Monica Berg is an international speaker, spiritual thought leader, author (Fear is Not an Option, Rethink Love, The Gift of Being Different) and co-host of the Spiritually Hungry podcast. A self proclaimed “Change Junkie,” Monica is a fresh voice that channels her many years of kabbalistic study along with personal life experiences. Monica shows individuals how to create a life that not only feels like it’s working, but most importantly, a life in which they are living and loving as the powerful, fulfilled person they’ve always wanted to be.

487: Fear & Parenting

Monica Berg

Fear can hold us back, limiting our lives and possibilities, yet so many of us live with it daily as parents. How can we transform fear?

In this episode, Monica Berg shares her inspiring story as well as 3 tools to transform fear. We also talk about children’s differences (dyslexia, ADHD, and more) and how  we can talk to children about what makes them different. 

Fear & Parenting - Monica Berg [487]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Monica Berg: Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength. Carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

[00:00:18] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 487. Today we're talking about fear and parenting with Monica Berg.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. I'm Mindful Parenting. We know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clarkfields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Hi, welcome back to the Mindful Parenting Podcast.

So glad you are here today. Thanks Don't be afraid, we're going to talk about fear, but it's good, it's okay. Listen, if you have gotten some value from this podcast before we dive in, please Just help the podcast out and just tell one friend about the show today. That helps us to grow the podcast, which helps us to put it out every week.

So please just tell a friend. That would be amazing. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Monica Berg, an international speaker, spiritual thought leader, and author of Fear is Not an Option, Rethink Love, and The Gift of Being Different. See And the co host of The Spiritually Hungry Podcast.

A self proclaimed change junkie, Monica is a fresh voice that channels her many years of Kabbalistic study along with personal life experiences. Monica shows individuals how to create life that not only feels like it's working, but But most importantly, a life in which living and loving is the powerful, fulfilled person you've always wanted to be.

So we are going to talk about fear, how it can hold us back, it can limit our lives, it can limit our possibilities, yet so many of us, we live with it daily as parents. So how do we transform this fear? Monica shares her inspiring story, as well as three tools to transform fears. We also talk about children's differences, dyslexia, ADHD, and more, and how we can talk to children about what makes them different.

I know you're going to get so much out of this, so join me at the table as I talk to Monica Burke.

Monica, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I'm looking forward to talking to you. You have written several different things, and we're going to talk today about fear. We're going to talk today about kids and differences and all kinds of different things.

So, but before we dive into all the, the topics, I kind of like to think about our own, um, Upbringing, and how were you, how were you raised and what was your childhood like?

[00:03:31] Monica Berg: Yeah, it's so interesting. I, if you think about, I'm sure you've asked, you've asked that question to many people and the answer is always very, very different.

Of course, there's probably some similarities, but it's interesting. Um, I had a very happy childhood. I was raised in the South until I was nine. I was born in Thibodaux, Louisiana and we lived in New Orleans. And um, yeah, I mean, we were different, Middle Eastern Jewish. in a very, uh, Christian area. And, um, but my father's very wealthy.

So somehow we kind of always fit in, but I always felt different, but not in a bad way. And then we moved to Beverly Hills when I was nine. My father lost all his wealth. And then I was stereotyped as an immigrant, which I was very foreign to me, right? Cause it's not something I had ever considered. And I think that, um, from that moment on, my parents really struggled a lot and it affected their relationship.

There was a lot of fighting in the house. Um, I don't remember a lot from like ages 9 until I'd say like 12. And, um, but the one thing that was consistent is I always felt deeply loved by my parents. So even though there were a lot of worries that I had and fears and, Um, not have answers to things that was not provided for me with those fears, I always felt deeply loved.

And I think that that has helped me in more ways than I realized throughout my life.

[00:05:00] Hunter: Yeah. That foundation of that can be. That's everything. You know, a lot of the work I do has to do with my temper, which I got from my father and, you know, so I, I, there's a lot of challenge there that, that led to a lot of learning, but he's always, you know, he had this terrible rage temper, but it's incredibly loving, too.

It's really interesting to kind of like the way that Buffer, uh, And I think for, you know, for all of us like me, we can remember that, that showing that love, it really buffers a lot of challenge in a kid's life.

[00:05:40] Monica Berg: And then I think it's our own responsibility, every single person, to kind of unpack and, and dissect, um, the other things that were influenced on us that were not so positive, right?

And then still there's something to learn from that. You know, sometimes we learn what not to be based on the things that were hardest for us.

[00:06:00] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. Um, in your book, Fear is Not an Option, you talk about an incident of fat shaming that happened when you were 12 years old that had a big impact on you and it led to bouts of anorexia.

Um, can you tell us about that incident and that time in your life? Funny, now

[00:06:19] Monica Berg: it has a name, right? Fat shaming. I think that when it was happening to me, I, I didn't, um, that wasn't a conversation and neither was anorexia really for that matter. Um, yeah, I wrote about it in my book and, um, I'm the middle child.

I have two sisters and, uh, it was one very specific night. I remember, uh, where I started to look at myself differently and kind of think about things differently in this area. So, um, I went out to dinner with my older sister. She was four and a half years older. And I remember feeling so elated and honored really that my sister elected to spend time with me and to go to dinner because she was in high school and um, a freshman in high school.

And I just thought like, and she was popular and I thought the world of her. So we went to dinner. It was really nice. We had a great time. And I remember we went to like a neighborhood, local neighborhood restaurant and we walked back together. And when we turned the corner to get closer to our house, Um, I was still very much a tomboy.

I was very athletic. I hadn't, my curves kind of hadn't popped out yet. My hips were like a boy, you know, and I was wearing shorts. It was summer. And I remember like I started to run and then do cartwheels like for the rest of the way home. And then when we got to the front door, she kind of caught up to me and she said, Oh, you know, I see it's happening.

I said, what? And she's like, Oh, cellulite. I can see it starting to form on the back of your legs. And again, there is. There was not, but it doesn't even matter, right? But like, and I thought, I didn't even know what cellulite was, but I knew it was something that I didn't want, probably. And I was like, and with such a kind of quiet regard, she just kind of turned and said it to me and we got in the house and I ran to the bathroom and I started to look at my thighs to try to see what the cellulite thing was.

And, um, and then I remember feeling afraid that I was going to get fat from that day on and that fear of like, and then I started to pay more attention to how I looked and look at myself when I pass a mirror. And, um, and that was the first kind of ever moment. Uh, and then there were warning signs after that, you know, that you don't really realize what they are until it becomes something much bigger.

[00:08:32] Hunter: And that's not something I ever struggled with and I can't imagine. But I wonder if it was like, you know, like, as you've reflected on that over the years, like, do you think that, that wanting, that was, that was obviously, that was a fear that was driving this, like, wanting to control it, right? Was

[00:08:54] Monica Berg: It wasn't even control it because again, I never, I, I had, I was always, you know, small athletic.

It was never a fear that came out of something that had even happened, right? It was a fear of something happening that I didn't want to happen. It was a fear of losing control. And eating disorder is very much that. Um, so if you're afraid of losing control, what's the one thing you absolutely can for sure control, right?

That's what you put in your mouth or don't put in your mouth. It's how much you eat or don't eat. Right. So I think that that became the relationship. The more out of control I felt in those teenage years that followed, the more, uh, I started to control what I ate. And again, it snuck up upon me. It wasn't even something until my, um, senior year in high school.

And there are moments, like, that I would just, I don't know, I felt powerful in not being able to have to respond to the demands of my body, you know, I could tell my body when it was hungry and not the other way around. So, and you know, I was really young, I didn't really, that's not something that we spoke about either.

[00:10:04] Hunter: Yeah.

[00:10:05] Monica Berg: But, you know, it's genetic actually, there is a gene they have found. Really, and mm-Hmm, and like most things, it takes different, um, different factors that kind of awaken that or don't, right? So it's the environment, it's family dynamic, it's, um, outside pressure, you know? And there was kind of all of that working against me at the time.

So, you know, and, and I, and then after I understood that, I looked back at my family members and I was like, oh. I can see, I can see who has the gene and who, you know, who it's affecting and who's not, but it was never spoken about. In fact, when I wrote my book, um, I had one family member, one uncle that was like, would you be talking about these things?

[00:10:50] Hunter: Yeah. Yes. We should bring this out in the open. I mean, imagine like, you know, for certain generations it was seen as like really desirable, right? Like that whole, like, I don't know, 1950s, tiny, you know, waist.

[00:11:05] Monica Berg: Anyways, but curvy hips. I mean, it was kind of, um, Yeah. And I, and I remember feeling very confused.

Like I would, I remember I was at a pool once at a hotel and somebody's like, oh, you know, you must be a Victoria's Secret model, you know? And I was anorexic then, and I, uh, just, you would get a lot of information. Just people would comment and a lot of it was positive, not realizing that I was starving myself to death.

Right. Oh,

[00:11:31] Hunter: yeah. Yeah.

[00:11:31] Monica Berg: Mm-Hmm. .

[00:11:32] Hunter: Mm-Hmm.

Stay tuned for More Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

Wow. And then you. You know, I was reading Fear is Not an Option and you're talking, you talk about this in another incredible story kind of shaping view of things, the shortly after the birth of your second son, Joshua, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. And of course you write about the, that experiencing that, that a profound fear, as I imagine would happen to, to all of us, right?

Like, so tell us about that and the mindset choice that you made then. Thank you.

[00:12:19] Monica Berg: So then, um, when Josh was born, it's funny. It's not funny, but it's interesting. Uh, I remember when I got pregnant the first time, right? It had been anorexic kind of in my recovery like a year before I got pregnant, right? So, Um, and I always was very sick the first trimester.

I mean, really the first five months. So I lost all this weight and it was like, Oh, she's anorexic again. And they didn't realize that I had crazy morning sickness and I just couldn't even hold water down. Right. And with Josh, after I gave birth to him, um, again, I was so terrified. I mean, really fear was like pumping through me as fully as oxygen.

I never felt so much anxiety and fear in my life because they didn't I was very young and I felt like, I don't know if I am able to do this, you know, I don't know. And when he was born, the things that the doctors told us, the things that he could never do or say or be or even eat, that he wouldn't be able to eat solid foods, basically the day he was born, they were asking us to give up on him.

And, um, and I, and, and to the point of anorexia real quick before I finish that story. So I was so anxious, I really couldn't eat. So I lost a bunch of weight again and everybody's like, Oh, she's relapsed, you know? So it's always been a, a thread and I kind of, you know, and I really want to get this out to your listeners.

Um, I said, no, you know, I'm just, I'm going through grief and I, and I have fear right now, but I'm not the person that had anorexia isn't here anymore. I, I really learned to love myself when I got healthy and I learned to, um, advocate for myself. And so I had tools that even if I felt anything that wasn't positive, there's a different way to deal with it.

I no longer was searching for control, but rather freedom. I just want to say that because there is. that kind of like, there's a process that a person go through where they get to the other side of it and it's a lot of consistent work, um, but it is possible.

[00:14:17] Hunter: I want to go back to Joshua and his birth, but how did you, you said you learned to love yourself, how did you do that?

And, and what kind of help did you get?

[00:14:26] Monica Berg: Well, I first was realizing that I was at the bottom, um, in terms of how somebody can, um, not love themselves, right? Like I was way down. So once I realized, and there was a day where I finally saw myself and I saw what I had done, I had like, I call it the gift of sight because until that time I'd look in the mirror and I saw somebody who was really overweight.

Like I, my eyes were playing tricks on me. One day I happened to see very clearly, and I started screaming. I was shocked. I could not believe I had done that to myself. Right. And, um, you know, and I saw a skeleton really looking back at me in the mirror, and I was like, oh. And so once I realized I had a problem, I knew that even if I didn't see clearly after that, I, I would never lie to myself again.

Right? So that was the beginning. Um, I did start to speak to somebody, but more than that, I started to. Speak to myself and listen to myself. I started to journal. I started to remove shame and guilt and blame. I started to find my voice and listen to it. And, um, I started to do things that I enjoyed versus things people wanted me to do.

It was really a, an immense time of self discovery and it was four years. I devoted to that four years of being so hungry for love and acceptance. I really wanted to be in a relationship, but I knew that I had to find me and I had to create that relationship with me first. So it was a choice every day.


[00:15:59] Hunter: Were you like, when, were you, when you were raised, I mean, so many of us were, but were you raised to like, really be the good girl who did everything right? Got the good grades, was like an achiever, doing, you know, meeting other people's high expectations of you? And, Because that's kind of what I'm hearing, maybe a little underneath that.

[00:16:19] Monica Berg: Yeah, I was definitely the fixer. Definitely the fixer. You know, if there's a problem, Monica, you know, can you take care of it? Monica, can you speak to your sister? Monica, can you speak to your mother? Can you speak to your father? Can you help us with this? You know, I'm in pain, this, that. I mean, people felt really comfortable to talk to me.

Um, but then it was also the expectation of, now fix it. And I always said, okay. And I remember, I remember the exact moment where this weird thought kind of came over me. And I thought, I never have to eat again. Yeah. Oh, that's what I'll do. I'm just, I'm not going to eat again. Like it was because it was a really difficult weekend where we went back to New Orleans for the first time as a family since we had moved.

And it was kind of like seeing the life we would have had. My parents met with their old friends and they were so full of regret and pain. My older sister, that same one was in a really bad place and she was taking it out on me. And I just remember, I just, I was like, I can't, I just can't take it anymore, you know?

And so, you know, yeah, I remember it so clearly. Interestingly enough, I have a video of that trip and I saw it recently and I looked back at me in the video and I was so healthy. And, um, and beautiful really. I just, I felt so different inside and I just couldn't like, wow, it happened like 24 hours at 24 hours after that was shot.

Like that was the first day, you know, so.

[00:17:38] Hunter: Yeah. I mean, I imagine if everybody's saying like, Monica, you fix it, Monica, you know, help in all these situations, like there wasn't a lot of maybe room for you to be a messy human. It's either like you

[00:17:50] Monica Berg: fix it. Not even consider myself, forget about messy. It was just like Monica didn't exist outside of fulfilling other people.

Yeah. So very different version of myself.

[00:18:05] Hunter: I think that's such a powerful story. I mean, cause not even, I mean, no, we've like taken a tangent from, you know, thinking about your, your birth and your son, but I think that's such a powerful thing that so many moms and women can relate to is that feeling of like doing everything for others and that thing that you have to love yourself, or it's all, it's It's all going to fall apart, right?

Like, nothing works.

[00:18:32] Monica Berg: Well, I was forced to, and I'm so grateful for that because I think a lot of people bypass this and then they get, feel lost later. I had to give birth to myself before I could really birth other people well or parent them, right? I had to really self parent and, um, and I was forced to do that really early on.

And if I hadn't, God, I don't know what my life would have turned out like, to be honest. I don't know.

[00:18:59] Hunter: Alright, alright, so then back to Joshua, you have this child, he's diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Tell us about that.

[00:19:09] Monica Berg: So at first they didn't know, but about four hours after I delivered him, they, um, I remember that they were, I don't know what that is, but certain people love to be the one to kind of like discover something and then share it.

So this one doctor who wasn't even my pediatrician, it was like, he was the guy on call. He walked in and he's like, I have something to tell you. And I said, Oh, well, my husband will be back soon. He's bringing our older son to meet his brother and he can't wait and he needs to tell you right now. And Um, we're 99 percent sure your son has Down syndrome.

And I was like alone in the hospital with my mom, actually, who I, I didn't find that that would be comforting enough. And I kind of started to curl in a ball and, and rock back and forth. I just, it was a reaction. Um, and then I had to tell my husband, you know, they, that when he got to the hospital. Yeah, so I remember just feeling frozen and being in shock and in terror.

Then I felt shame again. That was that familiar feeling. Um, that somehow my body had betrayed me and, um, I had grown this child inside of me and, It wasn't how I thought it would be. Uh, he wasn't healthy as I thought he would be, you know, and then about a month or two later through, again, it was a big process, uh, after we started to ignore the doctors and we changed pediatricians because they all kept saying, you're so young, the two of you, you don't know what you're talking about, you're not really hearing this.

Did you hear what we said? He's never going to do this. He's never going to do that. And we basically said, we heard you and we're choosing something else who walked out of the room. They were all of them. They brought in like five doctors from the practice to talk to us. They were shocked, right? And so a lot of things happened in that moment.

Um, again What did they want you to do? They wanted us to fully accept his diagnosis, um, in the way that they thought we should, which was that he'll never be able to do X, Y, and Z. That, in their limited view, that's what understanding looked like. So, you know, and it's interesting too, because I remember when, and then I got pregnant, uh, three months after with my daughter, my third child.

Um, and I remember like I had such fear around that too, because I had just been through this whole thing, but when she started to hit milestones, cause they were so close in age, He was hitting them. So he was a little delayed a few months, maybe a year, but he was eating solid foods and he was doing, he started doing the things they said he'd never do.

And I remember the different therapists would come to me and say, you know, how did you get them to eat this? Or how did you get them to do that? And I said, and I told them early on, I don't want to hear anything limiting. If it's dangerous for him, tell me, but if not, you know, I'm going to parent him like I'm parenting my other children.

And he has, he's stepped up in every single way because I didn't conform to what they were saying. I didn't look at him in a limited way and fill it black. And that was the big shift for me. So again, in that, those two months I chose that. And it was really this shift of understanding that although I found out about his limitations on the day he was born, I had a lifetime to find out his gifts and his beauty, right?

Where most people experience life the exact opposite way. Your child's born the perfect. They're completely healthy. They're everything you imagine them to be. And then as life goes on, you know, this one has this and this one has that, and you didn't know they had this. So I realized fully that it's all an illusion, right?

I just found out on the day he was born about the limitations and have a lifetime to discover who he is and subsequently who I could become. So I really leaned into that. And then my husband and I, it changed our whole relationship with each other, where we really, Although other people had things happen to them, Josh Berg was only born to us.

He was our son and we were going to lean into each other. And it really became, um, the, the springboard for where our relationship went to after that.

[00:23:02] Hunter: Uh, your relationship

[00:23:03] Monica Berg: with your son or with each other? With my son and my husband. With my husband, it was like a restart. Um, but in fact, my son too, because I had to, you know, Like, stop.

Okay. I allowed myself to mourn the child I thought I would have in order to accept the one that I did have, right? Fully though, with completely open arms and love and joy and, uh, And I think, again, a lot of the work that I do is really getting people to switch their consciousness and to be open to changing their perception of things, right?

Because things are going to happen to all of us, but it's how you feel about what's happened that dictates what experience you have.

[00:23:49] Hunter: Yeah, I mean, this idea that, that it's all an illusion, like, in some ways, like, that's a very, about the idea of our limitations or our expectations. These are about the stories we're telling ourselves in the future about this person, right?

Like these, it's all an illusion. I mean, that's very much a, a teaching of being in the moment, right? These are all stories we're going to tell. It doesn't matter what these stories are. Is that kind of what you're talking about? Yeah, I mean.

[00:24:23] Monica Berg: My point is nobody's above process, and processes are often challenging, and that's why when I look back on my life and when people read my books, they're like, wow, you went through so many things.

And I'm thinking, oh, we all do, I'm just talking about them, right? And more than that, I'm not only talking about them, but I'm making sense of them. They didn't happen to me, they happened through me. But that's a choice you make, and that's my point. I wouldn't change anything that's happened because I have made sure that I have found purpose and meaning in everything that's happened, especially the most challenging things.

[00:24:56] Hunter: Yeah. You, you had a quote that you read every day for the first three months of Josh's life. What was that?

[00:25:04] Monica Berg: Yes. It's by Corrie Ten Boom and it was, Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength. Caring two days at once. It's moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

I literally read that every single, for probably

[00:25:25] Hunter: a

[00:25:25] Monica Berg: year.

[00:25:27] Hunter: I love that. I love that because, yeah, you're training your brain like, no, this is not helpful. Thank you. Thank you, fear, for trying to keep me safe. Thank you, worry, for trying to keep me safe. But this is terrible. Not so helpful. Stealing time.

Stealing my strength. It's stealing my time. It's stealing my presence here and, and now. Yeah. I love that so much. I love that quote. Say it again. One more time. I just want to like hear it again, just like you did for every day for your dear listener. We're going to hear it twice this episode.

[00:25:58] Monica Berg: Absolutely.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength. Carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

[00:26:13] Hunter: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Dear listener, let us take that into tomorrow and today.

Um, so yeah, you write about this, this idea of like this embracing this, this, this, this. Processing, this yearning, this meaning making for all these challenges that are happening, right? You, you talk about surrender as a spiritual principle to help, you know, help us cope with life's challenges. And like to, to many, the idea of surrender as a scene means giving up.

But when you describe your experience with it in the book, it's more like, like, I recognize I, I never had control in the first place. And I was wondering, like, is that how you see it? And how does that help you?

[00:27:01] Monica Berg: Right. Surrendering is not giving up. Most people think, fine, I give up, I surrender. And it's not that.

It's really giving into a greater plan. It's connecting to something that's greater than you. And that's very, very powerful. It's where you've come from, right? It's a higher energy. It's a higher frequency. So surrendering is surrendering to the process, right? I understand that there's a process and I'm open to that process.

I'm going to be flexible. I'm going to, like I said earlier, change my perception. I'm going to allow myself to stop fighting this thing I don't want to happen or stop trying to control it or figure it out, but I'm actually going to just lean into it. Right. I'm going to allow myself to really almost, it's like you just soften and you allow yourself to take it in.

And from there you can get clarity. Surrendering is the most powerful and difficult thing to do. But when you do it, you actually feel a sense of peace. Um, and I do, I write about that with the birth of my third child. Like I said, I had a lot of fear during that pregnancy because, you know, how, how is she going to come out?

You know, is it going to be different than I expected as well? And I remember when I was giving birth to her, I just, I remember at one point, and again, all my, my, except for the fourth one, the first three, the delivery's very difficult. But again, I think that that was fear's hand in it. Um, but when I was giving birth to her, my heart rate dropped, hers did as well.

And I remember just having this moment where I was like, I trust the Creator completely. I completely surrender. And I, I'm, I'm part of something bigger. It's not about me anymore. It's not about my desires or my pain or my worry or my doubt. I'm just, I'm going to go and flow, you know? So I think people use different terms, certainly not I surrender, but that's really what it is, I think.

[00:28:52] Hunter: Yeah, I mean, to me, it brings to mind immediately, like in, you know, in Mindful Parenting, and we teach, I teach the RAIN process, the acronym RAIN for Taking Care of Difficult Feelings. But RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, or Accept, Investigate, and Nurture. And this idea of, you know, when you describe surrender, kind of what I'm hearing is that this idea that We're often like, we're fighting the process.

We're fighting the process of life. We're fighting the, the feelings that are uncomfortable. It's very natural for humans to want to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Of course, it's like just part of our survival mechanism. Right. And, but when this idea of like surrender is like that, So what we do in that RAIN meditation is like, recognize, oh, this is happening, and then allow it.

Allow it. And why do you allow it? Just because it's already there anyway. It's not like you've got any choice in the matter, but like, as we start to take away our fighting of the process. It's like, oh, you know, it's just like, I don't know. It's like things can then flow through exactly like it's like, it's not so stuck in us.

We don't get so stuck on it.

[00:30:03] Monica Berg: It's yeah, absolutely. And it's basically putting energy to what is within your control, which is your perception and your perspective and where you want to derive purpose and meaning, right? So that you can have, that's all your influence. The surrendering is saying, okay, this is where the energy is.

I'm going to focus here. Okay. Versus fighting, fighting, fighting.

[00:30:25] Hunter: So you're talking about sort of creating meaning and choosing your sort of interpretations of things and, and et cetera, uh, life's events. How do you deal with like thoughts, you know, doubts and insecurities and all those things that are natural human thoughts that will arise?

The same thing. I

[00:30:48] Monica Berg: think often we try to fight our thoughts. I'm going to fight it. I'm not going to think it anymore. I'm going to have positive thoughts, which still takes a lot of energy, right? So I often say you can recognize the thought and then don't give it energy, right? This is again, where your control is.

So I recognize this thought and I'm going to push it aside and I'm going to do this other things where I'm going to put my strength today or my energy today, and then it's really look at the fear, you know, is it based on reality or is it not? Is it based on Princeton's? Running out of time and not achieving the things you want in life.

And that's why you're fearing X, Y, and Z. If that's the case, then make sure you make the most of this day, right? With most fears, especially illogical ones, we can use it as a motivator for change and for growth. And I think that every emotion, especially the negative ones are there and set up for us to say, Oh, wow, this thing that feels really uncomfortable in me, right, whether it's worry or doubt or whatever it is, even sadness.

It's there to wake you up and say, okay, why am I feeling this? And what do I now want to do about this? The situation or this thing that is upsetting me or worrying me. Most often though, people feel uncomfortable and then they fight the emotion or they try to medicate it or they think like, you know, they're angry.

So they need to go to anger management courses. And yes, we need tools on how to deal with emotions, but emotions are in, they're there to teach us something. And I think far too often we just try to push it away.

[00:32:11] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. This idea that it's a messenger, it's telling you something. It's a teacher. What does it teach telling you?

What is it teaching you?

[00:32:18] Monica Berg: Yeah. So I really advise people to look at their fear and, and just like, I remember once we were, um, this was shortly after. Miriam was born my third child. So the kids were kind of still really young and I thought it'd be fun too. Cause I used to be, and I am again, but like before Josh, I was major adrenaline junkie, you know, I always didn't reference things as before Josh and after Josh because they changed so much.

And we, I had a great idea that we would go to an amusement park. It'd be really fun. I thought the same things that lit me up would, um, my husband does not like those kinds of brides. He doesn't like heights either. I convinced him that would be amazing. And we'd have the best time. So, um, we go and we're, we're on the first roller coaster and I hadn't been on a roller coaster since before I had Josh and we're inching up, inching up.

And I realized that as we're getting higher up, I'm starting to feel really uncomfortable. I did not anticipate that. And my heart starts palpitating. My, my hands are sweating. I'm like thinking I got to get off of this thing. And as we're inching to the top, this is in, I think it was Magic Mountain or Disneyland.

And anyway, there's this like ice monster. Is it a screaming on the top? Trying to like, again, get a, get you like to be even more scared. And there was a platform next to this monster. And I remember having the thought, like I can do, we're going so slow. I can just jump off and I don't have to get on the ride.

And then I caught the thought and I was like, damn, that sounds horrible. I think that I could end up on the news. I'll never live this down. It's going to be like the crazy lady that jumped off the rollercoaster. And so I understood how much fear had a hold over me. Of course, we stayed on the ride. We do it.

I hated every second of it. But you know what I did after that? I said, let's go on every roller coaster in this park today because I did not want to develop a new fear. And that's the thing about fear. When you feed it, when you feed the sadness, when you keep going back and really entertaining it, It has a hold over you.

And so I didn't, and I realized that about fear specifically, that if you start to look at it head on and you meet it in the face and say, okay, what is this trying to teach me? What am I really afraid of? What's really underlying here? Then you don't develop new fears. And more than that, you're able to let go of the ones that you have.

And so how did you feel at the end of the day? Well, it's funny, you know, when you walk into the amusement park, they usually have like, like they take a picture of you and your family. I mean, now we have our phones, but at that time, like you weren't whipping out your phone, take pictures. So anyway, Um, I remember I had a baseball hat on and my hair was in braids and like, you know, I had rosy cheeks at the end.

My hair's like, like so messy, pieces coming out. I'm like yellow. Okay. Green even. And I just looked like, wow, I went through something, but you know, I still like roller coasters and I didn't go with the new fear that day.

[00:35:07] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

That's great. That's funny. I don't, I don't, I used to really like roller coasters. So now I'm not, so now I'm like, Oh my God, am I avoiding my fear? So maybe I should go and just ride them all one day. Um, yeah, it's interesting, you like, you're making me think of, you know, so we had the creator of the, um, documentary Anxiety Nation on the podcast, um, which is a great episode and, and, you know, my, there's people in my family who deal with anxiety, but they talk about this idea of like listening to the anxiety versus not listening to the anxiety.

And the idea that the anxiety, you know, like. When the anxiety wants to kind of keep you safe, and so it makes your world sort of smaller and smaller and smaller. And so I can tell in my family member when the, now, when the anxiety is speaking. Or really in my daughter, like she had a sort of a real anxiety challenge of her thing in school.

And, I have to be like, oh, this is the anxiety speaking and I have to hold the boundary here. No, I'm not coming to bring you this, this, you know, your lunch. Cause you're worried about what you have to eat at the school. And, and you're just, you know, this, there are plenty of things for you to eat. Just go get whatever, go get lunch.

And. She spiraled. She's almost, she's 16. She had, uh, she's has a problem with a chronic pain, um, issue and, uh, and she has, is allergic to dairy, but she thought she was allergic to gluten. Anyway, it was a whole big thing where she was really worried about what she was going to eat. Like, no, this is, you know, and it was really interesting to see that it was, it really was the anxiety speaking.

End. Afterwards, we all talked about it. We really kind of broke it down. It was a really challenging moment. And I ultimately had to like kind of remind her who she is and who her this, this anxiety, what it was trying to do to her, you know what I mean? And kind of Almost differentiate the two, two entities as separate entities, right?

Like the, like you are a, the most creative person I know and like an incredible leader and someone who's gotten her Eagle Scout and is just like, you know, all this stuff. And this was this. F in anxiety speaking, I'm not going to listen to that, you know, and this idea of, um, yeah, I guess this is what you talk about and the idea of like kind of confronting your, what you were talking about anyways, this idea of confronting fear head on, but.

How did she handle that? Well, we had, um, it was a really challenging moment. We did a lot of, she spiraled down like kind of the whole day until we talked and later in the afternoon with my husband and, and basically we comforted her. She, she, she, it was a challenging moment. We got her to a place where she realized like, no, we weren't just like trying to like do something mean to her, like, and.

And when I told her, you know, who I remember, you know, who she is, like, she's this creative person, she's this leader, and this is this anxiety, and, and it was actually pretty Amazing. Like it was this weird parenting moment where like kind of the inspirational speech from a movie worked and she literally like, she was supposed to perform that night in a choir thing.

And I thought, Oh, this she's having such a hard time today. I'm not, who knows what that's going to happen, but it was like a, a switch flipped and she was like, I'm going to have to leave in 50 minutes if I'm going to get there on time. We were like, wow. And she went and she performed. She performed without the cane that she uses sometimes because her legs hurt with the pain condition and yeah, it was amazing.

[00:39:09] Monica Berg: You know, I think that's such a powerful example and story and, and often, you know, we do, we feed the fear because it feels so powerful and so real. And I write in my book that when fear is not an option, that when we. You know, we go to great lengths to protect so many things in our lives, right? Usually physical things.

So if we have money, we put it in the bank. We have. Jewelry, we put it in a safe. We have a bike, we lock it. You know, we guard so many things that we hold valuable. The one thing that we don't actually protect is ourselves, right? We allow fear to steal from us all the time, every day, all day. And what does it, what does it steal?

Fear steals our potential. So the story of your daughter is a perfect example because from what you're saying, our potential, all of us, right, is immense. And let's just look at the example of singing and. She could be powerful in that moment where her voice could elevate people and inspire them, but the fear almost stole that moment from her.

And if you allow fear to repeatedly steal from you those moments, then you don't really become who you're meant to become. Right? Yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:23] Hunter: Yeah, I couldn't see that. That's amazing. Um, so you have in your book seven tools for working through fears. Can you share some of them?

[00:40:33] Monica Berg: Yeah, so the first one I would say is name your fears.

When you name something, it's less powerful. Um, has less power over you, right? So I'll be like, I don't know. I'm just afraid. I'm afraid. Okay. What are you afraid of? Like, don't be ambiguous about it because we're not biggest about things. Um, especially goals or our thoughts, then the results are ambiguous as well.

So I would say that's number one. Um, and in my book, I identify three different types of fear. So there's a very specific way to do that. And, and most often 99 percent of our fears are illogical. Okay. Which means we have the strength to, and the ability to overcome them. Um, another one is to burn your fears.

So it comes from the ancient wisdom of Kabbalah, where you write down your fear on a piece of paper and you can go really elaborate into it, write a whole page out of in great detail of what the fear is, what it looks like, what it feels like, how often it happens, and then you burn the paper. So, um, Because there is a power in that also, right?

You're taking that energy out and you're physically burning it. Another one, which is perhaps my favorite, um, is Diminish the Fear. Is, uh, you know, every time you feel afraid, you say, okay, what would I do if I wasn't afraid? And then you go do that. So you absolutely like you call it out and you say, okay, fear is no longer an option.

If fear is not an option, what is? And suddenly your brain's like, oh, fear is not an option. Okay, so I can do X, Y, and Z. And it really works pretty amazingly.

[00:42:06] Hunter: Ooh, I'm like getting, maybe I'll take one of my daughters and be like, help me conquer fear. Rollercoaster rides again.

[00:42:15] Monica Berg: Yeah, I think you can make it like a family thing where like, how are we going to overcome our fear?

And interestingly enough, actually, the first phobia I ever had was of elevators and it came out of nowhere. I was seven years old and all of a sudden I felt like I was going to die. I could not breathe. The elevator was like, I felt like the doors were never going to open. I started to hyperventilate and it just came out of nowhere.

And I was like, you know, Mom, did you lock me up somewhere when I was little? Like what, where did this come from? And that fear I held and carried for a good 20 years plus. So if I went on a long run, let's say I was on vacation and I would go for a beach run and I was on the 25th floor, I would climb up 25 flights of stairs after.

Like, oh my gosh. And I had already run for miles and miles. Like I did not need to do anymore. Or if I had run out of water, I would never get in an elevator. If the building was old, I would never get in the elevator. If I didn't have a phone on me, I would not get in an elevator. I would catastrophize.

Like, what's the worst thing that could happen? Okay, that's going to happen. And then, um, and then I had had Josh and then I had written, started to think about this book. I started lecturing, uh, and the lecture was called Fears Not an Option before I actually wrote the book. But I moved to New York City and I thought, well, two things.

Well, I can't take this fear with me. It's going to be a disaster. Um, and also, I'm stronger than this, right? My desire to move was stronger than my fear. And so I let go of it and I, I'm not afraid of elevators anymore. Like all of the advice I give with hard work and determination is possible.

[00:43:49] Hunter: Yeah. Yay.

That's such a, like, hopeful, hopeful message. And then there's these other powerful tools, and I, and I love your last chapter, by the way, Seven Things I Want My Daughters to Know to Become Fearless Women. And they're, they're beautiful things, including that your body is part of your expression, and it's them, not you, number seven, which is so great.

And if someone time, lashes out, says something, makes you feel insecure on where they. It's a manifestation of their own pain. Anyway, there's a lot of great stuff in there. I highly recommend it. And then you wrote this other book with your daughter about the gift of being different. She has dyslexia. You talk a bit to her, you talk about in the book about how you talk to her about her dyslexia as if it is a superpower, which is a really different way.

And it kind of ties back to what you were saying about like this, all Expectations, they try to set for your son, it is an illusion, I love this. So how do you talk to your children about what makes them different from others? So the first

[00:45:00] Monica Berg: step really is to make them feel comfortable enough to come to you and say, I feel different or I feel insecure about this thing.

And that's really where this started with Abigail, my fourth child. Again, I had a lot of practice before her, especially with Josh. But, I remember thinking like when I was little, I would never admit to my parents when I felt insecure about something. I never wanted anybody to see me in a way where I felt weak or that I was feeling like I lacked.

So, the fact that Abigail had come to me and I had found out, you know, look, we knew she was struggling in school in the first and second grade with reading specifically and writing. A little bit of math, but she was also very intelligent and she was being, she was able to answer questions or have really in depth thought about certain topics far beyond the other children in her grade.

So we didn't understand really what was going on. Like, why was she struggling with reading? None of my other kids were dyslexic, so I didn't look for that. Um, but now I realized that my mother in law was, but she never had gotten diagnosed and she kind of masked it really well. And by the time we diagnosed Abigail, my mother in law wasn't here anymore.

Again, we didn't know to look for it, but we had her tested and then we got the diagnosis and before I could tell her, and I really wanted to consider like, what is this? How do I want to share it with her? So I started to do research. So my first advice to any listener is. Don't be afraid, okay? Here's fear again.

You can't be afraid, especially when it comes to your children, and I think very often parents are, for many reasons, right? If we went through certain and very specific difficulties, maybe we were bullied or we grew up without money or whatever it was, we want to save our children from any pain we experienced, and chances are we didn't overcome that.

That pain, right? We still feel badly about it or we still wish it could be different or we carry that along. So with Abigail, I wanted to make sure that my understanding of what she was going through, I wanted to have a clear understanding of what that was. I wanted to also learn more about how her brain worked and how she processed things.

I really wanted to get informed. So while I was doing this, it was about a week and a half. And then she came to me, not knowing I was working on any of this, um, not knowing that we had had the diagnosis. I remember I was running out, I was late for a dinner and um, she was brushing her teeth and I was kind of like just out of the shower and I'm, you know, you know when you're rushing and your kids are talking to you.

So she, she's looking in the mirror and I'm looking in the mirror. So we're talking through the mirror and she said, mom, do I need so much extra help? Because I'm stupid. And I remember like, okay, nothing else matters. I don't care if I ever show up to this dinner. I don't care if anything else. And I said, of course not.

You're so smart. Why are you saying that? She said, we sat down on my bed and we had this talk and it's in the book. So that the book really, I remember walking away from that conversation thinking I need to share this with other children and parents all over the world. I have to get this message out because what really struck me.

is that I was able to help her change her view of herself through a conversation. So again, she trusts me. She felt safe to come to me with her insecurity, and I held space for her. I didn't react with fear. I did not try to fix it. I spoke to her back, right? And we went back and forth in this conversation.

So I told her what it was called. And I said, you have something called dyslexia. And, um, I said, in fact, I have this great book that I'm reading and I had it with me and it's called The Gift of Dyslexia. And I said, look, Abby, I want to show you this page. And it had all of these different characteristics, uh, of what somebody with dyslexia has, how they kind of learn, how they see the world.

And in the book, I had written it in a red Sharpie, Abigail to a T. And she said, mommy, what, what does Abigail to a T mean? I said, well, this really describes you. This is how you learn. This is how you see things. And I read the list turn. She's like, yeah, started getting excited that now she felt like this thing that made her feel really lonely and isolated.

Wow. There's a book that's explaining her, right? So she kind of felt in that moment validated, but also like, you know, this isn't such a bad thing. And then I started to tell her about. Really impressive, notable people who have had dyslexia, like Albert Einstein, like Steven Spielberg. Um, and we started going through a list of people and what they did.

And she's like, really? They had dyslexia and they still did amazing things. So I said, Abigail, this is going to be your superpower. You just have to grow into this. And I said, do you believe me? And at the end, you know, it went from, well, you kind of have to say it. You're my mom too. Yes. It's my superpower.

Honestly, with it, I'm still getting emotional. Two days later, she's going around to everybody in our family, even extended family saying, I have a superpower. It's dyslexia. What's yours? And it just changed the way she saw the whole world. Not just herself, but also anybody who has any kind of limitation, which by the way, we all do.

And that was my other message to her. Like every single person is different in some way that might make them feel insecure or they might not understand fully. Everybody does. And um, I think that's the power of this book. You know, it doesn't have to be dyslexia. We went around the world, we toured schools and we'd have this conversation, you know, what is your superpower?

And You know, some kids would say, Oh, soccer and baseball. Then eventually the conversation would be like ADHD, you know, because I'm always moving around, I see a lot of things other people don't see. And, you know, it just, it became really inspiring for, for the children, but also for the adults.

[00:50:31] Hunter: That's cool.

And it sounds like, you know, you had all of these challenges. You had this personal experiential knowledge that something that is a huge challenge. Can be a huge teacher, can ultimately be a behauer, right? And so that was truly authentic. Well, that's what I did with anorexia,

[00:50:53] Monica Berg: that's what I did with the birth of Josh, um, and, and there were other, there are other things that have happened and, um, yeah.

[00:51:02] Hunter: Yeah, I agree. I, I think that is, that something like that can, is a power, is a teacher. I love that. That's so beautiful. So that is, that is Monica's book and Abigail's book, The Gift of Being Different. Monica, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to come on the Mindful Parenting podcast. It's been really a pleasure to connect with you and talk to you today.

And is there anything, you know, we missed or if people want to carry on this conversation, where can they find you? All that stuff.

[00:51:35] Monica Berg: It's been great talking to you as well. Thank you. Um, yeah. My husband and I have a podcast also called Spiritually Hungry, where we talk about everything under the sun with a spiritual lens, but also psychology, science, and personal experiences as well.

Um, I have a blog called RethinkLife. today, and you can follow me on social media at MonicaRBerg74. And our second children book is coming out in the fall, and it's called The Tale of the Other Glove, where Abigail is having more adventures This time it's with unhoused people and the power of empathy.

[00:52:11] Hunter: Hmm. Sounds like so much to dive into. Dear listener, thank you for being here. Monica, thank you for, thank you for being here. Thank you for spending the time and sharing your work with us. I really, really appreciate it. Thank you.

Hey, I hope you appreciated that episode. I mean, I think there's a lot there that is very, empowering for us. I don't know though, and I still don't know if I'm gonna go on a rollercoaster, but um, but yeah, I hope that this helped you. I mean, I think it's such a powerful reflaming of, reframing of looking at things like dyslexia and ADHD and things like that and how to talk to our kids about that.

I think that's really very powerful. Um, so anyway, I hope it helped you today. I hope to. It helped, um, maybe, maybe you're gonna face some fears today. Maybe I will too. So we could do it together. And anyway, I hope you're having a great week. I hope it's, this is supporting you. If it did, of course, tell one friend about it.

And that's all I got for you today. My friend, I'm glad to be connecting and I've got so much more for you here on the Mindful Parenting podcast coming up, um, whether it's summer or winter or fall or spring, whenever you're listening to this, we've got some stuff for you. And, um, I'm wishing you a wonderful, wonderful week, my friend.

Thank you. Thank you so much for listening and, um, I hope you have all the peace and the ease and the joy that you could wish this week. Take care. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue. So in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

Were you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You will be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindfulparenting. org MindfulParentingCourse.

com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. MindfulParentingCourse.


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