The Purejoy Parenting Blog
Do you always feel you are going to be late because of your children?
I did. But also, I am a nut about being on time.
My concept of time tends to be very linear. One step leads to the next to the next. When I need to be somewhere I start marking out my steps so I can get to where I am going on time. However it was clear from a very young age, my daughter didn’t live in linear time like I did. She had her own sense of time and space, based more in the present moment. It drove me crazy.
Because she wasn’t basing her actions on the past nor using that template for the future, she would look at me like I was speaking gibberish when I pushed her to hurry because we had to be on time.
I thought by the time she was a teenager I had instilled in her my strongly held belief around the urgency of time. But nope. She seemed not at all worried about this lateness thing I carried. She hadn’t absorbed the memo that time went from A to B to C, and other people were waiting for you and you needed to show up.
The more I talked about time, the more frustrated I got that she wasn’t on my timing.
I can be quite forceful and I imagine you can too. I used my whole arsenal of “power over” moves, followed up by the “consequences” knock out punch to try to force her into ‘my’ time, without much success.
Eventually I stopped judging her and got curious – what was it like to live in the land of “no time”?
I discovered that of the two of us, she was pretty relaxed and I was the one who was super stressed, living under this taskmaster of time. Perhaps you feel this too?
During these current times, where there is not a high demand to go many places, to arrive “on time”, maybe it is possible to shift something here, to try a new experiment.
Tomorrow, or sometime this week, spend the whole day without looking at the clock, without scheduling yourself like ‘now we have to eat’, ‘now we have to brush teeth’, ‘now we have to get to school’. Explore this and see what happens. Do you begin to relax more? And do things still get done? This was my biggest fear, that if I didn’t drive events and keep my daughter ‘on time”, things were just not going to happen.
This may feel true for you and you may believe it’s true, but right now is the greatest opportunity to find out. Notice what happens when you don’t have the external pressure dictating you have to be on time or else.
I love how time keeps coming up, so try it out, see what happens. Let me know. I’m curious to hear how it is for you to step out of linear time entering the moment.
We found our way through 2020 and here we are in 2021!
Thank you for joining me in the deep inquiry toward a new way of parenting. I love sharing my insights and parenting experience. It gives me Purejoy.
I support you to deeply trust your experience and knowledge. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. I’ve read parenting books, spiritual books, therapy books, and I love knowledge. I’m always learning and growing.
However, in my parenting, trusting my experience more than my thinking or my knowledge, dropped me deeply into my heart knowing.
My head told me to do things that triggered resistance in my daughter. Thoughts such as – it was my responsibility to control her, that I knew what was best for her kept crowding out my heart knowing. It felt like we were always divided and at odds.
When I dropped into my heart, I recognized my daughter was not resistant to be resistant or to mess with me.
She wasn’t defiant when I relaxed and trusted the intuitive knowing from my being. She resisted when I expressed my stress, tightening my body, and living out of my mind instead of trusting my heart.
In our current situation, when the things we depended on have fallen away and life’s possibilities feel uncomfortably narrow, you may notice yourself tightening. If so, you’ll be more controlling in your parenting because you can’t really control what’s happening externally.
The other option? Relax, open and show up in the present moment with your child. How? When you notice resistance or defiance, ask yourself, in this moment am I parenting from what I think I’m supposed to do and what all the experts have told me that I need to do? Or am I listening to my heart?
Am I willing to see when my child is defiant and resistant, there’s something in their interior landscape that’s distressing, and it may have to do with me and how I’m choosing to be with them.
When my daughter expresses intense resistance, I PAUSE and check inside asking: where am I parenting from? Nine times out of ten, I’m parenting from my thoughts, from an agenda. I am refusing to be intimate with the moment. I forget to listen to the amazing, intuitive wisdom that tells me first and foremost, to meet my daughter in her heart’s vulnerability.
We were trained to trust concepts, experts, and our minds rather than meeting in the vulnerable intimacy of the heart.
There’s plenty of experts telling you what to do to control your children, to get them to behave. If that’s the path you’re following, great. Nothing wrong with that.
And yet you’re here to hear something more profound and truthful. Your heart is calling you to follow a different path. Your longing to have a more connected experience requires letting go of any barriers between your heart and your child’s.
This week notice when your child is saying no or you perceive them as giving you a hard time. PAUSE and check in with your body. Are you open? Are you available? Are you holding tight to an agenda, or your need for control?
If so, take a breath, offer yourself kindness, and open to the beautiful, loving energy of your heart – for you.
And then, extend that to your beautiful children.
Stories are a big part of our parenting journey.
So many stories, ideas, beliefs, fantasies, nightmares, so much of our parenting journey is made up of stories.
And most of the time, those stories are about the past.
Or they’re about the future. I don’t know about you, but, oh, my gosh, when my child was young and had behaviors that were scary, I projected way out into the future of how she wasn’t functioning or she was living at home forever or worst of all wasn’t working and was dependent on ME!
What was happening in the moment was she wouldn’t take out the trash and this had nothing to do with the future.
It had to do with the present moment and my refusal to be intimate with that moment.
Do you ever do this?
It’s not your fault that you avoid intimacy in the moment. You, along with most of us in the West, were trained from the time we were very, very young to always be planning for the future.
One of the question adults most frequently ask of young children is “What do you want to be when you grow up”? That instead of “Who are you right now?”.
An example: I am recording my podcast and my dog starts barking. Immediately I make up all kinds of stories about your reactions when you hear my dog on the recording. I think: the recording is not professional, I should start over.
I start judging myself. That kind of judgement is all about the story and what it means.
As I step into the intimacy of what IS in the present moment – nothing more than my dog barking – I notice some discomfort which I try to avoid by making up a story.
As I choose to pause in that discomfort, take a breath and go towards the awareness of my body I notice a tightness in my chest a tension in my muscles. I am hyper vigilant. My body is acting as if something dangerous is happening.
As I check out reality I ask: is it dangerous to be intimate with this moment? No. It’s my stories that create the danger about what this means. As I relax into the truth that there is no danger I smile and offer my humanness some room to breathe.
We were trained early not to experience the present moment and our embodiment. We learned to listen to others beliefs about what our actions meant limiting our possibilities in the future.
And the future is often based on the past, on experiences we had as children. We’re very familiar with our stories of how we’re supposed to be, what we’re supposed to do, how parenting is supposed to go, When triggered with our kids, those templates charge forward shaping our thoughts and behavior. Ultimately, it comes down to the fear if we really come down into the present moment we’ll fail in the future. We won’t teach them the right lessons and they won’t be responsible adults.
Refusal to meet ourselves in an intimate way is a strategy to use control or withdrawing love to get a future outcome. It is painful on both sides.
Instead take a moment and imagine meeting discomfort without judgment, without a story or conclusion, without doing what minds are trained to do. Bring your awareness into the discomfort in your body, offer kindness, and find out, is it dangerous to embody and stay present with this moment? It’s challenging because we’re trained to go the other way. And yet, is it actually dangerous?
This week try practicing.
See what it’s like to practice dropping out of the mind, through the intense feelings into your beautiful body. Staying there for a moment with a kiss of kindness.
Do you ever feel like giving up?
Running away, disappearing, just giving it all up in your parenting.
Well, if you do, it’s OK.
It’s important to see this desire as a messenger not a destroyer. If you hear yourself saying, “I can’t do this anymore” take heart. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself what ways am I being that aren’t working any longer? Am I giving too much and refusing to receive? Am I positioning as a victim? Am I using control instead of connection to get my needs met?What strategies are not working in your personal interior world?
If you feel divided inside it will show up outside with your child. So, the question is: Do you want to feel powerful or empowered in your parenting? Do you believe that you have all the answers and know what is best for your child? If so, when they disagree do you feel like giving up?
Take a laser view of the so-called powers you use in your parenting. Are they working or do you feel like you are in a constant battle with your child?
It may be time to listen to the messenger and to “give up” what isn’t working. And of course, this will trigger BIG time fear inside and yet you can be with that. You have the capacity to offer it love instead of giving it the power to run your parenting.
Instead of manipulating, demanding, punishing, shaming or controlling your child what will it take to lay those powers down? It could be time to “give up” on those and take on the superpowers of loving connection, healthy separation, effective selfishness, and adult boundaries. Don’t shoot the messenger…open the door and welcome it to the table of unconditional love.
Deeply listening to our children can be extremely challenging.
While your child is sharing something, are you thinking about what you want to tell them or how they need to be? I am.
Example: My daughter is venting about someone in our neighborhood. She’ll be going on and on about how they’re this, they’re that, how she doesn’t like them. Inside I’m feeling discomfort and a desire to contradict her story bubbles up. So instead of opening to what’s underneath the narrative, which is she FEELS powerless, helpless, and therefore doesn’t feel seen, heard or understood, I try to convince her that they are trying really hard, they had a difficult upbringing and she should be nice to them.
Out of my discomfort, I try to talk her out of what she is saying. I’m not actually listening to her I can only think about me.
The next time your child is telling you something, just notice -Are you already trying to fix it, change it, or talk them out of it?
We’re all trained to do this. Picture when you’re trying to share something with your partner or a friend You’re wanting to hear yourself, and longing to share. They start rationalizing with you or trying to fix or change you or even worse tell you how you feel. What happens? Does it make you crazy? It does me. I’m not asking to be changed. I’m asking to be heard. I want to be seen, heard and understood. PERIOD!
When your child expresses big feelings, notice your internal story and yet stay with the feelings. If you get caught up in the story of the big feeling, you’ll want to talk to the story instead of being with the feelings. It’s easier to fix or change the story because we don’t know how to truly be present when BIG feelings arise.
Check it out. When you feel powerless, helpless or rejected by your child, notice your narrative. Is it that you are a victim? Instead of getting caught on the narrative, stay with the feelings and say to yourself “Well, of course, this is difficult for you, you really wanted your child to listen to you.”
Do the same with your child such as: ” well, of course, you don’t like that person. Of course, it’s difficult because you don’t feel seen by her. You don’t feel heard. I see you.”
When listening and talking to the feeling, it doesn’t mean you are believing or not believing the story, agreeing with or not agreeing with it. You are making space to listen.
This week, when your child has a hard day and they’re complaining, instead of trying to convince them to be different or talk them out of it, try saying” Tell me more”.
Open up to seeing, hearing, and understanding the feelings, not the story. Go slowly, because we always want to grab onto the story, and if we see it as a problem, we think we can fix it. In time, you’ll be able to stay present and truly listen.
Feelings don’t need to be fixed. They want to be heard.
The greatest gift I’ve received this lifetime is the honor of becoming a mother.
I was living a wild crazy bohemian lifestyle and I almost forgot to be a mom.
As strange as that sounds, I was having such a good time letting life lead me when all of a sudden I woke up to this niggling urge, this niggling calling, this insistent voice calling me to be a mother.
It was a gift that I even became a mother because my journey was one of adoption and I was single and 44 years old.
Fortunately, I was approved to adopt from China.
I’ll never forget the moment one of the nannies placed my precious bundle in my arms.. Time stopped and I was filled with a feeling I can only express as overwhelming love.
After waiting and preparing a lifetime she finally came into my arms. My heart blew open, taking in this exquisite being that was to be with me for the rest of my life.
What I didn’t know was the level of intensity or the beauty of the gift that my daughter was bringing because I thought I was the gift to her.
The greatest gift I ever received was the honor of becoming a mother. I waited until I was 44 years old. I was a wild, crazy bohemian most of my life, and I kind of forgot to be a mother.
She generously gave me the gift of self-love, through the gift of self-reflection. Anything I judged in her was a part of myself that I also judged. It was often painful to look and yet I committed to the work.
It was imperative that I choose which path I was taking. I could either try and control and fix her behavior, so I could see the reflection that I wanted, or I could open to receive the gift of her reflecting back how I had shut down on my vulnerability and was self-aggressing on parts of myself.
I chose to love all of myself which led to loving all of her.
When your child reflects a part of yourself that you don’t like….take a moment to turn inward and offer this part of you love. Every part of your being deserves love.
In my last post we talked about parenting ‘in the moment’. Maybe you’ve had time to practice? How did that go?
If you had resistance to this concept that is really natural.
I noticed my resistance came from my mind. All these stories came up every time I had this new idea of dropping my concepts and ideas. I realized that all I knew about parenting came from my conditioning, from the template I had learned in my family and from all the books I had read. I had quite a file cabinet of information on how to parent.
I had resistance to trusting my inner wisdom, to dropping into my heart and meeting my child where she was at that moment. Judgement would come up: I’m letting her get away with stuff, I’m wimpy, I’m permissive.
Instead of staying with my heart and embracing the vulnerability of not knowing exactly how to be, I kept going to my head and getting more and more rigid. And in my rigidity it appeared as if my daughter was causing my pain. She was causing me to be rigid and I needed to get her in line.
So I would pull out my file cabinet of traditional parenting techniques and try them, and they always went ‘south’. She didn’t get the memo that she was supposed to follow all the guidance right from my mind.
Dropping into your heart is not so much for your child at first, but for yourself. Meeting yourself where you are with incredible kindness opens a different door. This is hard for the mind because the mind so wants to be right.
When I began the work of dropping into my heart for myself, through my SafeSeat practice, I began to open my heart to my daughter. And then I was able to meet the resistance that was protecting my vulnerability and offer it loving kindness.
Such a wonderful concept and when it came right down to it almost impossible. My mind was always in the past or the future.
I would see my daughter and focus on a memory, such as her being so demanding. Or I would fantasize about the future, about who and how and what she was going to be.
I noticed I didn’t want to be in the present moment with myself either. I’d been trained, as most of us are, to always try to be and get more – more money, more things, more success- always reaching out into the future.
And if I wasn’t where I thought I should be, then I was reaching back into the past telling myself I was lazy, not good enough, or rejectable.
I was having a hard time offering kindness to myself in the the present moment. And it was almost impossible to sit down in the present moment in my relationship with my daughter without coming to some conclusion about what that moment meant or where we should be in the future.
I’d like to tell you a story.
I don’t know about you, but I hate to be late. When my daughter was younger, we’d wake up in the morning to get ready for school and I would be throwing her a rope and pulling her the whole way: Get up! You’ve got to hurry! We’ve got to get to school! I was already in the future, already at school because I didn’t want to be late.
Then she would go backwards! The more I pulled the more she would pull back. It was like a crazy zone in our house.
One day, when she was still in bed,rolling around and not getting up, I thought: What if I meet her where she is? Which meant, first of all,I had to be willing to be late – really hard for me! But I thought: Ok, we’re late. It’s not a disaster.
I got into bed and started surrounding her with love and snuggles.. We were laughing, hanging out in bed and then a bizarre thing happened – the next thing I knew we were at school!
I had entered the present moment and it was like falling into some kind of wormhole!
A lightbulb went off and I realized: Anytime I am charging ahead my daughter will pull behind, or if I am behind in the past, my daughter will pull ahead. I got clarity about polarities, that I could sit more in the balance of the two being right where I was, with my daughter being right where she was.
This week, when you notice you are worrying or have some anxiety, put your hand on your heart. Instead of judging what is happening from the past or trying to reach some future place, just say, I am going to offer kindness to where I am in this moment, and see what happens.
Let’s talk about the true meaning of kindness.
For years, I thought kindness meant “being nice” and yet I discovered it went much deeper than this.
I only wanted to “be nice” to certain behaviors that I perceived were appropriate.
Once I saw it wasn’t about behavior it was about opening the heart to what drives the behavior my perception radically changed.
As I saw the intelligence behind all behaviors the door to my heart blew open.
I opened the door to unconditional kindness and said YES to life.
Kindness is the main ingredient that awakens in my SafeSeat and throughout the day with myself and my daughter.
The Dalai Lama was once asked in an interview, what his religion was. He announced with a huge grin, to the assembled world press, “my religion is kindness.”
They said no questions followed, because nothing else was needed. I LOVE this.
I’ve been highly aggressive toward myself over the course of my life, towards my looks, my personality, and what I’ve done and not done.
When I recognized there was very little kindness that was coming toward me from myself I made a shift.
In my SafeSeat I surround myself with incredible kindness to the parts of me that I had to repress, or the parts that I learned not to love.
The kinder I am to myself, the kinder I am to my daughter, my dog, my world, others.
As one of my beloved teachers Bruce Tift said: “the more we practice the art of kindness, eventually we become kindness.”
I’m inviting you to offer kindness to yourself, especially when you act out or you mess up.
When you yell or do something that doesn’t feel good, that’s when you need kindness the most.
When your child acts out, that’s when she/he needs kindness the most.
They need to be seen for who they really are and to recognize that they are doing the best they can to communicate their internal distress.
It’s the same for you! When you’re activated, there’s part of your brain that really believes you are in danger.
IInstead of beating yourself up, you can say, oh, sweetheart, what is going on?
Just pause for a moment and see if you can offer yourself deeper and deeper levels of kindness.
As you do this, you will be able to offer more and more kindness to the world.
Listen to podcast Ep. 44 “The Art of Kindness”
For a good part of my life, I believed I didn’t have the support I needed in order to walk through the difficulties of life.
Life should be easier, because it all felt like too much. Things were coming at me faster than I could handle. It had to STOP.
In childhood I perceived there wasn’t enough support available in my home. Challenges felt unbearable. I looked to my caregivers for support and yet they were limited and could only give what they had to give.
I came to the “young” conclusion that I was all alone and no one believed in me or supported my needs.
My strategy, to cope with this conclusion, was to tighten my grip on my external circumstances to make sure that nothing ever went wrong. I lived as if the rug could get pulled out from under me at any moment.
Without the felt experience of a solid foundation externally, I questioned my capacity to support myself internally creating resilience to go through difficult times.
Maybe some of you experienced this growing up?
When something difficult arises demanding support, you experience feelings of terror, thoughts convincing you are alone, and the belief that everything is too much to bear?
Of course, this happens and it is easy to believe the stories arising.
In my experience, everything changed when I welcomed those feelings, thoughts and sensations offering them the support that was available from my adult stance.
As I turned toward the present moment reality, I realized there was support everywhere. The ground supported me, the chair I was sitting in supported me, my breath supported me. And yet I had a choice whether I relaxed and accepted it or not.
Staying open and relaxed, suddenly the support that is actually there comes rushing in to envelop you in its love.
The SafeSeat is the physical representation of this beautiful support. In the SafeSeat, I give myself the supportive environment that has always been available internally.
I transform my relationship with life, and open to my capacity to face difficulty.
Sometimes I still tighten, but whatever comes, there’s a place I know is available to go.
In my SafeSeat, I listen to the “younger’ part, relax, and soften. I imagine I am sitting in the arms of the divine mother who is always surrounding me.
As I sit in stillness, I feel the deep, amazing support ever present.
As a parent, it is tempting to work hard to keep everything together. This leads to feeling drained and exhausted from the monumental effort.
For a moment, I invite you to relax your tight grip of control. Thank it for doing such a great job of trying to protect you, when you perceived no one was there to catch your fall.
And today, commit to a new movement. You claim the beautiful love and support that is here for the taking.
Place your hand on your heart, offering the support to YOU.
As you do, imagine all the parents around the world doing the very same thing.
I lovingly join you there, sending you love from my tender heart to yours.
Keep going, sweet Mama! I’m here to support you too!
Listen to podcast Ep. 43 “Getting Support”