Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Breath-ButtonGet comfortable with being uncomfortable. As parents, our job is to help gently access suppressed emotions, both in our children and ourselves. In general, these are emotions that we ordinarily prefer not to acknowledge. The intent here is to deliberately allow this to occur because these suppressed emotions are the unconscious triggers that cause behaviors and circumstances that are not in our best interests. This means, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Our desire to manipulate or change our children’s behaviors so that we feel more comfortable comes from our inability to just show up and enjoy the wonder of whatever happens exactly as it is. How we interact with what is happening in each moment sows the seeds for what is to come. The quality of those seeds depends upon whether we react or respond.

Michael Brown, is his book The Presence Process, clarifies the difference between reacting and responding. He says,” reacting to our Presence Process bookexperiences means we make decisions based on what we believe happened yesterday and what we think may happen tomorrow. In contrast, we respond to our experiences when we make choices based on what’s happening right here, right now. This response draws on the wisdom we derive from past experience, whereas reactivity is driven by the unresolved trauma that’s embedded in us. Once we integrate the energetic patterns that underlie our behavior and beliefs, It’s possible to respond to all our experiences rather than reacting”.

Although this is something we all must do for ourselves, by being role models for our children in this way also enhances our ability to go deeply into the trauma and pain that our children have experienced so that we no longer are bound by our own fears and concerns. As I have said, you cannot take your children where you have not gone yourself in pursuing uncomfortable suppressed emotional states. So the more we can just be, the more our children will be able to "just be". When there is no longer a need to communicate through behaviors, there are no unwanted behaviors – those that no longer serve the greatest good. Your children know this.

Peace that Passeth All Understanding: Emodiversity

A recent post of mine (http://postinstitute.com/blog/2015/02/18/the-way-to-find-peace/) discussed how peace is not about feeling good, it’s about feeling everything–a concept that may have astounded some people. As parents of very challenging children, we are often at the edge of our wits and emotional tolerance, and want more than anything, just a little peace. We have had it, we are tired, worn out and in some cases desperate for a break. It may be that the break we seek is always right there/here with us - closer to us than we are to ourselves.

A recent article (http://www.mindful.org April 2015) entitled Emodiversity: The Key to Happiness, asked if the route to happiness was simply to feel more positive emotions and fewer negative ones?

Research is beginning to show a strong rebuttal to the argument that feeling good is the way to be happy. It appears that Emodiversity–a measurement that includes positive emotions and negative emotions, and considers the level, the variety and abundance) showed that people with a mixture of both, (high emodiversity) were less likely to be depressed than people with positive motions alone. Two research studies from four countries and six institutions–including Yale University and Harvard Business School–surveyed over 36,000 people, found that emodiversity had a positive effect on people’s emotional health as well as on their physical health (less medication use, lower government healthcare costs and fewer doctors visits/days spent in the hospital.

Although this may be considered astounding to some, those who practice mindfulness can attest to the reality that experiencing whatever emotional content arises within us, and is allowed to be experienced non-judgmentally, yields a greater ability to both endure, allow and remain open to whatever is present for us circumstantially, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Mindfulness equips us with a powerful tool, not to protect us from our boat being rocked, but to be able to enjoy the swim if such occurs. Jesus once said, “Resist not evil” (Matt. 5:39). Mindfulness is one of the best ways I can think of to resist not evil.

Be at peace.

Mindfulness – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

  3 Steps to Becoming More Mindful

“Mindfulness. If you’re still thinking this is merely a touchy-feely trend practiced by yogis, creatives and the business elite – you’re way behind. Thousands of people in organizations around the world are now benefiting from the improved performance, communication, relationships and self-mastery being mindful brings. More than 40 universities now offer ‘mindfulness in medicine’ training. ‘Mindful schools’ have touched over 300,000 students in 43 countries. Law schools are in on it. Even the US Special Forces has a ‘mind-fitness’ training program.”

4 Pillars textMindfulness is one of my favorite topics and one of the essential tools for your Parenting Toolbox. In fact, I consider it one of the Four Pillars of Post Parenting. Although it may be perceived as new age mumbo-jumbo and is often presented as a meditation technique or practice, it has a life of its own as a basic self-awareness tool for getting to know oneself - as was written on the temple wall at Delphi in Greece 2,000 years ago - "Know Thyself". It is as old as Jesus (actually older) and as modern and practical as an iPhone 6 - even more practical when it comes to parenting. If we are not mindful, we end up mind-less and parenting (living) on autopilot and reinforcing the old reactionary paradigms and traditions that have been passed down from generations. Mindfulness is an idea whose time has come.

We are always pleased to find articles and information that puts mindfulness in a league of it’s own and shows how valuable a tool it can be no matter what fields of interest, professions, traditions, religious beliefs or considerations and opinions about personal development or Google Quote v4self-improvement may be. Without it we are the blind leading the blind.

Mindfulness has been popularly defined by the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) which says that is it paying attention, in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally. Another definition is "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. However you say it, mindfulness is a lifetime engagement - not to get somewhere else, but to be where and as we actually are in this very moment, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

Melcrum Ltd. recently published an article Success from the Inside Out which says just this. “It’s this quality of mindfulness, or ‘executive presence’, that helps people to see their current reality more clearly; to distinguish more objectively what’s going on and to be more mindful of their internal reality – the thoughts, feelings and what’s happening in their minds and bodies – as well as how they’re leading their organizations. Mindfulness enables us to monitor more, so we can manage our internal and external resources more effectively.”

We hope you enjoy this perspective and, as always join the conversation and let us know what you think.

Have a calm and peaceful day. -- David

Reprinted with generous permission from Melcrum Ltd. Learn About Melcrum
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Feel What You Feel

Brain Science by a Brain ScientistI have been presenting information regarding 'feeling what you feel' and other aspects that involve Mindfulness (i.e., paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to whatever is arising inwardly and outwardly). Learning to feel at the level of sensory input I describe as 'the longest journey in the world - the 18 inches from your head to your heart'.

Sadly, we spend most of our lives in our heads with thinking being the prime focus of our attention. Thinking has it's place in our lives, but should be so directed by us when we want and need it rather than that which directs our behaviors and actions. Good parenting requires our being able to feel, and model that behavior to our children.

There is an important physiologic reasoning behind this and Jill Bolte Taylor has addressed this in her book. If we are not in touch with 'what we feel' (not emotionally mind you, but with our senses), we have to 'interpret' that which is happening instead of 'knowing through experience' what is. This puts parents at a great disadvantage of knowing what our children are going through and puts us back into 'what we have been taught traditionally, triggering the old paradigm parenting approaches that only lead to the way things have been.

"As information processing machines, our ability to process data about the external world begins at the level of sensory perception. Although most of us are rarely aware of it our sensory receptors are designed to detect information at the energy level. Because everything around us–the air we breathe, even the materials we use to build with–are composed of spinning and vibrating atomic particles, you and I are literally swimming in a turbulent sea of electromagnetic fields. We are part of it. We are enveloped within it, and through our sensory apparatus we experience what is." - My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

Jill Bolte Taylor wrote this exciting treatise on her experience with a stroke that offered her a rare opportunity to see this event from a her exhaustive brain scientist's vast experience of research on the brain. She has many examples of corollaries to what I teach and I will be sharing these with you. Especially valuable for those wanting to know more from of the science behind the psychology of what we teach.

Lessons in Mindfulness for Dummies and Other Parents

Lessons in Mindfulness for Dummies Author Worth Listening To

Because parenting requires no training (not that it shouldn't but that anyone can become a parent as we know), and is likely the most important yet most difficult job on planet earth, the future of the world is at stake. Historically, though there have been many improvements in the quality of life, it appears that parenting, in general, has not benefited as much. We still tend to parent from the same mindset/paradigm that has been used for centuries. Reward and punishment, behavior modification and consequences the most often used tools in our parenting toolbox. We still have prisons, and worse now is that we have a large percentage of children who age out of the foster care system end up in prison.

So one thing leads to another and the stories continue. Either we see the past as the way to a better future (huh?), or we don't see the past, we just see our idea of what the future could be like if our kids just did what they were supposed to. That would mean that adults did what they were supposed to do. Little evidence, in general, that this is happening. So how do we escape the wheel that offers the opportunity to run faster and faster getting nowhere different even quicker? Ahhhhh. Take a breath for starters.

Mindfulness author Shamish Alidina has some words of helpful advice about mindful parenting:

“I think that parenting is the most difficult, stressful, important and probably most fulfilling responsibility in the world. A good parent needs not only to nurture the child with food, shelter and clothing, but to develop the child's mind too. Your behavior as a parent often reflects what your own parents were like even if you want to change and improve upon certain areas. However, parents often end up repeating the cycles in subtle ways, passing on unhelpful behaviors (my emphasis here). Fortunately, mindful parenting can help to break the cycles by being present for your children.

How can mindfulness help with parenting? Mindful parents are aware and awake to their actions and the actions of their children. This is very important in bringing up a child. Children need attention (don't we all?). For children, attention is like love. If they don't receive sufficient attention, they misbehave until they get that attention - even being told off is preferable to being ignored”. – Shamish Alidina, Mindfulness for Dummies

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can benefit. Help to bring peace on earth and good parenting to all children.

Our Lil’ Bitty 40 Bit Parenting Processor – Lessons in Mindfulness

Lessons in Mindfulness  Our Lil Bitty 40 Bit Parenting Processor

Why is mindfulness so important? Bruce Lipton is a cellular biologist and an internationally recognized authority in bridging science and spirit, author of Biology of Belief, The Wisdom of Your Cells, and Co-author with Steve Bhaerman of  the latest book Spontaneous Evolution. In this latest book they offer this information on what we parents (and all other humans) are up against. While discussing the mind/brain activities involved with the subconscious (genetic and past programming, parental blueprints hotbed) and self-conscious (mindfulness realm), it is interesting to note that the data-processing capacity of the subconscious has been estimated to utilize a large amount of brain mass for interpreting and responding to over 40 million nerve impulses per second. The self-conscious mind/brain prefrontal cortex activities occurs at the blazing (or not so blazing) rate of 40 (that is one zero) nerve impulses per second. They conclude that as an information processor, the subconscious mind is one million times more powerful than the self-conscious mind –with a marginal aptitude for creativity, best compared to that of a precocious five-year-old. Wow! These are the tools in your parenting/human toolbox.

Look at it this way – you have a one million times bigger tool for handling/processing your “emotional” reactions than for choosing your “regulated responses” If this seems staggering to you as an adult (and it should), think of your child dealing with a similar set of tools but without all the experience, wisdom and development that adults have hopefully acquired to self correct.  And we adults still have trouble staying regulated!Bad Behavior Cartoon

To make matters worse – your parenting blueprints downloaded from years of learning from your parents, their parents and the rest of the cultural traditions of parenting dating back to antiquity are all part of this subconscious lightening fast processing unit which overrides our “best intention to change”. Mindfulness is an important tool for overcoming this disadvantage and gives us a doorway for the new love based parenting paradigm. Interested? Of course you are…

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can benefit. Help to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Lessons in Parenting Mindfulness #2: You Must Be Present to Win

Lessons in Mindfulness: #2 You Must Be Present to Win

Mindfulness is the ability to slow down enough to watch your own thoughts, sensations, perceptions and behaviors. It’s almost like stepping outside of your self and observing yourself. Through mindfulness, you make the unconscious conscious. An excellent source for parenting with mindfulness is Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. I highly recommend this book to both parents and professionals.

I talk about mindfulness as one of the most important tools a parent can use to maintain their own state of calm and regulation, and thereby better influence and parent their children. To help you understand what mindfulness is, and how to use it, here are some other views and stories that can help you develop you own mindfulness practice.

According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the leading mindfulness researchers, "mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally."  Simple, elegant, and meaningful. Another way of saying this is, “be here, now”. I know this sounds self-evident (where else would I be?), but consider that what most of us experience is the past, the future or some representation of life and not the actual experience of the present moment. You must be present to win as is said, so let’s use this as a starting point. An example of this is, stop for a moment and just listen. What do you hear that you did not hear just a few moments ago? And if you are sitting, be aware of the chair you are sitting on. Notice any sensations or pressure points from the seat. And the floor beneath your feet… (to be cont’d).

Choose Love,

B.

To purchase of copy of Jon and Myla Kabat Zinn's book from Amazon, click here.

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can benefit. Help to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all - especially children.

Tired of  "walking on eggshells"? Sick of being a prisoner in your own home? Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated, as do their parents. Don’t let your frustration, fear, anger and resentments ruin the peace and harmony in your family. Use the Stress Model ™ to help bring back the love that you want for your children, your spouse and for yourself. To learn more about Bryan Post and his unique love based approach to parenting challenging children, click here.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join’em! by Angelique Miller

One parent asked a key question - Can I play too?

I talk a lot about mindfulness. I consider it one of the most important tools in the parenting toolbox. But I know that for many it is just a word and the application of it is sometimes sketchy. I love hearing about concrete examples of what it looks like, how to use it, and what you can expect. Angelique Miller wrote us with one great example of just how powerful this tool can be. Try it for yourself and let us know what you come up with.

It’s really just about staying regulated, staying present, and making real connection with my kids. Only then can I truly influence them positively. But sometimes those words sound so lofty and vague, right?

Yeah, but what does that mean?? What does that look like? Here’s a great example that I found worked for me.

Our two kids sometimes get really dysregulated together. It looks like they’re playing but its way too rough. If we leave them alone, it usually escalates to one of them getting hurt and/or something broken, which fans the dysregulation flames when one of them feels like a bad kid. My husband and I usually get scared when we see this rough playing and want to break it up as quickly as possible. There’s no way our kids will go sit in a chair or anything else we might ask when they get like that, which is part of why we get so scared. It’s a seemingly out-of-control situation and we have zero influence—or at least that’s how it feels.

Feeling fairly regulated recently when that happened, I let go of the instant gotta-break-it-up feeling and casually strolled in, waiting for something brilliant to come to me. Although I wasn’t consciously planning it, I was attempting to feel present. Well, it worked because I stood there looking at them wrestling in the bunk bed and the kids, expecting me to get upset, were kind of shocked to hear me say, “Hey, can I play, too?” After a half-second pause, in stereo they replied, “SURE!” and their angry demeanor changed instantly to joy. I don’t know why, but I just really wasn’t expecting that response. I was expecting something with expletives... But anyway, I didn’t have to exert myself physically to play, just played a little bit with tickling fingers, pretend, etc. and then within about ninety seconds I could sense that I was able to Angelique Millersuggest moving them onto a calmer activity (or maybe one of them spontaneously decided to go somewhere else, can’t recall since I’ve now done this “technique” several times).

Anyway, how happy I am to find this! That old panic is so instant that I sometimes forget this idea, but when I do it, it’s a great way to handle their dysregulation. Turns out they’ve been begging me to help calm them down, but I was so wrapped up in my fear that I couldn’t hear what they were really saying. -- Angelique Miller

Choose Love,

B.

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can benefit. Help to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Tired of  "walking on eggshells"? Sick of being a prisoner in your own home? Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated, as do their parents. Don’t let your frustration, fear, anger and resentments ruin the peace and harmony in your family. Use the Stress Model ™ to help bring back the love that you want for your children, your spouse and for yourself. To learn more about Bryan Post and his unique love based approach to parenting challenging children, click here.

Mindfulness can Kill a Thought – In a Good Way

Alice G. Walton, Contributor to Forbes Magazine, writes about her experience with Mindfulness, and a Neuroscientist's work in this meaningful yet often mystical practice.
Neuroscientist and mindfulness expert, Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, has done some beautiful work in his lab at Yale on the neural (and behavioral) changes that come from mindfulness practice. Not only does he study it, he’s lived it: He knows firsthand both how challenging it can be to bring attention away from the negative chatter, and, fairly recently, how rewarding it can be when it does work. As I and many others have found, it’s not a magic switch that you can flip to free your brain. It takes some practice, and Brewer recommends building that muscle intentionally – not when you’re in the midst of the stress, but when you’re slightly outside it.

In other words, practice before you are in the middle of a battle with your kids. Or not, as the case maybe - since applying it may be the only way both you and your child can win (i.e. maintain the relationship)! Parenting is hard enough when your kids have all the wiring they need, but when you are loving kids with trauma histories, adopted or in foster care - not to mention multiple diagnosis, you MUST have some extra help (or superpowers which most of us lack)  To read Alice G. Walton's Forbes article click here.

Always Choose Love and Always B Mindful - B

Mindfulness Enhances Multi-Tasking at the Office – Why Not at Home?

B Mindful. Especially if you have to walk and breathe at the same time... and especially if you have children.

I often talk about the value of mindfulness for parents to track their own emotional states. An emotionally drained, angry or reactive parent will only serve to strengthen the negative feedback loops unless they can mindfully regulate themselves so they can step back, Breathe, and practice the 3 R's (Reflect, Relate, Regulate).

Mindfulness: Paying attention on purpose non-judgmentally to the present moment - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here's some of the latest research in the effectiveness of Mindfulness/Meditation regarding Multi-Tasking at work. Hey, aren't mom's pretty much always multi-tasking?

ScienceDaily (June 14, 2012) — Need to do some serious multitasking? Some training in meditation beforehand could make the work smoother and less stressful, new research from the University of Washington shows.Science

Work by UW Information School professors David Levy and Jacob Wobbrock suggests that meditation training can help people working with information stay on tasks longer with fewer distractions and also improves memory and reduces stress.

Their paper was published in the May edition of Proceedings of Graphics Interface.

Levy, a computer scientist, and Wobbrock, a researcher in human-computer interaction, conducted the study together with Information School doctoral candidate Marilyn Ostergren and Alfred Kaszniak, a neuropsychologist at the University of Arizona.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore how meditation might affect multitasking in a realistic work setting," Levy said. Read Full Article click here.

Always Choose Love - and Always B Mindful. -- B