PEACE SUMMIT: Peace Begins At Home

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  • Introduction

    Hey everyone, welcome back to Meditation Magazine’s Peace Summit. We are live right now with Sarah Ezrin and Nhi Nhi Lee. We’re going to be having a conversation about peace in the home or peace at home.

    Sarah is going to be talking about peaceful relationships within the family. She’s the author of “The Yoga of Parenting.” Nhi Nhi Lee, an expert in conscious relationships, is going to be helping us bring more peace into our romantic relationships and things like that. We’re going to have a wonderful conversation.

    Break

    In the meantime, we’re going to take a very short break. We just came off a long conversation about Kashmir. We’re going to take about a three or four-minute break, maybe five minutes, and then we’ll be back in about five minutes. So, in the meantime, I hope you watch this beautiful video of this little waterfall in the forest, the leaves falling, the water rippling, and just listen to the nice music, watch the beautiful scenery, and this is what meditation is all about: just being here in the moment and appreciating the beauty that is all around us. So, I’m going to put that on for now, and then we’ll be right back in about five minutes.

    [Music Break]

    Return from Break

    We will be starting with Sarah Ezrin and Nhi Nhi Lee in a moment. In the meantime, I just want to make sure that people are able to see us. If you can see the live stream now, please post a comment to let us know that you’re able to see it because every time we start a new live stream, I’m just like, are we live, are we not live? I think so, not sure. Okay, so I see me and Sarah are here in the studio. Oh, thank you, John. Thank you for your comment, and thank you for yesterday, by the way. Thank you for your beautiful comments yesterday as well. Okay, I’m going to put us into a layout where we can all be seen. I think this is a good one, or this one, yeah, that one’s good.

    Peace Summit Second Day

    So, today we are going to be having a lot of amazing, beautiful conversations in this second day of the Peace Summit, and we are going to be talking a lot about resolving conflicts on national levels. As we did yesterday, we had just had a conversation about Kashmir a few minutes ago, and after this, we’re going to have a conversation between Israeli and Palestinian former combatants who have turned to be non-violence activists.

    This conversation, I think, is going to form a big core of the heart of what we’re really trying to do here: as individuals, to bring peace within ourselves, within our families, within our homes, to be able to cultivate peace on the individual level and on the family level. The community level is the starting point for the peace that spreads out into the world. When we think about these big national conflicts and we talk about them, it can seem overwhelming, it can seem like there’s nothing we can do, and that’s not a good feeling. It’s very frustrating, it can be very difficult to accept that, but while we may not be able to change the mind of a politician halfway around the world, we can change the energy that is inside of us and around us. We can bring peace right here where we are.

    Introducing the Speakers

    So, I just want to introduce Sarah Ezrin, author of “The Yoga of Parenting.” You can see the book behind her. Joavan’s got that book on our bedside. It’s, I think, been very helpful for us as new parents. Joavan and I have a three-year-old named Sky, and she is developing beautifully and wonderfully into a wonderful young girl, and she is, I think, very benefiting from your wisdom, Sarah. Thank you for that.

    And Nhi Nhi, I’ve been working with Nhi Nhi in Meditation Magazine, Meditation University, for a long time, and recently, only a couple of months ago, I had the good fortune and opportunity to be able to visit Nhi Nhi’s house in Barcelona, with the beautiful background that she’s in right there. It’s not a virtual background, even though it looks super nice. It’s a beautiful studio that she has set up overlooking the mountains and the ocean, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful spot. When I came to visit, I was struck by the peaceful vibes of not only her home but also her relationship with her partner, Julian. So, I don’t know if I’m supposed to mention his name, but yes, with her partner. I think that she has a very powerful understanding of how to bring peace in relationships and how to cultivate peaceful relationships, and I’m excited to learn from Nhi Nhi’s wisdom today as well. So, welcome. Thank you both for being here.

    Beginning the Conversation

    I want this to be more of a conversation than an interview, honestly. I feel that you two are probably more adept at this subject than I am, and I’m still learning peace within. I do my best. I focus often on these large-scale things, the national-level conflicts and stuff like that, and haven’t put enough attention into these smaller, I don’t want to call them smaller, they’re just as important, but these more local level things, local level relationships, and peace within the relationships. So, I’m very excited to just allow the two of you to take over the conversation as much as possible. I’ll just put this question out there just to start the conversation, and I’ll put it to Sarah and to Nhi Nhi. You can start however you like. How can we bring more peace into these relationships with our family, like for Sarah, and into our romantic relationships for Nhi Nhi? I guess, Sarah, you can start. Go ahead.

    Sarah on Peaceful Family Relationships

    Sarah: Thank you, Kevin. I just want to say thank you to you. I know you are Meditation Magazine, but I know you also have a lot of people helping you behind the scenes too, for putting this amazing conference on and just the connections and community. I mean, this is how we heal, right? As social beings, this is how we heal. We heal together, especially when there’s things going on that are bigger than us. That’s what we can do, we can work with the people closest to us.

    Healing in the home, I mean, full honesty, and Kevin knows, he’s read my book, like this is not always a peaceful home. Despite my 25 years of teaching yoga and my daily many practices that I have, I still lost my temper last night and lost my patience with my kids. It’s a very normal, natural response of being a human being with a human nervous system. But the difference is now that we have evolved to these more frontal lobe-oriented beings, if you will, is that now we are aware of the choices that we’re making. We can see the behaviors as they’re happening, right? So, it’s very different than that reptilian kind of like freeze response or the mammalian fight response. There is this higher reasoning. In yoga, we talk about the chakras, right? It’s like we’re starting to elevate and figuring out that we can connect on these much higher levels.

    Peace really has to start here first. I am much less peaceful with my kids when I have not done my practices. This morning is an example. I had to sleep in this morning. I will always choose sleep over anything, and it just, it feels like a very different day. So, I think the number one step, and it may feel self-centered in the moment, especially when there are these huge things going on, and we want to be helpful, and we want to be part of everything, and we want to do what we can, is to remember that we need to stop, slow down, find the peace within first, and then translate that out into our nearest relationships by really just paying attention to how we’re reacting and responding.

    Nhi Nhi on Peaceful Romantic Relationships

    Nhi Nhi: Yes, thank you so much for sharing that, Sarah. I completely agree. Peace starts with ourselves first, and I really believe it’s about taking responsibility for the time that we have, for the space that we create for ourselves, to cultivate that peace so that it emanates into our environment and the people closest to us. Because if we’re not creating that time and space for ourselves to nurture ourselves, then we will end up lacking that self-awareness when something does become challenging, or there is some sort of discomfort or resistance in the relationship or in the home. It’s very hard for us to see clearly, and perhaps we will start to, instead of responding, we react to the situation and start to blow things up bigger than it needs to be. So, peace starts within, 100%.

    There was something that Sarah, you mentioned earlier before we got onto this that I would love for us to just talk about. How do we show up for our partners or for the people in our lives? How do we hold space for them when they’re going through something and also when we’re going through something, and they’re going through something? How can we navigate that? Perhaps I’ll get you to share first, because this is something that you brought up if you would like to.

    Sarah on Holding Space

    Sarah: Absolutely. I mean, I think about it, you know, obviously there’s more people in my house that I have to regulate with, and even on like the simplest of, let’s just use this morning as an innocuous example, I am not feeling great, and I wake up a little late, and I don’t do my practices, and I don’t have a full tank to give everybody. Well, how am I then going to hold space for all these people who are also not very well-slept, you know, because I’ve got the two brothers sharing a room or, you know, there’s other personal things

    going on, never mind what’s happening globally. So, when I know that I’m coming into a situation with low reserves from my end, I think the most important thing is to recognize that humanness. Obviously, I want to prioritize my practices, but that’s not always possible when you have two small children or one small child, as Kevin knows. Sometimes we have to rearrange it or find it in little bits and pieces.

    I think number one is naming it. It’s just naming, “This is how I’m feeling personally,” and then the hope is that you are in a partnership or a friendship or some sort of co-relationship with somebody that’s also aware that they are in that space. But that’s not always the case. Many times, they’re going through something, and you can feel it, but they’re not necessarily aware of that. So, it really does, like you said, it does become a responsibility on us to be like, “Okay, I think all of us are dealing with low reserves today. What are some kind choices we can make in here?”

    For example, as a family, on the days where both my husband and I are exhausted or, you know, we both identify as Jewish, and when everything went down, my brother-in-law and his family live in Israel, so when everything went down, there was a power over our house no matter what our belief systems are, right? And I forget sometimes because I come from this meditation and yoga background where I’m like, “But I need to trust that something beautiful is happening, and I need to trust that this is the disruption that we talk about in all the tradition texts that’s going to bring us together,” you know, but people aren’t experiencing things like that. If we’re talking about certain specific examples and conflicts, I had to, and he wasn’t necessarily aware that he was a little snappier, a little shorter, a little less available. I had to be the one that was aware of that.

    So, it becomes this responsibility for me to then be like, “You know what? You can go in the other room. You can go and meditate. You can go and take care of yourself tonight. I will pick up the slack in this way. I will be the one to step in.” But when we’re both exhausted, having the conversation of, “What can we let go of in this moment?” We don’t have to do our practices perfectly every day. Sometimes you do need to sleep in a little bit, or you need to skip your meditation practice in the morning to value the sleep of it all, which by the way is a form of meditation, right? Or yoga nidra. So, it’s sometimes being the bigger nervous system in the household and being able to identify where you’re coming from and where other people are coming from, and then just giving that grace and that permission.

    Nhi Nhi on Self-Awareness and Communication

    Nhi Nhi: I love that so much, and I resonate with what you say completely. I don’t have kids yet, but I’ve been with my dear friends, living with them for a period of time, and being in the midst of having kids around, working full-time, etc., it is a lot. I think that is definitely why I feel so grateful and I make the most of what I have now, that spaciousness in my life, because I realize that I’m being blessed with this spaciousness for a reason. It’s actually to support my partner in the big things that he’s doing with his life and his business. There have been so many times that my partner has come home, and he’s not feeling his best, and like you say, we really feel the energy. It’s like you’re peaceful the whole day, and then boom, your partner comes home, or probably your kids throw a tantrum, and you look, whoa, like okay, this is alarming.

    But what’s so important, I find, is to not take things personally. To learn to not take things personally, because once you make it about you, and then you start to perhaps that lower mind starts to pick a fight, then that’s when things start spiraling. But if you can see it from an objective view and be like, “Okay, what could my partner be experiencing in this moment? Perhaps he’s had a really long day, there was a lot of things happening at work, and maybe he just needs some space right now.” Communicating that, like, “How are you?” and actually meaning that. Sometimes I feel like we ask each other, “How are you? How was your day?” and we actually don’t really mean it. We’re not really ready for what the other person is about to share with us. When they do start sharing with us, we’re like, “Whoa,” we become overwhelmed. So, it’s really about having that self-awareness when we are asking, or when we do want to hold space, when we have the capacity to hold space as well for the people in our lives. If we don’t have the capacity in that moment, communicating that, like, “You know, I would really love to listen to you and hold space for you, but perhaps right now is not the right time for me. How about we check in with each other in a couple of hours or maybe even tomorrow when you feel open and ready to share what is moving through you?”

    Communication is such an important aspect of having a peaceful and harmonious relationship because, at the end of the day, we’re not mind readers. We’re not here to fix each other. Perhaps the biggest medicine that we can provide for one another is just spaciousness and the capacity to just be there and to listen and to truly hold space.

    Challenges in Relationships

    Sarah: I love that, and you bring up such good points. I think it’s much harder to have a spiritual practice when you’re in a relationship with other human beings. It’s a lot easier when you’re in a cave by yourself, right? Or in your yoga studio or in that place. The second another human being or another being comes into play, suddenly you’re looking at all those old patternings and old conditioning. You’re right, you have this opportunity of like, “Is this the lower mind? Is this my little girl self that’s coming out? Where can I start to tap into these higher places of consciousness?” It’s challenging when stress levels, like if we think about it from a physiological standpoint and the nervous system, and again, it’s like coming back to that frontal lobe. Our natural stress response right now is elevated compared to maybe where we were ten years ago, definitely where we were as kids. I tend towards highly anxious, and every day we are bombarded by the 24/7 news cycle, and as feelers and healers, which I’m just going to assume we all are because if you’re attracted to this, then I know you are an empath like us. We’re taking all that in too. So, we’re coming into it from a deficit, if you will. We’re already exposed and raw, and there’s that part of it too.

    I love what you said about actually having the wherewithal to say, “I don’t think I can hold space for this right now because I don’t have anything left inside of me,” and then knowing that they may react. They may not like that reaction too. That may be upsetting to them, but you have to think about the cost-risk. What’s more upsetting: you not really listening as they’re talking or dismissing them, or being fully honest and saying, “Now is not the time. Can we please wait and take a breath and let’s do this tomorrow when my reserves are a little more full, if you will, and my nervous system’s a little bit more settled?” It’s challenging. I just want to acknowledge for everybody, householders especially, that it’s a particularly challenging time. We are all kind of more raw than I think we have been for the last however many years, but it is a raw time in humanity. Just continually talking about it, continually acknowledging it. Something that’s been very helpful in our home, because my husband is now on this seeking journey. He started meditation, he’s now in therapy, he’s really diving deep. He’s always been very self-aware, but this is like, he’s so excited. He comes home after every therapy session and wants to tell me everything, and I want to hear this, but when it’s 1:00 pm and I’ve got to get on a Zoom in ten minutes, it’s challenging.

    Checking In

    So, something that’s been working really well for us is the check-in. Like, “Do you have the space right now? Do you have the space to sit with me and for me to tell you something, or will there be a better time?” So, also, not just us having the responsibility of being like, “Not now, please,” but them or us when it’s us wanting to share, checking in, “Is this the time? Do we have the space together to sit with each other?” Because if we’re all already elevated, it can tip the scales very quickly.

    Creating Connected Time

    Nhi Nhi: Yes, I love that so much. Something that I love to do with my partner that I really love to invite people to do more, and I say this to my clients and my friends as well, is creating a kind of a very ceremonial space. A space where you can truly just be there with one another without any distractions, if possible. Having that space as a space of true deep connection, perhaps sharing about the week, sharing about the things we’re grateful for, sharing about what’s been coming up for us in our own personal journey, sharing about what we’ve learned recently and perhaps things that we can apply to our life. Talking about our dreams and our goals, and really doing that check-in is so, so important from time to time. I really feel like it’s a great way to just know where we stand in the relationship and what brings us joy and fulfillment. Being able to be vulnerable is so important in creating a deeper connection as well.

    Because sometimes I feel like in this day and age, we can be with people, we can be with our partner, but how much of the time are we truly being in connection with them? How deeply are we listening? How willing are we to just get vulnerable? Because you can sit with your partner or somebody, but you probably see this when you’re out, etc., people are just with their partner, but they’re scrolling on their phones. It’s like, wow, you have someone there to actually connect with, but you’re missing this opportunity to explore deeper. With me and my partner, when we’re with each other, we’re really with each other. We’re not sitting next to each other and scrolling on our phones. If we are, then we communicate that. We’re like, “Hey, my love, just letting you know that I’m on my computer, on my phone, because I’m just checking this thing out,” etc. So, your partner actually knows. If not, then they’re probably wondering, “What are you doing when I’m actually here? Probably I want to connect with you.”

    Kevin: I just wanted to pipe in about that. I think that’s so important. It’s such a simple thing. A lot of the time, people talk about phones in this sort of black and white way where it’s like, “Oh yeah, using your phone is bad when you’re around people.” As an example, for spiritual people talking about it. But sometimes you need to use the phone, sometimes you need to use the computer. But I think what you just said is a great way to bring your partner in to be inclusive rather than exclusive, where it can feel as a partner, “Oh, my partner is ignoring me. My partner’s on the phone, my partner’s on the computer, I’m here. She’s ignoring me. Why is she ignoring me? She just doesn’t care about me.” That’s kind of what it feels like. But if, when I come into the room, if Joavan will say, “Oh hey, I’m finishing this thing with the Citibank that we were talking about before, and I need to call them,” things like that, then it makes me feel like I’m part of it and we’re actually almost like we’re doing something together, even if I’m going to say, “Okay, I’ll go do this other thing.” At least I feel included in her activity and what she’s doing and feeling like we’re connected in our lives. I feel like that’s such an important thing.

    Sarah: PS, this is the advice for parents when you’re using screens around your children. Especially for little children, as they’re looking up and they’re seeing the back of the phone, they don’t know who we’re texting, they don’t know what we’re doing on there. There is a way that you can have these conversations and explain, “Oh, I’m texting Aunt Dada. I’m sending him a message. We have to tell him we’re going to be a few minutes late. Is there anything you want to add in?” There is this participatory element to it. The other thing, Nhi Nhi, that you brought up that was really important is the idea of this connected time where there are no devices, everything is put down, and it’s just you and that person. I know for a lot of busy parents, it’s like, oh, it’s unfortunately like another thing. We’re already juggling however many kids in the relationship with the partner and the work and the and, and, and. There’s a lot of research around the good enough parent. The term was coined by a psychologist named Donald Winnicott, who was big in the relational space, but it talks about how it’s just 30% of the time that they really need your attention. Something that we’ve been doing with my oldest, who’s four, is doing these, it’s almost like a therapy session, once a week for a half an hour, just the two of us. No distractions, not even the dog is allowed in the room because he can also be pulling my energy away. It’s called connected play. It is a form of play therapy that I studied, but it’s this amazing time that it’s just us and it’s just focus. I’m very conscious with my two-year-old, I do it maybe not in the same scheduled way because he’s a little more feral, but I don’t do it with my husband in the same way. As we’re talking about this right now, it’s just amazing. We have to cultivate all of our relationships in that way. Put the phones down, close everything off, and just be together for this connected time.

    PS, this is a path to peace. This is how we co-regulate. This is one of the best and most profound ways to access the ventral vagal state, which is rest and digest, which is how our immunity is the highest, it’s when our digestive system is working the best, it’s when our reproduction is the highest. Our whole body functions best when we are in that rest and digest state, and the best way to access it is communication and connection, deep connection.

    Addressing Anger and Conflicts

    Kevin: Thank you both for this beautiful conversation. I just want to pipe in here for a couple of things. One is I want to let people know who are watching that you can ask questions and we can try to answer them as best we can. I also have some questions that are popping up in my mind as we’re talking about these things. The challenges of peace in a relationship, the challenges of bringing peace as much as possible, is often related to our anger and conflicts that we have in our relationships. I think that talking about those things, conflicts and anger and things like that, can be helpful in understanding how we can manage those things. I wanted to ask both of you, how do you approach a situation where you feel like a victim in a conflict in a relationship where maybe you were yelled at or harmed in some way, and the other person just didn’t apologize or didn’t seem to acknowledge what happened? How do you approach a situation like that? I’ll put that to both of you.

    Sarah: How do I actually approach it, or how do I tell people to approach it? Those are two different things. How do I teach it, how do I want to be showing up, or how do I actually show up? My higher mind, in retrospect, and when I’m sitting here and talking to all of you, and when we coach it out on the other end of it, those are very different reactions than when you’re in it. You bring up the anger and the responses behind that. I think really naming what you’re feeling in those moments is really important. There is also the boundary setting. I am part of many different recovery circles. I grew up in a house of addicts and alcoholics, and there’s the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes when we’re in a victim mentality like that, and I do the martyrdom too, it’s amazing, you don’t mean to do it, but as a mom, you just fall into it. That’s me giving my power away. I can absolutely control certain aspects of that situation. I may not be able to control what someone has just said to me. I may not be able to control how they’re responding to me, but I can always control how I react back to them. I may not be able to control my children’s behavior, and they may be rabid and running around like two little dinosaurs destroying my house, but I can always, always control how I’m responding to them, what the circumstances that I’m creating. The martyrdom tends to come out, the victim comes out when I start to feel out of control and when I give my power over entirely to others and I forget that I also have the power to just simply walk away if something’s not feeling good, to say, “I’m sorry, a boundary has been crossed, and this doesn’t feel good for me,” and I can step away from that instead of circling the drain or putting myself continually in a situation to be abused, as toddlers tend to do. It’s really remembering in that moment, what do I have the capacity for? What do I feel comfortable with? What can I take control of? How can I become empowered in this moment?

    I just want to drop the seed, and I don’t think you were saying this at all, Kevin, but there’s a lot of toxic positivity in wellness circles and a lot of discard of anger as an emotion. But anger, when channeled properly and when used for its power, is actually an activating emotion. This is activism. This is actually in the yoga sutras when we talk about the yamas and the niyamas, to be angry about injustice, to want to do something about it, to feel a boundary and a line has been crossed, and it comes up in that chest and in your face. I’m even sweating as I think about it. That’s actually a very normal, natural, and wonderful element. The question is, what do you then do with that?

    Dealing with Victim Mentality

    Nhi Nhi: Just to touch on what Sarah was saying, oh my gosh, I resonate with you so much. There is so much that I wish I knew back then, but I’m so grateful that I know this now and that I embody this now. This victim mentality definitely is not a great space to be in, first and foremost. I think when we really start out in our spiritual path, but also in that night of the dark soul, we can be in that space of victim mentality, especially when somebody is not treating us in the way that we would like them to. It’s always, “Why is this happening to me?” instead of, “Why is this happening for me?” Like you say, we don’t realize that we’re giving our power away in that moment. We always have a choice on whether we want to stay and engage in this dynamic, or we can simply just walk away with loving awareness and say, “You know

    what? I don’t want to engage in this because this is not healthy.” Knowing the difference between what is actually there to help us grow and what is simply just toxic.

    From personal experience, I have been through quite a few toxic relationships, and victimization was there because there was this unhealed part of me that wanted to people-please and always wanted to be the nice girl. When that just plays on and then something explodes, I’m like, “Wow, this person is this and that. This person did this to me,” not realizing that, “Wow, I was actually co-creating this dynamic with them.” Once you realize that, that’s when you start to really take your power back, when you take self-responsibility for just condoning it.

    At the root of it, I realized that all of these experiences and relationships have taught me to actually just come back to self-love and to connect with myself. I’m victimizing myself because of something that they’ve done, but really, it was just something deep within me that was being mirrored in the relationship and the dynamic. So, what part of me gets to heal?

    There’s an example that I want to share, which is definitely a more empowering experience that happened just last week. It’s quite funny, actually. I was finding myself eating this bag of crackers because I was trying to self-soothe myself, knowing that I’m about to go and learn how to drive manual for the first time. I was really nervous, so I started just eating crackers and staring out into the sky. My partner says, “Oh, are you trying to eat your emotions? Are you nervous?” I said, “You know what? Yes, I am nervous, and I’m enjoying these crackers. They’re healthier than chips.” Then he said, “They’re not healthy. Don’t try to convince me it’s healthy.” I said, “They’re healthier than chips.” Then I felt attacked in that moment. My inner child goes, “Why can’t you just let me enjoy these bag of crackers? I just want to enjoy them.” Then I started crying. These tears started coming out, and my partner looks at me. He’s like, “Why are you crying?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m just crying. It’s just coming out. I can’t control it.” Then he started feeling baffled, like I was trying to cause a scene. I said to him, “I don’t know why I’m crying. I think that this is a self-soothing mechanism. This is a part of my inner child that feels attacked, and she’s crying because she just wants to support her nervous system. There’s nothing wrong with crying.” When I communicated this, he’s like, “Ah, okay.” We reached a point where he understood where I was coming from. I also understand that he was just trying to care for me because, yeah, that was what he was asking. But in that moment, I could have victimized myself and created this whole scene, but I just chose grace. I just chose to communicate exactly how I’m feeling in the best way that I could without causing a scene. Within minutes, everything resolved itself, and we moved on.

    I just really want to encourage, perhaps in relationships, when there is discomfort or a challenge, sometimes it is great to figure it out right away on the spot. But sometimes it’s also very needed to have space as well, just to get clear on why we’re feeling the way that we’re feeling, why did I feel attacked, etc.

    Recognizing Our Role

    Sarah: I love that. It’s so important to bring what our role is into it. By the way, this is kind of what the whole crux of conscious parenting is. It’s less about the behavior of the child and much more about what’s this bringing up inside of me, what’s being invoked here, why am I being triggered. Being able to take that bigger picture view of what’s going on, like again, bringing it back to the challenges of last night and this morning. This morning, I was the tired one, but last night it was my son who was incredibly tired. So, all the things he told me, he loves his dad more than me, and he was very upset about certain things. Let’s say it was this morning, it probably would have been a different circumstance. I just want to honor meditative Matt Pilates who made a comment, like when our resources are depleted, we’ve got to give ourselves just as much grace as possible and know that we’re going to react, and then that’s when we’re going to work on the repair.

    Last night, I was actually not as depleted, so I was able to have a little bit more of that aerial view to be like, “Okay, he’s exhausted right now.” It’s the end of the day. It’s always challenging towards the end of the day when we’re doing bedtime because we’re going to be separated. It really is. It’s like not taking it as personally in that moment. I think the harder thing, and why I couldn’t really answer the question specifically, Kevin, is when you’re both depleted and when you’re in that moment. I do think the walking away, which Nhi Nhi also mentioned, is a really good one, and just stating, “This boundary has been crossed right now.” But I think it’s very circumstance-specific, and it depends on who’s the one who’s depleted. I also just want to name that I have a much easier time doing it with my kids, being able to take that higher perspective, than I do in partnership for whatever reason. I’ll work that out in therapy next week. I think there’s something about your main attachment figure. Maybe because I am a little bit more in a leader role with my kids, even though I treat them as human beings, I’m not sure. It’s something to look into. I’ll have to work with you separately, Nhi Nhi.

    But I think it’s a really, that’s such an important way to look at our relationships, and it comes back to what’s our self-practices so that we can have that aerial view so we’re not just in the mud being completely buried by every circumstance and every interaction.

    Challenges with Parents

    Nhi Nhi: Yes, and something I really want to add to this is actually the challenges that come with our parents as well, that part of relationships. I was very blessed to spend five entire weeks with my parents, 24/7, on a holiday. You will get to witness how much you have grown and healed and developed when you can spend all the time in the world with your parents who are not on the self-development path, who are not on the healing path. Actually being able to emanate your loving energy and just your awareness and your lessons and your wisdom onto them, not forcing it, but just being your authentic self, it’s just so healing for the entire family. I can witness so much of my parents’ tendency, just the way that they view the world, judgments, etc. I used to get so frustrated by how much I wish they could just understand, but now, the past years, I realized the best thing that I can personally do as a daughter is just to love them. Love them through every single chapter, phase, no matter how discomforting some of their views may be, and the words that come out of their mouth. I just see their inner child. I just see that there’s a part of them that just wants to be heard, that wants to be loved, that wants to be seen. We’re not always going to see eye to eye with everybody, especially with our parents a lot of the times, because they come from a very older, different generation.

    Conclusion

    Wow, this has been such a powerful conversation. It feels like we only just started, but we have to wrap up because we have Israeli and Palestinian ex-combatants turned non-violence activists coming up in eight minutes, and we need to switch into a different stream. I do have, we do have a couple of questions from the audience, and I would like to just quickly try to answer those. I see from meditative Matt Pilates, there’s a question. She’s actually sending it from one of our students in the meditation teacher training program named Beeks. She said, “When you’re a single parent of three children who are all being oppressed on a daily basis by the child’s oppressive school system and who all have massive levels of anxiety, I’m very good at staying calm and patient, but now and again, my inner resources are so depleted that I snap.” I can’t really see the end of the comment because it’s a pretty long comment, but I think that the question, at least I can try to relate this question to my own life. When we get angry as parents, and it becomes difficult to manage the child’s behavior, Sarah, I know you were saying that it’s really more about seeing what’s within us and why we’re being triggered and things like that. But I guess I have this question because I see parents that use anger toward their children, like using the tone of anger, yelling, or just angry tone, even if it’s controlled. I don’t know if that’s the right way to try to get children to adjust their behavior. I’ve been recently trying more to just sit down with her when Sky is having a tantrum or something and just try to talk to her in a reasonable way and try to explain to her why what she’s doing is hurting someone or something like that. What do you think, Sarah, as a parenting expert and author of “The Yoga of Parenting,” what do you think is the right way to approach this? Is there ever a time that we need to use anger, angry speech, yelling, or should we always try to do it in a peaceful way to talk with our children?

    Myth of Calm

    Sarah: I just want to give credit to my teachers before I go into this because this is where I’ve been learning this from. This, again, goes back to a lot of this nervous system work. There are these two women named Emma and Eleanor. They run what’s called The Reconnected, and they have a whole program, Reconnected Parent

    . They talk a lot about this, which is the myth of calm. The myth of calm that’s being bombarded into us across every social media channel. This is what gentle parenting should be. You see these images of parents sitting there as their child is smacking them in the face. No, is yelling necessarily going to be effective? No. But to what’s called congruence, which is naming your emotion as you’re feeling it and saying it to kids who have these amazing radars. They’re BS detectors, I won’t cuss. I’ll keep it an acronym. They’re BS detectors, so if you’re actually seething under the surface, but you’re sitting there with a calm face and you’re trying to talk to them calmly, they’re perceiving that something is up. We have every right to say, “Mama is feeling heightened right now,” and this is when we need the wherewithal to be able to step away. Or maybe it does go into a snap, but I think at least what I’m seeing from nervous system studies and from child development experts that I’m leaning towards is that it’s actually very normal and okay to have these nervous system responses. This is not condoning that we scream at our kids, obviously, we’ve gone off-key there, but to say, to name it. If you’re not able, if you can keep a straight face, you know, like I grew up in almost this dancer background, like smiling on the outside, but inside there’s turmoil going on. If that’s what you’re feeling, if you can still keep the smile on and you can speak calmly, but inside you’re feeling turmoil, that’s not the time to sit down and have that conversation. That’s the time to name what’s actually happening underneath the surface and then set time for later to go over whatever it may be.

    By the way, they’re not able to pay attention when they’re in a nervous system stress response either, right? Our front top brain is not online, period. It’s a good time for everybody to take a breath. I just want to again acknowledge Beck, that what I’m hearing from this comment is there is depletion on every single level. You’re dealing with the school system, which is exhausting. The kids are dealing with the school system and all of that oppression that’s happening there. They’re exhausted. Everybody’s exhausted and anxious. You know what? Our resources are depleted, and it is okay. We are going to snap, but there was something that they said at the end here. They had a cuddle, some tears, apologies, and healing. That’s the practice. That’s where we are learning to be in community and to be together and to relationally reconnect. That’s where the juice is really going to come fromc the relationship.

    Closing

    Kevin: Thank you so much, Sarah and Nhi Nhi, for being here in this beautiful conversation today. We’re going to stop this live stream. Anybody who’s watching, we’re going to be starting a new live stream on the same page. You can refresh the YouTube or the Facebook page. We’re going to be right back with Combatants for Peace, Israeli and Palestinian ex-combatants who have become non-violence activists. It’s going to be a powerful conversation. Please join that stream and refresh the page in less than two minutes, and make sure to share that stream because we want as many people as possible to see these conversations. Okay, thank you, Nhi Nhi and Sarah. I’ll send you the link for the next one. Okay, bye. Have a great day.

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