Author: kimberleemartha

The Ebb & Flow of Peace Among Siblings!

 

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Relationships are an endless ebb & flow of connection, disconnection & re-connection.

 

This truth was just made abundantly clear to me by my two youngest children!

 

Hannah (12) & Hayden (10) were enjoying their usual connection by playing, teasing & laughing together. Life was good!

 

Then, at some point, the teasing went too far, boundaries were crossed & big feelings came pouring out. The ebb of disconnection was happening – furiously!

 

My heart constricted in response to hearing anger between two people I love so very much and I decided to move into action.

 

Before my own journey into Conscious Parenting, I may have intervened & made them apologize to each other to end their angry behavior. You know – the fake, through clenched teeth, ‘I’m only doing this because Mom’s making me’ kind of apology.

 

Or I may have gone the other way and just stayed out of it, wondering how long they would take to work it out themselves as each slammed the door to their respective bedroom ‘territories’.

 

Not today.

 

Today, I am overflowing with gratitude for the knowledge & skills Conscious Parenting has given me because today (inner Mama happy dance!!) I knew how to show up for my kids as their emotional coach & guide them through a simple, but extremely powerful, process for re-connection.

 

I asked them a few easy questions and we discovered, together, that the disconnection came when each had unknowingly violated the other person’s human need to feel respected.

 

With that golden nugget of truth, each child agreed to listen, without interruption, as the other one expressed their feelings aloud & the talking child freely held an object that reminded the listening child of that agreement. My soul was ON FIRE as I silently witnessed these two precious beings holding such safe space for the other to share raw & tender feelings.

 

When I explained to them both that we all have different personal ‘rules’ for getting our human need for respect met, their curiosity was undeniable! To learn what their own rules were, they eagerly completed this sentence three times each:

 

“In order for me to feel respected by you, I need…”

 

As I wrote down their dictated answers, I tried valiantly to maintain my outer composure because inside my mind was just being BLOWN AWAY by the depth of self-knowledge & connection to personal values coming through in their responses!

 

Whose kids are these?

 

With much satisfaction they decided to hang their answers up on our family wall and, with their feelings heard & their needs met, they raced off to the playground together, laughing & enjoying their re-connection.

 

While there is certainly no such thing as a perfect parent, many crushing moments of feeling like a powerless parent are a near certainty.   As I watched my kids through the window, running & smiling, I felt so overwhelmingly EMPOWERED in my parenting, in my ability to make a genuine & potent contribution to their growth & development!

 

This moment of family leadership, this investment in the emotional health & well being of my children, took all of FIFTEEN MINUTES.

 

Best fifteen minutes I invested in anything today…with a lifetime of return in the kind of connection I experience with my children not just in this now moment, but also in the many years to come…

What Your Bra Straps Have To Say About Your Self-Care!

 

Bra straps. Self-care. What?!

 

A few months ago, in the name of the self-care movement, I traded in my usual, comfy, ratty old bunch of bras for two brand new, high quality, lacy, sexy, expensive European bras.

 

The nice lady in the bra shop fitted me for each one, adjusted the straps & sent me on my merry way.

 

Self-care?  Check!

 

A few months passed and the feeling that wearing these bras had originally brought me began to fade. In the early days I was strutting around like a professionally supported peacock! But as the days went by, they didn’t feel the same. Things once held snuggly in place started to jiggle & threaten to fall out if I bent over.

 

I blamed the bras & went so far as to dig out one of my old, ratty stand by bras from the bottom of the donation box that never made it all the way out of the house. Ahhhhh….my familiar, ugly but oh so comfortable old friend. Who needs to feel supported and pretty? Worthy, excited and sexy? And this was SO much cheaper; so much more conducive to slugging around on the couch in a full-on potato chip & Netflix coma.

 

Surely that counted towards self-care?!

 

And then came the day that I needed to wear a certain dress that would only accept a certain expensive bra and as I struggled into and against it, I was SO uncomfortable that I started fiddling with everything possible – pulling it up, pulling it down, adjusting the back hooks and then finally the straps & WOW!

 

Bada-bing-bada-boom – what once was old became brand spankin’ new again; just like that!

 

Now, I realize that to many women (who must exist!) who adjust their bra straps on a regular basis this story might sound ridiculous.

 

But, for reasons beyond me, I had harbored some unconscious assumption that the original professional fit was a lifetime adjustment and I it never dawned on me that the wear and use and washing of the bra since that moment in time may have altered the fit in some way!!! Especially in a way that may require my attention!

 

And so, as I am enjoying the re-fit, as it were, in the certain dress at a fancy pants party no less, I had a thought that had me giggling like an extremely undignified and unlikely to be invited back in the future party guest:

 

THIS IS THE SAME WAY I HANDLE MY SO CALLED SELF-CARE!

 

I make some big extravagant gesture – think expensive bra, deluxe massage, day at the spa, day off from work pretending to be sick or enjoying the rest actually making myself sick affords me – whenever I reach my limit and just cannot take anymore stress, pressure, demands on my time, attention, energy or even just ugly, old bras.

 

And it’s great! I feel wonderful, for a few days or sometimes even weeks! But then inevitably, just like those new bras, the fit starts to fade and I find myself whirling back to the devils I know so well – stress, pressure, demands on my time, attention, energy or even just ugly, old bras.

 

TRUE SELF-CARE IS REALLY ABOUT THE DAILY BRA STRAP ADJUSTMENT!

 

It is about providing yourself a DAILY CONTAINER OF SUPPORT from which to live your life! And since life happens on a daily basis, each day different from the last, SELF-CARE MUST BE A DAILY PRACTICE not only on its own but also in response to whatever each particular day brings.

 

Women most especially need to understand that they are only as rich as the daily container of support they have built for themselves because without it they will inevitably at some point be giving from an empty tank, an empty soul space, an empty container.

 

And what does that look like?
It looks like illness, mood swings, fatigue, headaches, backaches, PMS, depression, lowered sex drive, irritability, snapping at our loved ones uncontrollably and feeling bad about ourselves a lot of the time.

 

It looks like resentment, guilty or shameful feelings and wishing our lives, our partners, our kids or our bodies could be different as the solution to our problems.

 

It feels heavy, constricting, like you cannot catch your breath.

 

Sound fun? And yet how many of us tolerate these things in our lives while relegating self-care to the bottom of our must do lists?

 

So, adjusting your actual bra straps on a daily basis is pretty self-explanatory! But we also need to adjust our metaphorical self-care straps. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

 

One idea is to make yourself a list of self-care options that you can easily choose from on a daily basis. Have a wide variety of no cost and low time options like journaling, mediation, dancing to favorite music or some non-outcome based artistic expression mixed in with higher cost and higher time options that you may choose weekly or monthly such as a massage, yoga or mediation class, a personal trainer, a support group, a trip to the spa or a call with your coach.

It doesn’t matter so much WHAT it is that you choose on a daily basis.

 

What matters is that whatever it is FILLS YOU UP, restores you, nurtures you, feeds you & provides you a CONTAINER of support from which you can than truly, madly, deeply, richly & freely GIVE – to your life, to your people, to your world & to your soul…

The Real Reason This Picture Never Leaves My Desk

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I’ve had this framed picture of myself with my two youngest babes taking up space on every desk I’ve had since someone took the picture, about 10 years ago.

 

Looking at it helps me stay conscious in this crazy human paradox we call parenting, though perhaps not for reasons one might usually think.

 

In the picture I am a fiercely dedicated young Mother – aren’t we all?

 

Head over heels in love with my bambinos, I accepted this honor of responsibility for another being’s life like a Samurai accepts his sword.

 

I remember being filled with such PURPOSE, such dizzying heights of LOVE & DEVOTION…I was the center of someone’s universe and they mine – this is what I’d been born for, this was my calling, this was worth any sacrifice, this I would protect with my very life…

 

This was pretty powerful stuff.

 

As though I were under the spell of a Siren’s song, I became completely seduced into believing that these precious children were actually mine and that I had finally found the elusive answer to my happiness & fulfillment.

 

I, like many of us, had long been convinced that the answers to my life were somewhere outside of me in the world, just waiting to be found.  And I just knew that on that glorious day, when I finally found them, I would be rightly rewarded for all my years of searching and struggling.

 

I envisioned this reward as some kind of endless flow of certainty, freedom, purpose, love, connection, fulfillment & happiness…which is exactly how I felt holding “my” newborns for the first time, whenever I was the only one “my” young children would go to when hurt or upset or when celebrating new milestones that “my” children achieved.

 

All of a sudden, my top human needs were being met on a daily basis by adorable little beings that saw me as their whole universe and who I was not only allowed but expected to control and to mold into whatever identities, behaviors and attitudes were culturally and personally the most pleasing to me at the time. Wow!

 

But then they grew.

 

And, just as suddenly, my eternal source of joy and fulfillment started talking back to me, not always nicely. My source disagreed with my wisdom, often. My source outgrew my physical capacity to pick it up and put its undesirable behavior into a contained space until it pleased me again. My source got moody. Like really moody. My source grew into it’s own stubborn opinions and out of my ability to control it.

 

This sneaky seduction of my ego had allowed me to truly believe that my internal void could be filled from an outside source and so I had enthusiastically projected my own needs onto “my” beloved children, unconsciously and naively making them responsible for my happiness. Whoops.

 

We live in a plane of duality. Any external source of my happiness is at once also the source of my unhappiness.

 

What an undeserved burden for any child, for anybody, to bear.

 

And yet, before I stumbled onto this conscious parenting path, I was willing to let these children bear it. Not meanly, just unwittingly.

 

So, this picture stays on my desk, not just because I love these precious beings, I do.

Not just because it is an adorable picture of them, it is.

 

But also to gently remind myself just how closely alongside delusion I walk as I traverse this parenting journey.

 

How easily I am seduced into believing that the internal emptiness can be filled by the achievements or adoration of my children.

 

Seduced into believing that they came from me instead of through me; that they are mine to mold into whatever I want instead of to nurture into whatever they already are.

 

The picture serves me like a string tied around my finger, reminding me that I am their channel, not their source.

 

They have their own connection to their own source, as do I.

 

And when we “fill (our) own needs and feel satiated from within,” we are modeling for our children the only way, “we can truly be fulfilled and happy.”  (Dr. Shefali Tsabary, April 28, 2015 appearance on Youtube’s MarieTV)

 

What greater gift could any parent attempt to give a child?