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You don’t agree with me? Now what?

Many of us have no idea where to begin when we find ourselves across from someone who we disagree with. The words fight, flight, or freeze come to mind as our ineffective toolkit of responses. How is that working for you? Not so well for me…

Difficult conversations don’t need to be quite so… difficult.

With a little curiosity, effort, care, and courage any of us can learn to lean in to these moments with more skill. One of my favorite resources to guide my way is a book called Fierce Conversations written by Susan Scott. She shares seven principles to communicate more effectively with one of your kiddos, your partner, a colleague, or anyone else you find yourself not seeing eye to eye.  

First of all… fierce means real!  Seriously real. How many times do we say yes when we mean no, pretend we feel one way when it’s really another, or don’t say anything at all when we are hurting inside? Each conversation we have with others brings us closer together or farther apart. Make a commitment to nurture the relationship by honoring how you feel and relating to what they have to say. Lean in with serious authenticity and a willingness to make the conversation genuine.

Be Courageous and Interrogate Reality

The truth is… reality changes. What was true about our ten year old a few weeks ago can be very different today. Take a long hard look at the reality of the difficult situation in front of you. Is what you are thinking and believing true? As Byron Katie would ask us… “who would you be without your story?”

Choose Authenticity

This chapter in the book is titled, Come Out from Behind Yourself into the Conversation and Make It Real. Who are you, or who do you wish to be authentically? Are you courageous enough to shine a light deep within and speak your truth? What truly matters for you about this difficult conversation? It’s probably not really that your partner left the dishes in the sink, but more connected to cooperation, respect, or dependability. How about having that conversation?

Practice Mindful Listening

During a difficult situation can you pause for a moment to become present, to be in this moment fully and completely? Can you listen to and speak to the person in front you, while putting aside any stories you may have in your mind from the past fogging things up? Everyone longs to be known and seen for who we are and what we are in this moment.

Meet Your Worst Struggles Head on Today

What happens when we put off dealing with the tough stuff? We almost always make matters worse, and the problem seems to grow, almost taking on a life of its own within our psyche. Your toughest challenges stand between you and the peace and happiness you long for. The things hardest to discuss hold our freedom in chains. This includes stuff like speaking openly and honestly to your teen about relationships, intimacy, and sex. Just do it!

Never Underestimate Your Intuition

Pay attention to the wisdom of your body. Messages are coming to you all day, every day if you are willing to slow down and listen. Tap into this intelligence and trust what is coming through. Discuss it with trusted family members, friends, and colleagues. Abide by the voice within.  

Take Responsibility for Your Emotional Wake

Nothing you say to your children or anyone else is meaningless. You have no idea how what you might have said has impacted another. Intention does not always match impact.  Conversations are a key part of relationships. Own up to all of the words and messages you put out into the world. Be prepared to address how you might have made someone else feel.

Honor The Gifts Silence Gives Us

Most of us say way too many words. Seriously. Way too many. Can you be still and quiet when in an uncomfortable conversation? What is your relationship to silence? Deeper feelings and hurts often emerge within this space. Silence makes most of us nervous, but it also slows everything down. Insight emerges in the spaces between our thoughts.

Meeting challenges with others is never easy. However, these moments can bring us even closer together when we are willing to bring our full authentic selves to the relationship and to the moment. Which fierce conversation is waiting for you?

Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster with Linda Graham

Resilience is the learned capacity to cope with any level of adversity, from a series of small annoyances to the struggles and sorrows that break our hearts to the utter disasters that change our lives forever.  

Resilience is essential for surviving and thriving in a world full of troubles and tragedies, and it is completely trainable and recoverable – when we know how.

Lindas new book has more than 130 evidenced-based tools to help you cope with anything, anything at all.

A step-by-step process to strengthen the foundations of resilience:

Somatic Intelligence: body-based tools to restore our baseline physiological equilibrium, and inner sense of safety, the range of resilience that primes the brain’s neuroplasticity for learning and growth.

Emotional Intelligence:  managing the full range of emotions, empathizing with and managing reactions to other people’s emotions, cultivate practices to antidote the innate negativity bias of the brain and reliable shift the functioning of the brain out of reactivity and contraction into more openness, receptivity. Not just to feel better but to do better.

Relational Intelligence within Oneself:  Using self-awareness and self-acceptance practices to foster inner capacities of response flexibility and claim and inner secure base of resilience, the “home base” of a wise, trustworthy, courageous self.

Relational Intelligence with Others:  learning how to engage with other people, in both intimate and social relationships, in ways that allow you to trust and connect with them as refuges and resources of resilience.

Reflective Intelligence: cultivating the mindful awareness that allows us to see clearly what’s happening (and our reactions to what’s happening) shift perspectives, rewire habitual thought patterns that block response flexibility , discern options and make wise choices.

 

LINDA GRAHAM, MFT is an experienced psychotherapist, coach, and trainer in the recovery of resilience. She integrates practices of mindfulness, relational psychology, and modern neuroscience in her international trainings, workshops and conferences.

 

You can learn more about Linda at https://lindagraham-mft.net/

Reflecting on Childhood, Sleep, Full Hearts and Big Hugs with Andrew Newman

Join Michelle & Andrew as they chat about conscious parenting. Andrew Newman has followed his deep longing for connection and his passion for spiritual development in a 12-year-long study of healing. His unique series of books are part of The Conscious Bedtime Story Club where you can also support his kickstarter campaign to bring his latest two books into the world.

Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World, with Debbie Reber

 

Right now, millions of children are growing up in a world that doesn’t respect, support, or embrace who they inherently are.

These are children Debbie refers to as “differently wired”—the kids with neurodifferences such as ADHD, giftedness, autism, learning disorders, and anxiety, as well as those with no formal diagnosis, who are being told day in and day out that there is something wrong with them. And because their differences are for the most part invisible, these kids are stuck trying to fit into a world that wasn’t designed to accommodate their unique way of being.

Their challenges are many. But for the parents who love them, their challenges are just as hard. They’re the parents frequently fielding emails from frustrated teachers and dealing with glares when their children behave inappropriately in public. They’re the exhausted moms and dads pushed into nonstop advocacy mode, the ones whose kids people think twice about inviting to their child’s birthday party. They’re overwhelmed, misunderstood, and isolated, which is ironic considering their kids are in every classroom across the country. Debbie knows this because she is one of these parents.

DIFFERENTLY WIRED lays out a new vision for not only redefining the way neurodiversity is perceived in the world, but shifting the parenting paradigm so parents raising extraordinary kids can do so from a place of peace, joy, and most importantly, choice.

Each chapter in the book centers on one big tangible idea—or as Debbie calls them, “Tilts”—that will shift parents’ thinking and actions in a way that will change not only the family dynamic, but will allow for these unique children to fully realize their best selves. By making these shifts, parents everywhere will be rejecting what’s broken in the status quo. And that leads to moving the world closer to a place where difference is genuinely seen and valued.

Debbie Reber moved her career in a more personal direction in 2016 when she founded TiLT Parenting, a website, top parenting podcast (more than 250k downloads), and social media community for parents like her who are raising differently-wired children. Debbie’s newest book, Differently Wired: Raising Exceptional Kids in a Conventional World, was published by Workman Books in June 2018. She currently lives with her son and husband in the Netherlands.

Visit Debbie at www.debbiereber.com

Anyone else counting the days until school starts again?

I LOVE the routine of the school year. Sure…sometimes someone is home sick or some other bump in the road appears, but in general I have some semblance of certainty as to when I can get my work done. Then the weekend comes and we can PLAY! I also LOVE working from home…but not so much during the summer months. And yes, I’m sure if we were heading off to some tropical location or lake house for the summer I might feel differently. But alas…that is not the case. Mindful parenting in just harder when the kids are out of school, let’s face it. 

So what to do?

I’m leaning in to some old standbys here because they are just so good. 

Breathing 

My kids have interrupted me about fifteen times today while I’ve been in the midst of some kind of creative work. After the fifth time or so I caught on to the tension I was feeling each time the door started to creak, so I began to focus on one inhale and one exhale each time that door began to swing open. All of a sudden I was a little bit happier to see them. 🙂

Gratitude

I’ve started a little notebook where I’m jotting down everything I feel grateful for a few times a day. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain and unshackles us from toxic emotions. It’s hard to be all grumpy about summer when you are writing down what you are grateful for. Plus, who is grumpy about summer? So strange right? 

Taking Mini-Breaks

I mean duh…this SEEMS so obvious. I’m fairly sure I have been hiding out in my office to avoid listening to my children tell me how bored they are…which leads to less breaks than usual. I started taking a walk in the sunshine mid way through my workday while reminding myself how valuable boredom and mind wandering are for my children. Let them be bored! It’s good for them. Really it is. My little walks also help soothe the guilt I might be feeling about us not being on vacation this summer.

And about that GUILT… I can hear you thinking “why should you be guilty about not going on vacation?”

You are so RIGHT

If I get still and u-turn around to what is going on within me, it’s pretty clear I’m stuck in the loop of my mind telling me what we “should” be doing this summer. As if anything should be any different than it is right now. I can also sense a longing to slow down a little more with family and friends. It’s so easy to see the to-list and just keep going… and then feel guilty afterward. So silly we are. 

With all that said, I am going to continue breathing a little more intentionally, focusing on what I’m grateful for, and taking more breaks. Will you join me? 

These long days and warm nights aren’t so bad either…

How is your summer going? 

I’d love to hear stories of sun, struggle, fun, and bored to tears kids driving you nutty. 

With Love,

Michelle 

As we rise, our children rise…and other nuggets of parenting wisdom with Tami Astorino

This week, Join Tami and Michelle as they explore why nurturing ourselves nurtures our children. Tami Astorino, M.Ed. is the Co-Creator or Rise Gatherings. Tami is a national speaker, yoga instructor, educator and plant nutrition enthusiast who facilitates classes and retreat experiences to empower women.  She combines her 25 years of experience in the fields of counseling psychology and fitness to create opportunities for people to grow and experience more joy. Her organization, Rise Gatherings, provides day and weekend retreat experiences where women gather to raise their voices and spirits. www.risegatherings.com

Should you decide to join us for the annual retreat weekend May 18th-20th please use the code MICHELLE to receive $100 off the cost of your ticket.

If you love this podcast please head over to iTunes to leave a review and don’t forget to check out Michelle’s book “Mindful Parenting in a Messy World” at Amazon.

Tales From The Road: One Families Experience Traveling Across The US

Join us as Michelle chats with Aaron and Megan Schiller about their epic adventure traveling across the United States for three months in an Airstream trailer with their two daughters.

Megan and Aaron Schiller are the hosts of Muse & The Catalyst, a podcast about getting inspired and taking action to create the life of your dreams. Megan is the founder of The Art Pantry, a design studio specializing in children’s creative play spaces. Aaron is a life coach who works with parents focused on their personal, spiritual, and professional growth. They are the parents of two girls, ages 9 and 5, and live in Mill Valley, Ca.