Recently, my husband, daughter, and I went to the local Life & Science museum, and one of the big hits of the day was visiting the butterfly garden there. A butterfly actually hung out on my daughter's arm for a while. It was so cute. She was very still, kind of in awe, as the butterfly climbed softly up her arm. Afterward, she said, "It was tickly!"
I've had the photo from that trip (above) on the desktop of my laptop for quite some time now, and somehow, it has really gotten into my head. I've even started doing a little visualization with it when I'm feeling frazzled, in which I tell myself to "tread like a butterfly" on those I love, and then I picture the little butterfly crawling on my daughter's arm. It's been really helpful to me to have that visualization to inspire me when I'm upset, not to snap back, but to whisper, to take a step back, to respond with a blessing, to wait, to turn the other cheek.
When I've told my daughter a thousand times to not splash in the bathtub, and then I get splashed again, I take a deep breath, count to five, picture the butterfly, and then calmly, softly, tell my daughter bath time is over because she splashed, and maybe next time if she can keep the water in the bathtub (not on me!), then she can have a longer bath. Without that visualization as inspiration, I'd probably be a lot more easily flustered and snappish, and, I hate to say it, downright harsh.
But when I remember to "tread like a butterfly" on those around me, I feel like I'm living the way I want to live. Like I'm making a choice to keep my home a calm, peaceful, and even happy one.
By the way, this post is so amazing, about getting through rough spots and then remembering once again who you are.
Do you have little ways to trick yourself into responding in a "better" way when something upsets you?