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Mindful Parenting Book Club Part IV

post #1 of 207
Thread Starter 
Welcome to Part IV of our book discussion on "Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting" by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. We are discussing one chapter a week, we move forward on Sundays and this Sunday, February 2 we will be moving to "Breathing" on page page 110 of Part IV of the book, "Mindfulness: A Way of Seeing." There are ten Parts to the book which is almost 400 pages. If you are not currently part of our discussion, you are welcome to join us. Some of us have read the book and some of us are reading it as we go. And some of us are re-reading it as we go. For your convenience here are some helpful links:
Powell's Books: http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/bibli...7-0786883146-2
Table of Contents: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...er#reader-link
Support for MF Mamas:

Every so often we create a new thread to save loading time. That is the reason for the new thread.

Here is the current schedule for discussion leaders:
Feb. 2 Breathe ~ "Breathing" page 110
Feb. 9 mamakarata ~ "Practice as Cultivation" page 113
Feb. 16 nuggetsmom ~ "Free Within Our Thinking" pg 116
Feb. 23 Lim.One ~ "Discernment Vs. Judging" pg 120
Mar. 2 Megs Mom ~ "Formal Practice" page 124
Mar. 9 ????~ "Letters to a Young Girl Interested in Zen" pg 129
Mar. 16 ???~ "The Stillness Between Two Waves" pg. 146

Part V "A Way of Being"
Mar. 23 ??? ~ "Pregnancy" pg 153
Mar. 30 ???~"Birth" pg 160
April 6 ??? ~ "Well-Being" pg. 165
April 13 ???~ "Nourishment" pg. 169
April 20 ???~ "Soul Food" pg 174
April 27 ???~ "Family Bed" pg. 178

There are ten parts to the book with almost 400 pages in the book. Please feel free to volunteer to lead our discussion for any week with ???s next to a date.

post #2 of 207
Thread Starter 

Re: Mindful Parenting Book Club Part IV

T Here's what I found out about the database error message we keep getting:
Originally posted by Cynthia Mosher
We all get it when we try to access the boards at a time when there are many users on the board or when the users on the board are opening several windows for different board pages at once. Our hosting package is one that allows only so many users to access at once. All you can do is keep trying or come back later when it's not so busy. Sorry for the inconvenience and frustration and we hope to be upgrading our service in the near future to accommodate more users.


post #3 of 207
So what is a healthy way to show/express your anger? I am realistic here in thinking that I will not get to a place in my life where I will never have any, so what is the best way to express it.
Mmmm I should study how I express it right now..

Also, I have a hard time letting DD struggle. She is very verbal (well, KWIM) aobut when she is frustrated (as is DH) or stuff like that. IT is hard for me to let her be with those feelings. I want to just help her, but that really doesn't help her at all. I am learning to just give her feeling a name, but I feel like we are in challenging territory right now. She hits when we do something she doesn't like, and cries when things don't go her way (which is about 17 times a day) and all sorts of similar little things. It's like it all just changed in the last week and my head is reeling trying to catch up with what to do. I don't want my automatic reaction to take over because that is not the right thing either (getting angry). I have plenty to ponder and Haven't had time to process it.

BTW. I copied the threads into word, becuase I wanted to preserve some of the things we wrote since sometimes I don't copy my ponderings into a journal like I wish I did. So, fellow mindfull mama's, without the support thread, we are up to almost 300 pages!!! A book in it't own right I would say.
Don't worry, I won't violate your copyrights~ I am after all married to Mr Intellectual Property.
post #4 of 207
Thread Starter 
Jacq~Thanks for saving the threads in Word. I tried to open the older ones today and had no luck! Maybe we will want that document to look over one day! Ya never know...300 pages...WOW!

I think it's o.k. to express anger. Just as long as it's not beligerant...IYKWIM? That's all part of being "whole" and human. And as far as allowing her to feel and express her frustration, that is tricky! I'm sure the moms with olders will chime in about that. I'm not to that stage yet.

I hope you and nugget are feeling better.
post #5 of 207
Thread Starter 
Just in case someone is wondering where we are at in the book: "Importance of Practice" page 106.

Here are the quotes from the book I posted on the other thread from this chapter as a refresher or if you missed it:

Originally posted by Curly Locks
“Importance of Practice” ~ Chapter Four of Part IV (pages 106-109)

For anyone that hasn’t read this chapter yet or has and needs a refresher here’s a quote from page 106 and 107 that will get you pumped: “We have to learn to live in the present. We have to practice seeing with eyes of wholeness. Why? Because, perhaps due to the nature of the human mind, especially if it was not embraced with kindness and fully nurtured in childhood, we spend much of our lives practicing the exact opposite of mindfulness. We practice not living in the present moment. We practice being carried away from our center, from our sovereignty, from our interconnectedness, by our thoughts and feelings, our likes and dislikes. We practice anxiety. We practice getting angry. And the more we practice, through repeating these patterns in our lives, the “better” we get at them, and the harder they are to break out of. We practice being firmly attached to views and models of reality that are only partially accurate or don’t pertain at all, feeding the automatic pilot mode in ourselves, generating consequences with our less-than-sovereign, less-than-empathetic, less-than-accepting actions, which then come back to compound our actions, which then come back to compound our problems, our confusion, and lack of clarity regarding our own lives.”

Here’s a quote that explains the use of the word “practice” here. From page 107: “We are using the word “practice” somewhat differently from the way it was originally thought if. “Practice” here means embodying wholeness right now. It is not like practicing the piano, or a dance step. It is not an exercise or a rehearsal. It is not to get better at something by repeating it over and over again, although a deepening does occur.”
I'm not trying to deter from the great discussion we are already having about "inner work" or "mindfulness." Just making sure everyone knows where we are in the book. inky
post #6 of 207

I'm new to the group!

I have been lurking since before christmas and asked for the book in my AP playgroup gift exchange and got it!

I've been slowly reading the book and I am just about to the chapter that you all are on. I would love to join the discussion because I am finding the book to be so inspirational.

I have been practicing being present to whatever I am faced with...it has been challenging. I have a 2.5 year old ds and a 2 month old dd and a great husband.

Glad to join the group!
post #7 of 207
Thread Starter 
Welcome to the group, Iguanavere! And thanks for your intro. I look forward to your thoughts!
post #8 of 207
Thread Starter 
I know my reply to nuggetsmom about anger was not very clear or helpful! Maybe someone can help me elaborate! When I said as long as you're not beligerant I assume everyone knows and not abusive. And try not to attack the person but anger/frustration toward the behavior/situation is o.k. Any other thoughts? :
post #9 of 207
BTW, Breathe, I do want to move in next door to you. Of course we just bought a house (at the peak of the market ) and we both have jobs here, but for the record, I do want to move in next door.

Ahh, Anger, it is something that I struggle with and I am not sure that there is a eal answer. I was reading somewhere that the appropriate way to express it is:
name your feeling, I am angry, I am frustated, or whatever. Then explain the behavior that is making you feel angry (using a positive I statement ~something I am not good at) and then correct the behavior.
If your anger is too intense, you are supposed to leave the room (baby in crib or safe place) and vent it elsewhere, and then come back and explaind and apologise.
Well, I can try to be mindful of that technique... But the problem with anger is that it lurches up like a giant demon and bites me in the btt.
Then I am no longer thinking and just reacting. Well, there you go.

I love the idea of trying to get something that will remind me to be mindfull. One thing I was thinking of doing was to write down my "intentions" (skip to the very end of the book) and to spend a minute or so every mornign reviewing just one of them. MAybe one that I am havinga hard time with. That way it is in your mind every day and you are atarting the day on a positive note.

Nugget and I are both feeling better. I think she had her healing crisis last night and slept from 7 till 7:30 !!!!!!!
An unprecedented event I might add. She briefly woke up once and really didn't want to be taken out of her bed, which is what I did. She lurched for the crib and I gave her some water in a cup and she went back to sleep. I woke up this morning freaking out. I was sure something bad had happened overnight. But she was in her crib playing with the monkey. We all overslept because we rely on her to be the alarm clock.

Last night as I put her to bed, I really tried to have an open mind about what was going to happen. I really tried to stay in the moment - I meant to bathe her, bt she wasn't into it. NO problem. She was really crying, yet not wanting to be held, and I was just there and supposrtive and letting her have her feelings (of tiredness, and sickness and general malaise) and finally she crawled in my lap and nursed to sleep. I really feel like it was a mindful, being there and in the moment on my part.

I have more to say, but work calls.
post #10 of 207
Practicing Mindfulness:

"We practice anxiety. We practice getting angry. And the more we practice, through repeating these patterns in our lives, the “better” we get at them, and the harder they are to break out of."

This really hit home for me. I am struggling with reacting to DS when he doesn't listen to me. My reactions aren't always so gentle and I am ashamed that I have often done that same kind of crap that my parents did with me when I was young. I realize now that I have practiced all of these behaviors for years that when I do react it's because that was what was modeled for me and what has been practiced for years.

When I fully focus on being mindful, I am always surprised at how easy it is to handle ds when he is being challenging. I don't get angry and it is almost amazing that I don't. The struggle is being mindful every minute of the day and asking for help when I can't be mindful any longer.

One of the things that scared me about these concepts was that I associated the idea of meditation and acceptance to be almost apathetic. No caring. I realize now that I have attachments to being angry and I didn't want to give up the "practice" of being angry. Now I see that I can be angry, acknowlege that that is how I feel, but I don't need to direct it.

Does this make sense?

Andy Curley Locks - i thought your comments about anger to make sense.
post #11 of 207
Thread Starter 
Gotta hurry...but I wanted to say, Iguanavere, that your thoughts made sense too. And so did Nuggetsmom! Very well put. Anger is such a touchy subject for most people and the root cause of my anger is so mysterious to me. Some is from childhood wounds and learned behavior, I'm sure. But do people that had parents that didn't show anger, or weren't angry in general, get angry? Maybe their parent's reactions to frustrations are different than people that did have visually angry parents with poor coping skills. I never know from one day to the next how I will cope in a frustrating situation. On days when I am mellow and feeling well I handle frustrations so well and then another day when I am tense, tired, agitated, or stressed (or all of the above) I just react and don't even think, like nuggetsmom posted. And I agree, when you know you're about to loose it, it does help when you're trying to mindful of that b/c at least you can try to brace for it and not totally go ballistic. And then other days it is easier to breathe thru it. I'm still trying to get to the point where I am not blaming others for my blow-ups and take responsibility for my reactions before the erruption occurs, but in the heat of anger I don't always reason well.

Well I really have to go now but I'm glad we're touching on anger here b/c I think it's important to think about. A lot of damage can be done in one erruption. But from what I understand the child that is well attached is better able to cope and understand that the scary emotions are not b/c he is a bad child or not loved. And therefore a wide array of emotions are o.k. to see. And like someone else mentioned...always apologize after an incident of strong scary emotions is displayed in front of your child.
post #12 of 207
I think it's important to remember that labelling emotions and reactions isn't always a positive thing. Being angry isn't always bad, just as feeling intense love for something or someone isn't always good. The emotions themselves are just states. It's what we do with them that shows our mettle.

I'm trying to work with 18mo. DD to show anger at appropriate times without causing her to react to it inappropriately. I don't want her to take on guilt, be scared, become overdramatic, whatever ... I want to show her that sometimes things happen (or she can do things) that make people feel angry -- and that angry people are still loving people and especially that they are forgiving, compassionate people. If I tried to nix my anger, she would not learn any of these lessons -- and we would miss a very warm, vital link in the trust-building of our relationship.

Hmmm. I think too many people do not trust themselves or the people they are with enough to be angry. We've become a culture of "Fine -- I'm outta here" people. -- oops, bathtime's done, back later I hope ...
post #13 of 207
Thread Starter 

Tomorrow starts my week retreat

It is with very mixed emotions that I type this! I want to respond to Mamaste's last post about anger which I found very helpful. But I am just going to try to make this quick b/c ds is fussy and dh needs me to get off-line and there's lots going on here right now.

I'm really going to miss reading your post's next week while our computer is unplugged. I will be thinking of you all and trying to "breathe" thru the tough times we will encounter while trying to live w/o the computer and TV for seven full days. You all have become such a big part of my life! Have a great discussion next week! I'll be back in seven days.

post #14 of 207


Kept waiting for a msg from this thread and then realized I wasn't subscribed!

First of all, it's wonderful to have you, Iguanavere!

I was talking about not wanting to model anger for ds on the old thread, and what I meant was, I don't want to model my INAPPROPRIATE anger. My irrational anger. The ex. was that I wanted to throttle the neighbor kids for being noisy when I was trying to get ds down for a nap. That's just not fair, and it's a little bit crazy! They're kids and they are entitled to play outside! It's ridiculous for me to think that the whole world should revolve around my life.

So just to recap, I figured out that my anger popped up as a means for avoiding my true feelings: exhaustion, diappointment, boredom, frustration.

So what I really should have said is that yes, I MUST model anger for my ds -- at the appropriate times and in an appropriate way -- which is what you all have been pondering. But I do think that I must "swallow" that irrational bitterness and cynicism (at least for appearances sake) and apply my breathing and mindfulness to it. I do not think ds can benefit from watching that particular process, at least not at this tender age.

Mamaste, can you expand on what you meant by: "I think it's important to remember that labelling emotions and reactions isn't always a positive thing." How can labeling an emotion be negative?

Nuggetsmom, sounds like you're doing exactly what the nugget needs you to do . . . as mysterious as that has been for you recently. I'm sympathetic to the outbursts and the protests. You've definitely got a developing will on your hands, and it's likely you WON'T get the time to catch up to it. I feel like that so much -- about my life in general ("If I could only catch up . . ."). You're doing a good job of just hanging on for the ride!

Oh, and I'll start working on trying to drive my neighbors out. Think you can be prepared to move here in a year or so? Off to buy ds the biggest drum set I can find!

P.S. When Curly Locks gets back (we will miss her SO!), I think I may be taking a hiatus of my own. I gotta break my dependence on this machine!
post #15 of 207
I did the same thing, El -- forgot to subscribe to this thread and wondered why you all were so quiet! :LOL

Good to see you still talking... I find myself back into a more serious engagement with the practice of mindfulness. It is no coincidence that this happens as dd has been sleeping better. Exhaustion is really such a strong factor on state of mind. It has helped me to just remember that within the sleep deprivation it *is* okay to just focus on being-with my tiredness, to be awre and name it and watch the emotions that come up in me as a result.

Keeping up with my own emotional temperature, especially by journaling, prayer, yoga, and talking nightly with dh, usually helps me to recognize my patterns. I am more likely to feel frustration when I am tired. So when I am giving voice to my tiredness, I can be vigilant for the cranky feelings that might make me less paitent with Sophie. I can ask for that extra support for her.

I know my own Mom never expressed extremes of emotion (very British & proper) and especially didn't like to fell/show anger. I know this was awfully hard for my Dad... actually, as a kid & adolescent, I was really hard on my father for 'having a temper', and thought my reserved Mom was much more mature. But at least my Dad was honest and let you know what he was feeling. Mom's approach was something you could never respond to -- if she was really angry she'd leave the room. Conversation was over.

I know I am seeking a different path than either of these when I raise my children. I still fear conflict but am trying to be much more present to my emotions, including anger, and talk about what I'm feeling while it's happening. I know it would be hard for me not to "soothe" dd right away, but to really give space for her feelings. I'll be interested to hear how other mamas approach this with toddlers.

I'm missing Heather already! Sure it will be a beautiful retreat though.


p.s. Welcome Inguanavere! Looking forward to your contributions. Thanks for joining us on this journey...
post #16 of 207
hah! did the same thing. didn't subscribel to the new thread. i even went search on mdc to see if there was a new update in case my 'puter was failing to get me the updates! and of course found Part IV.

this is such a great topic for me too.

so much of what everyone has said made sense.

the only thing i would add to this, is what i learned from some earlier work in a meditation class, which is that beneath all of our painful emotions: anger, sadness, frustrations etc, lies a fear of some sort.

and that there are only 5 or 6 main fears really- fear of failure, success, rejection, death, illness, and i think another, but cant' remember.

anyway, the work i did in this class was to identify the main few, because evidently, there are usually only 2 or 3 main fears that we are dealing with in our lifetime (hopefully).

that has been a stretch for me, because i have to really stop and take some time to identify the fear before responding, and my tendency is to react and inflict some return hurt to the offender, to even the score somehow.

my main fears? rejection and failure.

it plays out like so:

12yo dd needs help with something (like her hair), i help, but in the process she gets panicky that i am making it look awful- (btw, never let them watch in the mirror. it's like kids love your cooking until they know all the ingredients!)

so in her panic she starts telling me i am doing it wrong, and getting all frustrated. (she is approaching- that age- so i can appreciate it is somewhat typical), but the way she handles it is by being all snippy snappy and stopping the whole process. (also somewhat typical)- but now comes in my fear.

"i am going to be late to work" (failure), "my office will find me not holding up my end of the bargain" (rejection), "my dd is a brat and i have raised her this way" (failure), " i must correct it before it gets any worse" (my reaction in anger, which causes more rejection).

problem for me is, it takes a lot of time to come to these conclusions. i imagine the solution to that is practice by taking the time, and that it will get easier and quicker for me to do this.

when i succeed at identifying the fear, i am then able to relay my fear (which is owning my own experience and not blaming others for my feeling) and it calms the whole thing down. i don't have to inflict hurt to say it, they don't feel like a piece of sh*t for their own obvious fears running on them, and we all get closer.

but let me tell ya, it takes practice. and it is something i am definitely still working on.

make sense? anyone else identify their main fears?
post #17 of 207

Thanks for all the warm welcomes!

Mamakarata - yes - i know what my main fear is and that is failure. I set what I think are realistic expectation but really they are not reallistic. I went to a good parenting seminar called "Quality Parenting" and they talk about our lower sleves come out when we are under stress or fearful. That is definitely true of myself.

BTW - what is the week meditation that Curley Locks is taking?
post #18 of 207
It's a wonder any of us find each other - I, too forgot to subscribe to the new thread!:

About fear - I was subbing for a friend of mine this morning at a church I don't usually attend, and the pastor spoke about demons. Now, people today don't generally think of demons in the way that people did hundreds of years ago (we're more scientific, more rational), but we still have plenty of demons that plague us, both on a personal and societal level.

Fear is definitely mine. And, like others, it is often fear of failure, fear of doing something "wrong," or less than perfectly. I'm a big worry-wart. If I am honest with myself, I can say that fear is really a big motivating force. I'm working on it, though...

Off topic: I thought of you, El, when a friend of mine said yesterday that her two older children (ages 5 and 3) are lobbying pretty hard to get one of those cars to ride on! Seems they are pretty popular, even here in the snowy north!
post #19 of 207
The fear theory fits me well, too. I have also heard Gary Zukov (The Seat of the Soul) say that anger is always hiding fear OR hurt. And that makes very good sense to me, when I examine my angry moments.

So my question to you Zen mamas is, if we can identify our underlying feeelings to the extent that we get better at feeling them, and therefore are less likely to get angry instead of hurt or afraid, is the end goal that we should NEVER be angry? I mean, is that what Buddha would say?

And of course we'll never get there, but then maybe I *shouldn't* be modeling anger for ds, because this theory says it's not an authentic feeling . . . Can we take it one step further and say that anger is a LEARNED feeling? One we learn to hide our fear and pain? So then, in a perfect world, we would try to model fear and pain for our babes, but not anger?

I know this is incredibly esoteric, but I really am curious about the ideal.

Because if you didn't know it already, momcat and I were sisters at birth, b4 fate ripped us apart, and I, too, am a perfectionist!

Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm supposed to be moderating this week but haven't read the section yet? So you all have an extra night to read "Breathing" and I'll get back to ya tomorrow.

Breathe amongst ya-selves . . .
post #20 of 207
I'm going to jump in here if you all don't mind. I would love to learn to be a more mindful parent/wife/friend.

Although I think I do well most of the time concerning Kailey's feelings, I have so much to learn regarding MY emotions

Hope you'll let me join. Thanks.
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