A Practical Approach to Advice in Parenting by Alexandra Johnson

My son came into my room the other night in a panic, after watching a movie about the state of the world. He asked me what he could do to help. I wished to answer him in a way that could support him to find strength and confidence within himself.

I realized that to help him develop his own sense of direction, and not just give him my agenda, I have to look at how and where I find guidance. I know that when I try to tackle the world all at once, I find myself exhausted and frustrated. But if I can remember the principle of Single Moment/Single Activity, then I have a chance to approach each activity with Full Participation. Instead of a looming forest of responsibility, I have the potential to prioritize and bring my full attention to each event of my life.

I often find increased clarity when I have a few moments of quiet before the day begins. If I awake several minutes earlier than the rest of my household, I have the chance to do Self-Breema exercises. These support my mind to be involved in the movement of the body and serve as a direct experience for how I wish to move throughout my daily activities. They offer a taste that I can come back to during the day, reminding me that I can’t just rely on the mind, but I need to include my body and feelings as well.

If I have time, I read some inspirational material, and sit quietly. Today I read from The Four Relationships and Other Essential Insights, by Jon Schreiber:

“A practical approach to work with is connection between body and mind. When body and mind are functioning together as a unit, the feelings eventually come in. If you register the process of inhaling and exhaling for three minutes a day, preferably before you’re hit by your ‘to do’ list, you create a base for yourself. From time to time during the day, you can come to body-mind connection. That brings you from the passive state to the active state. The passive state is chaotic, because body, mind or feelings are functioning alone. Your body is tense, because you are so subject to worry. In the active state, your energy is not drained, and worry is greatly reduced.  When body, mind and feelings are together, you’re not wasting your life energy. Instead, you’re investing in becoming conscious.”

When others come to me with questions or concerns, the greatest gift I can offer is to not get caught up in their stories. If I am able to stay with body-mind connection, without adding extra via my own reactions, then the active listening becomes the remedy. This active state allows me to engage fully in the interaction, with a wish to support them to find their own, individual, orientation.

Alexandra Johnson, MD offers a practical approach to helping children find their own ‘inner compass’, and discusses how taking a few moments of quiet before the day begins can support vitality. Join her with Jon Schreiber, director of the Breema Center, and Alexis Mulhauser for a Saturday afternoon workshop “Parenting as a Journey of Growth” at The Breema Center on March 23rd. Visit breema.info/parenting for more information.