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Hello Theatre B Family and Friends!

My name is Maren and I’m an Ensemble Member, a wife, mom to four children (6 ½, 6, 5, 2 ½), a foster parent, adoptive and biological parent, daughter, aunt, pet mom (three cats and a dog), and I’m losing my mind as well as enjoying every minute in isolation at home.

Let me explain. I find myself in a constant state of dissonance; feeling like this is a wonderful opportunity to slow down and breathe. There are no activities to rush off to, lunches that need to be made before someone is taxied to school, and I don’t have to get out of my pajamas. While at the same time, I feel overwhelmed with all the things which still need to be done. Work, virtual therapies, classwork and class connection time, four kids who insist on eating regularly, keeping the house clean (which I will say should be easier but seems impossible – when you turn to clean one area another area explodes), and maybe the occasional Facebook scroll to see what’s going on outside my bubble. Those two feelings would normally cause me to panic and not take the time to understand what each means for me. I’ve learned in the last few years that feelings that seem to contradict each other aren’t wrong and can both coexist.

In the spring of 2014, I was introduced to The Nurtured Heart ApproachⓇ and since then I have become an Advanced Trainer, which is just a fancy way of saying I’ve been to a lot of training. The Nurtured Heart ApproachⓇ is a three-strand method that flip flops how we generally approach particularly parenting, but almost all relationships. The goal is to instill an Inner Wealth™ in those we interact with. Personally, I believe it is also really helpful for your own self-talk. While I don’t want to get into the specifics of the approach here (it wouldn’t be helpful or productive) I do want to talk a little bit about one of my favorite pieces in the training. During the training, participants are shown a picture. The picture is an empty space with one tiny dot somewhere in the space. When you look at it, your eyes are drawn to the small dot, usually a purple dot. This purple dot is so small in the whole picture but it somehow manages to draw you in and hold you captive. The greater space is just empty, white space. There is 99.9% more white space but again that seductive purple dot pulls at your eyes and takes over until that’s all you can see.

I think so much of this moment in time is like the purple dot. I get sucked into the little things that drive me insane like a door not being closed, toys being left abandoned in the hallway, someone constantly being hungry, or my husband not being able to read my mind and do what I think needs to be done. But if I can manage to regain control of my thoughts and big feelings (usually over the course of many deep breaths and occasionally removing myself for some space to reset and regroup) I am able to change the lens I’m looking through and see the bedrooms where kids can play and find peace, toys that are loved and bring creativity and imagination alive, the fact that we have food to eat and extras to share, and that I might just have to open up and specifically ask for what I need because I have a partner who is eager to assist he just might need a little clarity.

These are strange times and we are each in varied places as we struggle through our grief. At any given point each person in my house is in a different, sometimes conflicting emotional place. We are all weaving in and out of the stages of grief. But if we take the time to find the intention behind the behavior we might just find more understanding, compassion, and grace for those we love the most.

I’m not perfect. I literally had to leave the room after my daughter, who wasn’t paying attention, stuck her finger in her ketchup. But I did find my way back and can now see she didn’t do it on purpose and there isn’t ketchup all over my kitchen. (Phew!) This particular moment will be fine (although I may second guess offering condiments in the future).

I need to consciously make note of our successes. I need to be present even when I don’t want to be. I need to engage honestly and help my kids see where they have made positive choices so they can learn that they do in fact have some control in a time where everything feels out of control. I need to turn off my phone and the news and limit what negativity I let in. And finally, I need to be very clear about what I need and how I communicate with those around me. If there are moments where rules were broken or someone didn’t do what I wanted, I have an opportunity to rephrase and not get mad (or at least, not share that anger). I get to take a breath and make sure I was clear in my expectations. It’s weird at first. But rather than assuming someone is intentionally trying to break a rule or work the system, I can find so much more peace in providing yet another opportunity for success. That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences, it just means we find that extra lense in our toolbox to realize that sometimes things aren’t as clear to others as they are to us.

I am an Ensemble Member, a mom (of all kinds), and I’m doing the best I can. And with each moment, I get an opportunity to do it again. Even if I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be the last time. Sorta like live theatre, each actor on the stage is reacting to the last moment. I get to choose how I respond. And right now, I would rather respond with grace, patience, and joy. Because either way, I’m going to be freaking tired. But that exhaustion is a lot more rewarding than anger, fear, and anxiety.

For more information about The Nurtured Heart ApproachⓇ visit: https://childrenssuccessfoundation.com/