From the moment he was born, this is the wisdom that my youngest son has taught. He is his own person, and he will do things his way - or die trying. He lives his life on his own terms, following his own heart. And he is consistent and egalitarian in his application of this philosophy - to parents, grandparents, strangers. It is in his DNA, it is not personal (hello power struggle), and it is brilliant. It makes me rethink what I value and prioritize, and why, and (now that I see the beauty and wisdom in it) I am regularly grateful for the lesson.
We live in a culture that values schedules, activities, predictability, discipline, and being at a place at a certain time. This is not how he is wired. He is wired to float, to play, to be in the moment, to be present. To be immersed in living and in whatever activity captures his attention. He is strong and capable and compassionate, and so very joyful. His humor is quirky and clever, and he gives us irrepressible belly laughs.
This is also inconvenient. Trying to get him out the door to pre-school on time was deeply painful and challenging - and we went thermonuclear trying to get him to "obey" more times than I care to remember. Now that I see more clearly the beauty and importance of living his way. Living, not doing. I love his steadfast and clear boundaries, and pure sense of dignity and autonomy. He is an unstoppable force and an immoveable object. When he says yes he means yes, and is in with his whole heart, and when he says no he means no, and is out with his whole heart. He reminds me that it is ok to say no, and to not compromise what is truly important. He is wild at heart, free and strong.
He will do things his way, and the world will be a better place for his wildness.
In the Human Design system I am a “generator,” a pure energy being. As such, my most natural state is to be responding to the energy around me, and listening to my emotions. To be participating, enmeshed in and equal with the energy around me.
The energy of a ‘manifester’ is different. Manifester’s are all thrust - initiating activity. A solo effort, masculine.
My nature is to respond, to participate, to be equal.
The distinction can be nuanced in life, but the energy is quite clear - solo thrusting energy versus engaged, participating equal.
To learn of this category feels so liberating, to be released from the pressure to do, do, do.
Learning to listen to my energy is completely new for me. I have been a ‘manifester’ imposter my whole life, initiating regularly. And, this has created walls within me, because I need to know, to analyze, to figure out, to have an agenda for everyone I meet. It was exhausting. Now, I try to lean back into myself, releasing myself from the pressure to have an agenda, and simply be with the energy around me. This is a completely different way of being in the world, and takes awareness to learn it’s ways.
This morning I returned from a long walk in the woods, and realized I had a deep desire to have fun with my kids, to have a joyful connected experience with them. I also wanted a treat for breakfast, something delicious and special. So, I walked in the house and announced that we were going to Whole Foods for “orange breakfast.” This is what we call our decadent breakfast of popcorn chicken, peach cobbler, biscuits, and loaded tater tots from the Whole Foods breakfast buffet. (All of which are orange in color. Don’t judge.) I announced the plan, and started hustling them to get ready.
I realized something was amiss when Ryan started playing with Xoli, and moving slowly. That is how he responds when he is not enrolled in an event. So, I doubled down to urge him to move because the breakfast buffet was going to close shortly.
It wasn’t until we were in the car that it dawned on me that I had steamrolled them. That I had an unmet emotional need to have fun with them. My unmet emotional needs are my responsibility, not theirs. So, I told them that: I had an unmet emotional need, and I steamrolled them into going. I didn’t invite them, I ordered them. And I apologized.
Jackson said it was fine, he wanted to go. That was good news. Ryan said that he was in the middle of a game and wasn’t hungry. He hadn’t wanted to go. I get that. He and I share a quality of ‘hyper focus.’ We get into things, deep into the groove of the moment. I had pulled him out of his groove in order to satisfy my unmet emotional need. And he had responded by moving slowly and being ’obstinate.’ Except he wasn’t being obstinate, he was being true to his heart, which was resisting. He was giving me a message.
I then told the boys that there would be times that the family would need them to move urgently to meet a family objective, but that that wasn’t one of them, and that I had abused my power.
Seeing my behavior was illuminating, because abuse of power is abuse of power. It doesn’t matter how “good” it’s intentions, it’s outcome, it’s objective. It matters how it steamrolls over another. Period. And I could see how this abuse of power could grow with the more power that a person has. What happens in my home scales all the way up to the highest political structures in the land. It is a spectrum, but the energy of the act is no different than the abuse of power that we see at the national, international, global level.
Perhaps that means that the solution is the same.
Afterwards I saw Ryan through different eyes. His ‘obstinance’ occurs frequently - but, perhaps…, it’s only obstinance because he has not yet been enrolled into an activity, he’s been ordered.
Humbling, and so so important.
Norma Van Horn