***This is a guest post written by Shannon Wasie***
We feel it deep. A craving, a desperate need for peace. Peace.
The violence, hatred, political, ecological and humanitarian distress in our world can be tremendously heavy.
And then, we read the studies and our intuition confirms: the peace we crave begins at home.
The violence of abusive parenting breeds violence in the hearts and bodies of the next generation. And what’s more, it seems the innate rejection experienced under hyper-critical, shame-based parenting does the same.
We need peace. Wild peace. Wholeness. Healing.
We need peaceful homes.
How, when the ten thousand demands on us are pulling us to shreds?
When our finances are in disarray, and our children are driving us mad?
When our relationships with our partners are full of conflict and pain?
How can we possibly find peace?
The thing is, it isn’t actually a thing to find.
It’s a thing to be. A way to be.
Peace is presence.
As simple (and as difficult) as waking up to the Present Moment, right now.
Being present, it turns out, is how we find and actually become that peace.
That’s the magic key. And it really, really is magic. I promise.
When the stresses and dishes are piled high, and we just want to scream or run away or burn the house down, we have this magic key in our hands.
Just take a breath, and notice you’re breathing it.
That’s it. Notice.
Don’t judge it or wish it away. Just allow it, and breathe it, and accept it exactly as it is.
Stop rejecting, refusing, speeding past, fearing, or denying the Present Moment.
This is the tangible essence of peace.
It’s the only real way to ever end war… the wars of nations, and the wars of our smaller lives at home.
And this Presence is the magic key to a peaceful home… a home full of acceptance, attention, and space to breathe.
So if it’s so simple, why is it so dang hard?
Let’s talk about three big ways that we keep up the war of chaos, and lock ourselves out of that peaceful home.
#1 “Just-Get-Through-This-Season” Thinking.
It’s everywhere. Especially for parents of very young children.
“It’s just the Little Years. They won’t last forever.”
“It gets easier as they get older.”
“One day, they’ll be able to feed/bathe/wipe/entertain/take responsibility for themselves, and then I’ll get a break.”
“We just have to get through this season!”
You’ve heard them or said them yourself, countless times.
And they’re true, at face value.
It’s true that these years won’t last forever.
One day, you will be finished wiping bottoms and dressing tiny bodies.
But encouraging ourselves to “just get through” the Present Moment is not the way to find the peace we so desperately need in it.
Why? Because it sets us up as a victim of the Present Moment, rather than an aware, conscious Participant in it. Victimhood is not an empowered place, nor a peaceful one.
Take back your power and find your peace by sinking deep into this season RIGHT NOW. Exactly as it is. You don’t have to find magical feelings of happiness about it. You don’t have to try to trick yourself into feeling happy by thinking about how sad you’ll be when it’s gone.
Instead, just breathe. Look around at the mess. Hear the constant noise, the clanging cabinet doors, dropped kitchen pans, songs, screams, endless stories and requests for help. Breathe all of it right into your ears, your eyes, your very pores, and just notice that it’s there.
You can even notice all the crazy feelings* you might feel rising up about it.
But just notice them. Don’t judge them, try to make them go away, and don’t take them as seriously as they want you to, either.
This is your only moment with them. You don’t have the past, or the future moments. Don’t just get through this moment; Be in it.
(*A note on those crazy feelings: It helps me to remember that science has taught us that emotions, no matter how intense they may be, only last in our bodies for 90 seconds if we let them just happen, and pass through, without attaching a story that extends them. The craziness outside, in your home, won’t last forever, and neither will the craziness inside.)
#2 Low- Self Esteem Parenting
I think many of us have either come naturally or made the switch to understanding and believing in the inherent goodness of children. It’s truly an enlightenment which liberates us from the debilitating and tragic view of children as inferior, or bent toward badness and in need of harsh training.
For some of us though, this shift has left us a bit stuck in low-self-esteem parenting: We feel so heavy beneath the weight of our own triggers and upbringing, and we haven’t internalized this inherent goodness enough to apply it to ourselves.
So we find ourselves trying to lead our children when we’re shackled by the fear of our own immaturities and wounds, afraid of damaging their goodness, impairing their ability to go forward into life as nature intended.
No good, right?
It puts us unconsciously beneath and separated from our children. We feel as though we are just trying not to screw up too badly, but we are ultimately robbed of our comfortable, natural authority to lead benevolently. We can FEEL it. The clashing, striving and pendulum swinging of trying to lead a day… without authority. Without the safety and confidence to lead confidently.
How can this yield anything but chaos?
Our wonderfully trustworthy, innate parenting instincts and our peace are twisted up in knots of fear. We’re too preoccupied with the discomfort and instability we feel to come anywhere NEAR the Present Moment. And our children are without the trustworthy, confident leaders they so naturally look for, which plummets them into behaviors of insecurity, testing, and results in what we generally refer to as mayhem at best, and at worst… all out WAR. 🙂
So what can we do?
Get honest about what we need to heal, support, and grow the areas in us that still need love and maturity. Self-care is a buzz word in parenting circles these days, but it is truly a foundational element of good parenting. Own our shortcomings and wounds. Own our needs and ask for the help to meet them.
And find somewhere, something, that makes you actually feel the truth: Something that fills your body with the feeling that you are good, capable, awesome. And then build that activity into your life as often as you can. Train your body by habit to access that desired state of mind, and state of self-esteem.
The hardest work of parenting is our own inner work.
Doing that work is deeply respectable, deeply worthy of esteem. So love yourself in it! And practice seeing yourself with profound gratitude for the immense effort and growth you are doing.
For this one, I owe everything to the brilliance and wisdom of Scott Noelle, parenting coach and life-saving writer behind The Daily Groove emails. He recently published a discussion about re-examining our “Have-to” beliefs in parenting (i.e. kids ‘have to” brush their teeth 2x/ day) and it radically challenged my world.
There are many, and they are different for each of us, but the beliefs we hold around what we, and our children, “Have to” do are one giant monster keeping us away from peace.
So when a “Have to” belief comes up, like But she HAS TO brush her hair or it will turn into a knotted mess! and you find yourself clamouring for control or coercion, take a pause.
Examine why you believe it’s a Have-to, and if, in fact, it really is.
There are, as Scott wisely points out, very few real have-to’s in life.
And our belief in the false ones immediately sucks us out of the Present Moment and into worst-case scenario fears, or unconscious power-plays, just barrelling through to move our children to a certain outcome, at great cost to their trust, our relationship, and our PEACE.
In the midst of so much chaos, on personal levels as well as global, there are few things more important than Peace.
So whether you’re feeling the angst of little hands constantly tugging on your shirt, or the anxiety of another horrific news report on the television, remember that you hold a powerful key in your hand already:
The key of your presence.
Be here, all here, right now, and watch the chaos begin, ever so slowly, to bloom into beautiful peace.
Shannon Wasie is a writer, wild mama of two, lover of her husband and the transforming sacredness of life. She is passionate about helping women and families reconnect with their soul instincts right from the start, and works as a Certified Childbirth Educator and Lactation Counselor. You can find her at her blog, www.loveisnotareward.com, and on Instagram at @shannonwasie.
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