Monday, December 26, 2011

Is it too late to fix this relationship? Start with TODAY.

"I feel like I've messed up this relationship beyond repair," said Jewel, mother of a precocious 4 year-old.  "I know I'm not where I want to be in my relationship with my daughter. I've made all sorts of wrong decisions and mistakes. What can I possibly do from here? Is it too late?"

Try as we might, many times we find that we're not where we want to be in our relationships with our children. Maybe we're snapping at them a little too often. Perhaps we're frustrated because they "should" be able to do more on their own by now, or maybe their temperament or behaviors just push us right over the edge.

We feel like we're failing. We feel hopeless. We wonder if it is possible to ever make this right. We wonder if we've ruined our children forever with our parenting mistakes and missteps. We feel trapped and responsible.

I was just reading a book called, In the Flow of Life, by Eric Butterworth this morning. It is a book I have often turned to when I'm feeling challenged on my own life journey. This is what I read:

"You cannot really make a wrong choice, a bad decision. Any step you take will lead eventually to your good, because a negative experience encountered will produce a sort of challenge in which to outgrow the kind of consciousness from which the choice was made, leading to a higher consciousness from which more constructive steps can be taken. So a wrong choice is a right choice at that particular time. Knowing this, you are free from the fear of bad decisions. You can stand still and believe that there is no decision to be made, only a direction to discover."

I guess for me, this means that I am consciously aware of my parenting decisions, yet I am not going to beat myself up when things haven't gone the way I'd hoped or planned. I can see those decisions as a part of my journey to a higher consciousness, rather than as a horrible mistake.

I've done plenty of things on my parenting journey that have created disconnection in my relationship with my kids. There have been lots of overwhelming and even traumatic events in my family that have left me breathless and directionless, feeling hopelessly lost. Yet, as I find my way out of the dense overgrown forest, I see that I am no longer in the same place. I can see more clearly where I am and where I'm going, knowing I am no longer where I once was. Thankfully.

We can't go back in time and change the past. But I know, and I see in my clients, that healing is always possible by starting with TODAY. This moment. Sometimes this moment means that we need to acknowledge events from our past that are still unfinished. Our past created the present moment and we can't simply wish it away. You know, just move on, keep on going, trying to forget the negative events in our lives. We are who we are because of what has happened in our lives until this moment. We are showing parts of our story in this moment. And so is our child. Maybe it doesn't make sense to us right now because we're only thinking about this moment and not the pivotal moments that have come before. In fact, the clues we need to move forward are always there in our stories, even if we can't readily see them.

We don't have to go on some long expedition to find our stuck points. They're showing up right now in the way we handle our stressful moments, the way we reach out (or not), what we feel in this moment, and how you express what you feel (or perhaps in what you don't express). The past isn't separate from the now. The past isn't something that you just forget about, setting your sights on what you'd like to create in the future. The past is living in today. But we can change our direction and our future course by being present in this moment. Healing past hurts and disconnections can only happen in this moment. By paying attention to the signs showing up in our lives pointing the way to those old wounds that need nurtured, for the places lacking connection in our current relationships that need healing, we create the possibility of a new relationship with ourselves and with others. We have a chance to create a new experience right now. To heal. To create love and connection with our partner, our children, our family, our friends.

Healing starts today. Are you open to that possibility?

Next week, I'll explore how we can use our present moment experiences to work through our stuck points from the past, particularly in our relationship with our child. I've been so blessed to support many parents on this journey into connecting with their child deeply through Integrative Story Sharing, based on the work of Ray Castellino and Mary Jackson of and

As you enter into this new year, remember that it is full of infinite opportunities and possibilities for healing. And that healing can begin today! Here's to a fabulous New Year ahead!

If you're like many parents and are looking for additional resources to begin the new year, check out my New Year's sale. I'm clearing out inventory to make way for many new resources next year. When they're gone, they're gone! Best wishes for healing connection for you and your family in 2012!