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The Purejoy Parenting Blog

Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey

Freaky Friday!

Freaky Friday!

Have you ever had one of those days filled with shocking surprises? Well, I did last Friday.
 
First, I broke my computer screen so I couldn’t use my regular computer. And the second thing, which may trigger a wince  ( but remember, there’s no bad things just challenging ones)  is I broke my wrist in two places. It was truly a freaky break. 
 
Since I didn’t have my laptop, I went to use my big computer. I have this little meditation chair on wheels that I use instead of a desk chair to sit cross-legged. I decided to put an extra pillow on top. As I went to get on the chair, whoosh it flew out from under me, and wham my wrist hit the hard metal desk.
 
Of course, my mind immediately began to figure out why this happened. “What is this all about?” I thought.
It’s so easy to come up with stories and conclusions especially when a freaky thing happens. Well, there could be a million reasons just like there are a million reasons when my daughter does things that I don’t understand. As I deeply pondered my situation, I ended up thinking there is no good reason or bad reason it is just a freaky Friday.
 
The deeper question became how do I want to be with reality? Can I slow down find more neutrality and actually witness the benefits as well as the drawbacks of the reality that I am facing? 
 
Viewing my situation from this position I saw so many small acts of kindness. So many opportunities to offer myself, and others, compassion. So many opportunities to give others the chance to give back to me.
 
This led me to my parenting journey and asked myself the deeper question “how do I want to be with the child I have instead of the child I want her to be?” As I did, I realized there are many drawbacks and benefits to my daughter being exactly the way she is. 
 
So Lovies, this week if you are struggling and feeling stuck in the negative with your children take a moment to slow down and ask yourself-
How do I truly desire to show up for the reality in the moment?
Remember, there are always benefits and drawbacks to each moment.
 
P.S. Make sure to check out my interview on the For the Love of Dharma podcast. 

 

Taking it Personally

Taking it Personally

Last week’s blog was about a deep recognition that how you were parented has a profound effect on how you parent.  It’s that part of becoming a parent where you swore you’ll never be like your parents.   Then, caught in a summer afternoon struggle over time spent on screens,  you hear your mom’s words coming out of your mouth!

And YET, you swore that would NEVER happen!

Or maybe you put your parents on the pedestal, and you wish you could be just like them in your own parenting, and yet day after day you fall short, you’ll never be as good a mom as your mother was to you. You’re so stuck…

So then, as we do here in Purejoy, we said- ok, slowing way down, now softening towards the precious one in you who came to certain conclusions, that also pop up unconsciously when you see your kiddo scrolling through the phone.  Did you find any early conclusions?

Because that’s what this work we do here in Purejoy is largely about- your internal experience in parenting, where those conclusions live- and some of it is quite hidden in the fabric of your being, from when you were young. This week the Purejoy coaches in training are studying the Shadow and that is very much what healthy boundary setting begins to unfurl, are all these pieces so hidden in your depths, that are driving the ship of your parenting.

So while we have this all spread out- this one moment of your parenting, let’s look at another aspect of healthy boundary setting- taking things personally.

Do you do this? I know I sure do! We all do at times, especially when it comes to our child’s behavior.

Remember your child is having an internal experience, just like you,  and then projecting that experience into the external environment. They are in their experience, thinking what they think, feeling what they feel- and sometimes that comes out in ways that aren’t’ so beautiful, yeah?  They don’t have the rational thinking part of their brain developed that supports them to consider what they are feeling and choose their behavior (adult capacity, emotional maturity

What happens- is that children, as desire-driven beings, are curiously seeking life. As parents we come along,  see their vulnerability and our enculturation, and determine that we know what’s best for them, and start awarding certain behaviors, and thwarting others. Their energy gets misdirected, repressed, confused- and eventually, it can’t be kept under pressure or control, and the energy of their desires will come out!

It’s just too much for a kiddo so they express it out- it comes out all messy and sideways. It comes out intense and it’s easy to focus on the behavior.  But remember from last week the power of your attention, your energy, where do you want to put it in that moment- on the behavior? Give it all that juicy parental empowerment? Or on the heart of your child that is full of feeling?

This is a benefit of slowing it down- we even say when we teach the SafeSeat course- take a PARENTING PAUSE!

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor E. Frankl, a neurologist, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor.

It’s in these spaces, of discovering the deeper moving parts of yourself that you’ll make true and lasting changes in your parenting.
So if your kiddo is behaving in a way that you don’t like, or behavior that you want to control and change….check it out.
Do you hear the voice of early conclusions?  (coming to conclusions)
Do you hear the voices of your parents or caregivers? (how you were parented)
Do you notice you want to shame, blame, or punish your child? (emotional black mail)

And it’s SO HARD! This is so hard, in our culture- for me, for you, for everyone because the gold standard for kids is good behavior.

Let’s take a look at the example we’ve been using the last few weeks about my daughter asking for a snack after dinner and I get overwhelmed- because I JUST sat down… if I stop and check in with myself (even for just a moment) 

In that moment- the rise of frustration in my experience- I notice the voices inside of me start to get loud with early conclusions and old voices, I notice my body getting tight and a heat rising in my center. 

I have a moment to set a healthy internal boundary.

If I take it personally- I  will treat myself with contempt. I will fall back on those early conclusions and pressures of old voices that are not mine, and I will choose something emotionally manipulative to get out of the intensity of the moment. I can get her to change so that I don’t actually have to be intimate with my own internal experience. 

If I choose healthy internal boundaries- I will put my hand on my heart, and speak to both the one in me who is worried about getting this wrong, someone being unhappy with her, and feeling so rejected in the moment- and I will also speak to my girl who just asked for a snack.  We both need something right now- you would like a snack and I sat down to relax. I treat myself with kindness- and meet the energy in me and her, not making any of our expressions or behaviors wrong or bad, but simply we both have a desire here, and how can we work to get our needs met. 

When I do this, when the boundary is about how I treat myself, I put my attention inside of me, and ground my energy down into my body, I am present for both of us now. 

Then I can turn my attention to my girl with the facts, it’s very practical. She might have feelings about my offering, of course- but from this place I can see, hear and understand those feelings, with her, I can be alongside her in my presence and support her with what I have to offer. 

My encouragement for you is to sit with these pieces we have been working on- about how to set healthy boundaries, and commit to practicing some new boundaries, on the inside, about how you treat yourself.

Keep me posted!

 

Emotional Black Mail + Healthy Boundaries

Emotional Black Mail + Healthy Boundaries

Emotional blackmailing…whew sounds ominous! Right? And I’m the first to admit that I participate in this dynamic in my relationships #cringe.  It’s what I do when I’m not setting healthy boundaries about how I treat myself- like we talked about in the last blog.

If I’m not willing to do the practice of offering loving kindness to my internal experience, I’ll go out to my people and shame or blame, or overpower, or abandon them to get out of my discomfort.

Even more so I will bind them in a way, I will shut down their experience, with my anxious energy, to control my environment so I don’t have to feel what is arising in me.

This is a big one, so let’s slow it down and soften a bit.

Take a few deep breaths, and put your hand on your heart, that’s what I’m doing as I write this because it’s a big part of my practice too…

(I actually took my hands off the computer keys- pausing to slow down and really notice the energy of what I’ve already said up there, maybe you pause and close your eyes before reading on).

Oh, hey- you’re back… I am too so let’s keep going.

Remember the example from last week? If not go read that one first here.

My daughter asks for a snack- and in a split second I am back to my early conclusion of, no matter what I do around here, no one cares, I’m trying so hard, and it’s never enough! I am not enough! I am unlovable!

From that place if I don’t explore that early belief and become more aware of it, I will put all my attention on my daughter and how demanding she is for asking.

If I go the route of emotionally blackmailing I might-

Shame her-  Don’t you see EVERYTHING I do around here? For EVERYONE?
Blame her- Why are you ALWAYS hungry? Are you EVER full?
Withdrawal – I’m tired of you ALWAYS asking me for things, I’m so done with you!

(clue– everything/nothing/always are key words in detecting young energy or young conclusions- when I hear myself saying them, I know after practicing that something tender in me needs some loving kindness- do you use those words sometimes about your child?)

I make her wrong, bad, selfish, and rude in an attempt to get my own needs met.

Of course, as soon as I do this I immediately feel horrible- I notice I am acting exactly how I don’t want to.  My deepest desire as a mama is that my children are free to be themselves- and here I am casting all this emotional blackmail based on a conclusion I made long before my kiddo was even a figment of my imagination.

That conclusion that no matter how hard I try I am never enough- that I am unlovable.

Again, she just asked for a snack.

When I first recognized this I then realized I went from all that attention out to all the attention in on myself. I felt HORRIBLE about perpetuating an environment where kids were made wrong and bad and responsible for adults’ comfort. YUCK!

That is NOT my intention at all. But here I was, doing that. So I beat myself up and landed back at my early conclusion. That, no matter how hard I try I am never enough. I am a horrible person.

So with attention all out on my girl, I was emotionally blackmailing her to stay away from the discomfort of my early conclusion.

With my attention all in I was self-aggressing to get away from my early conclusion.

Both are not serving my greater desire of being present with my daughter and are centered on this early conclusion.

So the secret sauce here is to turn toward that early conclusion- really take this part in- and recognize how precious it was that you went there.

Remember most likely you were trying to take care of yourself, your internal experience, and the way you behaved hit this same wall in your parents that your child has just innocently hit in you, and you were left to conclude you were wrong, bad, rude, mean, horrible.

SO, of course, you are going to want to bind them, to make your environment safe again, and yet, now you can check out, are you really in danger? And stop taking your child’s experience as an emotional threat.

This is HUGE! When your kiddo is asking for a snack? Or won’t get off the screen? Or won’t get their shoes on when you’ve asked 40 times!

Slowing way down inside of yourself, notice what’s arising. What are you saying to yourself? What are your sensations? How are you treating yourself?

I know you have to get out the door and I’m asking you to slow down.  It was my experience that until I actually gave myself these crucial moments to notice what was arising in me, to see my part in the dynamic, we were powerless to get anywhere, out the door or to any kind of harmony in our relationship.

Because when I am willing to attend to the emotional component in me, and not project that out by binding my child with emotional black mail- parenting becomes so practical- my energy can now go into the things we need to attend to in our environment so we can have success.

If you think about it- parenting is very practical, yeah? It’s very task oriented. So just watch where it becomes very emotional. See where you put your attention? Like with the snack- my girl is asking for a snack, I have systems in place that support us, and I can simply remind her, or find out what I have to offer in that moment.

I did a really cool experiment with some parents I was speaking with this last summer at the festival in Lithuania- maybe you can imagine it a bit if you will.

I asked them- put your attention inside, to your internal experience- close your eyes, notice the center of your body from your bum to the top of your head…just notice what you notice without trying to change or fix or make it different. Notice your breath.

And then I asked them- now put your attention out here on me… on this room…on the people around you… on your environment, again- what do you notice? No changing or fixing… just noticing… your experience….

Back inside, on your center, from your bum to your head… what do you notice….

And again- back out… on the room, on what’s around you, your environment….

Try it- what do you notice? Attention in, attention out… attention in, and then out…

There is power there, yes? Your personal power, your awareness.

Now consider your parenting- where do you put your attention? And when? Take some time to really notice this one if you can.

I like to think of attention as the function of awareness. I imagine it as a flow of energy with current, or force.

I heard a phrase once- energy flows where attention goes.

Again- don’t try to fix, change or excuse, or defend, just notice.

Where you put your attention is where you put your relational empowerment.

Attention all out on binding your child is emotionally blackmailing them. It’s one-sided.

Attention all in on your conclusion is emotionally blackmailing yourself. It’s one-sided.

Imagine your attention in balance- out, in, out, in. Like breath.

When I noticed this dynamic alive in my parenting I just started noticing- out, in, out, in.

I considered the early conclusion that had me stuck in all out or all in, desperately trying to feel safe, to feel loved.

Out, in, out in.

I offered a new option to my young experience of unconditional love from a more grounded and balanced place of dual attention- Of course, you did this Dear One, when you were young, to feel in the love- and now you are safe, here as an adult, in this body to feel the feelings.

Out- I am safe.
In- I am Safe.
Out- I am Safe.
In- I am Safe

When I recognized that I was safe and I wanted to treat myself with kindness- my boundary setting changed and in Purejoy we are working on some new content that will be out soon to support you to do the same.

Again in the Purejoy view, we say a healthy boundary is what is ok with me and not ok with me about how I treat myself! NOT about how others treat me.

I have this option available most of the time in my parenting.

Back to the example: When my girl asks for a snack and I am tired at the end of the day. I notice both attention out, and in, balanced and grounded.

Out, she is asking for a snack.

In, I have a bit of tension, I am tired, I want to be done making food.

Here we are.

I say to both of us, Awe Love, of course… you want what you want, and I am here.

In, I offer myself loving-kindness in the place of my early conclusion that my daughter did not cause and cannot fix.

Out, I let my girl know I am done making food for the day but we have the snack drawer she is always welcome to and I am willing to give her 3 ideas for food she can make. It’s very practical.

We both stay present in the reality of this moment of our relationship. I take care of myself and my experience, she carries on with hers.

This is Purejoy!

If you’re curious about this topic or any others that I have been writing on in the blog- head over to our Facebook Practice Page where I will be answering questions about the Purejoy Parenting view.

Coming To Conclusions

Coming To Conclusions

This week let’s continue to expand on the topic we were working with last week- about how the ways you were parented had, and most likely still do have, a profound effect on how you parent
It’s SUCH a big piece to look closer at, to examine in the present, because so many of the conclusions that you make about your child’s behavior or being, are based on very early conclusions you made about yourself. Left alone and not questioned, those conclusions became deep unconscious beliefs that drive your parenting. 
I find this for myself on an almost daily basis- a chance to check out my conclusions.
Here’s an example-
My daughter asks me for a snack shortly after dinner. I get a rise in my body of frustration about having to attend to another need. I’m tired, it’s the end of the day, I just want to sit down and feel done. 
I hear this voice in my beautiful mind that goes right to defending my feelings- BUT I already made dinner and you can finish eating that, you’re always hungry no matter how much food is here, every time I sit down you need something….and basically it spirals quickly to– how dare you ask me for a snack right now!? Don’t you see everything I do?
I focus on this story going on inside my mind. I defend and justify my position by telling myself about how hard I am trying, and how no one cares that I do everything around here!
The energy amps in me, and her– she still wants a snack. 
Do you do this?…the energy surges in me and I power over her- I choose a few words that snap and bite at her for asking.
Sometimes I do the opposite and I walk away. I give up.
The SafeSeat practice has supported me with a new option, a middle ground.  
A chance to go back to that story of how hard I have to try which is an early conclusion I came to… that no one cares how hard I try, I can never be good enough, I will never be seen for who I am.
And in this one precious moment where I have learned in this practice to PAUSE- I recognize what is going on inside- all that thinking and concluding and strategizing to do better, the energy ramping and amping up in me.
As I slow down and soften towards the moment I am in…I hear the voice of a little one in me who had to try so hard to get the love and attention she wanted. She had to try so hard, she had to say all these intense things inside herself, to amp the energy up, to try even harder.
If it wasn’t good enough, perfect even, she had to get scrappy and try even harder, make her efforts look even prettier, better, and more satisfactory to the adults.
I can see how so much arose in my own internal experience.
In reality- my girl just asked for a snack. 
I am the one who came to the conclusion that I’m not good enough.
Whew! It’s a lot.
With practice I recognized how wise and precious it was of that little one to come up with that plan, to try harder, be better, do everything she could to appear as the best, most helpful giving one she could muster…and how she also had to convince herself it didn’t matter how hard she tried, to stay in the love.
When I come back inside and offer so much kindness to my early conclusions I get to take the next steps of setting healthy boundaries. 
In Purejoy we say that healthy boundaries are about how I treat myself- not about how others treat me.  So now I can check it out- when my girl asks for a snack, do I want to believe my stories and amp my energy, or would I rather choose to love this whole dynamic, wrap it up in loving kindness, find out what I am truly up for and let my girl know how I hear her needs and support her in getting them met. (and that may not be by me)
By doing this, I ground my energy and choose how to behave rather than adding to early conclusions. As I do, I notice I almost always have something to offer my kiddo and we can both relax in the moment, when we stay with ourselves, together. 
I am the loving support I want to offer myself, and her.
Now- setting boundaries on this level can be really hard! It goes way back to the same roots we are talking about where you made these conclusions.
Can you remember telling your parents no? Was it ok for you to slam your door? Roll your eyes? If you’re anything like me and the parents I work with- you’re laughing right now.  This takes us back to the last post where we talked about how you were parented has a profound effect on your parenting
In reality, you were like my girl- you were just acting on your body sensations and emotional impulse in the moment, it’s what kids do because they don’t have the executive function part of their brain developed yet. So if you were feeling engulfed, overwhelmed, sad, angry, and afraid and you couldn’t ground into your parent’s energy, your energy amped, your parents did too and it exploded in a way that you could get what you needed. You slammed, hit, rolled… and that was actually a very healthy move to regulate your experience in the moment. When you did that you were called crazy, rude, mean, bad, wrong and there you headed to that conclusion that you were less than, or didn’t matter, or (insert young conclusion here).
So this work is very powerful in looking at those early conclusions and noticing how you react to your children’s innocence.  Go gently here, and remember to wrap it all in loving kindness.
I heard a mama in Purejoy this week describe how she has come to her SafeSeat- her couch and recognized it’s like huge loving arms that she can sink into.  Give yourself a moment of that mama! Find a comfy spot, wrap yourself up and imagine pure and unconditional love holding ALL of this.
How You Were Parented

How You Were Parented

The work we do here in Purejoy is about parenting.

I’ve been asked if Purejoy would be supportive for someone who is not a parent themselves- and when I consider that question the answer is a resounding YES!

Here is why- the way YOU were parented has a profound impact on the ways you do almost every relationship in your life. That lands us all in the same boat- we all had parents or caregivers that passed their views onto us.

We call it your family template.

Looking at my family template closely- I see the areas that didn’t fit for me. Especially where my authentic expression met an emotional block or a limitation in my parents.

When that happened, when I was just being a kid- in my experience, I perceived that what felt most true of me in the moment wasn’t ok. I felt the limit, I changed myself, or was punished, or maybe shamed, or blamed so that I would shift my behavior and be more pleasing to the adults.

Over time this sort of situation layered up over my true nature and I don’t know about you- but I find myself in adulthood, especially in my parenting reacting to those layers, rather than to my child.

For example-

Beginning the work of Purejoy in 2016 I was a swamped mama. I had these 5 precious kiddos that I loved so much I would give up an extremity if it came to that.

I would DO ANYTHING to make sure they knew I loved them. Especially, I would homeschool them, keep them close to me, and let them enjoy childhood and be free to play, emote, and move.

I had such a grand plan of how I would curate the perfect setting, and activities, friends- it was going to be magical and full of whimsy and delight.

They would never be stressed, pushed, or coerced- I would protect them from the layering.

You can imagine what a reckoning it was when I met this content- to find that my fantasy had actually become an agenda that trapped my kids into what I wanted, and actually landed them right in my family template, with a different flavor of expectations.

Leslie said- that all sounds so lovely, did you ask them if that was what supported them? Did you ask them if they want to homeschool and only be with you, and play house, and have wooden toys and beeswax crayons?

That’s where I realized the way I was parented- my family template had such a profound impact on me.

I was creating exactly the childhood I wished I had had.

Not the one that my kids came to have in relation to me as their mama.

I’m imagining an old cartoon where a mysterious anvil falls from the sky and pins a squirmy character in the middle of the desert- right? Such a huge AHA to see that I was parenting in response to the challenges of my childhood, rather than sinking into the moment with my beloved children and finding out what would work the best for us as a family.

It also happened in the ways I loved parts of my childhood- I clung to those pieces and added them to my parenting creation. 

Or maybe you have this other story I had then too. You see, in an attempt to curate that magical world of childhood bliss, I looked out to the experts. One told me to focus on daily rhythms and my child would happily do chores.
Another said to eat only the best foods and your kiddos will never be sick.
Yet another said to leave them be to their curious nature and they will magically read by the time they are 7 or 8 years old. 

There I was with 9 and 11-year-olds who resisted chores, wanted to eat chips and candy, and could care less about reading a book and rather snuck a hand-me-down Nintendo to bed and played video games late into the night.

Not to mention the nursing twins and a rowdy and curious toddler I was wrangling with BOTH hands.

I was FAILING!!! At all the expert advice as well as responding to my own childhood experience.

So here is how I turned that around- and I’m not going to kid you, it was hard and slow.

I started putting my attention inside- little bit by little bit.

I sat down in my SafeSeat for a few minutes every day and looked at a picture of me as a little girl. I went there too when I was emotionally activated in my parenting and just noticed what was coming up inside – my own thoughts and feelings, my body sensations.

It took time- but one day I started hearing a voice inside – the one who wanted a magical and slow childhood, with a lot more freedom. I started speaking to her with loving kindness- about all the ways she so wanted something different. What she desired, and felt and believed- it was beautiful!

I said to her from another part of me that could tolerate the disappointment- Of course, dear one…you wanted that. Instead, you had these other experiences… I’m here now. I’ve got you. Tell me about your magical desires and a big imagination.

And then I was able to turn back to my kiddos, in our home, and in our interactions and get curious, and say- how about you? What would you like to do today? Would you like to go to school? Would you like to have a different kind of toy? What are you excited about?  Tell me about you!

New things started to happen when I offered kindness to the one in me that didn’t get what she wanted. She calmed down, she relaxed, and she let go.

My children did the same.

Next, I took up setting internal boundaries, which we will be exploring over the next several weeks, and releasing my children as characters in my fantasy childhood recreation.

My son, who will be nineteen soon, can tell us all how it shifted for him as the oldest, how it also took time to trust a new version of me who was genuinely curious about him, and what he desired, and how it made all the difference for him to step into his own true nature and share his brilliant self with me.

Point of No Return

Point of No Return

Hey Mama… are you at the point of no return? Have you been there recently? You’ve probably been there before, yeah?

Me too. 

I was the one catching all the hot potatoes of feelings from my kiddos.  I was taking all of their unresolved emotional energy into my experience, and making it personal.

I was receiving all that external intensity and shoving it somewhere down inside of me. 

Then I would get so full, overstuffed. Still, intensity would rise up and I’d repress it. After all I was determined to be a peaceful and calm mom who never yelled, or got frustrated- more conscious. 

So I would repress, and repress and repress…

Until WHAMO! I hit the point of no return and I yelled at my kids, shaming them and even walking away and hiding in my bed or my car.

I hated the way I acted when I hit the point of no return and all those repressed feelings just came roaring up. The things I said to them, or didn’t say. The ways I grabbed and moved their things. I hated the thoughts that raced through my mind about what I actually wanted to do – drive away and leave them, call my husband, and unload it on him. It all felt so wild and unreasonable- and it happened so much!

I was working so hard, and I’m sure you are too- I talk to parents all the time that so deeply want, and are striving to be, the very best parent to their beloved child. What I notice is that it comes in the form of restraining yourself, repressing your feelings, and avoiding discomforts. All in a grand attempt to be the parent you’ve always dreamed of being! 

I so get it! Here we are, working to be more conscious, and yet there is a common misconception that that means we have to act peaceful and calm all the time.

In Purejoy we use the SafeSeat practice to work the point of no return in a different way, and this is where it all shifted for me as a mama, and beyond!

When you hit the point of no return, rather than repressing, restraining, or avoiding- your work is to bring consciousness to what is going on in your internal experience.

The key is to focus your attention on what is coming up for you on the inside, rather than focusing on your child’s behavior. That might be your own body sensations, your feelings, your thoughts- or a mix of those parts of your experience.  A focus on the child’s behavior actually centers your consciousness on them- rather than becoming conscious of your own experience and what is arising in you.

With your attention out- your consciousness on them, you are missing what is arising in you and it builds and builds and builds until you hit that point of no return.

Imagine a pressure cooker- the steam has to be released occasionally or the whole thing will just BLOW. 

So this week- try bringing your attention to your experience when the intensity comes up in your home, in your parenting.  As you do, see what happens when you offer kindness to the internal pressure instead of offloading it onto your kids. If so you won’t get so caught up in the mom guilt cycle, beating yourself up for how you acted, how you’re not getting it right, and how you are ruining your child.

If you don’t do this- let the pressure off a bit, take the focus back inside- you explode at the point of no return.  Usually, when that happens you are then acting out early childhood strategies- such as running away, screaming at your child, or trying to control the external environment which was smart as a child.

When that happens you look around at what has just happened- how you acted out a young strategy and start to beat yourself up.

I’ve read all the books…
I know how to be conscious (forced calm)…
I’m supposed to be regulated…

When you do this- in Purejoy we say, you are refusing to be intimate with exactly where you are in the present moment.

What would it be like rather than beating yourself up to say this to yourself?

My energy really came up in that moment…
Things got really intense inside of me…
I didn’t know how to ground that charge, no one taught me that and I haven’t practiced that one…
My energy did blow…

The crazy thing about it is – when you do hit the point of no return whatever action you take, the young strategy that plays out, brings release- and for a brief moment, it feels good. It resolves the intensity. 

When you look out and see the mess that your explosion created when you see the mess or your child’s reaction- the backlash comes rushing in and the guilt and shame are right there and if you repress those feelings, or try to control your environment- the cycle starts all over again.

This is why in Purejoy the support is to practice this beautiful and challenging step of turning the focus of your awareness back inside yourself- and see what else might be possible if you are truly more conscious of YOU!

Catching the Hot Potato Feeling!

Catching the Hot Potato Feeling!

Attunement- what does it even mean?

This word is used a lot in conscious and attachment parenting- and I admit, on several occasions, over the last few years, I googled the meaning as I’ve practiced the Purejoy view.

What does attunement feel like? What does it mean to attune? It was not a word I was very familiar with or had a deep experiential understanding of.

What I found- a definition of attunement ‘is a kinesthetic and emotional sensing of others knowing their rhythm, affect and experience by metaphorically being in their skin, and going beyond empathy to create a two-person experience of unbroken feeling connectedness by providing a reciprocal affect and/or resonating response’.

Even right now- my word processing program wants me to correct the word- it doesn’t recognize it, and even though I’ve sat with this word before- I’m still mesmerized by just how significant this idea is in my parenting. How I was so unconscious to it- and have become more and more aware.

To attune.

What was alive in me was also alive in my child.

First, I started with noticing my own experience in the moments of parenting- the ones where I acted in ways that kept me in that mom guilt cycle we’ve been covering in the last few blogs

The next step was being with all that was coming up in me in my SafeSeat– the thoughts, the feelings, the behaviors- and the beliefs that they were rooted in.

I met SO many feelings I’d organized my life not to feel- so many. Shame, anger, sadness, rejection, powerlessness and even joy and delight. Those were feelings I didn’t have the capacity to process and resolve as a child- so they were buried and hidden and it took a lot of energy to keep them there.

Then, of course, my kiddos felt these feelings- in them, and looking for support for the big feelings and sensations in their body, THREW me the HOT potato of said feelings. 

Whew!!! In their innocence, they relied on me to be the grounding pole they needed to stay safe in their experience. 

But the truth was- that until I was willing to take a look at my patterns and open to the unresolved repressed feelings- I kept throwing that “hot potato” back as fast as I could.

Catching that hot potato would trigger the unresolved charge inside and I’d throw it right back at them in an overpowering move, or a hopeless collapse- so that we all stayed organized away from the true feeling.

The whole environment was set to my avoidance of the moment we were in.

Just take that in- the enormity of keeping all those feelings away, for everyone.

As a child that was so so wise- to stay in the love, but as an adult, what I know now- is that my body has the capacity to feel it, the intensity. I’ve felt to the depths of my being some of those feelings I learned to repress and their charges— and I’m alive and well, writing this message out to you today. I’m also enlivened in a new way since I’m able to ground the charges as they arise and actually experience my life force.

It’s not always easy to do the work- I’ve heard that several times from mamas who are sitting deeply with this same part in their parenting this week- and it is challenging, and somehow I also know it is so true, or good, or profound.

What do you notice? When you consider that it is possible to expand your emotional capacity- and then support your child in their whole experience of life?

Here’s a step to work on this week – when the emotional intensity comes (your kiddo throws you the hot potato).

Welcome it.

Put your hand on your heart- own the sensations, thoughts and feelings that live in and are being awakened in you as yours (not caused by your child).

Take a deep breath.

Take another one.

Keep breathing and sending the intensity down into your body- even into the ground below you.

Stay with the intensity in your experience- looking around you, noticing how you are safe in this experience now- as an adult. Offer yourself the tenderest kindness as you come home to yourself.

Governing Guilt

Governing Guilt

This week we are talking about the inner workings of the mom-guilt cycle.
It’s building on the last few blog topics so let’s review!
First, you have a big desire for cooperation from the kiddos- and yet you are not sure how that looks so use your young strategies to actually demand compliance, take the position of ‘I know best’, and start making rules for what the child needs to do.
The focus is on getting your child to come along with an agenda- and when they don’t, or when they put up some resistance, then comes the red hot RAGE!
If you haven’t learned how to stay with that emotional charge of rage, then you yell, and act out on your child, discharging the energy.
Then you collapse into disappointment.  Throwing your hands up you play the victim card of- it doesn’t even matter anyway!
Sound familiar?!
There’s one more point in the cycle that we are exploring- and that’s the subsequent guilt that follows the disappointment. After you collapse, you start beating yourself up- if only I was a better mom, if only I could just get myself together- then this wouldn’t happen.
Guilt is so pervasive in parenting, in our modern world it often gets played as a selling point for ways you can ‘fix’ your parenting.
And yet in Purejoy, we see guilt quite a bit differently- ready for something new? A new way to see guilt?
What if guilt is a refusal or a rejection of being truly intimate with whatever is arising in the moment- inside of you? Of really being present in the moment?
(side note: relationship with your child is only ever truly happening in the present moment)
Guilt is the mechanism you so wisely learned as a pattern to move away from this intensity.
As a child, if you expressed yourself truly in the moment, with the energy inside of you- you were likely shut down and denied for your vulnerability or maybe even shamed, or punished.
Feeling guilty you avoided the intensity of the moment and stayed in your perception of love.
Now as an adult, going to guilt, you move up into your mind, away from the intense experience INSIDE of you.
Wallowing in guilt, you build an energy of overpowering in your mind, rather than feeling the vulnerability of the very moment you are in- and then from the place you’ve mentally organized, ( usually a fantasy) you move to the external to get cooperation/compliance to keep you out of the intensity.
The cycle begins again.
You can practice this week.
When you hear, inside of you, this part that says- I’m so sorry, I’m so horrible, why did I do that?…
PAUSE move to your SafeSeat, and feel what is happening in your body, in your own experience, in your being.
Check in with your breath, sensations, feelings, and the voices inside of you?
What do you notice?
Are you feeling powerless, helpless, abandoned, or rejected?
Are the voices shaming? Guilting? Punishing? Beating you up?
Most likely it’s pretty intense! Yeah?
Would you treat anyone else that way? Say those things? Shame their tender feelings that way?
Checking in with the moment- noticing it’s intense and wild in there when you interrupt this pattern… are you willing to offer those feelings an intimate embrace?
Slowing way down- notice the deeper energetic cycle you’ve broken down over the last few weeks, in your parenting.  Choose to show kindness to the one in you that only ever wanted what she wanted, couldn’t get it, learned to bury her innocent desire, and felt disappointment and guilt so deeply.
Are you open to physically holding your own hand, putting your hand over your heart, or even wrapping your arms around your shoulders and squeezing?
And say to this part of you, that is in the run around again and again of this mom-guilt cycle, a kindness.
Oh Love! Of COURSE you wanted them to listen, to do what you asked, to cooperate… whew, it’s a big one!
Of COURSE, you feel disappointed, and it’s so heavy and you feel stuck, I hear you!
Of Course this rage is so hot inside you and you don’t know what to do with it.
Of course love, this is so intense- breathe…
Stay with this part of you a little bit longer each time, offering it a warm embrace until you enter back into the present moment reality with your child. 

Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

Hello Loves!  We’ve been working through some of the deeper feelings that drive your behavior in parenting over the last few blogs.

We moved through cooperation versus compliance.

Last week we talked about the energetics of rage and how when that rage arises inside of us it basically takes over the body and acts out.

Once it does, and then happens over and over, what do you notice?

I know I would make promises to myself, inside, about how to be better. I would fall asleep making a list of things I needed to work on, to change. I would be calmer, I would finally get organized, I would get down on the kid’s level, I wouldn’t yell or shame them, I would eat better meals, go to bed on time, and squeeze in some reading while they napped rather than scrolling Instagram.

And then BOOM, the next morning my kiddos would wake me up wanting breakfast right away. I would see the piles of laundry waiting to be folded, a few remnants of yesterday’s messes that didn’t quite get picked up the night before… and it was as if I had failed before the day even started. I felt that rage again, about how it’s never-ending- I can’t get what I WANT! even tho I promised myself just the night before I would be different.

Right on the heels of that rage was so much disappointment- another feeling I had organized my life not to feel.

My first step of not feeling was to then project that disappointment out onto my kiddos. If they would just clean up after themselves, if they would just get their own breakfast, if they would just listen when I asked them to do their lessons, or go play outside, then I could actually be the good mom I was trying so hard to be. I looked around and said to myself- other moms are doing it, maybe my kids are just more difficult, why do they fight? other kids don’t!

Disappointment is just so heavy- so heavy. I felt trapped and stuck and wanted so much an escape from this pattern.  I was so desperate- I would overpower, then feel guilty, then promise to do better, then fail, and rage and rinse, wash, repeat.

I try hard- it’s one of my main operatives! If something doesn’t work, I try a new thing. If I get curious, I try a new thought or idea. When I make a mistake I try try try harder the next time. There is a lot of trying over here. It comes from a very young and precious part of me that decided and then believed that I could try my way into love.

But what I notice now as an adult- is that the harder I try the heavier the disappointment- take that one in for a minute?

I try and try and try- and each time I’m TRYING, it’s about getting the external to cooperate and change the environment around me so my insides can feel good. It JUST DOESN’T WORK. I did it for years and I still do sometimes.

Rather than stay with my disappointment I go to this place of trying, striving, promising I could and would do better, that I could be better.  Sometimes the flip side of that. I give up, and say it doesn’t even matter anyway. We just suck at this, and fight and are lazy and no good- and so we will all just be horrible in the end. Whew! It’s intense, yeah?

At the center of this energetic dynamic was my struggle to get my environment to reflect to me a state of goodness that wasn’t true- it was a fantasy! I was trying so very hard to get my kids to meet my needs. I desperately wanted them to cooperate with me – to make me feel good!

Here’s what I know now. That was never their job- they could not fix a problem they didn’t create! From a very young and vulnerable place inside of me, I perceived them as a threat to my goodness, on an emotional level. I could not get this right!

So I took the work inside of me.

I noticed that all the strong shame and frustration I was overpowering my children with- was first happening inside of me.

I was so self-aggressive on the inside. With all this promising to be different.

It’s so deep, the ways we feel we disappointed our caregivers as children- right?

It goes so deep.

So in a quiet moment of pause- in my SafeSeat. I became aware, that it was my own self-loathing and self-berating, that kept me in an energy dynamic of feeling this horrible weight of disappointment.

A pause- and a choice to offer love to this part of me that couldn’t bear to feel disappointment all the way through.

Saying to her- Oh Love! Of course, you want to be found ‘good’ and held in high regard. You work SO HARD to make sure everyone has what they need and even want, and you get tired and you give and give and give- Oh LOVE! I see you, and I’ve got you. You are Loved. You are good- for being just who you are. You don’t need to change a single thing! Even your disappointment.

The Energetics of Rage

The Energetics of Rage

Picking up where we left off last time- powerlessness.

For me, it often comes up when I just can’t get what I want, which is usually some kind of cooperation- then the powerlessness I feel inside triggers rage, and that’s when I behave in ways that don’t feel true of me. I overpower my kids, I start self-aggressing, beating myself up for how I acted and it feeds a negative cycle.  Do you do this? It is really exhausting!

Having more capacity for the intense charge of rage, after lots of practice in Purejoy, what I’ve learned, simply put, is that it’s human to experience all feelings off and on. I know when I began this work there were certain feelings I did not want to stay with and experience. One of them was rage! What do you notice about your experience of rage?

Let’s take a closer look at the energetics of rage.

Rage is hot! Really, really hot! It’s spicy and intense!

Just close your eyes for a minute and think about a behavior you see in your child that you often get mad about, something you hate- whining, clinging, eye rolls, door slams? Messes?… you feel that?

And as you feel it getting hotter, you notice yourself calling on your control strategies to command compliance- you’ll do anything to STOP the intensity building inside. It’s SO hard to contain it without acting out or imploding in!

A switch goes off inside- a very young part of you gets activated.  All of a sudden you see your child as a threat on an emotional level.  It’s as if they are out to get you- because if they loved you, they would cooperate, yeah?

Going under that- imagine yourself as a child. A desire arises or you want something and you need cooperation from your caregiver. You look for the energy to be received and met. You innocently believe that you will get support for getting what you want.

Most likely that’s not what happened. Your parents saw you as rude, greedy, and demanding. Your innocent desire triggered something in them and they made your desire bad and wrong since it triggered their vulnerability which they didn’t know how to be with.

You had these big beautiful desires and when you were seeking support BOOM! You hit a wall inside because your parents had resistance. The unresolved energy of your desires got really bottled up inside.

Over and over this happened until you chose to organize your life to repress the energy of your desires. And yet your desires are still inside hidden away, deep down. It’s a matter of hide and seek and you’ve hidden them well.

You have it together until you ask your child to do something and they say NO! Or won’t get off their phone, or pick up the legos, or just stop crying. FOUND! And then all that bottled-up desire and intensity comes rushing up in you- rage! And before you know it you’re screaming at your kid, or trying to get away, or if you’re like me, speaking sharply and threatening.

It is so hard, so fast, so hot- especially if you haven’t learned how to work with the energetics of rage.

Slow this way down… it’s a big one, because most likely what you really don’t like here is your behavior, right? How you yell, coerce, punish and shame your kids. No one likes to be in that place. Then you spiral into self-aggression beating yourself up, and it’s that exhausting cycle again – yeah?

In Purejoy we say- when your child can’t get what they desire, and their energy gets big and intense, they throw you the hot potato! The energy comes blasting out into the environment around in hopes of support from you. Your child innocently believes you will know what to do with it, but likely you were never supported on an emotional level to know what to do. You’ve got a hot potato in your hands!

With practice, you learn to contain the heat, gather that energy up and tend it into a beautiful warm fire supporting the desires that are needing to be explored and created in their experience.

Rage like fire.

You can work with the energetics of rage, right now, as an adult rather than repress, or act it out- but to tend to it just like you would a campfire.  What do you notice if you imagine working with your rage as a campfire?

Left unattended it can get out of control, and start a wildfire- it can get dangerous.

If you dump a bunch of water on it, repress it, you may lose the flame, the fire goes out and then you’re cold and dark and your energy is gone.

Keeping it safely contained gives you warmth, it’s nice to sit around, it’s beautiful, and you can even make s’mores! The energy is safe and attended to, it’s supported.

Purejoy supports you in not trying to get rid of the rage, which is what most people would rather talk about. I know that was how I viewed it before too. I don’t want to feel this!

But the truth is, the feeling is here, so what would it be like to turn towards it. You can choose how to act, and not express that fiery energy in a way that gets out of control- just like your campfire.

 

Curious to meet your rage- here’s a process to work with it.

First, set up a SafeSeat practice by signing up for a free 5-day email course from Purejoy.

And then, remember when you believe you absolutely have to have cooperation, drop down to what you really want, that innocent desire of wanting, and when you’re met with a no- when this energy arises in you- it’s yours!  Your kiddos don’t cause it and they cant fix it. Just notice what comes up, for you.

In this way, as you welcome your rage, it potentially becomes the great awakener, all those sensations and feelings are expressions of your life force energy- coming back into your own knowing from all those times before when you denied your experience because you couldn’t get the support you needed to stay with it.

Play with this! Let us know how it goes!