Early on in my attempt to be a perfect parent I dreamed of my family only eating healthy, whole foods. Yet the more I focused attention on the issue of not eating high sugar, processed, fake foods, the more they wanted them. Surprise right?
Feeling defeated, a few years ago I decided to change my approach and give up the battle. Instead I chose to simply offer a consistent balance of good choices at home, sprinkled with a dose here and there of the other not-so-good stuff. And instead of criticizing their unhealthy choices, I intentionally (in a soft, gentle way) tried to make an emotional connection to how we felt when we/they made healthy and unhealthier choices. I would say things like, “That was fun but my stomach doesn’t feel so good.” I’d ask, “ How is your energy?” or “What does your body feel like eating today?”
Magically this is what started to happen …
My boys started to consciously seek healthy choices on their own! They would come home and ask what was for supper and request fresh salads, veggies and lean animal proteins. They stopped wanting soda and instead asked for fruit juice seltzers and acai berry to make smoothies! They would say things like, “I need to start bringing my lunch to school because pizza every day is making me sick.” The highlight was when my son called me from college a month into this new experience and asked if I could send him a care package of snacks from the Berkshire’s own Guidos.
Now perhaps some of the nagging early on planted a seed, but the real convincing difference I believe was when I chose to “do nothing” and allowed the effects to unfold naturally and organically.
The practice and power of “doing nothing “ is actually used in teaching by zen masters as a way to focus on being still; spending time on inner reflection, observing the thinker as opposed to the thoughts, noticing subtle changes in the way we feel or experience life.
For me this practice of doing nothing has been life- altering as it has taught me how to be a better listener (mentioned it in my blog dated November 2013). It has taught me how to stop forcing things to happen, but instead allowing things to unfold as they should. Dr Wayne Dyer has often been quoted as saying:
“Do nothing, yet everything is done. When a child is conceived there is nothing to be done as 99.999% of us are born with two eyes and our nose and mouth in the right place. At the turn of every season the trees intuitively already know exactly what they need to do – we as humans have to do nothing to make the leaves fall and buds appear.”
Brilliant isn’t it?
The same goes for humans. Intuitively we already know what makes us thrive and support’s good health. We don’t have to nag nor punish ourselves to that place, we simply have to trust and lovingly support ourselves and those we love to desire and lean in that direction.
Here’s to doing less.