We have a 13-year-old (eek). The birthday girl doesn’t look any different from the child she’s been, only now she’s a teenager stuck in that awkward adolescent stage that I’d like to think balances childlike innocence with adult maturity, but let’s face it, is a ‘no man’s land’. Or ‘no parent’s land’ at least. (And no-man’s land either until she’s 18)!
She’s been practicing the teenage stuff pretty well for the past 18 months and has the attitude (ie resistance) down pat, even if the maturity is a work in progress.
Thankfully the childhood innocence is still shining through, with a couple of embarrassing stories I could share to illustrate, but even I’m not that mean.
And man I’m mean sometimes.
I’ve been thinking about how teenagers process things in ways we adults struggle to understand. We’ve forgotten how their brains work (or don’t work, as they struggle to grow up).
Even further back in our memory banks is that child-like wonder at the world – how do we get so separated from innocent curiosity and unbiased acceptance?
With resistance – that’s what I talk about in my yin yoga classes.
The late Dr Wayne Dyer spoke of how we’re nurtured in the womb and arrive as newborns with everything being done for us – we’re in a total state of BEing and non-doing. This is the yin state in its essence. Stillness. Surrender. Pure Possibility. Yet we forget how it feels. How good it feels. (Read – turn your TO-DO list with a TO-BE list)
Of course we’re given lungs to cry out our resistance to being hungry, wet, cold, stuck in a pooey nappy etc, but we must simply BE until someone does the changing, feeding, bathing etc for us.
Once we start DOing for ourselves we start the process of resisting what IS – verbalizing NO, stomping our feet, chucking tantrums.
And then we keep on resisting through childhood in vocal and sometimes violent ways, in sullen stubbornness, jealous rages, in fear of new challenges – in all kinds of struggles.
By the time we’re teenagers we’re resistance Pros – with specialties in eye-rolling, nonchalant disdain and outright contempt for anything an adult might think they know.
And now we have a teenager. Eek.
Teenage rebellion may be fine (in safe and small measures), and seeking independence and identity is what we want for our kids (even when they drive us crazy). Far better than blanket conformity and surrender to peer pressure.
What’s far more insidious is the learned behaviour and the ‘muscle memory’ (quite literally) of our ego resisting the essence of who we really are, that we take from adolescent angst into adulthood and entrench throughout our lives.
We forget how to BE. We chose to compare, compete, conform and complain (the four bad ‘c’ words) – there are more but these are the worst. We resist our inner calling and we seek external validation. Yep, we’re just teenagers on steroids (and eventually arthritis medication).
Our bodies hold tight the stress that builds up from always comparing and competing with others while we harshly judge ourselves, disappointment settles down deep at a cellular level, grievances grip our hips, tension tightens our shoulders, inertia and indifference restrict our flexibility so that we stoop over with the shame of not meeting external expectations, or worse still, our own.
We grow old, often still holding on to the adolescent indolence of ‘I don’t care’.
Miss Yin says ‘I don’t care’ all the time. I find myself saying it too.
Only we do care.
Which three R’s will you choose?
Yang resistance shows up when we are rushed, rigid and reactive.
We counter that with yin acceptance by being reflective, relaxed and responsive.
(Yin resistance shows up when we ruminate, retreat or run away but that’s for another post).
In the meantime you might want to try a yoga posture called Happy Baby (otherwise known as dead cockroach pose or Ananda Balasana). If you can’t reach your feet with your hands, you can place a strap around the balls of your feet (length slightly wider than your hips) pushing your feet up into the air and then use arm strength to pull down on the strap. You’ll feel a squeezing into the hip capsules, which promotes synovial fluid and joint flexibility. Hold in a yin way for 3-4 minutes.
This posture takes you back to when you were a happy baby – full tummy, clean nappy, someone goooing, gaaahing and generally gushing over you. And you’re just lying on your back in your cot, holding your cute squishy little toes in your tiny hands and babbling away. You can even do a bit of rock-a-bye-baby (ie rock from side to side).
It takes you back to a time of just BEing. In other words, the present.
Enjoy – you’ll be a teenager (eek) and then an adult before you know it. Linking up with Grace for FYBF.
PS – I haven’t included a photo of said teenager – not sure if I should share photos anymore (although she does secretly love me sharing dance photos). Any tips, or tips on teenagers in general are much appreciated.