My Daughter Has A Higher Power And Her Name Is Not Jodi

32 comments

Every morning for lent I have been sitting with a candle for ten minutes. (Come join me on Facebook, where I share my daily reflections.)

Our spiritual community encourages us to do this during advent, to open our heart to what might come. Fr. Jim encourages us to do three practices during advent: prayer, patience, and kindness. When we change one thing, so much can happen. If we focus on prayer, patience, and kindness, anything can happen!

 

Aman_38_Mother_Daughter_Self_Esteem

 

There is so much noise in the world–so much noise online–and I know this post is just one more bit of noise.

It takes effort, through all of this distraction, to find quiet. But we can find it anywhere, anytime. We can just close your eyes and breathe in and out. If we choose to do it, then we can do it. When we are quiet, clarity comes and points us in the right direction. But usually the direction is to stay for a moment in the stillness, to trust and calm ourselves. To know that we don’t have to be “more” or “different” or “perfect.” To trust that we are connected.

Without all the distractions, fear dissipates and we have courage to say “yes” to whatever we are asked to do.

Taking time to be aware helps us to put the things we already care about into greater focus. Not in a worrying way, but  in a loving way. When we open ourselves to a blank page, it brings us into awareness, an all-knowingness. We can begin to create something new and beautiful on that page. That new and beautiful creation lines up with what is most precious to us. When we give ourselves time to open to this, we gently shift in ways we’d like to shift.

Yesterday, my daughter became extremely upset just as I was sitting down with my candle. I put it aside and spoke gently to her for a while about her “problem.”

Soon I lost patience with her growing intensity and criticism of my kind suggestions. I became judgmental at the “First World” quality of her problem. It means life is pretty luxurious if we could be upset about something so dumb in my eyes. Validation wasn’t working (for either of us at this point) and she was getting mean. I took away TV. Got worse. Sent her to her room. She cried and screamed at the injustice of it all.

When our kids say, “It’s not fair,” they are essentially feeling left out. Separate.

In a way, and hopefully temporarily, unloved and unworthy.

I heard her pleas as I remembered: All attack is a call for love.

Finally, I realized what I had to do.

I pulled her up off the floor and into my arms and sat with her on my lap, cheek on my bosom. I brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her forehead while she cried. Then, I breathed into her until her body relaxed.

I didn’t try to convince her of anything or explain anything. I just helped her feel loved.

She calmed and was her silly self in less than two minutes, all her pain gone, completely gone.

One of my clients, Mary,* said this this week about her child: “Sam has a higher power and Her name is not Mary.” And I have been reflecting on it all week.

In fact, it has given me so much peace. Our children are here on their own spiritual journeys, and sometimes it is hard to watch when they struggle. I always wonder when to jump in and how much to do to be a guide and not interfere with the spiritual process.

This is such a fine line, isn’t it?

On one hand, we are God to our children. (Just as they are God to us.) When we move our “selves” out of the way, God works Her magic through us. We teach them what unconditional love feels like. We guide them, and take care of them.

On the other hand, they must make their own decisions. And we must give them space to do that.

Love over Fear

How do we figure out when to do what?

We make every effort to take action out of love rather than fear. We just trust ourselves to make the decision and know most of these little things we do and don’t intervene in are not that big of a deal. Meaning we can make mistakes here and it’ll be OK.

But also, we must do our own work. We are connected and our children often act out our problems. I need to come to grips with my own sense of unfairness and victimhood to help my daughter.

“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” Carl Jung

Another one of my clients confessed to me this week that he is afraid to be close to God. (He’s been horribly, terribly abused in his life.) He said, “I want to get close to God. But I will have to be vulnerable if I get close to God. And it is not OK for me to be vulnerable because then I can be attacked.” Both his desire and fear of it overwhelmed him.

I suggested to him that he and God are not separate.

“You are God.”

We can hardly be a victim and be God. We can only feel like a victim if we feel separate.

Another one of my clients was excited last week quoting me Carl Jung:

“Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

He told me how he learned our mind is always looking for answers. And we all too often look outside. Recently, he began to look inside. Instead of looking for answers out in the world, which conjured fear, he chose to simply look inside and simply trust himself.

Trust.

It’s selfish to be “looking at yourself” he thought at first. Yet, he found that while looking within, he acted much less selfish than he ever had because while looking inside, he had nothing to fear. He got rid of needing protection (marks of victimhood and separation) and allowed himself real connection with people.

Connection is the answer to everything.

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” Carl Jung

Only connection can do that!

 

Candle meditation

 

While you are breathing it is a good time to take a moment to reflect on the past year.

Remember those New Year’s Resolutions that you made 11 months ago? Where do you sit with them? Have you done everything this year that you wanted to do?

We make plans and things change. It’s OK. But it is psychologically easier to finish a year out how you want to be than starting a year differently. Sometimes a deadline helps light a fire under us. Plus, because you know the time is limited, it is easier to sustain. And sustenance is everything when you are making a change. We can all make a change in a second, but then we have to practice it.

What if you made your resolution now until the end of the year? Sounds awesomely easy doesn’t it?

Ask yourself these questions:

What is it that you would like to do that fear is stopping you from doing?

What is something you are longing to tell someone?

Which habit would you like to change?

When will you be ready?

When will you say “yes”?

What it is that you can offer?

Why and what do you want to move away from?

What do you want to step closer to?

And most importantly,

What do you have to forgive?

————————————

You can light your candle in many different ways this holiday season. How will you practice prayer (mediation), patience and kindness this month?

 

*Name changed, of course.


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32 Comments

Kelly Hashway

Whenever my daughter and I argue, I always make sure I tell her that I love her. I want her to know that even when we disagree, I still love her. Nothing will change that. Just this past weekend, she was acting up, and she wrote me a note that said, “No matter what, I love you Mom.” She’s only six so it was misspelled and not properly punctuated, but it was the most beautiful and perfect note in my eyes.
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Jodi Aman

That sounds heavenly. I’ve been relishing lately when the words Mom (my son) and Mommy (my daughter) are spoken. All I need is them to identify me with that term and my world is right.

brenda

I loved how you gave of yourself to your daughter. Often that is the only way to sooth a troubled heart.

As for your questions, I copied them… might do a blog post or something with those. Beautiful post, Jodi.

Jodi Aman

Can’t wait to read your post about them. If you want to submit it to me for a guest post, I would love it!
Love,
Jodi

Tina Barbour

I don’t have a child, but I love the whole idea of recognizing that we are not our child’s–or anyone else’s–higher power. Speaking from experience, I know I have tried to control the actions of others and their feelings–without even realizing it. I have to remember that we are all on our own spiritual journeys, as you say.

I like the idea of going ahead with our resolutions, too, even in making small changes that can lead to bigger changes down the road. You’ve included some very helpful questions to use. Thank you! 🙂
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Jodi Aman

Thanks Tina!
It’s great to remember!
Love,
Jodi

Stanley

Jodi,

I sometimes wish I could do the same with my grown children. They are so caught up in their own lives that I have difficulty breaking through to show them that I love them. So I try different ways that really don’t work. I do find that I am able to do this better with my 5 year old granddaughter.
I also want to take your questions at the end and try to answer them for myself before January 1st.

Thanks you Jodi!
Stanley

Jodi Aman

Children make it easier for us to love, don’t they. They are less threatening. But your older kids are just big kids. If you weren’t afraid it may be easier. Just a bit of acknowledgement goes a long way!
Love,
Jodi

Stanley

Thank you Jodi!
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Jodi Aman

You are very welcome!

My Inner Chick

I remember hearing year ago, “You child is not yours. He is God’s”

I never forgot that.

I LOVE how you offer your love so freely, Jodi. You spread your love into the world.

I feel it here!

And your daughter will feel it FOREVER.

Xxxx LOVE.
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Jodi Aman

I hope you feel it. I send it to you often!
Love,
Jodi

Harleena Singh

Hi Jodi,

That’s such a lovely picture of your daughter with you 🙂

Yes, it reminded me of the time when my kids were that young, and the way they have grown up now to be young women in their teens. I think with time things change, and now that they have a life of their own, they also know we are always there for them. The closeness as a friend is more now, and we can discuss such a lot, or shall I say anything under the Sun is discussed in our house, which makes parenting so worthwhile.

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

Jodi Aman

You are a great mom!
Love,
Jodi

solidgoldcreativity

What a gorgeous, gorgeous photo of you and your daughter. She’s very beautiful, just like you 🙂

Am excited about what you said to the man about him being God. Did he hear it/accept it?
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Jodi Aman

He did. It took him a while, because when separation is so ingrain unity sounds crazy. But he physically settled his body. There was physical transformation and it sunk it. This is powerful.
Love,
Jodi

Laura Zera

This is such a beautiful piece, Jodi. I don’t have children, but I think what you’ve written can apply to any close relationship in which we try to have a measure of control over the other person, e.g., husband, sister, etc.
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Jodi Aman

You are right, any close relationship this worlds, even the one with ourselves!
Love,
Jodi

Marie-Aimée Kléber

I really love the way you comforted your daughter, Jodi. I remember hearing something that changed my life “our kids are entrusted to us by God”. This makes total sense. They are not us. They are beings, with their own dreams, their own sets of strengths. We are only there to guide them on the road and show them love.

Thanks also for sharing these great questions. I need them to focus again on what matters and move on.

Take care Jodi.

Jodi Aman

Thanks Marie-Aimée,
We are just channels of peace, aren’t we. Takes some of the pressure off!
Love,
Jodi

Nikky44

“I didn’t try to convince her of anything or explain anything. I just helped her feel loved.” This is my favorite, but why does it seem so wrong to have these same needs as adults? Why an adult doesn’t have the right to say “it’s unfair” to be treated this way? Why an adult is expected to be “strong” and give love to others and be able to take a child on his lap and show him love, but would never have that for himself?

What is it that you would like to do that fear is stopping you from doing?
Start living

What is something you are longing to tell someone?
To anyone: I wish you truly understand

Which habit would you like to change?
The need to make things right for everyone

When will you be ready?
The day I will believe “I’m loved”

When will you say “yes”?
The day I will feel ready

What it is that you can offer?
Anything I can that can serve others

What do you want to move away from?
My emotions

What do you want to step closer to?
My kids

And most importantly,

What do you have to forgive?
Myself

Jodi Aman

My questions for you are:
Who says it is wrong?
Who says adults don’t have the right?
Who says an adult has to be strong?
Who says an adult doesn’t deserve a loving, comforting embrace?
There are discourses in our culture that support your assumptions, and they add to the self judgment we make on ourselves. However, they are just ideas, NOT universal truths.

We can choose not let ourselves be pushed down by them, in fact this is what has kept me sane! We all have the desire to be loved and accepted, and the more I do this work the more I understand that the biggest way to heal for anyone of all ages is: acknowledgment (being seen, loved, accepted, cherished, valued, validated for the good inside of us).

Maybe you feel such an insatiable desire to be held on someone’s lap, because you think it is wrong for you to feel this. The more you think it is wrong, the more the desire can increase. Then you’ll beat yourself up further, and feel horrible, necessitating more comfort and reassurance.

Even if you have a loving embrace, and I know you do sometimes, does the guilt get in the way of allowing you to enjoy it since, “You are not supposed to.” and “You don’t deserve it.”?

This breaks my heart because you do deserve it. You are a beautiful person.

The way to stop this is to have compassion for yourself. Stop the self blame. Stop the self judgment. Begin to love yourself. Know your worthy. You already have relationships around that can help mirror to you the good in you. Allow them to work.
Why are you afraid of living?

That they don’t understand is an illusion in your mind, keeping you separate. Monday’s post will explain.

So stop making things right for everyone. Again, I think Monday’s post will help.

Decide to believe you are loved today. What are you waiting for? Just decide.

Decide today is the day. Don’t let another day of suffering pass.

The best thing you can do for the world is heal yourself.

Upsetting emotions maybe?

Yes

Amen

Love you xoxo

Nikky44

Why are you afraid of living?
I think that if I try to answer this question, I’ll be answering them all at once.

Living = loving and being loved.

Love brings all kinds of emotions, good and bad ones and they all hurt

Jodi Aman

As we spoke about: Fear hurts. I understand why you have it, but at least recognize it for what it is. Xo

Margaret Duarte

Oh my, Jodi. This post is synchronicity at it’s best. I believe after reading my novel, you’ll know what I mean. Unbelievable! I’m glad I discovered you, because of a simple beep on my cell phone at just the right moment. Also, on December 15th, I wrote the exact same quote by Carl Jung in my journal. “If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” I meant to share it in a future post. So glad you beat me to it.

jaimie godwin

Jodi,

I’m also afraid to get close to God, I’ve also been abused pretty badly throughout my life.

Jodi Aman

I understand, getting close to anyone is scary when you’ve been abused. Look to the God inside yourself. You’re safe there.

Jaimie godwin.

It is extremely scary after I’ve been abused. I fear being abused again so much, its uncomfortable. I’m terrified to get close to any guy again. I’m afraid that if I’m with someone and we get into an argument, I will be abused since that is what i’m used to. I hate what my life has turned into.

Jodi Aman

Maybe some healing will help and maybe some girl friends in the meantime to build yourself a community. Healing is almost impossible to do alone.

Jaimie godwin.

Hi Jodi,

Thanks so much. I do have friends to help me along my healing process and I also attend a support group on friday nights. I also have 2 counselors. I couldn’t heal on my own.

jaimie godwin

I’m afraid of God rejecting me and being hurt by Him.


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