A few weeks ago, I went to a sporting event with my husband and teenage daughter. My daughter had been on crutches for the past few weeks. She was feeling a bit worried about managing in the sporting arena with the crutches and was hesitant to go. My husband was able to secure handicapped seating and she agreed to attend the event.
In speaking with her about the upcoming event she had one request. She asked if we could, “please have a fun day”. When I asked her to clarify what she meant by the word fun she went on to share that a lot of the times the three of us (she, my husband and myself), get into “bickering” over nothing and it ruins our time together. Now, of course, this was not news to me. It is something that I find very upsetting myself and something that happens repeatedly. At my daughter’s suggestion we all agreed to not bicker.
The way she asked this particular day, how she approached it so calmly, rationally and conversationally allowed me to listen to her with my heart open and hear her at a different level.
One of my favorite authors is Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She writes and teaches about conscious parenting. She is a clinical psychologist and the author of 3 books. My favorite one is, “The Awakened Family.” One of the many things that Dr. Shefali teaches about conscious parenting is that our children are our greatest awakeners. And I have found this to be true time and time again. This was one of those Ah-Ha moments of awakening for me. A time when I really took notice of what happened within me. When my daughter asked if we “could just have fun”, it forced me to look at myself and see how I was co-creating the environment and energy of not having fun.
When we are able to pause and listen to our children, loved ones or anyone we are in relationship with, with an open heart we can learn much about our self as well as what our child really needs and is asking of us.
This day I heard her. I heard her in a way I had not before. I decided to step up to the plate and make a commitment to her, my husband and myself to follow through on this. Though I am writing this from the perspective of mother to child you can apply the power of pausing and this approach to all relationships in your life.
The way I decided to take action toward this goal was to pause before speaking. Sometimes, well a lot of the time, I talk too much. I realized that taking a pause would be a great idea. Not only would I pause before I responded to someone, but I was also going to pause before sharing my thoughts. In the pause I decided I would pay attention to the words that wanted to spill out of me. I decided I was going to pay attention to any feelings I experienced that were connected to the words in my mind.
Sometimes we use words to avoid feeling the feeling. The words we use are always connected to an internal feeling state.
I would take that moment to examine the words and examine if they even needed to be said at all. I needed to look at my thoughts and see if what I felt I had to say was coming up in reaction to another. In other words, is what I am saying coming from a place within me that has been triggered. And if it is in reaction then I know it is coming from a place inside of me that is wounded in some way. It is up to me to be responsible for my feelings and not to project my pain, wounds, or hurt onto others. Taking pause gives me the space to acknowledge what comes up for me. Once I pause and look at the thoughts I can decide if I am able to respond from a place of inner alignment. When I am in that place of inner peace and alignment I am less likely to project my emotions to the other.
Projection happen when we are reacting from an unconscious place.
Projection means that we are taking a feeling we hold inside and we put it onto the other person. This allows us to blame them for the issue, for how we are feeling and allows us the false belief that we are not part of the problem. That the problem is the other. That the problem is outside of the self and we falsely believe that we are not to blame and therefore have no responsibility in what is occurring. For me, projection was causing much of the bickering. I was often in an unconscious reactive state and the words would fly out without thinking through my response first and without tuning in to feel what was happening with in me. The other issue underlying the bickering was need for control. All three of us want control but my daughter and myself are definitely the worst offenders. Again, the need to control is coming from a place of an emotional need that needs attending to. It is up to me to uncover what this is, to do my own work and not project it onto another.
The pause gave me the opportunity to ask myself:
“Is it necessary to comment?”
“Can I let this go?”
“Can I just take a breath here and not say a word?”
“Can I take care of myself in this moment?”
These were all questions I asked myself. I spent the entire day following through on my commitment to pause before speaking. My husband and daughter also followed through, in their own way, and kept to their word not to bicker as well. In the end we had a fun day at this event. There was no bickering at all.
As we drove home I began to think about my part in all of this. You see, it is much easier to project and blame the other when something goes “wrong”. Since nothing went “wrong” and there was no need to project anything and it gave me space, and in a way, permission to examine myself and look at my part. I realized that I showed up differently all day. I brought a different energy with me when I showed up. I had a clear intention to keep a promise not only to my husband and daughter but to myself.
And in showing up all day in a calm, present way and pausing before speaking my energy shifted. And with the shift in my energy, I believe it helped to keep the energy we all brought to the day balanced, calm and peaceful. The end result was a fun day. The kind of day my daughter asked for and that all of us needed. A day of being and feeling connected to one another.
There is power in the pause.
The power is that you get to learn about yourself, you get to be in better connection to yourself and you get to be more genuinely connected to those around you. When you are connected to yourself, your heart and your inner emotional landscape then you can better connect to another. And don’t we all want to be connected and feel connected especially with our children and spouses?
Open yourself up to the power of pausing. I am going to commit to it again tomorrow and the days that follow. I want this to become a habit, a new way of being which will have the ability to help me be present, in tune and aware of my feelings. When I am in this place of equanimity then I feel whole and I can bring my true self into my relationships with others.
Almost 20 years ago I cut a Ziggy cartoon, by Tom Wilson, out of the newspaper. It is a picture of Ziggy standing in front of a door which is partially open, and it says, “Opportunity only knocks on doors that it knows are already open to it.” This cartoon has stood by my side for all of these years and it has become a motto I have come to live by and fully embrace. In fact, if it were not for Ziggy, I would not be writing this blog right now.
Many times, in life we say, “I am waiting for this to happen in order to do that.” We wait for the right time, money, place, people, opportunities. This is a very passive way of being. However, what if what you are waiting for is already waiting for you?
Do you think that if you hope for or wish for something hard enough without putting any action or work into the dream it will just show up? And when it does not just magically appear you become upset. Maybe you have thoughts of, “why do I never get what I want? ” You compare yourself to other people and find yourself falling down a rabbit hole of despair.
Hope, in this scenario, is empty because it means non-action, it means you just wait and wish for something, anything, to come along to rescue you. Hope without the energy of action is wishful hoping. Wishful hoping is a stuck place.
It is time to move out of the stuck and into the ever flowing and abundant energy of what is here for you. In the book, The Slight Edge, the author, Jeff Olson, says, “Hoping for the big break-the magic bullet- is not only futile, it’s dangerous, because it keeps you from taking the actions you need to create the results you want.” We are the ones in the driver’s seat of manifestation. It is up to us to get the energy moving by taking the action steps for the creation of our dreams.
Imagine you are the one who is able to transverse time and space. Your inner reflection and clarity is what is needed to prepare you for the answers.
It is ok to not know. To embrace not knowing yet flowing into the unknown with confidence and grace. Hold onto the trust of yourself and trust in the universe that you will be guided to the exact right destination. And that destination will be your new being state until you are ready to travel again. As long as you travel with trust in your heart for yourself you cannot land in the wrong space.
The trust must be placed inward and not on expectation that someone or something outside of yourself will have to change in order for you to change.
We are all energy. Our bodies are energetic beings. We emit energy and we attract energy. For some this may be a new idea or something you feel you have heard before and do not believe. The fact that we are energy has been studied, researched and proven. Can you begin to believe it and allow for its truth in your awareness?
Now, as energy, we emit vibes. I am sure you have experienced meeting someone new and feeling that you like their energy, in fact, you decide you want to spend more time with them because when you do their “good vibe” rubs off on you and you leave feeling better. And I am also sure that you have had the opposite experience, where someone’s negative vibe is one you do not want to be around.
Well, that same energy, is what we use and harness to bring to us what we want as we transform in our life. We want to transform the formless into form. In order to do this you first must stop passively waiting and wishfully hoping and instead step into actively doing.
We must begin to ask questions of our self. We must ask:
What is it you want to change, achieve or manifest in your life?
How would your life improve if this were to happen?
Who can I become when I let go of the old and let something new in?
What if I start saying yes, instead of no, to new opportunities?
In order to bring something new in, it sometimes means we must let go of something old. The old that you hold onto may feel like a security blanket to you, but it has kept you small and stuck and in a place of fear. It has become a belief which lives inside of you that you cannot be who you are without it. However, I challenge you to explore, who can I become when I let go of this belief?
That brings me to the fifth question: What do I need to release in order to grow, create and manifest?
You may be wondering; how do I begin to answer these questions? My answer to you is to look inside. In order to look inside we must quiet the mind.
The mind is a very busy, active place. Thoughts fly through it at lightning speed. We jump from one thought to the next without even having conscious awareness that we have done so.
The first step is to pause, take a nice deep breath in, and if you want to, place your hand over your heart and take that moment to reconnect to your beating heart and the rhythm of your breath. Can do that just for a moment right now?
And from this place where you have slowed down let’s go back to the five questions from above. When we pause, we need to take our time and not race through these questions and answers. How often do you sit and physically connect to the pulsing of your own energetic being? I invite you to sit with each question while you are in the pause. One question at a time and allow the answer to come to you.
1.What is it you want to change, achieve or manifest in your life?
2.How would your life improve if this were to happen?
3.Who can I become when I let go of the old and let something new in?
4.What if I start saying yes, instead of no, to new opportunities?
5.What do I need to release in order to grow, create and manifest?
It is in the space between our thoughts that we access the voice of our soul. This is the space where we hear the messages that are ours. In fact, these messages have always been there but most do not sit long enough to hear them. When you sit and quiet your mind then you are able to hear the messages. This is the knowing of your soul.
We are one and the messages are universal. They are there for the rising of the vibration for all of us. It is like a road map of light to enter into the knowing.
Once you have your answers, or even some of the answers, then you can map out a plan or path to begin to take action. And you can take action from a place of alignment with your truth without the shackles of holding on to an old belief.
By pausing, by tuning in, we raise our vibration. We invite in a new partner of creativity to be by our side and allow for manifestation of what we are waiting for. All we want, desire, hope and dream for is already here for us. It may not show up in the form we were looking for, but it is there. By expanding your awareness, by raising your vibration, by stepping out of your own way and into the space we create by pausing we make room for what is waiting for us to see it.
Once we see it, we are ready to open the door all the way and step through the threshold. To bring the formless energy into the form of being. To allow for transformation, growth, healing and manifestation of your dreams. We must allow our self to embrace our own becoming and in doing so to embrace all of the open doors. To be the door that is open, to be the opportunity that awaits when we are already open to it, as the wisdom of Ziggy has so wisely teaches. It may have even been there the whole time but we refused to see it because it did not look how our mind decided it should.
Step out of your own shadow. Step into your light. What you are waiting for is already waiting for you.
This is the final piece in my series about how emotions are the unexpected gift when you parent from a conscious place.
10. Healing yourself
Step into the awareness knowing of yourself and your truth, this empowers you.
Others in your family may not “get” you and that is ok. The only one who really needs to understand you is you. When you stand in alignment with yourself and honor yourself you are affecting the family system.
When you embody conscious parenting, practice it, and apply it you will create energetic changes in your home. That shift will be felt by others, they may not even have words to express what they are experiencing but they will be experiencing it. This happens because you now approach them and respond to them in a new way. You will be creating a ripple effect, just like the ripple created when a pebble is thrown into a pond. The outermost ripple does not know what started the change, it does not know it was only a small pebble, but there was no avoiding the impact of the energy that pebble sent out.
You are the pebble! You are creating energetic shifts in you and in the home. Your family members may not like this change and it will take time for them to adjust. The key is your consistency, holding your boundaries and embodying your beliefs as a conscious parent.
Dr. Shefali Tsabary teaches that we always have 3 choices when faced with any situation. These choices are; accept it, change it or leave it. As parents we need to learn these three choices and have them in the forefront of our minds when dealing with challenging situations with our children. In those moments we are not powerless, out of control or reactive instead we tap into the wisdom of this choice which resides within us at all times.
The beautiful thing about knowing that these choices are there for us is that we have the ability to teach them to our children. We do not own these freedoms of choice. Our kids get into sticky emotional situations too. It is a gift as a conscious parent to share this wisdom with them, at their young ages, so it can become part of who they are and a healthy coping skill for them to turn to when they are in the emotional throws of life.
We get to have the greatest impact in life, positive or negative, with our children. Once your child is old enough you can begin to teach them this philosophy. I believe a child as young as 4 can begin to understand there is always a choice when faced with something confusing and/or upsetting. Explaining these choices to your children is done with language appropriate for that age. You are not going to explain something to a 10-year-old with the same language you would to a 16-year-old. The first step is to keep your child’s age in mind.
Children, especially tweens and teens, go through so much heartache in their friendships. They experience hurt feelings, anger, grief, jealousy, pain, not worthy or good enough, feeling left out and not important. They often wonder, “What is wrong with me?”
If your child comes to you with this deep pain, we must first take that breath and pause. Next we must remember this is not our problem to solve, even though our mama or papa bear instincts want to kick in to rescue them. It is in these moments we are being called upon to understand that these are their problems. We cannot minimize what they are sharing because in that moment what they are sharing is of the utmost importance to them.
– Minimize their feelings by saying things like, “all kids go through something like this at your age.”
-Attempt to get them to move on from their emotions because you may be feeling quite uncomfortable hearing their pain.
-Make a joke, change the subject, offer food or ice cream so that they feel better. If we do that, we are telling them two things; your feelings don’t matter and it is better to bury or avoid your feelings rather than to experience them.
We are being called upon, as conscious parents, to listen with an open heart and bear witness to their pain.
We must create a safe space for them to have and share their feelings. It is at this point that we can offer them support and teach them about the three choices.
Start by explaining that in every life situation we always have a choice as to how we are going to respond. Go through the three choices of accept it, change it or leave it. Speak to them about it with age appropriate language. Speak with your child with empathy and understanding and let them know they get to choose. Let them know that no one can take their sense of self away or their ability to make their own choices in life.
The first choice is to accept. Accepting means that we fully accept the reality of the situation, the as-is, that is in front of us. Not only to accept it externally but we must accept it internally as well. This means we must look at it as something that is not happening to us, because then we are a victim of circumstance. Instead see it as something that is happening for us in our life. That does not mean they have to like it or even agree with it but they must accept it.
When we do not accept the reality of the present moment, we cause our own pain. That pain is, “I wish it were another way.” But it is not, it is this way. Help them be in reality, in the as-is, of it.
Empower them to understand no one is doing anything to them, it is just something that has happened and this has happened for them. By helping them accept the as-is we can help them not make up a story in their head about why this happened. When we get stuck in the merry-go-round of that story we spin around and around and this only causes more anxiety and upset.
The second choice is to change. Now it is not possible to change the other (see part 3). Only the other person can make this choice for themselves. The change that they need to make is within them. They get to choose to change how they interact with this person, how they talk with them, whether or not they will talk with them. You see, like us, our kids have been reacting in one way with the others in their lives. If your child keeps getting hurt, it is up to us, as conscious parents, to shine light on the situation with them and help them see what aspects of their life they would like to change to help them with this situation. Maybe they decide to change friend groups or join more activities to make new friends so they are not as dependent on the old ones. Maybe they stop reaching out as much. There is always a choice to change. This choice is theirs and that is empowering for them to know and feel.
The third choice is to stay. That means nothing changes. They continue to go along in the relationship as is without looking at their own stuff, still in the same dynamics and continue on the ride. And this is ok too. Eventually they will want to change but until then you can still support them and provide the safe ear of listening and the hug to reassure them that no matter what they are loved for who they are. That they are seen, worthy, important and that they matter.
This brings us back to where we started, emotions: the unexpected gift of being a conscious parent. Parenting brings up emotions and brings up the most painful and uncomfortable ones. In my opinion, being in and experiencing these emotions within ourselves is one of the hardest parts of parenting. You must tolerate your own discomfort and resist the urge to fix your child so you can feel better.
In doing our own self-care we are able to:
– Bear witness to their emotional storm
– Honor their unfolding spirit
– Allow your child to teach you
– Grow into your own self awareness
– Understand mistakes are learning opportunities
– Relinquish control
– Be present and connect
– Change yourself
– Detach from the past
– Heal yourself
– Become empowered.
Our children will keep showing us our patterns, pain, fear and emotions. What is your choice? How will you best take care of you? Do you choose to grow and change?
The choice is yours. The gifts are here, wrapped up and ready to be opened. Let’s start opening them embracing each one and embracing each child who was generous enough and gifted enough to bring them to you.
Janet is available for in person and remote sessions. Janet is also available to come speak at your events. If you want to talk to her send an email to Janet@JanetPhilbin.com for a free 30 minute consultation. The ability to heal and grow is in each one of us.