The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 03, 2013

Parenting Yourself

Two weeks ago, a young man named Terry H. was preparing to train for his 4th Degree black belt.  His test involved serious physical and intellectual work, and part of the test was interviewing a martial artist he admires, who has integrated his physical skills into other levels  (that's a great exercise!)

And although I did not know this gentleman personally, he reached out to me to ask my help.   I was honored, and we had a wide-ranging hour-long phone interview during which I answered questions about my training and life.   During the interview I poked a little to determine whether he was solidly set up for what was going to be a grueling test.  How did I know?  Here was the prep, according to Terry (I assume this was all to be done in the weeks before the test):

    “Thanks again for the interview. It was one of the coolest parts of my 4th Dan test.
6000 pushups & crunches, 4000 basic kicks, 1000 advanced kicks, 1200 forms, 60 miles of roadwork....400 random acts of kindness (not so random, really) one day mute, one day blind folded, one day in a wheelchair….”

    That was serious.   I knew that it was designed to push him beyond his ordinary concept of self, and that at some point he would waver.   So I gave him the ANCIENT CHILD meditation, teaching him to see the light within his heart, to then concentrate that into a child self, and connect it to his “Elder” self, the most generative process imaginable.   And indeed, he hit his wall.  When he did:

    “A week before, my inner child had an inner meltdown. I got him talking to my future old man, and it was cool. "I just want to do good!" the child said.   “I’m very proud of you” the elder replied.

    There are voices in our minds.   If those voices are destructive to you, it is crippling.  To begin to align them opens the door to coherence, to congruency.  To align your emotions so that you are not fighting yourself any longer.

    This is a way of looking at the meditations where you observe your inner chatter without fighting.   Where you throw an Ericksonian “Parts Party” to have your different aspects cooperate with each other. With the imaginary “board meetings” of role models discussed in “Think And Grow Rich.”  With looking in the mirror and saying: “I love you.”   (And if you cannot do this without flinching, you need this process!)

    The “Ancient Child” is a way to access your own power, taking off your brakes.  To move through life  with the enthusiasm of a child and the wisdom of an elder.  That gives your adult self the clarity it needs to fulfill its daily tasks with meaning: you know that every step you take is in alignment with your deepest values, beliefs, needs, and emotions.  This feeling, if you haven’t experienced it, is just miraculous.

    When Terry’s “child” felt despair, felt unequal to the goals he had set for himself (an inevitable part of the “Hero’s Journey” cycle) and cried “I just want to be good!” the part of him on the other side of the issue, the part who had already accomplished the goal reached back to take his hand.   In this case, all that need to be said was “I’m very proud of you.”

    Last night at Aikijutsu I watched a young father who had taken his seven year old son for instruction. The son kept trying to master a difficult technique, and failing.  Again and again he looked up at his Dad, searching his Dad’s face for understanding, approval, encouragement.   And the Dad smiled, and nodded, and gave him a “thumb’s up.”  And the kid dove back in and tried again, and again…until he got it.

    Anyone who had a parent who supported your dreams knows how important this is.  Anyone who didn’t have this critical support knows how much it hurts.

    I’m telling you it is not too late. Never too late.   You can give yourself permission to be good, be great, to thrive. 

    In fact…in reality…you’re the only one who can.  Please get your FREE copy of the ANCIENT CHILD today!



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Terry H said...

Very honored that you used my story as an example on your page.

As it turns out, I'm not such a "young" man, though. I'm a middle aged man who's turning his life around after years in a rut, thanks largely to your help and advice on this blog.

Thanks again!

Steven Barnes said...

You are incredibly welcome.

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