Samskaras That I Wish You Saw

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In Yoga there is a term for patterns.

They are called Samskaras.

They’re like ruts you can get into, that limit your abilities: always pushing up into down dog from hands and knees might keep you from being able to access down dog from forward bend. Or always taking the option for the most ego-boosting arm balance might keep you from exploring the lessons in surrendering to a pose you view as for beginners. Samskaras cause limitations. They can be eased on like a well-worn slipper. They can be done mindlessly and therefore unquestioned. It’s a way of living life on auto-pilot instead of being fully present.

Samskaras can also be formed in the mind out of false beliefs.

When I was growing up, I dealt with difficult feelings by wanting to disappear. I felt I was only an adjunct to another’s will, so I could leave my body when I needed to escape. When I experienced post partum depression, this samskara most naturally turned even darker. Thoughts of suicide were a natural destination for chemical depression and anxiety laid atop an already existing thought pattern.

One of my biggest fears is that I will yell at my children. It may not seem like a terrible thing, but my mind has fixated upon the idea of yelling as being one of the worst things I could do to my children. I feel that to have their mother yell at them blights their spirit a little each time. It dims their bright beacon of self-hood, just as mind was snuffed out for a time. I haven’t been able to let this pattern go, yet.

I am recovering from post partum depression, but the samskaras remain.

This morning when my oldest son, Nat, turned around and wordlessly screamed at me in frustration, I screamed back at him. My worst fear. I did it. I yelled at my child in rage.

Yet, I realized that it wasn’t his scream that triggered my samskara; it was the micro-movement of pure terror on his face that I saw in the second before his scream. I instinctually reacted to it as the little girl who was powerless to stop painful feelings and had to disappear.

I created my worst fears and I dumped them on my children. The post partum depression samskara immediately arose. I felt the overpowering urge to run away and devise a plan to end my life. It was a pattern. I can see it for the pattern it is and understand that it is not true. It feels true. It is hard to remember that I am not my feelings. I am not that powerless little girl anymore.

I know this, but I don’t believe it. The feelings are almost overwhelming. When I had post partum depression, they were overwhelming and I was unable to find the truth beneath the false pattern. Now, I can see the pattern and I can stop racing to the end of the samskara.

I still have a long path ahead of me to heal, with many of these as yet unrealized ruts to get lodged in. But, I’m humbly walking the path, asking forgiveness when I yell, and hugging the children without and within.

Samskaras are difficult to recognize and break.

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4 thoughts on “Samskaras That I Wish You Saw

  1. Ugh…I’m glad you didn’t publish that one. :p

    No one gets away with perfect parenting, and I’ve talked to more than one person who feels it’s just plain discouraging when people they admire or go to for help are only presenting an attitude of puppy dogs and roses, all the time.

    It can be ridiculously hard to be honest, but it’s insanely important – and I only think the more of you for it (as I think most people do. 🙂 ). It’s also a huge relief – I can see that I’m not alone! We all need to know that…things that remain hidden often only become worse…

    I’m glad you’re feeling positive and as always, appreciate you sharing your journey mama!

  2. Ah, so glad to see that you are able to release some of the guilt that comes with those parenting moments. Parenting fails will happen because we are human. You are such a wonderful loving, and kind person. It is so inspiring to read about the ways that you are unraveling your demons.

  3. This post has been on my mind since reading yesterday…

    I’ve been wanting to find words of comfort – but I kind of suck at doing that without just sounding cheesy… one thing I am happy for you in is that you’ve come to recognize what this is – something that is still huge even when it runs so contrary to your feelings.

    I was intrigued to see this explanation as well (though sorry for your pain that brought it about) – it’s made me begin seeing some of those ruts I also run into – particularly in thought patterns – and hopefully this is something I will have in mind next time feeling seems to obliterate everything else…

    I hope you find grace along with the samskaras in the path ahead…hugs to you mama!

    • Thank you so much, Kelly. I feel really positive even thought it’s still hard. I’m healing and I feel strong even when I feel weak like what inspired this post. I just downloaded “Scream-free Parenting” to read on my kindle. I’ve been avoiding it because of the title, but it’s time to admit that I screamed and need more positive, supportive tools to stop these patterns earlier.

      I did receive one negative comment to this post, along the lines of “you’re a bad mom if you yell at your kids like this.” But, I didn’t want to publish it because I hope the things I write, even when they’re painful, are positive and healing for others. Even if a parent has never actually screamed at their child, they might be able to see a similarity to their own experience and know that it will be okay. At least, I hope it comes across this way.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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