I’m thrilled to feature a guest article written by David Loyst, my partner-in-presenting and my partner in life. David has been studying and teaching about parenting for over 30 years as a Speech Language Pathologist and Autism Consultant … and has been practicing with his own children for more than 20 years. Over the past 5 years David has continued to do his own inner work. As part of this he is a senior team member of the Work of Gila Golub, where he has supported hundreds of Gila’s clients to transform their personal challenges and create peaceful, loving relationships with their partners and their children.
Many parents across the continent are wrestling with decisions around whether their children should return to a bricks-and-mortar school. In my province, there has been a great deal of debate around what the return to school should look like. Plans are being made, and then re-jigged, and then re-jigged again. Parents are desperately trying to sort out the logistics of their children returning to school buildings or learning from home. They ask, “What will happen if my child gets sick?” “If I keep them home, how will I balance my own workload and helping them with theirs?” “Will this year be an academic loss?”
And so parents, bubbling over with anxiety and questions, start to “crowdsource”. They turn online and fall down the rabbit hole of Facebook comments and Twitter feeds and forums. They talk to friends, all of whom have differing ideas on what the return to school should look like. They write emails, research various Distributed Learning programs, fret at waitlists, talk to partners, copy-and-paste articles to friends via text… and send their amygdalas into a chemical tailspin. In the end, we are no closer to an answer, and are even MORE anxious and worried than before.
What if there was another option?
What if it was as simple as us asking, “What do I want?”
What if the answer was always inside of us, and when we choose to quiet the noise from the inside – and outside – of our head, we can then hear that answer? What if we stopped feeding ourselves with the fear-based belief systems of the news, our social media feeds, and our friends and family? What if we said, “Thank you, I can see how you might see it that way”, and then got very quiet in order to see what resonates for US?
I’m not dismissing the fact that talking a problem out can often release the anxiety and guilt that has trapped it inside of our brain, but I ask you – instead of having this conversation with everyone who brings it up, find a sounding board person. This person is someone who does not try to solve your problems, but instead, knows how to listen. To listen without offering advice, their own anecdotes, or judgement. To simply BE there and take in the rush of emotions that have been swirling in your heart and mind without minimizing, cajoling or colluding.
As Gila Golub says:
“When you listen to me in such a way that I don’t feel moved to defend, I become better able to listen to myself. By doing this you can really help and guide me to hearing my own inner voice…”
You see there is no right decision – there is only what feels right to us. This is how we live our authentic selves. In my experience, I have found that when I live authentically, sometimes it is not easy in the short term, but it always seems to work out in the long term. Every single time.
So as we take on these uncertain times, and are facing a school year that is quite unlike any other, I offer to you: Be quiet, and go with your gut.
Find your sounding board. Let the words leave your lips and feel that weight lift as they float away. Sit quietly with yourself and ask, “What is it that I WANT?” And then follow that answer. The universe has a wonderful way of putting the right path in front of us, we just have to start walking.
In the words of Goethe, “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
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