The Purejoy Parenting Blog
Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey
Healthy Aggression? You are asking?
I know there was a time that I sure was!?!
How could aggression be anything other than horrible, wrong, bad? I asked Leslie in a session one summer afternoon after my son punched the neighbor kid.
When it happened I was immediately embarrassed…worried…I felt a rise of energy in my body…
Close your eyes… she said.
I did it…by now I knew she was about to rearrange the furniture in my brain.
Imagine your boy- you know him… he’s out there on the yard, playing…
I see him so clearly as she recounts the story line I just spilled to her through helpless tears…my desperate wish that my boy would be seen good, held in high regard, not outcast.
See him there, feeling the same sense of helplessness, of powerlessness to get what he most needed in the moment.
You know he doesn’t hit unless there is something coming in hot and fast, unless he is in a vulnerable place, like helplessness. It’s age appropriate when he’s engulfed.
And consider, what are the benefits of him hitting?
Benefits? Are you kidding me?- I say.
Yes, she says- stay with it.
He felt helpless, he felt powerless in that moment…
And it came over me like a wave of warm water…
He took care of himself!!!!
Yes…and what else is true if he took care of himself?
That he knows his limits.
And so on I went, listing the benefits of my son hitting the neighbor.
I’ll be honest by the end I was sort of giggling to myself at the practice.
Not that someone was hurt, right? I was all along holding that point in my loving kindness, but this new part was also staying with my child, by staying with what was coming up inside of me.
By the end I noticed my heart was light and I was ready to come alongside of my boy. I got curious about his sense of helplessness, of powerlessness- of options and creativity we could practice going forward.
That one moment taught me a magic mama trick I use often and I’m going to share it with you.
You see, I was fixated on aggression being bad.
So I started playing with taking the other side and said, what if the aggression was serving something- what if it was good?
And in brought me to the middle, he aggresses and he is meek.
(Quick tip- google: What is the opposite of (insert- trait/behavior/feeling)
I do it with traits too.
The kids are being destructive, I say.
What’s the polarity? Creativity.
We are destructive and creative.
In order for us to have one, we must be willing to see where we also possess the other.
Most recently I’ve been practicing finding things I hate.
Why? Because I LOVE to love…and my love is only as true as my hate.
It’s liberating, to be honest with myself.
I am never only nice and not mean,
I am never only fair and not unfair,
I am never only sweet and not spicy,
I am never only happy and not sad,
I am never only cheery and not glum,
I am human, and my soul is here to experience all of it!
When I am willing, to tell the truth of my inner world, of these traits and feelings in my SacredSeat, I discover my true nature and parent from there.
I recognize that I am all the things and it just becomes energy, life force- and then I get to choose how I behave.
Purejoy is delighted to announce that we just graduated TEN brand new Certified Purejoy Parent Coaches as well as 5 Group Coaches!
Just look at their beautiful brilliance shining through!
Such an honor to journey with them over the last 8 months as they walked with HEART through the stages of Purejoy, back home to their true nature.
Stay tuned to the Purejoy Parent Coaches Listing to take advantage of their new offerings as they spread their wings in this work.
Congrats to you, Coaches!
Below is a poem Carrie Shaw Miller wrote to celebrate the moment.
Poem for the Purejoy Coaches
The Purejoy journey
Is daunting indeed
I tried to run and hide
Rather than absorb its creed
I buried myself in work
Focused on serving others
I never prioritized myself
I didn’t want to be a bother
I didn’t have the courage
To make myself a priority
I didn’t want to face myself
Or feel selfish or needy
But as I stretched myself too thin
Like butter over too much bread
My fire fizzled out
And my heart filled with dread
I lost my joy, I lost my spark
I lost my ability to speak
I lost my confidence in myself
My heart and soul felt weak
I came to PureJoy to avoid enmeshment
And to stop colluding with clients
But I got so much more than that
I finally found my balance
You all supported me
In being more authentic
In loving all my brilliance
Along with my faults and antics
In bringing my WHOLE self
To this present moment MAGIC
To tell it like it is
Whether glorious or tragic
To stay with my discomfort
And offer it loving kindness
To sit with intense feelings
To counteract my blindness
My blindness to my judgments
My blind urge toward self-aggression
My blindness to my childhood baggage
Born out of innate wisdom
In shining Purejoy’s light
On these blind spots in my life
I can show up fully as I am
And no longer apologize
Instead I take full responsibility
For every part of ME
Now I can shine joy on others AND myself
Now I can finally be FREE
Thank you vibrant, fantastic Leslie
Thank you heartfelt, helpful Jess
Thank you dancing moxy Tanya
Thank you sweet, soft Amy Beth
Thank you gentle, glowing Holly
Thank you sincere, funny Erin
Thank you wise and pensive Abe
Thank you all for ALL your caring
We appreciate you SO MUCH
You’re in our hearts forever
We’re so grateful to be with you
On this Purejoy journey TOGETHER
It is part of the human condition that children need connection, both physically and emotionally, with their caregiver.
As a babe- your life depended on it. Love was the greatest commodity.
If you couldn’t connect as yourself- at some point you most likely developed a strategy to become what your caregiver preferred to stay in the love when you felt like you could not get what you needed or wanted.
If not considered in adulthood- those strategies may show up in your parenting.
I know they did for me.
When I felt like I couldn’t get the connection I wanted when I was young- I tried harder to be good, I found a new way to do something more, I chose to act in ways that I perceived were impressive- I could always do better! I was my own ultimate fixer upper project.
Of course becoming a mother my focus was set towards connection- and that my kids would never feel disconnected.
I was well into my parenting when I sensed that all my wanting was not working! My kiddos were frustrated by me, I would lash out and shame and blame them into getting the results I wanted.
I felt like I was becoming the very mom I swore I would NEVER be.
I was applying my strategy of connection- and it was pushing my kiddos away.
The harder I tried to find the perfect organizer for their toys, the more beautiful curriculum for their school work, the more idyllic house for their childhood- they were flooded, with having to go there with me, rather than just be in our moments together- in reality.
I engulfed them with my strive towards perfection.
It landed me flat on my butt- burnout and quitting.
Literally and metaphorically. They didn’t need ‘better me’.
It was exhausting to not be myself, to be striving to purchase love.
The truth was- I couldn’t do it all, I was needy and limited and everything I was pursuing out there was already within me, and turning towards it was exactly what we all could relax in.
When I found the SafeSeat and started to admit that there was a part of me inside longing for it to be ok to rest, and create and dream. I relaxed, and offered to myself what I was so desperately seeking from someone, something, some scenario I kept trying to find out there.
My oldest talks about what it was like to be along for my self-improvement ride, and how hard it was to get close to me when there was no room for any of us to have a need, or a want or a breakdown.
I’m so grateful that we are a blob of perfectly imperfect now- we find the pockets of both connection and separation and in the middle of it emerges a relationship that feels true and supportive.
I’ve been getting more curious lately about what it means to be Open-Hearted.
I notice two parts – I used to think parenting through my heart meant being happy, pleasant, calm, and ideal.
One half of the whole.
But lately, I’m seeing a deeper layer, another part of being in an open-hearted relationship with my kiddos- the other half.
I know when they were born my heart opened so wide! So wide because something spiritual or magic, or otherworldly happens when you meet your child for the first time. Right?
Some of my coaching clients have been saying this too- and the range of how we meet our babes the first time is also so wide, yeah?
I’m taking a closer look at this question tho- what about the times when the birth was so hard, when I had a surgery, when I lost blood, or when my blood pressure was dangerous….when I felt like I was going to die?
Was my heart open then? I want so much to say something was wrong and it was so hard and painful and I cried, and I was confused, and my body was wrecked. I want to get away from how vulnerable those moments were.
I notice it feels safer to position in a way that says it happened to me.
So I stay with all those stories in my SafeSeat and the feelings that go with them.
I listen so deeply to the one in me who went through that experience and wonders if it will all be ok, if the babe is ok, if I am ok?
If there is a safe space for me to let all of it be true, to come forth in my being?
Hand on my heart.
I feel powerless, and scared.
I ask- what was really true in that moment? Was my heart wide open?
And this is the new part that I am starting to notice now as I do my work and turn back towards my vulnerabilities- even then when it was so hard.
That my heart was profoundly open then, too.
Because I was more present to the tiny details of life in those moments than I am usually in the day-to-day mundane, in that moment of a life coming to me, as I became their mama.
I noticed my body here and where my babe was laying in the lights over there.
I felt the path my baby took out of my body- and the IV poked into the back of my hand.
I noticed that I had lots of questions in my mind, but couldn’t speak about if everything was ok, or normal, or not in the moment?
The visions of those moments are imprinted in all the minute ways I take information into my senses.
The beep, the breath, the warm, the tight, the light.
I had an awareness about what it meant to connect with my babe- even tho reality was such that I couldn’t hold her.
There was no such thing as future or memory.
See- it wasn’t that it was ‘good’ and ‘happy’, or even ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ that showed me my open heart.
It drops down a bit- from my thoughts to my knowing.
In those moments my HEART was awake, open, and aware of ALL that was happening in the moment.
That’s what open-hearted relating has been teaching me- from these experiences where I KNOW my heart was leading the way, where it was wide open.
It’s not about ideals, and perfection and pleasant… I notice my perception says that it’s always ok to have my heart open when it’s delighted.
But also- can keep my heart open when it hurts, and when its disgusted, and when my perception says- this is wrong, bad, horrible!
And when I do.. when I choose to keep my heart open to all of the parts that hurt… and stay with the pain just a little bit deeper- when I welcome it.
Something beautiful reveals itself to me.
There is a hidden beauty in the pain.
I recover a deeper more true part of me that I tucked away a long time ago.
My kids reflect to me on a daily basis in the small ways, the parts that sting and poke and scratch. The parts of me that are still looking to be loved… by me.
And then there are also big stories with big energy that call me back, over and over, to the parts of my heart I often close because that’s the only way I have ever treated them.
My friend AmyBeth who is also a Purejoy coach said to me in one of those moments of intensity the other day- but watch closely, are you closing your heart- to YOU, Mama? Whoa…
I’ve been sitting with that one.. and I notice in the moments- when I look out and see something I don’t like… I close, I turn, I protect my heart- I cut off to the moment and say, I want something else, or I’m trying to get us away from what is right here in front of me- all the little details that my senses can tune into I ignore.
And that hurts too.
So I’m practicing now- and you can join me…
I’m asking of discomfort- am I closing my heart to myself?
What would it be like to stay open? To face, to see, to reflect the moment…
What do I have to be willing to feel?
I anchor into these times I met my children.
I know my heart was open- and I see that they were all things, in a moment- and I was tuned in.
I notice my kids, masters of present moment, moving through all feelings as natural waves of the human experience- no judgment to how they feel.
I notice they move on, they experience the moment, and then move on…
I’m learning from them, to feel what’s in the moment, to use my adult capacity to notice, to witness, to support, to choose.. and then- move on.
As the energy of the feelings animate us, heart open, and we simply live it.
The relationship that is created this way is just so profoundly true of us- its Purejoy!
When I became a mom I was driven by my fantasy- it was one that had been programmed into me from my culture, my family, and sources I deemed supportive toward keeping it alive.
It took a lot of energy to work towards my fantasy.
In my fantasy, I was perfect and my kids were perfect.
They never whined or complained, I was always patient and calm.
They did all the ‘healthy’ things, like eat broccoli and drink kombucha, do 15 minutes of yoga and walk the dog for fun.
I never yelled and always had meals ready on the table.
They didn’t care too much about screens or need me to entertain them.
I was trying so hard for it all to be true- I thought about it ALL the time- how to force it into reality.
So much so that if any way my kids behaved challenged my fantasy I took I personally.
I felt like they were against my grand plan, inside my head- to be the perfect mom and kids.
From my view- anything less was a total failure.
I had us all wrapped into my fantasy.
It’s really different now. I have my SafeSeat practice where I check out reality versus fantasy.
The more I do- I’ve dropped the fantasy that asks me and my kiddos to be something we are not.
I use a question to support myself to do this- what if there is nothing wrong or bad/right or good here?
Only what is?
When I ask myself that question (over and over) I’m able to take a closer look at what is going on in reality with me and my kiddos.
Together we find feelings, and motivations, desires, dreams- I notice it’s much lighter as we go along in this way.
I stay in the moment long enough to get curious about what actually IS happening and that supports us all- I drop the fantasy and opt for the present moment with my loves.
I’m not holding us to the fantasy when I drop into the parts that are about what’s right in front of me.
People say to me all the time BUT YOU HAVE FIVE KIDS!?!!
And yes, when I was living with them pinned into my fantasy it was HEAVY. It was a lot.
Every little piece of laundry, every dish, every bicker felt like a personal attack.
But from this transformed place of taking a deeper look at what is going on in my internal experience, separating out from my kiddos, and tapping into my HEART in the moment, I have come to a place of lightness of being in my parenting.
Becoming a Purejoy coach was a brave move for me.
I had been a stay-at-home/homeschool mama for nearly 15 years when I jumped in!
There was a part of me that always wanted to have work in the world, but finding the capacity to do that while also raising five kids was always eluding me.
When I met Purejoy I was in a big fat muddy puddle of my self-inflicted suffering.
I was trying so desperately to keep the external environment just so- so that I didn’t have to feel all the feelings I had organized my life not to feel.
Then slowly through Purejoy, I started looking at what was inside, to unbury and untangle all the pieces.
Offering loving-kindness, I slowed down to feel it all in my SafeSeat.
Offering it to myself, I also offered it to my kiddos.
Each piece I looked at, I said- what do I have to be willing to feel, so that I can be with this part of me- of what is real.
Each piece I looked at, I noticed- energy came back into my being- I was returning closer and closer to myself with love.
I created an environment where I met my brilliance.
And over the last five years, it has been a process, sometimes challenging, with lots of support- a return to my own inner wisdom.
I’m back in touch with my own internal wisdom, my PUREJOY.
This led me right into the first Purejoy Parent Coach Certification training!
I’m not everything I thought I would be for my kiddos when I became a mom.
I don’t homeschool anymore, my home is simple and untidy at times, and I’m not always certain of what’s next, we just keep going along together now.
But what I AM- is alive and living in my true nature!
Every day my kiddos experience my becoming more and more of who I truly am.
SO much so- that my kiddos have become my biggest fans!
The other day I reached a milestone in my work as a Purejoy coach.
I walked out into the living room from where I was working and announced it to my family with a huge grin on my face.
The kids, that were there, all broke into dance and celebration mode- hands in the air, HUGS, reflecting back to me all the important transformational work I have done.
Oh, yeah! Mama!
You’ve got this, Mama!
You are doing it! Mama!
I love Purejoy so much because I celebrate their brilliance- and in that moment they were celebrating mine too!
Check out the PPCC Page while you are here for more info on the next training.
I used to worry a lot!
The funny thing about it is that when I got worried- I would barge into their experience with judgement and concern- and flood them with my panic!
It didn’t come off as love to them.
My worry would get triggered by something I read, or something I heard, or sometimes straight out of nowhere- out of my wandering mind.
But the other night I got to practice with worry- in the present.
I have 5 kids. One of them is old enough that a friend was stopping by to pick him up.
The others had an idea, and even a thing to say or two, about what was happening.
They were (all four of them) grouped in the window, watching and pointing- I was there too, watching him go.
One ran out to the road and threw in a few last words- a heckle of sorts.
I was embarrassed, I felt my energy starting to go out- to want to control.
I went into observation mode.
I stayed with the vulnerable parts in me that were saying- he’s going to get upset!
I was worried- that he would be embarrassed of his siblings.
I was anxious that maybe I should inject myself in the moment and make them stop.
This time I stayed with me- observing.
Nothing wrong or bad, here. No danger.
I stayed with me all evening- wondering, breathing- holding the energy that is mine.
Feeling vulnerable and offering kindness to myself!
Of course you want your kiddos to get along!
Of course you want him to have his freedom!
Of course you want the best for all of them!
You love them so much!!!
And I committed to checking out my story- when the feelings had passed.
The next morning I asked him- how was that for you?
To my amazement- he said, HILARIOUS!
I stay with that too- to my surprise!
Reflecting- if I had interjected myself and stopped the scene, and inserted my worry to all of them he would have missed experiencing the joy and HILARITY of his siblings!
My girl, she’s 9, said to me the other night as we were winding down for bed…
I’m sad- and I don’t know why.
It struck me- that she was just willing to be with the feeling of sadness.
I asked her- how is that for you?
She said- sad.
So we just sat there, with sad- her eyes filled with tears as I wrapped my arm around her shoulders.
And I noticed that in me, something that wanted to fix it for her- so I took a deep breath and just noticed both of us.
I had to ask – is it ok to just be sad, in this moment? And not know why?
After-all- here it is, in this moment.
Can we just stay with it for a bit? Nothing to fix or change?
And in that moment I was learning from my girl.
She was so willing to just be with this energy in her body that she calls sad.
When I notice what I call ‘sad’ in my body- I quickly try to figure it out. I push that energy away a lot.
I try, really hard. Too hard.
To name it, and fix it, and often get my environment to get on board with my trying.
I ask the kids to clean up, and stop what they are doing, and pay attention to me.
I notice that I get frantic and I push and force and want to fix.
I clean, or try to have conversations and distract myself from the energy.
I try to change the external.
Sometimes tho- more and more- I catch myself.
I recognize the sensation in my body, I feel the feeling, or hear the old story running through my mind.
Of- you’re never enough, or- will you ever get this? or- this is all going to come back on you!
And I pause- and SafeSeat.
I hear the one in me who is trying, so. hard.
I say to her — Oh Love, here you are.
Of Course- you want them to cooperate, and of course, you want them to listen.
I feel her and see her and let her know I’ve got this.
And then I choose a behavior that is more present for all of us.
Oh- this is my energy! What can I do with it?
Do I have a need? Would I like to ask for support?
How about you? What is your ‘sad’ like?
Can you stay with it? For just a bit?
Long enough to really hear what it wants to say?
What energy is now available to you?
What if you aren’t raising kids- as much as creating an environment of emotional safety around them that supports them growing into the brilliant human being they are becoming in this life?
My son is 18. He says to me every now and then of his siblings- ‘you would never have let me do that as a kid’.
When he was little I asked him to reflect to me how I was a good mom.
My parenting didn’t make room for-
His big feelings that brought up my own big feelings- I wasn’t willing to feel.
His desires that asked something of me- to know and set my limits.
His personal expression that cast me into a fear of the future- I made assumptions and worried that others would judge us.
I expected that he play a character in my environment that I needed to reflect to me my worth and success as a parent. It was all about me!
Now, in my SafeSeat practice, I meet my own feelings, desires and expressions- my vulnerability – with kindness.
I take them back inside and out of the projections and expectations I used to place on my children. I love myself- in my full range of being human.
From here I’m ready and trust that I can meet everything that my children bring to me with kindness and connection also.
The more I meet and love those parts in me, I discover my own brilliance.
All those big feelings, all those beautiful desires, all that life force energy wishing to be expressed.
When I do this, I am creating an environment where I meet my children every day in their own discoveries of who they are- their brilliance!
I’m a parenting coach and astrologer who loves to read and study!
One of the kiddos loves rock climbing, socializing and playing music.
One is most at home in his room, tells funny jokes, and loves gaming and pop culture.
One is a free spirit who draws and day dreams and sees magic in tiny things.
One is a snuggle bug who loves Pokemon and math problems and staying up late.
One loves to bake, write notes, and play any and all board or card games.
What Purejoy to recognize each of our unique brilliance.
I thought you might enjoy hearing a story from a client of the SafeSeat in action.
“I find myself intrigued and awed by the possibilities that reveal themselves with the SafeSeat practice.
As sung in Encanto, I wonder what else I can do!
For me, the SafeSeat practice offers possibilities of MORE. More love, more laughter, more rest, more connection, more learning, more creativity, and more embracing vulnerability.
Despite my best intentions, I still found myself engaging in a power struggle with my four-year-old over glitter and glue.
Usually, I might criticize myself: ‘Why did I let this happen? How could I think I could handle this? What’s wrong with me that I’m arguing with a child?!’
Instead, I recognized that I was emotionally triggered. I moved the glitter temporarily out of reach and took to my SafeSeat as my daughter cried in protest.
Although I wasn’t consciously aware of working through the steps, I suddenly felt a wave of compassion for my younger self.
‘Of course, young Nina wants to protect the art supplies!’
‘Of course, young Nina doesn’t want to have to clean up a mess!’
‘And of course, young Nina wants to do things her way!’
At the same time, I felt compassion for my daughter in front of me.
‘Of course, she wants to do things her way!’
‘It must be so scary to have these big feelings and not know what to do with them!’
I was clearly able to see both sides of the conflict and, after offering compassion to myself, I opened to my adult capacities by turning towards my daughter in her distress.
By this point, my daughter’s cries had elevated to screaming, pushing, and kicking. I swooped her up in my arms and carried her to the couch. As her rage continued, I felt so loving towards both my young daughter and towards my younger vulnerable one inside. I spoke from a place of emotional safety as I said to her, ‘I know it feels dangerous right now, AND I am safe and you are safe. I don’t like to be pushed and kicked. You can push and kick the pillow, the blanket, the chair, etc…’
Finally, as I was holding her arms, she stilled. Her rage shifted as she cried out for connection. We cuddled for a couple of minutes, and then she gleefully asked me to throw her against the couch cushions again! We played, tickled, and laughed for a few minutes before going back to our crafts.