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  • Writer's pictureLeo Lobbestael

The Presence Lab: Tired Of Parenting Advice?

Updated: Aug 17, 2022



I became a parent about 2 years ago. Let me just first say, there has been nothing quite like the transformation from not having a child under my wing to having one. Life is completely different. Its funny because I am sure I knew this, or people had told me before I had my beautiful dear little Sky, however I think its only until after that I truly "know it".


The only transformation similar comes from a memory I have of a meditation retreat I went on a few years ago. The retreat was a 10 day, silent retreat in the ancient practice of Vipassana. Despite it being called a "retreat" please do not be confused by any notion of "chill" that you might have. Vipassana is a Pali word that basically means "to see" and not just any kind of "see" but see exactly as it actually is. From seeing in this precise way clarity arises and with that clarity, wisdom arises. The clarity and wisdom can come in a striking way when you see that the world is not the way you thought it was. The memory I have is after several hours of doing Vipassana the first time, I came out of the meditation hall and screamed profanity into the forest. Seeing life in this new way brought with it a new responsibility that I now was facing. A beautiful life changing, remarkable reality, yet not an easy one to integrate. Knowing this new reality from the inside and seeing that there has been a transformation in me is one thing but being an expert on the topic is a whole other thing.


With all the transformation we go through as parents the time for integrating it all is precious. So I wonder, is all the "expert" advice helping, is it necessary?


Really though Is there a better indicator of a topic that no one actually knows much about than by the number of books on the topic? 'How To Build A Roof' for example has a relative handful of books on the subject while 'Parenting' has hundreds if not thousands. Which one can we be pretty certain we know more about?


I suppose the whole field of psychology is this way and certainly there is reason for this as the field evolves differently than let say roof construction. However, I cant help but personally think that expert advice is not helpful for people, generally when it comes to topics of health and in particular parenting. What people need more of is their own voice in their life not more of someone else's.


What all of us need, parents or not, is better connection with ourselves and our own voice. A connection with our self that is not constantly seeking the advice of experts, is not shutting ourselves down, criticizing or dissociating. Connecting within ourselves will empower us and help us resolve the dilemmas we face. The more we can take responsibility and move into the areas of challenge in our life, body, mind and spirit we can gather wisdom and healing from the very places we did not see anything existing and serve our children and community with more of the kind of presence we both desire.


This process of taking responsibility to show up with the presence we seek can be scary and may require professional guidance. Not someone to tell us how to be or give us more information but someone to be a supportive witness to our growth.

 

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My work is grounded in empathy, compassion, neuroscience and ancient wisdom traditions.




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