Eps 326: Zen Parenting with Cathy Adams

Episode 326

My guest today is Cathy Cassani Adams. She co-hosts the Zen Parenting Radio podcast and is author of Zen Parenting: Caring for Ourselves and Our Children in an Unpredictable World, which came out this year in February. She also wrote Living What You Want Your Kids to Learn: The Power of Self-Aware Parenting (2014) which won a Nautilus Award, National Indie Excellence Award, and an International Book Award. 

She is a clinical social worker, certified parent coach, former elementary school educator, and yoga teacher. Cathy teaches in the Sociology/Criminology Department at Dominican University, and she lives outside of Chicago with her husband Todd and their three daughters.

Website | Zen Parenting Book

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Takeaways from the show

  • The story of Cathy’s podcast
  • What prompted Cathy to write another book
  • Parenting is forever
  • Learning how to integrate new information
  • How do we as parents practice self awareness
  • Not imposing old fear and trauma on our children
  • The messiness of parenting cisgender white boys
  • When you have privilege, how do you use it
  • What zen means to Cathy in the context of parenting
  • Learning to ask what your kids need
  • Speaking your truth through the throat chakra
  • Mouthful of glass analogy
  • Surface support vs allowing your kids to speak 
  • Consciousness in allowing our teens to share when they’re ready



Website | Zen Parenting Book

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Cathy Adams 0:00
If you do not have emotional language, if you don't know how to express how you're feeling, then what you're going to get from your kids is, I'm stressed, I'm overwhelmed, and they're going to use these umbrella terms that we think we can somehow fix by saying, just go to bed early. Oh, did you skip lunch? We're trying to, like surface support them, versus giving them the space to come to us, maybe, or allowing them to speak without telling them how they should feel.

Casey O'Roarty 0:30
Hello, my friends. Welcome to joyful courage, a conscious parenting podcast where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through adolescence. I'm your host. Kisi o'rourdy, positive discipline trainer and adolescent lead at sproutable, a company that represents not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go on as parents. I'm walking the path right next to you as I navigate the teen parenting with my own two kids here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Joyful courage is all about grit, growth on the parenting journey, relationships that provide a sense of connection and meaning and influential tools that support everyone in being their best selves. I am so happy that you're here, and I'm loving hearing from all of you that are appreciating the podcast. I have another apple podcast review that I want to share with you from Aaron Aaron Taney podcast is just what I need. Five stars. I love this podcast. Casey is so real and talks about all the topics needed for raising teens. I don't feel so alone on this journey. It's such a helpful reminder to connect with our kids and use the positive discipline techniques. Thanks for all your knowledge and encouragement. Thank you, Aaron, thank you for reaching out and letting me know and the world know that what you get from this show matters to you. Thank you all, all of you listeners, for being here. As I keep saying, we are over 1 million downloads and 300 plus episodes strong, and you have taken us to the top 1% of podcasts worldwide. I so appreciate you. Enjoy today's show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. My guest today is Kathy casani Adams. She is the co host at the Zen parenting radio podcast, and is the author of Zen parenting, caring for ourselves and our children in an unpredictable world, which came out this year, in February. She also wrote, living what you want your kids to learn, the power of self aware parenting back in 2014 which won a nautilus award, the National indie Excellence Award and an International Book Award. She is a clinical social worker, certified parenting coach, former elementary school educator. Oh, me too, and yoga teacher. Kathy teaches in the sociology and criminology department at Dominican University. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, Todd and their three daughters. Hi, Kathy, welcome to the show.

Cathy Adams 3:09
Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here.

Casey O'Roarty 3:11
I am so happy you're here too. I could have continued to just chat with you about all the air bands and music from the 80s that we both enjoyed. I've seen you out there doing the Zen parenting radio show, and love that you and your husband get on the mic together. I'd like to start there. What prompted the two of you to start that project all those years ago? Well, let's

Cathy Adams 3:36
see. It was 11 years ago, and I had self published a book called The self aware parent, and I wrote it kind of like it originally was like just a newsletter that I used to send out because I had a total identity crisis when I became a mom, like I just didn't know which way was up or down. I was really struggling, having to confront a lot of things, you know, especially as a new mom. So I started writing, and I put together all these essays into a book called The self aware parent, because I was doing a lot of classes for moms. So it was a self published book that I really didn't think was. It was just gonna be something I gave to people, but I ended up doing some interviews. You know, it kind of got a little bit of traction. And one of the interviews I did was on a podcast. And I'm saying that on a podcast, because, again, 11 years ago,

Casey O'Roarty 4:18
11 years ago, like, what podcasts were you on? Yeah,

Cathy Adams 4:21
it was called. It was a parenting unplugged, I think it was called, and they actually we worked with them for a little bit because they had a production company that we kind of attached to. Originally, we now do all that when we have for about nine years, but originally we were working with them, but that was the thing. I did an interview with them. They said, Hey, we do this thing called a podcast. You should do this too, because we talk about similar things. And they said, but make sure that you find a partner or someone to, you know, do the podcast with, because it's much easier to do it as a discussion. Like the whole thing of interviewing people was around, and obviously I was being interviewed, but it wasn't as common as it is now. And so I had said, Oh, I know my husband will do this with me now. Now, at the time, my husband was not in this line of work. He was not a coach. He did not have a men's group, so he was doing his sales job. We were having our very typical life, but he and I had all of these deep conversations all the time where our children, as young as they were at the time, would get annoyed, because they'd be like, Will you guys stop talking? We can stop we, you know, kind of pay attention to us, kind of thing. And it wasn't arguments. It was more like, you know, unpacking things and, you know, taking off the layers of things, of like, where is this coming from? And probably a lot of that started with me. I'm a therapist, and that's kind of the way I've always thought. So we would always really dig deep. But I kind of signed my husband up before he even knew it, and he's such a trooper. He's so, like, beyond a trooper. He's just always willing to do something outside of his comfort zone. And I saw, that's a gift.

Casey O'Roarty 5:43
Isn't that a gift? Yes, absolutely. For example,

Cathy Adams 5:46
Casey, the other day, we just did a podcast, and in the first like five minutes, we were talking about I had my first colonoscopy, again, aging ourselves here, you know, I'm 50, and I was talking about that, and I said something to Todd about having a you know, what kind of things do you have to have done? And he said, Yeah, prostate check. And he's like, Don't you have to have a prostate check? Like, no, no, I don't have a prostate but he doesn't care. He's not like, well, we need to cut that. Or he like, he's so willing to grow and to be like, vulnerable and more so than i But anyway, he said, Sure, I'll do this. And we started, you know, we used to share a mic in front of a computer, and it has since grown into, you know, this room that you can see right here. This is an actual podcast room where we have mics across from each other, and it's our place of work, and it's turned into a wonderful experience for us as partners, but also in business. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 6:36
I love listening to the two of you, and I love that you like, it's just so real, and it's such a fun example of relating, like listening to two people who are raising kids and married to each other, relating to each other. I had my husband on one time. Yeah, it was so painful. Kathy, the poor guy, I thank God I didn't marry myself, because that would be a train wreck. But he is so opposite, personality wise. And I feel like the whole time he kind of was waiting for me to trap him into some like confession, and, oh, man, it was hard shout out to Ben. We all love Ben, but we all love him. He's fabulous. Yeah, you know, very chill

Cathy Adams 7:17
being on a mic like my best friend from high school, who, you know, she's obviously watched me do all these things, and I put blogs out, newsletters out, and I do these interviews. She's like, I don't know how, you know, put this information out into the world the way you do. I think that the first thing I want to say is that the podcasting part, one of the things that Todd and I had committed to way before becoming podcasters, is we are not the same people at all. I mean, we have very different perspectives. Our original tagline was, you know, I'm emotional, spiritual, he's practical, logical. How do we find harmony? Kind of thing and those that's the truth. You know, we are different that way. He's more extroverted. I'm more introverted. The big but in there is that's kind of the ability to have reflective and respectful discourse, even when we're not the same which we're not supposed to be, is the ability to be vulnerable enough to realize you might not know every aspect of something, and that someone can see something differently than you. That's kind of the practice. That's the other reason we like talking, because we like the challenge of, how do I keep listening? How do I show up for this, even though. And you know, just to what you were saying about Ben, there are parts of podcasting that Todd would prefer we market more or become more businessy. And I'm like, No, this is something I want to keep about you, and I I don't want any other intervention. My point is, is that the practice is all of us are so different, and how can we relate to each other in a way that's respectful and engaging and compassionate. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 8:42
love it. And the content you put out is so useful. I always listen and think, Well, I really appreciate I listened to a show recently, and you pulled out a Brene Brown and Dax Shepard interview, and kind of highlighted this one place. And I so appreciated that too, because I'm hearing, like, two, three generations out. Ish, right? Like I heard that same interview, and I was like, oh, Brene Brown is capturing something that I try to capture, and then I'm hearing you capturing that, saying the same thing. And it's like, so powerful when we can send the same message through multiple vehicles for people to hear over and over again. So I'm just grateful for your work. I'm grateful for your work. Thank

Cathy Adams 9:20
you. And it's my favorite thing to like someone. I did an interview yesterday, and someone's like, what gets you up in the morning? Like, what do you love to do? And what you just said, Casey, is what I love? I love finding the commonalities between our practice, between our parenting, between, you know, you just read off those things that I do. You know, I'm a therapist. I'm an educator. I was a teacher first, you know. And I, obviously, I teach college students. Still, I'm a yoga teacher. There's so many threads that run through all of those things, the universal principles, like, when people talk to me about, you know, what's the difference? You know, but I need to act this way in partnership and this way in parenting. I'm like, No, you don't. You actually get to be the exact same person authentically. It doesn't mean we don't make different choices. In those relationships, but you don't have to be different. You can be who you are. And the more you do that, you know, and this is obviously the you know, the teaching part of parenting, then your kids know they can too. Yeah, they don't have to go to school and be a different person and then be a different way with grandma, and then be a different way in their volunteer work, like they can actually just show up as themselves. So it's enjoyable. It's fun to find those threads. As you would say,

Casey O'Roarty 10:23
Yeah, I love that. So you and Todd have three daughters, yes, how old are your girls?

Cathy Adams 10:28
My daughter, my oldest daughter is going to be 19 next week, so she's a freshman in college. I have my middle daughter is 17, she's a junior in high school, and my youngest daughter is 14. She's in eighth grade.

Casey O'Roarty 10:39
Okay, so you are in the teen years. You are rolling around in the adolescent period. Those are my people. Those are my people. So and Zen parenting is your second book. So talk about what pulled you to write this? And I love it. It's right here next to me. I'm so enjoying it. What pulled you to write another book? Well, interesting.

Cathy Adams 10:59
I knew I knew I wanted to write another book. Like you said, the last book I wrote was in 2014 and it is really a collection of essays, which is typically how I write. I kind of write in story where I'll share a situation, something that happened, or something I observed, or something a client told me, and I try to incorporate the universal principles into it, like, here's what's happening, basically. How can we look at this differently, so it doesn't feel so daunting. So I put something together that was similar to that, and when I presented it, I did this book traditionally, where I went through my agent and went to traditional publishers, and they were like, Yeah, this is great. Kathy, you know, nice essays, but they're like, can you put together a chapter book like, so we can have like, you know, in the traditional publishing world, I think they prefer the, like, eight steps to and, oh yeah. How many ways can we, you know, this whole story? So while I didn't as if, right, as if we could, like, have this linear path to this thing, but I was like, You know what? This is an interesting challenge. Can I write a chapter book? How do I put together all these kind of fluid concepts into a structure and make sure that I tap into all the pieces and how they overlap. Okay, so challenge accepted, and the thing I decided to use was the chakra system, which is, for those of you who, you know, do yoga or Reiki or acupuncture or you know, just understand that they are the energy centers in our body. They are not something you see on an MRI, they are something that are much more inherent in feeling and alignment and feeling connected to ourselves. And the chakra system lended really well because each aspect of our being from one to seven. And you know, I know people can't see me because they're listening, but it's throughout the body. There's a specific role or a phase or an understanding or developmental kind of growth that happens in each chakra system, or in each chakra so I could kind of put all these issues, like, for example, chakra one, a sense of belonging and groundedness. I could talk about belonging and groundedness there. You know, creativity. I could talk about chakra two, in chakra three, I could talk about sense of self and so on. And so it provided a structure. And so for people who are like the chakras don't mean much to me. Kathy, it's okay. It's just a scaffolding. People who love chakras go find other books that are similar in that you can get a deeper understanding. There's such a wealth of information. But this is more like a structure to talk about a lot of different aspects, how they, you know, connect without feeling too daunting. And, you know, taking them one step at a time and realizing again, that they are not linear, that it's not something where you just, you know, understand belonging. And then everything is easy from there on up, these go back and forth. You know, sometimes we need to focus, go right back to chakra one and focus on belonging, and then we can get back into our heart center. You know, it's a practice.

Casey O'Roarty 13:52
Well, and I love it. And I think, like you said, if listener, if you're someone who's like, I don't really know what the chakra system is, it doesn't matter at all. There's so much. It's just it's not that big of a deal. And if you're someone like me, who I love the chakra system, and I love that, you use that as the pathway to move through your book. And so if you're like me, you're going to be super stoked at the dots that Kathy has connected in this book around you know, the different parts of the chakra system and how it relates to this role, one of the many roles that we find ourselves in, although, you know, I say to my parenting classes, you know, by week three, I'm telling them, you know, they say, Oh, this is really a lot more about me than it is about my kids. And say, Yeah, you know, I can't put that on the flyers or noone will come.

Cathy Adams 14:39
Oh my gosh. Amen. So Todd, and I always say that the best kept secret about Zen parenting radio is it has nothing to do with parenting. Yes, really, just about you. It's

Casey O'Roarty 14:49
about humaning. Like, that's what we're really offering the world, and that's what I tell people too. I mean, we're talking about in the context of this particular relationship, but really it's. About being in relationship with other humans in your life,

Cathy Adams 15:03
exactly. And the thing about that is the reason that parenting is such a wonderful in is because it's usually when we become parents, we are willing to look at ourselves because something has challenged us, and our hearts are open to change. And I say it, I'm trying to be really careful with my words, because sometimes that happens in marriage or partnership, where we love someone, we're having conflict and we're like, okay, I need to look at me and I need to and sometimes partnership can help us evolve and notice our history or maybe things that aren't working anymore. But parenting is, you know, hopefully some partnerships are forever too, but parenting is literally forever, like you will always be this child's parent. And the ability to navigate the relationship in the most effective way possible, I think we start to realize the necessity of that when they're very young.

Casey O'Roarty 15:56
Oh yeah, well, yes. And I think there's a sweet spot for some of us where we feel like, All right, I've dealt with my stuff, and then in comes adolescence. It's like, oh, there's a few more gaps. And I'm guessing, you know, my husband was laughing at me. He's like, so are you just gonna keep shifting your focus? You know, are you gonna be talking to parents of like, young adult kids soon? And I said, yeah, probably because it's really connected to where I don't know what I don't know about having kids in their early 20s. And I'm sure that when I get there, I'll be like, Ooh, there are some stuff that I can offer people here, right, that I probably will be going through. So I love

Cathy Adams 16:33
that well. And you know, that's the best part about, like, for example, this is unparenting book, and the chakras and all the things that fall under them. If we're pregnant, you know, we're just about to have a child, or we're adopting a child, these things are relevant, as when they're little, they're relevant. It doesn't change. The universal principles do not change. What shifts, though, is the issues that we're dealing with. We still can go about it in the same way, you know, with an open mind, you know, an attention to our own gut instinct with, you know, a sense of imagination, but it just is going to look different. You know, there's a quote in the book that I stole from Oprah about, like, you think you got it, and then the same thing shows up in different pants, like, I remember Casey. I remember like, I started doing this deep work for myself when I was about, like, in my late 20s, early 30s, and that's really when I started doing a lot of body work and therapy and everything. Therapy and everything. And I remember, by the time I was 35 I was, you know, pregnant with my third child, and I was like, you know, I have totally got it. I have got these things. I have figured myself out, which I love even saying that, because I remember the feeling of being like, ooh. I really worked through my trauma. And dude, it just keeps going. I mean, there are things that, even this morning that I'm like, Ooh, I gotta take a look at this. Like, and I don't mean that to be negative, it's actually becomes, it's a human issue. We are always evolving. Things are always changing. And a lot of the things we have to deal with are external, you know, where we have to figure out how to integrate, you know, grief, when someone is sick or someone has died, or a change, or our child going off to college. You know, we have to figure out how to integrate new information, and that takes practice, and it's not easy, yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 18:08
for sure, one thing that I loved straight off the bat with your book is the introduction, because you make an intention at the start to highlight race and equality, sex education, gender identity, into the conversation right from the start. So talk a little bit about why this was important to you. Well, the

Cathy Adams 18:30
book was basically written, like I said, where I had laid out the chakras, and I had kind of figured out what went where, and then it was a couple summers ago. It was the height of the racial justice, you know, issues that were finally coming to our attention. If they hadn't already, it was, you know, we were definitely shining a light on it a lot more. And I'm a social worker. This is what I teach. My the two classes I teach are sociology, the family and intro to social work. So all of these things that are at the beginning of the book about inequality, social justice, gender identity, sexuality and then disrupting gender norms. These are the things I'm teaching and talking about all the time. And I realized during that summer, how do we as parents or as humans practice self awareness and be really honest if we hadn't yet considered these things, if we hadn't incorporated these ideas into our own history, how we were raised, our beliefs about these things, and maybe beginning to question ourselves about old stories, you know, if it be prejudice, if it be fear, if it be simply like, and I'll use this again, like stories that we heard through childhood, that we have to be like, Wait. Is this true or our own traumas about the names people called each other, or how people were identified as being good, bad, right or wrong, and really starting to open up our minds, because the children that we are parenting right now, it's a completely different generation. They are so much more open to these concepts. I'm listing at the beginning of the book, they are so much, and I'm going to use this word smarter than we are about what equality looks like, what it means to discuss race, what gender identity is. And they have a lot of like, Yeah, it's fine with them. They don't see it. They don't have the fear and the structure around it that makes it a scary place to go, Yeah, and so we as their parents need to, if not, catch up, because that might be hard, because they, you know, they were able to embrace this. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 20:28
they're native in this, you know, like, good word,

Cathy Adams 20:31
good word, they're native. So it's kind of like learning a language when you're little and it's just in you. That's how they are. But what we can do is become more educated, be willing to listen, asking our kids questions, and not imposing our old fear and trauma on our children. So it's interesting, because I remember, like, showing it to my editor, and being like, this is essential, and he was very supportive. There was no like, I don't want it, but there was a lot of like, we had to kind of change the book a little. I'm like, I realized that I can't not discuss these things, or else I'm missing so many challenges of our day, you know, like, how these are the challenges of our day, and how do we incorporate these ideas, and how do we look at our history, and then how do we parent going forward? Yeah, man,

Casey O'Roarty 21:16
I just Yes. So much there. I really appreciated that at the start, like that was for me. Ooh, all right, here we go, you know, like it just was really useful for me. And I noticed, like, when we talk about our trauma and what we're passing on, for me, my growth edge is when I hear something come out of my 16 year old's mouth, and he's a cisgender, straight, white, big, tall, like he is at the top of the lat. He is stacked, right? And I'm like, why are you, like, I get so super defensive, and I've had conversations, and I'm curious too. This is so off topic, but I'm curious at what you think about this too, because, you know, like, the straight, cis white guy is kind of not that everybody's favorite right now. And here I am raising this kid, and I'm wondering, energetically, how he's picking up on that, and what meaning, because he's ever they're always making meaning, but like, what meaning is he making around that? And so I'm trying to be really careful, while also holding this responsibility. Like, dude, you've got serious power, you know, and let's use it for good, right? Sometimes I wonder, Am I making this messier than it needs to be, or is it just simply really messy? Yeah, I

Cathy Adams 22:37
think you like, just what you just said is the two things you ended with are the two things that I would say is that it is going to be messy, and I think that is what I learned so much in the last you know, I would say the last five years about this development and tapping into all these issues that are at the front of the book, is there's no way to do it without getting a little messy, because we have to be willing to say things we haven't said. We have to be willing to look at things we've been unwilling to look at. We have to consider other people's perspective. And again, I thought I was so good at this, you know, this is what I learn in social work. You know, it's constantly putting yourself in other people's shoes. But that's not what it is. It's about. Don't put yourself in my shoes. Listen to my story. You know, be present for this. So the thing about your son is, the reason this is a constant conversation in our home is my husband runs a men's group, and it's an international men's group. He's done a fantastic job with it, you know, now it actually covid made it much more virtual, which allowed lot more men to become involved. But I will tell you, the majority of men, not all, but the majority of the men are cisgender, white men. So this discussion is really important, because I have had to, you know, in supporting him and what he's doing, remind him of things that they're missing. And again, that makes it sound like I'm doing the work, and I'm not, but I've had to point out to him, like, are you guys talking about inequality when it comes to, you know, women? Are you guys talking about disrupting gender norms? And initially, they were just focusing on how to connect as men, because, as you know, a lot of the statistics around men and loneliness and discomfort with emotions causes a lot of challenge later in life. A lot of men don't have friends, you know, and there's a lot of fears that you know, interesting. The suicide rate for men over 45 is very high. So they were focusing on that reconnection. And I was like, while you're doing that, can you start to talk about these things as well? Because while you're focusing on making sure everybody's okay, you also need to think about your language again, the power you hold in this world and that while we need to support our boys, I do a whole chapter about it, you know, I talk about gender equality and the way we disrupt norms when it comes to girls, but same with the boys, they are not benefiting from this inequality. They are hurting. You know, we are not helping our boys by keeping this distinction. You know, if we were more balanced, they could let go of the lot of the challenges they have, like, right, not being able to express emotion and the violence posturing and. Oh, got it. You got it. So I don't think I have an answer for you as much as Kathy, come on. I know, here's my 123, right? Three steps, three steps, and that's all you need to do. No, but it is the what you're doing, having the messy conversations. And you know, the word privilege has kind of gotten a bad rap, because we're trying to figure out what that word means. I mean, we know what it means, but sometimes we throw it around as a weapon. Yeah. And I think if we can look at the word privilege and talk about that when you have it, just like you said, how are you going to use it? Because instead of feeling guilty about it, recognize where you are, what you have, the opportunities you've been given, and reach your hand back or turn around and look, or look to the side and notice where you are. It's really just about being present to what you're experiencing, rather than believing it's all the same for everybody, right?

Casey O'Roarty 25:52
Well, that's pivoting us towards your use of the word Zen. So Zen, yeah, parenting radio and the Zen parenting book. So, you know, I think most people have kind of this loose idea of Zen. It's like sitting cross legged with my fingers touching and I'm oming, right? Yeah, that's what Zen means, right? For sure, but really, for me, honestly, it's about just this feeling of being an experience of peace and feeling settled and really connected to myself in this present moment, and then in this present moment as best as I can, right? And so what does it mean to you, especially in the context of parenting?

Cathy Adams 26:29
Well, I read this great quote. It was from Jane Hirschfield, and I'm gonna not do it exactly the way she said it, but it was something to the effect of really, what Zen means is everything changes. Everything is uncertain. Pay attention. So if we were to like narrow down Zen, because the whole first chapter, the PROLOG to my book, is about the attempt to define Zen and that you can't define it. It's just like the first chapter of the Dao. When it says, As soon as you try and speak the DAO, it loses its meaning and intention, because it's something that is much more understandable without words. It's a feeling. It's a relating to again, even just me trying to do this, it loses its meaning. So Zen, if we really had to narrow it down, is, are you here in this moment, recognizing reality, and what I mean by reality, of what's really happening? Do you know that it's going to change? It's not going to stay the same. Our babies don't stay babies. People we are here. We are born, and then we die. Think people get sick. Things change. Wars begin. We do not have control. And our ability to be in the present moment. Understanding the uncertainty and knowing that things are going to change is where we find peace. Doesn't that sound ironic? Like all the parents of

Casey O'Roarty 27:47
teenagers right now are like, Oh

Cathy Adams 27:51
yeah, that's where it is. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 28:01
It's so interesting. The whole, you know, everything is in constant flux, and everything changes, and nothing's temporary. And yet, how easy it is to have something come up with our kids, with our teens, and feel like it's absolutely this is how it's going to be now, end of the world. And I'm guilty of it too. When I'm not paying attention, right? It's like, oh God, we're back in this place. It's always going to be like this. So anytime I get to highlight somebody else saying, Nope, everything changes, you know? And I think a powerful way to remember that is like listeners considering who you were at 16, are you still that person? No, you're not. Did you learn some skills? Yes, you did. Did you learn them all under the roof of your parents house? No, right? Like, I think all of those things are so important to highlight.

Cathy Adams 28:51
I just had, like, the one you described. I had a morning like that. I had a morning where, like, it felt like, Oh no, backpedaling, oh no, we're here to where we were before. Oh no. What's this gonna look like? And what I have done Casey is in my room, and I had started this like seven years ago, but it changes when I have learned something, when I have recognized that something has changed, or when I have found a quote, If it be from someone else or something, that came into my mind during meditation, I put a post it up on my wall. I saw your Instagram post about this. Yeah, usually I don't share that, because what they say is very personal to me. So I took a corner that I felt like, okay, because that just 1/8 of the wall. So see, this is why Todd's so amazing. This is part of our bedroom, and I've done this all over the wall. So one's

Casey O'Roarty 29:33
like, no more post.

Cathy Adams 29:34
I know he's he's like, really. And let me tell you, I've taken them all down and then done like, a ceremony in the backyard and burned them and let them, you know, but then I started over, because when I sit in that chair, I look around at all the post its and it's me talking to myself. You know that something changed, Kathy, you told yourself right here. You saw things were hard and it got better. And also this was a really good day, and you can own. That without feeling like, when's the other shoe going to drop? You know, like you can embrace that and not feel guilty. You can be like, you know, good days or good moments or good hours are something that we can't hold again, uncertainty and change. But we can have a moment of, you know, gratitude. We can have a moment of taking it in. I do a lot of you know, as a yogi, a lot of like, breathe that in, you know? Because then you have a memory of it. Love it, yeah. So it's just a actually, my daughter just told me something the other day, and I told her I was going to share this. She started journaling. My 14 year old, she started journaling about a year ago, and she's kind of reached an anniversary of when she was journaling, and she said, You know what? I realized, mom, she goes, I haven't had a bad day in a year. And what she meant by that was, she's had plenty of challenges, issues, things with the family, things in the world, but what she meant is, because I've journaled, I can see that something good happened every day.

Casey O'Roarty 30:54
I love that, right? Yes, I

Cathy Adams 30:56
thought that was so wise, because I journal too, but I had never really picked up on that inherent truth, if you write down something good every day, then you didn't have a bad year or a bad you know, yeah, there was good in all of it. Yeah. Do you

Casey O'Roarty 31:09
ever look at your girls and think you are? I mean, when you said, like, your personal growth and everything, and age 35 like, 30s was the beginning of personal growth for me, and I'm watching my daughter, like, just have these profound processes and insight. And she, I always tell her, I'm like Ron, if we met and I was 19, you wouldn't get anywhere near me, near a lot. No, thank you. I mean, it's just, it's amazing. And you know, she's a journaler as well, and she follows the moon, and I have to borrow incense from her, which I think is really cool, you know, like, it's just, yeah, well,

Cathy Adams 31:50
I think that's been I used to run a women's group, and I still kind of do, but now we just kind of for coffee more than the, you know, the deep part. But one of the things that I loved is we would talk about how our generation of parents, if we call ourselves Gen Xers, or, you know,

Casey O'Roarty 32:03
shout out Gen X, don't forget about us. I know my kids call me. They're like, okay, Boomer. I'm like, No, I

Cathy Adams 32:10
am so not. I mean, like, talk about being further, but not to, like, throw any boomers under the bus. But Gen X is so different.

Casey O'Roarty 32:18
You know what? I mean, yeah, yeah. It's real different. I

Cathy Adams 32:20
think that our generation, Gen X, we have been a bridge to this new way of being. And I'm not trying to give ourselves credit and pat ourselves on the back, because every generation is a bridge to the next.

Casey O'Roarty 32:32
Well, I'm going to own it. I'm going to own it for us.

Cathy Adams 32:36
I will take that compliment. But that is, I think, our ability to I think we've done a lot of work with looking at our history and the way we were raised, and we have looked and said, How do I want to do this going forward? And part of that is because of who, when we were born in that, you know, my parents are the children of depression era parents, and so they're shifting and evolving. Was really more about we don't need to save every piece of food in the basement and make sure that we're, you know, they had to change different kind of things, whereas we had a little more space to look at our hierarchy of needs, you know, using Maslow here, and look at our self actualization, and say there is more we can do to grow as a species, and we can start to open that up and talk to our kids about emotions. And so we have been a bridge to this change, and our children will be a bridge to the next place.

Casey O'Roarty 33:24
I'm so glad. I'm grateful for that. Yes, so if I had to pick my favorite chapter, it would be chapter five. I love the right to hear and speak truth is the title of that chapter, and I think it's because this is always my growth edge. I mean, I'm a talker, but as far as, like, intentional communication, and you know you were saying, like, podcasting and having a partner and being in discussion, I mean, I can throw down 40 minutes just me and the mic easy, right? And being present with what my teens are communicating with me and also what they're actually asking for. I'm always working on being connected with myself enough to tune into that which is not always what they're asking for, with words, right? And learning over time, my daughter being my biggest teacher to ask what they need if I am unsure. So I'd love to know from you as the author, what are the biggest lessons from this chapter that you're hoping readers take away? Well,

Cathy Adams 34:24
I think that what I love about chakra five and about understanding where it is and it's again, it's our throat, is that the chakras that come before us, your sense of belonging, your creativity and your sense of, you know, sexuality, your sense of self, your heart. You know these are 123, and four. If you're very disconnected from those chakras, it will be very difficult to speak who you are. I really feel like they're like I often call, as a therapist, I often call the this chakra our bottleneck, and it literally is one, a little bit, you know, from our body tour, but it's a bottleneck in a more metaphorical way. Like we don't really say what we want to say. We try and look outside of ourselves and think, what do people want me to say? What can I say that people will perceive as not too overwhelming, especially for us as women, there are many things, and I'm going to use the word we have been trained to speak or not speak. We have seen what happens to women who speak a very authentic, powerful truth. We have seen the way that they have been treated. And we that goes into our eyeballs and into our brain, and we wonder, is that something I should be doing? You know, there is always that question. So, you know, this can be big, worldly issues, but this can also just be about what's my favorite color, like, I work with people who just don't even know what their favorite movie is, because all of those you know that sense of self, it's either underdeveloped or there's part of themselves that's being very protective. And this is where I get really compassionate and understanding that there's part of themselves. It's like being who you are, sharing, who you are showing up as you are is dangerous because of something that happened in childhood, or something that happened even in adulthood, where we're being protective, and then our voice gets blocked and stunted. So that's kind of my big picture. Look is that when I'm helping someone speak their truth, I realize that it's not just about the words, it's about what's going on inside of you. What is your truth? What is your sense of self? And then when I talk to my college students about communication, because we're actually we did this last week. I focus a lot more on listening, because I think when we hear the word communication, it's a lot about, yeah, how am I going to talk? How am I going to say it? How am I going to be heard? You and I are both talkers. We love it. We have so much to express. But the thing I've had to work on as a parent is, when do you not talk? Yes, you know, when are you listening and what is your reason for talking? Because too often, you know, some people say, Oh, they just like to hear themselves speak, well maybe. But a lot of times we feel like we're almost in competition in conversation, like I know what you're going to say and I'm going to say this next, and we kind of have a win lose attitude, like, who's going to win this discussion? And that's not what a discussion is for a true communication, in the essence of that word is, are we understanding each other? What am I missing? Did I hear this? Right? Can I reflect back to you what I heard that kind of communication is in partnership and parenting in the workplace is a lot more effective.

Casey O'Roarty 37:18
Okay, so I'm going to take us again, back to that episode that I just listened to yesterday in February, you had this fantastic metaphor, and it had to do with one of your girls having a tough day and not really wanting to talk about it. And I mean, I could just feel myself in this situation so hardcore. But the metaphor you used was, and I tried to explain it to my daughter. I was like, Oh, so cool. And I just butchered it. I'm like, well, Kathy says it way better. But the metaphor of, you know, our kids are having, like, in the moment of having a hard time, and we want to be supportive, and so we show up and we ask questions. And you said, you know, we're basically asking them to talk to us with a mouthful of glass. Yes,

Cathy Adams 38:00
the mouth full of glass. And I love that too.

Casey O'Roarty 38:03
It's so good, like, it's so perfect. So

talk a

little bit like, tease that apart

Cathy Adams 38:08
a little bit, so I remember this conversation and so, just so you know, and because I'm sure you have your own way of doing this too Casey, but the way that I experience thinking is I see pictures. Okay, so it's been helpful in metaphor and analogy, but as a kid, it was very hard to translate, because the pictures have feelings. So even though, and this gets really funny, because words is my love language, like of the five Love Love Languages, words mean the most to me, and I share them the most. Yet words to me, it's not really the words, it's the energy behind them, it's the picture I see. So when I think about my kids coming home after a difficult day, or waking up and it's been a difficult morning, and we as parents are asking them all these questions, which really we're doing because we want to relieve ourselves of feeling like there's something wrong, right. We're waiting for them to say, I'm fine, or No, Mom, I

Casey O'Roarty 38:58
got it figured out, because then we feel better and we're like, Okay, go on with our day. That alone is so huge, like, everybody hit your little back button and listen to that again, because we want to relieve ourselves of feeling like it's okay. Everybody's Okay. Okay. Carry On Absolutely And

Cathy Adams 39:16
yet, when we are forcing our children to talk to us so much about what they're feeling, and their feelings are so on the surface, and they're unresolved, and they're just feeling it in their body. The visual I get is it like hurts to speak, and it's like if you had a bunch I know this is kind of a it can be a harsh analogy, but if you had a mouthful of glass every time you spoke, it would hurt. And I kind of feel like we often force our children to say things to us, and they learn a way to speak to us just so we're satisfied. For example, how was your day? Fine. And then we're like, okay, good. And we as parents sometimes like, Oh, my kid doesn't share anything with me. It's because they feel the pressure to it's because they know what you want to hear already. It's because they don't want to learn. Sure about how to do it better. It's because they're not sure what they're feeling yet. These are kids. They don't a lot of our children like, you know, I'll bring Brene back into our conversation, you know, Atlas of the heart, which came out this year, she was talking about the reason she focused on these 87 emotions, and there was a lot more than that, but she narrowed it down, was because she realized people only understood three emotions, right? And if you don't have that scared exactly, and if you do not have emotional language, if you don't know how to express how you're feeling, then what you're going to get from your kids is, I'm stressed, I'm overwhelmed, and they're going to use these umbrella terms that we think we can somehow fix by saying, just go to bed early. Oh, did you skip lunch? We're trying to, like, surface support them, versus giving them the space to come to us maybe, or allowing them to speak without telling them how they should feel, or, Oh, my God, the worst. And I'm hoping a lot of parents don't do this, but any kind of I told you so, or I already told you that last week, or Didn't you hear what I said that is like you're putting up bricks. Yeah, there's a wall that's going to be built. Because as soon as we start to say, I knew it before you, they don't want to talk to us, because everything they share becomes kind of weaponized, like I already knew that before you. So this consciousness, this presence to allowing our children to share when they're ready, you know, like, again, one of my daughters is so good with me about because I'm a talker, talker, talker, like I am right now, and she'll say, can you just give me a hug? Maybe I don't need your advice. Like, and sometimes I'll be like, okay, and she'll be like, I'm not ready for the hug, but that's really all I needed in that moment. Like, I've already kind of annoyed her enough where she's like, I'm not going to give the youth this hug, but I could have really used the hug versus all the words, God

Casey O'Roarty 41:43
bless those kids, right? I know they know, yeah, well, and I also appreciated what you talked about, which was, you know, they're having an internal process, and we want to get in there with them, right? Roll around in that process with them. When sometimes you talked about, we can support in the external experience. So I think you were mentioning like, Hey, can I switch out your laundry, or can I make you your lunch for tomorrow? And I really love that, especially for those of us that it's hard for us to not do anything, right? It's hard for us to just leave it and it's useful, like a few less things that are kind of waiting down that teenager who's working out the glass in her mouth. Exactly, yeah, exactly,

Cathy Adams 42:27
yeah. And like, you know, something that we have to remember as parents. And again, this is the big self awareness piece. Is sometimes our kids will have learned something, like, maybe they texted someone and they weren't too kind on the text, or they snapped something they shouldn't have, and then they kind of got in trouble with their peer group or with an adult, and they were and that was challenging for them. And we're like, okay, who they learned a lesson, and then something similar happened six months later, two months later, a year later, where maybe they say something, or again, send a text, and we're like, I can't believe you didn't learn that. Didn't you learn your lesson, or it's almost like we believe that our kids are going to have like, one experience and like, embrace that for the rest of their life. And the reason I'm saying this is we as parents may go well, yeah, but do you parent? Yeah? How many mistakes have we I'm 50, and I'm still showing up in conversation sometimes saying something I learned at 12 to not say yeah. And so to give our children that grace of their own humanity, that they're learning things in a different time, on a different schedule, and to step back from the Didn't we already fix this? Because they're not like little robot humanoids, they're like human beings who are very similar to us. And I say that in a positive and more challenging way. The challenging way is our anxiety, our depression, our fear, our trauma, they're going to have it too, okay, maybe not all the time, maybe not in a clinical way, but they're going to have experiences with it at the same time, the resilience we've experienced, the hope we felt, the imagination and great ideas. They're going to have that too. So if we're more in tune with ourselves and our challenges and the way we've gotten out of it, we trust them more because we're like, they have what we have too. Yeah, I love that. You know,

Casey O'Roarty 44:07
I can't believe how fast time just went. Oh, we're not done, are we? I

know we're so not done. Oh my gosh. Well, and I just want to let listeners know another piece of this book that I think is makes it really practical and useful in to integrate into your life is at the end of every chapter, Kathy has, you know, invitations to journal, to practice, to put what she has laid out so beautifully for all of us into practice in our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with others. So I just can't say enough about this book. Kathy and I'm so so glad to have had you on. This has been so much fun. I know Yes. Is there anything else you want to make sure you leave parents with today? Well, first

Cathy Adams 44:53
of all, thank you, Casey, for having this is so fun. Like I love meeting fellow podcasters, fellow Gen Xers, fellow. Parents, you know, having the same experiences. It's really just a joy to talk to you. And I would say that for people who were interested in our conversation, obviously there's the book, but Zen parenting radio.com, is our website, and Todd and I obviously the podcast has been out for 11 years, so there's a million in one podcast. I think we're on 670 or something like that. And then we also have a virtual community. I have a newsletter that I send out every Friday. We have another podcast called Pop culturing, like, and all this stuff is, like, easy and free, you know, like, so if you're interested, go to Zen parentingradio.com and you will find everything we do right there awesome.

Casey O'Roarty 45:35
And all the links will be in the show notes listeners. And my final question that I ask all my guests is, what does joyful courage mean to you?

Cathy Adams 45:44
Okay, I gotta take it in for a second alignment and authenticity just showing up as myself, my husband and I just had lunch right before I came on with you, Casey, and we were just talking about the word integrity and how the greatest joy comes from being in tune with who you are, really in tune, not with what the world wants you to be, not the success word, but in tune with who you are, and then feeling the bravery to show up that way. There's no better feeling

Casey O'Roarty 46:13
love it. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for making time to come be with me. Thank

Cathy Adams 46:17
you, Casey. You

Casey O'Roarty 46:24
okay, yay. Thank you for listening. Wasn't that a great interview? Oh my gosh. I'm obsessed with Kathy. I want to be her best friend. I'm so happy that I get to bring you content that matters to you, that's useful to you. I want to remind you to check out the Mental Health Mini summit by clicking the link in the show notes or heading to be sproutable.com/teens and using the navigation bar that is a really special resource that I'm so proud of. If you are feeling inspired and you haven't already, please do me a favor, head over to Apple podcasts and leave a review. We work hard to stand out and make a massive impact on families around the globe. Your review helps the show to be seen by even more parents. So please do that, and I'll read your review on the podcast. Isn't that satisfying? Thank you so much for my team at sproutable. Julietta, Alana, thank you, Rowan for handling the show notes. Thank you, [email protected] for making the show sound so good, and thank you listener for tuning in and letting me know that you love this space that we're all holding together. Don't forget you can go over to Facebook too, to the joyful courage parents of teens group and continue the conversation there with like minded parents.

Yeah, that's it. That's what I got. Thank

you. Thank you. Thank you. Love you. Take a deep breath, make sure you're drinking plenty of water. Get outside for a walk. I'll see you next week.

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