So the little mind goes around and around on its personal wheel of topics it revisits. Right now--as I do all sorts of other things, like take care of a cranky and sick little boy, and struggle through statistics in social work school, write papers for my other classes, rant about budget cuts and dwell rhapsodic on stimulus packages and worry about the international crises in the Middle East and elsewhere, and in the middle of all that try to look for a job and continue to become a halfway decent therapist--I am musing and muddling around the issue of reactivity. Reactivity--when we are responding without any pause to what is at hand, when we are kneejerk in our responses, when we are caught up without even knowing it. That's what I am thinking about.
Last night, in the middle of the night, Ari felt as though he was getting a little warmer. He sleeps with me, in case you didn't know that, and he had had a temperature of 103.7 the night before last. Andi had kindly gotten the ibuprofin ready for me in case Ari did develop a temperature in the night, so when, in my sleep, I felt Ari's little feet and they seemed warmed, I whispered to him that he would have to get some medicine and turned on the light. He immediately responded with tears and protests, but they availed him none--I jammed the syringe with the ibuprofin right into his mouth and pushed the plunger, giving him half of the medicine. He sobbed and then he vomited. Poor little guy. He threw up all over himself and me and I thought, geez, I don't even know if he had a temperature to start with and here I am, making him sick.
OK, I am not being hard on myself. But it was interesting, after we were all cleaned up again, to think about what it means to react so swiftly--with an anxiety that it MUST be done, and right away, or else--what? This was an extreme example, but it is reminiscent of many times throughout the day when I just leap to something--with such desire to prevent harm--and perhaps create a problem without even realizing it.
I guess all I am saying is that it reminds me, over and over, of why we practice, or why I practice any way. Why I must. Because otherwise, this mindless reactivity just nibbles away at me. My life because food, fodder and pray for its noiseless little jaws. I want to learn how to take a breath, take a pause, and respond. Oh, and I learning. It just takes so much time.