The traps of parenthood

I’m a relatively new mom all things considered.  My daughter is about to turn 4, but I feel like I’ve learned a life’s worth of lessons with her so far.  Her presence has shown me so many limiting ways of being that I was operating from.  Now that I’ve plunged myself into this journey of self-awareness and awakening to the truth of who I am, I’m seeing more and more how many of those limiting behaviors I still have and I’m seeing more how others are similarly trapped (or more or less so, depending on where they are).

Early on, when Zara was less than 1, I often found myself complaining about her lack of sleep, her lack of doing what I wanted, when I wanted.  It was all around me too, all of us young mothers, complaining to one another, and there were many books out there to support the complaints, such as “how to get your baby to sleep,” “how to whisper to your baby the way this person does,” and the list is endless.  I could have stood at the parenting section for hours and not really known where to start.  It kind of felt like I was being given a chance to start over.  Instead of carrying my life forward from my old ways of being and my old job, where we would work and then complain, work and then complain, I was given the most precious gift of all, a beautiful baby girl with a wise soul, deep eyes and an open heart, who showed me with her presence and her reactions to my behavior and my unconscious energetic rebukes, what I was really doing.  She was giving me a chance to try again, to see if there really was another way to operate, instead of from defense, blame, victimhood and what about me-hood, she was showing me what my actions were doing to her and she was looking at me with those wise eyes, almost as if to say, “I know you can do this, really I do.”

I’ve since come a long way.  In fact, sometimes I’m not even sure I’m the same person who was angry at our little precious one (9 months old is one time I remember) for not going to sleep, and then deciding that if she wasn’t going to go to sleep, then I would turn on the TV and just watch it.  I’ve been learning how to forgive myself lately and whenever those memories of my unconscious behaviors come up and I start to blame myself and feel guilty, I’m learning to be kind to myself and stop, close my eyes and put my hands on my heart and say, “I forgive myself,” out loud.  It feels really good.  I really didn’t know any better, I really was doing the best I could have, and sometimes when I forgive myself audibly like that, I get goose bumps and I know that it’s true, that I’ve really forgiven myself and I’ve chosen self-love over self-beating-up like I used to.

I'm so grateful for Zara and all I've learned from her and the opportunities I've had to go within since she joined us.
I’m so grateful for Zara and all I’ve learned from her and the opportunities I’ve had to go within since she joined us.

I offer some suggestions to those who are/were like me, who are/were trapped in unconscious patterns of relating to the world and to their children, so that they may see that there are options and alternatives instead of just following along.  I offer them from my heart, from my experience, because I think we all want to do the best for our children and we often hate it when we hear those harsh words come out of our mouths or feel ourselves pulling away from our beauties, or even exploding at them.  We’ve all done it and I feel like we can all unite together in this, instead of hiding in shame and learn from one another and most importantly, learn from our children.  We all remember being the child who was yelled at, who was shamed, who was hit or threatened with abuse, we all remember those feelings, let’s assist one another in stopping the unconscious patterns and let’s start honoring ourselves and our children.

Some things that have helped me:

  • Notice how you talk to yourself when you are around your children.  Is there a constant stream of “you little brat, I’m going to make you do this, how could you do this to me, we only have 5 minutes left, what do you mean you have to pee, you just threw your food on the floor, are you (insert swear word here) kidding me?”  From my experience and from reading Eckhart Tolle’s books, all we have to do is notice it to pull out of it.  Sometimes I’ve noticed it so strongly and I have to completely stop what I am doing and lie down and breathe, or I may do something absolutely silly (which was not like me early on) and run around the house 3 times (I learned that from the book “Adventures in Gentle Discipline”) or sing a song.  I do my best not to give up my power to the thoughts in my head, which are not me in the first place.
  • Notice yourself criticizing your children, either directly or behind their backs (especially when they are in hearing range, actually, it’s best to avoid it completely, they’ll sense it anyway).  Children hear and notice everything.  If you are supportive in front of them and then turn around and roll your eyes or slump over in exhaustion so your friends can see (I’ve seen this), they will feel it and notice it.  We are not masters of deception as parents, children are masters of detection, I especially remember this from my childhood.  Ask yourself why you feel like you need to complain about your child, what purpose does it serve?  Does it help people to like you, does it help you to feel like you fit in that way?  I wonder if all parents like to hear others complain about their children and what would happen if one of us parents started saying, “actually it really bothers me to hear you criticize your child, please don’t share those negative comments with me.  I will always support you in finding constructive ways to deal with your situation, but no criticism please.”  I think I may give it a try.  Actually, I’ve already done it and it’s worked!
  • Think about the things you were told as a child: you are fat, you are so useless, you are so stupid, you can’t do anything, you’ve dropped that again, what’s wrong with you, I hate it when you do that to me, etc.  It won’t take long to think about them, because they are stored inside us, in our subconscious minds, like a little program we learned as children, waiting to play over and over again.  Consider what program you want running in your child and speak from there.  For more information about children and their subconscious minds and the beliefs about the self that get stored there, you can check out Bruce Lipton’s, “the Biology of Belief.”  That book was such an intense wake up call for me.  Children even have different types of brain waves until they are 6, and that is so they can soak up as much about the world as possible, including beliefs about the self, and they get those mainly from their parents.  Consider what types of things you say to your child!
  • If your child is always resisting what you are saying, consider why.  From an early age (6 weeks) we followed “diaper free baby”, so that meant we would assist our daughter to pee in a potty, toilet or sink, instead of in her diapers.  It meant that we were in tune with her, noticing her body movements as signals for when she had to go, etc.  It was a really cool process and I’m glad we did it, we didn’t have to wash as many diapers and it meant we didn’t really have to potty train our daughter because she understood what her body needed to do and into where, from a very early age.  I remember putting her on the potty at certain points, maybe when she was 8 months and she would stand up and look at herself in the mirror (I had my hands under her arm pits and the potty was on the counter, so you can picture it!) and she would sing and bounce and marvel at herself.  I felt myself getting so frustrated that she wouldn’t do what I wanted.  I had such strong memories of my father being frustrated at me like that and I could feel the frustration in my entire body.  I tried to “get” her to go, but of course it didn’t work.  None of us like to be forced!!  I read “Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting” and my life and parenting turned right around.  I was mindful and aware of when I was forcing and I was able to pull back and centre myself and sure enough, there was less force, less control and less battles because I had adjusted how I was approaching my parenting.
  • Instead of blame and anger, consider stopping, breathing, getting some fresh air and realizing and knowing that your child is not out to get you, but is there to highlight that which you haven’t wanted to see for a long time:)  Consider thanking your child and moving on from a fresh place.  I’ve had a lot of help in my “moving on” and “letting go” because in my experience of life, it has never been as easy as just saying it and it being done.  I’ve learned about mindful parenting, I’ve learned about gentle discipline, unconditional parenting, making time for myself (still working on that one), allowing myself to say no and meaning it and it being okay, and I’ve also learned about healing and letting go with an energy coach/healer/guide that I see quite regularly, and through techniques my husband has learned on his own path of reclaiming his life (reconnective healing and heartmath, http://www.healandevolve.ca).  I’ve also learned that yoga, nature walks with my family and friends and dancing are very therapeutic and enjoyable for me.

I think there are traps in parenthood and I think they are there for a wonderful reason, just as our children chose us for a wonderful reason, to help us see the truth of who we are and so that we may honor and love them and allow them to flourish and shine the way they intended when they came to this beautiful planet.

These are pictures of me that Zara took.  I was doing "I Am Happy, I Am Good" (please see www.playingfromtheheartkidsconnect.com for info, it's a Radiant Child Yoga song), and she was cracking me up because she was coaching me along to do it with more emphasis and feeling.  It was a riot.  I've come a long, long way.  I'm really proud of me.
These are pictures of me that Zara took. I was doing “I Am Happy, I Am Good” (please see http://www.playingfromtheheartkidsconnect.com for info, it’s a Radiant Child Yoga song), and she was cracking me up because she was coaching me along to do it with more emphasis and feeling. It was a riot. I’ve come a long, long way. I’m really proud of me.

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How To Talk To Kids

I’m 32.  I remember being a kid and wanting to be treated with respect and I wanted to be a part of the adult conversations.  I didn’t feel like I was a kid who couldn’t be part of the adult world!

I am reminded of this when I go out in the world with our three year old daughter and I hear some of the bizarre ways that people speak to her. I wonder if most of us forget what it is like to be a kid?  Do we forget that we didn’t like mean tricks, or when people tried to fool us or demean us or treat us like we didn’t know anything, or tell us that we were just selfish by nature instead of beautiful beings of light here to enlighten the world?   Did we forget that we don’t need to treat children as separate little beings who don’t know anything!!  That is exactly what we didn’t appreciate as little ones!

Here are some examples of what people have said to our daughter:

-“Oh that’s a nice hat, can I have it?  Can you give it to me so I can take it home?”

-“That’s a great teddy, I’m going to take it home with me, okay?”

-“You’d better be good while you are in here, you’d better be good,” (she was relaxing beautifully in a kid’s chair in a spa, and she had just told me she was feeling as light as a star!)

Here is how our daughter has responded, in the same order:

-“No.”

-“No.”

“I don’t like it when you talk to me like that.”

I was and am SOOOO PROUD of her.  Not to make this about me though.  She is teaching the world about how to talk to kids each time she does that, she is saying, “hey, respect please, don’t fool me and get me to give you my things, and don’t manipulate me and tell me how to act in a spa when I am a paying customer and am quietly enjoying myself!  How about you have a conversation with me because I am capable of that, despite my young age.”   In fact, an older gentleman so appreciated speaking to her one day when we were in line at the cash, that he bought her a chocolate bar, and she had just turned 3 a week before that!  I wrote about it in an older post, “Taking Candy From a Stranger.”

She is so inspiring!  She is helping me to see that I don’t need to fear speaking up for myself, that I don’t need to fear what may happen if she speaks up for herself and that I don’t need to worry about what people think of her or me.  Enough is enough, as she often says.  Let’s honor the children!  We were once children!   Let’s remember the truth of ourselves as people!

Thank you to Zara, our three our old beauty, our teacher and inspiration.

It’s A Joy To Get to Know You

Imagine if we all heard our parents singing this song to us when we were little,

“It’s a joy to get to know you, it’s a joy to get to know you and I really am liking to

share in your world.  When your love is deep and quiet, I can hear you so clearly,

you’re calling forever to share in your world.”

The first time I heard that song, I was so excited!  It’s how I feel about my daughter, it’s how all of us want to experience our childhood with our parents, but how many of us even felt appreciated, loved, welcomed or valued?

I encourage any one who loves their child(ren) deeply (or themselves too!) to consider listening to this song by Shaina Noll.  It is from her CD, Songs For The Inner Child.  Her songs are deeply comforting, deeply healing and beautiful.

Our three year old daughter said to me yesterday, “I think we should listen to this music more often!”  Of course!  Why wouldn’t we!!  I sang “It’s a Joy to Get to Know You” to her last night as she was going to sleep and she sang it with me.  I’m not sure life can be more precious than that.  I am so deeply grateful for this parenting experience, for learning how to be myself again, for opening up my heart and letting life in more deeply, for the full journey and experience it is meant to be.

Please see this link from Shaina’s website for a video of this song that was made by one of her fans:

http://www.shainanoll.com/mediafolder/media_itsajoy.html

It is a joy to get to know you, you are wonderful just as you are and you always were:)

How Green Eggs and Ham helped my parenting

From randomhouse.com

I first read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss several months ago with my 3 year old daughter.  I remember reading it and being struck by how grumpy the character is who won’t eat the green eggs and ham, and how cheerful Sam I Am is, the one who keeps saying, “would you like them here or there, or with a goat?  on a boat?”

I think this book is brilliant.  It is exactly representative of how we don’t have to let our mood and well-being depend on others.  Here is this cute little character who is cheerful throughout the entire book, despite the resistance and almost rudeness of the other taller, fluffy character.

It really hit me one day that this book is so useful for parenting.  I was in the kitchen, preparing some food for my daughter which is always tricky.  I asked her if she would like some food x, and she said no, so I asked her if she would like food y, and she said no.  I felt myself slouch forward and I said, “oh,” and that was the end of it.  I kind of deflated.  Then I said to myself, “hey that little Sam I Am never lets it bother him that the grumpy guy won’t eat, so maybe I can be creative like him.”  So I tried offering her the food in a more wild and fun way, and it made me feel great!  I wasn’t giving up my power or my well-being to her food choices!  I could still get her some food that she would probably eat and I could enjoy myself at the same time!  It became fun and silly to offer her all kinds of wacky combinations of foods in wacky locations.  How about that.  Thank you sincerely Dr. Seuss.  You helped me to see I had a choice!

How I took attachment parenting too far

Before you are a parent, it’s easy to judge, to watch parents, and think that you could do such a better job.  We have all done it.  When you are a parent, you reel, you think, wow, how could this be so hard, how could I be so unprepared for this?  Why didn’t anyone tell me that this little being would open me up so much, that I would be so filled with love for him/her and with pain from my own childhood, all at the same time?  Even if they had told me, you wonder, would you have listened, would it have sunk in?

I was so ready to love a child, that much I knew, but that was the extent of it.  After Zara was born in early 2009, I felt so much love for her, I was soooo happy, I wanted to love her, honor her, squeeze her and kiss her and I wanted to have a chance to do it right.  I thought to myself, maybe I can do this better than my parents, better than other people, maybe I can really do this.  Ha, I used to be so judgmental, even in loving my own child, I had to compare it to others.  I am so happy to continue to pull out of that consciousness that encircles our planet, the judgement, the need to be better, the need to compare, it’s getting easier just to be me, thank goodness.

After Zara was born, there were times when she wouldn’t sleep.  I watched others with babies that slept, so I thought I must have been doing it wrong.  I tried and tried and tried, unaware that trying was what might have been making it harder; trying to be perfect, trying to help her so she never cried, so she would never feel alone like I so remembered feeling.  After a lot of trying and crying, I started reading more and more parenting books.  I read about Attachment Parenting, principles of which include:

-co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breast-feeding and extended breast-feeding, not controlling your child, but rather giving them permission to be themselves, not forcing your child, but guiding them, baby-led weaning, gentle discipline, unconditional parenting, mindful parenting, etc.

I read so many books and I joined an awesome local Attachment Parenting group where I met like-minded people!!  Whenever Zara would nap, she needed to be in my arms, so through reading those books, I was able to accept that she needed to be in my arms to nap (or else she would wake up), so I accepted that for 2-ish hours a day, I would be sitting on the bed, reading.  I took advantage of that time and I read.  I filled myself up with all of these ways to honor my daughter in ways that I never knew possible.  I armed myself with those principles and they became my bible….

I have met so many beautiful parents who are attachment parenting (AP), doing what they feel is best for their child.  It is truly exciting to see so many parents who just aren’t willing to let their kids cry themselves to sleep, or to be let alone in their rooms to cry until they can “calm down.”  There are many more of us who are aware of what we experienced as children and who are trying to do better for their children.  I think the irony is that in the trying, we end up doing the exact opposite of our parents, and then there we are, right at the other extreme, and really, is that any better?  Maybe if I share my story a bit it will help to explain what I went through and what I see other people doing.

I decided that I was going to use every single principle from those books I read: we would limit praise, we would get creative to help Zara transition, we would co-sleep, I would breastfeed until she was ready to wean, she would never be left to cry it out by herself (I had tried that a couple of times in my most desperate moments and I felt like I was a tiny baby again, crying by myself, feeling like I was dying inside, so thankfully it didn’t last more than 3-4 times), we would follow her lead, we would give her lots of leeway, I would carry her in a baby carrier or baby backpack, I would limit how much I would leave her because it was always hard on both of us when I left, etc.   Again, I used all of those principles as my bible, if something happened, I would scan my mental list of attachment parenting tools and I would use the gentle approaches to help us.  Is that wrong, is it a bad thing?  No not necessarily.  It really helped us, but it was extreme and I will elaborate.

It got to the point where it was like Zara was controlling us.  I was so desperate for her to feel loved and appreciated, that I gave myself up. I used all of those tools from the attachment parenting books and I used them to my detriment, even to Zara’s detriment.  I never gave myself permission to say no to her, I did everything I could all the time to say yes.  I thought it was horrible if she cried, so I did dances so she wouldn’t cry.  I tried to keep her happy at all costs.  I sacrificed my well-being, the well-being of our family and my relationship with my husband even, just to employ those principles.  It was like I had read those books through the eyes of a 2 year old hurt me, and I vowed to follow them no matter what, even when I was suffering inside from using those AP principles.  I remember so many incidents where I was using some tools, thinking I was “doing so well”, because I was doing what I had read, but somewhere inside I knew I had gone too far. I even judged other parents for not AP parenting, and I remember judging other AP parents for not being AP enough.

It wasn’t until I got really sick and couldn’t eat anything any more, that I started to see it.  The naturopath I saw told me, “you are reactive parenting,” and I remember being shocked, horrified. What, I thought, how could I be reactive parenting, I’m an AP parent!!  But she was right.  I was viewing my daughter’s life through the eyes of all those hurt inner children who I was still carrying inside and I was reacting to the past hurts I had experienced, from a place of “there is no f&*^king way I’m doing that to Zara.”  And there it was.  I was reactive parenting.  Wow. What a good call!!  Hahaha, it was hard to hear, but it was exactly what I needed to hear, and that comment started me on my path to my soul, to my awakening from the depths of unconsciousness, to the awareness and the place I am in now, more connected to myself, more aware, more balanced than I ever thought possible.

So now, I ask myself, am I still off balance, are there more ways I can come more to the middle, to be living and parenting from my heart and not from the hurts?  I have come so far, I am so proud of myself, so proud of my daughter for how far she has come as I have opened up my heart and let go of the hurt that kept me so deeply locked in protection mode and so proud of my husband for doing the same work, so we can each be free and be a more cohesive and happy and balanced family unit. I am so happy that I am working to get to this balanced place, so I’m not carrying around as much anger towards my parents, instead I can love them and honor them and really and truly know that I am just like them, doing the best I can, through different paths, not one path being better or any more worthy than another. It is truly a different life for me and for my family and I am feeling so blessed and loved.

I can always come closer to the middle, to a more balanced place and I am exceptionally committed to that, to living my true life, instead of one that is chosen for me by emotions, judgement and fear.  No longer.

I ask you, are you at one of the extremes with your parenting?  Can you be honest with yourself and take baby steps to come back to the middle?  I send you love and support as you love yourself and your family and take a look.

With love,

Bradlee

I Choose Love

I went to a conference day with Gregg Braden last weekend with my husband Robbin.  This was really significant in my life for many reasons:

  1. Gregg Braden is amazing (http://www.greggbraden.com/)!  He opened up my heart even further through his messages, his words of encouragement, his explanations of how the world is transforming and how we can connect to our hearts to support our planet and all of us with the love that we have inside,
  2. I actually left our daughter Zara for the whole day with someone other than Robbin.  This is huge for me, I have overcome some super deep and strong abandonment fears that were keeping me locked up tight, that were preventing me from leaving Zara for more than 2 hours without huge panic setting in.  I have worked with an energy healer (world miracle worker!) Jean Brazeau and I have released so much of the energy and fears inside that were keeping me prisoner.
  3. My mom came up for the weekend from Montreal (we live in Ottawa) and we had a fantastic time together.  I love my mom dearly and I was so pleased that she was able to come (for the first time since Zara was really little) to spend time with us.  It was also huge because I was able to be pretty open and loving with my mom, because I’ve moved through so much of the energy that was keeping me in a game of blame and lack of control with my mom.

I wanted to share what I took away from the Gregg Braden conference because it was so profound.  He shared a song with us from Shawn Gallaway called I Choose Love.  I have posted the link here for you to view:

It has become my new anthem, I sing it constantly in my head, to remind me that I have a choice.  I feel like that is what my life has come to, knowing that I have choices, that I am the Creator of my own life, my own experiences, my own thoughts, all of it.  I get to choose.  This song is exactly what I need to be reminded of that choice, when the emotions come up so strongly and they are threatening to pull me under, to the darkness, to where I no longer want to live… I have lived that way, I don’t want to go back there.  This song allowed me enough time today when I felt a huge surge of anger coming up (that really was not justified at all), to choose love, to feel the anger, but to choose love and to walk away, to deny that anger the power it wanted to have over me.  I know that I will have to look at that anger because it is there but I don’t want it to take me over so that I am it’s prisoner, saying things and throwing the things that it wants me to.  I am choosing love.  Shawn Gallaway wrote this song two days after the twin towers were blown apart by airplanes in 2001.  He felt so moved to share with the world even during that confusing time, that we all had the choice then, to respond to a huge crisis with love.  We all knew what would happen if there was retaliation, more heartache, more deaths, more tears, more anger, but if we could choose to live from the love we all have within, the world could change, there wouldn’t be that anger that drives us to hurt others (physically or emotionally) not when we live from the love.

This is a painting called I Choose Love, by Shawn Gallaway, the singer and author of the song I Choose Love.

When you truly connect to your heart, there is only love, there is no anger, no hurt, no aggression, no pain.  Gregg showed it to us at the conference using technology from HeartMath: http://www.heartmath.org/. The technology they have developed helps people to know when they are truly connected to their heart, to their love.  The heart has an electromagnetic field around it, within it and it has the same frequency as one of the electromagnetic fields of the earth’s atmosphere.  HeartMath is demonstrating, through their science and technology, that when we connect to our hearts, we can influence the electromagnetic field of the earth’s atmosphere.  This was first discovered after 9/11, the weather satellite data showed a huge spike in the electromagnetic field of the planet and the scientists didn’t understand why that was.  When they looked at the date and time of the spikes, they correlated directly with September 11, 2001 at 9:15am, which they postulated was about the time it took until the first plane hit and for the media to spread it around the world.  The whole world connected to their hearts during that time and as a planet, we changed the electromagnetic field of one of the layers of the atmosphere.  There is now an initiative started by HeartMath and Princeton, called the Global Coherence Initiative (GCI) (http://www.glcoherence.org/), which has the purpose of “uniting people in heart-focused care and intention, to facilitate the shift in global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace.”  It all comes back to how powerful we each are when we live from a place of love, not from fear.  It’s really about what you choose.  As a planet, if more and more of us can choose love, it will make it easier for other to choose love, for our leaders to make the same choices from love, to see what is truly possible for our planet, for all of us.  If we can each connect to our hearts, not only will our individual lives be easier, but those of our children, our families, our neighbors, our fellow city-members, province-members, country-members, and it expands out, just as our love does from our heart.  If you are at all skeptical, you will find all you need on the HeartMath and GCI websites, including tools and scientific devices to measure your coherence with your heart.  It was beautiful to be in the room with Gregg Braden as he played the song I Choose Love and to feel the love and the hope of possibility in that room.  It was powerful to see the HeartMath technology measure the heart coherence (the coherence is a level between 1-100 of how connected you are to the heart through hertz, which is the measurement of the electromagnetic field) of our room and the participants in it and for us to see it out of coherence and then to see it at 100% coherence after all 400 of us closed our eyes, touch our chests right where the heart is and think of care, gratitude and appreciation.  That was it, physical touch, and thinking of care, appreciation and gratitude.  It seems really simple and it is, and we can all do it.  We can all have that impact on our own lives and those of our fellow earthlings!!

Robbin, Zara and I are going to become members of the GCI and we will learn the tools to connect to the heart (in the event there are more we don’t know) and we will log on to their system and send out of love when others in the world are logged on too, to unite in care and love, to send love to parts of the world that are currently in crisis and that would benefit from some extra love and heart coherence.  It truly is beautiful.  You want to change your life and the world?  Here is an actual tool!!!  Use it.  I know we will. I know I will use it to teach my kids class, Playing From the Heart: Kids Connect, where I teach kids about love and how powerful they are and how they can find peace whenever they need to, within themselves.  I love it.  I love it because I was so sad and so desperate at so many points in my life and I now know that life doesn’t need to be like that.  I can choose love.  I can choose to connect to my heart and feel the love.  Beautiful.  Let’s support each other and grow in love, life doesn’t have to be this hard, our world doesn’t need to be full of war, our children can lead the way and we can hold them and love them and let them be the love instead of shutting it down.  Yes, I choose love.  What will you choose?

I’ll finish this post with a quote from Gregg Braden, okay it won’t be a quote but it will be slightly paraphrased!!

“Our world is transforming and in the new world age that we will soon begin, the question will not be ‘what can I get from the world?’, it will be ‘what can I do for the world that is emerging?”  I loved that.  It’s about sharing the love and not living from that place where everyone owes you because you are a victim, but switching the perspective to thinking of what you can contribute to the world, and from that place, abundance will be yours, through love and giving and gratitude.

Namaste and thanks for reading:)

Bradlee

 

Kids: love and gratitude

This is a picture of me with Zara, almost one year ago. I absolutely love this picture because it is a reflection of how much I love her. When I look at it, I see the love, I feel it and I am at peace. I love her and I am grateful for her every day, really and truly.

I sometimes look back at my life and wonder how it is that I never felt like I was a blessing or that I was special or that I was a gift to my parents, to the world?  I’m starting to think that is how it “should” be as we live here on this planet, that we feel loved and appreciated by those closest to us, and if I can be really bold, by everyone.  Aren’t we all special, unique and beautiful?  Aren’t we all so much more than the wounds we carry, from this life and others past, so much more than our bodies, than our families, than our jobs, than our perfect lives?  What about the connection to the heart, to our true selves?  That is where our true beauty lies and I’m starting to see, as I evolve and open, that we are all truly grateful and full of love at our core, and once we can even get a small glimpse of our truth, then gratitude flows from there and so does the wonder, love and appreciation of life.

I remember when our daughter Zara was born in early 2009, I was holding her, I was so full of love, so in awe, as so many of us are when we first have a child.  I remember thinking she was such a blessing, such a gift and that I was so grateful she was born, that she chose us as her parents.  I have kept those feelings for her although I have lost touch with them in some of my darker moments, when I was fighting the darkness within me, the pity I had for myself, for never feeling like I was as loved as I was loving her.  Somehow though, I knew that those feelings weren’t where I wanted to be living, I didn’t want that darkness to take over our beautiful lives together.  Thankfully, I read some amazing parenting books that helped me overcome some of those feelings and I’ve since been working with an energy healer to get to the core of them and to release them so that I’m not having to fight those thoughts off, they have just disappeared.

So now, I truly feel like I am almost always in awe of her and grateful to her for being in our lives.  I love the sound of her feet running through our house, I love her giggles, I love watching how fearlessly she cries when she is upset (I always hide my face, I want to get to a point where I can express an emotion without feeling like I need to hide it or my face), I love snuggling with her, reading stories with her, playing with her, watching her pick up worms and dig holes for them, see her unloading the groceries, watch her make new friends and try new things with her homeschool group or at her swimming lessons.  I love being with her.  I feel like I have given myself permission to be her mom and to be me too, instead of just only being her mom, trying to “over-love” her and “over-protect” her so she would never feel as sad as I did inside.  Now that I know it is impossible that she will feel that way, that same sadness, I have (with some amazing coaching from our family’s energy healer Jean Brazeau, some brilliant support and coaching from my husband Robbin, and lots of love from my own heart to me) given myself permission to be me and that has allowed her to be more free from me and to learn more about who she is.  As such, I am truly grateful to her and I love her dearly.  Through her joining our family, Robbin and I have found personal freedom, greater love and gratitude and so much more fun and enjoyment of life!!

That leads me to wonder why I grew up not knowing that children (including myself) were awesome, that they are fun and giggly and so full of love?  I can’t possibly be the only one!!!  There must be others like me who thought that kids were just there and not much else?  And to those who are/were like me in their thoughts and beliefs about children I say where do those beliefs and thoughts come from?  We are all born as brilliant beings of light and love, it is impossible not to see this in a newborn child.  The only reason we lose that light is because it is not nurtured, for some it is stamped out until there are no traces of it.  We are all brilliant, the light still burns deep inside, it can be re-ignited.  I feel like I can say this because my own light has been re-ignited and I have watched others go through the same processes with Jean and they now see so much more of their own power, their own truth, just as Robbin and I are.

What can we do about the children and how we see them and how we treat them?  Let’s make sure they are loved, not because they should be, but because we want to, because it is nearly impossible not to love them.  As we love them and nurture them, we will nurture ourselves and it will empower us to move beyond the darkness that is not us, to a place of love and gratitude.  I read this fantastic book called The Five Love Languages of Children (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/)and it explains how all people have a love tank and that each person has different needs to fill up their tank:

  • acts of service (sewing a patch on a favorite pair of pants, offering to clean up when you see they are too tired to do it)
  • gifts (they recommend limiting this, but really putting effort into the gift because they love the thought and preparation and even the wrapping of the gift)
  • touch (hugs, kisses, rubbing, physical contact)
  • words of affirmation (compliments, I love you)
  • quality time (full attention for a period of time)

It gives tips on how to recognize your child’s love language so that you can respond accordingly for filling up their tank.  I read this and I immediately recognized my love languages (touch, quality time and words of affirmation) and I realized that I wasn’t touched as much as I would have liked (I remember my mom saying I didn’t like hugs, maybe I didn’t, but I needed them!!) and the words “I love you” weren’t used much in our house.  So there you go, this seems like a pretty easy solution to providing that love that children so desperately need and it can also translate directly to your relationship with your spouse (there is another book for adults too, although I think you can just read one and apply it across the board).  Maybe if we all spent a little more time realizing what our own love needs are and those of our immediate family (spouses and children), then we might just live in a world full of more love and gratitude that flows naturally.  Maybe if we can focus on our children and on our selves, and meeting those needs, we will laugh more, feel better, see the love in the world and just maybe, we’ll actually think to say, “thanks so much for being part of my life, I love you so much.”  I made up this song for our daughter, a long time ago now, even before I had opened up my heart to the full potential of love and it is like this,

“Thank you Zara, thank you Zara, thank you Zara, for being a part of our lives.”  I made up the tune, it actually sounds pretty sweet (tee hee, I think I made it up, but chances are it’s a modified tune from some kids song we were singing at the library!!!).  So I sang it to her before she was 2 and she said, “you’re welcome mommy.”  Enough said.  Love and gratitude.  A amazingly perfect and beautiful combination, even if you don’t have kids, there must be someone you want to thank for being a part of your life.  Step out from behind the wall and say it.  Know that the wall around you isn’t real, you can step beyond it and still be safe in this world.  Love and gratitude.   Could it really be that simple?