I. Am. Wearing. A. Sweater. In the middle of the day.
It is past the 4th of July. It is 66 degrees outside and I am wearing a sweater. Did I mention it has also been raining? A constant, wet rain that has been falling for hours. And hours. And hours this week. And I have feelings about this. Lots of feelings.
In the PNW, we have a deal with the weather gods. We will put up with the downpours, the showers, the squalls, the storms, the endless months of grey until July 5th. And then, the deal is, we get sunshine.
That is the deal.
And so far? This. Has. Not. Happened.
And let me tell you, I have feelings about this. These are just a few: I feel betrayed. I feel cranky. I feel damp. (I occasionally feel cozy).
I have feelings.
And, I have a choice about these feelings. I can either grip them tightly in the palm of my hand and stomp around sharing my grumpiness….or I can watch them float by, not getting attached to what I feel.
Which make me think of Sesame Street—of Ernie and his Rubber Ducky. The ducky that brings him so much joy, as it floats on the surface of his bath.
The ducky is joy. And we get to watch joy float.
Rubber Ducky reminds me to watch all of my feelings. I imagine a flotilla of emotions drifting past me on the river of my thoughts. Sure, some will swirl and get stuck in eddies, others will meander slowly and still more will find the swift path, but they will all eventually float past.
We need to see our feelings, we need to say them. Because when we ignore them, they silently rule our behavior. When we name them, we can own our experience and change our response. As Victor Frankl said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Rubber Duckies are the spaces.
So label your ducks.
Betrayed Ducky. I see it. I’m saying it. I’m imaging what Betrayed Ducky looks like in my mind. And now I am ready to let it float free. It doesn’t rule me any longer—and I can laugh at it—because really? betrayed? By weather gods? It does seem a bit much.
Label your ducks.
And help your kiddos label theirs.
Panic Ducky. Curious Ducky. Exasperated Ducky. Gleeful Ducky. In the heat of the moment help them to pause. And look for their duckies. Name each one. And feel it. Catch it in their minds, greet each one, then breathe and release it to float on by.
When a child yells “I hate you!” what happens? We go straight into hurt, defensiveness, resentment. In that moment, we don’t like them much, either. We need to help them pause, and find their Duckies. Is it Left Out Ducky? Despondent Ducky? Lonely Ducky? Shamed Ducky? Afraid Ducky? Oh….kiddo, you don’t hate me. You are heartbroken I told you no (about the toy / the phone / the sleepover/ insert everyday issue here.) This is what heartbreak feels like. Let’s hold that feeling. Our job in that moment is to fully embrace their Rubber Ducky. This is empathy. And here’s the deal–you don’t have to agree with their feeling to understand it. Chances are, you don’t agree. It’s why there is conflict to begin with. If you thought unlimited screen time was the best idea ever, they wouldn’t be yelling at you. So while you don’t agree with Heartbreak Ducky, you can see from their tone, their tears that this is a very, very big deal to them. And they are very, very heartbroken. When we name and acknowledge Heartbreak Ducky with our child, now they see what they feel, and they feel connected to you. They get that you get them. And everyone’s intensity starts to fade. We can breathe and let it go. Now we can have a conversation about what’s next. A conversation we get to have together–now that we see how we feel, and aren’t ruled by our feelings.
That’s this week’s Summer of Love—it is all about emotional catch and release. Rubber Ducky, you’re the one.
p.s. Want help naming all those emotions? Here’s a list of 250 feelings.
p.p.s. This week’s Summer of Love video is from the Lacey Rotary Club. Check out their Duck Dash for the visual–watch from 45” to 1’25”.
p.p.s.s. well, two videos this week. Because who can resist Ernie and his Rubber Ducky?
p.p.p.s.s. Turns out, the sun is now shining. I am definitely feeling Joy Rubber Ducky.
- Want to go back and (re) read Week One? It’s all about belonging. Right here.
- The owl outside my window for Week Two is right here.
- I love hearing from you. And I’d love to know all about your Rubber Duckies. You can send me an email, or join the facebook conversation here.
- Have friends you know will love Summer of Love? You can forward this email and they can click right here to get all signed up. Love the Love!