Last week, I found myself in a multi-leveled parking garage at the MARTA station in Atlanta, walking around clicking my remote to locate my car. That morning, in my haste to arrive at my destination on time, I had failed to make note of which level and section I parked in. After 20 minutes, I heard the faint beep several levels below. I finally located my car!
Once in my car and on my way home, I began to think about how this incident applied to my own life. I am a doer! I thrive on organizing, making lists, accomplishing tasks, getting things done. On my healing journey, I have begun to realize that it is my way of making order out of chaos. It is my “safe place” where I don’t deal with feelings and emotions.
However, I am also learning this stops me from being present. Being a doer keeps me from connecting to myself, my family and my loved ones on a deeper level. How often in life am I not present to my impact on my husband because I am caught up in getting a project completed? When was the last time that I missed the cues in my son’s voice as he wanted to tell me more about the challenges of balancing work, life, family and the addition of a new baby? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I complained about the tension in my shoulders without realizing that I am not making enough time for self-care?
So, how does one undo years of “doing” and grow to be more present? First, it must start with being more connected to myself. For me, the awareness began a long time ago, but I fought it tooth and nail, always falling back into what I knew—the familiarity of doing. But just over four years ago, my husband and I moved to Georgia for his work and I found myself without all the “doer hats” that I had been wearing.
I struggled to find what I was supposed to “do.” I read “Who Moved the Cheese?”, “What Color is My Parachute?” and I did a bunch of crying, praying and meditating. Finding a nearby yoga studio gave me the opportunity to become more self-aware and taught me incredible lessons about being more flexible and letting things to flow. Joining a community band allowed me to reconnect with the love and joy of creating music with others while playing my flute.
Over the past few years, I have discovered my passion for working with others as they begin to heal their relationships and their families. Over and over, I am reminded that healing is a process of being intentional, takes being present and involves peeling back layer after layer to discover our true self. It takes a willingness to do the work.
“Recovery of Your Inner Child” is a book that is helping me to heal. The author Lucia Capacchione says, “For us to be fully human, the Child Within must be embraced and expressed…Inside every adult, there is a child crying, ‘Let me out.’” Look for more on this in future blogs.
If you would like support on your own healing journey, please go to my website and connect with me. www.coachmyrna.org
When I was a preschool and kindergarten teacher, I had a marble jar, often called the “Good Choices Jar.” The idea behind the jar was simply that I put marbles in when the students were helping each other, making good choices and cooperating together. When students were hurtful or mean, marbles had to be taken out of the jar. A filled jar of marbles meant a “Good Choices Party” that the students helped to plan.
In Brené Brown’s novel “Daring Greatly,” she shares a story of her young daughter, Ellen, coming home from third grade sobbing. Brené was finally able to figure out that Ellen had told some friends something in confidence but by the end of recess, the whole class knew. They were laughing and making fun of her. When her daughter announced, “I will never trust anyone again,” Brené was struggling to find a way to help her.
It turns out, her daughter’s teacher used a marble jar in her classroom, so she used the concept to explain how trust is built. She told her, “Trust is like a marble jar. You share those hard stories and hard things that are happening to you with friends who over time you’ve filled up their marble jar.” They talked about what marble jar friends look like:
Wouldn’t this be a great conversation to have with your child, youth or even young adult? We can guide our children in making friend choices and understanding the role that trust plays in those relationships. To see the whole Brené Brown TED talk on this, brenebrown.com/videos/anatomy-trust-video/
Trust is built one marble at a time.
Recently on a bucket-list trip to the Mediterranean, my husband Michael and I had the opportunity to experience the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church) in Barcelona, Spain. An icon of the city, the Sagrada Familia boast bold, wildly creative, organic architecture and décor inside and out and is still a work in progress. In fact, the term gaudy comes from the name of the initial architect—Antoni Gaudi.
Begun in 1883 under the guidance and direction of Antoni Gaudi, it is an unusual masterpiece that is set to be finished in 2026. Despite his boldly modern architectural vision, Gaudi was a traditional and deeply religious man who designed the Sagrada Familia to be a place of solid Christine values amid what was a humble workers’ colony in a fast-changing city.
When he died, only one section of the church—the Nativity Façade—had been completed. The rest of the work has been inspired by his vision, but he knew that he wouldn’t live to complete it—thus allowing space for others to bring their own inspiration and faith to the project.
I am reminded how we need this long view in our families. Investing in our children isn’t only for today. It is for who they will become, the families they will have, and the grandchildren that will be born and grow up.
We must challenge ourselves to allow the process to unfold, not micromanaging every detail and over stressing about the future. Rather, like Gaudi, let’s provide support, guidance, vision, inspiration and trust for our children, youth and young adults as we imagine the way they will impact the future.
In her book “Letter to My Daughter,” Maya Angelou writes about her mother’s long view. When Ms. Angelou was twenty-two with a young son, two jobs, rented rooms and very little money, she was also fiercely independent and didn’t want to accept support from her mother, Ms. Vivian Baxter. Her mother, a successful businesswoman, was supportive and encouraged Maya’s self-reliance. Once a month, they did have a standing appointment to have lunch at her mother’s lavish home.
On one such occasion, Ms. Baxter spoke the words to Maya Angelou that reached into the future and guided her towards it, “Baby, I’ve been thinking and now I am sure. You are the greatest woman I’ve ever met. You are kind and very intelligent and those elements are not always found together. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and my mother—yes, you belong in that category. Here, give me a kiss.”
I touch the future, I parent!
By Dr. Charles Fay, loveandlogic.com
Many parents ask, “Is it really possible to raise well-adjusted kids while at the same time trying to manage an incredibly hectic and stressful work and family life?” One mom described their situation:
We try to live a simple, frugal lifestyle. Even with keeping our spending as low as possible, both of us still have to work full schedules just to provide for the basics. With three young children things get crazy. The house almost always feels like a mess, and we have very little time and energy left over to spend with the kids. Both of us feel horribly guilty about this much of the time.
Some parents spend almost no time with their kids because they are addicted to work, addicted to buying extra stuff, addicted to selfish activities or all three. Many others, however, find themselves having to work their fingers to the bone because they simply don’t have a choice. Here are some words of encouragement… and some tips… for this second type:
• Many well-adjusted adults grew up with exceptionally busy parents.
The key seems to be this: As children, they were not shielded from their family’s economic struggles. Their parents were honest about the challenges and consistently modeled hopeful, positive attitudes. As such, they internalized the truth that they were deeply loved even though their parents weren’t able to spend as much time with them as they wanted.
• Remember that guilt often interferes with good parenting.
When we allow guilt to interfere with our ability to set and enforce loving limits and expectations, our kids suffer.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help with supervision.
Kids of all ages need good supervision. Without it, even very good kids often get involved in drugs, alcohol, early sex, and other high-risk behaviors.
• You are doing a good and noble thing by taking care of the needs of your family.
This is wonderful modeling, and it sends a powerful message of love to your kids.