Josh Korda has been the guiding teacher at Dharma Punx NYC since 2005, and as a buddhist pastor has provided attachment based counseling to countless individuals, parents and couples.

Since 2005 Josh Korda been the guiding teacher of Dharma Punx NYC and is a fully empowered Dharma teacher in the Against the Stream lineage. In addition to his weekly classes, and meditation retreats for both institutions, he has led online and residential retreats for Tricycle and Lion's Roar magazines. Author of Unsubscribe A three-step guide to recovery from addiction to consumerism, self-deception, and life as you thought it had to be.

429: Mindfulness & Attachment Styles

Josh Korda

Our brains develop in relationship with our caregivers. In fact, we parents are instrumental in shaping and forming our children’s working models of the world. This is at the heart of attachment styles. Yet a lot can interfere with a healthy model. I talk with Buddhist pastor Josh Korda about how we can change our own—and our child’s—attachment style.

Mindfulness & Attachment Styles - Josh Korda [429]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Josh: So my teenage years, the environment was bookcases of Freud and Buddhism and seeing my dad meditating. And he would drag me in the seventies to here and go to different Buddhist teachers visiting New York.

[00:00:26] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Parenting Podcast, episode number 429. Today, we're talking about mindfulness and attachment styles with Josh Korda.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you get calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. 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 best selling book, Raising Good Humans, a mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind, confident kids, and now, raising good humans every day. 50 simple ways to press pause, stay present, and connect with your kids.

Hello, hello, hello, and welcome. I'm so glad you are here today. Hey, I would love it if you would make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss any of the episodes. And if you get some value from the Mindful Parenting podcast, please, please go over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and review. It helps the podcast grow more and it just takes like 30 seconds.

I hugely, hugely appreciate it. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Josh Korda. Since 2005, Josh Korda has been the guiding teacher of the Dharma Punks New York City. And is a fully empowered Dharma teacher in the Against the Stream lineage. In addition to his weekly classes, which are podcasts and meditation retreats, he's led online and residential retreats for Tricycle and Lion's Roar magazine.

And he's the author of Unsubscribe, which has been described as a three step guide to recovery from addiction to consumerism, self deception, and life as you thought it had to be. He's a Buddhist pastor who has provided attachment based counseling to countless individuals, parents, and couples. I had a great time talking to Josh.

We, as you'll hear, we met at a retreat that he held outside of Philadelphia that I really, really enjoyed. And we're going to talk about attachment and mindfulness. And, you know, this idea that our brains are developing in relationship with our caregivers, right? So... We were thinking about our kids here, and so we're going to talk about the fact that we, parents, are really instrumental in shaping and forming our children's working models of the world.

And this is what is at the heart of attachment style and how also a lot can interfere with a healthy model. So we're going to talk about how we can change our own and our child's attachment style. I know that attachment style is something that is really, uh, something of much interest these days. So I know that you're going to love this conversation.

So let's dive right into it. Join me at the table as I talk to Josh Korda.

Josh, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. I'm so glad you're here.

[00:03:48] Josh: Why, thank you for having me. It's so great to see you again.

[00:03:51] Hunter: Yeah. So, in this podcast, we're talking about mindful parenting, and I think it's really interesting for us to kind of think about, you know, our own childhood and start there a little bit.

And I was just wondering for you, you know, how were you raised and what was your childhood like?

[00:04:06] Josh: Well, I was brought up in the way Upper West Side of Manhattan. My dad was, and my mom were both, right off the boat from Eastern Europe. My mom, uh, a Jewish, very creative woman who was very into Freud and, uh, both parents were not in any way religious.

Both were very, very found spiritual sustenance through non organized religion. So for my mom, part of that making sense of life came through her readings of existentialism and Freudian psychology and her love of Contemporary Literature. My dad found it through art and music. He was a huge jazz fanatic, and a painter.

And, he had an alcohol issue. And when it was finally addressed, around, for me, the age of 12, for him around the age of 50, he got heavily into Buddhism. So my teenage years, the environment was bookcases of, uh, Freud and Buddhism and seeing my dad meditating, and he would drag me in the 70s to here and go to different Buddhist teachers visiting New York.

So that was the kind of spiritual, philosophical context. I'd say that my mom was also a very attentive parent, whereas my dad, due to his, um, some psychological issues associated with what was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, uh, was not the most emotionally constant individual, was capable of, in manic episodes, doing all kinds of outlandish and bizarre things.

Now, when I think about them, they just elicit kind of laughs because they were so outlandish at the time. It was kind of a little bit disorienting. He built a boat in our living room and then immediately

[00:06:33] Hunter: New York, yes.

[00:06:36] Josh: And he, he was, he had virtually no experience with sailing or building, had zero experience with building boats.

He sort of. It was a very, he was capable of doing things with his hands, but the moment he put us in it on the Long Island Sound, we sank immediately and nothing rescued, and he built a furniture that you couldn't actually sit on. It was actually kind of shaped in ways that We're not, didn't conform to the actual human body on, uh, at times just take off on wild excursions and I'd get calls from local police departments concerned for his, uh, his wellbeing and so that kind of stuff, one time he decided that.

Are, he accidentally, uh, flooded the neighbor's ceiling, so without the downstairs neighbor's ceiling, so without permission from the neighbor, he decided to repaint the, the neighbor's apartment, so that kind of stuff.

[00:07:47] Hunter: Well, that sounds like kind of like an interesting, I mean, if he was an alcoholic, like that sounds like interesting, sort of wacky alcoholic.

I mean, from experience of people I know and things like that, like there's a lot of, often sometimes like with parenting, like a lot of violence, like with an alcoholic parent, but that wasn't your case. 

[00:08:04] Josh: Oh, there was, I mean, there was times where, I mean, people that have a mood disorder can of course be, the fights between my parents were huge and at times dramatic, and at times his behavior towards us was very scary.

You know, I mean, the, the symptoms were so varied and inconsistent that it's even difficult to pinpoint it solely as a violent, cause at times he was an utterly charming, hilarious man. At times he was just a completely insane, manic individual. So, uh, it's difficult to point to any single demeanor that represents.

What life was like with him.

[00:08:52] Hunter: Yeah. That sounds like quite a roller coaster and your story, you, you know, you're one of the. Founders of Dermapunks, you're, you're, Josh, for the person who doesn't know, is covered in tattoos all over the neck, the head, the arms, the fingers, the knuckles. You got into the punk scene, you had your own issues with alcoholism and drugs too, right?

Mm hmm.

[00:09:20] Josh: I got, uh, certainly, you know, when you grow up with a parent that's a, has a mood disorder and the emotional landscape, despite your mom's best efforts, is unpredictable, then You are prone to have an underlying anxiety disorder that makes you kind of hypervigilant in my case, mostly around men. I never, because my, the model, my mom's far more endlessly more reliable around women.

I felt my nervous system could relax, but around guys. I would become hyper vigilant, very, very easily triggered by shifts in demeanor. And of course, that kind of operations of the brain, as we know from wonderful people like Stephen Porges, the famous neurologist, were constantly scanning other people's...

Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. And if there is a shift, it can shift our sense of safety. But if you grew up with a parent whose mood was not predictable, then it could really trigger you into a kind of reactive sympathetic nervous system state. And so the way I survived in the world around having to deal with men was.

I found out very quickly I could drink a lot and that would remove my self consciousness and my fear and replace it with a disinhibited state of there was nothing that I wasn't, I felt just, you know, capable of being with anything and, and pushing back and being just standoffish with people that were bullying rather than cowering.

And so at first alcohol was a kind of a magic bullet. And, uh, you know, most people don't become addicted to things that don't offer them anything. It starts out as a solution to a problem. And in my case, the problem was. a kind of social anxiety around certain kinds of men. And so the way I solved it was through alcohol and drugs.

I found that, you know, not only would it relax me, but it would instantly make me, in the seventies, it gave you some kind of social credibility that by the time you're 14, you look like you're in Black Sabbath, you know, and You're, you're capable of doing anything with anyone, you're never frightened. And so my entire personality changed.

And, uh, that's of course the first indication of a incipient alcoholic. And, you know, fortunately over the years, I realized like my dad, that it wasn't the solution. And I got sober a lot younger than he did at 34, started the process.

[00:12:25] Hunter: And was it part of the process that got you interested in mindfulness and Buddhism?

Obviously, you had this experience from your dad. It's funny because, like, I'm seeing these sort of parallels to my own life. My dad has, like, wild mood swings, not an alcoholic, but then I also, like, they had, like, my first book that I discovered on Buddhism was, like, It was so weird. It was like one of those little mini books.

And it was like, uh, it was a book of Zen koans and I couldn't, I didn't understand it at all, but I remember taking it with me in my backpack to like my afterschool job where I was like a secretary, um, at 14 and reading it and like trying to understand, but anyway, so what was it that, was it recovery that led you to that?

[00:13:10] Josh: Uh, no, I mean. First of all, just to note, nobody's supposed to, you cannot understand columns. The whole point of them is that they're irrational and you have to have an intuitive, you know, response rather than a cognitive rational, because they make no sense on a cognitive, rational level. So there, I think they're meant to be ways to bypass our normal problem solving, fix it, solve it, mind state.

But, you know, because I was introduced to Buddhism very. Early, and because I was always looking for a kind of, uh, way to pass my classes doing the least amount of effort, I found out very quickly that none of my teachers knew anything about Buddhism, so I would do Buddhist interpretations of Books that were assigned reading, and because none of the teachers had any clue, I could sort of use just very basic Buddhist concepts to, you know, get good grades.

And I continued that in college. And so as a result, I was constantly reading or just familiarizing myself with some of the basic insights of, you know, especially at that point, Zen Buddhism. Uh, migrated away from that school.

[00:14:38] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break,

[00:14:46] Josh: By the time I got sober in my thirties, I you're, when you get sober and you go to 12 step programs, there's a suggestion that you find some kind of spiritual platform for your recovery. So I, like my parents, I'm not, uh, I'm personally, and I don't think it makes me better or worse. I just am by nature, very atheistic.

I don't generally gravitate towards theistic, um, religious belief systems. So Buddhism being an atheistic, uh, the Buddha was not a god, it just appealed to me and it got other people in recovery off my case. I'd immediately say, I'm a Buddhist and they'd be like, Oh, okay. So, uh, and I was already sitting once in a while and at that time, Vajrayana, which is, um, Tibetan Buddhist gatherings.

And so I already had a kind of underlying understanding of Buddhism and had gravitated towards it, but certainly when I got into recovery, it kind of propelled that pursuit.

[00:16:07] Hunter: Yeah. And now you're this guiding teacher at Dharma Punx. And for the listener, I met Josh, I went on a retreat, a one day retreat with he and his, your wife, right?

Kathy. But anyway, he and his wife, and we had a lovely retreat and, and it was wonderful. And so this is what I want to talk to you about is some of these things that we, uh, talked about on retreat, which I think is so interesting, but I, uh, I've been kind of exploring your book and things like that since then.

And yet the title of your book, the subtitle of your book, the title is Unsubscribe, the subtitle is Opt Out of Delusion, Tune Into Truth. And I just was. I wanted to kind of start with that whole idea of like delusion and thinking about like some of the ways, you know, we're, you know, we talk here a lot about being less reactive, finding peacefulness, kind of focusing in on what's important as parents and things like that.

And I, and I think that sometimes we're not, obviously that's the nature of it, but how we're not aware of how maybe we're deluding ourselves and some of the ways the larger culture plays into that. So maybe you could talk to that a little bit.

[00:17:14] Josh: Um, delusion. Well, I mean, fundamentally, the brain is always, before I journey to parenting, the brain is always in a delusional state.

We know from the dominant insight to how the mind works, which is called predictive modeling or predictives. I can't remember the exact term, but basically we're, brains are organs that sit in a black room without any actually direct, uh, connection with the outside world. It, we, we like to believe that sights and sounds are just coming directly through our eyes and ears, but actually all that's happening is your sensory receptors are just translating sounds and sights into electric imp signals that through nerves.

Reach your brain. So if you think about it, brains from the moment we're born are just receiving a cloud of electrical signals and they have to translate that into a model. Of what's going on out there. So it's always a guess. And part of the, at first the brain is very adept at changing its models. As new information comes in that defies our old guess of what's going on out there.

We update our models of the world. And so the brain is always updating its models of what's going on around us, including our models of how other people behave. And how they relate to us. We know from the great neuropsychologists who work in the field of parenting attachment, like, uh, Alan Shore, for example, who's and, uh, Omri Gileas, that the brain develops its models of how other people will.

respond to our needs and whether other people are safe and what type of people we should gravitate between the ages of one and two. That is unfortunately very early in life. So it happens during the time you're most bonding with your primary attachment figure, which is almost, I mean, most of the time it's the mother.

So in that relationship, the parent is actually teaching the way that the mother responds to the child's bids for attention, the parent is creating, uh, what some call internal working models or just expectations that will be very durable for the rest of our life, determining how we expect other people to act towards us.

What kind of emotions were safe to reveal and what type of emotions were not. So for example, a child who has what's called a secure relationship with a mother, where the mother expressed is reliably attentive. Soothing when the child is upset and delights in the child's exploration of the world rather than as a helicopter parent, uh, you know, swooping in and preventing exploration, that child develops secure expectations of other people throughout the course of their life, they will expect other people to be available, attentive, emotionally understanding, but not engulfing.

But if a child has a parent that, uh, at times is emotionally overwhelmed, uh, overly anxious, or just has so many responsibilities and obligations, like a lot of other children, or work and parenting, or a partner who's not supportive, Then the child learns from, the infant learns from that, that only certain emotions are positively received, and that child will either become more anxious around people or more avoidant as they grow up.

They'll learn to be self reliant and not seek help and will not gravitate towards intimacy depending upon those early. And I want to be very clear that none of this is in any way to blame the, uh, mother or the parents, far from it. Uh, the real problem, and this is another can of worms that you might not want to go down, but in our culture, we don't give parents anywhere near the amount of support that they need.

Uh, in America, for example, parents have to keep a roof over their kids heads. They have to pretty much, from birth, they generally very, they very often don't have, uh, both, uh, paternal and maternal leaves or anywhere near enough time. They don't, uh, education isn't paid for. And when you look at countries, for example, the countries where children grow up to be most secure Are, um, like Iceland and Denmark, and these are countries in Germany where countries where parents are, are, you know, all education is paid for completely free and where there's myriad wonderful afterschool programs where that you don't, and where, uh, very often additional caregiving, uh, is paid for by the state.

So. It's not really the problem of the parent, it's the problem that we've stripped away the tribal support that was actually human beings were meant to be raised in, if you look at over the course of evolution, in the course of our species development, up until rather recently, children were raised By a different set of adults that would stay behind and look after children and, and adults would rotate who was going to be doing the hunting, the gathering, the mending of dwellings and so on and so forth.

So no. Individual would generally be overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenting.

[00:23:47] Hunter: Yeah. So then in this first year, we're starting to make these models, right? We're starting to make these predictive models. And these are the, this is this idea of delusion. I, when I, when you say this idea of like.

Predictive models. To me, my brain sort of translates that into like, these are, they end up being these stories we tell ourselves, or these truths that we believe, right, about how humans are, and then we end up acting upon these, and then they become like, you know, we make them happen, right, then because of our own sort of belief in some ways, right, because we become them.

One half of whatever this story is with another human.

[00:24:29] Josh: Yeah, well, absolutely. I would just add though that, you know, because we're a cognitive species, we tend to lay it all on the stories we tell ourselves. When actually, uh, was it, I can't remember his name, Joseph Sandler of the Hampstead Clinic and, uh, Daniel P.

Brown and other famous psychologists note that it's not even really the stories or the thoughts. It's early childhood dynamics can change the way we feel when we see our image and when other people look at us. So a secure child, when she sees herself in the mirror, she'll smile and dance. A child that has had intermittent security and other times where they haven't will look at their self in the mirror and feel nothing, they'll see a stranger.

And that individual will grow up to be someone who constantly has to prove themselves and will become maybe, uh, an imperfectionist or wind up having imposter syndrome or will Be a workaholic. And then there's other children who, due to damaged relationships or abusive childhood situations, will... Look at themselves in the mirror and will feel disgust or shame.

And those children will look for any way out of their brains, including drugs and alcohol. So in general, um, it's not even the stories we tell. It's simply the way we feel when people present us with opportunities, when other people look at us, when other people say our names. And those feelings can translate into delusional responses.

You know, somebody who's, uh, when they look themselves in the mirror, their image doesn't create in their body a feeling of confidence. Can be the most, you know, absolutely, uh, outstanding professional at their job, but they'll still feel like a fraud and constantly feel like they have to, they have to prove themselves again and again and again.

And when there'll be excellent workers under someone else, they'll let other people claim. You know, their achievements, but when the spotlight is on them, though, they might very well shrink or become overly perfectionist and stall because they don't feel that sense of confidence in their bodies. 

[00:27:08] Hunter: I'm imagining the listener, you know, hearing this and feeling like, Oh my gosh, this is a whole load of bad news under that you, Josh Korda, are laying upon us, right?

That we have these patterns that are developed before we are even conscious and that we, you know, they're, they'll last a lifetime. But we do know that. That actually attachment styles can change, patterns and all of these things can change. And, you know, I want to look at this from sort of two lenses, right?

Like from the lens of like, you're the, the parent, the listener, who you may have had some of these unhealthy patterns in your own life. You're listening, you're saying, Oh my God, that was me. And now I'm doomed or you may be saying, oh, you know, that first year of my child's life was really hard and I was really anxious and oh my gosh, is my child avoidant and things like that, right?

So I'd love to shift into some of the ways that we can, how do we opt out of delusion, right? How do we tune into truth? How do we kind of break out of that, those, those models maybe that have been ingrained in us?

[00:28:24] Josh: So oneof the first tools that's very useful is, um, I read, uh, the work of, I think it's Peter Fenagy, Fenagy, uh, Batavistock Clinic, or, um, uh, maybe Entroniq, I can't remember, I can't remember who it was that, um, Noted that when individuals who had, when parents who had their own damaged relationships with their parents are in, or emotionally unreliable, when they learn to what's called understand why their parents acted the way they did rather than take it personally, know that it wasn't that my, my own father care.

Our mother at times was, you know, uh, angry or frustrated with me. It's that they themselves had their own, you know, early childhood experiences. And it wasn't. It wasn't about me, I wasn't the one that was unlovable, it was just the fact that they grew up with an un nurturing, or an environment that was not fully supportive to, uh, developing a brain that can be emotionally reliable.

So the more we understand, rather than view ourselves as... Either poor shame, you know, I must've been unlovable. Why else did my early family dynamics have this, these features? Or B, just live in a space of constant victimhood, which is, you know, only seeing the negative parts of the experience and not reflecting on the positive events of our childhoods.

So we have a balanced Narration. So that's a huge step forward to becoming what's called Parent Secure and becoming a parent that doesn't pass on the dynamics of our own childhood. Two, the most important thing is to gravitate towards secure relationships. So Partners and friends that are the core attributes of attachment, uh, are one, somebody who's reliably available, somebody who's emotionally interested in what's going on internally, you know, not just interested in what we've achieved or how much we've gotten done, but cares how we feel.

Three, someone who can soothe us. And the most, I would argue in many times, the most important to changing the. Our children's experience from our own is express delight. A parent who can at times, even though they're tired or anxious or frustrated, rally and when the child comes into the room, just smile and express delight in that child being alive.

Without the child having to do anything, when expressed delight occurs, the child begins to associate its core self with delight in others. And then that child becomes the child that dances and smiles when it sees itself in the mirror. And I remember Daniel P. Brown said, uh, at Harvard said that, um, the problem with when parents.

are, have too much pressure on them is that they put so much time and effort into keeping a roof over their kids heads and to paying for food and getting them to soccer practice and to the dentist's office and to making sure they do their, their homework and that they're not killing themselves running in front of traffic and so forth, that the parent very often is exhausted and doesn't express the light.

He called, I think he called it something like instrumental parenting where they're so busy meeting the, the bottom half of the pyramid of happiness that they don't reach that very pinnacle, which is just expressing joy at the child's existence. So very often when I work with parents, that's the thing I, you know, talk about if you want to make sure your child winds up secure.

Or even if you... Had to shout the word no, uh, I've read it one time, an average of 150 times a day to a two year old because they're little machines trying to kill themselves or to like, just poison themselves. So, but the parent that after that restores a sense of Bonding who says, you know, I love you, you're wonderful.

Who hugs and delights in the child mitigates so often. All of those previous times where the parent has to basically just, uh, say no. Stop. Yeah.

[00:33:31] Hunter: Stay tuned for More Mindful Mama podcast right after this break, a

two year old lives a lysis constant, constant orders. I love this. This is very helpful because this is what I talk about all the time in books and things like that. Like, you don't need all the, the blowout vacations, the, the stuff, you know, the busy schedule doing all this stuff. In fact, your child needs you to be grounded, to be happy, to be relaxed more than any of that stuff.

Like, and then to, of course, then express delight. And I want to kind of point out, and this is something that sometimes we. We often miss when we talk about like, this is what kids really need, right? Is that the research on these things and the attentiveness of parents in the attachment research isn't that you, dear listener, have to be attentive to your child 99% of the time at all.

In fact, like the research that showed that the, the very most attentive, top pinnacle of attentiveness was like. 30 percent of the time, I think I remember, right? 

[00:34:39] Josh: Yeah, that is the work of Ed Tronick, and he's the guy that did the still face experiment with parents and showed just also how the child's nervous system responds to its environments, but he guessed that it was around.

33 percent of the time, which is of course in line with the work of D. W. Winnicott, who talked about the good enough parent. It's not the perfect parent, or the good enough mother. It's not the mother that's by any means anywhere near perfect. In fact, uh, if the parent was perfect and attentive almost all the time.

Then the child wouldn't develop auto regulation tools, which would be ways to regulate its own nervous system. And it would grow up to be a child that comes as an adult would constantly need other people to be attentive all the time to regulate its own nervous system back to relaxed states. So the most important theme is, as you're definitely noting is repair.

It's not about being perfect all the time. It's just. At the end of the day, or after a period where we've been inattentive to repair the attachment by giving attention and attuning to the child's internal states. And being interested and the act of repairing, they, the times were just not available or not attentive or frustrated can lead to the secure child.

[00:36:16] Hunter: You are a Buddhist pastor. I teach, you know, Mindful Parenting. One of the things that I've really seen in myself is that mindfulness practice, you know, meditative practice can really bring a great sense of steadiness to, to us, right? So that we are, we are more available and we are clearer thinkers. And et cetera, what is it that you see as like, how does this idea of attachment, understanding relationships, express delight?

How do these things relate to like a, a meditative or spiritual practice?

[00:36:57] Josh: Well, I mean, one, all of the research shows that, I mean, there's tons, uh, Lazar at what's her, I can't remember her first name at Harvard and talk about like Susan. Those are, um, show that the more people do meditate or practice mindfulness, that meditation has two forms.

Mindfulness is just an ongoing awareness of the feelings and moods that arise and pass in the mind at any given moment. So it's kind of a flexible meditation. Concentration practices are meditations that cultivate states of serenity. By repeating phrases, may I be happy, peaceful, free of stress, or visualize, you know, people that you feel safe with, or visualize places you feel safe, or focus on counting the breath.

So there's two forms of meditation, concentration and mindfulness. Mindfulness is just observing, in general, your internal states as they arise and pass. Depending upon, uh, what images pop up in your mind, or what sounds occur in an environment, and so forth. And all the studies show that whatever, it doesn't matter what type of meditation, whether it's mindfulness or whether it's concentration, you just sit and, and count your breaths up to 10, then back down.

Or you just, uh, you just repeat a phrase over and over again. They regulate the autonomic nervous system and they make us more emotionally attentive. And Serene, they shrink the amygdala, the gray matter of the amygdala, which is your fight, flight, survival, you know, emotional, like, uh, the air, the part of the brain that looks for threats.

Craft center. Yeah. You think, oh crap, I'm in danger. I got to do something immediately. And so, you know, meditation has been shown with people that grew up in emotionally unreliable environments to be one of the most effective tools. Other effective tools, you know, in tandem with, and are, that are in meditation is of course slowing down breathing.

When you breathe out, as long as you breathe in, it engages your parasympathetic nervous system and that starts to diminish reactive states and encourages rest and digest. So we can regulate our reactions to the world and other people by meditating. And then the other part of it is we do need to have a supportive community.

The brain was not meant to simply achieve states of safety by going away and being a monk on, you know, a cave in the Himalayas. It was actually meant to, we're tribal species, so we need both. We need. Internal practices. It doesn't have to be meditation. It could be prayer. Prayer is like, essentially, exceedingly similar to concentration meditation.

It can be, you know, uh, task positive things like making art, or, you know, gardening, or doing something with your hands, which deactivates reactive states and default mode of the brain, which is very anxious. But we also need to find people that are emotionally responsive and attentive. And when we do those two things, there's every likelihood that not only will we become good parents, but we also become healthy individuals who become more and more what's called earned secure, where we repair our own, the legacies of our own childhoods, if they were not.

Not optimal.

[00:41:05] Hunter: I think that's a great explanation of sort of how that works. And I'm thinking about that sort of legacy and that, that attachment and things like that. And like with, so with my own father, at one point I wrote him a letter of beginning anew, and this is a practice that's from the Plum Village community of Thich Nhat Hanh, where you appreciate what are their good seeds, then you share your own regrets, and then you address hurts and difficulties.

And I forgave him for his unskillfulness and his, you know, violence, um, in that he, I knew these are all things that because of the abuse in his childhood, right? You know, and that whole understanding piece. Is that something that you ever went through with your own parents? Oh, yeah.

[00:41:54] Josh: I would say that from a Buddhist perspective, forgiveness is a little bit different than its connotations and other religious traditions, especially the Judeo Christian.

In Buddhism and in, let's just say, I think a more nuanced contemporary understanding, you can forgive someone, but that doesn't mean you drop your boundaries. It doesn't even mean you necessarily will have a person. that has caused so much damage regularly in your life. It doesn't mean returning back to the scene of the crime and acting as if nothing happened.

Forgiveness is where we have boundaries. We know what, what kind of dynamics, what topics are safe to talk about, what topics are not. Forgiveness is simply the The practice of not reliving and reciting internally all the, the traumas or the events of the past and being willing to just say, you know, I've given this enough real estate, I felt all the horror or disappointment of it, but I'm not I now know that that's no longer keeping me safe, reciting the story.

Very often people have unending resentments because their brain doesn't believe they won't go back to the scene of the crime. So they keep reciting the wounds of the past as a way to protect themselves. But if we have good boundaries and we say, okay. I can forgive my father, say, in my case, it was, I, for a while, didn't talk to him outside of family therapy and, um, we did that and then I developed a practice where once a week for an hour I would go and play him piano and we'd sing and then I'd ask him questions about his life, but my boundaries were I'm not going to do it You know, more than that, I'm not going to be, I'm not going to talk about things that his views would be insane and hurtful, like generally what I was doing for a living and, you know, uh, my relationships.

He was, he always thought I should be doing something grandiose. Unrealistic. I remember once I was very proud and I talked about how I had been asked to become a Buddhist teacher and he noted, and he was a Buddhist himself, and yet a few days later he sent me an email with a picture of Bill Gates of Microsoft and said You should be doing this.

I was like, what? I should be the chairman of Microsoft all of a sudden? So I realized that talking about my choices, you know, was never... A very safe place to go. And, uh, so I would ask him about his life, but I would never, I'd go to people that were emotionally reliable to talk about my own decisions and my own career choices and my own things that were at all vulnerable, I wouldn't talk with him.

And that's how I forgave because I wouldn't put myself again and again, at positions where the. Interactions were frustrating and disappointing.

[00:45:27] Hunter: I'm so appreciative that you shared that because that's something that I do, is I hold these sort of boundaries around what we're going to talk about and what we're not going to talk about.

And I won't go down in the stories of like his. Trauma in the past and things like that. And like, this is not my place. That's not my role to be the recipient of all that. Right. And sometimes I feel bad about that. But I, uh, you sharing your story is kind of giving me permission to like make that or, you know, to really acknowledge that as what it is, which is a healthy boundary.

Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that. Josh, there's so much more we could talk about, uh, clearly, um, that, you know, we've kind of touched the surface here, but I really appreciate you coming on and, and talking to us here at the Mindful Mama podcast. Josh's book is called Unsubscribe, Opt Out of Delusion, Tune into Truth, and you have your own podcast.

Josh, why don't you tell everyone about that and where they can find you?

[00:46:33] Josh: Uh, yeah, it's just, uh, Dharmapunx, with an X N Y C. If they just type that in, they'll just get all the information about, you know, the podcast, anything they, all the resources online. Everything I do is without charge as a Buddhist pastor, so it's all free.

So you can get Access as like your podcast, you get access to everything without having to, you know, pay or it's all available. Also without plugging myself, uh, in addition to your fine books, I would recommend, um, for any parents. The book, The Attachment Connection by, uh, sure it's, um, attachment connection sort of starts even prenatally and talks about how to be a secure parent and I've, you know, even though I'm not a parent, I read and I thought it was actually a wonderful resource as well for parents.

[00:47:36] Hunter: Awesome. More resources there. I love it. Again, thank you so much. I appreciate your, you know, I appreciate your insights and your clarity and your impressive memorization of names of researchers. And, uh, and it's really been a pleasure to talk to you.

[00:47:55] Josh: Thank you so much for having me.

[00:48:05] Hunter: Hey, thank you so much for listening. I loved talking to Josh. I hope you did too. Yeah. There's so much there. Let me know what you're taking away from it. You know, you can let me know on Instagram at mindful mama mentor. And I hope you enjoyed it. If you enjoyed it, maybe not so much if you didn't enjoy it, but if you really enjoyed it, I would love it.

If you could leave an Apple podcast review, that's a great way to show your love and. Support the podcast. I want to give a shout out to Christe1988 who left a five star review. Thank you. She wrote, New Mindful Mama. I'm so excited to have found the podcast and her book. I am ready to be the best mom slash parent that I can be.

I share this with all my parent friends. Yay! Thank you. Thank you so much. I really really appreciated it. Um, yeah, your reviews really support the podcast and everyone here on the Mindful Parenting Podcast team, we appreciate it. It's far more than just me, of course. I give a shout out to Alex and Chelsea and Emma and Lynn all on Team Mindful Parenting Podcast and we all appreciate those reviews, so thank you, thank you.

So yeah, um, are you gonna do something different for your attachment style? Are you gonna, you know, what, what is your takeaway? I'd love to know. This is, I loved talking to, to Josh and, and I hope you enjoyed it too. And I hope that one of the things you take away is some time to just slow down and stop and practice being at ease this week.

And, um, And just listening to our kids and connecting via the way of mindful listening that can really bring us to our hearts. And sometimes it's really hard because things are going on in our families that are hard. So I will be practicing too. There have been some things going on in my family that aren't so easy, so I'll be practicing that too.

So yeah, I hope you have some moments of... Mindful listening, practicing just some ease, some rest, and I will be, of course, as always, always practicing with you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being part of this. I'll talk to you again soon. 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. 

[00:50:37] Josh: 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,

[00:50:43] Hunter: so definitely do it. I'd say

[00:50:45] Josh: 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

[00:50:59] Hunter: like... You yelling all the time

[00:51:01] Josh: or you're like, why isn't things 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. 

[00:51:10] Hunter: It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family.

[00:51:15] Josh: I'm very thankful I had this. You can continue 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.

[00:51:33] Hunter: Are 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 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. com

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