One day I noticed that my son Daniel, 19 months old, was walking around the house with a limp, and saying “ouch” every time his right foot hit the ground. He was wearing shoes -- his favorite ones with the blue stripes, and the velcro fastenings. He had recently learned how to put those shoes on all by himself, and he had been very proud of that fact.
I walked over to him and pulled him on my lap so that I could look at his foot and figure out what was wrong. But he wouldn’t sit still, and definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY did not want me to even touch those shoes. It was obvious that he was saying, “No way, Mom. I put those shoes on by myself, and I am not going to let you take them off.”
So, I decided that he’d have to figure out that his foot hurt, and that something was wrong with his shoes, and I let him get off my lap. For the remainder of that morning, he limped, “ouched,” and wouldn’t let me get near his shoes. Finally, when he went down for a nap, though, I took off his shoes.
Sure enough - there was quite a big pebble in the toe of his shoe. It dropped out, and when he woke up from his nap and we (well, HE) put his shoes back on, he could walk without pain. He never realized that the pebble had been the problem, and in fact, I’m not sure he even realized there had been a problem at all.
We’re like that. We have “pebbles” in our life experiences - that give us an “ouch” feeling when we feel certain emotions or have certain experiences. Yet -- we don’t want to remove those pebbles, because we’re “running our own lives” and determined to just deal with things. We don’t even realize that our un-resolved emotions are the “pebbles.” We think it’s just part of what we “have to go through” or “endure”, and that it’s “just the way things are.”
When we learn that it’s relaxing, good, and beneficial to remove the shoes, find the pebble, and understand our emotions, we will find that we experience instant relief, instant peace, and we will be able to relax.
Common “pebbles” we might experience:
-- Wishing that we could have done something “better” -- and blaming ourselves because we could not.
-- Feeling hurt or angry because someone else did something, and blaming the other person for our feelings. (We have those feelings because of the view we take of the situation - not because of what another person did. Feelings are independent of “outside doings.” Our feelings are real, and important - but they serve as guides to how to help us find solutions and answers.)
-- Feeling stress without understanding how to understand the meaning and our “inside needs.”