I remember the exact moment that it happened. My partner, our 15-year-old son and I were going down a very long escalator on the underground in Prague when my son put his arms around my shoulders from behind. A simple, and for many, everyday act that would not and did not stand out to anyone else on that escalator, but an act that every cell of my body registered and one that made me feel like singing from the rooftops.
Touch between my son and I was rare and I’d like to say that it was more on his side than mine, but that wouldn’t be true. Now I appreciate that what I am describing might sound all very normal, considering that my son is a teenager but our relationship had been troubling me for a while, particularly because I have come to understand that relationships are like mirrors and that when we look into them, the reflection that we are shown is actually of ourselves. Given this immutable fact, I had been pondering for a while what it was that I was being shown about myself, through the reflection of my relationship with my son.
It is not always easy to be honest; often the things that we are shown about ourselves aren’t pretty but what I have found is that if I resist the urge to go into self-critique and choose instead to understand that what is being presented is an opportunity for great change, then it makes the process much easier. In fact, I have now come to a place where I actively seek the reflection that relationships offer, as I deeply appreciate the opportunity that the power of reflection provides.
For the first five years of my son’s life I spent a lot of time with him, playing with him, taking him to the park, reading to him and being very conscious of the way that I parented him. I made a point of praising him a lot and often told him how special he was. I was naturally a very playful Mum and I worked hard to not show my frustration or anger. When I say anger, it was not a boiling over, ‘in your face’ kind of an anger, but more of a deeply buried one. I just about managed to keep a lid on my frustration and anger by dedicating myself to a strenuous exercise routine, peppered with a liberal sprinkling of all night partying. Had I chosen to acknowledge those deeply buried feelings, then this would have been the first vital steps needed in dealing with them but alas, I chose to bury them instead.
I had fairly set ideas about what I thought ‘being a good Mum’ was and I lived out those ideas pretty convincingly. I held the belief that I was a great Mum and my friends and family backed me up in that belief. At the time, I didn’t doubt that I was a deeply loving Mum and that my partner and I were bringing up our son in the best possible way.
However, what I have come to feel in recent years is that the pictures that we hold about certain things are so commanding that they superimpose themselves over the top of the underlying truth. My belief that I was a great Mum impacted on my ability to feel where I was really at. In hindsight, I can now see that there were many indicators that demonstrated very clearly exactly where I was at. One such indicator was that whenever our son was sick, it was my partner who would sit and hold him for hours on end, because the underlying tension that I lived with constantly made it nigh on impossible for me to sit and do what I perceived as ‘nothing’. I had a driving need to continually ‘get on and do something’ and it was this drive that kept me in perpetual motion.
The other major thing that I was unable to feel was my absolute exhaustion, an exhaustion that I hauled around with me from day to day and one that formed a rather shabby base for everything that I did. Knowing that children, like the rest of us, can feel everything that is going on in another person’s body as well as their own, I couldn’t help but ask myself “What had I been truly communicating for all of those years?” This question became key and was brought up one day by an amazing esoteric healing practitioner. She asked me to consider what was I truly communicating with my body when I stood outside my son’s door and, from my hard, contracted body, squeezed out the words “Come out of your room darling and spend some time with your Dad and I.” Great question and the answer revealed much. What I realised is that what I had been communicating with my body was worlds apart from what I had been communicating with my mouth. And what is crucial to understand is what we communicate with our bodies is what is felt by another.
This revelation prompted me to get brutally honest with myself about what I was communicating, not only with my son but with everybody else. What I realised is that what I expressed with my mouth was often very different to what I expressed with my body. This revelation, albeit simple, has been a life changing one for me, as it has enabled me to begin to bring real change to not only my relationship with my son but to all of my relationships, simply by getting honest about what it is that I am feeling in my body.
When I am aware that my body feels like it’s wanting to pull away from my partner or my son in an attempt to ‘get on with something else,’ I try – to the best of my ability – to physically relax it, and although at times this feels quite mechanical, what I’m finding is that it’s leading to great change. Yesterday, whilst on my way to the shop, I bumped into my son coming back from school and he instinctively put his arms out for a hug and my response was to surrender my whole body into his arms.
Learning to be in Relationship without Pictures
My Father and His Reflection
From being a good mother to true mothering
We are saturated in the many ideals and beliefs about what it is to be family and how to raise a family. If we stop for a moment to consider how abusive we can be within our family, then surely something is amiss. More abuse takes place within the family than anywhere else the statistics on domestic abuse and violence bear this out.
We know all this but still we continue with our olds ways. So I have to question where do we get our intelligence from when we know that something is dreadfully wrong when we can be so abusive and violent to those we say we love the most – our family.
Brave and brilliant. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. Reading this article has gently invited me to be open and honest with myself when I approach my children and everyone actually; bringing awareness to my intentions and/or underlying agenda.
‘Underlying agenda’ that’s such a powerful thing to be aware of because we’re all so good at pretending and making out that our intentions are ‘honourable’ but when we allow ourselves to dig a little deeper there’s often something quite putrid about what we’re doing.
That ‘underlying’ agenda is very powerful, because someone can be as ‘nice as apple pie ‘to your face, but underneath that ‘niceness’ can be the putridness you describe so well Alexis. And we have all experienced this pretence.
All ‘relationships are like mirrors’ and it is something we all eventually get to understand and thus live in a way that only reflects True-Love so our words match our movements so we can evolve and live in a deeper reflective-ness for everyone to feel.
At a young age we are communicating with our mouth as this is the only movement that is open to us and thus the reflection of the lived energy of the people around us is super important and align our body to the Soul opens us to also expressing and moving in the non-imposing-love / True-Love we all innately are.
Words are movements, it’s not possible to move our limbs in a way that is divine and not speak in a way that is equally divine.
‘At a young age we are communicating with our mouth as this is the only movement that is open to us’, Greg I don’t agree, our mouths are part of our whole bodies and therefore if we’re able to communicate with our mouths then we’re able to communicate with our whole bodies. And even if we can’t communicate with our mouths then we can still communicate with our bodies. Every movement or even non movement is communication.
This I feel is true
‘However, what I have come to feel in recent years is that the pictures that we hold about certain things are so commanding that they superimpose themselves over the top of the underlying truth. ‘
It feels to me that from young we live inside a pressure cooker of ideals, beliefs, which crush us by the sheer weight of them so that the truth of who we are is hidden under this crushing weight. From my own experience it takes dedication to step from underneath this weight and view life from a different angle one that allows the truth to just be.
The way of living that is accepted in society is one where we accept superficiality. Where there are many rules and constructs of how we behave that we have agreed on will express our kindness, politeness and love. Yet these are not the true virtues of these words. Like love does not mean giving a gift or saying ‘I love you’ but we have made it so, love is a vibration and when we don’t live in that vibration there cannot ever be true love. So too for kindness and politeness and any other word we like to use.
Two vibrations, both that have their origins in love but one that has been bastardised beyond recognition. Politeness, manners, our accepted version of ‘love’, kindness etc all come from the tampered with vibration and it is that tampered with vibration that has set up life as we currently know it. We’re living in a way that is so incredibly reduced that it bears no resemblance to it’s true or original form. It’s time to choose our way out of this farce of a life and to return to the truth of who we all are. I am absolutely committed to supporting humanity to return and I’m here for the long haul.
…’what I expressed with my mouth was often very different to what I expressed with my body.’ This is so common in our society, it is of great value when our children get a true reflection of their parents. This will give them a reference point to go to and trust what they feel when starting to widen their world when they get older.
Yes. And when adults are open to the reflection from children the learning is rich and the relationships nourishing.
Reflection is everywhere, we’re living in a hall of mirrors without consciously knowing it.
Annelies, It’s very difficult to give a true reflection to our children when we are riddled with ideals and beliefs ourselves. I remember years ago a father encouraging his son to drink alcohol because it was a rite of passage into manhood. The young man didn’t want to drink beer because it didn’t taste very nice and so the beer was mixed with Lemonade to make a Shandy. The father had been waiting all those years when his son was growing up to be able to take him down the pub to discuss manly things and to drink beer together. We are led and encouraged to believe this is normal and part of life. It’s only these last 20 plus years that humanity has been actively shown that there is a different way to live having tried this other way to live for myself and there is certainly no perfection I could not go back to my old habits which were self abusive which by reflection encouraged others to be self abusive too.
When parenting, there has to a consistency with the boundaries we set and then there is a responsibility to live what we are sharing and thus treat everyone with at-least decency and respect and this has to be starting with the self.
“what we communicate with our bodies is what is felt by another.” Far more than what our words say the bodies communication is far more honest when we take notice.
To me Anonymous you have summed up human life – “what I have come to feel in recent years is that the pictures that we hold about certain things are so commanding that they superimpose themselves over the top of the underlying truth.”
We are all from a young age encouraged to take on the pictures about how life should be that we are saturated with them. It used to be that we didn’t see that we are living in a false reality until we were much older and then in our old age we realise that the life we led wasn’t it. I feel that this has changed and people are now realising much earlier in their lives that something is not right and are checking out of it much sooner.
Exhaustion effects us far more then just physically – emotionally everything in our lives feels hard work when we are exhausted.
I agree SLC, being tired, run down or exhausted often leads to more emotion and more drama than when we’re feeling energised and vital. We’re much more likely to feel hard done by, frustrated, angry, pissed off, annoyed and sad when we’re tired and then feeling those emotions drains the body even more and it can then be a rather vicious cycle that feels impossible to get out of.
‘It is not always easy to be honest; often the things that we are shown about ourselves aren’t pretty’ true, but if we are willing to go there as you say without critique or judgement of ourselves but instead a deep love and care then the things that we do or think etc that are not that pretty can easily be shifted and cleared. It is all but a choice ✨
We will do everything we can to avoid the fact that the energy we live in is felt and naturally communicates everything. No amount of doing can mask the truth. The sooner we accept this fact the sooner we can choose to live in a clearer, more honest way. We fool no one , we are a parent of a life that’s health is based on the quality of how we move.
This is such a great blog to read because it shows us all what can happen if we make small but subtle choices. And the rewards that can be gained which in this case is a deeper relationship with yourself, your son, Husband and actually the whole world as we can all feel energy all the time even when we say we cannot.
Acknowledging that how our children are with us is a barometer for what we put out and in humbly being open to receive the learning, this awareness is totally awesome. Not only do we accept that we are imperfect and there is much to learn but we also accept that everything here on this planet is to teach us to evolve more deeply in love. In this awareness we can appreciate our children so much more but more than that, express that love more deeply for them. There is a true joy when this is reflected back in their deeper expression of love with us in turn.
‘Evolve more deeply in love’, Michelle I absolutely adore this sequence of words.
Closing down our relationship with any-one especially our family opens the door for ill energy to play with us, but when we are intimate and also appreciate what we and others can bring in a true-relationship we start to let everyone in bringing purpose to our life and closing the door on doing, and thus we start evolving. Also feeling into what has been shared there also has to be comparison to not allow people in, which is an ill energy!
Those moments when our minds resist intimacy and/or tenderness with thoughts about how much we have got to do are so insidious. It is brilliant and beautiful to let go of them and surrender to the magic offered; to learn to explore what it feels like to be open to another and give space for true connection.
I agree Matilda that most people genuinely feel that they have masses to do all of the time and certainly that was my belief too but what I have found is that if I can continually keep coming back to my body and stay out of the perpetual loop of thinking about what it is that I need to do next then I feel less hemmed in and a surprising amount of space seems to open up. I am also working on letting go of any thoughts that I have that involve the clock e.g. working out in my head exactly when I am going to do things and how long this is/should take me. What I am finding is that I am managing to get an incredible amount done as well as not be late for anything!
And “intimacy” goes hand in hand with appreciation and thus as you have shared Matilda, “true connection” gives us the “space” to appreciate, and appreciative-ness is more than physical, but a deeper understanding we are all divine, thus our being-ness in connection can not help but appreciate what we “explore”!
When I look around so many families are in disconnection, tension and frustration with one and other, what you write is beautiful as it is sharing with us that joy, love and understanding are the only real way to do family relationships.
“What I realised is that what I expressed with my mouth was often very different to what I expressed with my body.”
And hence the start of illness and disease for when we do not express from our bodies we are left saddened.
It has long been known that our movements speak louder than words. So if we are in anger or any sort of emotion the other person will pick this up immediately whether they voice this is a different matter. For example I know someone that absolutely cannot stand me but is nice to my face. However their movements show me that they are jealous and angry towards me because I am choosing something they would like but don’t want to put in any effort into obtaining for themselves. In truth they are really angry at themselves for the choices they are making and continue to make and seeing me brings that anger and jealousy to the fore. The niceness hides nothing and they are completely exposed in the energy they are choosing.
Niceness reminds me of trying to cover up the smell of cigarette breath by having a mint or spraying deodorant under your arms when you’ve already got BO, it covers nothing up, it’s just a rather unsavoury mix.
This is a beautifully honest and frank blog that touchingly shows that things are never too late to change and turn around in relationships if we are willing to look deeper at what is going on.
This is such an important point because guilt so often gets in the way of us reflecting honestly and making changes. I know I still have to work through shame and regret to come out the other side into a space that I can be honest with myself about how I have been without criticism and then have a real choice to change.
Shame, guilt and regret are just as unloving as any behaviour that we are either regretting or feeling shameful or guilty about, it’s just that these unloving ways are directed at ourselves, which interestingly we all seem to be far more ok with than our ‘regrettable’ behaviour towards others.
It’s interesting how we think we can pretend that we are not angry or frustrated and that our children don’t pick up on it but we can pick up on it with other adults, so why wouldn’t the children. It doesn’t make sense.
Dreadful isn’t it how we ‘put kids to sleep’ , in the same way that we are asleep. They are born vibrant receptors of energy, picking up and reading the minutest detail of energetic vibration and we, through our parenting, through our behaviours, through our education system, through our beliefs and conditioning, bludgeon that energetic sensitivity out of them. It’s a form of energetic bullying really and it works very, very well indeed because most of us ‘settle down and tow the line’.
Our kids can be the most beautiful reflection for where we are at as parents and where we are at as a family. All it takes is an openness to read what is there without judgment or critique and to allow the lessons to unfold as they do, without perfection.
The raw honesty in this blog is inspiring because it asks us to be honest too and to look at how we are in our relationships with ourselves and each other. We are never alone we are in constant relationships with everything around us and yet we have this idea that we are separated from each other. It’s like living on a gigantic spider’s web the slightest move we make ripples through the threads and communicates this movement to every other person on the web.
Thank you, what a great blog and topic to explore. I have recently been feeling quite unsettled by the disparity between what words people use and the different energy or communication from their body, I’m learning to discern and bring understanding to that, and it is also a call to look at it in myself. A very supportive line “simply by getting honest about what it is that I am feeling in my body.” as a way to keep what we say true to what we feel. Thank you so much for writing.
The plague of exhaustion affects many mothers, in fact I would say it is ‘normal’ to find most mums absolutely exhausted. Why this is? and why we have allowed this to be the norm highlights the fact that how we are living is so so far off the truth that we ultimately know to be true.
Yes and all the comparison and jealousy slip away. The reflections we are offered from others offer us so much information about ourselves that living in community is a gift.
I know that the stabs of comparison that I feel in my guts with certain people provide me with the opportunity to look at and clear the rot that still festers inside me. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, my whole body tenses up and it effects my breath and all because others are reflecting choices that I failed to make. It feels at times a very slow process but I know that I am able to choose my way out of comparison in exactly the same way that I have chosen my way out of so many other self destructive behaviours.
We place way too much value on the end result – on what comes out of our mouths, when in fact so much more is communicated non-verbally.
Without the body to back up our words, our words are meaningless. It’s our bodies that add meaning to life not our words.
“What I realised is that what I had been communicating with my body was worlds apart from what I had been communicating with my mouth. And what is crucial to understand is what we communicate with our bodies is what is felt by another.” Such a massive revelation. One that should stop every single one of us in our tracks and evaluate right now how we have been living.
When we try to live the picture we have in our head and then knowingly present it to the outside world, something we are not and hide our true self, where is the energy coming from? The efforts of supporting a lie become a 24/7 effort that needs to be fed continually. But, when we surrender, there is no effort, and all feel it.
‘When I am aware that my body feels like it’s wanting to pull away from my partner or my son in an attempt to ‘get on with something else,’ I try – to the best of my ability – to physically relax it, and although at times this feels quite mechanical, what I’m finding is that it’s leading to great change.’ Simply being aware of what is going on for us is half the job done. When we set the intention to make our movements different, little by little we open up more and more to the love that is within us and thus to the love that is without us.
I agree, we have moved unaware for so long, it is quite mechanical when we bring more attention to it, yet little by little things start to shift and the body finds its natural rhythm that is much more in harmony with its surroundings.
‘What I realised is that what I had been communicating with my body was worlds apart from what I had been communicating with my mouth. And what is crucial to understand is what we communicate with our bodies is what is felt by another.’ So very true and of course this can be felt by the other if the body is saying one thing but the words are saying another.
Thank you Anonymous for your honest sharing. I live with two teenagers and more than once I have been judging what they are choosing for themselves. Trying to manipulate the outcome from control, expecting them to make loving choices while my body is hardened and closed off from wanting things to be a certain way. Needless to say that this doesn’t work. Like you said my body was not matching my words and teenagers clock this and know that I am not walking my talk so why should they take me seriously? Especially in this age I find they are looking for truth. The moment I truly am loving with them and honour them for who they are – whatever they might be up to – they are being offered an opportunity to meet this love. I have come to realize that I react to them smashing the pictures of who I need them to be. Wanting to tick the box of being a good mother and fearing to fail in the eyes of others. Sometimes I might even react because I need them to fill an emptiness inside of me and they are not delivering. It is so beautiful and necesessary to be nominating this as parents, free from guilt, appreciating that we are forever learning and that we can forever deepen our relationships.
And such raw honesty from you too Ilja. And what you say here is pure gold ‘The moment I truly am loving with them and honour them for who they are – whatever they might be up to – they are being offered an opportunity to meet this love’.
Ilja, thank you for your sharing, I feel it relates to all relationships not just parenting, and it’s great to constantly bring it back to the simplicity of how our body feels as it’s what can support us to truly feel where we are at in relationships – are we open, loving, honest, or bracing, hard, expectant, etc. Also, don’t the pictures of how we think we and others are supposed to be place enormous pressure on us all? Often when life doesn’t fit the picture and we react we can miss the beauty of what’s unfolding.
Our kids are so canny and yes, all they really want is to be met and loved in a quality that reflects truth. Having said that one of the biggest lessons I have learned in raising kids is to read what issues belong to them regardless of where I am at and what I have exacerbated in them by my own choices. In the early days of my parenting I blamed myself for it all – I soon realised this wasn’t healthy and in taking a step or two back to observe, whilst continuing to work on anything within me that gets in the way of loving expression I am ensuring that we are all learning and growing together without judgment and blame and without perfection. As the parent I am very aware that it is I who set the tone, the standards and the example for our family life, and whilst I appreciate everything my children bring by being who they are I create a space where they can naturally support me and the family too.
This is great reminder to always look at what we are being offered to learn in our relationships. Even when we have been in relationships for some time there is still much to learn.
Yes I agree. And being open to learning actually deepens and develops relationships. A win win.
I love this blog and how valuable the reflections in our lives are and not at all random. Very beautiful, thank you for sharing.
Awesome and just goes to show that when we change, reflect on how we are living and how we are with others etc, then this of course has a ripple affect on all others around us.
‘………I have come to understand that relationships are like mirrors and that when we look into them, the reflection that we are shown is actually of ourselves.’ This blog has been both beautiful and powerful to read and offers an opportunity to go deeper in knowing what we all bring to relationships and what is possible. Thank you Anon
What a great expose of how the words that come out of our mouths are instantly shown to be true or un-true by the movements from our body. Our body never lies, it shares exactly how it is feeling in every moment and with every movement. So therefore, when we speak something that is not true we can’t actually hide the truth as it is being telegraphed to the other person from our amazingly honest body.
I love this blog on so many different levels. One, that you have recognised that when we fail to address our hurts those tensions impact on all our relationships, secondly that you have recognised this and are working on it (so inspiring) and finally that it is never too late to turn anything around as shown by how you are now letting more love in so that your son feels he can express his love for you to you. Love it, love it!
What is felt goes beyond the words and images we hear and see and this makes us transparent, inevitably so. Even when we try to hide something, ‘…what we communicate with our bodies is what is felt by another.’
‘What I realised is that what I expressed with my mouth was often very different to what I expressed with my body.’ This is huge and why children can often feel a lack of trust with adults around them because they know what is really being communicated underneath the words. (Often there is a contradiction between the two).
very very beautiful
A wonderful and honest account here that I’m sure many parents can relate to. We use all the external models of ‘how to be a great mother/father’, yet we often miss the understanding that we are constantly communicating from our bodies and that is what our children are feeling and observing all the time and use as their first marker to know what is really going on.
When we go to a deeper level of love within ourselves, our children will always feel it. What I love so much about children is how forgiving they are and that if you give them a door way they are always receptive to it. In my experience children love their parents unconditionally, we simply need to allow for their expression of it by not holding back any love ourselves.
There’s something about the word ‘forgiving’ when it’s linked to kids that doesn’t feel true, it’s not so much that they don’t forgive but more that they don’t judge and then subsequently go into massive reactions in the first place in order to need to forgive. Kids simply don’t hold onto things in their bodies in the same way that adults do.
Having a relationship with those mirrors (every other person) is amazing. I really do love it when I realize I’ve got a reflection of myself before me. There’s so much we can learn about ourselves from each other and in turn learn about them. We become more relatable to each other.
I love this too because in understanding that what is before us is always a reflection, it supports to take the sting out of what is being shown. We cannot blame the other and we are given an opportunity to deeply appreciate them, the lesson and ourselves for being open to learning it.
How much of our lives is spent attempting to paper over cracks, band aid issues and cover up how we feel? and yet all the time everyone can feel everything anyway no matter what we do. Thanks for this blog anonymous, and reminding us all honesty truly is the only policy.
Many mothers struggle to maintain good relationships with their teenage sons, the expectations and demands placed on them from young usually lash out during the teenage phase and parents don’t know how to handle it. It’s not uncommon to not know how to handle your teenage children, but it’s also not common that parents really talk about what is going on at home because we’re indoctrinated with the importance of keeping up appearances.
I agree Viktoria, it’s not an easy thing to admit that you’ve got a crap relationship with your kid, especially when you’re under the impression that everybody else has a great relationships with theirs.
We live in a kind of plastic world of pictures, and social media, advertising, TV, print media, etc, really add to this, but what we truly need is real, open and honest conversations with each other.
Children and families are a revealing reflection of how we relate to the wider family of the world.
And how many of us have rushed out to unite the world without addressing the fragmentation in our own families first? And then again, how many of us have tried to bring our families together without first addressing the fragmentation in ourselves? Our relationship with ourselves is the starting point of all other relationships, bar none.
Wow – relationships are really the be all and end all; not only do they reveal so much but they also offer insights and healing.
Relationships are the everything, every-thing is quite literally in relationship with everything else.
Anonymous thank you for you honest blog. How apt this line for me “I have come to understand that relationships are like mirrors and when we look into them, the reflection that we are shown is actually of ourselves.” The trick is finding the connecting of this in my life, something that is continually in our faces, hard to ignore, as the reflection is ever so clear and conscience.