Eps 416: Joyful Courage Book Club – Chapter Eight

Episode 416

Join me in chapter eight of Joyful Courage: Calming the drama and taking control of your parenting journey, the book I published back in 2019. I will be discussing what holds up and things I’ve learned during the wild years since it came out.

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Takeaways from the show

  • Have the tools now stay out of the station
  • Remembering what we want most
  • Creating an environment where kids don’t have to stand in fear
  • Finding lightness in our vulnerability
  • Harnessing lightness to shift the dynamic
  • Using our body to shift our baggage
  • Allowing technology to be helpful to our practice


Get your copy of Joyful Courage: Calming the drama and taking control of your parneting journey, and download the Companion Guide at https://www.besproutable.com/joyful-courage-calming-the-drama-and-taking-control-of-your-parenting-journey-book/.

Today Joyful Courage is trusting in the good times, the ease, the contentment. It is being with right now rather than waiting for something to happen to make things hard again. Joyful Courage is engaging in my morning practice on the daily and getting back to it when life pulls me away…

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Hello, listeners. Welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we work to keep it together while parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work. And when we can focus on our own growth and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact, and life skills to be developed. My name is Casey Oh Bertie, I am your fearless host, positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sproutsocial. Also mama to a 20 year old daughter and a 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting you are in for a treat. This episode is part of a 10 part series where I'm reading from my book, joyful courage, calming the drama and taking control of your parenting journey that was published in 2019. I'm sharing the book with you and reflecting on where it holds up, and how the work has been expanded in the four plus years after writing it. If you're finding the series in the middle, I encourage you to start at the first episode, joyful courage book club the intro so that you can follow along from start to finish. The series is meant to be a resource to you and I work hard with everything I put out in the world to keep it real transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Along with this series is a free companion guide designed to prompt you in reflecting on what you're hearing and taking steps to integrate it into your life. You can find the guide and buy your own copy of the book by going to www dot fece browsable.com/jc book. And please don't forget, sharing really is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around, snap a screenshot and post it on your socials or texted to your friends. Together, we can make an even bigger impact on families around the globe. Enjoy.

Casey O'Roarty 02:06
All right, we are eapol chapter eight. Chapter Eight is titled have the tools. Now stay out of the station. Thank you to everyone who's letting me know how much they're appreciating me reading this book. It's fun. And I'm glad that it's landing. And you can get yourself a copy. The link will be in the show notes. If you want it in your hot little hands to mock up and right inside of there's plenty of space. And like I mentioned in the intro, there is the guide, the companion guide that goes along with the book that I've made available to all of you as well. So check the links in the show notes for those things. All right, chapter eight, you have the tools now stay out of the station. So in the writing of this book, I was invited to look at the phrase choosing in the people who were supporting me really didn't want me to use those two words together. They felt like you the reader wouldn't know exactly what I was talking about. But I decided to keep those two words in the book because I feel like we are always being invited to choose in to the practice of being the parents we want to beat. If it's new to you to hear those two words together, I simply invite you to play with it. I invite you to consider that you do have a choice here that it is a choosing in just like we dive in to a pool we choose in to the parenting practice. We believe in we choose in to the experiences that we want to have and create. Choosing into our practice is saying yes, yes to discomfort yes to trust. Yes to the unknown. Aren't those fun things to say yes to right. Choosing in to our practice is being willing to breathe through our triggers be willing to take the time we need to feel our body, slow down our heartbeat find our peace or calm. Our connection choosing in is trusting that how we show up matters, choosing into our practices actually taking the time to use the three B's breath, body balcony, even when everything inside of us is telling us to do something different. Remember earlier in this book, when I shared about the list of challenges I presented to the parents in my parenting workshops, and how as a result, we are reminded that we don't live in our own private freak show. Actually, I don't present those challenges. Those lists that list of challenges is actually generated by parents in the workshops that I lead live and online. There is a second list that the parents helped Create during my classes as well, here's what I do. I invite parents to imagine that their child is now in their late 20s and comes home for a visit. When they open the door, what qualities do they hope their child now adult has developed. Some of what shows up includes respectful, responsible, honest, patient, compassionate, empathetic, kind, self advocating, accountable, hard working, healthy, adventurous, flexible, a leader, self regulated, creative, self aware, sometimes parents will mention clean and tidy and organised. So it is powerful to get a clear vision of what we want most for our children, and to really spend a little time considering what our vision is. And again, these are universal, all parents want their children to grow into these life skills. And how do kids learn? How do they learn, they learn through example, they learn through something else, but I'm going to share that in a moment. And I want you to consider how you want to experience your life. What happens when we decide to be the creators of our own experience. That's really what this book is about what happens when we decide we're going to take advantage? No, we're going to take charge of our life and become independent from the external experiences that occur around us what happens, we feel empowered, it changes everything to move through the world, knowing that you influence your experience. And what a powerful model for our kids, when you decide that you have the ultimate say, and how you feel, you release the other person to their own experience. You are no longer in a dance of power that leaves you and the other person feeling spent and discouraged. And isn't that what we hope for our children, that they begin to realise how they affect the way that life plays out for them, that they are the heroes they've been waiting for? I'm gonna pause here. So I said, How do kids learn, they learned through our example, absolutely believe this. And they learn through their own experiences as well. And this comes up a lot when I talk to parents of teenagers, right? Because we lovingly want to figure out how to make sure our kids don't do any of the mischief, don't get into any trouble and always make good choices. And I'm here to say that if our kids, if we could somehow create an experience, create an environment where our kids didn't have to stand inside of choice points around risky possibilities around hard relationships, they wouldn't actually get to strengthen, develop or flex the muscles that they actually need. When we think about them being out in the world on their own. It is super useful, you know, thinking about like heartbreak, or hangovers or speeding tickets like these are all things that we want our kids to have experience of in their back pocket, so that when future choice points show up, they can look back and remember, you know what the heartbreak was awful. I thought I was gonna die of the pain. And I got through it. Or, yeah, not a fan of hangovers. I felt really crappy that morning. I'm going to make some different choices tonight so that I know I'm going to feel good tomorrow, or saying that speeding ticket was really high. And I didn't want to have to pay another speeding ticket. We hope this is the message that lands right with speeding tickets. So I'm going to pay attention to my speed. Right? We want them to have experiences that teach them for future moments where they're in consideration, right? Here's what some of the joyful courage community said about choosing into the practice of joyful courage and feeling empowered. So Mama Anna said every morning I have a choice to give my power away by blaming outside people, events or circumstances and letting them dictate my mood and reactions to stand in my power and choose how I want to show up. Choose into my practice includes using as many tools as I need to create connection not only with my kids, but also with myself and other mom, Justine said, choosing in means having a deep appreciation for my kids for who they are, even when it isn't convenient for me. It means them knowing how much I love them unconditionally through my actions, words, body language and connection and then reconnecting and owning up to my mistakes when I make them. Choosing in to your practice is surrendering to trust. We talked about trust last week, letting go release is the grip that fear has on us, every single life experience adds to the tapestry that is us. Every experience has the potential to grow us, even the really horrible things that happen. And this was this is hard for me to write as I consider that painful, abusive, traumatic experiences have occurred in the lives of so many people, maybe even you what opens up when you consider yeah, that happened to me. And I can move forward as an ever more complete person. Because I am a survivor of that pain. I've shared a little bit about my experience with my mom growing up. When I decided to leave her and move in with my father at 15 years old, I was hurting. And while I was so grateful and so privileged to have had the love and support I received at my dad's house, the pain of what felt like losing my mom was there. And the guilt, I had left my mom, I knew that she was hurting and that I was the cause I had left my younger siblings there as well. And yet, I was also so glad to be exactly where I was. And I had been brave enough to do what I needed to do. It was really difficult to hold all of that at 15 years old. Plus, I was a teenager, I got really good at pushing the hard emotions down and just not dealing with them. And I was receiving messages that I wasn't supposed to let what was happening between my mom and I become an excuse or a crutch. So I carried on and as time went by my mom and I became more and more distant.

Casey O'Roarty 12:24
my formative years passed by I went to college and lived my life and did my own individuating and experimenting with figuring out who I was in the world. Long story short, I grew up my younger sister. Shout out to Jamie, I love you so much. My younger sister ended up going to college close to where I was living. She was an all American softball star. And my mom would come up and watch her play ball we slowly reconnected. But the void that had been created in our relationship was evident to us both. I knew I wanted a relationship with my mom. And I was willing to let go of all the hurt and pain from my teen years, I became pregnant with my daughter. And this was the first of many times that my daughter would be the facilitator of healing for my mom and me. I knew I wanted my mom to be at the birth. And I also knew that she would need to be educated in the choices that I was making natural birth midwife birth centre, it was so comforting to have her be a part of my experience of becoming a mom. It was as if she got to know who I was who I'd grown into through understanding the choices I was making. We were rebuilding our relationship. And while there was never an acknowledgement of our past, we were moving forward. As much as I wanted to hear an apology or something from my mom. I was also willing to let it go if it meant we could carry on and be in relationship. And every once in a while she would make a comment to let me know that she was aware of the mistakes of the past. But I came to realise that it was incredibly difficult for her to confront that time. Being a mother now, I imagine the guilt and shame of how things played out, weighed heavily on her. I have found compassion for her experience and I no longer let our past get in the way. As I've demonstrated throughout this book, the process of showing up to life and parenting in a way that is vulnerable and authentic. Choosing into joyful courage. It takes work. And in my own story that work started with forgiving my mom. That was right for me. Not only forgiving my mom but also acknowledging that it is because of an inside my experiences with her that I find my passion for working with parents today. I'm grateful for all of it. I'm grateful that I am the one the mother who said yes To be more aware of how I'm showing up to my experience, as I stated earlier, it's my relationship with my daughter that is continuing to facilitate healing between me and my mom. It brings tears to my eyes when I consider how the ways that I am vulnerable about my parenting opens up space for my mom to step into her vulnerability, are making things right with each other. We have made things right with each other, no regrets, always looking forward. And that's what happens. That's what can happen when we choose not to let old pain and hurt be in the driver's seat. That's what can happen when we choose to nurture the hurt child inside of us and move to a place of love and compassion, releasing resentment and anger for the events that we had no control over, we become free. Well, your story is different than my story. And it may be harder or easier for you to navigate the hurt you're carrying. I'm hopeful that you are opening up to the idea that it is possible to heal. And of course, I recognise that choosing to let go of deep hurts requires more than reading this book personally, I've participated in many types of personal growth and learning. And they each help in their own way. And we learn from each other and each other's experiences, be a yes to learning. And your life will change. I also want to say, you know, there's some dynamics where it is appropriate to create really hard boundaries, and continue to be out of relationship with our parents or members of our family of origin. And I just wanted to share my story because it might resonate with you. And if it does great if parts of it do and other parts don't great, you know you are the designer of your life. So you get to decide, Is there something that continues to be a wound or an open wound? And what is going to support you? Where do you have power over tending to that wound? Right. All right, next section, finding lightness, it's important to keep coming back to how the experience of the emotional freight train feels, because that is how we learn to know when we are on it. Typically, when we're on the train, it's because whatever we're reacting to feels big and heavy, we find ourselves in a space of urgency, and we feel the need to do something. Or it might be the experience of finding ourselves in a space of just feeling frozen, right noticing that we're in deep fear. And sometimes that's like paralysis. So your emotional freight train is going to look specific to you. Right? It's not always this big explosive thing, which I think I've already mentioned. What if we were able to find some lightness in those hot and heavy moments? What if we could literally Lighten up, change our energy and shake off all that weight that can feel so suffocating. lightness is a tool, lightness is release lightness is trust lightness is allowing an experience to happen. What do I mean by that? Resistance is the root of most suffering. And this is how we're going to get to lightness by looking at resistance. Whenever we resist something we find ourselves caught up in our emotions. Sometimes on the parenting journey, we resist the stage of development our child is going through, or we resist letting go of our vision for how something should go. Sometimes we resist our child's need for autonomy, or their bad mood. Anytime we resist what's happening, we suffer. In that suffering, we can find ourselves on the train simply to pass around the pain we're feeling in the moment. It's interesting, too. So my same sister, who was the softball star, has a six year old and a two year old and so I get awesome calls from her text messages like Tommy again, why I'm not using consequences. Tell me again, why positive discipline is what I should be doing when everything inside of her kind of feels a little Rayji and relatable right for all of us. And I get to help her reframe, right, I get to help her reframe what's happening. And I think that's something with so much more conversation around relationship centred brain based parenting. That is in contrast to the way so many of us were raised, especially in the teen years with punishment and reward for our behaviour. One of the things we resist is this idea that we don't have to employ punishments, right, that kids you know, in the work that I do with positive discipline comes back to belonging and significance. And sometimes that's the place where we resist. Yeah, but they need to know it's not okay to do that, right? Anyway, I think that's interesting. Now, you might be thinking, what if my child is doing drugs or lying or shoplifting? Don't we want to resist that? No, you don't. Please don't resist that the opposite of resisting is accepting, accepting is the first step and recovery. Accepting opens the door to compassion. Acceptance allows space for possibility. So, as you're listening, if you have a kiddo who's misusing substances, or you know, is doing some light shoplifting, or is in some kind of other mischievious behaviour, like being acceptance of that's what they're doing right now. And educate yourself. I have two great podcast episodes that were actually from last fall one was with Brenda Zane, about being with our teens substance use episode 378. And another one is with Dr. Emily Klein about motivational interviewing, and how to communicate with our kids about their behaviour. And that episode is 389. So I want you to make a note of those two shows, and go back and re Listen, write re lesson, what we resist persists. So let's look at this in another way. Have you ever had the experience of having a perfectly fine day, only to be greeted by a really grumpy partner? Maybe they come home toss their stuff around the kitchen ranting about their crummy boss or the jerk that cut them off? Do you notice what happens inside of you? Then maybe your kids walk in? And they are a bit whiny earlier than usual? demanding this and that from you? Are you able to stay calm and connected to yourself and respond to your child in a way that's helpful and kind? Maybe, depending on your day, right? Maybe not? Who do we blame for snapping at our children? That grumpy ass partner? Of course, right? They hadn't come in that way than I wouldn't have felt a certain way. And I wouldn't have been such a bitch to my kid. It's easy to fall into this cycle. For me, and especially when I'm not paying attention to my internal experience. I allow my partner's energy to cause me pain or suffering or heaviness. I'm resistant. I'm resistant to compassion, or meeting my kids where they're at. With that in my body. Am I moving towards lateness? Heck, no. I respond to my child by passing on the pain and suffering that's going on for me. I can feel like I'm talking in circles here. But bear with me this scenario above is one that plays out over and over when we aren't in the present moment. It highlights the way we hop on the train or other people's trains without realising what we're doing. What if this wasn't a metaphor? Could you imagine all the times we would look around and realise that we were in a whole new town with all the train hopping that we do? Lightness can be used when we're getting pulled into the energy of the people around us. And we choose to rise above it. We choose to bounce up and out. It can be an internal conversation. That sounds like wait a minute, this is yours, not mine. I recently had the opportunity to practice this. This is funny because I literally had the same experience today this morning with my 17 year old same kid. But of course this was like five years ago. I recently had the opportunity to practice this when I was in the backyard one morning finishing up some self care and my son poked his head out the door and angrily stated there are no bagels. He was visibly irritated and I could feel the blame. He was throwing my way who

Casey O'Roarty 24:10
I paused, decided not to say anything at all. That was the best thing to do. He rolled his eyes and exasperation and close the door. I took a few breaths I calmed down my body. As I gathered my things. I put a smile on my face, and I found some curiosity. I went into the house and saw him sitting on the couch. Sorry, there were no bagels. I said, Can you figure out something else to eat? Do you need me to list off what's available? What do you need? This was so helpful. This was so helpful. It allowed the tension to leave the space between us and he responded by saying he'd find something else to eat. This could have turned into something very different how they responded to the heaviness that came with his first comment to the blame to the snark. I could have gone on and on, I could have stood right up, gotten his face defensively, about how, by the way, there was plenty to eat. And what was his problem? And didn't he know how privileged he was pain and suffering? I'm glad I used lightness that morning. And like I said, just this morning even was like, there's no bagels, literally the same thing. And I responded with Are you good? Can you figure something out? And he's like, yep. And we moved on was a non issue.

Casey O'Roarty 25:39
Mama Lauren wrote, when I'm able to reach for lightness, I feel like I'm setting the right example for my children. Not everything is a serious travesty. If I can be light, many potential conflicts or problems just melt away and my family feels more connected. I love that. Whiteness can be evoked my friends. Once we realise we're carrying the baggage of pain and suffering, we can put it down and lighten the load. To do this, we turn to the body. This next section is called using our body to shift I have had mothers show up to my workshops, feeling that they have been duped. I have mothers right now who, you know, you get to the teen years. And it's definitely like, Why was I into this, they feel like the mother had experienced that society sold them was not the experience they found themselves having. They feel exhausted, angry, sad. And they have a tremendous amount of guilt for feeling this way. That's too. I'm gonna say moms and dads, I remember at the beginning that I was going to pay attention to my language. And just a total side note right now, when I wrote this, I really wrote it from my experience of being a mom. And I know that I've kind of created a dynamic where it feels like this book is written for moms, but it's not it's written for moms and dads. And so I know dads feel the same way. I know this to be true because I talked to dads who are like what the eff is going on. They're carrying the heavy baggage of pain and suffering. As you know, I was in my own pain and suffering experiences my oldest child moved in her first few months of high school. This is so hilarious to read, because like the first few months of high school were nothing compared to the following few years. She was expanding who she was trying things on pushing back making mistakes. The baggage that I was carrying was heavy. The hardest part about this was the way that my daughter pushed me away. It felt like every time I saw her in pain and tried to connect with her, she would shut me out that hurt. This was also on some levels developmentally appropriate. I was resistant to the fact that I was being invited to let go share the power and allow her space to explore her world. This was what she needed. Yet I often found myself in resistance. Why do we go there? Why do we try and take control? Why? Because we're human when we feel threatened or unsafe, or because at some level, our sense of connection and adequacy feels vulnerable. We go into fight or flight or freeze or fawn. This is something I talked about in an interview just yesterday, the fawning survival skill, the people pleasing, I think that parents lean into this we get panicky and so that's the giving in peace. That's the place where it's like, I want everybody to feel good, right? So we slide into some people pleasing I'm it's fascinating, and I want to do a whole podcast about it. We care deeply about those we love the most. So it makes sense that they are the ones who can invite us into feeling this way. Great. What do we do about it? Well, here are some things that I've done, take them or leave them but figure it out for yourself what is going to be useful to you. I have been to therapy. I love therapy. I've had life coaching. I've had my own parent coaching. I'm surrounded by people who are resources that support me and making sense of what I'm experiencing. I love energy work. I have a really good friend who's a Reiki Master, and she shows me the places where my soul is holding on to generational trauma. I love a good workshop transformational workshops are so powerful. I love to insert myself into experiences that allow me to see myself from the inside out. I seek out those experiences. I meditate regularly and I am an avid journaler I pour out into my journals I take care of myself. And I've added this isn't in the book but something that is so powerful. During the teen years is remembering that this is temporary, who they are now is not who they'll always be. And when I read back to freshman year and the way that Rohan treated me, if you are up to date on the podcast last week, Rowan sometime in August. Row, Rogen was a guest on my show. And she reflected on how she treated me during those times, and it was really powerful to hear her mention. Gosh, I wasn't very good to you. It was really nice to hear that. And it's amazing. Now, our relationship is amazing. So the pain of back then didn't stick around. Right. And I attribute it to you know, her own maturity and growth, but also to the way that I responded to her it left room for us to be in really good relationship now. So remembering that everything is temporary, and still, there are times when the emotional freight train pulls into the station. And my favourite practice for supporting myself was introduced in the last chapter, the three B's breath, body balcony. Let's take a minute and practice putting the three B's together. Are you ready? If you're driving, just pause and do this later. Or just listen to my soothing voice. All right, get comfy. Bring your attention to your breath. Allow yourself to inhale and exhale. Notice the muscles in your face. Bring your attention there, really explore what's happening around your eyes and your forehead and your jaw. Imagine with every breath you take that you can soften the muscles on your face. Drop into your neck and shoulders and notice the tension there. there room for your shoulders to drop back and down. Try it. See how it feels. Release any tightness with your breath. Do you see how your heart opens simply by pulling back your shoulders a little. Now take another breath and imagine the fresh new air going straight into your heart centre. What's your experience? If you are thinking that it's random for me to ask you this, close your eyes for a bit and take 10 Slow breaths straight into your heart centre. And then reflect on what you notice. Drop your attention into your belly and your bottom and see what's calling to be let go of we hold so much of our fear and our hips and our butts. What's happens when we let go. With the next few breaths, feel your connection to the ground beneath you. Feel the support of your legs and feet as they hold you up and route you to the earth. Smile. Imagine that you have put down the heavy baggage of pain and suffering and worry you've released to them. They are now moving away from you on the emotional freight train that they came on. Notice what's available when we start with the body when we open up our hearts when we release the tension. Feel what's happening for you. Imagine what becomes available inside of relationship when we practice noticing what is happening in our body and allow for our intended way of being. Not thinking about the way of being but really embodying the space for that way of being to exist. Imagine what you will see from the balcony seat. To avoid the emotional freight train, we have to choose in to using the tools we have to say, Now I will choose to show up differently for my children and find something new try something new. We have to explore the three B's and trust that keeping ourselves grounded, present and open minded will support us in the long term. This is bigger than reading this book. Like I've already said this is actually putting the concepts that I'm sharing into practice on a regular basis to stay off the emotional freight train on your parenting journey. Staying out of the station. Remember that's the name of this chapter. Using your body as a tool makes a huge difference. When you practice embodying the ways of being that you want most animating them bringing them to life. You will find them much easier to access. How do we make this sustainable? That's what we're going to talk about next week in the final chapter of the book.

Casey O'Roarty 35:00
So thank you so much for listening again, I like this chapter, it gets into some juicy stuff. And I think it holds up. I think it holds up. So it is about the practice. It's about willingness. You know, willingness is something that I really dug into when Rohan and I went through DBT, a few years back dialectic behavioural therapy together and willingness, right, being willing, is no joke. Like, it's a powerful choice. Right. And, you know, there's gonna be days where we're like, nope, not willing, super overwhelmed by my emotions. And then there's days where we're gonna get better at noticing the choice points and being willing to try something different. So, again, it's not about perfect. It's about progress. It's about practice. And one of the things I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but one of the things that I encourage clients and community members to do is use your phone as a tool. And throughout the day, have little reminders that show up that just say three B's, or say, breath, body balcony. And wherever you are, take that opportunity to find your breath, right into your body and let go of the tension and release any tension that's alive in you. And then take the balcony, see, and get a more expanded perspective around whatever it is that you're navigating. It's a tool that I really, I mean, it's just that high repetition that we need, that makes it ever more possible to access when we're in a more emotional state. Right? If we practice when we're in less of an emotional state, we can then lean into it. It's more likely we'll lean into it when we're in an emotional state. So we got to practice like going to the gym, right? Getting those reps, strengthening your muscles. So yeah, I'll be back next week. I'll be back next week with the final chapter of the book. Have a great weekend. Bye.

Casey O'Roarty 37:21
Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to my spreadable partners, as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting this show out there. Don't forget, get your free companion guide to this series created to expand your learning and your own copy of the book by going to be spreadable.com/j C book. I'm so appreciating you and I'm here to support you and your journey of parenting tweens and teens. Find me on social media or shoot me an email at Casey at joyful courage.com to discover how we can work together. Tune back in on Monday for a brand new interview and I'll be back with another solo show next Thursday.

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