EP83 Practicing Conscious Bravery with author Pamela Brinker

Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
Living With Your Child's Addiction Podcast
EP83 Practicing Conscious Bravery with author Pamela Brinker
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In this episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with author Pamela Brinker, whose book “Conscious Bravery: Caring for Someone with Addiction” explores the intersection of parenting and substance use. Pamela shares her personal experiences and insights, starting with her journey that led her to write the book. We dive into the concept of conscious bravery and how it relates to her work, emphasizing the importance of personal growth even when faced with a child struggling with substance use. We explore the profound impact that her experience with her son’s substance use had on her parenting style and the transformative power of waking up to a more conscious way of living.

A few of the topics covered in the episode:

Cultivating conscious bravery

Building discomfort tolerance

Discovering and connecting with your essence

The impact your personal growth has on your child

Pamela’s website

Purchase the book on Amazon

Pamela’s Instagram

 

Resources From Heather Ross Coaching

NEW GROUP COACHING PROGRAM – Doors close July 10th so click the link to get all the details and sign up! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/peace-of-mind-community/

 

Guide about enabling – If you’ve ever worried about enabling, this guide is for you! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/perspective-about-enabling/

 

If you want answers and support to help you and your child Sign up for a 45-minute $17 call with me using the link below

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠https://heatherrosscoachingcalendar.as.me/RoadtoRecovery

 

New Learning/Support Group
Use the link below to find out about the Invitation to Change support group Heather is hosting.

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Learn More & Sign Up For The Invitation To Change Group⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

 

Follow Heather on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heatherrosscoaching

Follow Heather on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heatherrosscoaching/

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Join the free Facebook group for parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction⁠⁠⁠⁠

 

Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/heather-ross9/message

Transcript

This transcript has not been formatted or edited.

0:00

Everybody, just a quick announcement before you listen to the podcast.

I’m so excited to share that I am launching a brand new program today, the Peace of Mind Group Coaching program.

I understand the challenges that you face because as you know, from listening to this podcast, I’ve been through it all.

0:23

And over the last five years of working very closely with my Oneonone coaching clients, I’ve noticed this pattern of things that most parents struggle with.

It’s isolation, feeling like you have no help or support, hopelessness, despair.

0:44

Because so many people tell you you just have to throw your child out or cut them off, and then you feel blamed and misunderstood because.

Everybody tells you that you’re enabling or codependent, which by the way, is not helpful at all.

You end up exhausted from doing the same things over and over again because nobody gives you any new tools to work with and you don’t know what else to do.

1:09

But the Peace of Mind group coaching program will replace that isolation with a coach, me, and a community of parents who understand you.

So instead of telling you there’s nothing you can do and to cut your child off, I’m going to help you build a stronger relationship with them, because connection equals more opportunities for influence.

1:35

The only reason that you end up doing the same things over and over again, Well, things are getting worse because you don’t know what else to do, and that’s what you’re going to learn in the program.

All the tools you need to create the best possible conditions for change.

And also create your own Peace of Mind so that you can start enjoying your life again.

1:58

I believe that nobody should have to go through this alone and that’s why I made the Peace of Mind group coaching program.

To be a safe and nurturing place where you can come together with other parents, get coaching from me, support each other, learn from each other’s experiences.

2:20

Can gain valuable insights into supporting your own child’s recovery while also prioritizing your own wellbeing.

The program combines my knowledge, experience, and heartfelt commitment to supporting you with proven strategies and techniques like craft.

2:43

I want everybody to have access to coaching, so I’ve designed the program to be affordable.

I want every parent who needs support to be able to join the community.

Doors closed July 10th, Monday July 10th, but anybody who signs up by midnight on Friday gets entered into a drawing to win one-on-one private coaching with me.

3:08

So one person will win one hour and two other people will win 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching.

So use the link in the show notes.

To learn more about the Peace of Mind group coaching program.

You’ll get all the details there, including the benefits, structure and how to sign up.

3:26

And space is limited, so go check it out and get signed up soon, everybody.

Today I’m interviewing Pamela Brinker, author of Conscious Bravery, Caring for Someone with Addiction.

She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver.

3:47

As a well respected and experienced psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker for 32 years, Pamela has treated thousands of clients and developed over 20 tools and practices to teach everyday bravery.

Using integrative therapy techniques, she has helped those struggling with anxiety, mild depression, grief and relationship issues.

4:11

She has extensive training and somatic work.

Trauma healing, Young Yin psychology and EMDR certification integrating body oriented protocols like yoga, meditation, art forms and nature into her practice.

4:28

So, Pamela, thank you so much for being here today.

Thank you for having me.

It’s an honor.

So let’s start with you just sharing a little bit about your background, what led you to read the book, and your experience with substance use in your life.

4:45

I became a psychotherapist when I was really young, in my early 20s, and had worked with teens and and young people who struggled in various ways.

And I wanted to go into private practice so late.

In my 20s, I was licensed.

I’d completed all the hours.

And I was a practicing psychotherapist, sliding my feet so that I could work with as many people as possible.

5:05

And I never thought that once I had children in my 30s that I would be as challenged as I was.

You know, you don’t become a mom and think, oh, yeah, both of my children are going to struggle with addiction and major mental health issues.

5:24

I sort of thought I had circumvented that by becoming a therapist.

And I think Heather a lot of the reason I became a psychotherapist was to hope to be able to deal with anything that came my way.

I’d had two cousins who had taken their own lives, who struggled with major depression, brilliant young men and family closer, family members in my inner world who had struggled with mental health.

5:49

But so about 12 years ago, my.

Second husband passed from brain cancer and my two sons were teenagers and everything that I had ever learned and applied with my clients walked alongside them.

6:05

Using and trying to help them with came into play for me.

I had to modify it and use it myself, and some of the skills weren’t enough.

We parents don’t realize how challenged we will be when we’re under fire.

6:21

When we’ve had tremendous grief, my partner had died and it had been a struggle during the year he was passing.

Cancer isn’t pretty.

Brain cancer, especially all kinds of cancers.

No cancer is pretty.

But And then both of my sons turned not just to each other and to me, but they turned to drugs as the answer to their pain.

6:43

So they were grieving in ways I didn’t even know.

We were close, and I thought we were taking on grief.

Together.

And yet they had this secret.

They were they had gotten a prescription for Vyvanse from their pediatrician, for their one had a ADD and what the other had a DHD.

7:03

And they began doubling their doses.

And then they started smoking weed and using hallucinogens.

And within four years, they were addicted to amphetamines and then eventually to methamphetamine and cocaine and other drugs.

And so for me, my story for our parents and listeners is that.

7:21

I had to become something I never dreamed I needed to be.

I needed to be tender and assertive and I was.

I was a triathlete and so I was accustomed to being a go getter and take things on and work harder to get what I wanted.

7:37

And same with being a psychotherapist.

I was sort of at work.

I worked a lot.

I don’t know if I was a workaholic, but at any rate I had to learn how to bring peace into my family, into myself 1st and.

Not to be such a hard ass, I said so many things to them that were harsh that I regret because I didn’t know better.

7:58

I thought if I could just help them understand and lecture and so forth, that would help or help guide them, help manage them.

And so I I learned through my own practice, through partnering with other therapists and teachers, through the CRAFT program, through other therapists and modalities that I respect, likes the somatic work.

8:20

You talked about embodying certain things, paying attention to my body and my feelings in ways that I had never done before.

I was able to become more solid and grounded and more even keeled, which is what my son’s really needed.

And I still work at it today, for sure, but I’m a lot better than I was 12 years ago at it.

8:41

Yeah, Thank you for sharing all that.

I heard a lot of myself in your story.

And especially you said you thought you could circumvent those things that would happen in your life by becoming a therapist.

And I thought that that I could out parent addiction, that it would never happen in my family if I was a good enough mom.

9:02

And you talked about being tender and assertive and learning how to bring peace into your family and just really how hard that is because I took.

The hard path, the tough love initially myself, and it is really hard to strike that balance of being tender and assertive at the same time, so I really appreciate you sharing that.

9:24

So your book is titled Conscious Bravery.

Can you explain what that is?

I believe that consciousness is a level of awareness and that bravery is something that we all think we understand, that it’s taking action.

9:41

Leaping into the fire, going to a burning building to save someone.

But bravery can look 100 different ways on 100 different days.

And so to me, conscious bravery is having a pallet available, just like a painter does, that we can tap our brush into and access at any given time and do the best thing that’s needed at any given moment.

10:04

So it’s having a repertoire built into my system.

That is innate, and it’s innate because I practice it all the time, every day.

I practice different forms of conscious bravery every day.

Sometimes it’s being boundaried yet kind.

10:21

Other times it’s being silent and just listening with an open heart, even when that’s really hard.

Other times it’s well, I like changes Parent Network and they have a protocol they teach called No Ace.

10:38

No, gosh, no.

What does it stands for?

Don’t offer information if it’s not asked for.

Don’t criticize and don’t evaluate the other person.

Don’t.

Don’t base anything that you’re saying on what should happen, right.

10:54

And so I don’t have, I have my own hopes and my own desires, but I’m aware that those are separate from what my sons have, and what they want for their lives is completely different sometimes.

And so I’m constantly aware with my conscious bravery of the the juxtaposition, but the separateness of who they are and who I am and what they might want and what I want.

11:19

And I have to graciously see that they were my guests when they lived in my home.

They were my guests, and my job is to help them become the best they can be, whatever that means.

So success looks different for us parents when we have had.

11:36

Children, and now adult children who struggle with major mental health and substance use issues.

For them, success may just be doing something they love and actually getting paid for it or actually being clean for a long period of time.

That’s a great step.

11:53

Or being clean in a way like you you’ve talked about in one of your episodes, Sublocade and Suboxone, using medical assisted support to get and stay away from the drugs that.

Could kill them.

So anyway, conscious bravery to me is really being able to do whatever’s needed in any given moment.

12:15

Yeah, I love the way you describe that too, like that it’s built in so that it’s your default in an emergency.

So you’re practicing that ahead of time.

Yeah.

And that I think is the key is to practice it until we’ve reprogrammed our brain that that’s just what we’re going to do.

12:36

And we don’t even have to think about it.

And I can remember when that started happening for me with my daughter, like I was like one small thing at a time.

Where I was, things got heated and my my automatic response instead of getting angry was well, I think it’s time for me to go.

12:53

I love you.

I’ll see you soon, you know?

Yes.

Very empowering.

And empowerment is what bravery is all about, really conscious bravery.

Because there’s bravery that is talked about and courage that’s talked about in our day and age, but it may or may not be that awake, aware, conscious bravery that helps us to do what you were describing.

13:17

Yeah, and I love what you said about that.

Your hopes and desires for your kids are different.

Than theirs are for themselves.

And I think that the dignity that we give them when we acknowledge that and allow them to have their own hopes and dreams, I think that that’s really important in this process.

13:36

And the connect goes a long way with creating connection and part of what I loved about when I read in your book was recognizing that.

The impact that you can have on your son’s by focusing on your own personal growth instead of just focusing on them and what they’re doing.

13:55

So I’m wondering, like what helped you realize how important that was for your journey?

Beautiful points in and I love that question.

I think I started realizing it about 10 years ago when I was waking up in fight or flight every morning.

14:13

Waking up.

With that sympathetic nervous system going, should I fight?

Should I flee?

Should I curl?

Should I curl up in a ball and feign death?

Do I need to?

What do I need to do?

And and then I realized I’ve got to put my feet on the floor in gratitude and be present right now this moment.

14:30

Or I can’t do anything and maybe what I do is a not doing.

I like to say that patience is a not doing that does.

And I really love what you said about dignity because through patients or.

What I like to say is sometimes the bravest thing is to do nothing and hold faith.

14:47

Sometimes the dignity that we then impart to our beloved is that they see that they do have volition.

My sons have been in so many treatment programs.

I have quit counting, I think over a dozen for one of them.

And they lose so much of their own choice in a lot of those programs because unfortunately, a lot of our programs.

15:11

Are too structured.

I totally believe in structure in my own life.

But structure can make people want to run and make people want to use and make people want to leave if it’s forced on them.

And so they they’ve got to choose it just like I choose it.

So that’s why I work on myself.

I remember waking up in fight or flight and realizing I have so much freedom.

15:31

I’m not locked up.

I have a home.

I have a roof over my head, I have food.

I can choose what I will eat today.

I have so much freedom and choice.

I’m going to use that.

Well, it’s a privilege.

And so that really helps me.

I think to to become well, to do some of the things that I talked about in my book, like to become more comfortable with discomfort and overwhelm.

15:54

For example, because I was waking up like that and I wanted to be a more relaxed person.

I wanted to be more even keeled so that I could be the kind of person that my sons wanted to approach and talk to, not because they had to.

And so I really love and cherish when they do just reach out to me just to talk and ask my opinion.

16:16

And I don’t give advice.

That was the ace I forgot the A stands for no advice.

I don’t want to give them advice unless it’s asked for.

And I want to be the best I can be for myself.

I know I am starting to look in the mirror more and more year by year and say I like this person and it’s not because of how I look.

16:36

It’s more because I can see my essence in myself.

I see who I truly am.

I’m not defined by my situation or my circumstances or by my what’s by what my sons do or don’t do.

And so to our parents who are listening, my whole heart goes out to you.

16:52

I really don’t know of anything harder that I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with everything under the sun, every problem under the sun, as a social work or clinical social work that people face in this life, I’m pretty sure.

But I really feel that substance use issues combined with mental health are some of the hardest things that parents face.

17:11

And so we are in the trenches and we’ve got to face that.

That’s what I realized, too.

That has helped me, Heather, is that I quit saying, oh, now they’re in recovery, smooth sailing.

I quit saying that because you never know.

17:26

It’s not that I walk on egg shells.

It’s that I don’t attach to any outcome, even when they’re happy.

I don’t say, oh great, now it’s like that.

I just am grateful in the moment.

And I say could be this, could be that whatever it is, I can deal with it because I’m this different person that defines myself based upon my essence and my connection with what’s greater.

17:51

I don’t define myself based on my circumstances or my son’s situations, and it’s so relieving to do that because I was living in panic and fear.

And I get Dms from parents almost every day who live in with gripping panic day-to-day.

18:08

And I want to help people not have that, to be able to have a foundation of contentment like I found.

Yeah, that’s so important that you can create your own piece, your own contentment that’s separate from what’s happening with your child and I.

18:27

We both recognize how difficult that skill is to learn, but also how important it is because of we don’t want to have to live in flight or fight or flight.

We don’t know how long this is going to go on, and it puts an immense amount of pressure on our kids to be responsible for our happiness.

18:47

And I love what you said about the bravest thing is to do nothing.

And that is so hard for so many parents to do, but it really actually is a great solution.

Sometimes.

Like they they do figure it out on their own if you just pause and give them time to figure it out, which I think is so helpful.

19:08

Brilliant.

And.

And sometimes our pauses are longer.

I used to think, wow, I’m great, I can pause for 10 minutes.

That was such a step forward.

Now if I can write down some of what I’m thinking and feeling and wait until the next day, often times within 24 hours or 36 hours, things have changed.

19:27

And so my response can be different.

And thank goodness I waited, because that helped my sons or my son to become empowered enough to see that they had the volition to make a choice and they had the wherewithal or the grace, whatever you want to call it to.

19:46

To sit with it long enough and maybe play with the outcomes and choose the best outcome for themselves rather than having it be put on them.

So yeah, I love to make friends.

I love to call it making friends with the unknown.

Every day I make friends with the unknown and I do hard things every day.

20:03

And that’s the neuroscience research that when we do hard things and we choose them, in fact the dopamine hit from doing a harder thing than the hard thing we are doing.

Is that it lasts longer.

And So what I mean by that, If anyone wants to listen to the Heberman Lab podcast, I’m a big fan of Andrew Heberman and a lot of the people he’s had on his podcast, Anna Lemke, who wrote The Dopamine Nation.

20:28

But when we say, for example, meditate now, I’ve meditated for years.

To me, meditation is still hard because it’s hard to sit still.

I don’t always sit still while I’m meditating.

Sometimes I walk, but.

I do different kinds of meditation.

I do an uplifting meditation, the Wim Huff method.

20:46

I use that quite a bit, but that’s kind of hard.

And I do it first thing in the morning, and it’s harder than maybe going and writing down some things that I had for homework for my therapist that might be hard to do that.

21:02

And then maybe I don’t want to do that.

But maybe what’s harder is to actually sit and meditate or lie down and meditate.

And so, but the cool thing is that when we do a harder thing, like even cold immersion therapy, we sustain A dopamine hip for longer.

21:19

And so the dopamine from most things like eating something pleasurable, working out, having sex, those kinds of things.

The research is that those can last for minutes to an hour.

The dopamine lift meaning the feel good after effect that we have, but if we do something harder than the hard thing that we were doing, like.

21:40

Doing a cold plunge in cold water or maybe meditating when it’s really tough.

The dopamine effect can last for four to six hours.

That’s new research that’s really fantastic for those of us parents who need the motivation that comes from that dopamine.

21:58

We need the insight and the clarity that comes from that.

And so many of the parents I work with, Heather, are struggling with anxiety, depression and brain fog from that trauma, vicarious trauma.

Walking alongside our loved ones is horrific.

22:13

Let’s just face it, it is some of the hardest stuff we’ll ever do.

So to pat ourselves on the back and say, well, way to go, I’m doing a tough thing isn’t always enough.

We need absolute tools and practices that work every single day, and that’s part of what I wrote about in my book.

22:29

Yeah.

And what I hear you saying is and sharing is.

You have fun with it, but you work really hard at this.

And what I love about that is that was the same thing for me when I started really working on myself.

I had to learn how to have fun with it as well.

22:46

But also I learned how hard change was and how hard the things that I wanted my daughter to do were like.

I was just making it sound so easy and oversimplifying everything.

But it really takes work.

I have such respect.

23:02

For people who are on a path into their wellbeing, call it recovery, but it is a hard, hard journey.

And like you said on one of your earlier podcast with your daughter, for us to really listen to our sons and daughters pain is so important.

23:20

And just to listen and say hmm and be receptive because if they want to talk about it, that is not the time for me to offer a solution and I don’t have to give an explanation to my.

To my feelings, I can just have my feelings and they don’t have to give an explanation to their feelings.

23:37

Often times why they’re talking about the past is because they need to work through it so that they have less trauma associated with it.

So as a therapist, I’m constantly reminding myself that there are reasons that I don’t know.

I understand about why my sons are needing to do what they’re doing right now.

23:55

And so I’m going to give give them grace and give it up.

Yeah, that can also be really uncomfortable, like you talked about earlier and learning to be comfortable with discomfort.

So how do you help people build their discomfort?

24:14

Tolerance.

Muscle.

Doing things that are uncomfortable.

Deliberately walking into a restaurant and smiling if you have social anxiety.

Smiling at people saying hello to someone, making a hard phone call.

24:29

And being aware of it, not necessarily gritting through it, but saying to ourselves, hey, this is hard for me and being tender with ourselves.

At the same time, we’re also assertive and strong, following through on tough things.

Any number of things are tough.

24:46

Hikes a pill hikes are tough.

I do.

I love being in nature, and I think nature is its own reward, just connecting with the synergy of the trees and flowers and the earth.

But getting outside on the ground, when it’s freezing cold, that’s a grounding tool.

25:04

Going barefoot outside and walking around in the snow, that’s it’s cold, deliberate cold exposure.

And it’s also tough.

It makes our feet feel like they’re on fire.

You know, when we come inside, but we if we can do that, we can come inside and say, hey, I did that tough thing, I can do other tough things and I’m a big proponent of.

25:23

Cold immersion therapy.

So starting out with cool water showers at the end of our showers for 30 seconds.

While we’re doing that, we’re learning to breathe under duress, so we’re resetting our nervous systems that say, hey, get out of this cold water, what are you doing?

But when we choose to stay and relax into it, we train our bodies, hearts and minds to do a tough thing and relax when we’re under fire.

25:49

And if we don’t practice relaxing under fire and calming our nervous systems, we are not going to be able to do it.

It’s not something that you just wave a magic wand and it suddenly appears we have to have those innate skills at the ready.

26:05

And so I encourage my my clients and people that come to my workshops to make a list of what are some tough things that are hard for you that you can build into your days and weeks.

So that you are prepared to handle the anxiety, the fear, the shock that will come.

26:24

And if If listeners on your podcast aren’t familiar with mental health and substance use issues yet, most likely you will be.

So if you’re facing only one or the other, just know that they usually go together, and if they haven’t yet, they probably will, because being addicted to a substance or dependent upon a substance usually means traumas coming.

26:48

Or anxieties, coming or trust issues, depression, those kinds of things.

And sometimes those types of things happen 1st and make a person want to use a substance.

But at any rate we’ve got to just have all these things at the ready and to also for another tough thing to put that I have put at the in my book as a chapter separate chapter that I put on the top of my list for a lot of my clients is to learn to ask for help.

27:13

Asking for help is a sacred exchange.

Because it gives the other person the opportunity to help us and then we are able to receive that help.

Or if we give help to another, they have the opportunity to receive it.

So it’s this beautiful interchange that can really transform our lives.

27:32

I would not be who I am if so many people had not helped me and if I had not been able to help so many.

Same with me.

Yeah, I mean, but there were times that I stopped asking for help because the help that I was getting wasn’t helpful.

And then I would pull back for a while and then I would try it again.

27:50

So I think the big thing is just never giving up and to continuing to keep looking, even if it feels like nothing’s ever going to work finding something that will.

That’s so conscious.

That’s the kind of conscious awareness we want to build into our lives, don’t you think?

28:07

To be able to know this isn’t working and I’m feeling kind of helpless or hopeless, so.

That I’m going to sit with that for a bit and then see what needs to happen.

Sometimes we just open up and receptively see what needs to happen.

And through our intuition and our intelligence, through our minds and hearts, another answer presents itself.

28:27

Or we seek out someone and they say, hey, have you heard of this therapist or this acupuncturist?

Or have you done any kind of massage therapy and learned how to let someone give to you and learn how to relax your body?

Or have you ever done yoga?

So learning new things sometimes comes about because we partner with one another and there’s there’s a beautiful exchange.

28:49

That way of partnership, we’re not in this alone.

Yeah, yeah, I agree.

And so many people feel alone.

I want to point out something you said about living or getting comfortable with discomfort it just because I think it was really important and that was acknowledging like when you do something that’s uncomfortable, like really acknowledging that and.

29:11

Owning that you are managing that discomfort because I think so many times we we just discount the hard work that we do and we don’t recognize it.

And so we think that we can’t.

But if we actually acknowledge what we’re doing and what we’re going through, then we can build that confidence that we can get through those discomfort the next time it comes up.

29:38

That’s so well put.

Yeah.

So you talked about it a little bit earlier, about spending, about your essence, and that was something else that I really liked because it, I felt like my daughter struggled from a really young age.

29:55

And so, so much of the time she just, you know, was living that life where she didn’t have favorite things anymore or like the the things that we identify with somebody just weren’t available in her world.

30:11

And after she passed away and I was planning her memorial, I was like, gosh, I don’t know her favorite color or food or all these things when I’m planning.

But then I was like, but I know the essence of her.

And knowing the essence of her is what helps me connect with her so much when she was struggling, because none of those other things were available to connect about or with.

30:38

And it helped me to really see her more as a whole person than just seeing the parts of her that I wanted to change.

So I loved that you included that in your book, and I’m wondering if you can share a little bit like how somebody figures out what their essence is and connects with it.

30:56

Yes, and I love, I love the story.

You just shared a little snippet of your story.

Yes, How to connect with our essence by spending time with our essence.

Just like we get to know our friends by spending time with them and being receptive and open, so I teach going inward through the breath, through the conscious breath, breathing into the deepest core part of ourselves that is our essence.

31:20

Call it yourself with a capital S call it your soul or your spirit.

I prefer the elegant word essence because it’s more neutral.

It’s not laden with dogma or anything or a lot of other definitions.

So we go inside through the breath.

31:36

And into this place, and we reside there, breathing in and out through this place.

And for most people, it’s somewhere between their heart and their sacral chakra or their solar plexus low belly area.

And we spend time there because who we are, this essence, this beautiful being we’ve been, is who we’ve been from before birth and through this life.

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And it will be who we continue to be.

Into death and beyond as we merge with the oneness or whatever you believe.

But this is the truest part of me.

Not my role as a mom, not my title as a therapist.

Not my skills and talents, even.

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Those are things that will come and go.

Even our bodies in the state they are now will change.

We’re all going to get older, have diseases, and die.

And so to know who I truly am, maybe the most important thing to do in this life.

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And to be that, how can it like I have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror right now that says be peace.

How can I be peace unless I know who I am, unless I know what peace is?

So I go inside and spend time with my essence because that’s where I find the greatest peace.

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And I can do it anytime, any place.

And our listeners can do that too.

You parents, you can go out in nature and be with your essence through walking and movement or stillness.

You can do it through prayer, but it’s a oneness with God or source or the Dow for sure, because we’re connected to something greater.

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We’re part of the never expanding infinite universe.

But really to know that who this being is, this person right here, this body, heart, mind, soul, intuition and energy, space, all of that combination is the hub is my essence.

And to me it’s so valuable not just to know for my own self.

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So that my sons know who they are at any given moment.

So I’ve taught them as a parent that you’re more than who you think you are as a social being or with your, again, your skills, talents or accomplishments.

You are this amazing being, human being.

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It’s the being part of the humanness, right?

And so when we know how to do that at any given time, any given place, we can do it anywhere.

So I’ll breathe into my essence if I’m standing at the grocery line, because I can.

And it might make me feel more patient waiting if it’s a long line at the self help.

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Or I might do it when I’ve just heard some bad news, I might say, OK, wow, here I am.

Now there’s this and facing this.

Wow.

OK, I’m going to ground myself.

I’m going to breathe and I’m not just going to take 3 deep breaths.

That’s never enough.

It’s a great start.

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But it will never get us to where we can become these people who have a foundation of contentment.

We breathe into our deepest self, and we hold space for us, for our essence, with our essence.

And the coolest thing is that we don’t have to do anything to go inside.

34:45

It’s just like you don’t have to do anything to connect with love.

It’s already an innate part of who we are, similar.

Similar to bravery, conscious bravery resides within each of us.

It just needs to be cultivated and developed, just like love.

And so the relationship we have with ourself begins by being present with ourselves, and I just returned to presence all the time.

35:07

I call it represencing.

A friend of mine, Mary used that phrase a couple years ago for the first time to me and I loved it.

So we I represence.

I come back into presence by connecting to my essence.

Yeah, I love that.

And that’s where the most peace is available to us.

35:23

No matter what’s going on, no matter how bad it is, the most peace is available in the present moment.

And I love that I might steal that term to what was it?

Represence.

To represence, yeah, REPRESENCE come back into presence.

35:45

Whenever we’re not present, if we notice we’re not present, then we’re suddenly present again.

Oh, like, oh, there, here I am.

Yeah.

And it’s so easy to go unconscious like, which was one of the other things you were talking about, which I really like, was changing from living awake versus unconsciously like you had before.

36:08

And I felt the same way, like I would have.

I didn’t know it before.

Because I was unconscious, I would have said that I was very aware and I called it like afterwards.

After I woke up, I called it.

36:25

I’d been asleep at the wheel of my life and really just following and reacting to everything instead of living intentionally or creating anything with my life and.

I think that it really connects with what you were just talking about of getting in touch with your essence, but do you want to share a little bit more about living awake versus unconscious?

36:51

Sure, I have these bravery keys in my book, and one of them near the end of the book is that we can live with wonder and joy instead of fear, with conscious bravery.

And that’s about living awake.

There are so many moments like right now connect with you.

37:09

This is a joyful moment for me.

I mean, you’re a soul sister already.

Everything you’ve been through, everything you’re about your mission, your purpose that provides so much meaning for you, right?

And so when we live with this awakeness, we’re aware of a purpose and our meaning that goes beyond our sons and daughters.

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Our sisters, our parents, whatever most of the people listening, I believe our parents.

And so I don’t want to define myself based upon being a parent because I’ve already had tremendous loss, just like you have.

My husband died, so I didn’t want to define myself as a wife because all the sudden I wasn’t.

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And when you’re a single parent, you realize there’s a lot of myths about what makes us who we are.

I want to know who I truly AM.

Based on how I live, what my Souls code is, or my essences code, right?

38:08

And so yeah, I think I’ve had to make friends with fear.

But I don’t live from fear.

I embrace all my feelings and befriend even the tough emotions like shame.

Fear overwhelm.

And then I I acknowledge them.

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I honor them.

I often give them a voice.

Let them speak to me.

What do you have to say?

And then inevitably, over minutes or hours, I let them move through me because I am not defined by my feelings or my thoughts.

None of us are.

We’re not our thoughts.

They are just data that comes in, information that we want to pay attention to.

38:43

And that, thankfully, is it’s brilliant.

We can store it in our minds, but we are not our thoughts.

And so I want to be.

I want to be more than these momentary experiences that I have.

Yeah, that’s so important because unless you know that, like I didn’t know that I wasn’t my thoughts or that my thoughts weren’t true for a really long time, which was part of why I was so unconscious.

39:09

And I believed a lot of the things that my brain came up with.

I mean, it can be they can become so painful when you’re going through something like.

Child substance use, and that was what it was.

39:26

I don’t think anything else other than that level of pain of watching my daughter not just struggle but really suffer, have woke me up and it was a calling that I felt really strongly that I had to answer.

39:44

And am so grateful that I did.

And that’s like I identified with so much of your book because of that.

It sounds like we had a similar journey to that, really getting to know yourself.

It’s so important because I didn’t really know myself before.

40:03

Yeah, people I work with don’t, because we’re so outwardly focused on everybody else because that’s what we’re conditioned to do.

So true and we do self-care for varying reasons too.

Like I said, I had been an athlete.

I’d also been a musician.

But a lot of my participation in my training or even my playing the piano and the guitar and the ukulele, it had to do with I have done this for years.

40:29

I’m going to keep doing it almost like I should.

Not quite, but kind of like, well, I don’t want to lose this capacity.

Instead of doing it out of joy and out of like, I have this opportunity, this.

Gift every day to care for this being that I am and then I can be all I can be and I can become an A better Oasis for my sons.

40:53

And so I would love for the parents listening to know that we can do our self-care because we have the the blessing of it.

We have the opportunity and to it’s not always going to be bunnies and roses for sure but what we can certainly.

41:12

Do it because it’s a we know it’s a gift.

And I think that that kind of selfcare has carried me through some of the most harrowing circumstances, because I might not have thought of going for a hike right after I got some horrible, what seemed like horrible or very, very hard news, but because it was built into me an innate bravery response.

41:36

Then I did it, and inevitably I got some insider relief.

I love thinking of it as an innate bravery response rather than a routine.

But that’s why I think about it like, well, when I don’t know what else to do, I just go walk, you know?

That’s my routine.

41:53

But I’m going to say this because it’s my innate bravery response.

I love.

That.

I know it may sound kind of dorky, but it’s the truth.

We are a brave group of people.

But it feels much more powerful to think of it that way because it is something I put it a lot of intention into building like you talked about.

42:14

So why not talk about it in a way that gives it credit for that and doesn’t like minimize what it takes to build that skill and to go do that when things are really hard and not just sit and worry so.

True.

And another thing I’ll just insert really quickly that isn’t in my book is I teach mantras while moving.

42:35

Instead of just affirmations, affirmations are great.

Like, I’m strong, I am kind, I can get through this, whatever.

But if we do them while we’re moving our bodies, we embody the truth of our affirmation.

I love that built into our systems.

42:52

Yeah, that’s powerful.

So is there anything like just to wrap up that you would like to say to any parent?

It’s really struggling as they’re listening to this and maybe something that can offer them some hope.

43:10

Your conscious bravery is developed, and it’s developed over time and it will take you time to get there.

And anything you do today is a start.

So just like people say, one step leads to 1000 miles or the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, so with our bravery.

43:30

Just do one small thing today and it will probably lead to another thing.

And there is a dopamine hit with that because we build on our bravery.

It makes us remember, Oh yeah, I was brave last year.

I’ve done really hard things in the last year.

43:46

I can do more tough things.

I can get through this.

And so we don’t just say that to ourselves.

We know it on a deep level because we have done consciously brave things.

So my book, every single chapter is 1 component or pillar of bravery.

And you may like some of the chapters you may add on in your own journaling.

44:05

Some of your own.

Some you may list some of your own things that are very unique and specific to you.

Because this path into substance use and mental health challenges doesn’t look the same for everybody, and neither does the path out of the wilderness for us.

44:24

We may actually stay in the desert for a really long time and so we’ve got to have these skills.

And so I would just say don’t, don’t give up.

Please, please have hope.

Hope is not a feather that blows away.

Hope is something that is anchored and solid and it’s built upon with everything you do and every single moment matters.

44:45

So don’t ever poo poo, please.

Anything you did and say, Ah, that didn’t even matter.

I’ve wasted the last five years of my life doing tough love or whatever.

Maybe because you did tough love and it didn’t work.

Now you have the tenacity and the perseverance to shift more quickly into a different way of operating that will work better.

45:04

So I would offer that to parents that your conscious bravery begins today.

Yeah, I love that.

Thank you for sharing that.

So I know everybody’s going to want to find out about the book.

I’m going to put a link in the show notes to Pamela’s website where you can find the book and I’ll put a link to her YouTube channel and where you can also get the book on Amazon.

45:29

So thank you so much for being here to share this with everybody today.

It’s been such a pleasure.

Thank you for what you do for everyone and for putting yourself out there.

You just have the deepest part of my heart and all of my respect.

Thank you.

Thank you for listening to this episode.

45:48

If you want to learn more about my work, go to heatherrosscoaching.com.

If you want to help other parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction, you can do it two different ways.

First, you can share the podcast with them directly or you can share it on your social media.

46:04

Second, you can leave a review.

Talk to you next week.