Holding the Space — Parents, Teenagers and the Mythoself Process
If you're reading this, then the chances are that your son or daughter is attending, or has attended, or you'd like them to attend, an EmPowered Life for Teens workshop. Or maybe you have some other significant relationship with a teenager — personally or professionally — and you're simply curious.
We make some great claims about our workshops, be they for teenagers or for adults, and even so our participants are frequently amazed at the benefits they get from attending, and by the transformational nature of the work we do. What participants get on the EmPowered Life for Teenagers workshops is truly of value beyond measure. In the space of a weekend, those who show up (and it takes some guts and determination to do so) learn, amongst other things:
- how to become more confident and self-assured;
- how to be fully themselves without the need for reassurance from parents or peers, becoming comfortable in their own skin;
- how to not take things personally;
- how to create healthy relationships;
- how to make good decisions, and
- how to develop the motivation and resilience to see things through.
These are such important life skills. The kind of skills and attributes that any parent would want their son or daughter to develop as they begin to mature into adulthood, as I am sure you would agree. And it is so interesting to notice how many of the participants in the Teens workshops exclaim, quite spontaneously, at some point during the weekend, ‘Why haven't we been taught this before?’ or ‘Why don't they teach us this at school?’ and even ‘Why don't our parents know this stuff?’
There seem to be three main motivators for parents who want their teens to attend one of our workshops: either they have been persuaded by a highly motivated and persistent son or daughter who really, really, really wants to attend; or they recognise that even a small proportion of what's on offer represents a significant skill set that will give their son or daughter an ‘edge’, and they are willing to support this all the way; or they are looking for help in resolving some sort of problem or difficulty that the teenager is experiencing, sometimes even responding to a crisis.
I'd love to say that I fell into one of the former categories, but the truth of the matter is that I was spurred into action during a lengthy period of turmoil and turbulence. Even then, it was only when I woke up to the fact that no one was going to do anything about it, except me. Life was messy, and I wanted it to be some other way. I was struggling, and I wanted it to be some other way. Every day it seemed that there were all sorts of problems to be solved, and crisis situations to navigate, and I wanted it to be some other way.
Without doubt, my sons would have benefited from attending a workshop, but there was no way that I was going to get them anywhere near one; some days it was difficult enough to get them to attend school or to communicate at all. But I knew that something had to give. What I had been doing, which was the best I knew at the time, simply wasn't working. So out of desperation I signed myself up for a workshop instead.
My initial encounter with the Mythoself Process was nothing short of a revelation. I had heard talk of how the process begins with ‘going where the problem is not’ but until I experienced this for myself I had no idea what this meant, nor of how simple and how potent this would prove to be. I had spent months, if not more, worrying over my family situation, searching out ways to make things different or better, and in a matter of hours I learned something that changed things for ever. I learned who and how I have to be in order to live the life I most want to be living — for myself and for my family — and how to be that way, consistently. In that weekend workshop, I learned for myself exactly what we teach on the EmPowered Teens workshop — I learned how to generate, and sustain, a sense of being absolutely OK. I learned how to do this in an instant, and regardless of what else was going on in my life.
It's hard to describe in words the sense of relief that washed over me as I realised that this is what I now knew how to do.
Leaving the workshop, and going home, put everything to the test. It's all well
and good having profound and revelatory experiences in a workshop environment
but a frequent and entirely reasonable question from workshop participants, and
a question I had myself, is —
Well, I soon discovered that what I had learned in the workshop I could replicate anytime, anyplace, anywhere. What's more, the more I could sustain generating this sense of being OK, and the more I practised what I had learned, the more my life began to change. And as I changed, so did those around me. Instead of focussing on solving my family problems, particularly what I had seen until then as my sons' problems, I began to consider what was working in our lives, and what it was that I really wanted; for all of us, not just in the moment, but in the future too. Instead of expecting my sons to behave in ways that I had decided were ‘best’ or ‘right’, I began to pay more attention to what most interested and excited them.
In many ways life became very simple indeed, but it was far from being easy. Loath though I am to admit it, many aspects of my relationship with my sons had become ingrained and habitual. Over the years, the patterns of our relating had been laid down deep. Without doubt my sons knew exactly how to press my buttons, and of course I knew how to press theirs too. For a time I would deliberately pause before engaging with either of them, and check out to what extent I was using what I had learned, and only when satisfied that I was operating from a position of being absolutely OK would I act. I began to bring intentionality into all my family relationships. At first it took great presence, some effort and discipline, and it has been absolutely worth it.
My story is not pretty but it demonstrates something of the unspoken challenges of modern parenthood, and of the efficacy and power of the Mythoself Process. In today's western societies, difficulties with teenagers seem to be endemic, expected even, especially if you were to believe what is reported in the media. In a way, this is hardly surprising given the fragmentary nature of many 'modern' families and communities, and the lack of social cohesion. The teenage years are a time of change in any family; a time when parent-child relationships need to adapt, and to radically re-form, and a time which many parents find challenging. Your once-malleable child is beginning to experience the entirely natural impulse to become fiercely independent. This is a threshold crossing for both parent and child — one which is becoming increasingly corrupt and commodified in a world obsessed with 'feeling good'.
The EmPowered Life for Teens workshops support and prepare teenagers making this threshold crossing. They learn how to shine, how to be magnificent and extraordinary, and how to take responsibility for themselves and for what they experience and especially how they relate to others. The Mythogenic Self Experience does the same for parents.
Having read all this, the outstanding question I have for you, parent to parent, is: to what extent can you honestly say that the things we offer are consistently true of you? And if they were to be true, how would that impact on how you relate to, and parent, your children?
Information on EmPowered Life for Teenagers workshops, including testimonials from parents and participants, can be found here: www.heropath.co.uk
If you are a Parent who wants to be the best they can both for and with your children, of teenage or other years, then the Mythogenic Self® Experience is for you. Book on our forthcoming workshop via our page here.