A mom in my current Clean Parenting™ group described the following practice in our Facebook group yesterday, and I immediately asked her if she might give me permission to publish it.
And she did!
I'm excited to share this practice and to have you try it because, in order to fully thrive, as humans, we need to be at peace in our hearts.
And for that to happen, we need to have a way to process the little traumas, stresses, upsets and tricky situations that we are faced with daily.
The most powerful way I've found to achieve this is to name those emotions, sensations and experiences in the loving and supportive presence of another, and to then feel them fully, until they release organically.
Facilitating this is the bulk of the work I do in private healing sessions (and sometimes group calls,) and the results in the parents I work with on a regular basis are remarkable.
But I unfortunately became very skilled in this only after my children had grown, so I don't have a lot of experience facilitating young children.
Which is why I got so excited when Sofia, the wise mama in my Clean Parenting group, shared the following!!
So please read on and, if it resonates with you, try it and let us know in the comments section of this article how it works out for you.
Even if it feels a little awkward, if you feel self-conscious. See if you can maybe stretch out of your comfort zone a little.
Because, having facilitated healing work for years, and having had my own practices for decades, I KNOW how powerful such a simple practice can be.
It should be noted that, in my experience, a lot of its power lies in its regularity.
Not only does having a regular practice help us clear the past so that we can move forward in a lighter way (and sleep more easily!) but it also makes the challenging present easier to cope with, knowing we can count on having an effective way to process whatever we're going through later.
So adding the following practice (or your own version of it) to your daily routine could lead to massive shifts in the quality of your children's and therefore family's life.
And it could be an important component to bringing you to what I call family homeostasis, which is my goal for all families who desire it, consciously or not. ♥
Guest post by Sofia Landon
"Bedtime can be a challenging transition for so many families. If your child is like mine, this is the time when all the sad, scary thoughts bubble up to the surface, after being pushed aside during her busy days. The slowing down, the quiet, the darkness…all these things create space for the more difficult feelings and thoughts to surface. Of course, this is the exact same time that parents often have the least energy, patience and leftover reserves!
It was in one of these moments at bedtime, when I was exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep, and my daughter Siena was once again crying, overwhelmed with all the sad and scary thoughts, that an idea for a new approach for supporting her arose. This approach – disguised as an interactive puppet show - soon became our regular nighttime practice. My daughter loves it so much, that she will remind me we need to do it if she thinks that I have forgotten.
The idea behind the practice is to give the child a structure to separate out and name each sad or scared thought, so that it can be lovingly seen and met. In this way, they don’t jumble all together, leading to overwhelm. The practice also allows the child to get a little healthy distance from each sad or scared thought/feeling so that instead of collapsing into the emotions, they can engage with it and learn to meet it with presence and gentleness. Lastly, because the practice has the feeling of an interactive puppet show, it can bring lightness and playfulness at just the right moments.
It goes like this:
I start by speaking directly to Siena’s heart. I speak to her heart as if it can hear me as a distinct part of Siena.
I say, “Siena’s Heart, it’s time for all the sad and scared thoughts to line up and be heard.”
She and I speak about the heart as a place in her that has access to her emotions, her wisdom, and the power of her love. So for her and I, this is a natural place to communicate with about whatever is bothering her.
I then take my two index fingers and pretend they are sad/scared thoughts all excited to line up and have their turn to be met. I have them shout out, “Me first! Oh, pick me!” like excited children wanting a chance to participate in a magic show.
This has the effect of allowing Siena to view her feelings and thoughts, not as powerful enemies, but as little ones needing care and love.
Next I call on one to come forward. I shout out, “Ok! First in line, come on up!” I move one index finger as if it is marching up from my belly to my heart.
Speaking directly to the finger, I ask it what its sad/scared thought is. Then Siena pretends she is the finger’s voice and says the thought out loud.
I respond to the thought however I feel will most serve her. Sometimes all that is required is a little empathy and reassurance, “Oh, I can see how that would be scary. I want you to know that you are really safe.” Sometimes the feeling or thought requires me digging a little deeper to find out more about it. If it is something fairly big that I feel needs a lot of time and space to look at, I might say something like, “I can see how that would be really hard. I want us to take some more time with this when we are really awake and have lots of energy. Let’s talk about it more tomorrow. For now, I want you to know that you are not alone with this. We will meet it together.” This is usually enough to soothe that thought for the evening.
After that “meeting of the thought” is complete, I ask for the next in line. “Next in line!”, I shout. This continues until she is pretty much done.
Although it may sound like this practice could take a large chunk of time, it usually goes pretty quickly. I think this is because the structure itself provides a support and stability that grounds her, calming her even before we start “calling up the fingers”.
If this practice resonates with you, please feel free to try it out, modifying it in the ways that are right and appropriate for each of your children. Trust your heart and innate wisdom - it knows how to meet whatever arises."
And if reading about this practice makes you feel a longing to receive a similar kind of support, read my article Give Yourself the Powerful Gift of a Listening Partnership.