In her final installment of this important series, Nina asks us to treat our little me with the utmost consideration and kindness in an effort to pay the love forward.
I’ve been made privy to many realizations since the birth of my son, one of the most poignant being that parents (mine, yours, all of them) are just people, humans – flawed, wounded and sometimes traumatized, perfectly imperfect. It is hard to imagine but our parents were at one time little tiny babies who may or may not have gotten what they needed. Sure, we all understand the facts, that each individual was once small, but do we really stop and feel around that notion? Have you ever pictured your caregivers as children? Do we consider the damage potentially done to them and how that profoundly affects us? So much of our collective pain comes from what has been passed down through the generations. Many of us do not have the tools we need to speak, act, live from our heart space. As a result we often isolate. I’m not talking about being alone or lonely — that’s different. I am referring to the part of us that shuts down and retreats when we are triggered. The walls that we build around our hearts, that we convince ourselves are protecting us, when in fact they are separating us.
Why do we rush our children through life? Why do we demand that they behave a certain way or fit a mold that we think we understand? Why are we frightened or threatened by spirit, silliness – unapologetic joy? Safety is important, I am not suggesting we all run wild – sharp corners and cliffs be damned. We are not invincible but there is an element to that childlike naivety we collectively shame, that is too precious to ignore. There is a lot of pain associated with living as an adult, and I wonder if we’ve become so comfortable being uncomfortable that most adults have forgotten how to play. Can you, without booze? Without phones? Without distractions? There is no shame in realizing we’ve lost our way. In fact, that is the only way to begin.
Parenting ourselves is an essential practice through which we are able to heal and break patterns that have been plaguing our families for centuries. Acknowledging there is a little soul inside of us who needs attention is the first step. We can all be a little kinder and more compassionate to ourselves. You deserve that hug, that smile, that “I’m proud of you.” It is OK to be happy, to love and be loved. If you didn’t get the foundation you needed, I feel for you and I see you. It is not too late. My hope is that these practices provide some peace and harmony within.
Let It Wash Away.
Our hose has a few holes in it, so my husband decided it would make a perfect sprinkler for our son. Simple and doesn’t cost a thing. The look on his face was one of pure joy when he realized he was able to run free and naked outside with water spraying everywhere. There is a powerful and undeniable shift that happens when we embrace water. If you can run through a sprinkler, do it! Take a dip in the ocean — or a bath or shower will do! Even washing your hands and face mindfully at the beginning and end of each day can help wash stagnant energy away. I close my eyes and say, wash it away, let it wash away. Make space for something joyful.
Look In Your Eyes.
We all have a collection of stories we tell and are told, but who are you really? At this moment? Try standing in front of your mirror and looking straight into your own eyes, for a minute straight, maybe even 2 or 3. Say something sweet, perhaps something you didn’t hear often as a kid but wish you had. It may not be easy but keep trying — a beautiful and surprisingly heart-warming practice to drop into yourself.
Use Your Heart.
Your brain is great but give it a break once in awhile. Use your heart to make a decision or two. You will feel the physical effects of small acts of kindness or a moment of vulnerability. The heart hardens, both physically and energetically, if we don’t feed it, nourish it, pay attention to it. Put quarters in someone’s meter, hug your friend, smile at a stranger on the street. One of my favorite ways to soften this space is to try and see a person I am passing judgment on, as a child. Would you say mean things to a little kid? So why do we think it’s OK to hurt ourselves and each other? It is not. Treat all beings with extreme care and watch as your life changes in a most special way.