Archives for posts with tag: joyful parenting

I invite you to read this with an open heart and an open mind. It’s clear and beautiful…

The Beautiful Truth.

 

For the longest time, 8 years, my kitchen faucets temperatures were reversed. I asked my Superintendent  to fix this, but it didn’t happen, and I understood it wasn’t a major priority. So I adjusted. I knew this was the deal in my kitchen, there were some water burns along the way, and when I approached my sink, I had to physically and mindfully stop and think, “Ok this is supposed to be cold but it’s hot” and then turn the water on. Eventually I completely adjusted. It didn’t affect how I approached any other sink anywhere else in my apartment or elsewhere, just in the kitchen.

Recently I had a leak and the super not only fixed the leak, but also corrected the hot and cold knobs. I am now newly adjusting to this updated version of hot and cold. It’s not easy and once again I must slow down, physically and mindfully and only then can I turn the water on. Several scalding hot experiences later, I must  use this sink at an even slower pace.

Why am I sharing this? I asked myself; “what can I learn from this sink ordeal?”  Along with slowing down to do a task. I realized how getting into a known routine feels safe and comfortable. I adjusted to WHAT DOESN’T WORK. One perspective is: I can find the correctness in any situation, the other perspective is: Why do I have to adjust to what doesn’t work?

08-kitchen-faucetsI think and work on and with families on radically relating to each other. How much of our relationships within our families DON’T WORK, but we adjust and work around it, ignoring the issue or challenge. How many feelings and priorities are burned along the way? Why as a society is it the norm to act as-if all is good, when it’s not?

I see and know the difficulties lie in the idea of being uncomfortable. I myself like to be comfortable. Getting the family to open up and change (getting my faucets fixed) will bring some awkwardness, some strange silences, but most of all it will bring up FEELINGS. Why are feelings avoided? We disagree, we have the same conversations over and over, nothing changes. It’s easier this way, it’s easier to adjust, but it’s not healthy and it doesn’t promote growth.

Here are some ways to integrate change or growth to radically relate to family…

  • Give compliments – offer them in a nice tone of voice, don’t expect anything in return
  • Offer help – even if it’s turned down, the offer matters
  • Do what you don’t want to do –  when a “chore” or activity pops up with family, and it’s exactly what you DON’T want to do, do it. Breathe and get through it
  • Let there be awkward silences – if a family member constantly has negative comments, let them have them, no response is warranted. Being defensiveness never feels good
  • Create limits and boundaries – Your actions will be more powerful, talking about limits and boundaries can be passive aggressive, or received as ultimatums. Not everyone is ready to make changes
  • Receive – Being able to receive anything in a heartfelt way – Be aware when family members are “giving” you something, if you can find a way to receive it without judgment, it can create a moment of peace and appretiation

I wish you all the power to DO YOUR BEST, with your family this holiday season!

Happy NEW YEAR!
Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

happy new year

Year after year, for most of my life, I would set resolutions for the new year, ways I will change, things I will start doing. These were typically things I never wanted to do, I was not consistent at, and usually failed at.

I found that setting these resolutions were just another way of beating myself up, keeping myself a failure.   I say setting a resolution of ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of ALL PARTS OF MYSELF. Radical acceptance of:

  • my treadmill ignoring self,
  • my non-waking  up early self,
  • my always arriving late self.

Once I began accepting these things I considered what was wrong with me, GUESS WHAT!? I changed.

Have a precious beginning of this New Year. As dear friends of mine say, “enjoy this trip around the sun!”

“Care of the Caregiver… YOU!” ~Shane B. Kulman

I remember the first time I heard this. How clear and “right” it sounded.  As the phrase unfolded in my head, I realized that I was a caregiver, and that working in a classroom 5 days a week, 8-3:30 and then coming home to eat a slice of pizza and collapse was not going to work for me anymore. That was NOT caring about the caregiver, and I was caregiving for 25 students and a wacky assistant that year.  No more…

I’ve graduated and will occasionally take a several week or month vacation during the school year, is this extreme caregiving for myself?  I think, no.  Some say extreme, I bet some say spoiled…  I now understand the importance of bookends. When I set out to work, I am aware that before and after I must include time where I do something for myself.  It may be a simple cup of tea, or a massage/spa visit.

I believe everyone is a caregiver in some aspect. Parents, Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, babysitters, teachers, therapists, Nurses, Doctors, dog owners… you get the idea.

The parents I work with that have children with special needs, are constantly caregiving. There have been very few who make the time to withdraw from caring about others and take care of their Self.  So many parents pick food from their children’s plates, or eat standing up, don’t get dressed or spend every last penny on their child. After a while the caregiving well, goes dry. Parents often feel drained, wasted of energy and limited in   options. When I suggest a yoga class, a writing class, or to join in to any group activity that does not revolve around parenting, they look at me like I’m a dreamer, like I’m out of touch with reality, and then I see the guilt forming, “WHAT!?!? spend time on myself?!!?!? When my child is so far behind?”  I even suggested to a Mom to go out to dinner with Dad with a dress on, and I would stay with the children, she laughed at me and said we talk and eat when the kids go to school. Hmmmm, is this the same as wearing a dress at a restaurant?  I think not.

Children learn from watching, this has been researched and proven.  If all the young girls are watching their Mothers caregive and serve constantly, how will they learn to be independent and self expansive?  Special needs children, including non-verbal children see and feel what is going on around them. I see the neediest children become ultra demanding when they are in need of something. What happens after their demand, that may result in a temper tantrum/meltdown?  A Parent is running to serve them. What is the valuable lesson here? Yup, the bigger the meltdown and demand, the faster a parent runs.

Children with or without special needs, even pets, learn how to rule through behavior and reactions. I believe there is always time to be made for caring for the caregiver. Even if its a bath, or journaling time. I would say shopping, but you know who gets shopped for… everyone else.

Dearest friends – No matter who you are caring for. You can serve them on a higher level, if you take time to serve yourself. Your health and those you love will love you for it.

Namaste and love yourself,

Shane

I have been writing a book for a couple of months now.  I have never called myself a writer, although I’ve also been writing this blog for some years now, and have published a couple of articles.  Why do some people comfortably state, “I am a writer?”  Is it because they majored in it in college?

Did someone in school tell you, “you can’t write?” or “you have difficulties writing?”  Where are those people now? How important are they now?

I value the use of  THE JOURNAL, I’ve even been called a “born again journaler.”   Journaling was introduced to me when I was young, my Aunt Myriam gave me a journal to write in when I was mad or angry. I used it alot. I stopped, only to really come to love it in the last couple of years.  When I began to write I realized how judgmental of myself I was.  It made me realize how much self-depricating I did.  I saw I “felt stupid” and judged my writing and thoughts so harshly, and this was never going to be shared with anyone, just myself.

Children have been using journals for quite some time in school now. It’s a place they keep their work, but are they given a chance to write their feelings? Ever?

ImageUsing a journal as a parent is powerful. I recently heard that if you are a parent, your heart is always some where outside your body.  WOW. I heard this while I was traveling in California and practicing being present.

Is it ever possible to be present as a parent when you always have your child’s well being and health on your mind?

After the big tragedies with shootings, and the “small” ones locally happening every day. How is a parent ever to feel fully present, unless their child is attached to them physically?

I have friends with teenagers, they often talk about how they are always worrying about what their children are doing until they are home safe in bed. Yikes. I would be endlessly journaling if I had teenage children.

If your choice is a journal, a blog/vlog or actually talking to yourself;) Its’ great!  It’s healthy and very insightful.

If you are a beginner, you could start your writing   “I love and accept you exactly as you are.”  Louise Hay suggests writing it 25 times! I follow her suggestion when I need to and it works! So start!, write your:

  • stories
  • your feelings
  • your imagination
  • the truth
  • your wishes
  • poetry & songs

I find it a great healing tool, clearing space in your head for more ideas, and to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression…

Happy writing! And I thank you with all my heart for reading,

Shane

panda eyesI had an early talk to give, and had performed in an improv show the night before, so I wore the same makeup. So there, I said it.  It wasn’t my plan- it just happened.

I am aware of all the judgements you have while reading this, some judgment and some relief, maybe both?  This was not the plan of course, I am pretty good about washing my face before I go to bed.  This time it didn’t’ happen that way, and you know what IT WORKED.  If you know me, or have listened to my radio show, you are aware I have been lucky enough to create a work schedule that does not include being anywhere before 11am. This workshop began at 8am in midtown Manhattan.

Other than not being healthy for my skin, what reasons was this a bad thing?  When you think of these reasons, is it based on “the right thing to do?’ Who created these right things? Are you not my friend anymore, do you think I’m dirty? do you not want to follow the work I do? Once you answer those questions, ask yourself if those judgements matter to me….

Why am I writing this on my blog?  Here is why.

When you are thinking of “doing the right thing” for your child or your Self, as a parent or a human being, do you do what you think is what everyone else would consider the right thing? Or are you doing what works for your child and your Self?

This is a great question when something you are working so hard to get done, isn’t flowing,  or your child is fighting against what you think is best for him/her? Following a child’s lead (whether it’s your own, a child in view, or in your life) can show you what is really right. Children are connected to the truth WAY EASIER than we are.   My suggestion is this: if something is not working out easily and feels forced, take a step back  (literally)  and think about why you dare doing it? Is it because it’s the right thing to do according to the social norm?  Are you considering what people will say about you? Becoming mindful of these times will create less paddling up sh*t’s creek.

Life could be lived without being so hard and forced.  By squeezing too many errands or appointments into one day, each task is not done with full presence, you end up running late, and for what? To be a superhero parent? So you can you feel proud when talking about how busy you are? In the midst of the day of working hard to “do the right things” many moments are zipped through with all sorts of meaningful things ignored; thoughts, signs, beauty and most of all answers about bigger questions in your life.

As we grow, and or get older, life can become easier and more manageable. If  it isn’t, something must shift, or what usually happens is, you get sick. Your body tells you to stop and slow down.   Living a life thats based on what works, vs. what your supposed to do makes all the difference.

Louise hay asks the question, “do you have poverty in time or are you prosperous in time?”

With all my heart,

Shane

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