From the first moment of gazing into our baby’s eyes, we communicate constantly without – or beyond – words. The quality of our presence speaks most clearly to our children. From this they learn about our capacity for managing both our own and their emotions and experiences, our mood, our flexibility and sticking points when life gets either wonderful or difficult and, most importantly, their own safety in our presence and in the presence of the world.
They watch us constantly – in our playful and relaxed moments, and also when we are struggling, stretched, or our attention is elsewhere. They learn how much stress we can contain, and how much happiness we can open up to. By studying us, they learn how they might approach their own world.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ~ James Baldwin
With so much learning going on without words, parenting, therefore, is at heart an intensely demanding embodied act. It’s not just what we say, it’s how we show up. The slight turn of the mouth, the tightness of the chest, the aliveness of the hands all radiate our state to a child. Children drink in our presence.
So finding effective ways to embody our best intentions can make a huge difference. Especially when we are under pressure or have to take a stand for our child’s greater good.
As a parent, one is ‘always on’. From waking up to cries in the middle of the night to getting shoes on before school, from juggling multiple conversations at the same time to keeping the peace between warring siblings, parenting offers an unrivalled opportunity for tripping oneself up.
It demands we engage nothing less than the whole of us: –
- the clarity of our head,
- the emotional intelligence of our heart,
- and the drive of our gut.
It demands we listen to our own intuition, and constantly open to the mystery, the joy and pain of another wilful living being.
Presence. Wisdom. Patience. Joy.
As demonstrated by the multitude of experts and parenting books, there is no one right method, no easy answer. Every parent has to find their own way, has to make their mistakes, to learn from their experience. Every parent has to find ways to access their own resources of great presence, great wisdom, and even greater patience.
The Centre for Embodied Wisdom believes that some of the most important work in the world is done by parents. We offer courses that are undogmatic, and practical. That focus on restoring your capacity to make loving and empowered decisions, rather than telling you what to do. That help you access your own wisdom, and show up as a parent in a way aligned with your highest intentions.