The first day of the holidays threw up a roller coaster of emotions, reactions and reflections that may help guide a happier and more connected year. The days started well with cuddles on our new sofa, but laughter turned to tears as Ziggy and Saffi's games went sour.
Ziggy's trip to see Star Wars on Saturday was in jeopardy, and my first day off with the kids was ruined before 9 o’clock. It was clear there would have to be consequences for Saffi's tears, and it felt like my responsibility to enable them. Fortunately my quieter self, combined with my coffee addiction, prompted a time out for me, and reflection in a different direction. While I was experiencing emotions that I thought came from the argument, I quickly realised something else. The feelings I was experiencing were not coming from the argument, Saffi's pain, or Ziggy's actions.
My feelings were only coming from my thinking in that moment, and what I knew from that moment is that it was OK now, whatever had happened then.
Saffi was no longer crying, Ziggy was only angry about the idea of not seeing The Last Jedi, and I was only experiencing some disturbed thinking about what wasn't happening right now.
And in the quiet beyond the noise, fresh thinking emerged. Kind and compassionate thoughts, connecting my son and I, directing us towards calmer ideas. And within moments we were back on track, a new plan for the day, and an opportunity for Ziggy and I to share a sofa at The Everyman. We’d discover if Luke Skywalker could be persuaded to rejoin the resistance, and bring forward the Empire’s demise. If you haven't seen it I wont spoil it, but it was a classic father and son cinema moment. And some wonderful Jedi wisdom thrown in too.
At one point the latest hero and heroine are resting in each others arms after a spectacular piece of bravery , our hero disappointed that he hadn't been able to destroy a particular piece of the dark empires armour. Our heroine turns out a line that will stay with me forever,
"We're going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love!”
And it turns out she was right, as the Jedis always are.
When we focus on what we don't want, we get confused and stuck, misguided by our own negativity. When we focus on what we love, we turn towards the light, and its power shows us the way forward. This applies everywhere, but in family and business it is particularly poignant. Reflecting on the mornings events I realised that as i was focusing on what I hated in myself and others, the anger and the hurt overcome me. Only when I looked towards the love was I able to see what I needed to get us all facing the right direction. In negotiations, this means focusing on what you and your partner want, not what they don't want. And in families it is the same, when you look towards the behaviour and actions you hate, you'll only see darkness and distress. Looking towards what you love will always bring you more of what you need, because it is love that is the only thing that can be true between family and friends.
As we look toward longer days and lighter hearts, I hope I can keep this Jedi wisdom close to me and mine. And may the force be with you too.
NB: The picture above is not just a gratuitous Rocco pic, we think he looks a lot like Chewbakka, so its a relevant image!!