Our human hearts hold an array of emotions and feelings mixed together throughout our daily walk, a palette of swirls and blending colours in one continuous experience.  What helps our hearts come to rest amidst the swirl is the safety and acceptance of our human relationships.

When we are together, our emotions like colours, mix.  We respond to one another and our hearts bring forward new shades and designs in community.

From Our Home

Never is there a more visceral emotional experience than in a family.  This last weekend, our little was challenged with a fever and flu simultaneously with the opening weekend of our neighbour’s pool.  Each day she watched from her bedroom window, wishing she was at school, as the pool filled and the details of the backyard came to life with the possibility of swimming.  Her little friends were vibrating with the excitement of sharing.

Yet, when the weekend came, there was illness and travel plans and, sadly, waiting.  It was the most difficult of delays. Her heart was broken that she couldn’t join in the fun and her heart’s palette came alive with reds and purples, the violence of crushed longings.  Let’s just say it was explosive and a really challenging time to parent.  We were all covered in the paint of big emotions.

Photo by Amaury Salas on Unsplash

Connect with Safety

I was comforted by Deborah MacNamara‘s book Rest, Play, Grow, which shares some ground-breaking ideas regarding the big emotional experiences we face as humans.  She writes about our children,

“The goal is to develop their capacity to bring emotions under a system of decision making, intention, and reflection so that they can begin to share them responsibly.”

Ironically, she writes about us too.

Yes, isn’t it always that way?  Our hearts long for and are passionate about so many things, lit up with anger or frustration or fear, fuelled by so many desires and hopes and dreams.   Then, when we come together in relationships, these complex palettes mix and the emotions feel explosive, chaotic, or even dirty in the ‘browns’ of too much mixing.  It makes cultivating community challenging.  Yet, our goal is to bring our emotions under a system of decision making, intention, and reflection so that we can share them effectively in relationships.

A Big Shift

It is from that messy relational place that MacNamara suggests shifting from a behavioural model of rewards and punishments, praises and corrections, to an emotional-relational model that focuses on collecting and connecting with our child or loved ones because,

Emotion is the engine that drives human action; it is what the behavioural paradigm has missed in its effort to quanitfy and measure human behaviour.

Our home is transforming as a result of this shift.  We are holding the emotions of our child with safety and acceptance.  We are giving her time to mature and integrate the palette of her heart.  Isn’t that what we all want?   I highly recommend this book for all parents, particularly those with sensitive children in your homes. Or, if you are a highly sensitive parent.

We need safe places with authentic relationships for emotions to be expressed in constructive and intentional ways.  We want to share the beauty of our hearts’ palettes.

So, we are leaning into community…

For the sake of the children,