How do people change, and how does one move through the ripples that flow from change itself? Do you welcome change with curiosity and openness in your body, or is it something you'd prefer to avoid all together and your body contracts at the very thought of change? Stepping into new schedules can be quite an adjustment for most, and for many others it can require an enormous step of faith, courage, and inner growth.
When my son, Rylan, was going to begin Junior High he was going to be participating in classes that would open up new opportunities for him; expand his learning, develop inner confidence, and create new friendships in community.
The last month of summer we deliberately focused on preparing for these changes by gradually shifting our schedules, so that everyone experienced as much ease and flow as possible. One of the ways we prepared was by joining a gym, meeting with a personal trainer, (for Physical Ed) and then going to the gym.
Waking Rylan up in...
Have you ever experienced life as being so full and complex that there is hardly enough space within yourself to take a breath? Or maybe you experience so many differing things vying for your attention, you can barely even think, let alone be able to stay present and in choice, about what to attend to next? How do you live in congruence with your own personal values? Are you in full choice around what you are about in life?
I notice within my being a complexity of sensations, emotions, protective impulses, inner images, stories, and a fluctuating ability to truly stay present to my full experience in a given moment. I am noticing how my growing ability to track my own variety of experience, with self and while relating with others, enables me to feel more alive, vibrant, and in full choice around whatever I am about.
I remember one summer brought me the opportunity to transition into a different schedule with Rylan, the one who is my son. When I looked at my schedule, I...
What’s it like for you when you feel disappointment? What have you noticed it’s like for your child? In my experience, disappointment can feel crushing to them. Especially when it’s around something they’ve been looking forward to for awhile.
I remember homeschooling my youngest son when we’d arranged a time for him to hang out with his friends. He didn’t get to do this as often as my older children had, because they had attended public schools. When the arrangements fell through he felt crushed.
He ran to his room and lay crying on his bed "But we planned it in advance! It's not fair!”
At the time I paused a moment to acknowledge my own visceral response, I noticed my heart was racing and my breathing was shallow. I placed my hand on my heart, and closed my eyes to focus inward, I focused on my breath and tracked my body sensations. My gut and shoulders had clenched tight, and the flavor of emotion was near panic and despair.
Do you plan outings with your kids, ones that you both put time and energy into choosing what you'll be doing together and really look forward to? Has anything unexpected ever happened in the midst of one of those special times? If so, how did you react in the moment? Were you able to stay flexible and adaptable or does unpredictability simply knock you way off balance?
I enjoyed planning outings with my son, Rylan, fairly regularly when he was younger, often folding them into our homeschooling program. I remember one Monday we planned to go shopping for his winter coat after going to the doctor. This day was particularly exciting because we planned to go to the Valley Mall to do our shopping! Let me share the story with you.
Rylan took my hand in his as we crossed the parking lot to enter the mall, and as we went through the big doors he gave me a big grin saying, "I love you, Mom."
I gave his hand a squeeze and affirmed, "I love you too, son."...
Have you ever felt pressure within, telling yourself you need to get somewhere by a certain time, or that you are going to be late unless you hurry up? I remember several years ago when my family was preparing to leave for church and it was a more complex transition than usual because we had our three young grandchildren staying the weekend with us! The pressure sensation I felt in my neck and shoulders stemmed from having been asked to speak at my church that Sunday about Peacemaking and I really, really liked it when I had lots and lots of spaciousness arriving and setting up when making an offering.
As I walked out to help everyone get in our son's vehicle (it is large enough for all of us to fit in together) I saw my husband, Richard, doing his best to get the grandchildren all safely into their car-seats. I could hear one of our twin three-year-old grandsons, Andrew, crying out loudly to his Papa, though I couldn't quite make out what he was saying. As I drew close...
Have you ever stopped to consider what you really want for your children? What kind of qualities you would like to see them develop as they grow and mature? When we attune to our children, we promote a healthy secure attachment within them. When we model how to tune in to the self, we also promote a foundation for resilience and flexibility.
I remember looking at the clock when I was getting ready to leave with Rylan for his lab appointment. I felt some alarm begin to ring in my chest as it tightened. Mindfully I slowed down the moment, I noticed I was telling myself we were going to be late. Taking in a deeper breath and breathing it out slowly, I smiled as I recognized and named for myself how much I value making and keeping agreements with others.
Feeling a sense of inner restoration, I called out to Rylan, "It's time to be going, did you brush your teeth and wash your face?"
"I'm not going!" Rylan said with a determined look as he stood with his...
I like to keep a gratitude journal, and the other day I was looking back over one of my very first journals that I started right after I first started learning nonviolent communication. I decided to share it with you today. It’s called reflecting on times that felt tough.
What I used to do was use what is called OFNR, observation, feeling, need and request. I did my best to reflect on each one of those steps. I really wanted to have more ease, peace and harmony, especially in relationship with my youngest son. I find it fascinating to go back and see where I was all those years ago.
O - My observation was: I really wanted to go to church this morning with my family...I tried to help Rylan get ready for Sunday School and it went downhill fast. I get so tired of needing to wait. I'm confused how to help him move forward out of being stuck. He uses such a loud voice, calls names progressively more violent, then explodes. Out of frustration I mirror him which escalates the...
Do you take the time to reflect on your relationship with your loved ones? What influences our feelings, perceptions, and behaviors as evolving human beings? Are you consciously creating a nurturing environment where safety and trust influence the activation of genes and sculpt the structure of the brain?
The genes that children inherit influence their development and shape the inborn characteristics of their nervous systems. Their experiences also directly shape their development and influence which genes are activated. Relationships that provide contingency (responses to other's signals with a quality, intensity, and timing which clearly reflect the signals that were sent), especially when emotions are heightened, offer our loved ones repeated experiences where they feel connected, understood and protected.
I noticed when homeschooling my son, Rylan, that rather than sharing a mutual sense of interest and wonder as we focused on learning, Rylan would shut down...
Do you have a close friend you enjoy spending time with? I remember when my close friend, Jenn, was planning to come visit us after we’d moved with her two boys, Mason, who was 8, and Isaac who was 6. I was so excited to connect with her in person and just to hang out together again.
I also remembered some of Mason and Rylan's relational growing pains and a little anxiety crept into my awareness. My window of tolerance felt really stretched when I perceived disharmony between our sons. It found it painful and confusing how to stay self-connected when the unexpected happened, especially when I was looking forward to what I’d planned and it would get interrupted.
I put a lot of thought into how I might engage with the boys differently if something unexpected happened. I recognized a post-hearsal opportunity for myself. A post-hearsal enables us to shape our experience of ourselves in the world by using conscious, reflective, autobiographical...
Have you ever wanted something so badly it hurt? Wanted it so badly it consumes all your thoughts throughout the day as you picture what it would look like over and over in your mind - so that you don't even notice or appreciate where you are? Well, I learned that's where I spent a lot of my energy in my life with my son, Rylan, and I hadn’t realized it.
Let me share a story with you. I remember when Rylan led me with closed eyes to his bedroom door. He threw the door wide open so I could see as he said. "Surprise, Mommy! You can look now!"
"Wow, Rylan!" I exclaimed with utter amazement, I'm feeling slightly stunned here, you've cleaned and organized your bedroom completely by yourself, AND, you are super happy about it! This is a delightful surprise!"
"You know," I paused to look into his eyes, "I want to acknowledge right here, right now, just how big it is that you cleaned and organized your room today independently. As a matter of fact," I continued, "I...