The Most Powerful Parenting Tool I Know

Jan 21, 2016

The Most Important Parenting Tool |
When everyone is in tears,


My daughter, my son, me

My first thoughts are usually about my own emotions and struggles.


I just want to sleep.  I have been up with this baby all night.

I just wish I could get a minute to myself.  Why can’t I even use the bathroom without a child clinging to me?

She is making our bedtime routine so difficult.  Why does everything have to end in a tantrum?


But, when I can pull together the clarity of mind in these moments,




And so I flip my thinking.

What is my baby experiencing right now that is making it so difficult for him to sleep?

Have I been present enough for my daughter today?  Is she clinging to me because she needs my undivided attention and presence for a while?

What could be going on in my little girl’s world at bedtime?  Is she afraid of the dark?  Is she having a hard time transitioning from the day’s activities?


This change in my thinking, although it doesn’t always come naturally in the throes of tantrums, does two things:  it pulls me out of my own (useless) self-pity, first of all.  And, interestingly, having the compassion to get curious about what could be going on in my children’s world also, I’ve noticed, comes in the form of a question.

And whenever I have a question, it is almost always a cue to

start a conversation.


And so the tears become a dialogue, and I show my children that I want to understand how they’re feeling, and they learn that it is okay to express how they’re feeling.

All this, from one little word.  One little mantra to nurture us through all that strife.


Your turn:


What helps you during your toughest parenting moments?
Do you find it helps to check in with compassion for your kids when they’re having a hard time?
Do you have a favourite mantra for those challenging times with your kids?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!