Have you checked out Tara at The Organic Sister yet? I've been reading her archives and I've found so much that I connect with. Her insights really resonate with me.
My favourite post from Tara is It's Not You, It's Me (Except When it's Not Me) where she talks about getting to the story behind why we act (and react) the way we do and owning our authenticity. This is the post that made me want to ask Tara to help me explore my own story.
And this is the situation that was the catalyst:
Last weekend we took the kids to Taylor Creek Park to wander and explore the valley, trees and creek. Yes, we encountered a bunch of dogs off leash, but it was another incident that made me really want to examine myself, my motives and my authenticity.
We came to a huge fallen tree and the girls wanted to climb on it. It was the perfect tree-climbing experience because none of the branches were more than 5 feet off the ground. And it was quite solid and could support a lot of climbing and bouncing.
We had been there for about 15 minutes when a mother with two kids came by. The mother kept walking with her dog while the kids, aged about 10 and 8 years, came over and started to climb on the tree right where our kids were already climbing.
I was so annoyed! No, I didn't own the tree but these are the situations that drive me to frustration. First of all, was I to be responsible for the safety of these other kids since their mother was nowhere around? Second, these kids were making the climbing unsafe for my kids since they were bigger and heavier. Third, would it have killed them to wait until we were done? Like, show a little consideration! ...which is how we would act if we wanted to play in an area where other kids were already playing.
My choices, I felt, were limited. I could either take my children and leave (showing my own children that I am a doormat) or I could ask the other children to wait until we were finished playing (and risk their mother coming over and having a big confrontation.) Neither of those choices felt authentic to me.
So I set up a coaching session with The Organic Sister.
First Tara helped me explore my feelings about those other children coming over to play on the tree. She validated how I felt and asked me to go deeper. I said that the presence of the other children made me feel a loss of control because my children's Freedom and Joy were being taken away.
Through Tara's gentle questioning we discussed why I perceive other children as a threat to the life of Freedom and Joy that I am living with my children. Is it that I didn't experience much freedom or joy as a child and so I am very protective of what I've created in my adult life?
The light bulb moment for me came when I talked about how I felt that the other children (and their mother) were being inconsiderate of us--that I don't let my kids go play on top of other kids, that I expect them to show patience and kindness. Tara asked me to think about the judgement I was holding behind that statement. I realized that I was not showing patience and kindness to the other children.
It is way outside of my comfort zone to be friendly with other people's children (unless I know them and their parents). But maybe if I had greeted the other children? Smiled at them? Asked their ages? Maybe if I had extended my authenticity towards them--my desire for Freedom and Joy, Patience and Kindness--then I would not have felt threatened by their desire to play.
Tara talked to me about being able to be authentic outside of my 'bubble'. If I am being authentic then I will be able to handle whatever situation I am in with my children. I will show them that I am not trying to guess how other people will act and react and that I am just flowing with whatever scenario plays out around me. This makes so much sense! Why would I think that I had to take my children away from the other children to protect their Freedom and Joy? Did I think that they were too fragile to experience Freedom and Joy when other children were around?
So my phone call with Tara was an excellent use of time and money. I have booked 4 sessions with her and I look forward to our next conversation. She's The Organic Sister...Because conventional wisdom just isn't natural.