(What If . . . )
Breathing Through the Process of Bridging The daily reality in our immediate lives is a key. We breathe everywhere we go and always take our minds and bodies. This natural resource can be a starting place for every child. I remember our children (now 22 and 17) being infants. I would breathe slowly and deeply, making an exaggerated ahhhhhh sound as I exhaled slowly, so they could hear and feel my calm breathing. When they were toddlers, we would immediately take deep exaggerated and loud breaths when they got hurt. Instead of focusing on the OUCH, we focused on the attitude and skill of handling the situation. Self-control, self-responsibility, and self-confidence in meeting life's challenges were polished as they gradually learned to mimic us. By the time our children were pre-schoolers, they initiated this behavior on their own.
It actually takes more time and energy to make a grimaced face and react with tension to a bloody knee. An adult's tension creates more tension in the child.
Anchoring the Bridge in Solid Ground Certainly, ideal envisioning is great fun. Everything looks and feels perfect. No muss, no fuss. Just perfection. But to be real, the bridge must be a healing process. It must be anchored by practical steps one can take, one at a time, that make sense and fit into a framework. Creating an internal frame of reference for ourselves is the first step in mapping out the framework for the bridge. In my own life, before I could request no drugs for foot surgery, I had to know myself.
The second step is to relay this wonderful life-giving ability to children. Even adults who aren't parents are role models in public places. Children are always watching us, our values, tone of voice, mannerisms and body language. We are all on stage, all the time. The quality of performance we give is up to us.
It is always a great privilege and honor to help children find the courage they will need to gain self-control to become who they want to be. How exhilarating to see a child who knows herself and talks about her anger and jealousy. She doesn't give her power away by blaming someone else—she understands her mind/body connection, she’s been taught awareness skills. How rewarding to hear a 12 year old boy set a goal of graduating from high school before he is 15 and accomplish it because he knows himself and exerts his will with skill.
These young people are building confidence from the inside-out as they learn to be accountable for their actions. They understand cause and effect, and empower themselves to imagine a new reality, to go beyond limited circumstances. Their bridges are being built. They don't have to do what I did by controlling pain. They have found their own ways to stretch into the untapped potential that is their human birthright.
May all the world's children be blessed with full hearts, clear minds, strong wills, good values with self-discipline, well-managed emotions, physical health and spiritual strength. May they value right human relations. May we mutually help each other in honor of our creative intelligence and planetary need.
Janai Lowenstein, M.S. is co-director of the Conscious Living Foundation. Oct. 21-23 she will be training adults to help children learn the internal frame of reference in her LIFE TREASURES workshop at Oregon House in Yachats. Janai is a speaker and trainer. She does individualized and group transformational work, designs private retreat experiences and is an author of materials for children, teens and adults. She can be reached at P.O. Box 9, Drain, OR. 97435, (541)836-2358 or by email.