Archive for September, 2009

Parenting Ourselves

September 18, 2009

penguinSince I’m doing a workshop called “Parenting Ourselves,” I thought I would explain a bit what that’s about.

Have you ever had the experience of witnessing an adult behaving like a temper tantrumming child, an afraid child or an inconsolable, sobbing child? Do you recall perhaps behaving like one, despite your intentions to remain calm in trying situations?

What you may realize is how often this actually happens! How can we help ourselves in those moments when we feel we can’t cope?

Daily life triggers us into the hurt child quite easily. (The child is the metaphor for the feeling.) It is the desire of the child to be accepted and understood. We may recreate similar situations over and over until we learn from them. We call that imprinting or blueprinting. Who is the part of us that can and is willing to accept and bring understanding to the child? S/He is what we call, the Healer or Parental Self.

“Parenting Ourselves” is how we help ourselves instead of merely coping. It is the Healer taking the role of a new, supportive parent to the child inside, in the moment of the trigger. Our parents did the best they could with the tools they had, the same as we as adults do the best we can with our own children. But we know best what we need now (and what we needed in the past) though we usually don’t realize it.

We are all learning as we go. There are so many variables, it can be hard to know what to do in the moment, even with the seemingly best advice and experience we can get outside of ourselves through well-meaning friends and family. The biggest variable: children have different needs beyond basic survival. When we are triggered in the moment (or rather, out of the moment, into the past) acting as children raising children, we can hardly give our kids what they need when they need us the most! So we must do what we can to be there for them completely as adults, not as triggered children!

It is not impossible, but it takes some practice and exploring choices when we are triggered in order to help ourselves, and be better equipped to help our little ones.

Working in Retrospect

We practice by working in retrospect with the imagination. Just as you can prepare yourself for tough projects or practice a new skill by visualization, you can learn how to be more present by re-visiting past events with your imagination and bringing the new information—what you have learned as an adult from the very mistakes you have made—to the event. We call this “Repairing the Past” and “Regression.”

We can also change the mind by releasing judgments. Judgments and beliefs are decisions made as a child affect our whole lives until we are conscious of them and choose to let them go. The judgments and beliefs we are letting go are the ones that are not helping us have the life the way we truly want it to be. “Judgment Release” makes this easy.

The Parenting Workshop teaches you to apply this information and facilitates support with the teacher and fellow students. You can ask questions and practice the new tools until you are ready to do it on your own.(Next month: What are triggers? How do you identify them? And then what?)

With practice you will be able to always be there for yourself! In the meantime you can remove yourself from the trigger until you feel you can help yourself again (“Parenting Ourselves.”) If you are afraid to revisit the past, know that you are not “re-living” the past. You are bringing resources to the past. You are bringing the one that can help you the best! Your adult self. For Registration! 

***If you’ve already taken the Foundations Class, you may audit this class for free. (Future workshops can be audited for half the cost.)

***The early bird discount is extended until the day of the workshop, which starts next week!

Part 2: Practical Food Ideas for Social Situations Away From Home

September 3, 2009
Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie


There is a food faster than “fast food!” It’s fruit! How easy is it to run into a grocery store for instant gratification with a bag of grapes, a bunch of bananas or a pint (or two) of blueberries?

This is a very simple solution to eating healthy that we forget to take advantage of. We’ve been misled to think that you have to leave fruit for a treat or dessert, that it can’t be a meal. Well it’s true that one piece of watermelon or a handful of grapes is not a meal. But a half watermelon is quite satisfying. A pound of grapes are also satisfying. A four pound container of fruit from Costco is quite enough for two to share.

I’m often asked if fruit causes diarrhea or stomach upset when too much is eaten. When this happens, it is not the fruit that is the problem, but what is already in the stomach and intestines. Eat fruit on a completely empty stomach. Wait at least three hours after your last meal before you eat fruit. If you’ve eaten meat, I’d wait even longer.

Fruit digests very quickly. Melons digest the fastest, about 10 minutes, so eat them alone. Most other fruits take about 10 minutes except for the heartier fruits like bananas and durian, which can take an hour to digest. Always eat fruit before you eat other food.

It may seem like you have diarrhea when actually, your stools will be looser than what you are used to eating fruits and vegetables. Don’t be alarmed. You will have to visit the bathroom more frequently than eating cooked food. Cooked foods can stay in your intestines from 3 hours to 3 days. Impacted food in the intestines is one cause for constipation and colon cancer, among other problems—keeping your intestines clear is good for your long term health.

Mixing fruit with other foods can really upset your stomach, although you have to be in touch with how your stomach feels to know this. Have you paid attention to your stomach after a meal? What is your body saying to you? Your body is trying to communicate with you all the time! Listen.

Road Trips and Camping

  • Here is a quick list to bring along to make it easy for eating all kinds of fruits and veggies on a trip:
  • 1 large knife
  • Flexible cutting board
  • Regular cutting board (for the lap of the passenger)
  • salad bowl
  • Small jar with lid for mixing salad dressing
  • Eating utensils
  • Plates or bowls
  • Cooler and ice
  • Dish towels

Bonus item if you have access to electricity:

Foods to bring or pick up along the way at grocery stores or fruit stands along the way:


  • Bananas—Keep them in a box or container so they do not get smashed! Buy them green because they will ripen very fast in the car!
  • Romaine lettuce for Green Smoothies
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Celery—Cut it up into bite size pieces
  • Watermelon—Eat it all up! It doesn’t last long unless you keep it in the cooler but it takes up valuable space

These are suggestions for the Pacific Northwest in the summertime. Of course you’ll have to see what is available where you are travelling and whatever seasonal fruits are available.

What is great about this is you can completely avoid all the fast food available on the road!

Eating with Family and Friends

When eating dinner with family I tend to keep it very simple by bringing a huge salad that I enjoy. I eat it all myself! They look at it with curiosity and envy. Sometimes I’ll let them taste it. If they’re nice!

Since I eat a lot of fruit all day a salad full of tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers is filling. I use low-fat or no-fat dressing without any oil. Since I can finish off a big bowl of salad on my own quite easily I will make another one for everyone to share.

If I’m visiting for lunch and they insist on having food for me I tell them I love all fruit. I recently visited my friend Leslie in Bend, Oregon and she surprised me with a huge watermelon shell bowl filled with delicious berries! I hope she didn’t mind that I ate it all! She also made use of the watermelon in another fruit salad. I have to say it was the most fruit offered to me in a cooked household besides my mother’s house!

You might ask about the combination—that it goes against what I said about fruit combinations earlier in the article—it’s ok to make exceptions in times like this.

I was so grateful at the loving offering and I didn’t have any problems with the combinations. I tend to eat fruit as mono-meals (one fruit at a time) but this was quite a treat for me to be served with so much fruit as a meal. Thanks Les!

Sometimes I opt to forgo the meal altogether and eat before I arrive. Try this sometime! See how much of a meal eaten with friends is spent on actually eating the meal. The real joy of sharing a meal is the company, isn’t it?

Eating in Restaurants

I generally don’t enjoy eating in restaurants. Fruits and vegetables are extremely overpriced. I can make much more delicious and satisfying meals myself for far less. Try this: Take the money you have spent at a restaurant, and see how much fruit and vegetables you can buy! You’ll be amazed.

If I really want to join in, bringing my own salad dressing and special ordering a salad (very carefully!) seems to work the best. Talk directly to the chef for best results.

I have also told the restaurant staff that I am on a special diet given to me by my doctor and ask them to prepare my fruit. Most restaurants do not mind if I bring in a container of fruit or simply decline a menu completely.

Make Your Mind Your Friend

Once again, your mind is what will make a situation difficult. What you imagine could happen out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings is far worse than what happens in most cases. If you let your friends and families know immediately upon invitation that you are on a special diet, they will be very happy to accommodate.

I have not had one problem from others doing this—and you can always bring your own food. Think of it as another opportunity to show that there is a way to eat healthy in all situations.

You don’t have to speak one word of why you are doing it. As mentioned in my last article, you can always mention that you would rather speak about the reasons why at a later time.

Find a way to make it work for you instead of thinking about how it will go wrong. Anything is possible!

Check out my next workshop:
Parenting Ourselves: The Foundations of Process Coaching with Cathy Breshears

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 6:30 PM – Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 9:30 PM (PT)

For more info and registration:

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