Eps 410: Joyful Courage Book Club – Chapter Five

Episode 410

Join me in chapter five 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

  • Slowing down the train
  • Finding the pause
  • My Father’s Day meltdown
  • The power of letting the emotions of our experience pass through us
  • Getting more familiar with our physical experience when we are triggered
  • Paying attention to what our way of being is bringing to the situation

Today Joyful Courage is holding that there will be a looking back, and asking myself, “who do I want to remember myself being?” There has been a lot of reflection the last few weeks from my daughter on her tough times and how she treated me… And I am proud to say I mostly feel really good about how I have shown up for my kids when times got tough.

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Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
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
Hello, welcome back. Hi, I am so glad that you are coming back for more on this joyful courage Book Club series. It's awesome. It's been really fun for me to revisit what I created all those years ago and to really feel like it holds up. Right? I mean, it holds up. I'm still practising all of these things, I've still not come to mastery, which that in and of itself is a lesson in the fact that, you know, parenting is a lifelong personal growth and development workshop, ultimately, and there is no place to get to where I don't think or at least I haven't gotten there yet where we sit inside of like, okay, great. I have it all figured out. I am now perfectly regulated and can navigate whatever life throws at me, we know that's not true. We know that life continues to offer more and more opportunity. I mean, I wrote this book freshman year happened while I was writing this book was really hard. publish the book. And like six months later, my then 16 year old was telling me that she was dropping out of school and was deep in a mental health spiral. That felt hard, obviously. And then we moved into 2020 and COVID and my husband being diagnosed with blood cancer. So yeah, as soon as we think, okay, you know what, I think I got this life is like, Okay, well, here's a new place for you to apply what you think you've got, right? And we get to do it imperfectly, full permission for imperfect actually declaration that that's what we're aiming for. We're aiming for imperfection, because we're human, right, and emotions are real and conditioning is real. So we're going to be imperfect. So why don't we just start off with that I'm going to be imperfect, and I'm gonna get better. But the imperfection exists. So that's my pep talk. As we move into today's chapter, which is chapter five, and where I talk about a really useful tool for when you realise trains come in, or oh shit, I'm on it. I am on the train. Title is what you need to know, to slow down the train. As I write this, I'm working on changing some old habits that have been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember, I'm a fixer. I am an opinion giver. I believe that I see the world so clearly, and that others simply have to see what I see to come to their own understanding of their situation, which matches my understanding of their situation. It's so obnoxious. And it's become a part of my wiring, I launch into what I think quicker than I sometimes realise I'm doing it. My brother Chris said to my sister, Jamie, you know, Casey's kind of bossy. But if you just do what she says, you end up having a really good time.

Casey O'Roarty 05:25
Shout out to brother Chris, I really wish my children and my husband recognise that, right. And it's not helpful when raising teenagers more often than not, this is when my teenagers shut down, turn away, and close the door to relationship. And of course, when they do this, all of my approval baggage is triggered, and I get bent out of shape. And then I respond from a place of hurt and fear. Do you see how this is a challenge that I am in direct contribution to? It is, my goal is to be in solid relationship with my kids to be a sounding board a safe landing a non judgmental, healthy adult, one with whom they feel seen, understood and accepted by what I take a look at the dynamic that I'm creating from the outside, I see how my fix it advice giving tendency is challenging to my teenagers. From their perspective, I don't hear them out. I don't understand I don't trust them, or treat them as capable human beings. Okay, but aren't we supposed to offer advice? Aren't we supposed to guide our children and let them know what we think? Well, yes. And people can listen better when they feel like they have been listened to. So what I have started to do, and I do imperfectly is I have begun to ask permission to give my opinion. I ask, Would you like to know what I think? Or can I offer something, and then let my kids and my husband decide if they want to hear from me or not. Now granted, this happens after I've listened. Right after I've listened, deeply listened, listen to what my people are saying to what they're not saying watching body language, listening to their body listening to the bigger nuances of the experiences that they're having. I listen to understand. And then I asked permission to share what I'm hearing to share what I think when I launch into one of my just listen to me, I know everything moments, I'm learning to catch myself and to own it. Right. Wow. Sounds like wow, I bet that didn't feel very respectful. Or, you know, you didn't ask for my opinion. And I just launched into it. I'm sorry about that. Can we have a redo? Can we try again? Right, we always have the opportunity to turn things around to recognise when we're headed to the train station. And to make the choice to pause and take a different route, we always have that opportunity. We can always slow things down, there is always a choice, we have so much power. When it comes to designing our experience. I want to invite you to claim space, I want to invite you to see that there is always an opportunity to claim the experience you're having to take an active role in it, and to influence what's happening. So you get closer to what you want most. When we allow the train to pick us up, we are on autopilot, we allow our emotions to take control, then more often than not when the ride is over. We aren't happy with the route we took. Claiming your space at the station is choosing joyful courage. It's choosing to see what's happening and deciding you will navigate the experience deciding how you will navigate the experience. In this chapter you're going to learn to recognise where you are, grow your awareness and create space and time to be the parent you want to be. Okay. That's the goal of this chapter. So I'm gonna start with the pause. Remember, I mentioned earlier, I think it was chapter one, that there are some parents who have been through my workshops and they come to me and say, you know, Casey, I really want to use the tools you talk about during your parenting classes. But I find that I get so triggered and then I act out of anger before I realise what I'm doing. This is another thing that I hear. I really want to use your to The goals but they just don't work for my family. Right? My kids are special and interpersonal relationship tools just aren't useful with them. This is a common experience. We feel as though the switch goes off and our anger takes over. But we can work on this, we can change this. There is a space, a pause that exists between the action and your reaction. Back in chapter two, I encouraged you to explore what your body feels like when you're on the emotional freight train. This is important our bodies can tell us when the train is moving in the station, becoming more aware of what's happening in our bodies as it is happening. It doesn't help create the pause. But it gives us this opportunity to recognise now is where I look for the pause now is where I create the pause. And that is where we get to be more thoughtful and courageous regarding how we show up for our children. This is where we find joyful courage is in the pause. Think about being triggered. It's a terrible experience. It's hot and tight and rigid. It's difficult to stop that angry energy. This is why we snap. This is why we lash out it spills out of us.

Casey O'Roarty 11:32
There were times at the dinner table when my teenager would just not want to deal could not deal with the rest of us. We ate too loud. God forbid if we tried to talk to her. She wouldn't make eye contact like now looking back I really she would just completely disassociate. She spoken one word answers, which often translated into the unspoken message of I hate every one of you. It killed me, killed me. My physical response was immediate. I mean, I would get tense, my jaw was clenched. My eyes would get narrow, my breath got shallow, like I was just so sucked in and ready. The train was just like, let's go. Sometimes the train pulled up and I'd hop right on, I lean into her, I'd let her know what I thought about how she was acting. I met her mean with my mean. And typically one of us would leave the table and a half. The joyful girge process is simple, but it's not easy. And it takes practice. I'm still practising. So I want to tell you guys a story. This isn't in the book. But I want to tell you about Father's Day. I think this was 2018. Father's Day, rolled around, right. And, you know, as the mom of the partnership, it was like we're gonna have a special day we had a plan, we were going out to the water to this place called kayak point. I had never been there. We had a cooler patch. We were going to just spend the day on the water in nature. And Rowan, who was 15 at the time, was not having it. She wasn't into it. She let us know she wasn't going. She may have told her dad and he told me or maybe she said it to me. I was not having it. I mean, this is the end of freshman year. So this is the end of about a year of just the teen angst that wouldn't quit you guys. Oh my gosh, my self regulation was like so hard. It was so hard. I feel like I was always hovering like the train was always idling right next to me. And I could hear it and I could feel it. There was this energetic draw towards it. So here she is saying I'm not doing Father's Day. And I just came unglued. And at first it looked like me. You know storming into a room being like, get up. We're going, you're going I don't want to hear another thing about it. Your dad works super hard. We get to celebrate him today. It's not about you get up let's go. I probably stormed out. I think there was a couple of interactions and that's how it started with me just like you know, you're going to do the thing. Oh snarky myself and then she kept resisting kept resisting. I'm not going to do it. We probably had a couple more interactions. And then I mean, I know that you're going to understand this so I want you to know as I share the story I don't have shame about the story because you know this is literally my biology taking over and my brain wiring taken over and I went up there and I was just right in her face and screamed at her and just you will get up you are doing this How dare you just completely out of body lost my mind experience so out of control. So out of control. And I could see in my memory of this moment, there was somewhat of a cowering, which is not great does not make you feel good. There was definitely, you know, like, oh shit, Mom's really lost her mind. Like I went to a place where I don't go like I just it was like the whole year of dealing with her came to this massive peak experience and I went off so much so that I scared myself and so I walked into my room and I remember my whole body, my entire nervous system was on fire. I went into my closet, I got in the foetal position, I curled up, and I just rocked back and forth, trying to soothe this out of control dysregulated nervous system, and I'm breathing and I'm breathing. And Ben came in and it really freaked him out my husband to see me like so raw, like the raw just, I mean, it was gnarly. And I was just like, get out. You know, I got to deal with myself right now. And just all I could do was whatever I needed to calm down my nervous system, like I wasn't about rollin it wasn't about the stories, the emotions, it was really about. I just gotta calm down my body because I was visibly shaking. In the meantime, I don't know what Ben went and said to Rowan, but we had crossed over the peak. And now it was like, Okay, we're going and having this father we're having father Father's Day is not cancelled, and we're all participating. So my memory of it was I got calm enough to get in the car. She did too. You know, the kids are in the backseat, I'm in the front seat, I'm still fuming, right, I still have a lot of residual anger in my body. And I'm just sitting with it sitting with it being with it for driving out to kayak point. Fortunately, it's a solid 40 minute drive. And as we go, I can feel the grip of the anger loosening on me. And at some point I set you know, I own my behaviour. And I said, I'm really sorry, I got so out of control. I'm really sorry. You know, and she received it. And, you know, she started to soften to both of us started to soften. So by the time we got to kayak point, it was fine. It was silly. There was still some edginess. But we ended up having a good family day, there's a hilarious picture of this. Father's Day where it's a selfie, and the four of us are on the beach, and she's flipping off the camera. And Ian's in the background mooning the camera, and it just was the perfect capture of this era, really, of life and of parenting. So yeah, emotional freight train, man. It's not easy to create the pause. And sometimes we get into crisis situations, and it feels impossible to find it. But with practice, we can get better. With practice, we can get better, but man is uncomfortable. And that discomfort is so hard to deal with. But I invite you back to the book, to take a deep breath and try to find the pause within that discomfort. When we begin to feel the discomfort. It can overpower us. And it can lead us to jumping right on the freight train. But if we can just take a couple of breaths, real breaths, right? Not just like, Okay, I'm taking my breath, but I'm still pissed. Yeah, that's okay. If we can take a couple of breaths if we can find the pause. This is where we can access joyful courage. This is where we can choose between slipping into autopilot, or being conscious of what is happening internally. For us. I could have used this on Father's Day, this would have been helpful this practice. The initial physical reaction doesn't last forever, when we're willing to feel it, let it run its course and acknowledge and accept what's happening. We can get to the other side. When we can sit with the discomfort for a while and do nothing we give ourselves and our children the gift of a thoughtful response. This is not about stuffing our feelings away or denying our anger. This is about being brave enough to be with those feelings. All right, being brave enough to be with those feelings. This is about developing resilience and endurance. It's about reminding ourselves that we're going to be okay. Feel it. Allow the experience of your emotions and then work on giving them a space so that you can release it. This is the pause that we need in order to make a more thoughtful choice. Maybe we've been skipping over it to sidestep our discomfort. That dinner table angst it didn't always send me down the tracks. Sometimes I would sit with how I felt the rejection the hurt the anger. I would sit with the thoughts Like, she has no idea how good she has it, What a brat, I'll show her, I would have these thoughts. And then slowly, as I sat with them, they would move into, you know, she's having a hard time she's deeply unhappy. I'm curious about what's going on with her.

Casey O'Roarty 20:21
When I would do this, we'd get through dinner and our relationship would remain intact. When I let the experience pass through me, I could connect with her later, and have a more helpful conversation about her behaviour. And when I stayed present, more often than not, she would make amends for how she acted the table. Here's some of what others have said about growing the pause. And practising being present in the moment. As I've learned to become a purposeful observer, when I'm triggered, I have discovered that I was really missing me, I was not caring for myself, I had no support system, I had not created boundaries, around time for my jobs that the kids couldn't participate in, like paying bills and coordinating doctor's appointments or therapists or emailing teachers, and nor had I created space for me to nurture myself and my own interests outside of my children and my husband, there was nothing left for me to give beyond maintaining the routine, I could not show up in a way that reflected who I think I am, which further enforced the voice in my head saying, I'm not good enough. So good. I, another parent says I was really missing how attached I was to old stories and hurt. Even though the behaviour was different. Those old feelings of being dismissed and unseen would come flooding back with a massive force. At times with a stronger energy than the original experience. I was lacking the awareness that my children's behaviour wasn't about me that their experience wasn't actually tied to my old hurts. Yes, as a joyful courage parent, I invite you to rejoice in the opportunity to grow, make space for your feelings, trust that you can handle it, be willing to feel your experience. This is what it looks like to claim your space at the station. This is what finding the pauses. But then what, where are our feet in the present moment. As I alluded to in the previous section, all of this work has a lot to do with recognising what's alive in the present moment. When we get swept up on the emotional freight train, we feel disconnected from our body and we get trapped in our head. What is something that can anchor us to the hero now, our feet, our feet are always present in the moment. One tool for grounding into the practice of staying present and aware, no matter what our children are doing, is to feel our feet on the ground. When we feel our feet on the ground, we stay rooted in our vision of who we want to be for our children. Getting into the practice of noticing your experience and rooting into your feet gives a physical connection to a mental and emotional situation. My mentor and friend Krista petty, who's a master coach and facilitator and founder of boldly embody life says our feet are never in the future or the past, they are always in the present. beginning our practice of being present by simply feeling our feet gives us a starting point, a stepping stone and a small move to shift our experience. Here's how I use this tool. My kids share a lot with me like a lot a lot. They are very open. Even though I will say we have times where they're closed off and shut me out. But for the most part, they're super open with me. Typically when they have something really big to tell me they say Mom, I need to tell you something. Whenever I hear those words, I immediately think find my feet. I do this because I want to stay present no matter what they tell me. I want to be available, curious and non judgmental. That's my intention. I want to be able to choose joyful courage. I want to rejoice in the opportunity they give me to practice being my best self, especially when they've got something big to share. Because I never know what might follow after I say, what is it? As my kids get older, it's more important for me to hear them to see them and to listen deeply to them as they share the experiences they're going through without my being clouded by fear, launching into advice or being taken away on the emotional freight train. Teenagers, they need us to be grounded. They need us to be curious and open. They need to know really know we are going to love them no matter what they need. To know we can handle whatever it is that they are struggling with, or otherwise, they simply won't share. They won't come to us, it doesn't feel safe. And that is when things get scary. Let your body take the lead, you'll find that it is incredibly difficult to talk to your mind in a new way into a new way of being. It really does start with the body. Letting our body lead allows us to bypass the barriers that exist in our mind, and move towards the way of being that served us. Remember, I talked about standing at the kitchen sink, trying to talk yourself out of being triggered, you know, trying to convince ourselves to jump off the runaway train, it's really, really hard. We are masters at justifying why we feel how we feel. And instead to pass around the blame, or egos are really you guys, the body is a different access point for change. Instead of depending on our mind to let go of the trigger, we can take action with our body, we can access our breath, we can slow our heart, we can pull back our shoulders, we can stay present, claim your space, find your paws, feel your feet on the ground, it's about being alert, and conscious of what you're experiencing. It's about having the perspective to see beyond your emotional experience, so that you can see what your child needs, you don't actually have to make those split second decisions in a split second, there's time to find the present moment, there's time to connect with what's happening for you. And time to expand your perspective. Yeah, and I will add to this chapter, that was the end of chapter five. As your kids get older, it does feel like there's not enough time, those triggered reactions. Like we do feel like we have to handle it right now. And actually, when we take the time to be in our grounded, regulated state of mind, we actually save time in the end, because the way that we respond is more useful, more helpful, and opens more doors for connection and problem solving. Then when we react, then we got to clean it up, then we got to mend relationship. It's a mess. I also wanted to point out, so we talked about like who we want to be and that intention and qualities that we want to bring to our relationships and how we navigate situations. And I mentioned my intention in this chapter. So I just want to highlight it again. And I'm glad to read this because this is still an intention that shows up a lot. And it shows up a lot. With my growing teens as well as my partner, I want to be available, curious and non judgmental. And think about it. What is the experience of the people around us, when we decide my way of being is going to be available? Curious and non judgmental? Do we then become people who are attracting loved ones in to sharing and relationship when they know you know what, Mom or Dad, you know how they show up available, curious and non judgmental, this feels like a safe space for me, I need help, I'm gonna go to them because I know they're not going to make me feel worse about something I already have mixed feelings or feel bad about. So that intention if you haven't already kind of declared and decided what's your intended way of being what are the qualities you want to bring more of, I encourage you to do that this week. Use the guide, use the free guide, that there's a link in the show notes. It has prompts and questions and just helps you tease apart what you're listening to here, and really getting you to a place of integrating it. And that's the goal. Like I wrote the book, I do the podcast. The goal isn't just that you listen or that you read. The goal is that you take what you're hearing, and reading and integrating it into your life. So use the guide as a tool for that. And I will be back next week we are heading into chapter six, pulling the switch on your destination. So stay tuned for that. Have a beautiful week. Bye

Thank you so

Casey O'Roarty 29:29
much for listening. Thank you to my sprout mobile 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 sprat audible.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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