Tag: children

Peace, Happiness, You, I, Us…

The elusive desire for happiness often leads to consuming as much as possible. To have the biggest house, not just one but as many as we can afford to buy and furnish. To have the most expensive cars, clothing jewelry. We often think that the more we own, the bigger it is, the more expensive it is, the happier we will be. So why then are so many people, who have all that they thought they wanted unhappy? We thought if only we had one more room on our house or just one more bathroom, everything would be great. If only I earned a little more money? Perhaps if I lived in another city or country?

The void that we as humans feel cannot be filled by ‘things’. As corny as it sounds and it does to some degree sound corny to me, John Lennon, Rumi and many others may have been correct in that love is the answer.

We strive to be the best at everything and pass this down to our children. While pregnant, before our potential children have taken their 1st breath, we are competing for them to be in the best pre-schools. To be the best, to own the most, and still those that do, are not happy. So what are we doing wrong?

Rumi the 13th century poet said: “There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?”

The void is part of who we as humans are. What I come across over and over again are people who are in search of meaning. Wishing to understand one’s purpose on earth; to achieve something that will make us think we have fulfilled a purpose. To fill the emptiness of not knowing, not understanding so much about how we came to be here and why, we turn to religions, consuming, gambling, drugs, over-eating; all in an attempt to fill the void of our not ‘knowing’ how to just be. To breathe in and smile with the exhale, to live in a house that serves our needs rather than our ego’s, with an Eco-friendly car.

Allowing ourselves to stop feeling and acting greedy, to live with what we actually need rather than feeding our ego’s and the illusion that we can fill the void by consuming. The void can only be filled with love. By letting go of greed we will and can develop compassion and empathy for others. That homeless person on the street, whom we just drove or walked by; perhaps we can share with him/her a bit of our abundance. To share, to think in terms of the ‘us’ rather than the ‘I’. Carl Jung, speaks of the collective unconscious and many people believe this happens after one dies. I think it can happen while we are alive…it is about the ‘us’. Peace within and without is possible when we fill the void with love.


Divorce ?

When we marry most of us believe it really is for the rest of our lives. We often create a combined life as well as individual life. It is the combined life however that usually has the priority in marriage. Separating from our life partner is painful; feelings of anger, abandonment and yes relief may also be present. There is no escaping your feelings, whatever they are.

I have seen some people avoid their feelings by dating constantly or drinking or drugging. I have seen others plummet into despair for periods of time. It is natural to miss the warmth, friendship, financial security, and sex you had or hoped you would have.

If you have children parenting becomes much more challenging as your role does change and the frequency that you will spend time with your children will change as well. Questions like when do I introduce my children to the person I am dating will arise and possibly cause you anxiety, as there is no ‘right’ answer, only better ones.

Divorce is often one of life’s most stressful experiences. I refer to divorce as a mini-death. In some ways it is more challenging than a ‘real’ death in that the person you have separated from, possibly feel abandoned by, is alive. If you have had children together you will be seeing your X for the rest of your life. This for many is re-wounding, especially if you are unable to forgive yourself and you’re X for the divorce. It is common for both parties to have feelings of failure regardless of who initiated the divorce.

On the positvite side, a divorce can be a time of discoving yourself again, creating new relationships, learning and growing. In order to move forward taking responsibility for your part in the divorce rather than blaming your X for it is paramount. As well as, allowing yourself to grieve your loss and honor your feelings. Then you will be in a space to grow into your new life, the one you will create out of joy. The life you used to dream about having when you were married and unhappy but always thought you could not create it.


The ‘Space-Between’

My Colleague Hedy Schleifer uses the term ‘Space-Between’ when describing what occurs energetically between two people in a relationship. I find this term very useful and wanted to share my point of view with you.

Consider that Relationships live in the ‘Space-Between’ you and your partner? The space that often you can feel but do not see. This is the space where your children are, the space where they grow up and learn values.

Have you ever wondered what happens in this space when you yell at your partner, or belittle him/her? And the effect negative behaviors have upon your children’s development?

So, how can you keep the ‘Space-Between’ safe for your partner and for your children?

Creating a Safe ‘Space-Between’

  • Communicate safely and effectively with each other
  • Building trust and intimacy
  • Be willing to hear and actively listen to what your partner has to say
  • Value your partners point of view
  • Respect your partners feelings
  • Show empathy towards your partner
  • Show appreciation for what your partner does
  • Respect your partner’s point of view

Leave the following in another room:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness – Defense is the 1st act of war
  • Stonewalling
  • Resentments

The ‘Space-Between’ is thriving when you have:

  • Affection in Public
  • Passion in Private
  • Fidelity
  • Quality Time Together
  • Confiding
  • Mutual Interests/Activities
  • Shared Decision-Making
  • Shared Housework
  • Shared Parenting

Speak Up For The Scared Child

The shame that occurs from sexual abuse of a child transcends generations. Approximately one in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused. I find these statistics mind-boggling, just think about it.

When a child is molested the shame and guilt that lives within them for the rest of their lives molds everything they do. Often intimacy is never achieved, as they are too vulnerable to connect with another person. The shame is often built upon the belief that they, the child, are the ones responsible for their being sexually abused. Their guilt follows this.

It is only recently that people are recognizing that so many boys and girls are sexually abused.

I have a friend whose mother killed herself when she was thirteen. Until my friend found out that her mom had been sexually abused she thought in some way she had let her mom down. Upon learning of her mother’s abuse, she is now able to understand that her mother’s issues were not her issues.

A forty-three year old man had been sexually abused at age nine by a boy of fourteen. It took him many years of working with me to truly get that he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to be ashamed of. It was much too challenging for him to maintain a lasting relationship because when he felt close to a person, his feelings of shame would come up and he would feel too vulnerable to allow anything more than a superficial connection. After lots of self-reflection, insight and growth, he is now dating a woman and for the first time he has allowed himself to shared his story. He is beginning to allow himself to feel vulnerable and connected. As he lets go of the shame and guilt he is able to allow the intimacy of connection.

The shame and guilt of childhood sexual abuse can and does affect all of us. If you even sense that there is a child being sexually abused, reach out and be the voice for that child.


The Influence of Parents on Personality Development

As children, we look to our families to take care of our basic needs; they are also our most important source of information about the world. It is through our relationship with them that we learn how to think and feel about ourselves and what to expect from others.

Our view of the world and who we are in it is often created by the ways in which our parents treated us, the way they acted towards each other and the kinds of messages their behavior communicated to us. This early learning is reflected in the quality of the relationships that we have in our lives…

Consider the relationships presently in your life. Notice how you act similarly and different from your parents.

A fun exercise that will allow you to see and understand the traits you carry that are similar and different from your parents is this:

Take 3 sheets of paper

  • 1st sheet – Make a list of your positive and negative traits
  • 2nd sheet – Make a list of your father’s positive/negative traits
  • 3rd sheet – Make a list of your mother’s positive/negative traits

Now put a check mark next to the traits that are the same on all three lists

  • Notice that any traits you truly dislike in another may very well be a trait of yours that you have not acknowledged.

A Thought for New Parents

When I work with new parents the issue of mortality always comes up. It is interesting how until we have children we rarely, if ever think about dying and once we have them we do. Some people become frightened by their own mortality, others fear that their children will die and some fear both.

The reality is that when/if/how we die or the fact that we will die has not changed at all. Having children triggers our reptilian brains and we want to protect our young. As there is no certainty to our futures, we as parents are challenged by this uncertainty and confuse it with a fear of mortality.