Hello and welcome to Lesson 2 from my series, Gifts from a Broken Bone. Like all the lessons I am learning from my broken foot, this is a challenging one. So here goes… After my surgery the doctor recommended that I could use a knee scooter as a way of getting around.
I thought this scooter was the niftiest idea because it gave me some independence. Well it turned out not to be such a great idea after all and became the source of another important lesson. Here’s what happened. About 7 days into using the scooter I developed intense pain in my neck, back, arms, wrists and hips and my good leg and foot ached. I hurt everywhere! Using the one side of my body to push myself around on the scooter had thrown the balance of my entire body out of alignment. So I abandoned the scooter and use a wheelchair instead. I also visit my chiropractor who is helping me realign my body (ask me about him if you need a great one!)
What really bothered me is that it’s not as though the immense importance of alignment was something new to me. After all my life’s work is based on this. But it seems that I needed a reminder!
I reflected on how the concept of misalignment, and the pain that it causes, has been a theme throughout my career. It had shown up in my work with patients of all ages, with all kinds of diagnostic labels, who had essentially lost alignment with their true self; and in my work with misaligned families and misaligned couples. Then there was my work CEO’s of large companies, creating employee alignment for enhancing productivity. And, now in my work aligning spirit, body and brain health.
This brings up a challenging question for me:
Why is the issue of alignment coming up personally for me now? What have I not yet learned, or what have I forgotten about the pivotal role of alignment?
This is where my long hours of reflection became really confronting for me . My personal and professional experience has taught me that all pain, physical or emotional or in our relationships, is caused by one thing – not being faithful to, and aligned with the values that define us. So I am asking myself questions like:
- Is there a relationship between my broken foot and being misaligned with my personal values?
- Have I been compromising my REAL values?
- Why would I have strayed from my values?
- What areas of my life are being affected by any misalignment with my values?
Here’s what I discovered. One of my core values is loving myself for who I am; honoring the spirit of ME. My broken foot has made me realize that recently I have not been aligned with this personal value. So I have more work to do aligning me with ME!. I am excited about this next layer in my personal growth. I also know that when I fully align myself with this value and truly love myself for who I am, only then will I be able to use my talent and skills and expertise to help others do the same, in the most powerful way possible.
Thanks for allowing me to share. If you have the time and the inclination, you might want to use this opportunity to ask yourself the questions above. It may just be that reading this article and asking yourself these questions comes at just the right time for you!
Here’s to all of us living in alignment with ourselves and with each other!
I am really curious to hear what you think. Let me know.
Value Alignment and how it relates to Parenting
Let’s put my personal experience with alignment into the realm of parenting. There are two aspects of values as it applies to kids:
- The values they absorb by watching their parents. Kids watch moms and dads and develop many of their values based on what they see their parents doing and hear them saying.
- The values they identify for themselves as they begin to develop their own unique identity. As children begin to think about, ‘who am I and what do I stand for’ they may find that they agree with some of their parents ‘values and disagree with others.
So it is vitally important that you feel good about the values you are displaying to your kids and also that you know how to help your kids identify and align themselves with what feels right and important to them.
The Pressure-Cooker Values of Today’s Society
I am deeply concerned about some values held by society in general and supported by many parents and educators that are creating toxic levels of pressure for all children. I hear conversations of parents at social gatherings, or in the locker room at the gym, and they are almost always about how well the child is doing in school or on the sports field. They speak about how intelligent and successful the child is, about the trophies they have won, the grades they achieve, their outstanding test scores and their acceptance into prestigious schools. I have yet to hear a parent talk about how compassionate her child is or about the community service the child does or what a grounded, responsible person the child is.
Too often, the child’s worth is measured by doing, not by being. In response to the question, “How is your son doing,” I have never personally heard a parent say, “Thank you for asking. He is such a joy to us. We just love the way he sees the world so differently and we are learning so much from him each day.”
Being a great kid is measured by achievement and performance. Literally from the moment of birth onwards, parents and educators tend to place enormous pressure on children, academically, socially, emotionally and on the sports field. They are expected to excel at everything they do. If you are a sensitive kid growing up in today’s high-pressure world, you might want to say something like, “Hey, I feel overwhelmed and anxious; there’s too much pressure. Just back off. I can’t be all you want me to be, in the way you want me to be! I can’t be perfect. I can’t be great at everything. You’re making me feel bad. “I just need you to be okay with who I am.”
Are the values you are living by, helping or hindering your child?
In the last chapter of my book, Parents Take Charge: Healing learning, behavior and mood challenges without medication, I ask the question, ‘Are the values you are living by, helping or hindering your child?’ I ask moms and dads to check that their values are teaching the kids:
- Be the best you that you can be.You are cool just being you.
- Be proud of your unique strengths.
- You don’t need “stuff” to be special.
The reason that stress levels are so high in children today is that they hear parents value:
- Achievement is the only thing that counts.
- Be better than others – socially, athletically and academically.
- Move with the inner circle. Be one of the popular kids. Be “cool.”
- Sport is everything.
- Having the latest brand name “stuff” makes you special.
One of the most powerful values you can teach a child is to know and love himself/herself for who he or she is. When a child or teenager is aligned with who they are and what they stand for, they will be resilient, happy and talented kids that can steer through everyday obstacles and bounce back from setbacks.
My broken foot reminded me that alignment with the values at the core of our being is where it all begins.
Let’s be aligned. Spend a moment sharing your thoughts with me!