Focus On The Path
Have you ever snowboarded? Or gone skiing? If you’ve ever physically moved in any direction you’re likely to get this analogy.
Mark and I phrase it “looking at the trees.” Instead of looking at the snowy path ahead, you look at the trees to try to avoid them. You try so hard not to hit them that you actually end up going… Whack! Directly into them. Sound familiar?
It’s kind of like how we try to avoid parenting in ways we disliked about our childhood. But the tricky part is that if we focus on what we don’t want, we’ll ultimately recreate it.
Focus goes where energy flows. If I focus on everything I disliked about my upbringing and commit to being “different,” I’ll unconsciously gravitate towards it. You can’t “not-be” a certain way but you can “be” a certain way. Try not to think of The Rock in a tutu. (I took this example from Mark’s Haas Graduation Speech.) I bet you’re picturing that cheesy big hunk in a fluffy ballet getup!
There were many sides of my childhood that I loved. And like everyone else, there were sides that weren’t pretty. Instead of “not doing things the way my parents did” what really works for me is declaring how I choose to be and follow that path. Focus on what I love about them, about our relationship, and all the energizing parts of my childhood: the “everybody hugs”; my dad’s wild way of playing and tickling; my mom’s sweetness and creativity – how safe I felt in her arms; my dad’s mischievousness.
Talk-therapy, life coaching, self-development workshops and books, self-reflection, yoga, meditation, setting goals and making vision boards (I know this is a lot!) are all tools I’ve used to create a life I love and to focus on being loving, patient, empathetic, courageous, kind and adventurous. Those traits are important to me and are ways that I'm committed to being. It’s a constant practice.
Now that I’m a parent, I get a fresh start. An amazing opportunity to start new healthy cycles with a beautiful being who will see the world through what we create for him, initially. I believe in a balance of nature versus nurture. So no matter what I do, he'll partly turn out the way he turns out. As for the part that's a direct impact of my parenting? I choose to focus on what I want, and how I choose to show up in the world and as a parent. I keep that positive picture in my head of my perfect day. I'm aware the trees are there and keep my focus on that powdery snowy path. And when I inevitably struggle, fail or fall, it only means that I am human :).