Aloha! It’s been a while since the last blog post, and even though I wanted to post this much earlier, it took me some time to form my thoughts. So, I’m more excited for this one than usual.
After you’ve read this blog and watched the video that I’m going to introduce to you, I hope you would get peace of mind or feel lighter, especially those who hope to find peace in parent-child relationship and be freed from suffering or struggling. If you’re the one, ever since I’ve started my service Healing Readings with Nalikolehua, I’ve been looking for any way possible in which I can assist you because I was the one once. So, I’m glad that today I have something for you.
It’s a video on parenting, and its title is Conscious Parenting: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children. The speaker Dr. Shefali is a clinical psychologist, an international speaker, and the author of the New York Times bestseller ‘The Conscious Parent.’ So, I would not be surprised if you may have heard of her, but I had not until recently and wished I’d known her earlier.
Her talk is full of deep insights into human relationships, which is relevant to all of us even if you, like me, are not a parent. Dr. Shefali’s words are so powerful and convincing that I strongly recommend watching the video. Her speech lasts 40 minutes, followed by Q&A for 30 minutes. I’ve already watched it for a few times, but I’m sure that I’ll feel like watching it again.
I had been having a tough time with my mother but have managed to go through it only by a great effort. After I’ve watched the video, it’s become much clearer that what was happening during the tough time and how I’ve done it.
I am the youngest daughter of three daughters in my family and have never had a doubt in my mind about my mother’s affections toward me. Yet, I remember struggling to communicate with her, and to understand and accept her. She often infuriated me and hurt me badly with her words, which were sharper than knives. I knew I was just one of the many who have such scars, yet I couldn’t help but wondering why (and how) my own mother could be the most terrifying person in my life.
I then thought about my mother as a daughter of my grandma. I tried to understand how my mom grew up. My grandma was an independent, strong woman, but also, she’s self-centered, moody and looked childish even for granddaughters. It wasn’t difficult for me to imagine that she was unable to or didn’t want to get any help from her mother or anybody else when she raised my mom alone.
It was then obvious that that have had an effect on my mom and her parenting skills. It’s not her fault or anyone’s. Once I reached this sort of conclusion, I could begin to understand her.
Nevertheless, one question had remained in my mind.
Everyone in the family including my mom knew that my grandma loved my mom very much, just as my mom loves me. Love was and is always there between my grandma and my mom, and my mom and me. If so, what’s missing in my grand’s and mom’s parenting?
I’ve found the answer in the video. Dr. Shefali claims to have had similar questions early in her career and pursued the matter: “I thought love was good enough. Love was the essential ingredient. … I discovered that love isn’t the only or essential ingredient. There’s something else. … What is that? That is the level of consciousness of the parents. What does consciousness really mean? It means the level of internal integration, the ability to know our shadow as we all have one. … The shadow is the place, is the house of all the unintegrated feelings from childhood. It houses those emotions that were inarticulate and unprocessed. … Because we don’t know how to handle pains, and because pain is so scary to us, because it is after all painful, and because it does after all break us open, we’re so terrified of looking within that we raise our children to escape from pain as well. … Until unless we are willing to face the pain from our past and allow our children to experience normal feelings, painful feelings sometimes and learn tolerance of these feelings, they will be encrusted with those feelings in a rigidified shadow. And, the shadow creates so-called an ego. … The ego means a false sense of self.”
It all makes sense to me, especially, that the ego, a false sense of self, comes as a result of the escape—to avoid pain and to look inside.
Looking back my life, I wasn’t obedient to my mom at all; I got up against her ego badly. Now it’s no wonder that she kept fighting against me because it was against her past pain after all, not me. And, I had to pay the price for the pain that I created in me by being against my mother.
When I started yoga ten years ago, my body was hopelessly tight. It should be no surprise because holding pains within cause tensions in your body. My back, lower back, hip joints, and thighs, I felt the tension everywhere; I couldn’t even feel some body parts such as the area around sacrum and shoulder blades because they were too hard. My chest also was too closed to open up; I remember that my collarbone had been hidden beneath the surface, although I had been as thin as I am now, and after three months I noticed the skeletal change; my collarbone emerged. As my chest was opening, I started feeling calm and lighter, and that’s how I realized the oneness of body and mind. (Of course, I am still on the long way to release all the tensions from my body, and it is fun to observe the change happening in my body.)
Also, I thought it was my lack of self-confidence that I had a false sense of self. But, according to Dr. Shefali, technically, it’s a lack of self-worth in the core of your spirit.
Do you agree? Do you have high enough sense of self-worth? How can we develop a feeling of self-worth and take back a true sense of self?
I believe there’s no real coincidence; things happen not by accident but by design. We’re here to serve something for good and have our own mission, and that’s unlikely to be a mission impossible as long as we accept a help from others.
After I’ve listened to Dr. Shefali’s talk, I’ve reconfirmed that, essentially, every single situation we encounter in life is connected to the mission. That’s how it is. As she suggests, if we encounter life as if it’s happening for us, not to us, we can keep growing, increasing a sense of worthiness, and releasing your sense of victimhood.
This is what I’ve experienced: even after I had sympathy for my mother, I had been disturbed and tired of getting upset by her attitudes; I started asking myself why her attitudes or words agitated me. That’s how I realized that, even I was in my early 30s, I had expected affirmative responses from her towards my attitudes (and, I didn’t get it). I just stopped expecting it but started being positive about myself.
There’s actually no need to look for affirmative responses externally once you have it internally; I could slowly start regaining self-worth and releasing my sense of victimhood, and finally I’ve accepted my mother—as she is.
I started feeling lighter and lighter, and to my surprise, my mom immediately sensed the change in me (and her attitudes changed,) and now she looks happier than before. My life has certainly entered a new phase, and that’s because, I believe, I’ve experienced that answers are within me; the direction of my attention has changed from outward to inward.
(Dr. Shefali even advises parents that after children became 8 or 9 years old, parents can tell children that they should not come to parents to see courage but they need to seek it elsewhere, and parents will approve it, which leads children to look within for answers and stop idealising their parents.)
In her words, we’re missing calls, we’re missing invitations—towards knowing about our shadows and internal integration: the integration of our shadows into light. If we don’t miss them but face the shadows, we can re-enter into the worthiness.
So, don’t miss the calls and invitations! Let’s regain a sense of self-worth and enjoy living life as we are.
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