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Becoming an Attuned Parent

Cory Muscara






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Becoming an Attuned Parent

In this talk and meditation, we'll explore why attunement is one of the most important parenting skills.

Hey, welcome.

In this meditation, we're going

to explore the importance and

practice of attunement in parenting.

You can think of attunement in a

similar way that a musician might

think of tuning their instrument.

Each day when a musician takes out

their instrument to practice, they first

have to listen to where it is today.

It changes overnight based on the

temperature, the air pressure.

And so it requires showing up with

curiosity and beginner's mind and

making subtle adjustments based

on how the instrument is today.

As a parent, this is even more

fundamental because a child is not

an instrument and they're changing

even more on a day to day basis.

And if we just show up with our ideas

about who they are today, we're actually

missing the day to day shifts, even the

moment to moment shifts that require a

different way of showing up, then meeting

this small human being where they are now.

And we're learning more and

more in psychology, just

how important attunement is.

And this is primarily because a child's

capacity to attune to themselves and

regulate, manage their own emotions,

meet their own needs and feel worthy of

meeting their own needs that is first

modeled and developed through you.

Your nervous system meeting

they're nervous system.

Helping to console, demonstrate presence,

offering compassion, all of the things

that we try to develop as adults, we

get many of these resources first in

our younger years of life, through the

relationships with the adults around

us, especially our primary caregivers.

So this is a powerful opportunity

to really develop and strengthen

that capacity of attunement

for your child or children.

And don't worry, none of

us get this 100%, right.

We're all human, but it is

something that we can refine.

And that begins with an attunement

to our own internal experience.

If we're not able to be aware of

our own thoughts, our own emotions,

our own sensory experience, it's

going to be very difficult to offer

that attunement to another person.

So in this meditation, we'll explore

developing that attunement here in our

own mind, in our own body, and then how

we might bring that into our parenting.

So if you haven't already done

so, find a comfortable posture.

It could be seated, lying down,

something that allows you to

feel comfortable but awake.

And if it feels okay to do

so, you can close your eyes.

But even here is an opportunity to attune.

Closing your eyes is a generic

instruction in meditation, but

it might not feel right to you.

So notice if there's an overriding of

your own intuition around what you need in

order to do it right or follow the rules.

So just take a moment to

check in with yourself.

What would feel best right now?

Eyes open?

Eyes closed?

It might just be a 1% difference

of one feeling slightly more

comfortable and safe, but see if

you can feel what's truly here.

And what you're listening to here

is not the thoughts in your mind,

but the felt sense in your body.

Felt sense of, oh, I'm actually

drawn to this right now.

Or when I close my eyes, I feel

a little more safe and grounded.

Or when I close my eyes, I actually

feel slightly uncomfortable, a

little more scared or disconnected.

That is the musician tuning

into their instrument.

What's here now in this moment?

And so wherever you end up is fine.

Let's just take a deep breath

to settle ourselves in.

Breathing in through the nose.

And slowly out through the mouth.

And take a moment to feel into your body.

Noticing if there's any area of your

body that you're holding tension.

Maybe out of pattern, subconsciously.

Sensing the muscles in the face.

The eyes, the cheeks, the jaw.

And just listening through awareness

for where there might be some

gripping or tension in the face.

And if you feel inspired to, you

can invite it to soften and relax.

Maybe noticing the shoulders.

What's it like to feel the shoulders

without putting your hand there,

but just sensing this part of your

body and asking what does this need?

Does it want to relax a little bit?

Even just the acknowledgement of

there being tension is a quality

of tuning in and holding space.

And just checking in with

any other areas of the body.

Scanning through your instrument.

Seeing how it feels in this moment.

This same awareness, we can

bring to any sensory experience.

But let's explore bringing it to sound.

Noticing anything that

you can hear right now.

There's the more obvious sound of my

voice, which you can really tune into.

Noticing the subtleties there and the

different inflections in my voice.

Maybe even trying to sense how I'm

feeling in this moment based on what

you're picking up through my voice.

But there's also the more subtle

sounds when I'm not speaking.

And all you're doing is just

listening deeply for what's

arising without judgment.

Just curiosity.

What do I notice now?

The mind wanders, we just bring it back.

What am I noticing right now?

What am I hearing right now,

even if that includes silence?

And let's bring that same awareness

now to the rhythm of our breathing.

This actually very subtle experience

in our awareness, the softness of the

breath moving into the body, filling

up the lungs, expanding the belly.

And then that ease as you take an exhale.

This is the aliveness of your

being, and there are all of these

subtleties to the experience.

So what would it be like to pay

attention to attune to the breath as

if you were attuning to your child?

Really just trying to understand

what is the subtle moment to moment

changing nature of what is here

without judgment, just curiosity

and an openness to see more clearly.

And lastly, before we close

this meditation, I invite you to

ask yourself the question, what

is it like to be me right now?

What is it like to be me right now?

And just see what arises there.

Very open, honest exchange with yourself.

What do you need to tune into to really

sense the answer to that question?

What is it like to be me right now?

So let's take one more

deep breath together.

In through the nose.

Slowly out through the mouth.

And when you're ready, you

can let your eyes open.

All right.

So thanks for being open to this practice.

As you become more aware of and attuned

to the complexity of your own humanness

and how often it's changing and the

different needs that are arising and

the better you get at meeting that

honestly and giving yourself permission

to have that experience and to meet

those needs and to put up boundaries

that will organically facilitate your

ability to offer that to another person,

including your child or children.

And as you're doing your own practice

in this way with yourself, you can

more consciously bring this into your

parenting, maybe even saying: Oh, what

is it like to be them in this moment?

What is my sense of what it's

like to be my child right now?

Just that openness to understand more

clearly will allow you to meet the

truth of their experience without

prematurely stepping in with your

own ideas of who they are, what

they're intending, what they need.

Remember at the heart of this, you

are helping to model for them what

it looks like to pay attention

with curiosity and openness and

compassion to their own experience.

And that is a gift they will take

with them for the rest of their life.

They don't need all the answers right now.

They don't need to know the exact

right thing to do in this moment.

You're developing a certain emotional

intelligence, certain self-compassion

and a certain self attunement that

they will take with them through

all the different scenarios and

permutations of what life can bring them.

So that is something you can trust.

I hope this feels supportive

in your parenting journey.

Thank you for your practice.

Thanks for doing the work.

It's important for our next

generation and we're here to

support in whatever way we can.

Talk to you soon.

And until next time, take care.

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