WILLIAM 101: DO OVERS ARE THE ANSWER.
As the Maitri Upanishad states, “As is one's thought, so one becomes.”
Your intentions and thoughts create your actions. When you set an intention you become clearer about why you're doing something; what kind of attitude you want to commit to having; and what you hope to cultivate from the experience. In addition, when you are clear about our intention, you can more easily recognize any actions, reactions or self-talk that doesn't support you. But the thing to remember – the really important thing - is that you can recommit to your intention in any moment.
In yoga, we practice to cultivate presence so that we can be with each breath in each moment. When we are present in this way, our actions most closely reflect our intentions. Our actions become the art that our intentions create. Of course this is hard work! But when you feel that your intentions have flown out the window, you can pause, take a breath, and start again in ANY moment, ANY time! My family has long put this into practice. When my son William was about 4 we started this 'exercise' called the "do over."
When William was acting in a particularly 'unskillful' way (and if I was grounded enough to ward off my knee jerk reaction of just yelling at him) I'd pause and ask him, “Do you want to choose another way of saying that?" or, "Do you want to start again? Do you want a redo?”
8 years later, William always chooses the opportunity to start over! This not only helps me feel better as I have the chance to let go of my own anger response (and I always like his second choice better), but he also feels so much better because he regains control of his actions and feelings. Plus he's usually so much happier with the response from everyone. (Starting over again, winds up being a win win for everyone!)
And, truth be told, he even gives me the opportunity for a redo every now and then. (Teach your children well, and they will teach you.)
The good news is you don’t have to act out in a reproachful way to get a chance to ‘start again’. You can do it any time you feel a little off course. Each breath is a chance to be more conscious: take a deep breath, pause, and choose to act in a way that expresses your presence, your mindfulness, your deeper intentions