Parenting With Equanimity and Warmth [Audio]

 

About Betsy Rose:

Betsy Rose is a singer, writer, recording artist, and a mother. She is a renowned children’s artist, teaching children the power of their own voices and creativity through singing and song making workshops. She has performed widely throughout the world at festivals, ecological conferences and spiritual gatherings. Spiritual leaders such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Matthew Fox and Joanna Macy have included her music in their work. She co-leads events for the Family Program at Spirit Rock. She was introduced to the dharma by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1987.

Transcript:

So, I’ll be singing and I’ll be talking, and we’ll see what happen. The theme today in my words is the warmth of equanimity. You know that in the Brahmavihara’s, that ___, ___, loving kindness, compassion, joy, especially the joy and other’s joy and balance. In the Brahmavihara’s, each one has what’s called the near enemy and the far enemy, because they, in their pure form, have a certain purity and clarity, but they can get a little distorted by a little bit of distortion. And for example, the distortion, the near enemy of compassion, is what we may call ___. It’s that more distance looking down or poor you, but that would never happen to me. It’s kind of the inward like, “Oh, thank God that’s not me, and I would never let myself get in that position.” So that’s the near enemy of compassion. The far enemy is hard-heartedness and uncaring.

So the near enemy of equanimity is a kind of indifference, a kind of cool detachment that is not truly Equanimeous, not truly engaged and present and heartful, but more a protection. I think it’s what some of, we, humans do when it’s just too painful or we don’t know what to do or confused, we’ve never had to deal with this before, our parents didn’t know how to deal with this, and now, we don’t know how to deal with it. And one way to hide or to pull back is to appear calm, and well, dear, we’ll just have to think about this or that. You know. But—you can—you know what I mean. There’s a kind of a distancing in it and a detachment. And I know as a child, if I felt that for my parents, I felt very alone. And I felt like unloved. I didn’t feel the love. So, I think that the beautiful and delicate and tricky practices to bring the warmth and the love into the equanimity. So it’s not just coolness. And so that little phrase that Gil gave us when we were preparing for this theme for this kind of warmth, he called it “Grandmotherly Love.” I really loved that, because when you think about the ideal grandmother or grandfather. Maybe not the one you have, but maybe you do. But there is something that happens even the parents who were less than wonderful or a lot less than wonderful who often as grandparents really make a ___, and really make up for it, than my dad did. He was a wonderful man, but not the most wonderful father, but as a grandfather, he was extra-ordinary, and I could just see him being the man he’d always wanted to be and didn’t have space for. He was earning a living, he was coming into his own identity, he was separating from his parents, things I didn’t know as a child—I didn’t know all that was going on.

So that grandparent-ly warmth and love that is so embracing, so deeply loving, but not with that clinging, fearful—“Am I doing it right?” energy that we parents inevitably have. You know, we’re so close to these children by blood and by heart. You know, we almost have to get over-attached in order to help them survive. There’s a mystery in how we need to attach to be good parents, and yet that very attaching has all kinds of near enemies, right, of smothering, of over-identifying, of getting into the drama and losing it to the point where we hate the kids in school just as much as our kid does. You know. And hate their parents, too. And their little dog, too.

So, the grandmotherly, grandfatherly perspective is without so much attachment, and I think that’s why children often adore their grandparents, you know. But it’s because they over-indulge them, right? Because they don’t have to pay the consequences for a sugar bean. They get to send them home with all that sugar in their bodies and let the parents deal with this. So there is that part, and the gift, and the spending of money on them. There are all those pieces.

But there’s also I know that felt feeling of safety, of just—they are not hovering over me to make sure I did my homework. They are not hovering over me saying, “You’re going to wear that shirt with that skirt?” I don’t think so. You know, they’re just ___ a little more perspective.

So, there’s a song that I love to sing, and I think a lot of you know that I didn’t actually put it in your song sheets by mistake, but I thought we could sing it together. It’s “How Could Anyone Ever Tell You.” How many of you know this? You’re anything less than beautiful. We’ll do it a couple of times. It’s very short.

And Sam, would you run over to my guitar case and let’s see, where is it? There. My cable is in there somewhere. It’s maybe in a little zipper pocket? Maybe. Do you see it there? It might be in there. Yeah. Bring it here. There you go. Could be? You’ll never know in the heat of the moment when I’m going to put something. Just taking a moment to find this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So it’s not in here. In this little pocket. No. Oh, there it is. Okay. Great. Alright. Thank you.

So the words are…

How could anyone ever tell you?

You were anything less than beautiful

How could anyone ever tell you?

You were less than whole

How could anyone fail to notice?

That your loving is a miracle

How deeply you’re connected to my soul

(guitar)

(sings)

How could anyone ever tell you?

You were anything less than beautiful

How could anyone ever tell you?

You were less than whole

How could anyone fail to notice?

That your loving is a miracle

How deeply you’re connected to my soul

If you liked this recording and would like to make a direct financial contribution to this teacher, please contact them here: http://betsyrosemusic.org/

Material on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License

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About the Author Sean Fargo

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]

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