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Posted on 15 Sep, 2014 | 2 comments

Joy, Freedom, Avoidance and Keeping Your Self

Last week I said the way to keep your Self while parenting (or working or living or loving) is by constantly checking in with how you feel or think about something – like you would with someone else’s child that you’re watching over. I spoke about living your life from the inside out.

After all, this is YOUR life so of course you’d ask the owner of a life what he or she wants to do with it. Right?

looking inside

It should be so easy too. There you are in a moment something is happening. You assess the situation and everyone’s needs and ask yourself, “How does this feel to me? What is my sense? What action would be for my highest good now?” Then you take that action.

Simple.

Simple, yes, but oh, so complicated. Because we don’t do that, do we? Actually many of us would rather put ourselves into horrible situations than feel out a situation, allow for our true sense of it and take the necessary action for our highest good. It’s such an uncomfortable thought that when I suggest this idea people often roll their eyes and tell me it’s such a mission to have to also pay attention to themselves the whole time as well as everything else. “I’d love to do that, but really it’s not possible most of the time.”

How weird ARE we?

See, the truth is that

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Posted on 8 Sep, 2014 | 6 comments

What Does It Mean To ‘Keep Yourself’?

There’s an exercise I use with groups where I ask them to visualise a pleasant parenting moment. I encourage them to really see it and feel it in all its colour. Who was there, what was happening… actually come to think of it, I should do it with you right now. Ok here goes. Ready?

Take a moment now to remember a moment of really pleasant parenting.

pleasant

Think about that experience. Who was there?

Where were you?

What was happening exactly?

Notice the colours, sounds and scents around you.

Really allow yourself to feel the goodness of that moment.

Notice where you feel the good feelings most strongly in your body.

Just enjoy this remembering.

Now I want to ask you, who is experiencing all this? Who is at the centre of this experience?

Yes, of course it’s

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Posted on 7 Jul, 2014 | 0 comments

Tune Into Your Truth

I hope you are enjoying your child’s school holidays and are managing to be present to what is.

If you snorted and said, “Yeah right!” do the following thing.

Often.

Take a moment right now to tune in to your breath. Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe deeply into your lower stomach area. Hold the

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Posted on 30 Jun, 2014 | 2 comments

Don’t Lose Your Self These School Holidays

Ah, school holidays.

holidays

Don’t they just bring a whole ‘nother parenting ball-game into play? That tingle of anxiety, “How will I keep them busy all that time? They’ll be around so much. What about my schedule, my time for me? How will I get any work done? I have to do something to control this … contain them somehow.”

Nowadays I know that at the end of the holiday I often can’t believe how fast it’s gone and how nice parts of it were. So I’ve learned to take a long slow breath and lean into the upcoming experience – whatever it may be. I’ve learned to not try to control and hold it all. But keeping myself during school holidays so it doesn’t become all about the kids can be a challenge.

Self-care is learned best when modelled. So my self-care plan is to

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Posted on 9 Jun, 2014 | 6 comments

Why We Judge Ourselves

Our theme is being ‘in the moment’. One sneaky way we avoid the moment is to judge it as soon as we find ourselves in it. That, as I said last week, pushes us out of the present and into past or future.

Judgement.

Pah!

pah.

Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear!

That’s all it is.

We are SO mean to ourselves sometimes. We say things about ourselves that we’d NEVER say about others.

I had a chance to engage with judgement this week with a surprising (for me) result.

Someone asked me to list good things about myself. Of course I had an instant cringe response. “What? No way! I’ll look like I think I’m so great. My narcissism will be exposed…”

Then again, past conversations with him have left me with profound insights. So I took a deep breath, leaned into the discomfort, and dared greatly.

He watched me with humour as I thoughtfully laid out things I like about myself. I was aware of sifting through ideas, rejecting some, weighing others carefully before adding them to the list. It pleased me that I could think of many positive things to say about myself.

“It’s interesting”, he said, “that the things you list are all really ‘good’ things. Characteristics that no-one could find challenging or offensive. What about this thing?” he wanted to know, “And that one?”

What? Ugh. Not those things.

I justified, explained and pontificated. Words and words and dances of defence. I criticised and judged the qualities he was pointing out. They’re not good enough, not acceptable in some way. I made it sound logical – but actually I was rejecting those aspects of me.

He laughed at me kindly. Loving kindness allows us to see ourselves. It makes it less scary to look at what we’re avoiding.

Eventually I understood that my list was

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Posted on 17 Mar, 2014 | 7 comments

Keep Your Self, Parent.

Sitting at a party chatting to some moms about how we expect so much of ourselves. We were talking about how we want to start new projects, get them off the ground, be successful – but where do you find the time for it in between work, family and mommy-duties.

chat

One mom said, “We don’t have to do it all in a great big chunk. It’s possible to do little bits here and there and before you know it, you’re on your way”. We all agreed heartily but I could feel some tension in the air about this expectation. I mean I know that even doing ‘just a little bit’ is too much on some days. We all live with so much pressure to ‘do’ and ‘be successful’ and ‘get it right’ – whatever the hell that means.

“We should really give ourselves a break,” I said rebelliously, “We are raising small children. That IS a project, and a big, time-consuming and important one at that! I think its ok for that to be our focus in this time of our lives. The other stuff can come later, when the kids are less dependent.”

“The thing is,” said another mom, “that some of my friends have done that and when it’s time to get back into the work stream they’ve lost their confidence. They don’t know if they can still do it.”

“But that can only happen if they’ve lost themselves!” I spluttered – and then kept quiet because I became aware that I feel VERY strongly about this and I didn’t want to preach.

This is what I would have liked to say then and what I wish all parents could hear:

Anything you do in your life is a part of your OWN adventure. Therefore, EVERYTHING you do is actually your own learning experience – even when you are doing something ‘for’ someone else. This also means that

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Posted on 2 Dec, 2013 | 2 comments

How To Find Your New Balance In Every Situation

Before we begin; Please, oh please, CLICK ON THE RED BADGE over there on the right to vote for my blog? (You can vote for it in either or both categories)

Ok, thank you. Let’s start.

unbalanced

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something, it all changes again. Have you noticed that?

I don’t know about you, but I find myself thinking, “Oh when this thing is over, THEN I will feel balanced again”.

It’s really not about that though, is it? It’s not about waiting for what’s happening now to change so that you can be ok. It’s about finding your new balance in how things are right now – every time. Over and over…

But it’s unsettling.

It’s so much more comfortable to feel in control of things, don’t you find?

I remember one friend told me a long time ago that after her first child was born she felt out of balance for quite a long time but she managed to ‘find herself’ again. “But I’ve never really got my balance back after my second was born” she said wistfully.

She has found her balance again though – it’s just really different to how she used to think balance looked. In my opinion, it’s bigger and shinier than it was before.

Life – with our children, family, work, and money as its little helpers – seems to knock us off balance or tilt our axis every once in a while. Ok, ok, every time we find our comfortable balance actually. Yes, you cynics out there, maybe it is all just a cruel joke –  the ancient Greek gods randomly testing us mortals, playing with us like pawns in their own power games…

Then again, maybe, like Hercules or Odysseus or Oedipus, part of what we are doing on earth as humans is adventuring along our own indi

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Posted on 11 Nov, 2013 | 0 comments

Can We Stop With The Shame Thing Already?

There is a conversation about Shame that needs to take place, parents. It is a looong conversation but we have to start it at least because it’s EVERYWHERE.

In her book Daring Greatly (which I cannot recommend enough!), shame specialist and researcher Brene Brown writes; “Mother shame is ubiquitous (I looked that up. It means ever-present, permeating, abundant)– it’s a birth-right for girls and women.”

What?!

My commenter Michelle wrote after my post, “This is exactly what discourses of motherhood do to us. It sets us up for feeling like failures. Perfection and this planet does not gel. This is the planet where we come to experience the opposites. We have to change these constructions of motherhood. ”

I don’t know about you but I am tired of feeling shame about parenting. Like there’s a way to get it right and a way to get it wrong.

Enough!

no more

There are so many voices in our society telling us ‘How To Be’. Our parents, our teachers, the magazines, the philosophers…

And if we don’t conform then there must be something wrong with us, right?

When it comes to parenting, it’s Shame City. Everyone has an opinion – and it’s no fun getting those raised eyebrows, is it?

These influences seem external but Shame itself is an internal experience. It’s that sinking, burning feeling that comes when you feel you’ve failed or are bad, or not good enough. If you keep it inside it can fester. If you bring it out into the light – show it, share it, talk about it – it simply dies. Shame can’t survive exposure.

So let’s talk about those baby clinics. Oh man! They’re kind and sweet and well-meaning but they work with s h a m e!

I remember being a new mom. To my great relief (and surprise) my freakishly vulnerable baby was thriving and happy (enough) but each time I came home from the weigh-in and check-up I felt anxious and not-good-enough. After a while I started to wonder why. I realised that the kind ‘all-knowing’ nurse was asking me things in a way that implied I

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Posted on 30 Sep, 2013 | 2 comments

How Parenting is FOR YOU – Part 3: For The Practical-Minded

Well folks, we’ve come to the third and final in the series on “How Parenting is FOR YOU”. Then again, this is the overall topic of this blog, so I’ll be writing a lot more about it.

Today is for those who say, “Ok I get the theory, but how does all this apply in practice in my daily life?” Here goes:

tools

Have you ever gazed at someone in awe and thought, “When I grow up I want to be like that”?

I’ve always felt that with truly generous people. Those people who just give of themselves, of their time, their heart, their money…with open-hearted ease, from a place of truth – without calculating how much will be left for them and what they’ll get in return… sigh. Aren’t they just great?

I grew up thinking generosity is something other people have. My ancestry seems to have nurtured the art of feeling deprived – that feeling of ‘there’s not enough for me’. If we had a family crest, we could inscribe “Oy vey izmir” (which means “Oh woe is me”) below it – but we don’t even have a family crest!

I don’t mean to diss my family here – it’s no-one’s fault, this goes back for generations and each of us is working on it in our own way. I noticed that if somebody gave me something I would wait suspiciously to find out what they wanted in return and I’ve seen the same in other family members – they’d become anxious when given something.

So it was as if true generosity was for other people but I watched those other people like a hungry child and I really wanted to know how to do it. Somehow I felt that inside me was a generous person waiting to come out of the meagrely stocked closet.

Having children has been an EXCELLENT space to practice that quality I so admire because NOTHING is my own is it? I think it’s mine but then I have to give, give, GIVE it. “Take your hands out of my plate, that’s my food. You’ve already eaten yours”, “No you can’t have money to go out with your friends”, “No I can’t play with you now because we’ve played all morning and now I have to do some things for me”… and on and on. Nothing is sacred. They’ll grab at everything they can. And I? I get to practice not feeling deprived and gaining that quality I so admire in others.

Now that I’ve had children, I can proudly say

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Posted on 2 Sep, 2013 | 12 comments

Parenting is VERY hard, people!

Nothing prepares you for how hard parenting actually is. The grinding, non-stopness of it all, being faced with yourself, challenged with things you find difficult, constantly bombarded with incidents that would be totally shocking in any other circumstance – and all with too little sleep and not enough time to balance yourself again between hits.bla

I mean who is actually ever prepared to be kicked, pinched, pulled, hung on, climbed all over, vomited, peed and poo’d on, dragged away from their food repeatedly, dragged out of sleep most nights, shouted at, insulted, not listened to…

Army detention camps have NOTHING on being a parent – and the victims in this case are not even protected by any human rights acts.

Nothing can prepare you for it.

Well, maybe military training…

Recently I spoke to a wonderful couple who have been parents now for almost a year. They are totally shell-shocked. Sleep deprived – “He’s almost a

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Posted on 26 Aug, 2013 | 10 comments

Deep In Transformation

My child is deep in the transformation that happens between the ages of 5 ½ and 7 years old. It’s something we all go through but most of us haven’t heard of it– which is ironic because it’s about finding yourself.

sAnthroposophical theory (can you say that three times fast?) suggests that during the phase when a child loses her milk teeth and grows adult ones, she is also losing her baby self and growing her deeper core self that she will use for the rest of her life.

The long and the short of it is that before this change happens a child looks for guidance from the outside. For example a 3-year old will

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Posted on 12 Aug, 2013 | 2 comments

Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?

I just got another lovely rejection letter for my book from a literary agent in New York. Why do I say lovely? Well, I’ve received lots of straight-up “no’s” since I started this journey in February but this is my third “I-wish-I-could-but…” letter. An affirming rejection  –  who knew? See how I’ve grown, tra la la!

This kind agent told me she likes my book idea, my writing and my qualifications but that nowadays that’s not enough. Nowadays the big publishing houses need you to come with your own ready-made market. If they are not guaranteed that your book will sell at least 5-10,000 copies it’s not worth it to them. No matter how amazing your book is.

b

So she told me to take a year, build up my ‘platform’ (in other words people who have heard of me and want to read what I have to say) and then please get back to her “with a whole lot more going for you”, because she really does like my idea a lot. So nice, really…

But why on earth would I do any of this ‘platform building’ to myself? It’s true I love my 

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