Monday, June 27, 2011

It'll be fun next time.

Sometimes, having coaching skills is awesome when you're a mommy.

Admittedly sometimes I feel like That Mom when I talk about this... mostly when my coaching school, iPEC Coaching, will post something on facebook asking something along the lines of, "When was the last time you used X coaching skill?" and I'll chime in, "Yesterday, with my 4 year old!" But I did. Because it's awesome. I'm teaching my pre-K things that I've seen adults have a hard time figuring out; then again, adults have to re-learn and break existing thought habits, while my 4yo is just now forming those thought habits himself.

For example: We were at the park one day playing on the big-kid equipment after fattening up some of the geese nearby, and the pole. Oh, that pole. It was out to get him. He'd worked with Daddy the time before, learning how to reach out and grab it, then jump and wrap his legs around to slide down. It was scary, but with Daddy's help, he was brave and went down the pole by himself! Once. And then he remembered that it was scary, which is what carried over for him during this visit. The pole is scary. He was scared. I tried cheering him on but frankly, I'm not Daddy, and Mommy cheering never has quite the same effect as Daddy cheering (just like Daddy's bedtime songs aren't quite as good as Mommy's).

Several minutes were filled with a back-and-forth of "I'm too scared!" and "You can do it! Just count to three and jump!" before we finally decided that it was okay, we would try again next time.

As we started walking home, the 4yo was repeating to himself, "I was just too scared. That was so scary. The pole was too scary. I was really scared." So I told him, "Raiden, what you're doing right now is called psyching yourself out. Do you know what that means?" Of course he didn't. "Psyching yourself out means that you're telling yourself that it's scary so much that you're making it even scarier for yourself. The more you tell yourself 'it's too scary!' the more you'll believe it!" I think he said something along the lines of, "Oh." I went on, "But, did you know that you have the power to change your own thoughts?" "I do?" "Yes, you do! You can choose to stop saying it's too scary, and start saying that you can do it! Can you say, 'It'll be fun next time'?" If there were a way to articulate a whiny tone through text, I would do it, but since I can't particularly think of one, I will simply tell you that in a whiny tone and with a slouchy stance, my child did, in fact, repeat, "It'll be fun next time..."

Still, I cheered him on. "There you go! The more you say it the more you'll believe it! Can you say it again?" With a similar whine and slouch, he repeated, "It'll be fun next time..." I cheered him on some more, and after a dozen or so more times (because what four year old doesn't love to repeat himself and repeat himself and repeat himself and repeat himself and...), it became enthusiastic.

So the next time we went to the park, do you think he was able to go down the pole? Well, no. It was still scary. Because, let's face it, he's four, and that's a big jump for a 4yo. But he also did not stand there telling himself how scary it was. He tried, he just couldn't do it, and he told himself, "It'll be fun next time."

Since then, he has asked me a couple of times in similar situations, "Am I psyching myself out?" If I confirm that yes, he is (and comment that it was very big of him to recognize that), he'll stop and change his phrasing to how fun it might be next time. And that's way better than sliding down a pole.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

As within, so without. Or vice versa. Or...

As you may or may not know, we have moved into our new house (which previously belonged to my late grandparents-in-law), but still haven't sold the old one.

I've gone through a lot of different emotions over the old house being on the market and moving to the new one over the past three years (three. years.) that the plan has been in the works, mostly stagnant. It started out, "But I love this house and I wanted to stay here forever and I don't like the new house because it's boring and this one has character and I don't want to get rid of it... but it's very financially responsible to do so;" morphed somewhere along the line to, "Okay, it'll be all right, we've given this house all we can and now it's time for someone else to take care of it," with visualizations of the perfect new owner and how much the new person would love the house and fix it up and do all the things for it that we just weren't able to do; and eventually became, "I'm done being in limbo. I'm mad at you, house. You need to sell now. We're outta here. See, now you'll be alone because you didn't attract a new owner," and my wish for the Universe has gone from a visualization of the perfect owner to something more like, "Okay, Universe, just find someone else to make the house payment. Don't care how. Make it happen."

It hasn't yet, but that's not where I'm going with this. What I'm getting at is: I am currently in charge of mowing two lawns instead of one, and due to the "doneness" I have come to with the old house, it's something I kind of roll my eyes at and say FINE and do it but I'm not happy about it.

The last time I was mowing the lawn at the old house, I realized about halfway through that even though I am frustrated and, okay, I'll admit it, a little resentful that I still have to take responsibility for the lawn at a house I would like to be done with, that the actual process of mowing the lawn itself was very comfortable and familiar. I know the spots where I need to go slower to get through the thick patches; I know the areas where I can go faster due to the grass being thinner and drier; I know that if I angle the mower just right over the curb we don't have to use the weed-eater as often; this is the spot where I'll just backtrack a few short rows to even it out into the longer rows in a minute; mowing the area between the sidewalk and the road as part of the bigger yard rather than its own section makes it feel more doable and less long and horrible. It's very familiar, and even still slightly enjoyable to find a new, better, more efficient pattern to follow to let the job feel like it's getting done faster.

Even though I am tired of having to do it.

And as tends to happen, being the type of person who tends to think about the things I'm thinking about, I thought bigger. I know that "thought is cause" and that "as within, so without" and in general, that what is in your mind creates the world around you. So I wondered: what's in my mind (within) that is creating a situation in which mowing the yard is still comfortable and familiar yet the house it belongs to won't sell (without)? What else could be going on in my mind in which I am feeling comfortable with something I would rather like to get rid of? (Oh, as soon as I asked myself that, I thought of about a dozen possible responses.) And as such: what do I need to resolve within myself, to allow something different to be manifested outwardly?

What about you? What frustrations do you have in your life right now, that you would like to see change, shift, disappear, or evolve in some way? What qualities does that situation have? What other mental conflict could be similar to that situation? And how ready are you to change it within yourself?

The cool thing is, even if resolving something within yourself doesn't result in the outward change you would like to see manifested, you still grew, and something even better may come of that.