Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

A New Kind of Time Out

Most of us are rather enlightened parents these days.  When our children hit or scream or take another child’s toy, we don’t spank them.  We put them in time out.

There they sit, one minute for every year old, contemplating their transgressions and regrouping.  They take a break from out-of-control emotions and behaviors and call on inner resources and external support systems to return to a harmonious state.

As I walk through our modern world, watching adults running like hamsters on treadmills and children getting exercise from wii and x-box games, I wonder:

If children had more time out(side) and time off, would they still need time outs?

We live in an age of over-stimulation and overwhelm.  For all of our time-saving devices, we work more and sleep and relax less than humans of times past.

Children need time off from school and from schedules. They need to have time to do nothing and time to do whatever they want.

There are studies that validate the importance of play in the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.  But we don’t need studies.  Be observing our children at play, we can see this natural development in action.

IMG_20110808_111243When my children were 13, 11 and 8, they often played in our yard with the neighbors (12 and 10). They figured out how to play kick-ball and other games in a way that was fair. They made adjustments for ages, special needs or extra skills (my middle child is autistic), number of children out playing that day.

“Sarah and I get only two outs and the boys get three,” my daughter informed me one day.  The next day, if three or four of them wanted to play, they found another solution.  No adults mediated or suggested anything.  When they are red-cheeked and sweaty, they reach for water and flop on the grass to rest.

Implementing the New Time Out

Amidst school or homeschool activities, sports, music, and dance schedules, and work obligations of parents, it can be challenging to find a way to, as my children say, chillax.  Here are some ideas to get started:

1.      Take a Mental Health Day away from school.

Let the kids stay home and do nothing once in a while.  This may keep them balanced and healthy so they don’t have to get sick to get a break.

2.      Schedule at least one day per week with no planned activities.

For us, this is Sunday.  We all look forward to it.

3.      Encourage free play.

Let the children fill their own time.  Save your boxes and paper towel rolls and see what happens, even if your children are in middle school or high school.

4.      Spend time outdoors that is not in organized sports.

Children love to make up their own games or explore.  You don’t have to do anything (beyond ensuring safety).  They will create worlds, climb trees, and make their own fun.

2805_70655739737_5197931_n5.      Be Silly.

I’m not good at silly, but the children love it.  So Daddy takes over and they giggle and scare each other and tell jokes.  If you need help, share your children with an adult who knows how to have fun.

6.      Go All the Way:  Take a Year Off

Consider how you can take a Really Big Time Out.  Take a vacation.  Homeschool.  Travel.  Enjoy.

Check out these families who did it.

One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children by David Elliot Cohen

The Family Sabbatical Handbook: The Budget Guide To Living Abroad With Your Family by Elisa Bernick

Benefits of the New Time Out

There is a Sufi tale that tells of a scholar being ferried by Nasrudin across a body of water.

“Have you learned mathematics?” he asks the ferry-man.

“No,” Nasrudin replies.

“Do you understand the sciences?” he continued.

“No,” Nasrudin answered.

Next, the scholar chided Nasrudin for his ungrammatical language, and, hearing that the boat-man never went to school exclaimed, “Half of your life has been wasted!”

Shortly afterwards, Nasrudin asked him: “Did you learn to swim?”

“No, I did not,” replied the scholar.

“Well, in this case it seems all your life has been wasted.  We are sinking,” said Nasrudin.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are useful skills.  Proficiency in sports, music, and arts can bring much enjoyment.  But over-planning and over-scheduling may produce an ignorance of how to live.

After I post this, I will go and enjoy my own time out(side).  I hope that after your read, you will too.

Want to believe this is possible but don’t?  Join me starting January 2014 and shift to joyful thinking and easier living. More information coming soon.

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How to Discover the Wisdom of the World

I’ve learned from reading parenting books. I learn by reading blogs of autistic individuals. I learn by living life. But my favorite way of expanding my awareness is by reading fiction.

In recent months, I have experienced unexplained trepidation. I seem to have lost  understanding of what I once understood. I have more questions than answers. I’ve pursued common-sense solutions (eating better, moving more, spending time outdoors), but remain stuck. And so, I reach deep into the fictional story of Paulo Coelho’s Brida, hoping that I will learn from her journey as I seek to unravel some mysteries of my experience.

Discovering the Answers to Your Questions

Each of us must discover the answers to her own questions in her own way.  Brida learns that there are four paths to discovering the wisdom of the world, four Rings of Revelation that a woman can use. (pp. 62 – 63)

The Ring of the Virgin

The Virgin needs no one.  She does not wear herself out by loving others.  Through Solitude, she discovers the wisdom of the world.

The Ring of the Saint

The Saint has the courage of those for whom giving is the only way of receiving.  The Saint offers everything for others.  Through Surrender, the Saint discovers the wisdom of the world.

The Ring of the Martyr

The Martyr has the power of those who cannot be harmed by pain and suffering.  She surrenders herself, suffers, and through Sacrifice, discovers the wisdom of the world.

The Ring of the Witch

The Witch discovers the wisdom of the world through Pleasure.

Which ring will you choose?

Do you recognize your own path in one of the above descriptions?  All paths are worthy, but if we can choose to learn through solitude or sacrifice or suffering or pleasure, which would you prefer?

Brida’s wisdom teachers tell her that “In her life, every woman can make use of the Four Rings of Revelation.”  In my life, I’ve worn each of the rings. I  believe that to every thing there is a season. Yet when I consider how I want to experience life, I realize that I yearn to wear the Ring of the Witch. I want to grow through joy.

Pleasure for Parents

Magic is a bridge, a bridge that allows you to walk from the visible world over into the invisible world, and to learn the lessons of both those worlds.(p. 10)

I suspect that all of the readers of this blog practice a bit of the above kind of magic daily.  We find bridges that connect us to our children.  We build bridges that allow our children to step safely into this world.  We understand that it is all one world – and that our children experience the world in a way that most of us do not yet understand.

the age of miracles is returningand no one can remain indifferent to the changes the world is beginning to experience…Anyone not already following their own path will begin to feel dissatisfied with themselves and be forced to make a choice:  they will either have to accept an existence beset with disappointment and pain or else come to realize that everyone was born to be happy.” (p. 199)

Here are a few more quotes to propel you in shifting your beliefs:

page 203:

“Never be ashamed.  Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup.  All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.

How will I know which is which?

By the taste.  You can only know a good wine if you have first tasted a bad one.” 

 page 11

“When you find your path, you must not be afraid.  You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes.  Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.

 page 26

“You must get used to the fact that there are many things in magic which are not and never will be explained. God decided to do certain things in a certain way and why He did this is a secret known only to Him.”

page  42

“But the path of magic – like the path of life – is and always will be the path of Mystery. Learning something means coming into contact with a world of which you know nothing.

page  74

“It isn’t explanations that carry us forward, it’s our desire to go on.”


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Tapping into Stress Relief

I am sometimes asked how I stay so calm with my children. The truth is, I’m not always calm, but I have come a long way. One of the tools that helped me get here is meridian tapping.

Since I learned about EFT (a type of meridian tapping) in 2010, it has gone mainstream, and with good reason. By tapping on a few specific points on your body,  you can dramatically reduce your stress level, often in just a few minutes.

Meridian Tapping is a technique that combines talking about a problem and tapping on meridian points to bring about different, more comfortable feelings about it.

 

A Bit More Information

Meridian Tapping Techniques are an emotional, needle-free version of acupuncture, Tapping on certain meridian points with the fingertips shifts energy and can help us to regain our equilibrium. Since emotional stress can contribute to discomfort, EFT often provides astonishing relief.

Click here to learn how to tap with my Super-Easy Tapping Guide.

Why do we need to deal with emotions?

E-motions are energy in motion.  Energy is the invisible foundation for health in the body.  The body is composed of energy pathways and energy centers that are in a dynamic interplay with the cells, organs, moods, and thoughts.

When we shift these energies using homeopathic remedies or meridian stimulation techniques, we influence our health, emotions, and state of mind.

Tap for Stress-Reduction

  • Think of something that troubles you.
    • Where do you feel it?
    • On a scale from 1 to 10, how intense is this feeling?
  • Now, focusing on this feeling, begin tapping on your karate chop point with your other hand.  Say, “Even though I have (this feeling), I am a really good person.”
  • How do you feel now?
    • How intense is that feeling on a scale of 1 to 10?
    • Did you think of anything while tapping?
      • If yes, you can tap on this new feeling or memory.

When to Use EFT

Whenever you feel

  • stressed,
  • frustrated,
  • sad,
  • angry.

What to Say While Tapping

Begin tapping on the Karate Chop point while saying the following set-up phrases.

  • Even though I am so frustrated, I want to love and accept myself anyway.
  • Even though I am so stressed, I want to accept and forgive myself.
  • Even though this is really crazy, I love myself and am willing to try this way to calm myself.
TH: I just want to have one ordinary normal day.
EB: Even a nice, normal hour.
OE: My whole body is tense.
UE: The stress is really getting to me.
UN: I eat too much (or not enough).
CH: I don’t have any time for myself.
CB: I have to manage every minute of every day.
UA: I feel so alone.
UN: I feel scared.
Thumb: Sad.
IF: Overwhelmed.
MF: Angry.
RF: Sad.
LF: Angry.
  • ET I have this difficult life, I am willing to consider the possibility that it can be easier.
  • ET I feel angry and frustrated, I am open to the idea that I can find peace in my days.
  • ET I feel like I can’t take it anymore, I am a good mother.
TH: My life is very challenging.
EB: I am handling it well.
OE: I make lots of mistakes.
UE: I also do a lot of things right.
UN: The stress of having this child is difficult sometimes.
CH: There are also times of great joy.
CB: Sometimes I want to go hide or run away.
UA: Sometimes I am grateful for the privilege of being with this amazing kid.
UN: I’m doing a good job.
Thumb: Nobody understands.
IF: I’m sad.
MF: Angry.
RF: Frustrated.
LF: I am doing my best.
  • ET I have a challenging life, I choose to embrace it with grace.
  • ET I get so stressed sometimes, I choose to find a way to find peace and relief.
  • ET I sometimes wish it was different for me, I choose to love the life and the child I have.
TH: I choose to be strong.
EB: I choose to forgive myself as often as necessary.
OE: I choose to forgive my spouse when he/she does not do enough.
UE: I choose to forgive my child(ren) for annoying me.
UN: I choose to be easy on myself.
CH: I choose to find time for myself every day.
CB: I choose to have joy in my life.
UA: I choose to have peace in my life.
UN: I am o.k.
Thumb: I choose to love myself.
IF: I choose to be easy on myself.
MF: I am o.k.
RF: I am o.k.
LF: I am o.k.

If, as you are tapping along with the script, you think of another issue or feeling, tap on it.  If you feel a sensation in your body, tap on it.

For example, if you begin to feel a tightness in your throat while tapping, go back to the Karate Chop Point and use a set-up phrase like, “Even though I have this intense tightness in my throat, I want to love myself anyway.”

As you tap through the points, use a simple reminder phrase such as, “This tightness in my throat.”  If the sensation changes again, change your words while continuing to tap through the points.  For example, “This choking feeling in my throat.”

The tapping scripts are provided to give you an idea of how to start and to get the feel of using EFT.  It is always more important to use your own words than mine. Trust yourself.  Notice what comes up.  Tap on it without judging yourself or the feeling.

When I first read about EFT, I was intrigued.  Yet when I tried it for myself, I was not impressed.  Nothing seemed to happen.  I hope that your experience is different.  I will not go into all of the reasons that it did not work for me.  However, since I am now an EFT practitioner and proponent and use EFT for myself constantly, I want you to know that what made a difference for me was having a session with an EFT practitioner.  About 45 minutes into my first session, I experienced a huge emotional release and understood the value of this technique.

If you would like to experience a guided EFT/meridian taping session, please contact me. Free tapping circles for mothers coming soon.

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