anxiety

The other week I stumbled upon a writing prompt I had written in my journal with the intention of responding to it later.  It was a series of prompts to write a letter to your self that I had found while blog hopping (sorry to say I could not find the original reference- but when I Googled it there were many renditions of the letter to Self).  One of them was to write to yourself 10 years ago.  I thought I would give it a try.

 

After just writing a few sentences I was struck  by how powerful this exercise was for me.   My intuitive parent stepped right in and began to respond with such empathy I was brought to tears.  Parenting is tough, we all know that.  But sometimes we can be our own worst critic, ruminating over how we should have done things differently or comparing ourselves to other parents who don’t seem to be having such a hard time.

 

For me 10 years ago was a very significant point in time as a parent  because it was really so near  the beginning of parenthood for me (my eldest son would have been 1 1/2 years old).   Allowing myself to speak to my “new” parent self now, after 10 years, also brought to light how very important it is to continue to show the same empathy for one’s self even later on in one’s parenting career.

 

Perhaps this is something each and every  parent can give themselves as a gift for the new year.  We often talk about empathy for our children when they are going through tough times, but how about extending that empathic understanding to ourselves?

 

Here are some excerpts from my letter to my younger parent self.  The advice I give myself is relevant at any point in my parenting, even to this day when my children are (almost) 8 and 11 1/2 years old.

 

Dear Petrea,

You are a great mommy who loves your little baby boy deeply.  I know it is hard to be away from him and you feel stressed because you wish that you could give him more of your time.

You worry. Don’t let your worry take over who you are and get in the way . . .   You will have another child.  You will learn more . You will make mistakes that you regret, but you must let go of that regret, you must pay it no mind for it will eat away at you and fuel your worry, your self doubt.

Know that you are a wonderful parent, a fantastic parent.  You are human , yes, you make mistakes, yes, but you can and will learn from  them.

You are the best mom your son has, he needs you, he needs you to believe in yourself.  For when you believe in yourself as a mother, as a parent, your son will learn to believe in himself.

Don’t worry that one year has passed.  There is still time, there is always time.  You are a great parent, know that, feel that, believe that, and you will see how much easier things will be,  your life will be easier, your parenting will  be easier.

 

Let go of the past.

Walk boldly, with confidence, into the future!

Love your Wise Parent Self.

 

No matter what stage of parenting you are at, whether it is 2 months in, or 2 years, 12 years or twenty years into parenting, it’s never too late to show your self some gentle understanding and acknowledgment for all of your hard work as a parent.  Sometimes all it takes is a little perspective of time to realize the beauty of what we have done as parents.  I invite you to write a letter to your younger parent self.  For showing compassion to yourself is the first step in letting go of past “mistakes” and moving towards the intuitive parenting that we all have inside.

 

This is a guest post by Gina Rafkind and the sixth stop on her Anxiety Busting Blog Tour. Gina’s mission is to share awareness tips and tools in order to help other creative women who suffer with anxiety to wake up to their life so they can confidently unleash and share their gifts with the world. Gina says it’s time to stop being gripped by fear and hiding out, and time to create more freedom, love and connection! Enjoy!


 

 

Welcome to the Anxiety Busting Blog Tour!

What do I mean when I say “Awareness Practice”?

 

The awareness I’m talking about means to realize, or be conscious of, what’s going on in the present moment.

 

Usually when we are suffering from anxiety, we are not in the present moment. We are stuck in our head, thinking all kinds of horrible and stressful thoughts. And we are not even aware that we are thinking these thoughts……..that is where the key to healing anxiety lies…..to increasing your awareness of your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions and your life.

 

So how do we increase our awareness of life? Yep, you guessed it…..by having one or more awareness practices that you do ‘on purpose’, every day. And you know, these don’t have to be difficult or take a long time…..bet you’re glad to hear that! And once you begin to practice them, they become more and more a part of your every day rituals, positively affecting your state of being.

 

Here are some Awareness Practices you can try out:

 

  • Every time you walk through any door in your home to go outside, take a moment to look up at the sky and notice the beauty that is there….the clouds, the sky…..and just notice them.
  • Every time you enter your car, take a nice deep belly breath before you start the engine.
  • When something happens that you don’t want to happen, notice the resistance in you. Notice where this resistance lives in your body. Feel that sensation in your body, allowing it to be there for a few moments.
  • Any time someone criticizes you, notice that you want to react, but don’t, and see what happens.
  • Every morning before you get out of bed, put your hands on your belly and take 3 deep breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your belly.
  • At night when you go to bed, repeat the step above……………

 

What an awareness practice does, is it brings you back into the present moment. It does not mean that you do not feel anything, it actually means you feel everything. I know this may sound scary to some of you. But allowing your Self to feel your emotions when they surface, without judgment, is the key to healing. If you do not feel them, they will surface with even more force another day. So suppressing your feelings will not get rid of them for good……it’s only a temporary fix. When you are in the present moment, anxiety lessens. Anxiety needs you to be thinking of past events or worrying about the future in order to exist.

 

When you are in the moment, being present with ‘what is’, there is spaciousness, openness and a sense of expansion. The more you commit to an Awareness Practice, the more you will have this spaciousness and expansiveness. And when you live more from this place, anxiety takes you over less and less. And when some sort of challenge surfaces in your life, you will be able to respond in the moment and handle the challenge with more ease.

 

And how does this benefit your loved ones? It benefits them in a huge way! Here are a few of them:

 

  • You will be a role model to your children in how to respond to life challenges
  • When one of your family members pushes your buttons, you won’t react. And by not reacting, that family member is given the gift of your presence.
  • By giving your family the gift of presence, you allow them the opportunity to become present as well.
  • By allowing your family members the opportunity to become present, you give them the opportunity to heal.
  • By giving your family the opportunity to heal, you help them transform and live a fuller life.

 

So now I want to ask you something:

 

Will you commit to having some sort of Awareness Practice? Will you do it every day, on purpose?

 

Let us know below….and if you are using an Awareness Practice now and want to share, we’d love to hear it!

If you’d like to learnmore on how to heal anxiety, I have a complimentary, content-rich teleclass in which you will learn:

 

  • One of the MAIN, KEY factors that causes anxiety and how to break free from it. This key factor I will be talking about is a main player that most people with anxiety experience and bringing awareness to it will release the grip of anxiety and bring more freedom and spaciousness to your life.

 

  • During this call I will also give you a preview of my new anxiety busting program that starts on January 23, 2012 (the day of the first new moon of 2012….a wonderful time for new beginnings :).

 

Click the link below to learn more about this new program and to register to receive the free teleclass – scroll all the way down and fill out the sign up box at the very bottom.

 

Click here to visit VedaSun.*

 

inhale ~ enjoy ~ exhale,

Gina

 

 

Gina Rafkind, CPC

Holistic Anxiety Coach

Gina is a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Reflexologist, Reiki Level 3 Practitioner & Licensed Cosmetologist.

She founded VedaSun to help women bust through anxiety so they can wake up to their life and achieve their dreams. Gina does this by sharing the knowledge and wisdom she has discovered throughout her evolving journey of healing anxiety. Her passion is to share these discoveries with you so you, too, can open the channel of awareness and by ‘waking up’, live a happier and healthier life.

 

 

*(Petrea here, this is an Affiliate link, but I wouldn’t be an affiliate unless I felt it was fantastic!  Gina is a dear friend and I trust her wholeheartedly!)

 

Metaphor Monday  We interrupt regular programming to bring you this special seasonal post . . . .

 

This weekend our family attended the 12th annual Night of Dread here in Toronto. We’ve been going almost 10 years now. The thing that keeps us coming back year after year other than the spectacular parade of giant puppets, live drumming bands to groove to and a parade of community, is the facing your fears portion of the night. After the parade we gather round a large circle and the archetypal fears are called forward. One by one the fears step into the centre of the circle and community is invited to laugh at or shun the fear with “Boooo”s.  There is fear of natural disasters, fear of government aka “Prime minister Nobody”,  Toronto’s Mayoral gravy boat, fear of war, fear of consumption.  The list goes on.


After that, other big and “little” or idiosyncratic fears are called upon, each written on cardboard signs pre-made by participants prior to the parade.  Fears such as the fear of “getting into trouble” “zombies” “fear of racism” “fear of authority” to name a few. We are all called upon to repeat these fears out loud, yell them loud just before they are thrown into the cleansing fire in the middle. Its a ritual with such deep meaning, perhaps not always fully comprehended by our children though enjoyed by them just the same. They have the opportunity to see the community at large gather to protest, fight back and take control of their fears in a fun and peaceful way, all the while bringing awareness to important issues and creating a feeling of not being alone in one’s fears.

 

After this, the community (not audience as we are all participating on some level by just being there I believe) are invited to dance with death.  Every year I waltz with death.

 

This year was bitter-sweet: for not only did I have the usual feeling of gratitude for my life, but also a great sense of loss for my family, as my father-in-law had died this past spring.

The gathering was held in a large park and after the activities we took some time to visit the shrines that were scattered across the park, each lit with a small candle.  This year we participated on another level as a family.  Night of Dread invited people from the community to make shrines for loved ones who had died or to morn the loss of other tragedies such as natural disasters, pollution and so forth.  Together (while my mother-in-law watched) we built a shrine for my father-in-law.  Chris did most of the arranging of items and pictures he had picked.  My sons made a rendition of a lira, an instrument that their grandfather’s father use to play.

As we walked among the collective shrines that night we saw a shrine for the earth, one for Haiti, pet cats, John Lennon and others loved ones who had died.

My sons made a lira to hang in their grandfather's shrine

 

This multimodal approach to fears is what kids need. Talking about fears is useless to kids because being rational is not a part of one’s fears.  Kid’s know that there are no monsters under the bed but they feel them there anyway. Through ritual, these fears can be acknowledged, accepted and released.

 

Are You Carrying Around Too Much?


 

Well, I took a week off from doing Metaphor Monday in keeping with my self-care practice: practicing what I preach.  I have just been super busy this last week or so.  I figured there is no need to get all worked up and tense then carry that baggage of “oh I failed because I missed a week of Metaphor Monday” I said to myself.   So without further ado, here is this week’s Metaphor Monday; the last of the Temagami-nature-inspired  metaphors for this year.   I’ve made a short video for this Metaphor, taken from one of our portages.  I hope you enjoy it!

When we go canoe camping we have to pack light and be practical about what we take with us.  We need to pare down in preparation for our portages which obviously will be more difficult if we have too much baggage.  After all we want to be able to enjoy the scenery when we portage.

When we set up camp we take out what we need and put it back right after, rearranging it at that time to balance the load.  And every time we have a meal it makes for a lighter load.

As parents we all  have baggage that we carry with us from our past into our present experiences with our children.  Some of it may be useful, like when you use your own experiences as a child to guide you towards parenting in a way that is best for your child (and not necessarily the way you were parented).  Some of our baggage that we carry can interfere with our ability to parent to our best  because we get so weighed down emotionally from our baggage.

Sometimes we pass this baggage on to our children unwittingly when we put expectations on them that are too high.  Expectations that our parents had of us. Expectations that we feel we should have because other parents do. Expectations that ultimately our children feel they need to live up to, and when they don’t they carry this baggage around with them continuing the cycle.

Sometimes we need to remember to unload some of the luggage we carry piece by piece, carefully holding on to what serves us well, what feeds our soul, memories that teach us. We need to take care that we shift our load around to balance it out when we do. Sometimes that may mean replacing our baggage with more efficient, positive lighter things.

 

6 Ways to Avoid Being Bugged

Welcome to the continuation of last weeks Metaphor Monday about being bugged by your children’s behaviour.  This week I share some ideas on how to protect yourself from being so “bugged”.

 

 

 

Don’t get so bugged . . .

 

Today’s parenting metaphor takes a closer look at why we sometimes are bothered by our kids.  Filmed in Temagami and  inpsired by nature, while we were canoe camping this past August.

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