggle pain and some sort of challenge. But actually learning from it and being able to be conscious through it, and then share it and speak it, like I’m doing right now. This works. It really, really, really works.
[052:03] What I’m going to do right now in this exact moment in time is I have a little gift bag, or a little, not a gift bag, like a little goodie bag that I put together, which is some magazines and some nice things to drink, and coconut water, and some fruits, and a toy, and just cozy stuff. Like, what would I wish that I had if I was stuck at the hospital for four days with a baby that couldn’t breathe, you know? I’m going to drive over to the hospital and drop that off. (sigh) And hug my friend. That’s what I’m going to do.
[052:39] So to close this podcast, maybe you’re already thinking about it, but who are you harboring resentment toward in your life right now? What are you resenting? Who are you resenting? What’s lingering? Maybe from something that’s really old, and it gets harder. That’s also something I’ve learned with time and with practice. There’s a little window where we can fix these situations and learn from these situations immediately. Where you can be totally in it, and then realize, like, wait, I’m acting in this way because of … something. There’s a valid reason, of course. There’s fear or there’s pain, or there’s a trigger, there’s something there. But it’d your resentment. It’s your anger. Other people can just point you towards what triggers you. Other people can just show you where your anger sits, where that sensitivity lies. They can maybe even point you towards where it comes from. But no one can give you anger. No one can hurt you to a degree where they bring a brand new emotion your way and they put it there, and it’s theirs. No. If you’re angry, that anger is yours. If you’re feeling resentment, that resentment is yours. So, how can you own that emotion? How can you own your part in bringing that forth, or your part in manifesting that type of feeling in a relationship, or manifesting that relationship or manifesting … I don’t know, maybe a place where you feel victimized, or even in those moments where you feel like, (groan) I did nothing wrong, I am not the one to blame, this is totally out of my control … If it’s present in your life, somehow you invited it there. Let me just leave it at that. Somehow you invited it there.
[054:16] So, whatever resentment you are harboring, or you are holding onto, there is a little nugget of gold there, you know? There is something much, much, much deeper that lies beneath. There’s a learning, there’s a growth, there’s something that life is trying to show you, so you can grow into a more loving, kind human being. But you have to face yourself. You have to face that part of you that is the ugly, the angry, the gritty … You have to go there. Maybe it’s shameful, maybe it’s a part of you that you don’t want to see. Maybe it’s a part of you that you prefer other people don’t know exists, like me and this anger that I have. It feels really good to talk about, you know? It’s not who I am. I’m not an angry or resentful person, but there is a fear in me, or a pain in me that gets triggered by things that come my way, that brings forth this anger, that brings forth this resentment. I’m really working on that. I’m really, really, really working on that. And that’s what this year is going to be, for me.
[055:15] So, if you know what your work is, write it down. Share it, and maybe even today there is space for you somehow to go back to that person who hurt you, or go back to that person who you’re harboring resentment toward, for whatever reason, and bring some healing there, you know? See that that person has a struggle as well. Maybe there is a way for you to step out of that immediate self, of being centered on what happens to you. Being very self-centered. Maybe you can step out and just see how can you be of service to them? And immediately you’ll find that, yeah, that’s actually what the situation needs, it’s more love, nothing else. Just. More. Love.
[055:56] Wow. What a journey, eh? Thank you for being here with me throughout all of this. The highs and the lows and everything in between. I love you and I will see you next week.
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