How Can I Forgive

Photo Credit: Wise-Living.com

Photo Credit: Wise-Living.com

There is nothing like parenting to pull those old wounds to the forefront of life to be healed. Who, me? Triggered much as a mama? You bet-ja! Having and raising children is like jumping on the super highway to healing old hurts – the kind I don’t even consciously remember and the ones I do.

When I was newly wed, my husband and I were taking on personal growth and healing like it was part of some advanced college-credit course. We were in a committed, loving relationship for the first time in our lives (not just a serious relationship but REALLY committed, like for life) and that was all the safety we needed to start taking on our demons. We were both doing this independent of one another before we met but we picked up the pace a notch after getting hitched. There is nothing like being in a loving relationship to really open ones heart up to healing. And we got right into it, looking together at the the really gunky, ugly stuff that gets stuffed way down deep in one’s soul over decades of living.

The retreats we took both separately and together at Heartland, a retreat center in the Ozarks founded by Dr. Michael Ryce, were heaven sent. As newlyweds, we unearthed things about our-selves that before had been buried to deep to be handled. The retreats we took together, sometimes for weeks at a time, helped us acquire tools to navigate the murky channels inside ourselves that we were now in touch with. We each brought bags of pain (Michael calls this “garbage”) into our marriage. It may not sound sexy, but it’s true… and we all do it, anytime we start a relationship with another person. Matching bags of garbage. (Dang resonant energy.)

We did alot of living those first three years of marriage and it wasn’t all a bed of roses. When we finally did reach our third wedding anniversary, I remember my husband saying, “WHAT? It’s only been three years?” before he realized this was probably NOT the most romantic thing to say to one’s wife on one’s third wedding anniversary. But I completely agreed. Yep, not sexy (I told you) but hugely forwarding. And now that I think of it, maybe it IS sexy, but in a different sort of way. This is the stuff true love can be built on. Now four kids and fourteen years of marriage later, I get down on my knees and give THANKS for those early pre-kid years of intense personal growth we took on as a couple.

Today, parenting twins plus two children together and owning our own business, getting triggered or being “in pain” is not what I would call a rare occurrence in our home. But our upsets don’t throw us like they might have had we not taken on a very important belief early on in our relationship. It’s a belief we picked up at Heartland. This single sentence has guided us threw many a rough sea. It’s one I am thrilled to live by as a mom. It’s a simple statement, just seven words in all. What is this magical statement?

If I am in pain I am in error.

That’s it. Seven words. But these words have forever transformed my life, my relationship with my husband and our relationships with our kids.

When I first read this I completely disagreed with the statement… until I redefined what error meant. Now when I read the sentence, instead of thinking “wrong” which I used to equate with error, I now think “off the mark”. I look at the pain I’m feeling as a sort of red flag, a tip off to myself to think, “Wake up and watch yourself Suzanne!!!” because if I’m triggered (in pain) I can be sure there is something in the situation for me to heal (i.e. let go of, learn and/or grow) from. Error does not mean that the other person or circumstance in the situation is right and I am wrong. Not really. It’s just an invitation for me to look at something a bit closer from my past. Most likely, if and when I do, the thing that has me triggered will cease to hold so much power over me. Here’s a story of how this looks from my life. A “bad” situation that delivered HUGE rewards when I took on the idea that “if I was in pain, I was in error.”

There is nothing like parenting to make life a-parent. I get opportunities to heal things from my past all the TIME delivered to me by the four little master teachers (all under ten) that live with my husband and I.

If I am in pain I am in error. Take a moment to say it over in your head. Let it rise to the top of your consciousness the next time you feel your blood boiling because your two (or thirteen!) year old just will not listen! See if you can recall these words the next time motherhood or life is driving you insane.

These seven words have the power to transform your parenting reality. Here are two links to help these words live even more powerfully in your home. The first is a simple, seven step forgiveness worksheet created By Dr. Michael Ryce. When I started using it, I set a 30-day challenge for myself, committing to taking on seven small or large irritations a day for 30 days. This exercise proved to be a powerful one. You can do that as well or you might want to start slowly, simply committing to using the worksheet to process your feelings the next time you are parenting and feel yourself getting triggered. (Note to self: be sure to take on the small triggers first and work your way up to the doozies. Rome wasn’t built in a day…) This next link is a chapter from Dr. Michael Ryce’s book, Why Is This Happening To Me Again?!, where in the midst of telling a story about a guy named Richard who is learning about the power of forgiveness, he explains how to use the forgiveness worksheet

Thank you Dr. Michael Ryce, for giving my husband and I (and the world) your insightful perspective on forgiveness and the gifts of these tools. The relationships I have with my children and a large part of my approach to parenting in general is built upon the personal work I did before, during and after the weeks and months my husband and I spent in the Ozarks.

I hope these seven words and the forgiveness tools above bring you closer to yourself and to your family. Tell me what you think. How does the statement, “If I am in pain I am in error,” sit with you? What about life or parenting has been upsetting lately that you might be up for *forgiving*?

By Suzanne Tucker, mom of twins plus two, co-creator of My Mommy Manual and Yoga Parenting.

 

My Crazy Is Showing

 

 

Remember being a kid and saying to your brother/sister/friend, “Your EPIDERMIS IS SHOWING!!!” and then laughing your butt off as they recoiled in horror and embarrassment, covering themselves but not quite knowing where to cover?

I do. I remember being on both ends of that joke. Oh the horror. How embarrassing. I hated being embarrassed (and still do. Who likes it really?)

That fear of showing my epidermis? It’s a lot like when I sit down to write. I read over the stories of my life fearing I’ve shown too much. And then ideally, I hit save anyway. Ideally, I resist the urge to edit me and my epidermis right out of my stories.  And it’s hard because, editing ourselves, isn’t that what we’ve been trained to do?

Hiding our “crazies”.

My friend shared a secret from her childhood with me this morning. She sent her story to me in a private Facebook message. She would not have called it a secret; more of a “deep-dark-secret”.

My friend thought I might not reply, saying I could un-friend her and she wouldn’t hold it against me. She thought in sharing her story with me, her “crazies” as she called them, I would love her less or go away all together.

Isn’t that is how we all feel? “If they only knew…”

My friend shared something *private* with me. Something she doesn’t love about herself. Something she was certain I could not love in her either. But I did. And really, I love her all the more for it.

I have these stories. You have these stories. My friend was brave to share hers with me.

This connection created through sharing?  This is the single reason I write.

I want to show you my epidermis.

I sent my friend a reply. I told her how much I loved her. How brave she was. I told her she was LOVE and that she was enough just the way she is. And even as I hit send, I was full aware, this reply was for me. It’s the message I am needing to receive myself.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, the messages we are sending. The emotions we think are for THEM, (anger, hate, annoyance, intolerance, jealousy…) let’s be clear, they say more about ourselves than anybody else.

Thank you friend. In sharing your heart with me you have brought me closer to myself. So much good comes when we simply share the stories of our lives.

xo

 

 

—–

I believe that when we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here in sharing the stories of our lives because motherhood is better when we are holding hands. 

Related Posts:

How To Be Enough

How To Be Vulnerable

Listen To Your Mother: St. Louis

 

Mindful Parenting

I love this list of exercises for mindful parenting. Each and every one resonates with me.

Motherhood, truly a spiritual practice.

I hope these exercises inspire you to reflect on your own walk in motherhood and the spiritual GEMS this sometimes rocky road has afforded you along the way.

  1. Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.
  2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view, i.e., having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, and what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?
  3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. See if you can stay mindful of their sovereignty from moment to moment, and work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.
  4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children and consider whether they are truly in your child’s best interest. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.
  5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn’t some common ground, where your true needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.
  6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still and meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking, even good thinking, and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being, what needs to be done. If that is not clear in any moment, maybe the best thing is to not do anything until it becomes clearer. Sometimes it is good to remain silent.
  7. Try embodying silent presence. This will grow out of both formal and informal mindfulness practice over time if you attend to how you carry yourself and what you project in body, mind, and speech. Listen carefully.
  8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. In Zen and the Art of Archery, Herrigel describes how he was taught to stand at the point of highest tension effortlessly without shooting the arrow. At the right moment, the arrow mysteriously shoots itself. Practice moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. Simply bring your full awareness and presence to this moment. Practice seeing that whatever comes up is “workable” if you are willing to trust your intuition. Your child needs you to be a center of balance and trustworthiness, a reliable landmark by which he or she can take a bearing within his or her own landscape. Arrow and target need each other. They will find each other best through wise attention and patience.
  9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing. An apology demonstrates that you have thought about a situation and have come to see it more clearly, or perhaps more from your child’s point of view. But be mindful of being “sorry” too often. It loses its meaning if you are always saying it, making regret into a habit. Then it can become a way not to take responsibility for your actions. Cooking in remorse on occasion is a good meditation. Don’t shut off the stove until the meal is ready.
  10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.
  11. There are important times when we need to be clear and strong and unequivocal with children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness, generosity, and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid, domineering, and controlling.
  12. The greatest gift you can give your child is your self. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and awareness. This ongoing work can be furthered by making a time for quiet contemplation in whatever ways feel comfortable to us. We only have right now. Let us use it to its best advantage, for our children’s sake, and for our own.

Excerpted from Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Copyright 1997 by Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I would love to hear in the comment section below which resonate with you? Which seem foreign/easy/hard? What has been the biggest area of growth spiritually that motherhood has brought to you?

—–

Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting.

Connection In a Box. Is This BabbaBox Yours!?

Last week I received connection in a box. It came on a day life found me far too busy to slow down and be connected and yet there I was, home on a rainy day with four kids pulling for me to be just that.

This was one of the first few weeks of summer break after all, couldn’t I make a little bit of time for FUN before moving full speed ahead into my to-do list? BabbaBox to the rescue.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ask Webster what this means and you’ll find this:

con·nec·tion[kuh-nek-shuhn] verb (used with object)

1. to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind.
2. to establish communication between.

Multitasking. Busy-ness. Getting things done. It’s easy to pick these over connection with my kids. I know I’m disconnected when my lil guys go to tell or show me something and I give them only half my attention. Half my heart. It’s in these distracted moments of life, if I REALLY just stopped to listen to them fully, I would find the things they are telling and showing me are anything but little.

My two year old son finds an ant crawling up his arm. “He likes me!!! He likes me!!!” Sheer joy dripping from every word for his newest pet.

My two year old daughter telling me about her twin brother she calls Bubba. “Bubba’s my friend.” She says it with a smile, her head tilted shyly down and love for her womb-mate just oozing with this realization.

I received our first BabbaBox a few weeks ago and before my oldest two kids ripped into it, I tucked it away for the “perfect” moment. Last week brought that moment. I had a lot to get done around the house (laundry, shopping, dinner… you know the drill) and yet with it raining, I wanted to do something fun with my kids as well. BabbaBox to the rescue.

We opened the box BabbaCo sent me to review and it began. Kids crawling over one another to get to the next thing. Sock puppets? Cool!!! (Even my nine year old thought so.) The box brought giggles. The creative juices started pumping and we were off and on our way. Connection.

We read the book the box included about feelings. We used our Spy Glasses (what we began to call our “Feeling Finder Glasses”) and watched for the ways people around us were feeling, searching for emotions we’d been talking about through the various activities we’d done together. Mommy’s HAPPY!!! She’s sad. He’s funny. He’s silly. Ohhhh. Scary!!!

The box is actually intended for 3-6 year old kids and up but we had a blast just the same. Tailoring the activities included in the box for my youngest two was easy. Everything we needed was in there down to rounded nosed scissors.

In the end I found there was more to the BabbaBox than what came in it. The experience it inspired, one where I got to show up for my kids on this rainy day and be PRESENT, spontaneous and creative without having to do any work on the front end to make it happen was MY favorite part. Though I loved what came in the box, it was experiencing the box with my kids that I treasured the most.

I thought how much my parents would like this. What if I sent them the BabbaBox monthly to do with my kids? How fun would that be??? Thinking Christmas might be perfect to start that tradition.

Okay, enough about our box. Want to have a BabbaBox experience of your own? I was given a box to review and one to give away to you if I liked it. (And “liked it” I did.) Check the Rafflecopter entry above for the many ways you can enter. You can play everyday through the end of the giveaway, Friday, June 29th if you like! Here’s hoping you WIN connection in a box to call your own.

Maybe making time for the BabbaBox once in a while with my kids will help me remember the little moments of life are ANYTHING but small. And if we keep practicing, maybe, just maybe we can be present, playful and creative parents even while we are ticking away at our to-do lists.

Maybe. 😉

BabbaBox - Activity Box for Kids

 

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting.

 

 

On Pruning and Peace

 

This weekend I tended to some rose bushes. I’ve had them potted for years and believe me when I tell you, they’ve seen better days.  I noticed on Friday how worn they looked with bunches of parched, half-dead flowers hanging all over them. Two rainless weeks combined with my not watering them. Not a great combination.

My rose bushes sit on either side of our back porch and until recently have been a beauty to behold. As my two year old’s ran around, collecting rocks from our driveway and plopping them, one by one into their baby pool, I grabbed my sheers and went at it…

the business of cutting away at something in order to help it live.

The metaphor hit me as far too obvious but I felt it working on me just the same. As I snipped away at dead buds and crinkled leaves, my heart began pulling for me to consider something. A question. [Read more…]

On How I Manipulate My Kids and Wonder Woman

ma-nip-u-late [muh-nip-yuh-leyt]

verb (used with object)

1.  to manage or influence skillfully.

2. to adapt or change to suit one’s purpose or advantage.

————-

I manipulate my kids, especially my youngest two.

Why do I do this evil thing? Most likely it’s because, like the definition says, it suits my purpose.

I get it sounds selfish, but truly, when I consciously attempt to manipulate my kids, it’s out of love. The unconscious manipulations? That’s a different post entirely. When I act from a conscious place though, I do it to suit my needs and theirs. An adaptation or change to suit our mutual purpose and advantage. Too theoretical? Let me give you an example.

Here’s a manipulation I pull on my youngest kiddos every day about 12:15 pm. It’s how I get my two year old twins to walk themselves up our steps to their room at nap time. [Read more…]

Is Attachment Parenting a Feminist Crutch? (My Response)

How we parent. It’s a hot topic, full of judgment as evident in the recent TIME Magazine cover article “Are You Mom Enough“. It would seem the media likes this thing called the mommy wars. The controversy sells magazines and books I suppose. But what does it do for us moms?

Below is my response to TIME and other’s in the media that wish to judge. How we are mom and WHAT is enough. Nobody gets to answer these questions for us. We, each of us, get to write our own mommy manual. And we don’t have to pick a camp when writing it.  (updated 05/10/2012)

Is attachment parenting a feminist crutch? This question was posed first by Martha in a blog post by the same name in which she reviewed an article written by Amanda Marcotte. 

When I read the post and then Amanda’s article, A French Feminist Fights the New Feminine Mystique, as a woman who values both female liberties and the philosophies on which attachment parenting is based, I felt compelled to take my thoughts further than the comment section below either would allow.

The following statement made by Amanda (and affirmed by Martha) caught my attention for the assumption it makes about attachment parenting:

I suppose it could be a coincidence that lengthy breast-feeding and attachment parenting that interferes heavily with maintaining a career came into style right as it became passé to pressure women to downplay their ambitions for the sake of men, but it just seems highly unlikely. One thing I do know is that the more conservative women of my acquaintance don’t feel the same pressure to breast-feed until their kids are talking or to keep their kids by their side at all times, even bedtime. It seems that if you live in social circles where it’s simply expected that you curtail your professional ambitions and do most of the domestic work so as to avoid emasculating your husband, the psychic need to create elaborate parenting theories to achieve the same result—woman at home, tied to the kitchen—simply vanishes.”

Where to begin? It must be said here that the reason women like Martha and Amanda are even talking about feminism and attachment parenting is because last week, the English version of French feminist Elisabeth Badinter’s book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women was released. And so it is that my comments are not only in response to these two book reviews, but to the questions the book itself calls into being.

Let’s start with one rather large false assumption made in the quote above by Amanda, affirmed by Martha and the book she was reviewing:  that Attachment Parenting (AP) is an elaborate parenting theory created to achieve the same result as the conservative movement — i.e. to hold a woman at home, tied to the kitchen.

Sorry. You lost me at hello.

By all accounts, I am an AP mama (though I resist the label for the division it creates) but the above quote about a woman tied, seemingly oppressed by the AP lifestyle? Well, it just doesn’t describe me, and I dare to say, many other AP mamas out there.

I love the philosophies on which attachment parenting is based. I’m a big time baby wearer. I teach baby massage. I’ve nursed all four of our kids, the second until age three. I am currently nursing our 27 month old twins (no, not as I’m typing this!!!) I love the freedom I’ve enjoyed to chose to work from home a few mornings a week OR NOT, depending on where I’ve been in life, in motherhood, etc. Our kids slept with us for the first few months in a cradle by our bed and then moved, each on their own time, into cribs in their own rooms. And though I love being home AND I love to cook… I am about as far away from the  stay-at-home mom type of my parent’s day as one could be. My husband and I share in parenting. We share in household chores. This is my way on the path of motherhood. It works for me and my family in this moment. It is not a right way or a wrong way. It simply is. And it stands in contrast to the false assumption made above.

Being an AP parent AND valuing female freedoms/rights are not mutually exclusive.

There is no one right answer to the working mom/SAHM battle or the which way is the best way to parent one either. Why do we insist on thinking this is a black and white issue? Hardly anything in this world truly is.

If you ask my husband on a bad day, he might tell you he WISHED I’d curtail my “professional ambitions and do most of the domestic work”, but that’s not what he signed up for when he married me and he knows it.

I’m just not down with the idea that AP infringes on my female rights. I celebrate the many freedoms I enjoy as a woman and a mother living in the present world. Could it improve? Yes. Is AP a step in the wrong direction for women’s lib? I don’t think so.

Amanda goes on to say:

No one should have expected the path to true domestic equality for women to be an easy one. The notion that being female means self-sacrifice and always putting someone else’s needs before your own isn’t going to be something we can shrug off in a generation after centuries of reinforcement.

Is she talking about motherhood here or PARENTHOOD?! I know my husband would say he’s also entitled to stand up and be counted when it comes to self-sacrifice and valuing the needs of our little people.

What parent does not experience a shift towards selflessness post bringing a child into the world?

I’m not suggesting in parenthood that we are to give until there is nothing left, but an inclination towards selflessness? Yes. This is not a crutch. It is actually one of the greatest things about being a parent. The intensely selfless sort of love that comes over you the moment you experience your child fully in your heart, be it in pregnancy… seconds after birth or days/months after they are born into this world. A self-less love for this little tiny being that can hardly even blink. This is one facet of the love of being a parent. There is nothing wrong with selfless love in and of itself. It is a gift to be held high.

But this I will give you. Self-love and self-less love are truly a delicate balance.

Balance. This is something I’ve wrestled with and have witnessed other mother’s struggle with as well. Working moms and stay at home moms. Neither one has the corner on balancing the self and the selflessness of parenting.

Within self-described AP parents and non-AP parents alike you are going to find moms AND dads that feel they’ve lost themselves after having kids. Or maybe they know who they are, but feel they lost their relationship with their partner as a result of the extra balls parenting added to the juggling act of life. This happens. But selflessness and balance are not AP issues, they are human ones, pulling for our attention in and outside of parenthood, men and women alike. One’s self need not vanish when parenting from a place that values connection and attachment.

I value introspection and for me, that’s the thing of value Amanda’s article  called forth from me (and I expect, the book she was reviewing though it is still next on my nightstand.) Not to be offended, but to look within.

For me, all the controversy has stirred up a few worthy questions. Why do we parent the way we parent? What drives us into different “camps”? What causes all the judgement and defensiveness? The mommy-wars?

If given the opportunity, I would invite the author and Badinter herself to explore the rights of women and the implications various parenting styles have in a different light. Instead of looking at AP parenting or ANY type of parenting as right or wrong, as women, let’s examine this:

There is a lot of guilt involved in parenting. In motherhood.

Yes. A lot of guilt. And not only because we judge each other, but because we judge ourselves, which I think hurts worst of all.

Motherhood is a dance unique to each of us, unique even unto itself as each of our children ask for different things of us. I know my four have. Coming at motherhood from an AP approach supports me. But just because I am pleased with how various attachment principles live for me and my family does not mean the practices I am choosing in motherhood are necessarily right or wrong FOR YOU. Isn’t freedom, truly the permission to follow our bliss both at home and in the workplace?

I am a woman passionate about her place in the world, both in and outside the home. This is not based on whether or not I work or what parenting camp I place myself (or am placed in) so much as if I am listening to spirit in my life. Am I tuning in and trusting the still small voice that lives within me to guide my thoughts and actions? Questions like how do I manage THIS situation with my kids?!! Do I take on more at my kids school or not? Do I help my husband with this project or not? Do I make time to write, to exercise, to see friends or not?

There is no book on parenting or motherhood in which we’ll find the “right” answers. I do not get to tell you how to mother and you do not get to tell me. We each get to ask, listen and follow. (Or not.) This is a freedom worth creating for and with one another. Sure we can share what is working for us and what’s not along the way… but in the end, it is for each of us to discern our way.

As women and mothers that stand in support of female liberties, let’s shift the discussion from, “Is AP a feminist crutch?” to “How am I led to mother… and do I experience freedom and support from the world around me in this?”

Whether you are a parent that adheres to attachment parenting principles or not, I think on this one piece of advice we can all agree.

Never be so selfless in parenting as to lose your self. May you find your way on the path of motherhood filled with freedom AND support.

——-

For more discussion on Badinter’s “The Conflict” visit PhDinParenting. Annie does a great job taking on the false assumption that parenting is a mother’s domain. She has a great list of links to other posts that flesh out the many false assumptions Badinter is putting out there (in this book AND others) which I’ve paste here as well:

Related Articles:

How to Lose the Mommy Guilt

How to Be Enough

How to Stop Should-ing on Yourself

Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting.

How To Love Your Demons

Invite Them to Lunch

 

I said to a friend the other day, “I’m having my demons over for lunch. Would you and yours care to join me?”

I figure if I’ve got them, demons I mean… and I do, I might as well get to know them better. My friend couldn’t make lunch that day, but it sparked a great conversation and ultimately led to this post.

All this focus on examining my demons started after a soul searching night spent listening to Paul Coutinho speak in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul is an incredible speaker, the author of How Big is Your God, Just As You Are… and lucky for me, spends half his time in his homeland of India and the other half teaching theology at St. Louis University.

What was the topic of his talk you ask? For me, it was all about l-o-v-e. Paul shared a number of compelling ideas, but the part of his talk that intrigued me the most was when he encouraged us to make friends with our demons.

On this night, I had an ah-ha moment. In his simple way, Paul’s words brought home to me the idea that we, each of us, are mystics NOT in our strengths… but in our weaknesses. [Read more…]

How Parenting Helps Me Grow

There is nothing like parenting to hold that mirror up to a grown person’s face (to my face, to your face…) and show us where we get to grow. Apparently I get to grow in patience and acceptance because these two keep showing up in my dang mirror. They were there yesterday, staring out at me. I recognized them right away.

My eight year old walked into the living room and saw it first. Instead of screaming at the horror she alone was witnessing (which, thinking back to being eight, could have been a fun thing to do) she ran to find me in the kitchen and broke it to me gently.

With big eyes and a shocked look on her face she said, “Mom, you are NOT going to like this.” She paused for dramatic effect. I froze and braced myself for impact.

“You are really going to freak out.”
[Read more…]

How to Set Powerful Resolutions this New Year

“Where love is, so is transformation.

…because love is transformation, moment to moment.”

-J. Krishnamurti

We are now well into the second week of 2012. How’s your New Year’s resolution going? If you’ve all but given up on resolutions, you are not alone. Zen Mommy talks about why most resolutions leave us feeling guilty and looks at the difference between “change” and “transformation” with Carol on Great Day St. Louis.

Maybe you set a New Year’s resolution and are still rocking it; eating better, exercising more, clearing out the clutter that has somehow successfully taken over most every nook and cranny of one’s car, home and office since it was reined in, January of last year.

Maybe you set a resolution for 2012 and have already broken it. If that is the case you now get to decide, is it worth reviving?

Or maybe you resist the idea of resolutions all together. You’ve watched them come and go in years gone by, each time largely failing to truly help you reshape an area of your life that you hoped to change, alter or in some way improve, and this year you’ve just chosen out.

If you are in any one of the three above categories, I invite you to join me in setting an empowering resolution for yourself and your life for 2012. What will make it powerful? One simple word. Love. Creating our resolutions from a place of self love and acceptance verse change, i.e. wanting to make something better, more or different (which is where most resolutions come from) makes all the difference in the world.

Let’s look a bit closer at how this works.

Setting Powerful  Resolutions in Four Steps:

1) Write down your resolution.

It can relate to any area of life or be specific to parenting:

EXAMPLES:

  • “I’m going to get more organized at home and/or work…”
  • “I’m going to start exercising more”
  • “I’m going to be more patient with my kids”

2) Now, take a moment and reread your resolution.

As you reread it, look for any negative beliefs you may hold that might be driving your resolution. What is behind your desire to change this area in your life? Many times, our desire for changes comes from an underlying feeling of not being enough.

EXAMPLES:

  • “I’m going to get more organized at home and/or work…” (I am so unorganized – life is out of control – there are not enough hours in the day)
  • “I’m going to start exercising more” (I am out of shape – I’m fat – I hate my body)
  • “I’m going to be more patient” (I am a bad mom – I wish I was more like so-and-so – I’ve probably permanently screwed-up my kids)

3) Next, write down and re-read the negative belief(s) behind your resolution.

Realize that any resolution born from guilt, pain or fear will most certainly set you on a course for failure, leading to more guilt for eventually breaking your resolution. This step is very important.

Before you go to “change” any area of your self or your life, spend some time with it as it is. Breathe and see if you can let go of the story you’ve made it mean… the drama… and just be with the facts of the story. (Ex: The fact behind the negative belief “I’m fat and ugly” could be “I am 20 pounds over weight) Breathe.

Sit a moment with things exactly as they are without judgment. Accept them. Accept yourself exactly as you are right now. See if you can hold love present even as you think about this area of your life exactly as it is.

From this place, where love is present, you can create your life, not just react to it. From this place, where love is present, so too is transformation. If you feel this shift to love, move to step four. If you have any difficulty here and want to move deeper in transforming the negative belief you hold, there are some wonderful tools for forgiveness on this site by Dr. Michael Ryce that will assist you including his forgiveness worksheet that I invite you to check out.

4) Begin again.

Think about your resolution in new words, declaring what you would like to create in any area of your life by completing this sentence:

“The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is _____________.

After going through this final step, the EXAMPLES from above might read instead like this:

  • “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is structure and order.”
  • “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is time for myself.
  • “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is peace.”

Make sure to write what you are creating, not what you want to avoid, like “to not yell, to not eat bad foods…” If you are still saying what you DON’T want — that is exactly what you are going to get.

Use positive, creative words. Write them down. Post your new resolution all around you on sticky notes to remind you of it throughout the day. Say your resolution to yourself each morning you wake up and every night before you go to bed. The possibility you hold for yourself and your new year WILL begin showing up in your life.

Happy New Year!!! May 2012 be filled with joy, self-love and acceptance for you and your family.

I hope you will share this exercise with your kids. What a BEAUTIFUL gift for we as parents to give our children.

Transformation.

——————

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and twins born in February of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri  where she practices as Certified Educator of  Infant Massage and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers parent coaching and is the co-creator of the Yoga Parenting approach to positive parenting.