When I was starting my positive parenting path over 10 years ago it coincided with my discovery of the teachings of Abraham Hicks… and the the concept of taking your hand off the hot stove really transformed my way of thinking.
When I first was introduced to the work of Abe and Esther, my husband and I ordered a CD of theirs (yeah… remember ordering CDs?). We listened to it so often that I can still hear some of it word for word in my head….
“We just want to encourage you to take your hand off the stove. But you say ‘ I can’t. My mother put her hand on the stove, her mother put her on the stove… it’s just what we do. The day I was born they told me to put my hand on the stove.” And we say, try it. And you sigh and say ‘it is sweet relief to take my hand off the stove. But who am I to take my hand off, when even my government and world has their hands on the stove?’ we say, put your hand back on the stove if you want to, but now you know that you have the choice.”
What’s the stove? Pressure. Struggle. Stress. The perception that life has to be hard, that success has to be achieved, that we have to push to get what we want.
That parenting has to be a painful journey with a lot of heartache… and our children will end up rebelling against us. That we have to control them, or cajole them to be the people we want them to be. (blech!)
We can take our hands off that stove of struggle, of pain.
What I love about this image is the actual relief it sparks within me. I imagine having my hand in pain and then just lifting it off. I don’t need to pry it with all my might. I don’t need to push. I just need to remember that I have what it takes to just lift my hand out of the fire. I have what it takes to breathe deep and be. But I still forget. I still put it right back on there
What Abraham forgets to mention, is that as physical people, we also have neural pathways that pull us back into our old patterns. Each morning, as if on cue, we will get out of bed and put our hands back on that stove, unless we put some tools in place to remind ourselves that each day can be different. We can make a different choice.
Yesterday I posted a video in the group about how complaining literally becomes part of us and how gratitude (appreciation) breaks the pathways of negative perspective.
But it does take that choice of lifting our hands off of the high pressure world, in fact, making that choice each day, is really all it takes.
I remember when I was in theatre school, I would sit listening to what the teacher would tell us our project was or what was expected from us. I remember thinking “nah… I can’t even imagine myself doing that.” And then within a few weeks I’d be doing stage-fighting, or climbing 20ft scaffolding, or reciting some long piece of Shakespeare prose. I soon learned that it was just about jumping in and not pushing against it, and taking the step by step path before me. I’d get there in the end.
This reminds me of the concept of “headlights”… that when you drive at night you can only see a few feet in front of you with the help of your headlights, and yet you always end up at your destination. This is so true in life…
Sometimes, the only step that’s clear is to take your hand off of the hot stove.
This is such a valuable perspective for the end of the year, when we can just find that relief, even if everything around us is busy. Focus on headlights, focus on love, light and relief. You’ll get there in the end.
I’ll be honest, when I first started on the road of “positive parenting", I had no idea there was a term for it.
I’d never heard of “attachment” parenting or “RIE”… all I knew was that when I got mad or frustrated with my children it felt horrible… and my instincts told me that it felt horrible because I was just mad my kids weren’t doing what I wanted them to do, and that made me feel like a bad parent. .
At the root of it all, I was needing them to change to make me happy.
Which meant I was telling them that other people were the cause of our happiness or unhappiness. I would raise people who couldn't find their own inner joy.
So, I had to find a different path which would build:
1) A positive parenting relationship between myself and my kids.
2) A perspective of parenting which offered the positive message for my children that they were perfect just as they are.
3) A positive perspective of myself. I had to learn that I was allowed to be Me… with all my foibles and isms, that make me ME.
When a child sees their parent being authentic, they know they are allowed to be themselves.
And for me, that’s what positive parenting really is… actually that’s what positive Living really is.
But then, we have the actual parenting part. It can be so easy to research positive parenting, but the application can be so much more complicated
. Life gets messy. Life can get Really Messy. How do we navigate through that? What are the steps we can take to be Positive Parents, especially at busy times and holiday times when the pressure is on?
If you noticed my number 3 above, you’ll see I had to find a positive perspective of myself. I had to be Me. When I could connect to being me and not some superficial concept of “mom” I had the foundation to fall back on. The lens to put on. The connection to call upon when life gets tough.
And it does get tough. Life is fast. Sometimes things chug along in all blissfulness, but a child will have an off day. They will get stressed and so will we, but that's often where the learning takes place.
That is actually a huge part of positive parenting: understanding that even the tough moments have purpose.
In each off, tempery, fiery, crazy and chaotic moment with our kids, we know that we can stop in our tracks. Its ok to have an off moment and to feel anxious, worried, or sad. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow together. Negative emotion is nothing more than an indicator that we aren’t seeing through our spiritual perspective. If we try to push the indicator away, we can’t listen to it.
OK… but some real tips… How can we positively parent in the rush of it all?
1) First, know that energy matches energy, so when a child is frantic, we can practice finding our inner calm, breathing deep and bringing in a different feeling space of love. We don’t have to go into the situation with panic and trailblazing.
Our children might be scared of their own feelings. With us remaining grounded will support them and light the path back to stability.
2) Listen. Listening to our children’s experiences, emotions and thoughts gives them a space to express and explore what they really are going through.
3) And then offer. We can offer tools to feel better, we can offer a hug… we can even offer solutions like quiet spaces or car rides to leave the situation entirely. Give opportunity to shift to a better feeling space, without forcing them to feel better. Shine a light in the emotional darkness.
Positive parenting means that our children don’t have to navigate who they are alone. They can explore themselves and the world of emotions and life supported and held.
Also… always remember that children live in the moment.
The future and past are abstract concepts and often feel overwhelming. This is why holidays and celebrations often don’t work for young children, because the moment of seeing beautiful snowflakes can be just as exciting and wondrous for a small child as any Christmas morning… so… we can remind ourselves to see the wonder in every moment as well. We can train ourselves to see through the eyes of a child and enjoy the world for its everyday… not just on a special day.
I think the most beautiful part about positive parenting vs conventional parenting is the knowledge that it isn’t about getting results from our children, rather acknowledging the journey we are all on.
When we want our children to give results (such as good behavior and manners)for our own comfort we skip all the important steps that the challenging moments can offer us. But when we remember the journey of life and look for the tools of love and support we can offer them, our parenting becomes a foundation building experience, which leads to the confident, loving and positive focused adults our children can become.
(Positive parenting is such a wide, exciting topic and appears in so many ways. It’s a wonderful experience to explore and consistently learn about it. This Monday (27th) to Wednesday (29th) you have an amazing opportunity to expand your positive parenting toolbox.
You can get over $1000 worth of positive parenting courses and all their material for only $97 with this Premium Positive Parenting E-course Bundle.. This is really a once in a lifetime sort of chance, with courses by Dr. Laura Markham and other amazing experts. and I can’t encourage you enough to check it out.)
This was posted originally in October 2016, for our Canadian Thanksgiving of that year.
And yet, I thought it would be of interest to many now... as, in my mind, shifting to the Thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation of the winter season is really where practical spirituality meets tradition.
I always talk about Thanksgiving and how it’s my favorite holiday in theory. What a wonderful idea, right? A holiday dedicated to appreciation and a feeling of thankfulness for what we have. It’s a great philosophy and one that should be ringing out from the ways during the day. But, then you throw in Turkey dinner, the stress of building a meal as per tradition, you throw in different stories and focuses or you try to make it about appreciation and end up wondering how to do it differently than Easter or Christmas... than solstices and nature holidays... what makes Thanksgiving stand out?
I’ve been a parent for 14 years this Wednesday. 14 years. And for 14 years I’ve been looking for a way to bring specialness into each holiday, how to bring spiritual awareness and emotion into each celebration, so it didn’t get overcast with stress and anticipation.
And this year, Thanksgiving was finally created.
It happened quite by accident really. My younger daughter (who’s the party planner by nature) and I were talking and she was making decorations and activities for her and her brother. The usual What am I thankful for stuff.. as well as place mats for dinner. We were talking about how to make it different, more celebratory; especially since her older sister had commented that we never really “do” Thanksgiving. (What a thought, I was horrified... theoretically it was my favorite holiday... and we’d never “done” it.)
And then the thought flowed in.
We decided to write letters and cards to each other, telling each other what we appreciated about each other. For an hour in the afternoon my children and I filled envelopes telling each other how wonderful each other were. It was an incredible feeling space to spend time in, writing down all the wonderful aspects that make them themselves. We decorated them and made them special, letting them light up the table that night.
I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of opening my envelope that evening. I was focused on what I appreciated about each of them, but to read what they appreciated about me; well it made me cry in overwhelming joy.
In my course Spiritual Kids, building foundations for the Spiritual Aware Family, I offer an exercise in the appreciation board; a wipeboard you hang in the kitchen to leave comments on what you appreciate about other people in the house. The idea came from my friend Elizabeth over at www.appreciationboard.com and I fell in love with the idea right away.
But this little ceremony we did on Thanksgiving was a flood of the feeling of appreciation and thankfulness. A perfect new tradition for a perfect holiday.
What followed was a discussion about what we appreciated about other people we knew, other family members, friends and acquaintances. That too was an incredible experience, as we didn’t always pick the easiest names... we didn’t see the people we chose very often or we didn’t know them very well. It stretched our thankfulness muscles... which of course is what Thanksgiving should be for!
A little different than the stereotypical “what are you thankful for?” but as my husband points out, that version of Thanksgiving should happen every day.
But noticing the little things about people you know and bringing them up over a candlelit, fancy dinner while exchanging letters of appreciation with the people you love.... followed by pumpkin pie... now that is a celebration indeed.
As a special holiday gift, I am offering a free workbook, from the Spiritual Kids e-course, called THE APPRECIATION BOOK, from now until Tuesday 28th. You can grab it here.
I hope you enjoy it and wish you all the best for the holiday season.
My daughter has been homeschooling for years and it used to be expected that any set curriculum would have been gathering dust by November. Although my head used to tell me it was crazy to let it slide, my heart looked to create other ways to support her learning, scrambling to get it together without her getting stressed or feeling incapable of the work.
If you haven’t guessed by now the emotional balance of my kids, their sense of self and confidence in being, is my priority. So seeing her stressed and disconnected in the past over a workbook, just because she worked differently wasn’t my style. but then we found Oak Meadow and it all changed.
Now, about 8 months down the road, she has a chance to feel confident and fulfilled at seeing the completion of a year's work in sight, thanks to Oak Meadow’s unique approach. It is the most amazing feeling to see her stable and structured in her own learning and growing… to know she feels good about what she works on every day. The relief I feel is incredible as finally my head and heart can agree!
Which leads to what I want to discuss today. Emotional Awareness.
Because,this week in her grade 7 curriculum, the focus was on emotions and the media and how our feelings are often influenced by what we surround ourselves with, and I thought it was a wonderful time to discuss this as well.
My daughter was instructed to draw attention to the affect of what she witness on tv or the internet, by writing down her emotional response to shows she watched or any violence in movies, of course she could do this easily as she’s been practicing being in tune with how media felt since she was really little.
Yes I’ll admit that, as much as my husband and I always intended to be “screen-free” and we still don’t have any television at our home, restricting it to Netflix or movies, our children use internet and youtube daily for both education and entertainment. I have to admit, when I see the offerings on Netflix especially,I am so thankful my children all were raised with early emotional awareness, so that they can honestly navigate through the cloudy offerings that media offers us now a days.
It's a bit of a vibrational smoothie out there... emotions and focus are blended into a puree and are simply bland in intention... we have to all be pretty sharp to feel the emotional twists and turns we're taken on.
From the time my girls were 3 or 4 we were discussing how programs made them feel and using them to chose how we want to feel as well. We would watch something “fast” and then something “slow” with them to experiment with different feeling states, we’d explore how scary shows might lead to feeling scared or having nightmares and then it would broaden out to choosing shows and movies based on how they WANTED to feel, without handing over their power to the network or Netflix.
Unfortunately for my son, who doesn't really like movies or programs, sometimes tries to get involved with a show as family bonding time, but it usually takes his emotions for a ride anyway. Like when him and his sister decided to passionately watch Spirit: Riding Free the new Netflix program, which should be pretty enjoyable, he was emotionally tormented instead when they left it off with a cliffhanger for a few months.
The image of seeing a horse torn away from his owner, being carried off to an auction on a train while the little girl was in tears, became embedded in his thoughts and mental processes for ages and he is being taught through media that it can’t be trusted to entertain anymore. I mean, who uses cliffhangers on a kid’s show?!It leaves a child the choice to either shut their hearts off from the story and characters, basically becoming cynical at a young age OR, getting their feelings hurt and hearts trampled each time they put on a program.
Since then, my son is firmly set in only watching old children’s shows from the UK golden era of 70s-90s. Postman Pat is our new staple.
How aware are we all on how media and what we’re being told affects our reality?
This year has been a particularly emotional roller coaster in our world. It feels like every direction we turn there is something that makes us feel upset, distracted, worried or fearful, and yet, if we’re not careful, the stories and fears we fill our minds with, truly create our days. Moving beyond having compassion and care for our fellow human beings, the “reality” of suffering clouds our own “reality”, even in the simple knee jerk reactions we give to simple things like our children’s whining or traffic when we’re late.
We can sometimes react more negatively to everyday discomforts just because we’re distracted with the story we’ve read/watched/witnessed.
It sometimes feels like that powerhouse of emotion and fear can snowball and snowball until is serves as the lens we see all of life through.
What if we created the intention to be aware of how we feel so we can productively offer love and support for all in need, by building that love through the focus of love? What if we took this time of year to consciously go within and connect to the spiritual essence of everything we are?
If we give ourselves permission to shine within so we can offer love outside of ourselves.
It’s a busy time of year, but within that busyness we can turn our attention to our spirits just for a few moments so we can “snowball” the focus and intention we choose to give attention to.
We seem to give so much attention to the rushing around of this time of year, that scatteredness can become our lens and its what we radiate as we cross the threshold into the new year.
So, why don’t we choose our emotional focus? Why don’t we use our emotional guidance system to steer our day, or season and our new year?
How do you choose your focus when outside of you and what you witness is offering you a different lens than what you wish to see through?
Also, this is also a core part of my e-course Spiritual Kids, within the section on emotional awareness. I feel that offering emotional awareness and intelligence to our children creates foundations in self awareness and spiritual connection. When we feel positive emotion, we are closer to our natural spiritual state. It is easier to connect when we’re appreciating life and when we are positively focused, therefore being aware of how we feel is like a gateway to feeling better and shining completely as ourselves.
(And I want to give you a heads up that Spiritual Kids is going to be part of a really exciting Cyber Monday offering… I can barely contain my excitment! It’s so huge. Think 12 e-courses from 12 amazing positive parenting experts… for a small percentage of the cost… Now that is using media for the benefit of all! So make sure you GRAB A FREE SAMPLE and I'll keep you informed from thereon!
ALSO! I just received word that Oak Meadow will be offering a 20% off sale over Black Friday weekend... so if you feel your child needs a curriculum that meets their hearts and minds, then definitely check it out.
I need to start my pilates course I bought on Udemy a couple of weeks ago. I mean, I have to do it today.
Because I made myself a promise at the beginning of the year that I would be able to touch my toes by December and time’s a-ticking.
The desire stems from a limiting belief I’ve had since I was a child:
That I had a long back and people with long backs couldn’t touch their toes.
But, I’ve always felt stiff and sometimes my body just wants to move differently. I want to touch my toes.
But I believed I couldn’t.
Until one day I thought… that’s ridiculous. If I have a long back, surely I should be able to get down to the floor easier than if I had a short back… I mean I also have long arms! I should be a pretzel!
Surely, if I’d been living with the belief that it was the practice of stretching that would get me to the floor, I would be there by now… rather than just allowing a belief to hold me back.
So, I need to start my pilates course… which I bought a couple of weeks ago.
Why do we resist breaking limiting beliefs? Why do we not want to let go of what holds us back sometimes? Why do we not want to release past opinions, or the people who hurt us or move away from self concepts that stop us from shining?
Well, I know for me, believing I “couldn’t” touch my toes meant that I didn’t have to try. I didn’t have to stretch or exercise. I could eat healthy… but I wasn’t an “exercise type”. It was convenient.
But with a milestone birthday coming up in January, I’ve spent sometime wondering if that’s really good enough.
I promote and support unlimited potential for my children and my clients.
I want everyone to shine. And yeah, I want to be a 105 year old yoga master like some of these women I see on Facebook posts.
So, with the desire set, I have to begin and those patterns of limiting beliefs have to be crushed in the process.
I did start this year… a little. I do my yoga every morning before my meditation. But my poses get a little rushed and if it feels like it stretches too much… I kinda tell myself “oh that’s good enough.” And I let it go.
Isn’t this symbolic of so many patterns we hold in life? We tell ourselves we want to shift something and then we tiptoe around it, try it a little, but don’t fully dive in? We push just enough to convince ourselves “it’s good enough..” But that pattern still sits in the back, lingering and supporting that limiting belief.
Needless to say I’m not just writing to you to talk about exercise.
Rather I’m writing to you today because it’s November. A busy time is coming as is the end of the year. A new dawn, a new beginning approaches with the coming of 2018, and although it’s still pretty much a couple of months away, I want to encourage you to take a moment to take stock of it.
What did you promise yourself to achieve this year and are there any baby steps you can still put into place so you can feel you are moving towards that goal? What dreams do you hold about next year? Can you start to scribble down thoughts of how you want next year to flow for you? Not “plans” but intentions?
I’m not pressuring you to jump into action… only encouraging you to go within, and consider what path you are on and where you want to head, even for the near future.
What kind of holiday season do you want this year? Will it resonate with the same patterns as every year before, or will this year offer something new? What about next year?
How can you walk the walk of the person you truly are?
My daughter just called me an addict because I LOVE planners so much. I love to dream, visualize, and ponder different paths and then map out ways to get there. I love to scribble intentions down. I just ordered a planner which I was able to design my own, and I put my yearly intentional word on the cover.
For 2018 my word is THRIVE.
But this past year’s not ended… and this year’s word was “FREEFALL”. Complete trust, letting go and release.
It’s been a wonderful foundation for this year and I’ve seen it present itself in so many elements of what’s occurred.
So, how can you put a few elements into place to have 2017 be phenomenally fulfilling? And what magic will 2018 hold for you.
I'd love to help you find a clear path or offer you some tools to support your vision. Feel free to email me and we can set a time up to chat or visit the Spiritually Aware Holiday Season page for some ideas.
(I am starting a self care holiday challenge on Monday, with 5 days of simple techniques to create balance, connection and awareness even when you feel rushed and busy. I hope you will join me!)
Now, I just have to freefall down to my toes…
I’ll let you know when I arrive.
Christina shares her personal experiences as a Spiritually Aware Parent as well as tools and tips which will help a parent's journey.