Look closely at our Christmas tree.
I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo, but there are an awful lot of gold beads on the lower half of the tree, and the lower part of the tree has the ornaments in clumps with big areas without decoration. The really expensive ornaments and the ones we can not replace, those are on the tippy top of the tree. And if you look really closely, you might see that the felt reindeer ornaments all are “tagged” in pairs with matching balls. If you sort of squint, there are some nutcracker ornaments dangling off the end of a strand of gold beads, hovering just above the train engine on the rug.
You may or may not have guessed, but this year I had help decorating our tree. I had a very enthusiastic and creative five and a half year old helper. From where the decorations are placed, you can get a sense of how tall he is this season.
He insisted on putting the beads on himself. I am not usually one for gold, but we got a box of decorations that my mother in law was getting rid of, and he thought they were great, so I went with it and let him go to town.
When I was little my mom made the felt reindeer, and I always had to have them in order the same way the rainbow is organized. This year, I let Ryan put them on. Then he started hanging glass balls on the reindeer hangers. I asked him what he was doing. He replied, “I am tagging the reindeer. See, there are girl reindeer and boy reindeer, and the tags match, and that is how they will know that they belong together.” I chuckled at the elaborateness of his story.
Then he found the little nutcracker ornaments, and started hanging them off the end of a bead string, and he said,” Look Mommy, the nutcrackers are climbing the mountain.” By now, I was trying not to laugh out loud. He couldn’t hang an ornament without creating a back story of who the ornament was, what the ornament was doing, and where it was going. His stories were interesting, elaborate and unexpected. (I told this story to a friend of mine, and she laughed and said, “You do that too, you don’t just do something, there is always a story that goes with it.” Really? Do I really do that? You don’t have to answer.)
But I found myself struggling to let him find his own way of decorating the tree. I desperately wanted to reorganize the beads over the entire tree, fill in the holes where there were no ornaments, and, as it was starting to get late, I wanted to speed him up a bit so we could finish and get him to just put an ornament on and not get so caught up in all the stories he was telling about each one.
I am not always good about “process” when it comes to myself or my own family. I want things done now, and I can be a bit of a perfectionist. It seems a lot of my personal learning is about appreciating the “process” and all the moments that lead up to the goal. I think it’s something a lot of people struggle with, especially when they are dealing with a part of their body that is no longer working as it did.
We are all in a continual process where one minute flows into the next, one movement flows into the next, and where injury flows into wellness. The process of our bodies striving towards wellness, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, is so fluid and circular and never ending. One injury is not a separate and distinct entity from everything else in your life, past, present or future. It is all connected.
It’s hard to be patient when a body is in pain. I know first hand, I am no different from any one else in that regard. But I also know that the process of recovering also brings many good lessons with it. Struggling through a healing process gives me insights into dysfunction that I would not have learned any other way, and almost always those lessons come back around to help me help others. It may be a day, a month, or a year, but eventually, I run into someone else with similar symptoms, and I am able to help guide them through their process precisely because of the process I had to go through. Such a funny thing is this web of life.
Dr. Upledger (the osteopath that advanced CranioSacral Therapy) always jokes that when you finally have it all figured out, and the “process” is complete, then you have about 6 minutes left to live.
It seems I am stuck with “process”, as the alternative doesn’t sound that much fun.
So I tried to support Ryan’s process the way that I support the process of my clients, with openness and without an agenda. I kept my mouth shut about where to put the ornaments. I kept myself from repositioning the bead strings. I left the “tags” on the reindeer, and the nutcrackers “climbing”. In other words, I refrained from “fixing” his portion of the tree. I enjoyed the stories, and tried to appreciate the moments we were spending together instead of rushing to finish.
He is so proud of himself, proud of his contribution, and proud of his independence. I would have completely negated that if I had gone back to fix the tree. I would have been putting my agenda of how a tree is “supposed” to look onto my son. And I would have missed all his creativity, humor, and all the little moments that went along with our spending time together.
I am proud of myself too, for letting our tree be a “process” tree this year. I am making progress in my process.
Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree, how lovely are thy branches…….
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