Giving Thanks for These 5 Resources
On my favorite US holiday, I am taking a moment to reflect on the help I have received -- and continue to rely on -- as I do the work of parenting.
I am in a vastly different space nowadays. I remember, when my kids were really young, often waking up with a stomachache. I dreaded the struggles the day would bring; hours later, I went to bed feeling kinda bad about my performance.
Even as my children got older, I was usually more preoccupied with what they should be doing, rather than enjoying who they were.
I never dreamed that it would be the norm to feel relaxed and joyful! Yet, slowly but surely, as my P.E.T. skills improved, peace started to permeate our lives.
It took a while to get used to this new feeling of lightness. Upon waking, I would check in with myself: Wait, shouldn't I be worried about something?
With increasing frequency, the glorious, shocking answer would come back: No.
I am deeply indebted to the following people and resources -- I share them in the spirit of Thanksgiving!
1. Kathryn Tonges
After I took my P.E.T. certification course with Kathryn, I signed up for private coaching sessions. I wanted her guidance on some of my family's most entrenched problems.
With her finely honed Active Listening and Consulting skills, Kathryn helped me shed my high level of anxiety around certain issues to think more clearly, to speak compassionately and assertively and to move forward with grace.
Recently, parents in my course told me how grateful they are for the way I model connecting with a troubled child -- through tone of voice, words and body language. When I do these role plays, Kathryn is often there in my head. I thank her for being MY role model as I embrace my calling as an instructor.
2. Tara Brach
Psychologist and mindfulness teacher Tara offers dozens of free talks that opened up a different way of approaching myself and the world!
I felt less alone listening to her reflections on being kind to oneself and others; accepting, instead of fighting, life; and recognizing our common humanity.
There is something intimate about listening to her voice and silently applying her words to my experiences. Tara's stories and humor help drive home the point.
I started with a two part series from 2010 on self-forgiveness and forgiveness. Further growth happened during an online mindfulness course. (Keep tuned to her calendar for another one of these rare opportunities, or maybe decide to meet her somewhere else in the world.)
When we are furious with our children, Tara's wisdom can, I believe, help us to "align our actions with our heart" (Radical Acceptance, page 30). This hardest of challenges is so important for our relationships with our little ones who, more than anything, just want to be close to us.
3. Daniel Siegel
I'm on my fifth book by psychiatrist, neuroscientist and director of the Mindsight Institute Dan Siegel. It was his line in Parenting from the Inside Out that made me exclaim out loud, "Why didn't I know this before?"
That seemed like the key to everything that had made the previous nine years so hard. And thus began a gentle investigation into my own history which has made all the difference.
4. Emotional Freedom Technique/Matrix Reimprinting
When I first heard of these therapies, I felt skeptical (I am such a straight arrow). Caroline Rhodes, a longtime and compassionate practitioner, admits it herself: "Tapping looks weird!"
But, oh boy, two sessions with her helped me start healing deeply by connecting with my inner child. After that, the triggers in me were less intense, my buttons less trippy.
That felt GOOD!
Tapping (or Emotional Freedom Technique) is a powerful way to Active Listen because, as you are acknowledging the negative feelings, you are tapping on acupressure points to more efficiently release the emotions.
I was hooked and signed up for a course in EFT; I've since passed the certification test and have an upcoming training in Matrix Reimprinting. I am lucky Hong Kong offers such resources.
I now use EFT on a daily basis with my family for sibling tension, not wanting to go to piano, exam stress, friendship ups and downs -- you name it! It's a huge skill to share with kids; Dr. Laura Markham of Aha Parenting thinks so too!
5. Thomas Gordon
I use my hero's brilliant Behavior Window ALL THE TIME and it never fails to help bring sanity to this messy thing called life. (Read my post outlining the impact P.E.T. has had on our lives and why I am so grateful for it.)
Dr. Gordon's book Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children is the most marked up, dog-eared text I've ever owned. If you don't have a copy, well, the holidays ARE approaching.
Today is a very special Thanksgiving because we have my mother visiting as well as my oldest friend from college, her husband and their three daughters. With my supportive and loving husband and two of my children surrounding me too (sending love to Harrison who is representing school in a Beijing basketball tournament!), I feel blessed beyond belief.
Credits: Thanksgiving visual (http://www.lakearrowheadresort.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/thanksgiving.jpg)