Today, I am going to share a bit about a book I am reading that is really blowing my mind, it is called The Path is Everywhere; uncovering the jewels hidden within you, by Matt Lacata. If you’ve listened to the show for very long, you know that I love my energy worker/reiki master friend (shout out to Jessica) and she has turned me on to the work of Matt. I am using this book as part of my soul care time, reading a few pages in the morning to gather inspiration.
I am not very far into the book, and what I read this morning gave me pause and I decided that now would be the perfect time to bring it here to discuss with all of you.
The first part of the book is about what the author calls our “shadow” – this is the part of ourselves that lays dormant until it is jostled into wakefulness. Another way to make sense of it is the way that we feel when we are triggered. Our shadow is who takes over when we are riding the emotional freight train. The parts of ourselves that we may cloak in shame or guilt – the parts that we keep hidden.
Most of us have a tendency to want to hide our shadow, keep it deep inside of ourselves, not let it see the light of day. Many of us may think we are pretty successful with this – until we aren’t. A lot of the clients I see come to me because their shadow is making appearances in the parenting journey and they want to fix it, they want to make it go away.
I have a shadow as well – she wants control and order, she wants to know the outcome, and she wants everyone to be on her agenda. My shadow takes the behavior of others deeply personally, quickly manifesting fear, rejection and disrespect whenever I experience criticism and ridicule.
My shadow, your shadow – our shadows are a part of who we are. And if, like me, you subscribe to life being purposeful, then perhaps our shadow isn’t something that we should turn away from, or get rid of. Perhaps our shadow is something we can turn towards and get curious about.
You all know that I love the personal growth and development conversation. You know that I see parenting as one long personal growth and development workshop. And if you have been listening for any length of time, you know that I am deeply invested in supporting others in doing this work along with me.
This is why I am talking about shadow work today.
Matt Lacata writes:
It is important that we cultivate the intention to become more interested in the truth of our experience than in the demand to find relief from our symptoms.
Putting this in the context of parenting, especially as we look ahead to a brand new year and choosing in to growth and possibility, we can consider the truth of our experiences as taking a magnifying lens to our current struggles – bring in curiosity, ownership, honesty – and ask ourselves questions like: What am I meant to learn here? What is going on for me? What is the emotion that I can connect to right here right now? What is the story I am telling myself about my child? Myself? My safety?
Our response might begin with sounding like: “well, I am pissed!” but what is underneath that? If we get into the blame game, I invite us all to bring it back to a focus on self – because regardless of what triggers our reaction, how we react is wholely ours.
This takes practice friends, and a deep belief that there IS something to be learning from these interactions – faith that we CAN learn. Once we step into that truth – that we are all continuing to learn and evolve, then we can really trust that we can be the parent we want to be.
And what about the “demanding to find relief” part of what Matt wrote? Well we are already pretty skilled at this, aren’t we? Let’s consider some ways we find relief – we yell, we blame, we shame, we withdraw either physically or emotionally, some of us use substances – food, alcohol, drugs – to feel that relief.
And what do we know about all of these ways of relieving the pain and discomfort of our experience – they are short term and harmful to ourselves and others. BUT, they seem/feel easier than facing our shadow, and doing the inner work to grow and learn.
And clearly this is BIG. And it is HARD. And it requires us to decide to choose in time and time again…. AND YOU CAN. And isn’t this the ultimate act of compassion and integrity?? SELF compassion and PERSONAL integrity???
IF this is landing for you – bring it up to your therapist, or hire me to coach you and support you in this work, it is what I do! You don’t have to do this alone – the journey is meant to be traveled with others, IMO.
2019 is a year to walk together – to link arms and be in community. I will share a few ways to do that at the end of this podcast….
On a personal note – I want to share solidarity to all of you that deal with partners overseas and single parents. Ben has left us to do some big work in California on the electrical grid. We don’t know how long the work down there will take – could be months. I know it isn’t the SAME as being a single parent, I know that I have the luxury of knowing my partner will be coming home eventually, but I am looking at an extended period of time holding space for the kids without their dad here….
Clearly I will have ample opportunity to lean into the TRUTH of my experiences vs finding short term relief from what triggers me…
Self care will be crucial. Inviting my kids into more contribution will be crucial – this is a place we have gotten sloppy sloppy. Not that the kids aren’t contributing, just that there is very little structure, which makes me feel crazy and get naggy – no fun for anyone.
So yes, I am sure you will hear me mentioning missing my man over the next little bit….
As far as joyful courage is concerned – WOWZER! So much excitement. I have spent the last few weeks writing, recording and editing the interviews for the FIRST EVER parenting TEENS with Positive Discipline Audio Summit. OMG – it is SO GOOD!! 14 interviews with Positive Discipline Educators, Trainers and Lead Trainers who KNOW the trenches of raising teens. Register now – www.joyfulcourage.com/teensummit.
You will want to register, as I am going to be offering some sweet deals to those that register early in the month. I am so totally excited – again, the link is www.joyfulcourage.com/teensummit . If you are a parent of a teenager, I also encourage you to hop into the Joyful Courage parents of teens FB group – this is a space of support and encouragement from other parents of teens. It is a small but growing group – full of insight and community, check it out.
I am also thrilled to invite you into the Joyful Courage Super Fam through Patreon. This is a group of people who value the podcast so much that they are contributing $10/month and enjoy the benefit of monthly webinars and online support from me. If $10 is to big of a stretch, you are welcome to get in there and contribute what you can. Find out more at www.patreon.com/joyfulcourage.
Ahhhh – it is good to be back!! I missed you in December!!
Stay tuned, next week I will be sharing a powerful interview with return guest, Sarah Harvey Yoa talking about moving through the energy of emotions – the perfect follow up to todays topic!!! Big love!
Audio summit for parents of teens
One week of real conversations
PD trainers who have already been through it
The launch starts January 1st
Summit will run January 28th – February 1st
REGISTER NOW – www.joyfulcourage.com/teensummit
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