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To Control Yourself… Know Yourself

One of my favorite quotes is…

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle 

 

So many parents share with me how their biggest struggle is to keep from snapping at their kiddos.

They get angry, feel resentful, and find themselves just overall frustrated….then they do or say something they wish they had not. Ouch. We have all been there. 

Many of you know I am a recovering yeller. I get it…really I do. 

So…. here’s how to work on these kind of issues in three “not so easy” steps. 

 

1- Increase moments of stillness throughout the day.

2- Study your mind and body. Be curious. 

3- Question any stressful thought that appears in your mind. (I say “appears” because we don’t make those thoughts… they just appear…we don’t need to take them so darn seriously) 

 

Do you have to sit in meditation for hours a day? Well… that would be nice and certainly something I strongly support, but if all you have is five minutes a day, start there. If all you can do is put a reminder on your calendar to pause and take a few breaths five times a day, then start there. Just increase the moments of stillness throughout the day. You can do it! 

Why study your mind and body? That sounds weird. I wish I knew any other way to free ourselves from maniacal behavior, but I just don’t. Invite the mind and body into a permanent life research project. Which thoughts are repetitive and get in your way? Where in your body do you tense up when you feel sad or angry? Where does your body light up when you feel insanely happy or a moment of simple joy? 

Questioning stressful thoughts sounds like a lot of work. Yep… pretty much. It is. I won’t lie to you. But as I’ve said… mindful parenting is not for the faint of heart. 

Sure… we can do many little things that make a HUGE difference to our mental state and well-being. But in order to transform into a truly peaceful, rational, loving parent… we all have some work to do. 

 

We are all perfect as we are… and also have some improving to do! 

 

I’m a student of Byron Katie, and have been working with my stressful thoughts using her process called “The Work” for many years. Reading her book “Loving What Is” changed my life. 

And even if you do not use that particular process, I would encourage you to first start noticing your stressful thoughts throughout the day. What are they? When do they most likely appear? 

Once you have spent some time getting to know your thoughts you can start responding to them by asking…”Is that true?”

See what the response is….

 

For a little more inspiration on working with your thoughts, you can listen to my latest podcast episode “Don’t Believe Everything You Think“.

Now get out there and get to know yourself! And let me know how it goes… I love your letters and respond to each one. 

May you meet this moment fully. May you meet this moment with kindness towards yourself and others. 

With Love,

Michelle 

Sibling Struggles, Stressors, and Solutions

Don’t you wish this blog post could solve all of the issues you have at home with siblings? 

Yeah….. me too. Yet here we are…. with siblings who may have some….. ummm….. let’s call them “challenges”.

I was inspired to write about this topic today when my youngest son marched into the kitchen this morning and announced “I don’t hate Tyler this morning!”

He was clearly proud of himself. This reality seemed revolutionary. 

We were all a bit stunned of course. I was quickly reminded of him screaming emphatically the day before how he hated his brother and he always would. 

Whew. Good morning! 

How much of this is normal, I often wonder? How do we know if they will grow out of it? Well… we don’t. I often find myself asking adult siblings if they despised each other when they were young. Most of the time the response is….absolutely! This always makes me feel just a little bit better. 

What I find when I get still (and do a little self-inquiry) is that I have a ton of my own identity caught up in raising two boys who will be close when they grow up. Siblings should be close, right? Right???

If they are close this must mean I’m a good parent (or something like that). 

The moment I turned my attention to that thought (siblings should be close and if they are close this means I’m a good parent) it began to melt away. 

Our mindfulness practice can support us in catching these thoughts and not buying too much into them. 

How about a little inquiry? You can do this on the spot or during a longer journaling session. 

Try using these three levels of awareness of thought 

1- Get to know the content of your thoughts. What are you believing? Is it true? 

2- Notice how thoughts are not real. See them as a movie playing in your mind. Watch them come and go

3- Use your meditation practice to become the one who watches the thoughts. Become a clear space of awareness that witnesses it all. 

Having stressful thoughts is just a normal part of being human. Our tendency to hold on to our beliefs is pretty extraordinary. 

Underneath most of our thoughts is simply a desire to connect to ourselves and others in a deeper way. I certainly find this to be true. 

So the next time your kiddos fight see if you can call up that sacred pause and notice the thoughts at play under your frustration. 

Let me know how it goes….

For a little more exploration of siblings you can listen in to one of my top downloaded podcasts. Enjoy me chatting with our friends Cecilia and Jason Hilkey from Happily Family

Find the Podcast: Siblings, Stressors, and Solutions HERE

 

The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm, and Joy From Morning to Evening with Laurie Cameron


The Mindful Parenting in a Messy World podcast with Michelle Gale is for parents who long to be meaningfully connected to themselves and their children, even as the demands and complexities of modern life are accelerated. Our intent is to share a collection of supportive conversations, meditations, and nuggets of practical wisdom to help you embrace the parenting journey as your greatest potential for growth. www.michellegale.com

Listen in to this practical and supportive conversation between Michelle & Laurie Cameron on how to weave mindfulness into daily life. You can check out Laurie’s new book The Mindful Day wherever books are sold.

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.

A Conversation on Fatherhood with Soren Gordhamer, Founder of Wisdom 2.0

Listen in as Michelle & Soren talk about fatherhood, parenting, and the adventures of the teen years.

Within these thirty minutes you will hopefully be inspired and gain practical ideas for living more consciously with your children.

About Soren Gordhamer

Soren Gordhamer works with individuals and groups on living with greater mindfulness and purpose in our technology-rich age. He is founder and host of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, and the author of Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected (HarperOne, 2009), one of the first books to explore living with mindfulness and wisdom within the context of our modern technology age.

Awakening Joy in Kids with James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna

Spirit Rock founder, author, and teacher James Baraz’s Awakening Joy offers his large and devoted readership a program to gain contentment and happiness by cultivating the seeds of joy within. He joins with Michele Lilyanna, a classroom teacher for 25 years, to offer caregivers and children ways to find joy in each day together.

This unique offering nourishes both adults and kids. James shares the practices for the adults—parents, caregivers, and teachers. Michele offers her own experiences as a parent and as a teacher, showing how the themes work with kids, followed by the tried and true lessons that she’s used herself in the classroom and at home.

Tune in to hear James and Michele share about their many years of working with thousands of adults and children in retreats, workshops, and the classroom.

You can purchase the book through Amazon HERE.

Learn more about James & Michele’s work, sign up for their newsletter, and learn about their course offerings HERE

Thanks for listening. If you like what you heard, please give us some stars and a favorable review at iTunes.