Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Can I Help My Children?

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
                                                                                     -Steve Maraboli

Most of us want to create a different life for our children than we have had. Even if we experienced a good childhood and life, there are things we would like to be different for our children; our future. December is a time when we also think about the New Year to come and we make resolutions. We prepare for what we would really like in our coming year and the lives of our future. 

Our future; that is a big subject. Many of us plan ahead, and save money and pay off our loans and put things aside for our future. The trick here is in being able to live fully in the present and take care of us while also seeing how we can create a future filled with love, connection, hope, acceptance, inspiration and clarity.

Recently I had an opportunity to work with a new mother. She was concerned because she was very aware of many of the issues she carries and didnt want to carry them forward through her children. She loves her mother, but is slightly distant from her. Her mother lives in Denmark and she lives in America. After living and studying in the UK for a few years, she doesnt know how much longer she will be in America. She is physically as well as emotionally distant from her family. 

As I asked her about her early experience, she has a memory of a happy childhood. So I asked her if there was a period of time, over a week, where her mother and or father were away during her first 7 or 8 years of life. She said, yes, that her parents travelled on holiday when she was around 2 for almost two weeks, and at that time her mother was also pregnant with her brother. Then again, when she was around six, her parents went on an extended holiday. I explained that this distance can cause an interrupted bond. She was so young, she couldnt understand them not being there, and it felt like forever. She first got sad, then angry, and then, something shut down inside. 

So we thought we would take a look at her family dynamic through the use of footsteps and figurines. These props are used to represent family members so she can have an image and a feeling as to a perspective of her family. This allows her to get out of her mind for a bit. Through the images that developed, we saw that her mother was distant from her mother, grandma, and now this woman is distant from her mom. It showed there was also a family secret, which was kept by everyone, and this secret helped to keep everyone apart. Secrets do that. As we welcome the secrets in and shed light on them, things begin to change. Maybe no one remembers the actual events of the secret, but the energy of the secret is revealed. For this lovely woman, we saw that her mother and she were both loyal to the secret and not looking and refusing to look. As we worked with her to help heal her interrupted bond with her mother, we saw that she still couldnt look and wanted to rush through the experience so that she could have a close relationship with her mom. We saw together that there is no rushing. It is in the slow movements which allow for looking and really seeing and feeling her feelings that allows the healing to occur. It is in the seeing and the feeling that the future she wants lives. She had lost trust at a crucial age, and it is by taking the time to see, feel and regain trust that opens her to bringing her mother to her heart in a real way. Through these movements lies the future for her children. How do we help our children? It is by healing ourselves.


Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization

Taking the time to see and feel can be very difficult. We develop a way of operating in the world to protect ourselves. Really feeling our feelings can be uncomfortable. Yet, if we want change, that is what we have to do. 

Take a few minutes and sit down comfortably with both feet easily on the ground. Take a few deep breaths. As you breathe, tune into your breathing rhythm and just breathe. Begin to bring into your minds eye someone you feel distant from who is important to you. This could be your mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother, partner, sibling, etc. Allow this persons image to take shape in front of you and just look at this person. If you need to close your eyes to this person, figuratively, do so, and then open your eyes again. This is an inward looking. Just look. See what happens inside of you as you look at this person. Do you tighten up, do you have trouble breathing, do you need to close your eyes? Just notice what happens inside of you. Then continue looking even if you have to have back up from them until you feel comfortable, or more comfortable. Then again just look and see if at some point there is a softening inside of you. Maybe your heart softens, or opens a bit. Maybe you can breathe a little more deeply. Maybe you feel a pull or longing to this person, but dont feel comfortable going towards them. Just notice and pay attention. Keep looking until you feel some internal change or you can breathe more deeply. Tell this person you want to feel when you look at them, but are having trouble. And just breathe. Tell them a simple truth, whatever that may be. It could be you long for them, but are afraid of them.it could be anything, but keep in simple. It could be you are angry with them, and so on. Then again notice if there is any change inside of you. Just notice. When this feels complete for now, thank them for being there, and then tune into your breath again, and feel your feet on the ground, and slowly open your eyes. 

You might try this visualization a couple more times in the week and see how it develops, or not. There is no judgement; just learning...This is for you and for the future generations.