My son Ezra and I had a glorious breakthrough about boredom a few days ago, and I’m inspired to share it with you, in case it just might be contagious. (And no, it wasn’t about boredom breeding creativity or genius or whatever it was someone wise once said, though I’m sure that’s totally true too. ;-))
It all started when I found myself navigating a serious Saturday morning funk. These weeks of unending smoke in our valley— making the children stir-crazy in full-blown complaint— were really starting to get to me. Along with the simple challenge of needing to keep our active kids inside, it was consequently invoking a seemingly endless battle with Ezra about screen-time. The combination of his restless agitation and a constant vying for passive entertainment was becoming as exhausting for my ears as it was excruciating for my heart.
I’d also had a nasty headache on and off for days, and was pining for the personal space needed to work on my book. It was all feeling rather depressing and maddening. In my pain I began getting grouchy with my beloveds~ stingy with kindness, nit-picky, critical, and sloppily tossing around my agitated scowl.
Thankfully I finally overheard and oversaw myself, noticed the essential choice at hand, and realized an immediate attitude shift was in order. I escaped momentarily into the privacy of our master bedroom, took a cleansing shower, and then softly and deeply invoked the remembrance of gratitude.
Oh my, oh wow, thank you. Thank you for the sweet truth medicine of Thank You. How it changes everything!
I dropped through the sticky layers of emotional discontent, all my wants and un-wants, and simply let my guard down— to myself, to the smoke, to the day. I looked around my bedroom through these fresh-seeing eyes of my heart and gasped to notice white gladiolas standing tall in elegant bloom on our bedroom altar!
I had placed them there myself, two days earlier, but I hadn’t really seen them until now. Oh the gift of seeing flowers offering their open bloom~ what an honor this is! And just like that, I found my heart flooded with humble thankfulness for the abundantly blooming love and beauty of this lifetime.
I took a deep breath and knew I needed to go out there and meet my amazing boy Ezra and his restless struggle in an utterly new way.
I found him in the living room and wrestled him into lying on one of our healing mats. I started giving him some bodywork~ shiatsu style~ really working his meridians, reveling in the powerful trust between us. I even sat on top of him while I massaged his points, giving him something tangible to struggle against. Ezra’s such an incredibly embodied being and I knew if I could help him move his physical stagnancy, it would immediately loosen up his emotional energies as well.
It was then, while I sat on top of him, smooshing and trapping him, working his heart, lung and large intestine meridians, that Ezra and I stumbled into a fairly fabulous breakthrough about boredom.
It went something like this:
Ezra, sincerely irritated, his face scowling with aversion, whined: “It’s just because I’m SOOOOOO BORED, Mom.”
How many times have I heard this plaint of boredom? But for some reason this time, freshly cleansed by true gratitude, I just dove freely into it with him.
I said, “Oh my God, I know. Me too! I’ve NEVER been more bored than this. Ugh~ what a boring day and boring life. It’s the most awful thing in the world to be SO BORED.”
Ezra seemed shocked by my response. He was incredulous: “Well I’m even more bored than that! WAY more bored than you. Like, the most bored EVER!!”
I retorted: “Impossible. I’m the most bored person of all! And, you know what? YOU are the most boring! Wow oh wow this is just SOOO BORING.” I yawned loudly for emphasis.
Ezra, looking horrified, but a slight smile starting to appear, squealed: “What? Me~ boring? How DARE you?!”
I guffawed: “Oh my God. Truly? This is the most boring conversation I’ve ever had! I mean— talking on and on about being bored? What could be more boring than this? It’s the worst! I’ve never been more bored in my life!”
Ezra, laughing hard: “YOU are so boring! YOU are the MOST boring person and this is the MOST boring day, and the most boring Summer EVER. And this is the most boring thing to even talk about! God, Mom!”
By now he was giggling madly, squirming as my meridian work turned into deep tickles in his ribs. I was still sitting on him, giving him as much weight as possible to push against.
I gave another exaggerated yawn, patting my mouth, saying loudly: “BOR-ING!”
Ezra, wailing with laugher, cried out: “We are the MOST BORED!!”
Laughing too, my heart so deeply glad, I agreed wholeheartedly: “Truly, we are bored beyond belief.”
We grinned at each other.
Then I said, “Can I take a picture of you being SO unbelievably bored?” I grabbed my phone and took his picture. He howled with laughter. Then I showed him the picture and said: “This is you, bored out of your mind. Looks pretty fun, huh? Maybe we should try to get bored more often?” 😉
Ezra took my picture then as well, saying: “This is you being the most boring Mom a boy could ever have.” His undying fondness for me was oozing from his shining blue eyes.
From that moment on, we decided we rather fancied being bored. I suppose we discovered the gem of not resisting it?
I mean how many times have the kids complained of being bored, usually invoking some fleeting mixture of irritation, futility and helplessness, imagining I was then supposed to think up something great for them to do, or generously remind them of their capacity for creative brilliance?
How fabulous instead to just be completely bored and boring and let this wild moment of fresh presence trample all over it.
How wondrous to remember the transformational power of simply allowing something to be. And to remember how easily a challenging dynamic can shift— with a little rapport, openhearted humor, and a refusal to insist that it shift.
So here’s to finding gratitude in the grumpiest, scowliest moments, and to discovering the riveting nectar of absolute boredom!