Parenting

Overcoming Denial Part 2

By Denise Colby

If we have been in deep denial about some aspect of our experience, the revelation of truth will at first be a painful one. Truth will make its entrance in ways that will seem quite disturbing—intrusive thoughts, nightmares, innocuous interactions producing strong emotions, or a general feeling that one is “not OK.” It is at this juncture that we come to a choice: we can stay in denial and find external reasons to justify our internal experience, numbing and modulating using whatever coping mechanisms we have, or we can claim our internal experience as something uniquely personal and get very curious about it.

There are many roads out of denial, but at some point we will have to choose to validate what our body and reactivity is saying over the story we’ve been telling ourselves. This breaking down of an old story — the acknowledgement that we’ve been telling ourselves a false story our whole lives — provides the crack where the light of truth can finally break through to our awareness.

Mothering and Matriarchy

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Matriarchal societies are organized by maternal priorities, meaning all members are cared for in a nurturing and supportive way. To create communities rooted in these values, both men and women must change their fundamental relationship to mothering and motherhood.This shift must go beyond the rhetoric of early feminists who decried the second-class position mothering placed on women, and who sought to liberate women from the prison of the culturally-defined institution of motherhood. Instead, we must recognize the power of motherhood independent of any cultural value systems where mothering becomes a pawn of dominance and ownership. To do this, we must understand how our inability to nurture ourselves and others has weakened us, both on a societal and an individual level.

Encountering the Great Mother in the Birth Environment

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

To understand the essence of the Great Mother, it is helpful to look to the earth. From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are held in the earth’s embrace, and it has many valuable lessons to offer us about motherhood. The earth is abundant, nurturing, unyielding, and adapting. The Great Mother is the embodiment of these qualities, offering us tremendous teachings about the mutuality of experience in the natural world.

You can find the power of the Great Mother expressed in the many mother goddesses appearing in different cultures around the world — Pachamama in the Andes, Tara in the Himalayas, Quan Yin in China, Isis in ancient Egypt, and Hera, Thera and Athena in Greece and Rome. There is a widespread understanding among different cultures about the importance and necessity of being in alignment with the power of the Great Mother, not only to bring forth life but also to nurture life in a way that is beneficial for everyone.

Despite a lack of understanding about mothering and matriarchal priorities in the west, the power of the Great Mother is accessible to women in the modern time. By connecting with this power, women can sustain themselves no matter what is happening in their birth process. Women can use their connection with this power to receive guidance and to understand the deeper meaning of their experience.

Unexpected Pregnancy

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: I’m pregnant and I’m having a hard time connecting to my child. I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant and I’m not sure how I feel about it. What can I do to feel more connected to my child?

Isa: First of all, there isn’t anything wrong with you if you don’t feel connected to your child right away. This is a huge moment in your life, and you need to give yourself all the time and space you need for this pregnancy to fully register for you.

If you can’t connect with your child immediately, it’s likely because you need to take time to explore the ways you’re going to change as you become a mother. In order to connect with your child, you first have to connect with yourself. If you don’t put your own emotional and physical needs first, it will be more difficult to connect. Focusing on yourself in this way is not selfish, but will actually be beneficial for your child.

When preparing for motherhood, it is essential to reflect on what being a mother means to you and to consider how having a child is going to affect your everyday life. I recommend looking at your own definition of “mother” and examining the way you were mothered. If you have been well-mothered, reflect on what values you might emulate as a mother for your child. If you were not mothered well, there may be places within you that need healing.

Upcoming Courses for Parents at Sacred Stream

Sacred Stream is committed to supporting parents in bringing greater consciousness into their relationships with their children, their partners, and themselves. All of our Empowered Living courses are designed to help you get the most from your everyday experience.  Several upcoming courses are especially helpful for parents.

Conscious Parenting will help you connect more deeply with your intentions and values as a parent and respond to whatever arises with greater self-understanding and grace. Tracking Spirit in the Birth Environment provides an opportunity to connect to powerful resources for giving birth or integrate the birth experience you already had. The Path of Service strongly connects you with your own needs and how to address them so that you can maintain your energy level while caring for others. And if you find, as you parent your children, that how you were parented is coming up as something you would like to understand better, Relationship and Karma will help you do that.

Conscious Parenting Part 6: Learning from Our Triggers

By Joanna Adler, Psy.D.

Editor’s note: Joanna Adler, Psy.D. is a certified Depth Hypnosis Practitioner and licensed clinical psychologist. Her two-day workshop on Conscious Parenting will be at The Bodhi Center in Bainbridge Island, WA on the weekend of April 28-29.

Life throws so many difficult things at us as parents. It’s important to find enough time to support ourselves so that we can be resilient and offer that same support to our children. We know this, but sometimes it can feel like yet another thing to do. The good news is that there are practices we can cultivate for when we encounter difficulty in our relationships with our children, practices that allow us to get out of the way and offer the child what is truly needed in that moment.

Conscious Parenting Part 5: Interview with Joanna Adler, Psy.D.

Editors’ Note: We’re delighted to publish this interview with Joanna Adler instructor of the Conscious Parenting workshop that will be offered at The Bodhi Center, Bainbridge Island, WA on April 28 and 29. Joanna Adler is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified Depth Hypnosis Practitioner. She has studied extensively in the fields of Depth Hypnosis, Buddhist Psychology, Shamanism, and Energy Medicine at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream. We asked Joanna about how she helps people with the dizzying array of choices parents face on a regular basis, what the word “discipline” means to her, and what interests her most in her work with families.

Q. How do you work with parents that may be struggling with knowing how to best support their children when there are so many choices, so many potential ways to respond in a given situation?

Conscious Parenting Part 4: Cultural Context

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

In the first post in this series on conscious parenting, I touched upon how important it is for us, as parents, to know what we value, because our values become the structures within which our children learn to express themselves. Then I discussed how we can foster the authentic expression of our children’s highest potential and how to get out of the way of this expression. Because the cultural context can have a significant influence on our children’s expression, it is also important for parents to determine how well this context is contributing to our children’s highest potential. The cultural context, for the purposes of this post, consists of the values and priorities of the society in which you live.

If you have values that are different from the surrounding society, it will be even more important for you to be clear about what your own values and priorities are, and communicate them clearly to your children. If you don’t, your children may absorb the values of those around them by default, and that may put you at odds with your children.

Conscious Parenting Part 3: Getting Out of the Way

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The last post in this series on Conscious Parenting addressed how to recognize our children’s highest potential and why it is important to move out of the way of its expression. The question we were left with was, “How do I get out of the way?” One of the best ways to get out of the way is to look at your attachments to having your child be a particular way. Those attachments are probably a function of something that did not work in your own childhood.

Conscious Parenting Part 2: Children's Highest Potential

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

If I had to define one goal that we, as parents, must do our best to attain, it would be to protect and cultivate our children’s highest potential in the world. Naturally, every child’s highest potential has its own expression. Every child has a set of gifts that she brings into the world that resonate with the child’s deepest calling. You will find that I use the phrase “highest potential” interchangeably here with “a child’s deepest calling,” “the child’s most authentic expression,” and “the child’s gifts,” because each of these offers a different view and definition that points to the complexity of the deepest aspects of our children.

But how do we support our children’s authentic expression in the world?

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