I’m on my way back home from the Pransky Professional training. Grateful not to be snowed in at Seatac, and even though I have a sore throat and a headache I am feeling lighter and freer as I leave. My heart feels wide open.
I love the impact of listening to people share their personal experience of truth as a way of pointing to the Truth that is universal and can’t be named. Even though the impersonal and personal can never meet, pointing to the singular in this way has a feeling that goes along with it. It is not conceptual or intellectual. It is an experiential way of looking in the direction of the impersonal that awakens what we know to be true inside of ourselves.
Seeing the impact of looking to the universal is profound. It reminded me of the value of working with my clients in this way no matter what their presenting problem or circumstance. Digging into the details, and the thoughts and feelings does not help someone to gain perspective or be more open to fresh thought. Looking at what is universal and generic does. It is automatically settling because we see ourselves as normal and part of the human race. This is so reassuring. And in the relaxing and letting go into our humanity, we naturally experience a deeper connection with our true nature and get the sense that we are not limited to just our humanness. Our formless nature becomes more palpable.
During one part of the training, George Pransky was speaking to how he does not care about the details of his clients’ problems. Someone mistook this for a lack of empathy, and then George said he feels the same way about his kids too. There was a chuckle in the group, but George was making the point that the kindness is not in identifying with problems. This strongly resonated with me regarding my own parenting, especially with my girls as teens.
I used to be obsessed with the details of my daughters’ problems when they were struggling. The problems looked like they were mine to fix or that my job was to manage my daughters through structure and discipline so they would avoid having problems and getting into trouble.
This did not build trust or rapport in our relationship. It had them be less open and go more underground with their behavior. Angus and I had a come to Jesus moment during a family intensive with Erika Bugbee when she pointed out how we were too much in our kids business in a way that was counterproductive to the very qualities we wanted to draw out of them like self-confidence and responsibility.
It was then that I genuinely saw the value of not focusing on their troubling behaviors and instead, looking to the universal in them. Rather than focusing on their mistakes and shortcomings, I looked to see their innate intelligence and wisdom. I recognized their capacity to stabilize. I was able to see their insecurity and lack of confidence as passing states of mind and not something to be fixed or for me to worry about. Their weaknesses shrunk down to size as I saw them as a normal part of the human condition and part of their learning curve.
The irony of it is that as soon as I zoomed out and saw the resilience in them even with their struggles and frailties, they found their feet more easily. Their capacity to find their own answers came to the fore along with their ability to be in the unknown when they didn’t know.
Rather than seeing them as needing to live life in the bubble wrap of my protection, I saw how me letting go was good for them. They felt my confidence in them. Me not taking their problems seriously helped them to recognize their own capacity to figure things out and recognize they have the same capacity we all do to learn, grow, and have fresh ideas.
Taking my hands off the controls was the best way I could demonstrate this. Lip service did not work. Saying, “You got this!”, while I micromanaged did not help them wake up to the potential of their inner resources.
And what a relief for me. I didn’t realize it, but I had been feeling the weight of needing to do everything right so they would be okay. I felt such freedom to not be on top of them the way I had been. My feelings of warmth, compassion, and empathy naturally increased as I took the pressure off myself.
I am not giving a parenting prescription. If you have kids, you are their parenting expert. What I am pointing to is how it worked for me to get out of my kids business and get more interested in seeing the qualities of their true nature that were invisible to me when I was caught up in trying to manage them.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.