In Purejoy, the focus is on examining and exploring your internal experience in relation to your child’s behavior. Instead of controlling the behavior to change your internal experience you learn to question the meaning you put to your internal experience.
When feeling uncomfortable inside it is easy to blame the outside and then look for ways to control the behavior. Exploring that discomfort is a counter-instinctual move because of course you’d want to move away from the discomfort. And yet, turning towards the experience internally gives you an opportunity to sit in the seat of being a curious learner instead of a knower. It can be easier to sit in the seat of the all knowing parent and yet what is missed is the intimacy of the present moment.
Sitting in the seat of knowing what is best for your child, knowing what they should do or how they should be is based on your experience not on your child’s.
It can be disconcerting to experience the actual groundless ground in parenting in the present without depending on your knowledge. As you approach this you’ll often want to grab the wheel to get control. You’ll look to the experts, looking to the internet to find the answers and lose contact with your capacity to sit in the unknown which is where learning happens.
If you think having more knowledge in your parenting file is going to create more internal comfort…take a moment and question this assumption. Is your goal to control your child’s behavior so you feel good about you? Maybe not.
Being willing to sit in the seat of the learner offers you “getting” to know yourself, your beliefs, your feelings, your patterns and the templates you grew up with.
In my experience my daughter “not listening” or “talking back” became an opportunity to know myself in a deeper way. I got to know my emotional triggers, I got to see my massive need to be in control, I got to see how terrified I was to trust myself and the intimacy of the moment. I learned to take full responsibility for my part in the dynamic with my child.
Counterinstinctually, turning towards my fears and facing them opened my heart to truly living in the present. I realized focusing on the process of parenting was much more powerful than focusing on the outcome.
Practice: Notice when you feel discomfort inside when your child behaves in a certain way. Instead of controlling the behavior, take a pause, slow down and turn your attention to your internal experience. Is there a part of you that thinks you HAVE to know how to respond at this moment? If you don’t, do you feel like a failure? Do you need to know to feel OK? Just notice and offer yourself kindness for whatever you see.
Give yourself the gift of kindness and remember that opening to being the learner instead of the knower offers you and your child the experience of sitting in awe of each other.