It’s been exactly a year since my last post. So much has happened during this time, including my father passing away on August 19th last year, marking the end of an era. His passing, and the aftermath of that, feels like the birthing into being of who I really am, and how I want to be in this world. Continue reading →
There was a time, not so long ago, when my daughter (currently 8 years old) did not like to talk about uncomfortable feelings like sadness, fear, and especially shame. She didn’t like talking about her own feelings or other people’s. Whenever I mentioned feeling words or started to guess people’s feelings, she would ask me to stop and sometimes even run away, particularly if it was about her feelings.
Then, the other night, something happened and I expressed some frustration that wasn’t aimed at her and she started blaming herself. I asked her not to take it on, told her it was my responsibility too and that there was no need for her to blame herself. She turned to me and said:
Our inner critic is loud and bossy. Have you ever stopped to listen to it?
“What did I do that for? I’m such an idiot!”
“I’m so fat!”
“I’ll never make anything of my life!”
“Why does this always happen to me?”
“I’ll never get this right!”
This inner critical voice has been with us since very early in our lives. It’s our most consistent companion. Maybe you’ve tried to change it with positive affirmation statements or to silence it through meditation, but it’s very hard to fool yourself or to shut this voice down and despite all your efforts, the inner critic is loud and clear and bossy as ever: “Yeah right! As if!” So you check to see if it’s 5pm yet: “Surely it’s time for my evening glass of wine!” or you reach for some chocolate or cake or some other comfort food and get lost in Facebook for a while. It’s much easier to numb.
What if you really started listening to this voice and what it has to say? What if you put on a different set of ears and listen through the negativity and criticism to what is really being expressed? Continue reading →
Saturday night. Both kids went on a sleepover. We had the night to ourselves. This is good practice for when we become empty nesters, I thought. We decided to have a bath and started to talk about a novel that we’d both been listening to. Somehow the conversation turned to the kids and his concern about the kids having a life of too much play and not enough structure.
Many times I heard criticism. Many times, I heard messages of “You’re not …. enough” “You’re too….”. That isn’t what he said, but with a strong inner critic who is quick to hear blame and criticism that is what I heard. This time, I took a breath and I remembered.
“She ignored me!”, “He’s being selfish!”, “I’m not good enough”, etc. Our peanut brain has a thought and this triggers a feeling. At this point we have a choice…. to feed the feeling (fan the fire) with further thoughts or recognise, allow, accept and empathise. Continue reading →
I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about my core values, and trying to get a clearer vision of my life and how to really live in alignment with my values. I’m realising, it’s a moment to moment thing – in each moment, when the awareness is there, I can think: “is this what I want? is this the kind of world I want to live in?”.
This week has given me lots of opportunities to ponder this. My daughter broke her arm on Sunday when a branch she was climbing on broke. There were three other children present when she fell and two of the kids ran off after she fell. Continue reading →
Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action.
I like this article’s explanation of the difference between empathy and compassion – it’s something I’ve been puzzling over for a while. It now makes more sense to me why Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is also called Compassionate Communication. Continue reading →
Last Monday morning, I woke up after a restless night feeling rather anxious. I could feel almost a flat board through my middle. It was a very strong sensation. I knew I needed to get up soon and start getting ready for work so I didn’t have a lot of time to unpack it and work out what was going on. I decided to try Focusing (“a body-oriented process of self-awareness and emotional healing”), so I focused on the sensation and just said “hello” to it. To my surprise, it eased almost instantly. It didn’t completely go away but it eased to a more bearable level.
A couple of days later, I was late picking up my daughter from her first gymnastics class. She told me that she was really frightened and just about to cry when I arrived. She had heard a beeping sound and thought it was an emergency siren and that something had happened to me (a couple of weeks earlier, she had witnessed a man die after he dove off a rock into a pool and then all the emergency vehicles and CPR etc. so there is probably some residual trauma from that experience). Continue reading →