Updated: Jun 23
A little while ago when my family had Covid, my high school Sophomore son missed the last few days of the term at school. His English teacher had a hard deadline of 2:00 pm for turning in the final paper. In his Covid brain fog, he missed the deadline by 2 hours.
You would think (as a Nine, anyway...) that his teacher would be understanding of his situation and accept his late work with little to no penalty, right?
Nope. All he knew is that this student wasn't being responsible and he wanted to teach him a lesson about responsibility. So poor Bennett's grade went from an A- down to a D. Boom, just like that.
I felt like this was ridiculous and I emailed the teacher, kindly asking for him to reconsider his decision, explaining our circumstances a little more. One being that my son has Dyslexia and that writing papers don't come easily to him, especially when he's sick.
The teacher had given the whole class an extra week to finish the paper, so he felt that, even though Bennett was home and ill, he had every reason to turn it in on time. He would be happy to discuss it with me in person or on the phone though.
This is not what I wanted to hear. I imagine if you're a Nine you can probably relate. The thought of hashing something out with a strong-willed person makes my heart race and my throat tighten. I can't think of anything more awful.
But I thought it might be worth a try. Unfortunately, I couldn't pass this dreadful engagement off onto my husband because he is more of a stickler about teaching kids lessons and would have agreed with the teacher right from the start.
The day came for the conversation. I knew what was going to happen. In all situations where I have advocated for my kids in the past, I have always found it hard to keep my emotions calm enough to hear the other person out. I usually turn into a passive-aggressive Mama-Bear. (You know what I'm talking about, right?)
Long story short: The teacher didn't bend on giving my son the credit for the paper. He was willing to change his grade at the end of the school year, to the average of whatever he earned in the next two terms.
Keeping My Cool
All angst aside, I just want to share what I did before and during the conversation, to keep myself calm and out of fight/flight/freeze mode.
Before the conversation, I thought through my arguments and had them ready in my mind. I also reminded myself that this wasn't a huge deal. We were only going into this to see what was possible.
During the conversation, when I found my heart racing and my throat tightening, instead of thinking something was wrong with me (which usually escalates things even more,) I closed my eyes as he rambled on (luckily we were on the phone) and focused on my breath. I thought about the defensiveness that I was feeling and dropped my awareness into my body, focusing on
how that emotion was causing my throat to tighten and my heart to race. My throat was doing what it was conditioned to do when I was young: create a dam so the emotions don't come up and make me cry. I relaxed into that feeling and allowed it, breathing and picturing the emotion softening and coming out with each exhale.
What happened next amazed me. I suddenly felt totally at ease with whatever the outcome turned out to be. I relaxed into it. I became curious about the teacher's point of view and allowed myself to consider it. Everything felt easier. I was able to share my thoughts without an underlying feeling of defeat. It felt really powerful, even though I wasn't getting my way.
Let Your Body Feel Your Feelings
There is a true power that comes from tuning into our bodies. I invite you to start a practice of stopping each day, even for a minute, and focusing on the sensations that you feel.
You can even do it while you're driving. What sensations do your hands feel against the steering wheel? Your back, your bottom, and your legs against the seat? What does your jaw feel like? Is it holding tension? What about your eyes? Can you relax the muscles behind them? Just get curious. No judgment.
This short, simple practice has the power to change so much. Combining bodywork with thought work moves us into the driver's seat of our emotions.
I'm here when you're ready to explore.
Have a beautiful week.
PS...if you are ready to take charge of your emotions and feel more empowered in your life, please schedule a consultation with me! Let's talk about what is holding you back. I'll help you see some possibilities.