Driving my sons to school, I heard the argument from the back seat: “I had this yesterday!” I quickly turned my head; Patrick and Gavin were fighting over one of the two junior rancher patched they received from the Petrified Forest during one of our trips there a month ago. I took it away, mentioned that there is another one in the house. Now, the argument became which one belongs to who…
I stopped the bickering, and asked: “How long have you both had the patches?”
So, I asked: “Imagine that in our house, each of us only have a pillow and a blanket to sleep with, what you think you will fight over?”
The 5 minutes drive was over. I stopped the car, turned my head around; my eyes were met by two pairs of eyes full of gentleness and thoughtfulness, and I could almost hear the gears turning. As they stepped out, Patrick leaned over and kissed my cheek which he has never done before.
As I am driving back home, I wondered whether I was being reasonable to expect them to understand the paradox of ambition and gratitude. I want my kids to grow up with the ambitions to create and to achieve what they want and what can be, and the gratitude to appreciate what is. However, in their black and white way of thinking, today’s little ‘lessen” might very well be interpreted as “Things are evil and I do not want things”. I am wondering if there is a better way to convey the messages to young kids that it is absolutely essential to ask for a better life as being defined by social standards and by our own imaginations; but equally important is the gratitude and grace of receiving what we are giving at this moment. But for now, I will leave it to the belief that kids can understand much more than we think they can.
I wanted so much for my kids to have the depth and capacity to see things from various perspectives, from higher perspectives. For me, that is a simple of way of living in peace and power through life’s ups and downs. However, I must first be willing to pursue the same depth and capacity in my own life. I am very lucky that I have the two most fabulous teachers of all, my kids.
I had a panic attack over the weekend. I suddenly felt I was as light as a puff of thin air that will be blew away in an instant. There was nothing in me. I was in a dark prison! I had this feeling that I was cornered into a dark place that any hope of seeing the light was impossible.
Tears streamed down my cheek as I was trying to sort through what’s going on. The other side of the coin of nothing is everything and all things. The thoughts and feelings were so overwhelming that all I could feel was nothing!
As I was able to re-center myself, I saw myself sitting in a stingy prison telling my children, who stood outside, to run away as far as they can from this dark prison. To my horror, they did not move an inch! They were clinging to their mother’s hands through the jail bars. As I begged them, threatened them to leave, a deep sorrow wrapped around me like tentacles, I could hardly breath. Oh, the despair! Only if I could hold their hands and take them away from this place, but I could not because I was not free!
My panic attack was originated from a mother’s despair worrying over her children!
The prison that traps me in a place I do not want to be is made from my own fearful judgments, scarcity way of thinking, and unproductive beliefs. I could almost hear the cold bitter sound when the bars were staked in years back. I have worked hard over the years breaking free, but that night, I was caught and jailed again.
I have tasted what total personal freedom feels like: the ecstatic sense of self, the personal purpose and power, the expansive possibilities and faith… I want so much for my children to have such personal freedom naturally without having to constantly struggle to obtain. But that evening, I felt I can not give them the freedom they so deserve because I can not give them what I do not have and I can not show them the way because I can not break free.
I was lucky that I had the support I needed then, I was able to see my own drama in full swing, and I was able to use my years of mindfulness practice to get out of it.
However, I have given this incident a long thought afterwards. As a parent, we only want the best for our children. Ironically, we often want our children to have what we don’t have.
For example, we tell our kids they can be anyone they want to be, but deep down inside, we do not believe we can be anyone we want to be. We tell our kids to be courageous and confident, but deep down, we are fearful and worrisome. We tell our kids to think for themselves and to speak their own mind, but deep down, we think automatically and speak what others expect us to say. We tell them to go after their dream, but we are afraid to go after our own. The list can go on and on…
As parents, we know what’s good for our children; we also know exactly what good for us. We need not to hide fearfully behind the names of self sacrificing, but to face our own fears and to step up to live out our own life.
I believe that a fulfilling parenthood is the one that I can continue my own journey to be the person I want to be, to fulfill my dreams and purposes, and to nurture my children to do exactly the same.
Coaching, Mediation, Speaking, Training
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I have worked so hard in past three weeks to get ready to launch my new websites and the new focus in my business: two websites prepared, e-course designed and newsletter articles written… “Almost there” I said to myself last night. The last thing needed in putting the grand puzzle together is to transfer my newsletter subscriber list from the old system to the new one before I turn the key. To make sure no message goes out to the list before I first send out an announcement and agreement email to the list, I contacted my email marketing hosting site. They reassured me that I needed not to be worried about any message be automatically send out to a list.
As I was preparing the final details of the‘grand opening’, I was horrified to notice that somehow the new email marketing system has already send one of my messages to the list! Worst yet, it is part of a series that is only intended to send to the new subscribers!
It was as if someone just pull the rug from under my feet, I felt my heart sank to my belly, and my body floated in the midair, and I was dumbfounded, devastated and totally embarrassed! Gathered all my strength, I send out an apology email desperately trying to mend the damage, but I knew it was too late.
As I was watching my three weeks work for the ‘grand opening’ became a puff of smoke, I curled up in my bed sobbing over the failure and defeat. Worse, yet, I started to doubt my ability, the values of my work, and then me as a person… The spiral down towards the dark bottom was painful and gloomy, because my mind started to go to a place where I suddenly saw myself with no values to me and to others.
The interesting thing was that, at the very same time, I knew it was my thinking that was making me feel the way I felt, and I knew I would feel differently later on. As the moments went by, I felt more and more emotionally drained just thinking about the debris I must face and clean up.
This morning, I got up with the heavy weight on my chest. I said to myself: “Get on with it!” As I was ‘mending’ the damage dreadfully, I started to talk to myself factually: “Well, you make the mess; you clean up, nothing to it really.” As those words being uttered, I felt the weight of self condemnation is lifted, left me with the power of “It is OK. Clean up and move on!”
In life, when things do not go the way we have planned, as what happened in my messy email drama, we often use the ‘failure’ to condemn ourselves, against all the good work that precedes it, which is very cruel to ourselves to say the least. What happened to self compassion and forgiveness?
Yesterday, I have learned a valuable lessen that no matter how hard and how diligent I am, things can go wrong and it is OK. I have learned that it is empowering to lovingly admit mistakes you make and make taking the consequences as a matter of fact. However, be clear that the consequences are NEVER about who are you as a person and what your values are in this world. Yesterday, I failed, but I have become a better person today!
Coaching, Mediation, Speaking and Training
I sit down one day reading through the news, current drama of crisis, my emotions were fired up by the terrible things the banking and mortgage industry have done to the innocent home owners. Foreclosures are mounting and the innocent people are losing their homes, all becasue of the unethical business doing of the banking and mortgage industry.
Coaching, Mediation, Speaking, Training
Why are we stressed out as being a parent at times? I asked people: ‘what is your biggest fear being a parent?” The answers are more or less along the lines of “messed up my kids life” or ” not be able to give them the best” or ” they grow up rotten”, or “not fully discover their potential” or “they have to get therapy at age of 15″… In short, fear of failure being a parent!
So, we run about in a rate race…. Working long hours to make money to provide kids the “necessities” or educational things and toys; setting up numerous activities to “foster’ children’s good habits and life long enjoyment; coercing kids to ‘fit’ into cultural normal… In short, we “do” many things to our kids with the hope that they will turn out alright, OK or excellent.
Result? Exhausted parents, frastrated kids, unknown outcome, and loss of precious years, days and moments to enjoy the parenthood.
I propose that parenting is a privileged journey our children bestow on us for our own healing and growth, more than a duty we must perform to our children (beyond the basic fundamental printing’s roles such as providing shelters, food, safety…). From this place, may you relax and be ease with your kids, but turn the focus inwards when facing the parenting challenges. As you heal and grow consciously and emotionally, so do your kids.
Coaching, Mediation, Speaking, Training
If you have doubts, just think about why two people attempt the same kind of goal in relationship, one of them succeeds, and another falls short? Is it sheer luck? More often than not, it’s a person’s perspective about their own value in relationships and about what is relationship that determines whether they fall short or succeed.
What is a perspective, anyway? Typically a perspective refers to your predominant tendency to interpret events and make meanings moment to moment. There is no right or wrong about perspectives, but there are productive or unproductive perspectives. The definition of productive or unproductive is up to you to define.
Perspective is what you think about, make sense of, focus on, and expect from your daily experiences. Perspective is what you think about what’s going on around you. Think negatively, expect the worst, feel pessimistic about your options and that’s exactly what you’ll seem to draw into your life. This is an example of unproductive perspectives. Likewise, think positively, expect the best and focus on achieving goal and you are more likely to achieve. This is an example of productive perspectives.
Why a productive perspective is is so important in our life and relationships?
1) A productive perspective boosts your confidence and self-belief.
A lack of belief in yourself comes from your perspectives about yourself. Unproductive perspective usually comes along with a sense of powerlessness and futility. Lack of confidence will drive you easily into defensiveness when in communication. Obviously, this kind of self perspective about self is a recipe for unproductive relationships.
Having a productive perspective, on the other hand, means you believe in yourself and your capabilities and self worth. You believe you can create the relationship you want, at work, at home and in community. You’re willing to give it all your best shot.
2) A productive perspective strengthens your determination.
Without a productive perspective about failure, one failure in relationship is enough to convince you that having fruitful relationship is not possible. With such unproductive perspectives, if someone or some team fails you in relationships, you surmise that it simply wasn’t meant to be, and you easily to stop trying. Unfortunately, few things worth having are obtained so easily!
A productive perspective, however, strengthens your awareness that a failure is not the end of the story – it’s just one more way that didn’t work out the way you planned. In fact, a perspective you can take about failure that world make you unstoppable is that the only true failure occurs when you stop trying.
Knowing means nothing if there are no practices or actions. Do something today and watch how your own perspectives enabling you or debilitating you.
Coaching, Mediation, Speaking, Training