My Teacher

Hi Friends :)

So, if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that my daughter, Rowan, holds a special place in my heart.  She is nothing short of amazing - smart and thoughtful and creative and funny...  the list goes on and on.  The adults in her life gush over how wonderful she is and how grateful they are to have her in their life.  And just like any other kid, she saves her "best" behavior for those who she knows love her unconditionally... namely, me.  I recently spoke with my mentor about the challenges that I have with my sweet girl, the feelings that come up when I feel challenged by her - unappreciated, disrespected, angry.

"It just seems like she brings out the worst in me..." I shared.

"Casey," my mentor gently said, "that's because Rowan is your teacher."

What a powerful shift in perspective that is.  It is so easy to take the wiser-than-thou approach with our children.  We are the adults, they are the children.  They are the ones that need to learn, to grow, to be taught...  But what if we start to recognize our children as our teachers?  What happens then?

I am a controller.  I grew up in an environment that led me to avoid criticism and ridicule at all costs.  When I feel overwhelmed or triggered by my kids I go straight into control mode - I start dishing out orders -  sometime in a very loud voice - threats, blame, shame... Not my proudest parenting moments...  The funny things is, when I go to this controlling place, I feel so out of control!  My body is tight and hot and I am fully ruled by my emotions.  This is clearly and area where I need to grow.  And guess who is the most likely person to send me to this place?  Rowan.

Its generally starts off as a battle of wills.  She won't finish her dinner, "I'm not hungry," she won't pick up her rooms, "but I did clean it,"  she won't practice the piano, "I practiced yesterday," (we actually had to give that up because it wasn't worth the battle).  It spirals into crazy thoughts and emotions - she doesn't respect the effort I make to serve healthy dinners, I can't believer that she thinks that is a clean room, DOESN'T SHE REALIZE SHE WILL REGRET NOT LEARNING THE PIANO????  The heat begins to rise - I fill up with  mad, I see red, and the crazy voice in my head does nothing but agree with all of these thoughts.  Ugh.  I hate this place.

So, Rowan is my teacher.  She triggers this experience for me.  She allows me to be confronted with this opportunity for growth and change.  What a gift.  You know that quote about the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?  Hel-LO!!!

So what do I do?

Get grounded.  Re-enter my body.  When I am in my dark place,  I am ruled by my emotions and misguided thoughts.  When I think of that I imagine dialogue bubbles above my head, you know, like in a comic book.  That is where I am, way up there.  When I ground myself I notice my feet on the ground, with roots that connect me to the earth.  This is powerful. When you are really willing to do this, to do this work, to make changes, grounding is an amazing method to use.  When I focus on my body I can come down, calm down.

Really, truly, this works.  This brings me back to a rational brain and I am able to move forward.  Do you know what I am clear enough to realize when I come back to my rational brain?  Reality.  Rowan is slow to try new foods, a clean room looks different to her than it does to me, and  I am the one who regrets not sticking with piano.  When I am calm and rational I see things as they are.  When I am triggered, my thoughts and emotions create an interpretation of reality...  Rowan is my teacher.  She provides me with regular opportunities to practice my grounding skills.  I am so grateful to recognize this chance to grow...  I am so blessed to have a teacher.

Who is your teacher?

Many thanks for recent conversations and time spent with my mentor, Jody McVittie, my friend Jessica, and my therapist.  Sometimes an outside perspective is exactly what we need.