Why We Judge Our Parents

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Do your children seem judgmental of some of the things you do? Or do you feel triggered into judgment and lack of compassion in regards to your own parents?

When I teach the Shadow Energetics Workshop, I give examples for how couples carry each other’s shadow traits, how siblings are often functioning from opposites, and how children trigger our own shadows. When I was teaching day one of the training last weekend, it occurred to me that I don’t highlight as much that children are also triggered by the shadows their parents mirror to them. Our parents reflect to us what we have disowned in ourselves and we do the same for our kids.

Henry Ward Beecher points out that we don’t really know the extent of the love our parents felt for us as children until we have become a mother or father ourselves. I would like to add that we also don’t know what it feels like to be judged by our children until it happens to us. The experience of walking in the parental shoes gives us a different perspective on our own parents and their struggles. Being the parent means that we are mirroring shadow traits for our teenage or young adult children as well. It is uncomfortable to be at the receiving end of those projections but we need to keep in mind that this is not about us, as much as it feels that way, but it is about what our children have learned to disown; and we may even have taught them to disown that particular trait or energy.

When it comes to technology or other modern day problems that need solving, I am quick to throw my hands up in the air, going into helplessness. My daughters will help, but lately there has been some impatience from their side. They pride themselves on being independent and able to problem solve well. At their age, they have disowned their own neediness for outside support a bit. It appears to them as a quality that is not desirable, a shadow they have renounced.

Ironically, raising my daughters, I always affirmed their independence and encouraged them to put their mind to problem solving because my own mother mirrored helplessness to me. Independence is a very useful quality. At the same time, we are naturally interdependent as human beings.

Helping others with an open heart and gracefully accepting help from them in return connects us on a heart-to-heart level and fosters greater compassion and understanding for one another. What would society look like if everybody just took care of themselves without extending a helping hand? No energy is “bad” or “wrong”. Being able to ask for help is as useful and beneficial as being independent.

As a parent, it is my job not to take the response of the younger generation personally and to keep mirroring this shadow to them until they are ready to embrace it. We need to learn from each other in this situation. Their independence encourages me to problem solve more myself before turning to somebody for help. At the same time, they also need to be connected with that energy of “neediness”. As humans, we are all needy for emotional support and practical help from each other.

According to author James Gilliland, who has written about the seven essence mirrors, the fifth mirror reflects our parents to us: “It is often said we marry our father or mother. We often also become them, acting out the same healthy and unhealthy patterns we learned as a child.”

I used to see my mother as overly fearful and helpless, especially when something unforeseen occurred, and I also judged her for what I perceived from the outside as “settling” for a situation she was not happy with. Once my sister and I had grown up, she was clearly bored. I used to question why she didn’t find something new, something that was challenging and fulfilling.

Today, I certainly have more fears than I had when I was twenty. My daughters’ courage sometimes leaves me breathless. When the older one travels all over the world by herself or the younger one charges forward without fear of rejection, I have to remind myself that they are safe and to trust them to be okay. In some ways, I have become my mother. The horizon of the next generation is always a bit broader; it is a different world.

I also notice that the lure of what is familiar is strong. Starting something new can require a lot of positive self-talk and belief changes. It has a scary element to it. I did not have that empathy when I was younger. I lacked the understanding that what my mother was mirroring to me was what I had disowned within myself.

Sometimes we realize that we have become somewhat like our parents, other times we wake up to the fact that we are married to our father or mother. In an older blog, I wrote about Benjamin who grew up with a stepfather who was a raging alcoholic. Ben learned that anger is nothing but destructive and that he is weak and helpless when confronted with it. Before Ben realizes it, he is married to Grete, a partner who in that one important way is a replica of his stepfather. She didn’t appear to be angry when they first married, but their interactions bring this energy to the surface. When she is frustrated, she hides her vulnerability behind anger and she yells. Ben, however, has learned to be afraid of anger and aggression. When somebody only slightly raises their voice, not to mention starts yelling, his reptilian brain instantly goes into the fight, flight or freeze response. The more Ben freezes and avoids her instead of communicating what is going on for him, the more disconnected and invisible Grete feels and the louder she becomes, desperately trying to get through to him. They are caught in a cycle of frustration. Ben feels unsafe and unloved just as he felt during childhood. He judges Grete for being too angry. Grete feels invisible and unimportant, which is her childhood experience. She perceives his stone-walling as a danger cue and, if you so like, a counter-attack.

Ben shuts down because he feels controlled and powerless just as he did when he was growing up. As a child, he felt terrified of his stepfather’s anger. By the time he was a teenager, this fear had turned into stubborn resistance. Ben perfected the non-response, a completely still-face and quiet defiance of the man he hated. Grete mirrors his stepfather to him and he cannot help himself; he flips either into the helpless little boy or the stubborn teenager. In that quiet defiance and non-response lies Ben’s power. He is unaware how this dynamic perpetuates the problems they have. Even though Grete seems to be the stronger one on the surface, underneath the tip of the anger iceberg is always a more vulnerable experience.

Anger lives in Ben’s shadow and because it is an energy he is disconnected from and fears, he is bound to attract it into his life through other people, like his wife, until he integrates this shadow quality. Grete judges Ben for being weak and passive. The only way out for Ben and Grete is to embrace the opposite energy more. Ben needs to get in touch with his own anger and stand up calmly and assertively. That will allow Grete to be in her female energy more, be softer and gentler, allowing him to be more masculine and strong. By taking steps towards each other, they are both becoming more whole and are able to communicate and interact more productively.

Are you stuck in a parent-child interaction with your partner? In which ways do other people mirror your mother or father to you? And in which ways are you mirroring a disowned part for one of your children?

If you want to  work on your own triggers and shadows to live more conscious relationships contact me for a free phone consultation on either individual sessions or couple’s coaching.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Once Upon a Time There Was An Evil Queen

“I’m still what’s inside of you. I’m all you’ll ever be,” says the Evil Queen, smirking at the woman in front of her.

Regina, the modern counterpart of the Evil Queen, is facing her darkness, about to kill her. Characteristic for this popular TV series, she ties the Queen up with a magic spell, reaches into the chest of the evil woman and rips out her heart.

“I hate you,” snarls the Evil Queen.

Regina is looking down at the black heart beating in her hand. She is about to kill her dark shadow side by squashing the heart, but then she hesitates.

She replies, “But I don’t. Not anymore… I am going to choose love over hate.”

She pulls out her own heart and melts the two for a moment. When she pulls them apart again, the dark heart has become lighter, and the light one now has traces of darkness. She puts both hearts back in their chests.

“I gave you some of my love… in return I am taking back some of your darkness, our darkness”, she explains.

The Evil queen looks stunned. “Why?” she inquires.

Regina answers calmly, “You are part of me and I am part of you.—And now I love myself!”

“Once Upon a Time” is a TV series about fairy tale characters who end up in our modern world and travel between realms, different magical realms and the contemporary world. One of the main characters is the Evil Queen from the fairy tale Snow White. At the beginning of this series, this Evil Queen, Regina, cast a curse which traps all the fairy tale characters, frozen in time, and brings them into our modern world. Different interactions between good and evil unfold throughout the six seasons.

Remarkable about this series is that no evil character is purely evil. Everybody demonstrates good and bad sides and even the antagonists change and develop. The viewer gets insights into how and why they have became so dark in the first place. There usually is some pain, hurt and lack of love behind their darkness.

Regina develops into a loving person in the contemporary world, yet her original character from fairy tale land remains dark. In the sixth season, it comes to the above described showdown between the modern Regina and her dark counterpart, the Queen. This showdown scene is the perfect example of how we are all facing our shadow selves and how we often hate that shadow. Instead of killing it and trying to get rid of everything that we have learned to believe is bad or wrong about us, we can embrace those shadow traits and end up actually loving ourselves the way we truly are.

Originally, the Evil Queen, who experienced a lot of personal pain and loss, trapped everybody in time to prevent all the fairly tale characters, especially Snow White, from getting their “happily ever after”. In the end, her modern counterpart, Regina, helps her to find her happy ending in Fairy Tale Land. The message being that everybody deserves to love him or herself and find that intimate connection with others.

IMG_7467

When we embrace our shadows we work towards a similar “happily ever after” in all our relationships. Integrating our shadows moves us into wholeness, into unconditional love of ourselves. We separate from the Inner Critic, the voice inside us that says there is something wrong with us for having a certain trait or behaving in a certain way. The more we separate from that judgemental voice, the easier it is to look into the mirror and say “I love myself.” By finding separation from the voice inside of us that says we need to hate our flaws and hide the way we truly are, we become gentle with ourselves and we can reconnect with our Inner Child. When we connect with that vulnerable part inside, we find our joy, our childlike wonder, our magic, our curiosity, our imagination, our creativity, our playfulness, and our intimacy.

As we accept all traits inside us, we can accept them in others. We release our judgments and projections. We develop a natural compassion towards others. We can accept other people more and more the way they are. When others feel our love and acceptance, it gives them permission to be their authentic selves. They feel safe because they will not be found wrong by us. Their protective walls come down and their masks come off. The result is the mutual ability to live loving and authentic relationships with each other.

couple, bike, love

Check the Upcoming Workshops schedule for the next four-day Shadow Energetics training or contact me for individual sessions.

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Good As Gold – How Siblings Carry Each Others Shadow Traits

I have written in the past about partners carrying each other’s disowned energies and how children mirror our shadows for us. Another way to find out what is in your shadow is to take a look at your sibling(s). Sometimes the differences between two or more siblings are subtle but in many cases they are quite obvious. Often siblings carry each others opposites.

The older sister—or brother—might be, for example, over-identified with being the responsible one, the one who is more conservative, careful with money and striving to save up for sensible goals like buying a house. He or she might be the one who studies and works hard. The younger sister or brother then often steps into the opposite energy. He or she shows up as “irresponsible”, fun loving, care-free and able to spend money on an adventure or instant gratification. One sibling perhaps seems to live for the future, worrying that everything turns out the way he or she hopes. The other one lives in the present and does not dream of owning real estate or saving up for retirement.

Is one of them right and the other one wrong? Neither one has made the “better” choices, neither energy is bad. In fact, to be whole we need to feel we have a choice whether we want to be responsible in a situation or less responsible, whether we want to make a sensible choice for future safety or possibly a choice to enjoy the present moment. It is important to plan ahead; it is also enriching to feel care-free and to fully live right now.

Being identified with one energy while disowning the opposite energy, affects our relationships. Instead of truly supporting each other and being friends, the siblings usually end up judging in each other what they don’t allow themselves to be. The older sibling will judge the younger one as “irresponsible” and the younger one might call the older one “boring”. Meanwhile there is a part in both of them which longs to be whole, which feels resentful when the other sibling’s approach seems to give them an advantage. The older one, who feels he or she has worked so hard and always does what is expected might feel annoyed to see that the younger one gets through life alright, apparently without worrying about money and having so much fun. The younger one might secretly feel inferior and wish at times that she had savings or better grades or higher qualifications.

Yet, neither approach to life is right or wrong, neither is better than the other. Those are two different experiences of life, based on different choices and a result of the fact that they are both not fully conscious of how energy works.

Both are depriving themselves from being truly whole and having a free choice in each given moment in life who they want to be or what energy they want to display. What the other one mirrors to them, what they are irritated by and judge in the other sibling, is actually, as Hal Stone says “the medicine they need”.

Hal & Sidra what we judge in others

Hal and Sidra Stone

The older sibling is not automatically the more serious and responsible one. John is the father of a 15 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. He has come for relationship coaching as he is greatly struggling with his son. He describes him as “disrespectful, irresponsible, messy, unreliable, not applying himself in school, lazy” or in short “incredibly irresponsible”. As John talks about his son, he is getting agitated and angry. It is palpable how much the teenager triggers him. When I ask him about his daughter, he smiles and his voice becomes soft. “She is good as gold”, he says several times. “She is always reliable and tidy and gets good marks in school. She helps around the house; she is always even tempered and so responsible. She is really good as gold.”

When I explain about opposite energies and shadows John has a hard time seeing how any of the traits his son displays could be useful energy or good in any way. He wants his son to be “good as gold” just like his daughter. However, that is not how energy works. The younger sister has taken on the brother’s responsible shadow and he is carrying his sister’s care free energy. Both children are not showing up as their whole complete selves. They have polarized into opposites and being labelled as “irresponsible” and “good as gold” manifests this situation. They don’t see a way out of this polarization. The daughter gets positive attention and affection by being a perfect little angel. The son gets attention by being the black sheep.

Angel 3

I ask John what happens when the daughter makes a mistake or gets a mark that’s not a perfect score. At first he says, “But that doesn’t happen! She is an A student across board!” Then he admits that she beats herself up for any mistake or less than perfect performance. She is tough on herself. She worries about the future too. She has a hard time relaxing, doing nothing for a few hours.

As parents we see this polarization between siblings from the outside. Often, we will look at one of them and feel more comfortable with their approach to life than with the other. We mustn’t forget that our children are a mirror for us as well, for what we don’t like about ourselves (our dark shadows) or what we maybe admire about others and think we are not (our light shadows).

It is our job to allow all our children to be whole. It is up to us to encourage a child who is identified more with responsibility or perfection to loosen up, to be okay with making mistakes, to enjoy life right now. And it is also our job to trust the child who shows up as more irresponsible that they are capable and willing to take responsibility for their actions. It is our—perhaps most difficult—task to allow them to learn their own life lessons. By embracing our own shadows which we see in them, we can come to a place of non-judgment and true unconditional love.

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Would you like to understand the energetic dynamics in your family more? Is there a relationship you would like to improve? Do you want to stop being triggered by certain family members?

To learn more contact me (Angelika) for individual sessions or Shadow Energetics Workshops.

905-286-9466 (free phone consultation) or

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

For 2016 workshop dates and locations go to Upcoming Workshop.

 

 

The Perfect Mother

A client said to me this week, “I saw my mother again and suddenly realized that I could just be with her, treat her with compassion, see her as a human being. I really have stopped judging her, and am more able to love her the way she is.”

Isn’t that beautiful? Each time when somebody I am working with is healing a relationship, it touches me deeply in my heart.

Another client of mine wrote a letter of gratitude to her stepmother this week. She hasn’t seen her stepmother or her father in twenty years. Their last encounter was one full of anger, conflict and mutual hurt. The daughter has spent the last two decades blaming the stepmother for everything. Those feelings had bound up her energy in the past, and left her feeling unloved and “broken”. She felt she was victimized by her stepmother, who struggled to raise her stepdaughter with the same affection she had raised her own biological children with.

perfect mother - letter

My client did not write the letter for her stepmother, she wrote it for herself. After doing the inner work, she was able to acknowledge her own feelings, but also everything her stepmom had done or had attempted to do; she was truly able to forgive her for what she didn’t do. Nothing of that needed to be written in the letter. Instead it was a simple letter of thank you to the woman who was in her life for most part of her childhood. She didn’t send the letter off to receive a response, nor for the purpose of changing or influencing her stepmother. She wrote it to clear her own energy of resentment and anger out.

Forgiving and shifting into appreciation and gratitude is always primarily for ourselves, “for-giving” ourselves love and freedom. It is also a huge step towards taking responsibility for our own life. When we finally let go of blaming others, we win the ability to respond differently to past, present and future events in our life. We gain true response-ability.

Why do so many of us struggle for such a long time with forgiving our parents for their imperfections? Why do we insist on blaming them and on feeling that they ruined or affected our lives negatively?

We have idealized images of what our mother (and father) should be like. We might all have slightly different ideas, but the perfect mother somehow should be selfless, she should take care of us, she should always be patient and supportive, she should listen well and encourage us, she should be proud of us and make us proud of her, and so much more: in short she should love us unconditionally. Media images, TV shows, movies and books often perpetuate these ideas of the perfect mother and affect our beliefs of what a “good mother” is like. These images stem from our deepest desires to be truly loved. Yet, they cause us to judge our mother and ourselves as mothers because we naturally fall short of this perfect mother myth at times. They are the source of guilt and shame instead of enjoying the love we do feel.

Perfect Mother -Carpenter quote

Most people, no matter whether they are parents or not, are still learning to love themselves and others unconditionally. The perfect mother images disregard the fact that we always mirror and trigger each other’s issues and challenges. Children trigger their parents and parents trigger their children. That is a good thing. It is an opportunity to grow and do our inner work.

What triggers us in others, what we judge and dislike about them, is really what we dislike in ourselves. As long as we refuse to give ourselves what we would like to receive from others, it is out of our reach. Only when we truly feel we are good enough, do we become just perfectly lovable the way we are. We can feel loved by others, no matter how limited their ability to love unconditionally might be.

Perfect Mother - Desjardins quote

Nobody and nothing can prevent us from truly loving ourselves. It is our job to love ourselves; nobody can do it for us! No amount of love from the outside can penetrate through if we do not take the cape of self-judgment, self-loathing or even self-hatred off.

 John Gray cartoon love-hate

  from “What You Feel You Can Heal” by John Gray

On this Mother’s Day, make the choice to let go of the past. Forgive your mother or stepmother, whether they are alive or dead. What happened in the past is over and does not matter anymore. Realize that it doesn’t mean anything unless you give it a certain meaning. Decide that your mother, stepmother, or mother-in-law for that matter, is just perfect the way she is. Start telling your story differently, with love.

Perfect Mother - Tolstoi quote

Free yourself up to love your parents without expectations or needs. Be willing to love them the way they are. Take the cape off that prevents you from feeling the love of others. Finally give yourself the gift of loving yourself the way you are.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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Every Relationship is a Mirror

Every relationship in our life is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves. When we take a closer look, we realize that everybody is a mirror in some way.

One of my favourite philosophers when I was studying philosophy in school was Immanuel Kant. I loved his fabulously clear and simple Categorical Imperative, which guides us on how to treat others: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time want that it should become a universal law.”

Yet, why is it so challenging sometimes to treat people like we want to be treated, with loving kindness and understanding? Why do we judge others? Why do other people trigger us?

Kant also said, “Wir sehen die Dinge nicht, wie sie sind, sondern wie wir sind,” which translates into, “We see things not as they are but as we are.”

What we see in other people is how we are. These mirrors show up in several different ways. James Gilliland summarizes the Seven Essene Mirrors as follows:

  1. Somebody reflects for us what we are but might not realize that we are. Children are beautiful mirrors. Ask yourself what you notice in your children. Are they showing you something that you are?
  2. Somebody reflects for us what we judge. We have disowned that particular characteristic and are denying that we could ever be that way. There is a strong emotional charge connected to that particular behaviour or trait. Are you harshly judging others as “selfish”, for example? Is taking care of yourself or your own needs possibly something you never allow yourself to do?
  3. Somebody reflects back to us what we have lost in some way, for example our playfulness.
  4. Somebody reflects to us “our most forgotten love”, which could, for example, be a way of life or a relationship.
  5. Somebody reflects our mother or father to us.
  6. Somebody reflects our greatest challenges or fears to us.
  7. Somebody reflects our self-perception. The other person treats us exactly how we perceive ourselves. For example, if I don’t truly respect myself it will show up by others not respecting me.

People reflect to us what we think and fear, and most importantly, how much we love ourselves.

“When we meet each other we also meet ourselves. This is the Mirror Principle that operates in every one of our relationships. And because we always meet ourselves, we also can observe that in every relationship, and even every interaction—at the most basic level—there are only two things really happening. Either we are extending the basic truth ‘I am lovable’ or projecting the basic fear ‘I am not lovable’” (Robert Holden, Loveability, 126/127)

When we lose sight of the truth that we are lovable just for ourselves, we project that fear onto others. Without that essential feeling of loving ourselves, we cannot live successful relationships. Self-love turns our romantic partnerships into truly fulfilling relationships of loving each other unconditional. Self-love is the basis for parents to love their children without conditions, without endless sacrifice or guilt. Self-love is needed to give to people without neglecting ourselves. Self-love guarantees that we truly give from the heart without ulterior motives.

If you want to learn more about mirrors and our shadow, sign up for Darryl Gurney’s four day SHADOW ENERGETICS WORKSHOP from Sept. 25-28.

Responsibility for Co-Creating ALL Our Experiences

Mother’s Day—like Christmas—seems to be one of those days which are heavy with expectations and emotions.

When asking my clients how their mother’s day weekend unfolded, it didn’t surprise me all that much that a few people experienced disappointment when their own limiting beliefs surfaced. Those beliefs range from “I am not appreciated” to “I never get what I want” on the side of the mothers, and “I can never make my mother happy” and “I am not good enough” on the side of the children. Clients related communications to me that clearly went less than desirable due to the fact that limiting beliefs and negative expectations were brought into the interaction.

Sometimes we manage to ruin an entire day for ourselves due to those “programs” running in our head. Yes, you read that correctly. WE ruin the day, not our family members who didn’t do or say what we wanted them to do.

 

Do you sometimes have experiences like that which you do not enjoy? You can change them! It is up to every single one of us, no matter whether we are parent or child, wife or husband, to create the family experiences we want. When we feel a day “not going right” it is up to us to change the experience.

Be honest with yourself about your part in the unsuccessful creation. Stop blaming the other family members and take responsibility for shifting the energy.

Do your loved ones trigger your own beliefs, fears or insecurities? Then take responsibility for them. Other people are only mirroring what is inside of you. Do you have needs that aren’t being met? Then make clear and loving requests. Do you want to enjoy the day? Then do it!

You are the pivotal point of your experience. You are the one feeling a certain way. You are the one who gives the experiences in your life a certain meaning. At any given point during a day, you can shift out of disappointment or resentment and into appreciation and joy.

Isn’t it wonderful that you are responsible for co-creating ALL your experiences? That means YOU can change what unfolds for you.

 

 

PSYCH-K® is a technique to change your limiting subconscious beliefs and to help you create loving relationships and experiences you want to have. Shadow Work helps you to understand mirrors and get rid of triggers and judgments which are in the way of being truly loving and accepting with each other.

Contact Angelika for Belief Change Coaching

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

905-286-9466

How Children Carry Our Disowned Shadow Parts

Children are wonderful mirrors for us. How do your children annoy you? How do they get you to lose your composure?

One of my daughters could make me raving mad by doing things last-minute. That took all sorts of forms over the years and for the longest time, I claimed to be the exact opposite, always planning way ahead in advance, never running around like a headless chicken last minute. One day, as I was procrastinating preparing a lecture, a new friend made a remark. He said, “Ah, you are one of those last-minute people able to just wing it! I wish I could do that!” My first impulse was to deny this trait vehemently until I realized he was right. What annoyed me most in my daughter was a character trait I had myself but was never allowed to show as a child. The moment I embraced that trait, my daughter was not able to trigger me anymore. Interestingly enough she also seemed to be doing these last minute things less. She did not need to mirror it for me any longer.

Chris, one of my clients, was very concerned about his son, who seemed to be unusually shy and inhibited. Chris himself felt he was a shy boy, but forced himself to become an extrovert adult—a go-getter who is outgoing and always the centre of attention. He could not see anything positive about this shyness that his son mirrored for him until I guided him through an exercise to meet this shy sub-personality.

The shy part, appearing as a pale timid little boy with glasses in the visualization exercise, reminded him of several occasions in his life where the shy part within had protected him from getting into trouble. His shyness allowed him to think first and then act, to reflect rather than to make a rash decision. After embracing this part of himself, he was able to let his son live his life as an introvert. The son is now able to find his own way of integrating both sides of his personality.

One of my sisters has a son who is very straight-forward and outspoken. If he does not want to do something, he will say it. She also has a daughter who according to my sister is “sneaky.” My niece, so claims my sister, is pretty much a liar who will do what she wants behind your back. She will say “yes” when told not to do something and then do it anyways secretly. My sister at times is absolutely furious about this.

As much as I love and admire my sister I have to say that she is not the most direct person. She doesn’t like conflict. If she disagrees people who know her can read it on her face but she will usually not say it. Instead she will find a different way to achieve what she thinks is best. My niece mirrors for my sister a trait she is unaware to have herself. How often has my sister told me things “after the fact,” or tried to get what she wanted by approaching someone else in my immediate family after I had declined something.

The moment my sister could admit being “sneaky” at times as well, her daughter would not feel judged anymore. It would probably make my niece feel as accepted as her straight-forward brother and improve the relationship between mother and daughter immensely.

What do your children mirror for you? How could you improve your relationship by embracing exactly those character traits in yourself?

Contact me if you are interested to work on your relationships or take the Shadow Energetics Workshop in May 2013.

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

905-286-9466