Join Indrani for a meditation to help prepare you for the new year. This meditation will help you get grounded, then send peace and compassion to yourself. Once you are feeling at ease, you can then send the same peace and compassion to others.
I spoke to a social worker when I was in Trinidad in October, and I heard about a child who was brought to her office by her guardian with a bag of clothing. The guardian is the legal guardian and a very close family member. The social worker was told that the child was stealing food. The child was a very young teenager and was emaciated and clearly hungry. There was no place for the child to go so the child was sent back to the house with the guardian.
A few weeks later, the whole scene repeated itself. The social worker again sent the child back.
This story really left me feeling helpless.
Often times I am talking about past abuses and guiding the teller of the abuse story through the pain, and into a deeper understanding of their present power instead of a powerless past.
This was so very different.
This is clear and present danger and pain that was being experienced by a young person that I could meet. I could make a significant difference here. Yet, I choose to keep working at the global level and to use my time and energy to try to make changes at a different level.
I will reach out to that social worker to see how I can contribute to the care and feeding of that child, but I must do this from a safe distance. If I get too personally involved I stand the chance of derailing my whole path because I will get way too deep in the problem, and can potentially make the situation very much worse. This is very hard to accept.
Unless I am willing to step in to legally adopt this young teenager in a different country and devote my life to her future, I can only help in different ways.
When we face situations like this in life, we can only really do what we can do. If we need to work from a safe distance, that is the decision we must make.
If we can do something deeper and significantly contribute to the situation we can choose that path. The option is NEVER to beat yourself up about what we “could” have done or “should” have done. To be this centered in difficult decisions like this we must practice this centeredness in other less difficult aspects of life.
Luckily for us, life gives us many opportunities to practice centeredness …. from ordering from a menu, to choosing an internet provider, to dealing with the technical advisor of said internet provider who has such a thick accent, we just want to bang our heads with the device we are trying to trouble shoot. You get the picture.
Look around you and attempt to deal with the next small irritant with a deeper level of groundedness and presence.
Maybe it requires you to use your ears more than your mouth. Maybe you get to use your mouth but in the complete opposite way, like whispering instead of yelling, or smiling in the face of the instigator instead of scowling, pouting. Maybe you decide to use your feet and leave a hostile situation instead of staying and begging the others to please, please, please see it your way.
Only you can decide what to do.
Expect to make mistakes and expect pushback. Pushback is really good because it tells you that you are making waves in the status quo. If you want to quick start this practice, look at the status quo of your life and see what you would like to change then start there.
In my case, the status quo of my life was that of a “stay at home mom,” very little travel and a very confined, albeit very comfortable, world. These days, my status quo is a far cry from yesteryear.
Take a breath.
Make a small change.
Love and light,
My inner dialogue would be so mean and hateful towards myself that nothing anyone else could say would even come close to the sting I could give to me.
I have been working on this, slowly and deliberately. It has been a journey.
One never really knows how one will do on a test until the test is over.
I had one such test a few weeks ago while pulling out of a tight parking spot from a Bed and Breakfast.
I had a rental car that was very low to the ground and I was trying to get out of a tight parking space.
I scratched the rental car and I did not beat up myself.
I heard the S. C. R. A. T. C. H.
And thought, “Oh no … that’s not a good sound!”
I did NOT think, “There you go you idiot, can’t drive to save your life!”
I pulled the car to a safe place and got out to take a look.
Yep, I did a good job.
It would be a claim for sure.
I filled the car with gas before I returned it, and I called the insurance company to start the claim process.
I kept a clear head, got all the details and was able to procure all the paperwork needed from the car rental company.
I got on my flight and took a nap.
Yep… I was able to take a nap!
I was so calm and so peaceful with myself that I was able to PUT OUT of my mind all that the morning brought.
This skill, of staying present, has been hard fought.
I used to really beat myself up if I made a mistake.
I was so hard on myself that I made myself sick.
I encourage you to listen to your self talk as you go through life and begin to clean it up and give yourself a break.
Love and light,
I was speaking to a very dear friend the other day.
She said that she had 6 beautiful bowls that someone had given to her a long time ago.
The other day she noticed that there were only 3 and she realized that some of them were broken.
She felt happy that she had 3 left.
She began to tell her young daughter who had been helping with her dishes.
She turned away to do something and heard the awful sound…
She froze and realized that something had broken.
She did not know what it was. She turned to the sink full of dishes and saw her sweet daughter, shaking and fearful and she heard these words, “Sorry mom it was an accident, I did not mean it. Sorry mom.”
My dear friend said, “Now there are two.”
And then she smiled.
The worry on the daughter melted away and the mom showed her child how easy it was to show compassion and to to teach her child that mistakes can and will happen.
As my friend was telling me this story I saw the realization on her face that her child had been shaking because she fully expected to be yelled and screamed at.
My friend knew that she had been a teller and she had parented with anger in the past.
She also knew that she had been intentional in the way she had been parenting the past few years and that she had significantly changed the energy in the family.
She had been able to forge a deeper connection with her son and she had been showing her daughter what unconditional love really is.
Here, at this moment, it meant that she loved her daughter MORE than she ever could love those dishes.
She chose to NOT break her child.
She chose to parent with understanding and respect.
I have known this woman for a long time. I know how hard this woman has worked to get to a place of peace and tranquility.
I applaud her willingness to change the way she used to parent and to seek new ways and to know that she was doing the best for her kids.
Most people say, “My parents did it this way and I turned out ok.”
My view is why just settle for OK when we can be wiser and better than OK?
Let us thrive as parents and constantly better ourselves so we can raise a brighter generation. One that will know more than we will ever know and will be in charge of the welfare of our grandchildren.
Love & light,
If you are a teacher, you must check out our good friend Tanya Kelley, Ally to Teachers Who Are Burning Out.
Today we are sharing one of Tanya’s posts, called Ending Well, which is a great read for teachers of all kinds. Tanya also offers a free group coaching call called I’m SOOO DONE with that child! Click here to learn more or to sign up.
Happy End of Year to all of our teacher friends! And happy reading!
Cheers to you! As you take down the artwork and fancy writing assignments. Cheers to you! They’ve come so far since that first day you met them. Cheers to you — the year is over! And the 2014 / 2015 class picture takes its place with the others. Whew!
Maybe you’ll see them next year, but it won’t be the same. You’ll have a new class. They’ll have a new teacher. There are some students you hate to see go. But frankly, when it comes to others, you think, “thank heavens I will not have to deal with that child next year!” And in the same breath, the talk among your grade level team is thick with speculation about who is going to get the problem students next year.
Ending well is a process of letting go of the worst of times and the best of times and preparing to embrace a new class. It is also an opportunity to deepen personal and professional wisdom. If you’re willing to go there, it means taking a moment to linger with the memories and spirit of your problem child before moving on. If you decide to do so, above all, be gentle with yourself.
We’ve all had students who get under our skin. We breathe a sign of relief and the shoulders visibly let down when they are absent. We’re exhausted by the turmoil, conflict, strife, and high level of demand they bring to the classroom. We don’t want to feel that way. We maintain our best professional demeanor. But inside, we rail. We rant. “Why does it have to be such a struggle, every day? It’s so unfair!”
Consider a rant-o-rama. Basically a rant fest. Grab some paper and something to write with. Set a timer for 2 – 4 minutes. Rant about this problem child. Use your ugliest handwriting, caps, underlines, exclamation points, and emoticons. Stamp your foot if you want. Have a little tizzy fit now that the pressure is off. Or score your place in Monday’s “The Year’s Over and I’m SOOO Done” call at 10:00! Click here.
Later, when you have some time to quietly and calmly reflect, set aside 5 to 10 minutes. Approach this reflective time with a spirit of curious inquiry.
How is it that this child had such an ability to rile me up? What do I wish she could have been or done instead? Besides this child, what other people or situations bring up these same responses for me?
If you sense another rant-o-rama coming on, consider whether it would be beneficial to go back to that step, or it it would be best for you to return to a calm, reflective place of curious inquiry right now. Or, you might decide that now is not a good time to reflect. Remember to be gentle with yourself!
You may think, “Why even go there? The year is over. I never have to deal with her again. It’s not worth my time and energy.”
Here are 2 reasons why you might want to go there:
- Because there will be a next time! The universe has a sense of humor, that’s for sure. You’ll get another chance to deal with a similar personality or set of circumstances. Wouldn’t it be nice if the cray-cray is a little less intense next time?
- Because going there give you a chance to know and do differently next time. A small shift can make a difference.
Find the smallest thing that you can to admire, appreciate, or like about your mighty little tyrant. Mixed emotions are welcomed:
“Well, she did have this outrageous spunk — totally out of line in the classroom, the little brat — but she would be fabulous as my defense attorney, if I ever needed one!”
“Dang, if he wasn’t stubborn! Once he made a decision, he followed it through — too bad he missed out on what I could have taught him this year — but man, was he committed!”
And finally, allow yourself a touch of what you’re admiring, appreciating, or liking about the child. In your own adult, grown up, wise and beneficial way, bring some of the child’s spirit into your world. Because maybe what she was trying to show you all along was that a little outrageous spunk every once in a while is not such a bad thing.
Written by Tanya Kelley.
In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani and Brené Brown discuss:
- Shame and shame resilience
- the difference between empathy and compassion
- why relieving suffering can protect you
- why it is important to model a healthy life to your children
- why incongruent living is so exhausting
- the link between expectations and shame
- and so much more…
You can learn more about Brene Brown at www.brenebrown.com
What would you do?
How would you react?
Visit the following link to read the entire story and let us know what you would do in the comments below if you found yourself in this awful situation.
Love & light,
Many people “give up” something for lent. Many stop eating sweets or stop drinking or some other behavior modification.
Few people give up “being nasty” to others.
That maybe be too harsh a thing to say, but it needs to be said.
I recently met a woman whose son was getting married and she “asked” to go to the bridal dress shopping expedition. The future daughter in law was nice enough to take her along. When the bride found the perfect dress, she asked the mother in law what she thought and the response was… “It’s not to my liking.”
The bride went ballistic and shouted at the mother in law that it was NOT her wedding.
As I was listening to this story, I wondered why the mother in law was not giving up something other than sweets for lent.
She was so ferociously attacking the bride-to-be and calling her names to whom ever was listening, like “hoochie” that it was very hard to be sympathetic to her hurt feelings.
Personally, I know what the bride felt like. When I was getting married, none of the saris that I wanted were “good enough” for my future in laws.
Luckily, I was quite stubborn, and with the help of my future husband I got exactly what I wanted.
Parenting is hard at all ages and when kids are grown up enough to start their own families we all get to enter a new stage of parenting. This time we get to try to be nurturing to complete strangers whom our children have chosen.
We have to give up judgments of what they should or should not do.
We have to help the young people to sort through their own lives.
This is the only way forward into a new stage of non aggression with the new family member.
I wished this women would give up bad mouthing her future daughter-in-law for lent instead of cookies and candies.
I believe that I suggested she give up negative thinking instead of sweets and she said that it would be too difficult.
Is that not the idea for lent? To make a sacrifice that smarts a little?
So what have you given up for lent? Let us know in the comment section below.
Make the sacrifice count. Make the sacrifice make you a better person.
Love and light,
2. See step #1
Check out this article from The Washington Post about things that are being done around the globe to cure this pandemic that women everywhere face.
Recently, I had the great fortune to be in Trinidad with my only brother, his lovely wife and our childhood friend, Ray.
We were all headed to the store to purchase a 60th birthday gift for another friend.
My brother was riding in the passenger seat up front while Ray drove and in the midst of recanting an old and funny story, he said very casually,
“Hey brother, what’s that red light on your dash?”
Ray, quite nonchalantly said, “Doh worry ’bout dat man, I put a piece of black tape over it, I don’t want to know what it is.”
And in typical Ray style, he started to laugh.
My sister in law, sitting next to me in the back then says, “So why is there tape over the locks in the back?”
Ray says, “Oh the locks are broken and I just don’t want people messing with them.”
We all start howling with laughter and start teasing Ray about his ability to block out the everyday annoyances of life.
I immediately say, “You know that I am going to have to write a blog about this, right?”
The thing about using black tape to cover up warning lights and broken bits of a machine made me think of the hoops we jump through to hide our shameful abuse from others.
Women will use any amount of makeup to try to hide the black eye.
Teenagers will lie to their friends and wear long sleeves to try and hide the cutting they started as a result of the incest they are suffering in their homes.
Young children know that they dare not tell about the knock down drag outs that their parents engage in and they instead begin to create a fairy tale family that they trot out to mask their pain.
Recently, during a Train the Trainer, one of the participants told the group that he never knew his parents because the state had taken him away due to abuse. He then explained that he made up a fairy tale of benevolent parents and used to tell fairy tale stories about the imagined family.
We use black tape in our everyday lives so effectively that we often forget the tape is there.
We begin to see the tape as the reality and we fight for the right to deny the reality of our pain.
What parts of your life have you taped over?
What is the tape hiding?
What would happen if you pulled the tape off and allowed yourself to face the truth?
I pull the tape off my own bruises every time I tell an audience that my abuse began in my childhood. When I am honest with my listeners and when they are able to receive the truth of what I am saying, they witness the absence of black tape.
I let them see my scars.
I let them in on my pain.
As a result of my being vulnerable, they give themselves permission to do the same.
Will you remove some black tape from your life today?
I give you permission to look at your truth.
Love and light,