How I challenge my own borders at home with my family

What better way to wrap up a week of exploring how to empower ourselves to grow deeply loving intimate relationships than to talk about challenging myself to step beyond my “safe zone.”

I am typically not content to stay in my “safe zone.” I love to challenge myself – to “lean into challenge.”

On an energetic level, when I feel challenged, the energy in my body raises and often I feel a tightening in my heart and chest area. If I’m in a habitual and pressed state, I may revert to safe behaviour. Hey! I’m human!

BUT… more often I’m in a mindful and curious state. 

From my life long Tibetan Buddhist meditation training, I slow down when I feel the surge of energy from challenge, and I open my heart to it. I even have a sense of leaning my heart and chest *into* the feeling of the challenge. And yes, as simple as this sounds, it is an intermediate Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice!

This act of courage opens up energy and inspired vision. It allows me to break into new frontiers of experience and response to challenge.

As a small example from home, my partner Eden’s son had been sleeping in past his alarm that goes off at 7:00 am. 


This means Eden had to get up and interrupt our morning yoga and stretching time to knock on his door, rouse him, and usually with stern energy tell him to get up. After some time, I became a tad annoyed with what had become our morning routine.

I practiced the method above, leaning into the feeling of challenge in my heart around his behaviour. In that state of leaning into the pain, I had two insights. 

First, that he needed more than talk to shift into a different relationship with getting up. Second, a consequence would be motivating. 

As I explored a usual consequence, reducing TV time, it didn’t feel right – it felt like over-using that consequence. The consequence that came to mind was… PLAYFUL! If he did not emerge from his room by 7:02 am (2 minutes after his alarm), he would have to do 50 jumping jacks!

I suggested this consequence to Eden, and she approved it. 

So that evening, after supper, Eden and I presented the new morning consequence, and… her son loved it! In fact… I was afraid that he loved it so much, he was going to intentionally stay in bed.

He then said 50 jumping jacks was too easy, and he’d like to do push ups. So we shifted the consequence to 10 push ups if he did not emerge by 7:02.

The next morning, to my delight, he emerged at 7:01 am! 

Rather than greeting him with my usual, “Good morning,” instead I started clapping – I applauded him. And he smiled a wide smile. And yes, he emerged at 7:01 the day after too, and he was again in a great mood. This has been happening consistently for weeks now!

What I like about it is that I leaned into the challenge emotionally and energetically, and that allowed insight and then discussions with my family, and it led to Eden’s son shifting his energy around getting up in the morning. It was a wonderful transformation!

What challenge might *you* try leaning into, to engage the energy and facilitate a transformative shift?


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