What you Believe is what you Get | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

In my previous blog I laid out how many of us have come to accept conflict, strife and struggle as the ‘natural way of being’; the norm of our everyday experience. Since we have been holding on to this belief steadfastly for longest time throughout history, we’ve created a world which reflects our belief of ‘what reality is’ and ‘how reality operates’. This places us in an unfortunate feedback loop, as we inside ourselves believe that ‘life is struggle’ – then with our own eyes and ears observe the world around living in struggle and conflict – using this observation as evidence that = yes, indeed, my belief is accurate = living is constant struggle and conflict; and so there’s no point to further question this premise. Because we create what we hold as truth, it’s hard to even conceptualize and imagine ourselves living in harmony and having an external environment which is harmonious.

What we forget to consider is how our beliefs and all those things we consider to be ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ shape our behaviour, perception and actions to fit and match the belief we hold as truth or fact, and so how we are the ones ‘making it so’.

Let’s take for example the belief that ‘children need to civilised’. With civilised meaning ‘being cooperative and acting according to social standards’.

You hold this to be a truth, a fact of life. Now one day, you visit family with your young baby/toddler who’s recently learnt how to walk and has acquired some very basic motor skills. While you’re catching up and drinking coffee, your little one strolls around and seems to be captivated by all the plants and flowers in pots. Your little one grabs a flower and pulls it off. Then takes another one and pulls it off. It takes you a few moments to realise what your child is up to, that when you look at your child there’s already a bunch of leaves and flowers on the floor and your child is just picking away. A surge of energy runs through your body and you shout out ‘Bad Lily!’ (Or whatever your child’s name might be). ‘Stop it!’ and you grab the baby away who in the meantime has a look of petrification and confusion on its face as she’s still trying to figure out what just happened and why she’s so bad. You put her in a corner and tell her to ‘stay there’ to teach her lesson. Picking flowers and leaves is bad, you are killing the plant and you are destroying our host’s decoration. Bad, bad bad!
You go sit down sighing, thinking why your child is always doing these inappropriate things, like she’s out to get you and never give you an easy time. You think about how it’s just going to take more time to discipline her and have her learn her place and that this won’t go on forever.

Within this example, the parent had already made up its mind that children are inherently naughty and a disturbance, requiring to go through a training or disciplining process to have them ‘behave correctly’.

When my little one started pulling off flowers and leaves for the first time, I also got a fright. I immediately assumed I had to stop and intervene, that this was ‘bad’. I noticed the surge of energy inside myself, and instead decided to take a deep breath and really look at the situation. He kept pulling off flowers, and then he would pick them up and try to ‘put them back’. Yet they’d just dwindle down to the ground. He tried a few more times and went ‘Oh’.
He didn’t go to the plants and flowers with the intention inside himself of ‘I am going to kill this plant and destroy this pretty garden gna gna gna’. He just kind of looked at the plants, the flowers, got curious about what they’re all about. Without knowing why he started picking at the flowers, checking what happens. He tries to put them back. Hmm, they fall back off. That’s interesting. So once they are off, they’re off.

He was going through a genuine learning experience, figuring out how things work. What happens if I do this? What happens if I do that?

So I joined him and I talked to him about the plants and how if you pick a flower, the flower cannot be put back. How the flower will not have access to water from the plant and its root system and eventually wilt and die. Now he learnt something about plants.

If we go back to the example of shunning and reprimanding your child, where you assume they are being bad because you’ve already decided that they are inherently bad and act on negative impulses – then you end up with a child in the corner who looks like they are bad. You end up with what you believed about the child because your perceptions and actions were guided by the belief which you held as ‘fact’ and ‘truth’. Was the child really bad? No, they were just exploring. They did not intend to ruin your day or upset you, that’ something you did. You decided to react and believe that all these ‘bad and terrible things’ are happening to you. The child didn’t intend to kill the plant or destroy household decoration. They don’t even have a concept of what that means or entails.

If this is a repetitive behaviour on the parent’s side, the child will learn that it is not safe to explore and be curious in the presence of the parents, and start doing things in secret in hiding. It will start doing and playing with things when you’re not around and where you are unable to guide them or prevent harm because they believe there is no other way that they can express their curiosity without your intervention and reprimanding. Now you find your child has been breaking things after the fact. Oh my god, I have such a bad child. Not seeing and realising that we pushed the child in that position where we are not guiding them through learning experiences to come to a point of understanding, but merely wanting them to behave ‘good’ without explaining or substantiating what that actually means.

This type of disharmonious behaviour becomes the result and consequence of holding to beliefs which are disharmonious to the true nature of reality, as the utmost potential of what Life on Earth can be.

I know finished my previous blog stating I would go further into why emotional conflict and turmoil exists, though for this blog I found it necessary to illustrate how what we believe and hold as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ does not have to be in fact so, so that we can learn to be open to alternative possibilities and that our experience of how ‘the way things are’ doesn’t have to be an unchangeable reality, but is something that we create in every moment of our day to day living.

See you in the next blog!

 

 

Parenting as Damage Control | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

toddler gate suppression control leilazamoramoreno

If you’ve been following my blogs, then you know that before I had Cesar, I had pretty much zero experience with children or parenting. It hadn’t been part of my world and I didn’t really have a clue of what was ahead of me. All I knew about parenting, was from my own direct experience as being a child and being part of a family and being parented by my mother and father – and from what others made parenting ‘seem to be’.

While I was pregnant I did a lot of reading, some books and monthly parenting/pregnancy magazines. The world that was about to open up for me seemed so blissful! Yes, there were a lot of warning signs in terms of physical considerations in terms of what baby should eat, how much babies should sleep, what possible problems to look out for and so on. But what was missing in all the information was how I would go through a change inside MYSELF and how I would be affected with a parent-child relationship coming into the picture. Nothing warned me of the emotional, internal turmoil I would face or how to work through it (except for maybe saying ‘sometimes things will get hard and make sure you get some alone time/get a break).

So while I was once engulfed in a world where everything was roses and sunshine where having a baby was made seem this ‘heavenly experience’; when I actually got my baby and what I went through was more a perfect Hell.

It took me a while to realise that things are NOT perfect, are NOT easy, are NOT blissful as how it was made out to be. It took time to accept that things were hard, that I was going through immense emotional turmoil and that I didn’t necessarily know how to work through it / cope with the physical demanding task of taking care of a new born whilst processing the information which was running through me at a fast pace.

Yet, once I made peace that things were hard – I realised – but this is also not ‘the truth’, this is also not the ‘reality’ of the situation.

Yes, things were hard *right now* but I did not have to experience myself this way. Just because things weren’t this beautifully, glamourized picture – it didn’t mean that its opposite polarity as ‘everything is total hell’ was now the truth of the day either.

I did get stuck for quite a while in the acceptance that ‘well maybe it’s just hard – maybe that’s just ‘how things are’. Yet, even within this level of acceptance, I could sense that something was amiss, that something’s sitting quite right and that there were still different doors and directions to explore. That this ‘couldn’t be it’.

This acceptance of ‘everything is bad and that’s just the way it is’ reminded me of the Bible and how mankind was ‘born in sin’, for ever ‘in debt’, for ever carrying a burden, forever having a ‘difficult experience. It also reminded me of Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, how if you let things run their course within the ‘law of nature’, you find yourself in a perpetual state of conflict, strife, turmoil, chaos and anarchy. Even in other religions, myths, stories – this concept that our base state of being is essentially a ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ one is a theme that pops up over and over.

This base foundation/state as being ‘inherently bad’ is used as a justification time and time again, to justify structures and approaches of control, separation and domination – as our ‘bad nature’ needs to be contained ‘for our own good’. We have extensive law systems, specifying everything we can and can’t do. We have extensive education systems, as we need to ensure that everyone knows their place and is properly trained and civilised to take part in this world. Parents use domination, manipulation, strict rules and regulations to keep their children in check. People all over the world are controlled through money, where only a few hold the vast majority of money while the rest fights and scrambles for some money to call their own. Money is one if not the most regulated and controlled object in this world. People don’t just have access to money, they don’t just receive money – because OBVIOUSLY, they can’t be trusted and don’t know what is good for them. They must work for it, they must EARN it.

This concept of the big bad human is omnipresent. And therefore control is omnipresent.

And this was something I was doing while I was in this level of acceptance that ‘things are just that hard’ because I couldn’t possibly conceive something outside of this age old paradigm. Or that I even deserved to experience anything other than this constant agony.

Yet, living according to this paradigm, to constantly uphold some level of control = it’s freaking exhausting. It’s exhausting to be constantly telling your baby what to do, when to do it, when to eat, for how long to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how long to sleep, to force them to sleep, telling them when they can have your attention, when they must leave you alone, when they must do this, do that…

So one day I had enough, and said fuck it. Fuck all those rules I have been living by and imposing on by baby. Fuck this idea that he doesn’t know what’s good for him and that I don’t know what’s good for me. Fuck that I must rely on so called experts and specialists to tell me how to do things. I am going to listen to myself and I am going to listen to my child.

Suddenly, it’s like a weight gets lifted. Your baby responds to you and you respond to your baby and you are both in sync with one another. You do things as they need to be done. Not because some rule or belief says you must do it, but simply because the moment itself reveals the direction you require to take.

This change didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t a 180 degree turn that manifested all in one moment – it’s something I am still walking. All the rules and regulations we live by and parent by, all stem from our own belief systems, of our own world views, how we perceive things, how we interpret them. They originate from our own upbringing, from our own training to become ‘someone’ in this world.

Within this I realised that my own emotions and feelings as the emotional turmoil and conflict that would ensue were key in identifying these beliefs and ideas. These ‘misconceptions’ essentially, of ‘who we really are’ and ‘how the world really works’ – which would translate into misconceptions of ‘how to parent’.

When I was agitated and frustrated to the point of nearly hitting rage – that’s when I gave up my old paradigm. The emotional turmoil inside myself wasn’t telling me that ‘yes, this world is shit and parenting sucks’; they were telling me ‘this is not the way’. As long as I kept doing what I was doing and kept holding on to self-limiting ideas and beliefs – the emotional turmoil and inner conflict would remain, accumulate and eventually burst. They were essentially red flags, big hands waving HELLLOOOOO!! What you’re doing is NOT WOORKING OOUUUTT!! Instead, I believed them to be a reflection of the reality I was in, that things ‘were hard’ that things ‘were difficult’ that ‘life is a burden’. I didn’t see and realise that I was the one making things hard for myself. And that this was what my emotions and feelings were trying to convey to me. That something had to give, something I had to change, this couldn’t go on.

Constant friction, conflict, fight – this is not the normal state of living, of being. These manifestations, both within ourselves and outside of ourselves in the form of war, poverty, competition, etc. – are only the result of our own acceptances and allowances. Of what we believe and perceive to be ‘the truth’ – without ever really checking in with ourselves and seeing whether what we believe and what is reality is a match.

When you let go of limiting beliefs, perceptions and ideas – things just flow. Everything comes together in a perfect balance, there’s harmony.

Within the next blog I will go deeper into the design of Emotional Turmoil and Inner conflict, and why it exists. In the blogs after that, I will walk through specific Emotions and Feelings, the message they are conveying to ourselves and how to respond to them so we can come back to a state of balance and harmony within ourselves, our parenting and so within our world and lives at large.

Thank you for reading

Bearing your own Mature, Ripe Fruit – Story from the Grapes

grapes growth process lesson nature leilazamoramoreno

I was wandering around by the Grapes with Cesar and got reminded of the very first grapes we planted. I had taken point on taking care of the Grapes and did research on how to grow them and take care of them. I got a bit of a shock when I realised it would take a minimum of 4 years before the grape vines would produce sweet tasting grapes. Even worse, I’d have to cut the vines way down, until only a stump remains. Then the plant would grow far and wide during summer – only to be cut down again for winter. I wondered what it would be like to go through all the effort to bear fruit every year, only to not have your grapes be enjoyed and be pruned down to start over – again, and again, and again! It reminded me of my own process, where I would be walking a point of limitation to expansion – where all you know is having ‘sour grapes’. And you walk and you walk and you try different things but still – you only have sour grapes. Sometimes someone would point out to me the correction and say ‘just do it’. Just ‘make sweet grapes’. This didn’t help me at all, because all I knew was limitation, all I knew was sour grapes. So when you only ever had sour grapes, it’s hard to even fathom ever having sweet grapes. Yet, somehow, someday after walking a process – suddenly you realise: but I have changed! But I have sweet grapes!
We can’t force a grapevine to produce sweet grapes, just like we cannot force ourselves to change. The grape vine had to walk the 4 year process to get to a point of sweetness. It could give up at any moment, as the end never seems in sight until has actually been reached. We often hold on to the end result we know we must achieve and forget about the process it takes to walk it, to actually create it as ourselves. Once you have sweet grapes, it seems so easy and the path walked quickly fades to memory and soon it seems like sweet grapes is all we ever had. Thanks nature for reminding me of the humbleness, patience and dedication it takes to walk ourselves from consciousness to awareness. And that despite the end of the tunnel always being dark and unknown, you never know when you hit that point of change and no return!

#nature #reflection #process #ripeness #maturity #growth #process #bearfruit #processoftransformation

Parenting and Emotional Turmoil – Emotions are not the Enemy!

andrewgable emotional turmoil parenting leilazamoramoreno

Within blogs to come, I want to open up the topic of Emotional Turmoil within parenting.

Emotional Turmoil has been something which has been present within myself within my own parenting journey from the get go, and seems to be a reoccurring theme on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy parenting or have fun with my child, but that regardless of my intention to have a harmoniously relationship with my child, inner conflict in the form of Emotional Turmoil will always come and stick up its head.

Topics will range from:
– Can I have a harmoniously relationship with my child?
– Is it possible for parenting to not be ‘so hard’?
– Is conflict and frustration inevitable and a normal part of the parenting journey? – Why do I experience so much Emotional Turmoil?
– What are my inner conflicts as my emotions and feelings trying to tell me?
– Is it okay to acknowledge my emotional Turmoil or must I be strong and simply push it away?

Keep an eye on the blogs to come, and hopefully you will enjoy the journey as much as I do!

Leila

#parenting #emotionalturmoil #selfempowerment #motherhood #psychology #challenges
Original art by @andrewgableart from his Self-Empowerment series:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/262851825/chaos-halo-psychological-drawing-by

Website: http://andrewgableart.com/

Parenting as a Dialogue

Toddler sleeping parenting leilazamoramoreno

When I was pregnant, I was very worried about what was ahead of me. About how I was going to be responsible for this child, how I would influence him. Little did I know, that I wasn’t so much influencing and changing him, as he was changing and influencing me for the most part. This reminded me again of the importance of words and definitions, wherein my definition of ‘being a mother’ constituted an aspect of ‘monologue’ where I assumed it was about me ‘instructing’ and ‘educating’ my child, instead of realising that it’s a two way dialogue and that he ended up having to teach me more than I did to him!

#parenting #toddler #baby #motherhood #parenthood #lifelessons #expecttheunexpected

We’re Playing the COOKING GAME!

toddler cooking game leilazamoramoreno

Now that Cesar is a bit older his attention span is growing where he can focus and direct himself to do a specific task for a longer time before getting distracted and doing ‘what he wants’.
While we are cooking, doing dishes, cleaning – general points of every day maintenance which many would call a ‘chore’, I instead decided to direct the points as being GAMES.

A game will always have a particular end goal, plays out in a particular framework with particular rules which need to be followed for the game to work and to reach our end goal.
When I instantaneously came up with the idea and started applying it, showing to Cesar how it works – I realized I was in essence transferring my understanding and definition of a word.
What does ‘doing dishes’ mean? How do you practically carry out ‘doing dishes’? When he goes off course (say he starts putting sliced food in the organic waste bin instead of the cooking pot), I can show him that he is not playing the game anymore and how his action is now not in line with the game, how it impacts and compromises the end result we are aiming for within the game – and so is in essence deviating from the definition of the word (eg. cooking).
He has been very receptive to this approach and does not ‘react’ or ‘take it personal’ that he cannot just follow his impulses but needs to stick to the framework provided. When he keeps deviating it is usually that we have been doing the activity for quite some time and his attention span has been stretched out. Then we stop with our activity and do something he wants to do for a while and pick up on our game at a later time.

Instead of teaching him an emotional interpretation of the word as a ‘burden’ or ‘chore’ where you immediately feel yourself going into a ‘low’, showing him and teaching him the word for what it is and how you practically carry it out (and finding ways on how to improve!) has been much fun for both him and myself. He enjoys participating because whether we are doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, dancing, throwing balls for dogs, going for a walk – he doesn’t differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘play’ – as all these actions are the same in that they are all physical activities, but they differ in the type of physical activity that is required of him. He is the one dragging the broom out of the laundry room, he is the one running to the sink BEGGING to do dishes, he is the one populating our room with cloths to wipe everything clean. And when we are doing an activity and it’s the adults deviating from the game – then he will point it out and demand we do it properly. Sometimes he will be throwing a tantrum and be really upset and I will ‘not know why’ – until he points out what I missed, I correct myself and he settles down.

Other times we will be busy with a particular activity and he will be reactive, frustrated and uncooperative – and I myself will be reactive and frustrated to his behaviour. Then I start explaining to him the Game we are playing, and as I am explaining it, I realise that I hadn’t even properly defined and clarified the game for myself – which he was picking up on. Because I wasn’t clear on the game we were playing, the parameters and the rules – this left a void inside of myself which was impulsing a sense of directionlessness, which Cesar reacted to by: being directionless in his behaviour.

As I explain the game to him (and myself) and align the definition for myself, I reach a point of stability, grounding and direction, which instantaneously spills over to Cesar who immediately aligns himself.

Words, really DO create our Worlds!

 

Rain!

dam rain life earth leilazamoramoreno
Gian and Cesar exploring the dam now that it is full of water. We’ve been waiting for the rains quite a bit now and didn’t even think the dam would fill this year. It’s interesting how when I was a city dweller living in Belgium, the only thing the rain means was, cold, wetness and my hair getting all frizzed when I would be on my way to places. All it was, was a nuisance. Living on a farm for a while, in an environment where everything depends on the coming and going of seasons and the rains to live a functional life – water as rain suddenly rose to holy proportions. Whereas I would complain and moan before – now I squeal and rejoice with Cesar and Gian each time the rains come. When we hear thunder and see lightning, our eyes lit up. The plants will get water, the animals will have food to eat, the river gets more water providing for more life. Our raintanks get filled, we have drinking and cooking water.
The rains remind us of our interconnected and interdependent design – to never forget that we are not the centre of the universe but each playing a vital role, however small or big, in keeping the whole stable. Each having to play their role *just right* as to not topple the balance and cause catastrophic consequences. Imagine the moon was just a bit closer or further away from us, and the gravitational consequences this would have for us. We have much to learn from nature!
@destenifarm #rain #drought #southafrica #kwazulunatal #summer #seasons #balance #interdependence #interconnectedness #tao #life #earth #fragile #ecosystem

— with Gian Robberts.

When You’re Scared he’s going to Fall in a Hole

toddler hole ground leilazamoramoreno

Newest Desteni Farm project for 2016: Grow Babies!

Lol

Cesar and I were visiting Gian who was working in the nursery offloading compost, which is being used to plant Moringa trees. We have many holes which still need to be filled with a compost mixture before the rest of the Moringas can be planted. Gian plotted Cesar down in one such a hole, which Cesar found quite enjoyable. It’s funny because I was quite weary of the holes when walking around in the nursery, while Cesar was hugely fascinated by them. I didn’t think of putting him in a hole as I assumed he would experience it as being scary. Now he doesn’t have to fall into a hole to experience it, we can simply put him in one and have him experience it safely. It’s funny how fear puts a limit on your perspective and will not allow you to see all the options you have availability as you are too concerned about 1 thing ‘not happening’ that you fail to see all the other courses of action available to you. Very much a case of tunnel vision.

#baby #toddler @DesteniFarm #planting #trees #Moringa #hole #fear #disempowerment #tunnelvision #parenting #motherhood #worry

Nature’s Designs

bug beetle rhinocesor green south africa leilazamoramoreno

One of the perks of living with a 2 year old bug fanatic: seeing bugs like this type of rhino beetle which I’ve never seen before. Cesar was pretty excited about this find! Most of the beetles he finds are black or brown. This one had a greenish metallic like head with two horns and a prong at the front of his head. Almost looks like a mini dinosaur

#bug #beetle #insects #critters #scarab #rhino #buglife #southafrica #kwazulunatal

Beginning of a New Adventure!

rosehips tincture herbs diy homemade leilazamoramoreno

The beginning of a new adventure… For the past few months Lj and Maite have been sourcing many herbs and we are starting to have a nice selection of herbs growing on the farm. We’ve been testing different herbs as teas and topical applications, for both humans and animals. I think everyone has been pretty surprised by the powerful support of nature through herbs and plants. Now we are starting the process of processing all the various fresh and dried herbs we have gathered to create tea blends, tinctures, salves and creams. In the picture you can see the start of a rosehip tincture. This jar will be staying in a cabinet for several weeks and be shaken once a day. Then after three weeks we will strain out the liquid (vodka which is absorbing the rosehip properties) and store it for future usage. Rosehips are very high in Vitamin C, making a rosehip tincture nice to have around when summer settles back into winter.

#herbs #power #nature #plants #medicine #rosehip #tincture #diy @destenifarm #selfcare #motherearth #homepharmacy