In last week’s blog, I suggested that you take a quick quiz to determine where you are on the loving / fearful parenting spectrum. You may have been surprised to learn that fear plays a role in your parenting style. This week’s blog will explore the importance of learning to love unconditionally. I was able to learn so you can too!
“Hey, wait a minute,” you may be thinking “Of course I love my children unconditionally!”
I know I thought that – that is until my daughter went off the rails as a teenager in a dramatic way. The way back for our family was by learning to love unconditionally. We learned it the hard way and I don’t want that to happen to you.
We discovered that although we thought we were a loving caring family, and certainly anyone who knew us would have agreed, our parenting was largely fearful making unconditional love virtually impossible. We had worries about our children’s futures, and expectations of what that should look like for each of them. We felt we needed to shape them into fine humans rather than simply to accept them as they are. The good news for us was that it was possible with a few simple techniques, to learn to love without fear and to become more effective parents as a result.
You can do a quick assessment of how much fear versus love there is in your own parenting style by taking the quiz below:
This week, the Choose Again blog features a sample of one of the elements of the online course we are currently creating.
Our goal is to bring as many elements of our Retreat and Workshops into the course as possible, and those of you who have visited either will know how important meditation is to the work.
We are recording a series of guided meditations for the online course, and here is one for you to try now. Let us know what you think!
One of the things that I’ve become increasingly aware of since I began working with Choose Again is that there are coincidences and unusual synchronicities happening to me or around me, and other Choose Again staff and clients report the same phenomenon. In fact, Les Labadous, the Choose Again center in the South of France, has one such remarkable story attached to it.
In the summer of 2014, Martin Engi and his wife Christine Riedtmann, came to Vancouver from Switzerland for a visit. Martin, who is a now retired professor of geology, had lived in Vancouver for many years (first as a PhD student, finally as a staff scientist) at UBC between 1975 and 1984. I first met Martin when I came to Vancouver from Edinburgh to do graduate studies in Geological Sciences. Our families have been in close contact since that time, so it was natural that Martin would stay with us during his trip to Vancouver with Christine.
At that time Diederik was living in Costa Rica, making trips back to Vancouver periodically to do some counselling and giving talks to gain publicity for El Cielo. That summer was the first trip back for a particularly long stretch and so a staff meeting was arranged in order to
“I am the Decider!”
George W. Bush, 2006
For many of us decisions can be a source of great anxiety.
Most often than not, we are unsure of how to decide, and what makes a good decision.
But have you ever stopped to asked yourself - what does it mean to decide?
Most of us think of "decision" as the activity of choosing between things or situations in our lives.
I may decide to buy this or that brand of toothpaste.
I may decide to leave my job and my wife for a life of stamp collecting.
Or I may even decide to invade an oil-rich Middle Eastern country if I happen to be in that position.
But, I would like to propose a different view of decision making.
Instructions for "Set Your Compass to Love"
To consciously respond, you need to know the direction you want to go in, otherwise you will flounder from one day to the next, hoping things will work out. Know your purpose in life and you will know what direction to take when you have choices to make—you will know what direction to set your compass toward. Let that direction be the giving and receiving of Love.
The process of creating "Choose Again - Six Steps to Freedom" began six years ago when Diederik finally gave in to some very persistent persuasion and reluctantly started work on the book.
Diederik was so busy at the time between the centre in Costa Rica and running workshops internationally that we chose the route of a ghost writer to put the book together. It soon became clear that without an intricate knowledge of the work of Choose Again, and the personal stories of how Diederik came to develop the Six Steps, the book would not be a success.
We knew we had the makings of a wonderful book because it has all the elements of a 'best seller' - a great personal story, a sound practice that can change lives and work that challenged established norms. More importantly- we also knew this was an incredible opportunity to share the Six Steps to Freedom more broadly so it could transform more lives for the better.
The incredible Anne Andrew got involved at this point, and applied her knowledge and experience to the task.
How to do Positivity Training (You'll need a little notebook):
When you think a certain way for a long time, you strengthen the pathways in your brain that run these thoughts, and it takes deliberate attention and perseverance to form new pathways.
This week's practice is scientifically proven to forge new, more positive pathways in the brain, helping you be more naturally aware of the good that already exists in your life.
It's a practice we do at dinner every night at all our retreats and workshops, and clients report experiencing a profound shift in how they view their day as a result.
What do you do when one of your relationships is not going well?
How do you get your other half, family member, or co-worker to stop being so annoying/ be more considerate/ fulfil your needs?
Well, I have bad news, and good news. The bad news is that you are probably never going to get another person to behave exactly as you want them to.
The good news is, that you don't have to! It is entirely within your power to create more harmonious relationships, whether the other person is willing or not.
Hear from Gad and Anne, who discuss their own experiences of bringing healing to their relationships using the Six Steps.
(Gad works at our Retreat Centre in Costa Rica, and Anne facilitates the weekly Circles, and Workshops in Vancouver. They will come together with Diederik Wolsak this summer to facilitate the workshops in the South of France.)
Instructions for "Watching Traffic in Your Mind":
Meditation isn't about emptying the mind of all thought, it's about being able to observe thought without getting involved with it.
This is a key skill when doing the Six Step Process. If you are not aware that you are in an upset because you have gotten carried away with it, then you won't be able to recognise that choice point where you either (a) pick up your Six Steps to Freedom book, or (b) you stay in the upset.
This meditation is a great way to practice strengthening the muscle of choice!
"My mind is not my enemy. It is what I do with it and because of it that can hurt me." - Forsyth & Eifert
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