Sunday, April 11, 2021

Where it Began Part Three: PARENTING TOOLS

 PROMOTING PEACE: Parenting Tools

It seems almost unnatural to reach out during a heated moment, a moment of yes-no polarization, a moment when you are about to get your way, a moment when you do not want to give an inch! But that is the perfect time to do so. Use the heat of the moment as your guide:  that’s the time to reconnect, not to try to get your way. It is within you to reach beyond personality, beyond fear and shame, beyond that particular moment that seems so fueled by importance. As you reach, one Goddess to another, do so with this understanding:  we are stronger when united. We can create peace on Earth, right here, right now. And if mothers and daughters can’t create peace in any given moment, who can?

When Lily was 13 my hair was uncool, my jeans were uncool, her phone was more fascinating than my voice. Her friends spoke an irresistible language that was better than mine. She occasionally found it impossible not to hurl an insult at me or use an inappropriate word. It would have been so easy, then and there, to simply ground her, remove her ice cream or computer privileges, or throw her phone over the fence. But through experience, having slowed myself down when it appeared she was so ungrateful that her only option was to lash out, I have realized that what she was really feeling was a lack of power. Right when she was becoming more independent and full of her own radiant energy, the truth was, I still had the ultimate power, as her mother, to say no, to thwart her efforts to become even more powerful. When I did, she still had the power to lash out at me.  

Rather than reacting to the personal insult, I would reply as though she has just declared, “I feel powerless!” This disarmed her.  She felt heard. There was nothing to fight against. (Later, when we were not so heated, I would remind her that personal insults, name calling, or kicking the interior of my car, were not permitted behavior.) Holding power does not have to involve wielding power over another person. Instead, it can mean empowerment. Power includes restraint over our own demonic need to lash out.

Lily learned that the moment she felt the heat of powerlessness, the acceleration of hatred toward me, her perceived captor, that it was best to just let go, to realize it was not about me, that she didn’t truly hate me, that she was just feeling frustrated, powerless, or thwarted. We practiced. And practiced. And practiced. And it worked. Together we learned to create peace, and that knowledge has extended into our other relationships.

HONOR THE GODDESS WITHIN

When mothers and daughters are in conflict with one another, the Divine Feminine energy we share is fragmented. Here’s where I suggest beginning: notice where, when, and why you want to control your daughter’s behavior. Does her behavior reflect poorly on you?  Does her behavior matter to your spouse, or to your own parents or friends? To strangers? Do you want them to have a good impression of your connection with your daughter, or is it simply that you have an idea of how you want her to behave? Then, notice where she wants to control your behavior. Does your singing embarrass her? Is it your uncool outfit, your loud voice…or your too-quiet voice? Does she want you to do things or buy things that are against your inner voice? How does it feel to be tugged by your offspring? 

Enlightened parenting is yogic. It involves being strong yet flexible. Being balanced. Releasing the need to struggle. Rejecting the use of fear or shame. Being an example of ease and grace and glow. It seeks mutual power and teaches independence. It can even mean enjoying the moment of conflict, because you know it will bring growth. 

Here are five tools to help mothers become fully present and bring your heated moments back into alignment:

TOOL #1

A CODE WORD. Decide on a red flag together. Choose a word or phrase that will yank you out of conflict and draw your attention. “Can we talk about it?” was ours. It worked wonders! We experimented to find the one that worked consistently and prevented a conflict from accelerating. We were in agreement that someone had to stop our conflicts from escalating, and we were the only two there, so it had to be one of us! Typically, Lily was the one who remembered to say the magic words.

The reward was inherent in the stopping. Rather than getting what either of us wanted in the moment, we got harmony, which we both acknowledged was more satisfying than anything we could have gained individually in any given moment.

TOOL #2

DO-OVERS. Do-overs work best—and can even be fun--when the situation is not yet overheated, when one or the other realizes that the last words said or the words she is about to say may not be the most civil. In order for do-overs to work, both of you have to truly disregard whatever was just said and start all over. It won’t work if you’re invested in proving the other person wrong. It’s about letting go. It’s an offer for--and an acceptance of--a clean start, wiping the slate clean and beginning again. Do-overs were a fun addition to our interactions. If we noticed a disharmonic state beginning, we would simply request a do-over. It worked! When the ego is willing to let go of being powerful, the willing participants in a do-over are suffused with a euphoria that is unmatched by any “win” in a conflict. 

Here’s a real-life example:

“What on EARTH have you been doing in here? You said you were going to do your homework!”

“Mom, do you want to have a do-over?”

“Ok, um…Lily, I see that you’ve taken an astonishing array of your clothes out of the closet and scattered them throughout your room. I’m worried you’ll never put them back.”

“After I finished my homework, I went through all my clothes so I can give some away. These are actually organized piles. They just don’t look like it to you.” Indeed.

TOOL #3

COMMON GROUND. What do you and your daughter agree on? What disagree on? Asking this provides an opportunity to immediately find common ground, and its opposite. In seeking common ground, you recognize you are on the same side. Identifying the area of disagreement causes it to seem smaller and more manageable and provides time to cool down from the initial heat of the disagreement. Usually, our long-term intentions were aligned, but our paths to get there diverged. This tool worked when we both felt enflamed. It paved the way for compromise.

TOOL #4 

KEY QUESTION. In a “yes-no fight,” as Lily called them, she recommends daughters ask a key question: “Is there anything I could do or say that would make you say yes?” It’s a reframing. If I say yes, I am not saying yes to her desire; I am just committing to consider. But it’s a yes that can feel good to both parties. With this question, I hear Lily saying, “I am willing to put in some effort in order to get what I want,” and I am thrilled that she is going to stop urgently pressuring me to say yes, and actually do something to move the discussion along smoothly. The question itself is empowering. It made Lily feel less a victim of my inherent power, and more like a director of her own life. Introducing this question into your daughter’s life will be mutually empowering.

TOOL #5:

TIME-OUT. Remember toddler “time-outs”? Announce a time out for yourself the minute you feel yourself going down a familiar path of reaction. Take a moment to disengage from what your daughter is doing or feeling. If you have been practicing breathing and connecting through yoga or meditation, this is merely the next step. It may be difficult, but by simply announcing, “I need a time-out!” you pull yourself out of your usual reaction. Announce in advance, in a peaceful moment, that you are going to do something new: a mother’s time-out. Ask your daughter to respect it by allowing it to unfold without protest. Assure her that it will help you both. During your time-out, evaluate whether you had been using fear, shame, or control, and remind yourself that you don’t want her to learn to be controlled with these old-paradigm mechanisms of manipulation.

Our daughters are more evolved than we were at their age, and they are inhabiting a different world. In today’s world, the most valuable parenting tool is your own consciousness. From that place, teach your daughter that she is Divine, and a powerful creator. For both mothers and daughters, this knowledge is the ultimate empowerment. Enlightenment is simply knowing that you have a choice from this moment to the next—and therein lies the power to consciously create a peaceful and loving environment and secure, loving relationships. If you are tempted to start a MoonBeams mother-daughter circle of your own, please reach out. 



Where it Began Part Two: POWER DYNAMICS

 ENLIGHTENED PARENTING

Together, Lily and I consciously designed a paradigm for our relationship in which I was neither unbending authority nor permissive friend. Like the connection that began with her massage, our paradigm evolved as we evolved. I was thrilled that it paid dividends when she was in adolescence, and we’ve been teaching mothers and daughters to create their own paradigms in our MoonBeams Mother-Daughter Circles ever since. At first I felt unmoored, but my temporary discomfort was worth it. Be patient. It’s a process.

As Lily embarked on being a teenager, when I was asked by friends and well-meaning strangers if it had gotten harder yet, I replied that it was actually getting easier! We had created a groove using this premise: we are souls on a path together, linked permanently, and we can make our journey pleasant or unpleasant, as long as we both know we have a choice in every moment. Enlightenment simply means having a choice.

RELINQUISHING POWER

Gradually, I had to give up the power that had taken me ten years to accrue. I practiced letting go of needing to be right, needing to have the last word. I had to invent ways of smoothly releasing my power in a way that felt comfortable to both of us. I had let go of thinking I needed to teach Lily a critical life lesson during the hectic five minutes before we left for school. But I was motivated by my observation that letting go worked! Magically, after our mutual willingness to let go in any given inflamed moment, magically, we would have a moment later that evening during which she or I would remember our earlier firey episode and say, “Can we talk about it? How can we do it differently next time?” 

It truly was a miracle. I had an emotional, talkative, and occasionally offensive teenager. We were allowed to be mad at each other, but we were not allowed to blame each other, intend to hurt each other, or call each other names. And as a mother, I had to release any notion that using shame or fear to get her to behave was helpful. And, in retrospect, I see that it taught my daughter not to be susceptible to other people’s use of shame or fear to get her to do what they want her to do.

Letting go of power meant disengaging my will—right when Lily was starting to grow hers. It was almost counterintuitive. But that’s because the old script says that when the other team gets stronger, you fight even harder. 

(Look where that’s led the world.) 

We practiced—and practiced—letting go during times of conflict. It was much more difficult for me, because I had been practicing the art of holding on, of digging in, for 40-something years! I like to get my way! I have a habit of holding on to an argument—because I’m right!  Lily has inherited her share of right-ness as well, but she was more willing, in the heat and drama and attachment and escalation and resistance, to be the one to say, “Mom, let’s not do this.” She never felt like she was giving in or giving up power. This path appealed to her because it was fun and rewarding to do things in a different way.

Together we realized beyond a doubt that the only way anyone actually won was if we both let go, if we both released that ancient and undesirable feeling of digging in, of getting our way. On a larger scale, if we can’t surrender to peace in a mother-daughter relationship, how can there be peace on Earth? What would the world be like, in the future, if today’s kids learned to enjoy the peaceful art of surrender, if they learned that true power lies in mutual empowerment? Getting to the point where we truly know in each moment that we have a choice—and make a conscious one--has been our very gratifying path. 

Something about the role of mother seems to necessitate using fear and shame as behavior control. But there is a moment when it stops working--or starts working…against you. I rejected shame and fear as discipline or motivation for Lily, and I encourage other mothers to reject it with their daughters too.

Eventually Lily and I reached a new stage:  recognizing the moment of potential conflict escalation. We came to know—from experience—the heated moment was summoning us to surrender to the beauty of that moment, to the joy that potentially awaited. Today, we don’t dig in our heels; we don’t gear up to win. Before a conflict even arises, we know we are both going to win. In an ironic twist, that moment of potential conflict brings with it an element of delight—the delight of surrender. It can happen with a glance in a crowded supermarket, or with a high five in our own kitchen.

CONTINUED in Part Three


Where it Began, Part One

When Lily was five and I was taking steps to leave her father, I attended a spiritual retreat in Sedona. There were two girls in that group who were accompanying their mothers, one nine, and the other four. I was taken by the dynamics between these mothers and their daughters—their relationship seemed much more solid than ours. In addition, I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking my daughter to a retreat! I was so impressed that these little girls could witness the adults’ spiritual growth, be present while adults made key discoveries and took important steps in their adult lives, and hold space with patience and reverence.

My daughter’s not like that, I thought.  And our relationship isn’t like theirs; it’s not as deep, not as close. She prefers her dad, I realized, with regret. For the past three years he had put her to bed every night, because I simply didn’t want to anymore. We spent every day together. I had breastfed for a good long time (some even said too long), and after that, my mothering day ended when her dad arrived home from work. I would make some dinner and leave to teach yoga, a vastly more interesting activity than giving a toddler a bath. Lily and I had a certain rapport, a certain respect for each other, but I had never realized the depth of what we didn’t have until I sat in that circle with those two mothers and their daughters. When it was my turn to speak, I opened my mouth to verbalize that epiphany, to tell the 40 other people in the circle what I wished I could create with my daughter, but instead of talking, I wept. I wasn’t merely moved to tears. I wept deeply, loudly, for what I didn’t have. In retrospect, I grieved. At the end of the retreat, my intention was to return home and create what I wanted. I had no idea how; I just knew what I wanted it to look and feel like. I arrived back in Chicago open to new possibilities.

As a yoga teacher, I begin by simply being present, by listening and feeling. As a mother, I began by listening to Lily’s words, and to the feelings beneath them, wondering how we’d embark on our new path of connection. To my surprise, when I became fully present, I sensed our connection needed…a massage. I had another epiphany: I’d been giving the best of what I had to offer to my yoga clients. After Lily had stopped breastfeeding, I had relinquished the bedtime ritual to her dad, or was simply willing Lily to sleep, on the rare occasions when he was out in the evening. I sensed that just a few minutes of physical connection at the end of the day would be a gift to my daughter, just like it was to my yoga clients.  

For Lily’s first massage, I warmed the lotion in my hands, then made smooth circles on her little back. Within the first minute, she lifted her head and gazed back at me in such surprise and wonder that I too had a moment of wonder: What had I done? Were my hands too cold?

“Mommy! This feels sooo good!” She was in awe of the glory of reverent touch! It was so easy--her back was tiny, my hands comparatively large, and the connection I wanted was growing already, nonverbally. In the midst of my weeping in the Sedona circle, I didn’t imagine it would be this easy, pleasant, and fast to create what I had longed for. Our relationship grew from there. It grew from listening, from being conscious, and from teaching Lily to be conscious, rather than obedient. When asked what my “parenting style” was, I called it “enlightened parenting.”

 ENLIGHTENED PARENTING

Enlightened parenting is not the easiest path. It is certainly not well worn. It would have been easier for me to go on autopilot and parent like I was parented, with unbending authority, flavored with anger and punctuated by shame. Oh, I’m pretty good at unbending, angry authority, but I knew that in this unyielding scenario, growing girls either have to sneak around, or get in trouble if they’re caught. For other mothers, it is even easier to do the opposite: just say yes, because it causes fewer conflicts and fewer tears and no policing. That becomes their default, because isn’t life easier with a happy daughter? It can be. But what about those times when “yes” simply isn’t an option?

Sometimes, afraid to stifle her daughter’s will, a mother lets her daughter do and have what she wants. But when daughter becomes a teenager, right when the stakes are highest, she doesn’t know how to set her own limits. The mother’s goal of having an empowered daughter—a daughter whose will is not stifled--is thwarted by the daughter herself: her will to get what she wants is overdeveloped, and has become stronger than her self-discipline, her inner voice. She rushes to get what she wants, because she’s used to it. In this scenario a teenager can find herself in situations for which she is not emotionally ready.

Wherever your default parenting setting lies on the spectrum from strict to permissive, the role of “mother” is thick with expectations. I remember a significant moment when Lily was nine. I had said something she disagreed with and began to walk away. Glancing back, I noticed an expression on her face that I’d never seen before, an expression that implied, maybe you’re not actually the smartest and most beautiful woman in the world. It was arresting. It felt like the foreshadowing of adolescence that all those well-meaning strangers had warned me about. How would we navigate that? I decided then and there to do it consciously, and with support. I looked around for books, for information, for support groups, and found none. I realized then that I would have to create them!  

CONTINUED HERE


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Conscious Mothering: Be Your Own Angel

     How can we teach our daughters to be conscious? By being conscious ourselves. It takes only a change in perspective, not any extra time, to begin to alter your consciousness. That shift in perspective is easier when you have some guidance and support from other mothers. MoonBeams mother-daughter circles are a place where mothers and daughters can share an extraordinary space, slow down life a little bit, and go back to being more conscious in everyday moments. We can savor the everyday moments more when we are fully conscious, rather than replying to our daughters in a reactive, habitual way. What if, during your frustrating moments with your daughter, an angel waved a little flag that said, “Remember, she’s practicing being Powerful this month”? You would smile an inner smile and allow her the space to express her Power (which is very different from letting her run the house). 

    That “angel” waving the flag, by the way, is your own awareness. MoonBeams helps us tune into that awareness.

    Early sexualization is just another symptom of our cultural shadow. I recommend dance as a way for your growing girl to move her body sexually, without needing a partner. (There is no benefit to repressing sexual energy. There is huge benefit to not needing to prematurely share it with a partner.) Girls can learn to celebrate their own sensuality without having to do it with or FOR someone. She can learn to move her body not for someone else, but for her own personal enjoyment. Try it yourself. 

    Rather than looking in the mirror, just feel the movement, the rhythm; it’s not about whether you look cool, it’s about whether you are accessing your own deep rhythms. If you don’t know what I mean, this exercise is definitely for you! Being in touch with one’s sexuality is a positive thing; however, girls sharing it before they are emotionally mature and fully aware of what they are actually sharing rarely ends up feeling positive. For girls who are not dancers, run, ride a horse, write a poem, paint a picture, create a masterpiece in any way that inspires you—sexual energy is just creative energy, best channeled into a creative project rather than directed toward partners who probably aren’t ready to exchange sexual energy either. The safety of a mother-daughter circle is the perfect place to explore new ways of being. Fully owning one’s physicality and sexuality creates truly empowered girls. Let’s show them how it’s done. 

    MoonBeams mother-daughter circles begin every September, but we start creating groups a few months before. Please reach out if you and your 9- or 10-year-old daughter would like to join or create a group.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Role Models...a mother-daughter book excerpt

When I was growing up, there was only one female spiritual role model, and she was a virgin.  That was unquestioned, at the time--it was all I knew in my fairly insular world.  But in retrospect Mary’s virginity kept my mother, for instance, from being a goddess—an empowered spiritual role model.  It also kept me from thinking I could grow into someone whose spirit was embodied. I learned to look outside myself for spirit. My image of spirit, of God, was a grandfatherly man. There was no spiritual role model for a cool contemporary woman who was married, had kids, enjoyed sex and felt sexy, had a fulfilling career or a passion, and expressed herself creatively. There was no role model for someone who followed the Voice of her Heart. There was a lot of reaction at that time in history to the change of social visibility for women:  when I was growing up, most people still thought a woman’s place was in the home.  I knew that adage very well.  My daughter has never heard of that adage.  Those homes no doubt sheltered many women and many girls whose dreams were limited due to the lack of role models of happy, satisfied, productive, juicy women. We are blessed to be living in more evolved times, though it’s certainly not utopia—yet.

When more women started working at jobs outside the home—this shifted during my teens--it doubled the amount of “stuff” a family could afford…consequently families needed two cars, and they needed to pay for childcare so both parents could work.  Some women balanced work, parenting, and play in a fulfilling way; some women burned out.  They were transformational times, women were pioneers, yet the world was still locked into some old paradigms. There is more and more support today, like day care and longer maternity leave, but the underlying assumption is still there:  that we work so we can afford to buy good stuff, pay for a good education, so that our kids can work so they can afford to buy good stuff and a good education for their kids.  What about people who want more?  I want more.  My daughter wants more.  We both want a rich life—but a life rich with deep interaction, deep satisfaction, deep connection.  I seek that out with and for her.  Is there a role model for that yet? This “more” cannot be bought. It is an experience of Spirit—limitless happiness, not dependent on externals. Not dependent on external success. Not dependent on external “stuff.”

Today there are a range of goddesses that girls can choose from, whether they search ‘goddess’ or discover in their community the range of real women who have rocked their own worlds, who have found happy balance and creative expression.  Look around.  Simply looking at creative women as “spiritual role models” can change a girl’s life.  Instead of “What do I need to wear or own to be cool?” an aware daughter will be asking: “What do I need to be or do to make my spirit soar?”  She will know that opening up to her own inherent creativity is a sure path to an articulate inner voice and deep fulfillment.  And she will help her mother understand that too.

Look within.  See the Divinity we all embody.  Make the shift to an internal creator and an internal authority, and watch your daughter do the same.

The Divine Feminine

When you hear the word ‘Goddess’ what comes up for you? Does it remind you of granola? The new age? The antichrist? A fairy godmother? No image at all? –if not, no wonder the daughters of the world have searched for their spirit externally through clothing and makeup and video games.  You know how to reach all the important players in your life.  What about the Divine Feminine?  How do you reach Her?  Did you know that she speaks through and to your heart?  Do you know how much her presence can enrich your life?

The Goddess is requesting our presence right now in order to strengthen the feminine energy in the places where it leaks.  It is weak wherever women are in competition (including mothers and daughters!), rather than in support of, each other (around guys, around looking good physically, around appearing successful and happy and young).  Let’s not pass this leaking legacy on to our daughters.  Let’s teach them that supporting each other strengthens all of us!

What is missing from girls’ lives, what is making them grow up to be mean to each other in middle school and feel threatened by each other as though girl-bullying is a “rite” of passage—as opposed to honoring their connection to their inner voice, the voice of their heart.  They have not been taught to honor each other simply for who they are—differences are not tolerated, and often ridiculed. These girls are just speaking for a culture in which “mainstream” is honored and eccentricity is not. Being mean or being a victim of mean girls is not a rite of passage, it is a symptom of not having taught our daughters to honor themselves and each other (and, hey, us, while we’re at it.  So let’s get AT it!).

The Inner Voice—not to be ignored

Teaching your daughter how to hear and honor her inner voice—the voice of the Goddess--is priceless, because it is going to be her barometer for the rest of her life, as the rules and traditions of society modify and alter.  That is what she needs to be able to hear, above the din of media and friends and music and movies and tv shows and ads and YouTube.  Her inner voice needs to be cultivated; it is her barometer, her compass, and her direct link to the Divine Feminine.

Teaching girls to be internally empowered now will help them as teens, so they don’t spew out external power and a desire to control everyone around them...including their mothers!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Snippet from Lily: this one's for the girls!

 Which of these is the right point of view to have: thinking I’m so great, or thinking, I’m not good enough?

Let’s imagine: if we have a bunch of girls wrongly thinking, “I’m so great, better than you!” and another bunch of girls wrongly thinking, “I’m so not good enough, not as good as you!” what might happen? Often the not-good-enough-feelers will do what the so-great-feelers want, because it will make them feel better. And the so-great-feelers will feel popular and liked, when they have a following.

So who is right?  What does “right” even mean?  Who determines what or who is right? Are you great? Better than? Less than? Which is the real story?

LET’S START FROM LOVE

Maybe you have a close friend.  Maybe you have a few good friends.  Maybe more than a few.  Take a moment and feel how many friends love you.  Even the ones who sometimes give you trouble love you!  Imagine your family surrounding you.  These people love you no matter what.  You are part of a network of people, all connected by LOVE.  Draw your network of friends here, with yourself in the middle:




Stop and feel the love! Love is real! Stories are not. Whether you think you’re not as good as everyone else, or better than everyone else (or somewhere in between) those are just stories we make up to see where we fit in. 

It’s great to start from a place of love, to find out where you fit in.  Look at your drawing and see how you fit into a network of love.  Love is happening all the time, even when you are not feeling it. If you are ever not feeling it, come back here and look at your network of love, just to remind you that it’s there.

NOW WHAT?

Desire. 

I bet there is something you really want, right now.  Maybe it is more than one thing.  You want to do or be something or go somewhere or buy something or meet someone.  Think about what it is. If what you want is bringing you conflict with your self or with your mom, it is time to re-route.  Re-direct your desire.  Wanting is endless.  There will always be something to want. Sometimes we want things that will make us feel like we fit in. What if your desire could be harnessed and directed toward making you so happy, forever, so you no longer need to be or have something different, in order to be happy, or fit in?

What if your desire was to feel peaceful?  Have you ever wondered why countries go to war, and how it is that people can find reasons to kill each other?  It is a big world issue, too complex to even understand for most of us.  I ask myself:  but how can we have world peace if I can’t have peace within my own heart? How can we have world peace if I can’t have peace with my mom?  Through creating peace inside ourselves and peace between mothers and daughters we actually can help create peace on earth.  Peace begins within, with you.  Our inner voice is a peaceful voice. The inner voice tells us what to do to create peace, all the time.  It speaks peacefully to you.  That’s how you can recognize it. Do you want to learn to hear it? If so, desire is a great place to start. If you have the desire for something that does not actually feel peaceful, hmmm...go back into your inner world and see what’s up with that!

Here is my desire: “To light up what’s going on between moms and girls.”  

Sounds simple, right?  That’s what I thought, too, until I started.  I was surprised to see what happens when girls start to grow up.  As you get older and smarter, your mom seems less smart.  But guess what?  She is just as smart as ever.  It’s just that your perspective changes.  I’m here to help you change perspectives in a way that doesn’t lead to being angry with each other.

Mothers and Daughters are more alike than they are different.   But the key is remembering that! I have been told human mothers and daughters can sometimes get to feeling like they are strangers who don’t understand each other at all.  I don’t think it was meant to be that way, and that won’t be happening to you and your mom, if I can help it!

How do you want your relationship with your mom to be?  You can decide, and MAKE it like that, as long as you and your mom are both ready and cool with it.  Are you in?

Before we go any further, what do you want MORE of in your mother-daughter life together?

What do you want less of?

But before we create your relationship the way you want it to be, first you are going to learn to hear your inner voice.  Maybe you are already good at this.  Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Well, there’s no right or wrong on this adventure. 

The more you listen to your inner voice, the more interesting it will be.  There’s a lot going on!  When it knows you’re listening, the messages will get better and better.  Mine is very interesting!  It is what told me what to write in this book!  Inside YOU is where the Divine voice lives.

Decide on a time when that would work for you, a time when you can fully relax.

Once you are disconnected from the outside world, what are you going to do?  You’re going to do this book.  This book works best when you are fully unplugged.  You don’t have to unplug your computer; you have to unplug yourself from your computer.

An experiment:  Turn one thing off each day.  By choice.  Determine what it’s going to be.  Commit to and choose one THING each day to turn off for at least an hour.  Notice the feelings that come up and see what your electronic connection used to add to your life.  After getting used to not having it, make a conscious decision whether or not you want to invite it back in.  If it is adding something to your life that you like, see if there is another way of bringing this same quality in, without plugging in.  

The 10-Breath Reunion….

Every day at a time of your choice, stop to take ten breaths.  Make them conscious breaths.  What does that mean?  It means feel them.  Feel the life flowing in—if you didn’t have your breath, you wouldn’t be alive!  Let life fill you up, and feel it.  Also feel the peaceful release, like you are exhaling peace out into the Universe.  Ahhh. Know that the Goddess flows into and through you along with your breath, and give her a peaceful, happy journey during those 10 breaths.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Word from Rachel

 INTRODUCTION: HOW THIS BOOK BEGAN

Several years ago I was inspired to create a monthly gathering with my daughter, her friends, and their mothers.  We’ve been meeting monthly ever since. We voted to call our circle MoonBeams.  I imagined our girls as little beams of light, gathering once a month to shine in full splendor, just like the moon, lighting up the darkness.  Some of these monthly MoonBeams gatherings live inside me as the best evenings of my life. The girls—now teenagers—loved these evenings. I was inspired to lead mother-daughter circles by the desire that all mothers have to stay connected to our daughters through their adolescence.

Beginning when Lily was about two years old, well-meaning friends and relatives and especially strangers began to say, “Oh, just wait.  Wait till she becomes a teenager.  Enjoy her now, because…” and their voices would trail off into doom. 

Because what?  She would pierce her tongue?  Embark upon promiscuity?  Get a Mohawk?  One parenting book back then offered that the “terrible two’s” were a foreshadowing of adolescence, so I watched Lily during her two’s for a hint.  Although she was not prone to temper tantrums, her two’s did bring on a very peaceful violation of social decorum when she got into a puzzling habit of deliberately and impishly urinating on the floor.  I was not amused. How on earth would that kind of dreadful behavior manifest in adolescence? I was being programmed by well-meaning others to expect rebellion, though I actually looked forward to her maturity.  I felt, in fact, that I’d be fine…that I even liked teenagers.  I wondered, what if I gave her teen years the space to be different? Daughters, too, are programmed—by movies, songs, friends, tv--that as they get older, parents are the last things they want to have around. I was willing to have it be the opposite. What if she actually still liked me when she entered her teens? I was open to it.

REALITY STRIKES

Still—after Lily turned nine, it seemed like some preparation might prove to be helpful.  I couldn’t help but notice that she was developing a will of her own, and her will seemed to be developing a life of its own.  She was becoming less likely to acquiesce—my formerly agreeable child.  The foreshadowing of conflict on various minor occasions told me that it was time to initiate some shifts.  I could feel myself wanting to clamp down and impose some rules—which I’d never previously needed. Rules felt potentially satisfying, yet harsh. What other option was there?

I looked for a book specifically to help me guide these shifts: hers from external to internal authority, mine from full authority to co-creator, but I didn’t find the help I sought.  I wanted there to be an answer out there in the world.  There wasn’t. I pondered a new pathway. A different perspective. I knew if it weren’t fun, she’d want no part in it. I considered what I knew about kids and yoga and personal growth.  I rerouted our path.

IT WORKED!

This book is the fruit of those shifts and a description of our path.  Good news!  Our little games and exercises and secret codes were fun!  She liked them. They were harder for me than for her—I was more stuck in old ways of relating than she was.  We began to shift from potential adversaries to potential partners.  We let each other flourish rather than shutting each other down. My teenager is brilliant—far better than I--at co-creating the reality we prefer, of letting go of her fierce will and coaxing me to let go of my habitual one, so that we can coexist happily and peacefully. And we do.

As we progressed I took notes. Those notes, in the form of this book, offer mothers of daughters support in a way that lets their daughters flourish while staying safe and protected on their journey toward adolescence.  Meanwhile Lily offers daughters fun ideas and exercises to help them go from dependence to independence in a peaceful and conscious way.