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Posted on 4 May, 2015 | 2 comments

Do Your Eyes Light Up When You See Me?

I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey say the most important thing to a child is whether your eyes light up when he enters the room. Not what you say or what actions you take or what you give him but do your eyes light up when you see him.

It touched me deeply then and it is something I love by now. Oh how funny, I wanted to write ‘something I live by’ and I wrote ‘love by’. A typo worth keeping I’d say. Freud would approve.

So it really is something I live and love by. I am aware of it when I see my children (or any child actually) and I make sure that my eyes shine with delight at the glory of who they are. Sometimes I have to fake it a little but my intentions are honest and I figure a mild twinkle is better than none. I look at him or her and deliberately radiate my delight at their presence. (On the bad days I have to remind myself of the bigger picture and then it’s easier to connect with my delight at their presence in my life and shine it at them).

shining eyes

The response is good.

We forget these most important little things sometimes in the busy-ness of our lives. There’s so much to do all the time and such a battle to find time for it all – it’s hard to additionally keep in mind that others are people too. It’s so easy to express your annoyance at being interrupted (again) with rolled eyes and exasperated sigh. To glare the burden of the effort of all you do for her.  To half close your eyes at the boredom of listening to what he has to say – or disbelief of his story.

The impact of that is deeper than we allow ourselves to realise. Think of how your parents looked at you at different times. Do you have any memories of being gazed at with wonder and love, or pride and approval, or distaste, or resentment… What did it do to you?

Chatting about this with someone today I realised, this gazing thing is also really important when it comes to one’s partner. I mean a big reason many of us feel unappreciated or sad in our relationships is because our partner’s eyes no longer always shine when they see us. Over time we forget to express our delight at each other through our eyes. We start to take each other for granted, there’s so much going on and all the logistics of working, running a home and kids and a self… who has time to twinkle at a partner?  And yet… it’s what we all look for. Do your eyes light up when you see me?

It’s thought-provoking isn’t it? “And what”, I said to my conversation partner suddenly as I realised it myself, “would it be like if your eyes always light up when you look at yourSELF?!”

Imagine that. Try.

Look at yourself with delight and adoration.

How does it feel?

What sort of eyes do you look at yourself with usually? Do you

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Posted on 30 Mar, 2015 | 0 comments

I Thought It Was Them But Its Me

It’s school holidays over here and I’ve learned it helps me remain sane to re-post favourites until we are all safely contained back in the hands of the good teachers at school. Here’s one from May 2013

seeing

It truly amazes me how I couldn’t see myself. How with all my introspection and insight and intuition I sometimes can’t see myself at all. I get drawn into the illusion that things happen ‘out there’. I KNOW that what happens ‘out there’ reflects what is going on ‘in here’ – for goodness sake’s that’s what I’m writing about parenting – but still… the illusion is SO powerful.

Lately I’ve been seriously stretched out of my comfort zone and I am SO not comfortable. Can anyone say ‘panic’? I’m not used to thinking of myself as a worrier or an anxious person but I hardly recognise myself these days. Then yesterday an inner light bulb flashed and suddenly I could SEE! I saw that my recent anxiety – which I thought was so new to me – is actually so old and so foundational and so familiar to me, so much part of the furniture, that I couldn’t see it had always been there.

Now, I have some very precious people in my life who are prone to anxiety and I have to admit that I’m not at my best when they are caught up in the grips of it. But yesterday, mid-light bulb moment, I gasped, “No wonder I get so impatient with them when they do this. It’s because they’re showing me this part of myself and I don’t want this to be me!”

On the flip side, I had a moment with someone where I strongly felt my spirit, my healing power, my connection with all things and a deep peace with my capacity for greatness. Do you know what I was left with afterwards? A feeling like I was a little bit in love with the person who inspired it in me. A twinkle of ‘aren’t they just wonderful?’

In psychology we call that transference (or counter-transference depending on what’s happening in the connection) and it shows up internal dynamics that are guiding the interaction. “Why would I feel a twinkle of ‘in love-ness’?” I wondered to myself? Well darlin’ maybe it’s because this person helped you to see a part of yourself that you long to spend more time with, to have union with, to commit to for the rest of your life and create new life with. “Ah yes, that. I want that to be me.”

So this week I met my love and it was my greater Me. And I met my nemesis, and it was my shadow Me. And in both cases I first thought other people were causing me to feel the way I did.

Who is showing you things about yourself you’d rather not see? Or things you wish you could spend more time with?

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Posted on 9 Mar, 2015 | 0 comments

My 5-Year Old Won’t Listen!

Bless my little 5-year old master teacher. He just won’t listen to us. I think he’s beginning on the “You’re-Not-The-Boss-Of-Me” journey.

Lord help us all!

I wrote about this before when my other one was in this phase. Please click here afterwards and read it if your child is between 5 – 7 years old. It explains a lot. Share this with other parents in this phase. It can be so reassuring to know there is method to the madness.

This time of life for a child is a deep exploration of power and self. If you’ve been reading my posts lately that sentence will probably make you laugh! I’ve been dancing with those subjects intensely but I’ve only just realised the connection to my child. Of course. Hard to see what’s in front of your face, right?

I quote from my post: So what happens during this very important transition is that the child loses her external source of guidance about herself and life and she has to find and learn about the new source of guidance which lives deep within her.”

Yes. Well.

So it’s another level of delving into the murky waters of who am I, who do I listen to, who is actually in charge here, how much power do I have to say no…

Applied equally to me and my child.

He is very much exploring his own power. He wandered off the other day, in clear contravention of Rule No 1. to being in public places: “Always stay where you can see us and we can see you.” He went so far away we had no idea where he was. We all went in different directions to search and my legs are still stiff from sprinting half a kilometre while calling his name. I managed to keep panic from rising in me and I finally found him quietly waiting for us to catch up with him! Unfazed.

yikes

Terrifying.

Anyhoo, our family is starting to feel the pain of not being heard. We say something to him, like “Stop banging the knife and cutting marks into the table!” and he, either glances at us and then simply continues what he was doing, or he actually puts his hands over his ears and says, “Stop talking!”

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Posted on 26 Jan, 2015 | 2 comments

Do You Ever Feel Trapped?

“It’s all very well for you”, people say to me sometimes about my philosophies, “you are self-employed / confident / you know how to do this stuff… I have to listen to my boss, deal with my spouse’s demands, I have crippling anxiety / depression / a learning disorder…”

Sometimes it feels like life has us trapped; that we are at the mercy of our circumstance and it feels cramped and powerless and scary. We can’t move, we can’t change how it is…

Or so we believe.

I remember when my first child was born and I was in a total state of overwhelm. Sleep-deprived, space deprived and time deprived. My post-natal hormones were causing havoc with my mood, I was anxious, couldn’t think clearly (though if you’d DARED to suggest it was because I was hormonal I would have killed you just to silence that nonsense – so basically I was mildly unstable.) I was essentially surviving from one moment to the next, not knowing what I was doing, being anxious and depressed and burdened with the huge responsibility of being ok for a new-born and keeping us both alive…

My first born had a bit of a scare at birth so he needed to feel especially safe in the world (a lil’ bit like his Mama). From the start he sought to be in constant physical contact. I remember lying next to him when he was one day old. I wanted to sleep but didn’t want to squash him by mistake so I left a gap between us. I thought that would work but within seconds he had wriggled his tiny little body so that it was pressed against my side. I moved him away again but he wriggled right back. At one day old! I was amazed.

I was even more amazed by how bloody difficult it was to sleep with a small baby pasted onto my side! I mean he didn’t just snuggle gently, he glued himself to me like a tight pressure bandage. I worried he couldn’t breathe! We used attachment parenting methods and kept him in constant physical contact with us during the day and then at night he independently applied his pressure bandage approach to me. Like a heat-seeking missile he found my body wherever I sneakily snuck it – behind pillows, at the other end of the bed… As if that’s not enough to disturb my sleep, he was extremely movement-sensitive so if I moved him in any way while he slept (like by turning my aching body over for example) he would wake and cry for a really long time. So, for my sanity, I would lie glued to him perfectly still for hours, longing for sleep but awake. All I wanted was some space on my own. Some sleep, to move freely, no-one touching me all the time…

I remember lying stock still between my tightly applied baby who was twitching and snoring and my partner, who was twitching and snoring and feeling trapped, trapped, TRAPPED! Angry, frustrated, wretched, despairing… burning up with feeling and lying still, still, still.

I could have done it differently but during the many moments I considered heading for the hills, I knew that it was my choice to lie there still, it was my choice not to put him in another room and let him cry (shudder), it was my choice to stay there rather than run away or mainline hard drugs just to make it all stop.

And then one night, letting go into the dark hole of despair – ah, the gifts of surrender – I had a realisation that I suspect saves the sanity of many a conscious prisoner.

baby face

I became aware that

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Posted on 5 Jan, 2015 | 0 comments

Do You Find It HARD To “Be In The Moment”?

So let’s talk about this being ‘in the moment’ thing. If we all know about it, why do we need so much reminding to do it?

I recently challenged myself to remember that in any given moment I lack nothing. That I already have everything I need.

So I’ve been striving to remember to breathe, drop into my heart space and just be in the moment. It’s been an interesting journey.

When I manage to do it, it’s a relief. Like a deep soul whisper, “Everything’s alright.”

But what I’ve also noticed is that a) it’s taken me deeper into myself this week and b) I’ve avoided that somehow. What is that all about?!

So I’ve been listening to and observing myself and others and these are my research results:

Most of the time we are focused on the past or the future – which are both fantasies. Really, they are. They don’t actually exist. The times we ARE able to connect with the present moment, we seem to have a reflex to judge where we are – which is another clever way of avoiding the moment because then we think about why this moment is like this – and that throws us into the past or the future.

And this keeps us stuck in the very things we wish we didn’t have.

For example, I feel I don’t have enough time for myself, or connection with myself even when I get the time. Dropping into my heart space in the very moment I am in eases that feeling of lack dramatically. That’s what I’m actually seeking, yes? So why don’t I do it more? It’s fear people, our old friend Fear.

Let me ‘splain by expanding this into relationships with other people and with life in general.

I want more closeness in my relationship with someone so I practice what I preach. I breathe, I center myself and I open my heart to that person. The first feelings I’m flooded with are sadness, frustration, regret and pain in my heart. Why should that be? Because even in the moment of loving, what I’m unwittingly focusing on is what I feel I’ve been lacking. Why I even need to remember to open my heart to this someone. In other words, I’m thinking of what I haven’t had. And hey presto, suddenly I don’t have the closeness I want and need in that moment either.

Even though it’s right there I can’t access it – because in truth

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Posted on 1 Dec, 2014 | 4 comments

Has Anyone Pissed You Off Lately?

Before we start – if you haven’t yet – please click on the red button over on the right and vote for this blog. Let’s spread the word that parenting can actually be FOR THE PARENT. Voting closes end of Dec and you only need to vote once. Let’s be loud and proud!

Ok here we go…

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Someone and I bumped up against each other recently in an uncomfortable way for both of us. It was uncomfortable because we bumped into our shadow selves in each other. Knowing that helps me welcome the experience with an open heart and great appreciation for this someone’s presence in my life.

Let me explain;

While we are growing up we learn what behaviour works best in what situation. Now, our childish interpretation of ‘works best’ is not always so kosher because, quite frankly, we only have half a brain at the time. (Ok I don’t actually know how much of a brain we have working at any given moment we are growing up but our brain is mostly fully developed only when we are around 21 years old so there are things we just don’t have the brain capacity to grasp when we are little).

half a brain

So we might see, “Hmmm, throwing a tantrum works best because it gets me what I’m asking for.” Or we might see, “Yikes! I won’t try scream and shout like that again. They rejected me and closed me in a room on my own.” One child learns expressed anger is good and the other learns expressed anger is bad.

Based on these kinds of experiences in our family and school we learn how to be in the world. Then we are grown and we head out into the wider world certain that we know how to be. And then we trip up because, again frankly, most of our families have their own unique weirdness and what worked with them doesn’t always work with others. This is one of the reasons we go a little crazy in our early twenties. We are facing our patterns for the first time.

So why am I writing this and how is it related to being pissed off? Well we are mostly all born with a

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Posted on 10 Nov, 2014 | 6 comments

I Can’t Feel Love Properly

I think there’s something seriously wrong with me

What makes you say that?

I don’t feel love like I’m supposed to. I hear how other people talk about being in love or feeling about their children and I don’t have that inside me.

no love

Tell me more?

Well, I know that I do love – but it’s like I know it in my head more than I feel it. Most of the time there’s a sort of hole, a gap, an emptiness where I think the feeling of love should be. So for instance, I look at my partner and I know I love him – but I don’t really feel filled up with love. I have had times when that’s happened and that’s how I know it’s not there most of the time. I can mostly handle it. You know, we’re adults. I act lovingly and he loves me and that’s good enough. But the worst is when it comes to the children because I feel like I’m missing out on something really special and I wonder if they can sense it and if it’s messing them up.

Everyone talks about this love they feel for their children. Yesterday I heard someone say she’s very guarded about loving and being intimate with someone and I was so excited. Someone who feels the same as me! Then she said, “Except for my nephew. When he’s around I just melt. My heart opens in spite of myself. I love that boy so much!” I just wanted to cry because I don’t have that. Not even with my own children. So there must be something seriously screwed up in me.

What a painful situation… Tell me, you said you’ve felt love sometimes with your partner. Have you ever felt love with your children?

Well, you know how it took me a long time to get over the trauma of my first child’s birth. She was born a blue baby and when I saw her I thought she was dead. Part of me just checked out in that moment and it took me about a year to

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Posted on 20 Oct, 2014 | 8 comments

Everything You Do Is For You – Even Though You Think It’s For Others

Everything we do is because we want to – FOR US. Yes, even getting up in the middle of the night for the hundredth time or making supper and helping with homework when all you want to do is lie on the sofa and pretend you’re dead.

playing dead

You make the choice to do the stuff you ‘don’t want to do’ because the other option is even less appealing to you.

The other option, for example, is being a parent who doesn’t look after their child. Apparently in those moments – despite the unpleasantness of what you are required to do – you want to be a parent who looks after your child and that means getting up or cooking that meal. So you do it FOR YOU. Your child obviously benefits and hooray for that, but what they get is a mere side-effect of you wanting to be a parent who looks after their child. So they benefit from what you do FOR YOU. It’s not for anyone else actually – no matter what we tell ourselves. It is so that WE FEEL BETTER. That’s it. That is the socially unpalatable and glorious truth of it. We are doing it for ourselves.

If you think you are doing something for someone else you’re kidding yourself. You choose everything you do because somehow or another you think it will make you feel better.

We have children because we think it will

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Posted on 1 Sep, 2014 | 0 comments

It’s A Family Affair

It’s so interesting to see family members you haven’t seen for a while, isn’t it? It suddenly gives you insights into your family’s unique ways in the world.

Basically you get to see your own issues in full view.

ah no

A while back I had the pleasure of spending time with a wonderful relative whom I get to see very rarely. She’s thoughtful and spiritual, warm-hearted and special and every now and again she said or did things that were freakishly familiar. That weird open-eyed feeling where you recognise something.  In those moments I could see my mother and myself and my grandmother and grandfather and my uncle and my siblings… in her. “Oh… so it’s not just my mom, or me – she has it too. This is a family thing”.

It’s a wonderful wide look at your gene pool’s unique way of engaging with the world. And a really good foundation for understanding yourself and your life journey.

The new insights from my time with her show me that, for all my self-criticism about the things I wish I did better, given where I come from, I’m doing damn well in certain areas. That’s such a nice thing to know. It calms me. There is progress.

Darwin would be proud.

Whenever someone tells me they are going to visit family – especially en-masse, like at holiday times – I get very excited for them. Yes, intense family visits might include a touch of hell

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Posted on 4 Aug, 2014 | 22 comments

A New Name for This Blog?

screen shot So You Think Parenting Is About The Children

 

My mother tells me that recently my writing has changed.

“What do you mean?  How is it different?” I ask her

“Just the last few posts” she says, “They’re… safe.”

I have mixed feelings. The strongest is relief and joy that I have a mother who reads my blog (on parenting, no less) and engages with it to the point where she can pick that up and call me on it. I am well aware that this is a rare and wonderful thing. In that moment I feel seen in the best of ways.

It hasn’t always been this way. It has taken us many years and constant intention to get to this place but we are here and I am drop-to-my-knees grateful.

We are proof that it’s never too late to become a conscious parent and for your child to benefit from it.

I thank us both.

The second strongest feeling I had when she said it was indignation. Humph! Me? Safe? I keep challenging myself to be more honest – even if it means being SEEN by y’all – not necessarily in the best of ways.

The third strongest feeling was recognising truth.

I laughed, “It’s because I’ve been in transition. I’m not sure where I’m going with all this, or with what I want the blog to be.”

“But you’ve always written about your confusion before” she says to me in surprise. Thanks Imma.

So here it is.

This writing journey has led me to places I never expected. Deep dark places within myself and startling peaks. I thought the blog was just a way to build a platform to get my book published. I didn’t know a blog has its own life and spirit. Like my children it has shown me to myself over and over in ways that have humbled, thrilled and terrified me. And my book still hasn’t been published.

I have a deep faith in the book’s own journey. In Hebrew the term for publishing translates as, “to bring into the light”. Isn’t that lovely? So this book, like all of us, will come into the light when it’s good and ready. Like my children it has shown me that – and I have finally humbly (mostly) stopped pushing MY way onto it.

Now I’m left with a blog that’s alive. And I’m in love with it.

Life’s funny like that.

BUT it was conceived as a platform-building thing and that’s just not it’s only true purpose in the world – or so it tells me. It wants to be re-named and realigned with its truth – and no, I don’t know yet what that is.

So let’s get practical. The name right now is too long. When people want to visit the site they can’t remember it – and EilatAviram.com is no easier to remember!

So I want your ideas for a two or three word title that will shine with the spirit of this blog – and an explanatory sub-heading. I haven’t had an Aha! yet on my own and it’s always good to ask for help when you need it.

Sri Swami Venkatesananda writes, “We are all cells in the body of God”. When I read that I

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Posted on 28 Jul, 2014 | 4 comments

Parenting Isn’t An Us-or-Them Situation

After a talk I gave, adults and children were milling around a delicious looking buffet but it was tense because some dishes were finishing before everyone had a chance to take.

The adults were trying to look casual about getting in there before the food was all gone – the elbowing was being done in a genteel manner – but the tension was there as we all craned our necks to assess the state of the dwindling amounts.

The children, of course, were just honest. They demanded their food and if something was finished before they got there they wailed loudly – which didn’t help the tension. The adults were all very busy making sure their kids received food before they dished for themselves. I mean, having a hungry disappointed child on your hands is even worse than not getting the food you wanted, right? There are levels of pain.

A man behind me in line said to me with a smile, “I suppose you would say we shouldn’t put the children first.”

Wow. Is that what you heard from my talk?

It wasn’t the time to answer then – what with children dragging on my hands whining about food – but it stayed with me.

No, that’s not what I would say. Remembering that you are also a person isn’t about putting yourself first and overlooking your kid’s needs. It’s not about being selfish in the closed-hearted sense where you cut others off. On the contrary; remembering that you, as a parent, are also a person in your own right, is an invitation to open your heart WIDE – and to include yourself in it.

heart

What is life without yourself in it?

Parenting ISN’T an us-or-them situation where you have to overlook yourself in order to cater to their needs, or you ignore them in order to cater to yours. The real situation is that parenting is a training ground for you to find your truest self through caring for your children. And you do this by letting your kids needs show YOU to yourself. Let’s be honest, when your kids are pushing you, don’t you sometimes get to see parts of yourself you’d MUCH rather not know about? And at other times, when you respond to them, don’t you see parts of yourself that amaze and please you?

So, what I AM saying is, be honest with yourself and deal with what comes up for you when you DO have to put the children first in a scenario like that buffet. I mean come on, I wanted to shove everyone out of the way and just take myself a nice big plate full of the food that looked best to me. Like the kids around me, I also wanted to

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Posted on 26 May, 2014 | 15 comments

Things Are Fine But You’re Not Satisfied?

Remember stillness?

Before the constant noise and busy-ness.  When you had a Sunday morning to just ‘be’ and no-one would drag you out of your reverie. Wake up late, read a book, make yourself something to eat, watch a movie, hang out with friends and have long conversations, not leave the couch…

slothOr the times you had an evening alone and you pottered contentedly around your house, doing odd jobs, talking on the phone, doing some hobby or project until you had enough…

Or went to the beach, for a hike, to the movies on your own or with another adult…

Lately I’ve really needed my own space. My own time to do my thing – whatever it may be – without being dragged out of it to make a snack, wipe a bum, prepare supper, clean something someone else dirtied, urge resistant children to tidy up, brush teeth, get in the car…

Lately though, even when I get time to myself, I don’t feel satisfied.

Am I moaning and complaining? I think so.

I don’t like not getting what I perceive I need but I feel bad for complaining about what I have. What I have is so totally awesome.

Yesterday outside a shop I saw some young hip and happening guys pull up in a bright yellow, super-cool car. They hopped out in their oh-so-trendy outfits and haircuts and then, surprise, one reached into the car, pulled out a little ‘un, swung him onto his hip in a warm and comfortable intimacy and they headed inside. It looked so easy for him.

And I, Queen of “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides”, compared myself to this illusion and wailed quietly, “Why is it so easy for him and so hard for me?”

Later I was reassured by a conversation with a friend who affirmed that other people have insides too. That this parenting thing demands a lot when you are conscious and want to do your best.

Consciousness is a double-edged sword at times isn’t it? Living unthinkingly seems to demand less – then again, you lose your Life driver’s licence, your sense of meaning and purpose, not to mention those very rich, beautiful moments awareness intermittently surprises you with.

I just KNOW I’m missing the point. I see the point. It keeps tapping at me, buzzing all around me. I’m aware of it, I engage with it a little but then I swat it away. So let me tell it, I see it:

I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED AND WANT, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

See Point? I know you’re there. I’m just avoiding you, that’s all.

The Baghavad Gita explores doing everything as a yoga, a purposeful conscious action that is in alignment with

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