Lessons learned at the amusement park

Lessons learned at the amusement park

We become so much less controlling and enjoy the rides a lot more when we stop using “flight-attendant lingo” and its accompanying consciousness: I need you to put that seatbelt on!

We become so much less controlling and enjoy the rides a lot more when we stop using “flight-attendant lingo” and its accompanying consciousness: I need you to put that seatbelt on!

by Scott Grace — 

Following are some of the lessons I learned with my daughter at the amusement park.

Lesson 1: Waiting is worth it when anticipating pleasure. My daughter, Aysia, normally with the attention span of a 6 year old (she is one), becomes as peaceful and patient as a seasoned meditator while waiting in long lines for rides she wants to go on. Maybe if we saw the whole experience of life as one giant amusement ride, we would be more amused, patient and peaceful while waiting.

Lesson 2: Wants are wants; needs are needs. This separation is impossible for a child. Aysia: “Daddy, I need you to go on this ride with me.” Scott: “Sure thing, Aysia.”

Of course, as she gets older, I may want to point out that she does not need me to go on the ride; she wants me to. And if I do not want to, I can find her a companion close to her age to go with her. We have done that on several rides that would have turned my belly inside out and upside down. (She makes new friends — like, instantly.)

Adults act like children when we confuse our wants with our needs. Needs are not met by a specific person or outcome. I can want companionship or to feel loved, but I do not need it from you. We become so much less controlling and enjoy the rides a lot more when we stop using “flight-attendant lingo” and its accompanying consciousness: I need you to put that seatbelt on!

Lesson 3: It is OK to say “no” and still have a good time. I say “no” a bunch of times at the amusement park: No to cotton candy; no to staying eight hours. No to rides that make the contents of my stomach (oh, I have covered that already). My daughter’s disappointment gets expressed, and I hear it.

And then we move on to enjoying life again. Feelings do not last, and when they get validated, they pass as quickly as clouds across the blue sky on a windy day. It is the stories we tell ourselves as adults that keep negative feelings around. Validate the feeling, trash the story and get back to the joy.

Lesson 4: Fear is nothing to fear. (Sorry F.D.R., let us agree to disagree.) Scary rides can be fun. So why in the world would a kid want to be scared? Because in small doses, fear becomes its own homeopathic remedy.

Dark rides give my daughter a chance to practice touching her fears lightly without getting stuck in them. These rides are safe containers that give kids the experience of facing and overcoming fear, which is valuable stuff. She leaves the ride with a broad smile on her face, and so do I, after shooting down ghosts and goblins and surviving a tour of the haunted house. Victory!

So this is just a little of what I am learning from taking Aysia to the amusement park. I believe that life works best when you treat your time on earth as having signed up for an amusement park adventure. One of my songs, “Smile On Reality,” has the following lyric: Life is like an amusement park and sometimes the rides take you through the dark, but, if you can still be amused, you brighten up the night with your illumined attitude, and the darkness makes you love the light even more, that’s what it’s for ….

So, friends, may we all smile on reality. I wish you peace and joy and great gobs of goofiness at the amusement park. And, for goodness’ sake, do not take the rides too seriously — we bought a ticket. We wanted it all — the fun house, the haunted house — all of it.

 

Scott Grace is a traveling troubadour, speaker and an intuitive life coach who does sessions via phone or Skype. Schedule a free introduction session through email at info@scottsongs.com or see scottsongs.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 3, June/July 2015.

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