Join me in chapter six 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
- Questions to ask when you realize you are on the Emotional Freight Train
- The 3Bs
- Using breath as a tool
- Riding breath into the body to change your experience, noticing tension and breathing into it
- Seeing your physical experience as an indicator and making a choice
- Using the “balcony seat” as a place of perspective
- Practicing the 3Bs to get closer to what we want most
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breath, balcony, feel, parenting, body, experience, irritated, practice, freight train, child, seat, book, listening, work, breathing, joyful, iceberg, recognize, moment, present moment
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 this 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 and joy.
Casey O'Roarty 02:06
Okay, hi. i Hi. Welcome back. Chapter Six this week, you all chapter six, we are Cruzan through this book, how are you feeling about it? What are you appreciating? What are your questions? What are you integrating? I want to know all the things. So shoot me a message or an email. There's lots of ways to reach out to me email Casey at joyful courage.com I will see it or shoot me a direct message on Facebook or Instagram, I will see that to reach out. Let me know how you are being impacted by listening to this limited series. So chapter six, hauling the switch to your destination when I say that I imagined like a big ol lever, like a fork in the railroad tracks. Right. And the way that it is right now, the way that we're wired the tracks, you know, race off onto the right towards crazy town. But what if there was a lever and an energetic, metaphorical lever you could pull and it would shift that part of the train tracks to head perhaps to the left something new and different, more connected. Right? That's we're going to talk about the metaphorical lever. In the last chapter, we played with what happens when we decide to take ownership of our actions you heard from some of the members of the community about what happens for them when they reflected on their experiences. And I shared that pretty god awful, crazy experience that I had Father's Day 2018, the epic parenting meltdown. If you feel like you're ready to try some reflection, use the following questions as a journal to help guide you as a prompt to guide you. So here's some questions to ask in those moments where you're like God, My God, what is happening for me right now? What is my body telling me? What is it that I'm trying to control? How can I help myself in this moment? What do I need, I would also encourage you to use the free guide that I created for you. The link is in the show notes, download it and use it as a tool to help you integrate all of this. This chapter is all about engaging in a practice that will help support you in shifting your experience. When you find yourself on the emotional freight train. As you grow in this practice, you will develop your own intuition and wisdom and you will find that your relationship with your children will strengthen as well. The practice we're going to dig into is something you can do it Anytime, anywhere, it's available for any situation, no matter how big or small. It's a practice, that will always work for you, moving you in a direction that you want to go. If you engage in it, if you integrate it into your life, it will be helpful. I call it the three B's breath, body balcony. So yeah, longtime podcasters that haven't read my book. This is the birth of the three B's. I've talked about it on the podcast a lot, too. But writing this book is when I kind of came up with that language and imagery. And that's what we're going to play with today. So let's start with your breath. I know you're reading this book, or listening to this limited series, and you want to help yourself show up differently for your family. I know you're looking for tools that can support you. The good news is that the first part of the three B's is something that's working for you all the time, whether you're thinking about it or not your breath. Breathing is an automatic function of the brain along with blinking, heart beating, swallowing, and digestion. Your brain controls these functions without you thinking about them. When you inhale, you make your heartbeat faster. When you exhale, you send a signal to your heart that it can slow down. A fast heartbeat is often associated with an overstimulated nervous system. When we talk about parenting, there are loads of situations and experiences that can overstimulate the nervous system. When we become emotionally overwhelmed or triggered by someone in our life, our heartbeat speeds up, we go into fight or flight mode. When you pay attention to your breath. When you feel the sensation of air entering and exiting your body. When you consciously lengthen your exhales, you can move from overwhelm to calm. I love this collisional thinking. It's just breathing. It makes me so happy. When you're calm and connected. You can choose joyful courage. When you're calm and connected, the free train has less of a hold on you. One of the parents that I work with says the space between my trigger and how I respond is always available, we always have a choice. I acknowledge myself, I feel my feet, I adjust my shoulders and I take a breath. A mantra is also helpful such as I can do hard things. I love that. Another parent says when I feel triggered, I inhale slowly through my nose and I try to focus on the sensation of the air sweeping through my nostrils. I then exhale slowly through my mouth and try to release any air that's left in my lungs. I use a short mantra to change my self talk, I might say something along the lines of this is temporary. I am capable, they are small. We are all learning or we can get through this. I love that. Want to practice. Let's practice together. So wherever you are, I invite you to bring your attention to your breath. Yeah, bring your attention to your breath. If you're driving, pull over or pause and do this later. But I invite you and if you're able to close your eyes, close your eyes. Get rid of the external sensory stuff and just drop in. Bring your attention to your breath. Feel it move in and out of your body. Feel the sensation, the swoosh of that air in and out of your body. Hear the sound that your inhale and your exhale makes.
Casey O'Roarty 08:57
taste the flavor of your breath. See the way your body moves in the giving and receiving of air become present to the smells that you notice when being attentive to your breath. Enjoy 10 breaths at this pace. How do you feel? What do you notice about the quality of your breath when you bring your attention to it? What happened to emotions and thoughts as you move through that practice? What was your body invited to do? Take some time to reflect on this experience. Use the guide use the guide to help you. Paying attention to your breathing lowers your stress and brings your nervous system towards a calm state. Breath is a legit tool for this parenting journey and a powerful tool to help you stay off the emotional freight train. I really want to land for you when to use breath is really to become totally consumed. With the sensations of breathing, and when we're consumed with that, it is kind of a side door to helping us let go of the other things that are consuming us. Right. And I want you to do this, not when you need it. But a couple times a day when you don't need it, just okay. You know what, I'm going to practice my breath right now. I'm sitting at the stoplight, I'm going to practice paying attention to my breath. And then when you do need it, right, when things get really hot and challenging with your teenager, you can say, You know what, I got to take a pause. Because I'm feeling out of control. I can feel the emotional freight train. And I want to show up well for you. So I'm gonna go and do some breathing, to regulate and then come back, right. That's one way to use breath, and it's powerful.
Casey O'Roarty 10:59
Here's what some joyful courage parents say. Breath as a tool helps me get grounded. When I practice noticing my breath throughout the day, it helps me back into the present moment. mindful breathing takes me away from the swirling to do lists in my mind that can otherwise increase my general stress to a point, which makes me more reactive. Breath is self compassion breath is grounding breath is accepting that I am an imperfect human. And that's okay. Because I'm having a hard time to breath as a tool helps me to feel all of my body again, in an instant. If I take a really deep breath, I can visualize the air going all the way down to my toes and up to my brain. It really helps me feel grounded. Again, it's the oldest part of our brain. The brainstem has been a part of the human experience since the beginning. It is the part that responds to threats. We are wired to respond to threats. When we become triggered our brainstem kicks into gear, our nervous system takes over and keeps us in fight or flight mode, we need that adrenaline. We need that adrenaline to fight the bear. Our bodies want to keep us safe. But again, our bodies can't always tell the difference between a threat that is a real threat to our safety, like a rogue bear, and a child that's falling apart in front of us. In these moments, one of the ways we can shift from that emotional flooding, to accessing joyful courage is by using our breath, we can let go of the idea that we need to talk ourselves out of how we're feeling. We don't need to do that. Right. It doesn't need to start with our head, it can start with our body, it can start with our breath. We don't have to feel or think any certain way to get present with breath. All we need to do is recognize that we are triggered, recognize that we are about to step on that emotional freight train or maybe that we're actually on it. And then bring our attention to our breath. Just be there. Just focus on breathing. Just be in the experience of breath. Okay, body. Next section. Okay, so here we are with our breath. Great. We're breathing. We're coming our nervous system, what do we do now? What do we do next? Once we choose to focus simply on breathing, our breath becomes an entry point into our body. Our breath slows things down enough. Our conscious breath, our mindful breath slows things down enough so we can notice what's happening on the inside. Where is this tension? What's happening with my shoulders and my jaw? What direction am I leaning in? Right? We've talked about this already that physical experience of being triggered physical experience. Here's what happens my jaw clenches. For me, my shoulders go up and in. I lean forward, my eyes narrow, my face is super tight. I'm ready for attack. I'm ready to win. Then, when I use my breath, I can meet my body where it's at. I become aware of my breath. Pay attention to what's happening with my body, right? So I realize oh shit, here we are emotional free chain. I don't want to ride this rail. I want to lean back. I want to step out. How do I get out? I can't get out. I'm super pissed. Okay, I'm just going to focus on my breath. That's all I'm gonna do. I'm gonna focus on the experience of breathing. Right, slowing things down through breath, and then checking in on the body. Where's my body at right from this place when I recognize Oh, my shoulders are really high. And my chest is concaved. So I'm going to release some of that tension. I'm going to release the feeling of urgency. I'm going to drop into the present moment, but to find my feet, I'm going to pull my shoulders back Open my heart center. Right? This is where lightness and playfulness, compassion, non judgement. This is where that becomes available to me, this is where I can access trust. And remember what I'm trusting in right trusting that they can learn from their mistakes. And I'm choosing to let go, I'm choosing to surrender, I'm choosing to show up differently. My breath brings me to my body awareness. And then instead of reacting, from my experience, I am an active participant, I'm recognizing that I'm an active participant. And I'm actually in charge of my experience. So try that with me right now. Allow your breath to take you into deeper awareness of the body, right? Breathe in and breathe into your body. Where's there currently tension? Where are you clenching? Are you clenching? What happens when you allow your breath to release those places in your body? Right, what happens when we soften? What happens when we soften? Think about what you want to bring to your relationships. Maybe that's connection and love and kindness. When you are present in the moment, in a body that's relaxed, soft, free of rigidity, you're more likely to feel as though you can access, connection, love and kindness. This work is for you. No one else. Play with this practice when it helps you to become a more connected, loving, joyfully courageous parent, share it, share it with the world, we spend so much time in our head, you guys, we worry about the future or feel guilty or regret the past, sometimes we forget the most powerful place to be as in the moment, while our heads have the luxury to time travel, our bodies don't. So let's start to use our bodies as a tool to help our minds be in the moment to write. And I just want to acknowledge before we go on to the next section, it's hard, right? It's hard sometimes. I mean, I've had this experience where I recognize oh my god, I just did this actually a couple of nights ago. I was so irritated. My husband and I are listening to this course on Insight Timer about self growth, personal growth. It's a 10 session course and we're slowly making our way through it. And the other night, it was like, Hey, do you want to come down and do this thing with me? He said, Yeah. So he shows up, and he's got a bowl of ice cream. And in my mind, here's how we should be doing this. We should be laying quietly on the bed. Iced open or closed. Totally listening. And considering what we're hearing. Right. Super present. That is how I think it should look. So here we are. And my husband has this, what feels like giant bowl of ice cream. And all I can do is listen to the sound of him eating it. The scraping of this spoon on the bowl. I'm like so irritated, right? And then I realized, Okay case. And we're listening to this whole thing on like personal growth and you know, surfing the urge surfing our irritation urge. It's a great program. And I'm completely missing it because I'm so irritated and tuned in to the ice cream sounds. And I'm just getting more and more annoyed. And I have a moment where I realized what's happening as it's happening. Like, wow, I just need to let this go and be present with this. And simultaneously, there's a part of me that's like, now that I'm irritated, I'm going to need to say something like, so I just want to acknowledge that I'm presenting all of this. But I also want to say it can feel hard. And some days, it's really easy to let go of the bowl of ice cream, and other days. Cut dammit. It's not so easy, right.
Casey O'Roarty 19:00
But again, just sticking with the breath, sticking with softening the body, trusting that that's enough. Right? And when you're ready, you can do the next step. The next be the third be taking the balcony seat. The final be the balcony seat. Have you ever had the experience where you're looking for a way to solve a problem and you just can't seem to come up with anything that works. You're pulling your hair out feeling so spent and frustrated. And then someone walks in the room and says, Oh, hey, try this. And it is the perfect solution. Oh man. It's like when our friends talk to us about challenges they're having with their kids. Do you ever feel yourself giving them advice only to think Damn, that would come in really handy for me. You all need to know sometimes when I'm podcasting or coaching, I do hear myself say things and I think maybe I should try that. Well this process of using our breath to drop into our body actually helps us To take the outside observer view, or what I call the balcony seat, coming into the present moment gives us space to take a few steps away from the challenge at hand, it gives us a broader view of the situation. Picture this, and we're gonna go back in time, those of you that have teenagers, you're at the grocery store with your young child, right? Remember that already feeling the stress, and you're trying to move fast, so that you can get home and make a meal for your family. You think you're in the clear only a few more things on the list and your child asks for a cookie? Nope, we're not going to do that. We're gonna go home and make some dinner you say super reasonably. But that's all it takes. Your child falls apart and you you try to keep it together. Does that sound familiar? Remember that. Remember those days? This is where we get hooked, right? This is where our blood starts to boil, our body gets tense, we begin to think things like oh my god, I've ruined this kid. They think they can get away with anything. How dare they want a spoiled brat I can't give in. They need to know, right? This is where the train pulls in. But you have a new practice, you have something you're going to try. Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. And really pay attention to how it feels to bring that breath into your body. Notice where you're tense, relax and soften those areas, pull your shoulders back, release your jaws feel your feet on the floor. Imagine that you can lift up and out of your situation and see it from an elevated point of view. This is the balcony seat. From up here. You can see this kid is hungry. You can see that a trip to the grocery store straight after daycare before your child had a snack. Might have been too much to ask. You could say to yourself, is there something I could grab right now for my kiddo as a snack to help them get through the next 10 minutes at the grocery store? Taking the balcony seat is powerful. And I know we don't have toddlers, most of us listening you don't have a toddler or preschooler. So think about this scenario from a teenager point of view. Right? They walk in the door, I'll speak from my own experience. They've had a day maybe they're coming in from work coming in from school. And immediately you say you know what you said you were gonna empty the dishwasher before you left and you didn't. And they become unglued. And go on a rampage and maybe say some choice swear words to you, which you trigger, you know, which feels all the things? How dare they again, it sounds similar. Like I've ruined them, how dare they they think they can get away with anything. I'm not going to let this go. Here you are, you're at that choice point, you're at that place where you get to take that breath. Here to soften your body. You get to take the balcony. See, you get to recognize like holy cow, I have no idea what this day was like for this kid. I do want them to empty the dishwasher. But my timing not great. Right, you can see a bigger picture from the balcony seat. That's why we love it. That's why we love it. Regardless of what you decide to do. After you use this practice of breath, body balcony, you take your child's behavior less personally and holy cow, parents of teenagers, we have got to practice taking their behavior less personally because it is getting in the way for so many of you. I know because I talk to you about it. You will be more available to them and able to see what they need in the moment. You'll be better at staying off the emotional freight train. But Casey, you may be thinking, shouldn't our kids be able to handle a visit to the grocery store and behave in public? Shouldn't they be able to walk in the door and hear me make a reasonable requests about the dishwasher? Shouldn't they be held accountable for how they behave? Yes, yes, of course course. But, you know, this isn't about catering to them. It isn't about being permissive, or being at their beck and call. It's about being more aware of what is actually happening. Instead of being reactive. It's about responding in a way that's helpful to ourselves and our children. It's a more expanded experience of the dynamic that's coming to life in front of us and between us when we use this practice, we're able to see the bigger picture. When we use these tools, we can continue to nurture our relationship with our children. When we use this practice, we can be the parents, we want to be the iceberg metaphor. I've talked extensively about the iceberg metaphor on the podcast. I also write about it in the book. Think about your own behavior, when you are short or rude or just not your best. What are some of the things that take you there? Is it when you're hungry? Tired? What about when you feel disrespected? What about when you feel disconnected, or as if things you do don't matter to other people? What about when you feel discouraged, all of these things get in the way of our best behavior. The same is true for our kids. Right? The iceberg metaphor. When we use our breath, body and balcony seat, the three B's, we can recognize that the behavior we see is only the tip of the iceberg, we can remember that, then we're more able to respond to what's really going on under the surface. So going back to that example of the grocery store, our child may be hungry, our child may be tired, they may not feel connected, our child perhaps hasn't been included in the grocery store trip. When we acknowledge our child's needs, we set ourselves and our children up for success, we're better able to connect with them, they feel seen, and we've increased the likelihood that they'll be cooperative. Same is true for that scenario with our kiddo. When we recognize God, I don't know how much they've eaten today. I don't know what happened with their friends. I don't know what kind of news they got, while they were walking in the door. I'm going to connect with them before I start to direct them towards the dishwasher. So yeah, this requires us to be in the present moment. And to hold space for their experience. It also requires us to stay off the emotional freight train. Breath, body balcony. Easier said than done. Yes. And it takes practice, practice, practice, practice. Right. And that's the end of part two of the book. So here's some of the gifts of the balcony seat that I just wanted to mention. And I hope you're getting the balcony seat, you know, I had a coach. And she would ask me, you know, when I was really stuck in something, she'd say, Well, what does this look like from the 10,000 foot view. And the balcony seat is really or the 10,000 foot view, it's really just about seeing this moment as one moment, inside of infinite moments that we've already had, that we're going to have, right? And to be with it in a way that moves us towards what we want most. Right? Being aware of being willing to be conscious and aware and awake, and connected to the present moment. So the gifts of the balcony seat, the balcony seat reminds us it gives us space to see under the surface of the iceberg. On the balcony seat, we get to also recognize, Okay, where am I making assumptions? Where do I have an agenda? Perhaps it's even an agenda or an expectation that I haven't even stated out loud, like that example of Ben and the ice cream. Like I never said, hey, when we do this thing, when we listen to these little sessions, I'd really like it if we were completely distraction free. I've never said that out loud. I just, I guess I assumed. Yeah, I just expected that. That's how it would be. And then I got irritated that he didn't get the memo, the non existent memo right. From the balcony seat, we see where we are influencing the dynamic, right, we can find humility there.
Casey O'Roarty 28:10
And from the balcony seat, we get to be in the question of what do I want most? Or what do I want to create? Right, what do I want to create? The whole reason Ben and I are doing that self growth course through Insight Timer is because I want to create connection. And the ice cream bowl when I wasn't aware of what was happening, was giving me the opportunity to get ever more disconnected. And that's not what I want. Right? Connection is what I want when my teenager walks in the door, and I'm irritated that he didn't empty the dishwasher before he left. And I launch into you know, Thanks for nothing, buddy. Right, basically, and then he gets irritated. And then I do my three B's I recognize Okay. Whoopsie poor approach case, poor timing. Let's try that again. Right. And I also get to talk about, you know, if there is some choice words, there's still an opportunity to talk about, hey, you know, sometimes we're overwhelmed. We're not feeling great. It's really important that we check in on how we're talking to each other. Right? Or to make it right when we've kind of lost flipped our lids, or lost our minds. So yeah, three B's. What do you think? Use your guide your guide, take some notes. Listen again, if you need to. I'm really excited. Next week, we'll start part three, which is staying off the emotional freight train. That's the title of that section. So we're making our way friends. Thanks for listening. And I'll see you real soon. Have a great weekend. Bye.
Casey O'Roarty 30:00
And thank you so much for listening. Thank you to my Sproutsocial 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 in 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.