Todd and Cathy discuss how we can talk to our kids about spirituality and self-trust, and why role modeling and patience can be the most effective tools. They discuss how to deal with anger, how to talk to our kids about anger, and how to utilize difficult emotions for deeper self awareness. For the full show notes, visit

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Time Stamps

(00:00:00) Introduction

(00:06:40) Ask us anything regarding managing tempers in the household

(00:18:30) Spiritual Growth

(00:48:16) Avid Co DuPage County Area Decorating, Painting, Remodeling by Avid Co includes kitchens, basements, bathrooms, flooring, tiling, fire and flood restoration.

(00:48:16) MenLiving – A virtual and in-person community of guys connecting deeply and living fully. No requirements, no creeds, no gurus, no judgements


Ask Us Anything




Nurturing our Kids Spiritual Growth & Self-Understanding

In this episode of the Zen Parenting Radio podcast, hosts Todd and Cathy Adams discuss the topic of nurturing children’s spiritual growth and self-understanding. Throughout the discussion, they explore various aspects of parenting, self-awareness, emotions, boundaries, embodiment, and the intersection between the spiritual and earthly realms. Their insights provide valuable guidance for parents seeking to support their children’s holistic development.

Todd and Cathy open the episode by reflecting on their use of AI technology to generate podcast titles. They stress the importance of retaining their own creative voice as writers and view AI as a tool to refine their ideas rather than replacing their own unique perspectives.

Drawing from Cathy’s personal experience, the hosts share a Zen Parenting moment centered on giving oneself a break and accepting and honoring emotions. They advocate for self-compassion and highlight the significance of navigating emotions while parenting.

Todd and Cathy discuss the importance of understanding and managing boundaries and anger in parenting. They encourage exploring personal boundaries and reflecting on the underlying emotions behind anger. The hosts share their experiences with anger and stress the significance of helping children develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Acknowledging their previous focus on spirituality, the hosts address the balance between the spiritual and earthly realms. They share personal experiences of loss and highlight the importance of talking to children about it, encouraging connection through memories and conversations. The hosts stress the significance of embodiment, being present in one’s body, and embracing the human experience.

Todd and Cathy delve into the intriguing concept of the double slit experiment, which illustrates how observation affects the properties of an object. They view this phenomenon as an example of life’s mysteries and emphasize the value of asking questions rather than seeking definitive answers. They express their intention to explore topics such as embodiment, initiations, rituals, and recognizing coincidences in future episodes.

The hosts discuss their approach to introducing yoga and meditation to their children. Rather than forcing these practices, they role model them and create opportunities for their children to participate. They highlight the importance of offering children a space for meditation and allowing them to discover these practices organically.

Todd mentions their community, Team Zen, where they offer talks and provide merchandise to members. They also mention Cathy’s book, “Zen Parenting: Parenting Ourselves and Her Children in an Unpredictable World,” which offers further insights and guidance. Additionally, Todd shares his coaching services for men and his involvement in the men’s organization, Men Living.

Todd and Cathy Adams deliver an insightful episode on nurturing children’s spiritual growth through self-awareness, emotional intelligence, embodiment, and exploring life’s mysteries. Their discussions encourage parents to embrace the spiritual and earthly aspects of life, balance emotions, and provide children with opportunities for self-discovery. By maintaining their creative voice, asking questions, and role modeling practices like yoga and meditation, parents can support their children’s holistic development.


ZPR#715 – Nurturing our Kids Spiritual Growth & Self-Understanding Full Episode Transcript – DOWNLOAD

Todd: Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number 715. Why listen to Zen Parenting Radio because you’ll feel outstanding and always remember our motto, which is this. The best predictor of a child’s wellbeing is a parent’s self-understanding.

Usually Cathy and I record, and then we come up with a title. But today we have a title. And it’s called Nurturing our Kids’ Spiritual Growth and Self Understanding. 

Cathy: Can I tell a secret?

Todd: Sure. Hold on. Before you do that. Okay. You know what I’m about to don’t you? I 

Cathy: think you’re gonna play sticks, but that’s,

I had this long sentence of what I wanted to talk about and I put it into ai. Yeah, into ChatGPT. Yeah, whatever. And [00:01:00] that’s the sentence actually, it didn’t gimme that exact sentence. It, this is what I’ve learned about chatGPT. I don’t use it that often, but when I do like for the title of this podcast, it’s very formal.

It’s very Mr. Roberto

that works perfect. Cuz it’s nobody, I don’t think people talk like 

Todd: that. You could tell it saying make this less formal. Oh, you can. 

Cathy: And it will do that. Why doesn’t it just relax front? 

Todd: Maybe it doesn’t know Cathy Cassani Adams. 

Cathy: Well, it needs to chill because it’s like, nevertheless, I’m like, relax, like, and so what I like about it is that it’ll give me a kind of sentence and then I cut it down.

It’s kind of like getting a, it’s kinda like getting a ball of clay and then you make it into something well, 

Todd: and you’ll get better and better at molding the clay. And what I mean by that is telling it like, make this half as long or make this twice as long, or make this. And a sha from a Shakespearean standpoint, [00:02:00] or make this from a JD Salinger standpoint.

 And it will do all that for you. That’s really interesting. It’s totally creepy. It’s gonna change our worlds. I know. Everybody’s sick of hearing about it. At least a lot of people are, but it is crazy. Yeah, 

Cathy: Well, but I will say this as some, like when I’m writing something for myself I don’t like it.

Because you lose your voice. Do you know what I mean? Oh, for sure. So I don’t think, I mean, and again, I know marketing will use it. I know advertising will will use it, but as a writer the whole joy of being a writer is finding the language and figuring it out yourself. At least it is for me if somebody is doing it because they’re just trying to get through it.

But I like the idea of bring, it’s a creative endeavor. So to have AI do it for you defeats the purpose. 

Todd: But the thing is you’ll be able to use it to help you tune your voice with more precision. So it’s not like you’re gonna be like, rewrite this and then I’ll copy and paste it. Okay. You’re gonna rewrite it, take it, take little [00:03:00] parts of it.

 Say that sounds good and, but instead of doing this, I’m gonna do that. Like, it’s just gonna be another tool in 

your toolbox. 

Cathy: I hope it’s just another tool. Cause I’m sure when we first got, Google or Yahoo or whatever we were using, Ask Chiefs. It was that it would people, I’m sure we were like, oh my God, we can get information from anywhere.

So I hope we can just not, we need to ask Chief Harm the world with this. That’s chiefs. I think that went under. Yes. Okay. So go ahead. 

Todd: So real quick I do wanna just highlight Zen Parenting moment. Sure. Which you titled, Give Yourself a Break. And I think it’s, some of it was inspired by a book you’re reading called The Creative Act, A Way of Being.

 By Rick Rubin. Anything you wanna share? So if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Cathy does these really quick, like one minute reads, Zen Parenting Moments. And if you haven’t already subscribed to them, it comes in your inbox every Friday. Just scroll down the show notes and it’s a click of a button, so, 


thank you. [00:04:00] You know, I think I wrote about it yet last week cuz I was having like grief spurts. And I’m not very, I kind of was explaining this to you on a walk the other day. I. When I don’t feel good or I’m grieving, or I’m sad or I’m angry, I get frustrated that I am. And then I have to come back to the awareness that the whole point of feeling sad is that you feel sad, so you can’t be annoyed that you’re feeling sad.

Cuz that’s what sadness is. There’s a really kind of, mindful acceptance to it. There’s a, I was gonna say like I have to be more brutal, like about it because you can’t be like, no, I’m sad, but actually I’m happy like that. It’s you be sad, you just. But when you feel sad, the nature of sadness is energetic drain.

And so that’s not a good feeling. So I not comfortable. So I think what I came to my middle place was give yourself a break. I was just like, don’t think this is always an ever. And just be like, you don’t should yourself. I’m not a fan of the shoulds, [00:05:00] shoulding, what are you gonna play?


you deserve it to the, 

Todd: did you like the show, sweetie? Of course I did. 

Cathy: Nell Carter Ne Carter. And this was show, this was the original, because remember, as the seasons went on this opening got a little more heightened, a little more fancy, a little more fancy . Don’t get 

Todd: Fancy, but yes, I loved 

Neil Carter.

Sorry I disrupted your train of thought. I just you know, maybe people remember to give themselves a break if they to the Gimme a break theme song today. Yeah, 

Cathy: it was neil Carter. Okay, so go ahead. 

Todd: So we have this thing called Ask Us Anything. And people are starting to 

Cathy: use it when you say, we have this thing.

 The more information to offer there is on, if you go to our resources page on 

Todd: parenting [00:06:00] scroll in the sh in the show notes. Just click on the link. Just scroll down. 

Cathy: If you’re on our website, you can go to resources. But anyway, there is a page where you can either email us a question or you can use the SpeakPipe and actually ask a question.

So if you’re more of an audio person, just say it to us and if you are, but 

Todd: I think I put a limit on it of like, 30 or 60 seconds. Oh, okay. And I did that on purpose just because I wanna play these on the podcast and it’s so easy for us to get into a lot of background story, and I think it’s less I don’t know, I think people will tune out more quickly.

So you do have to keep, kind of, keep it tight, which is good to be tight, be hang tight. But this person e wrote it. Okay. Via typing on their keyboard. Not typewriter? No. Okay. 

Ask Us Anything

Todd: Hi Cathy and Todd. I have two sons, eight and 11, and ever since their past the toddler age, it’s been much easier for me to lose patience with them, and it’s been very difficult for me to control my temper when they do something wrong.

I’m noticing that both of my [00:07:00] sons started having similar type of temper. I wanna ask if you have some ideas on how I can quickly do a quick reset before I just start screaming at my kids. Because it’s been very difficult, especially toward my tween age son. I really don’t want my kids to also have that quick temper as well, and I’m really not being a good role model.

Thank you so much. So I’ll jump in real quick. Okay. She writes this with a little bit of self-awareness in that she’s noticing a pattern of her inability to kind of calm herself down and her sons. So I just wanna like, and I also wanna normalize this, like, oh, you’re lo, you’re losing your temper at your eight and 11 year old children.

Welcome to the club. It’s not an easy thing. These kids are put on this earth to you know, help us learn about ourselves, but sometimes I feel like they’re here to make our lives miserable. Well, I don’t think that on a day to day, that’s 

Cathy: not why 

Todd: they’re here. It’s not like a byproduct.

 It can be a byproduct. So I just first wanna honor whoever wrote this and [00:08:00] say the fact that you’re connecting these dots is really good. My best hack. For lack of a better term is to take a breath. Just simply take a breath and it’s such a, I don’t know, not helpful idea. 

Cathy: Well, can I ask you something, because I’m always doing this to Todd cuz he will use a he’ll share a tool, but do you really use that and does it work?

And when’s the last time it worked? Rather than just share, like 

Todd: take a breath. Sometimes I use it. And the idea of it working, I would say, I mean, I don’t know. I’d have to like keep track of it. 

Cathy: Well, just think of the last time, like instead of like, go 

Todd: through your whole history yesterday my dad came over.

 Okay. There you go. I wasn’t ready. There you go. Good job. He came over three hours early for Father’s Day, and I think I swore first, like I curse word. He’s here already. And I took a breath, sat in my chair for another, 10, 15 seconds and then got up and greeted him. [00:09:00] Now I think that helped a bit.

 I still was kind of annoyed, but it decreased the amount of reactive energy I was going through in that moment. It didn’t eliminate it. Right. It just helped it a little bit. So, You know, a lot of people have a meditation practice. Sweet of yours, has been strong for a long time. Mine comes and goes, and right now I’m not doing much formal meditation practice, but I’ll tell you, it’s more important to be able to put a breathing exercise into practice.

When a stimulus happens, then it is to sit on your cushion for 20 minutes in the morning. And I think by sitting on your cushion 20 minutes in the morning will help your lifting weights, your ability to do it. So maybe if I would’ve had a, formal meditation practice in the last six months, I may have been able to really Chill out, but but I still chilled out a bit.

So, anyways, that’s what I got. What do you got? Yeah, well 

Cathy: I think you’re, hitting one of the most important [00:10:00] things is the ability to respond rather than react, which is what you said. And I think I’ll connect this to what we were talking about with my Zen parenting moment, is that


Cathy: I think sometimes we’ll be like, I’m frustrated.

How do I keep from being frustrated? And I don’t think you can. No. Yeah, right. I think that frustration is just what it is. It’s what do I do with it? So I think a lot of parents beat themselves up cuz. I have a feeling. They’re like, can you believe I got frustrated? I’m like, sure. Or that you got angry or that you were impatient.

It’s, do you notice you’re there and do you like Todd? Kind of take a breath, swear, whatever, and then choose From that point, you can’t, I don’t know if we as humans can eliminate certain feelings when they come up because they’re not just about the moment. They’re about history. They’re about, I.

Fear, they’re about things that are really human and necessary. They’re like, we need them. And, a few things that I was thinking of when you were originally reading this [00:11:00] tad is she’s like, I feel different. I. Now that they’re eight and 11 versus when they were toddlers. I think that’s common.

And it can go the other way too. It can flip flop. I think it has a lot to do with how we identify and relate to our kids. I think I started when my kids were a lot younger. I. I could be a little more separate from them cuz I didn’t really remember what it was like to be three or four. Like I had memory, like a memory, but I wasn’t identifying with them as much.

And then when they got to an age that I could really remember myself at that age, I started to over-identify with them. And so things became a little more frustrating to me or concerning or. I hope they don’t do this, or I hope they don’t turn out like this kid, or, I hope they don’t do what I did, or I hope they do what I did.

So there’s a lot more, like, there’s a lot more stuff in the mix, like where we’re combating, not just dealing with the moment or whatever they’re doing to frustrate us, but whatever’s going on inside of [00:12:00] us. So that would be, you know, If this question asker was in front of me, I would say is there something about pre-adolescence that is a little more triggering?

Is there something or maybe a little 

Todd: more familiar, like familiar, like maybe she I assume this is a mom, but maybe it’s a dad. I assume maybe something happened around that time in their lives. Could, it could be. Or they started getting into big arguments with their kids, with or with their parents.

Cathy: There could be a parent relational thing. There could also be the discomfort with anger that I think sometimes when kids are little, we have because they’re little. We have a little more patience. Not always because again, sometimes our memories can be from that toddlerhood, and so then we have a totally different reaction when they’re eight or 11.

So this is very individual. I wanna make sure I’m saying that, but sometimes we’re, we can be a little more patient with little kids and then when they get older, we start to think they should just know. And our anger comes out a [00:13:00] little more where we’re like, why do I have to tell you this twice?

Or Why would you speak to someone that way? And one of the things as far as like. If you are the person listening to this who asks a question, I, if you’re interested in what’s going on with an eight or 11 year old’s brain, it might be interesting to read the Whole Brain Child, which is Daniel Siegel’s book, Dr. Daniel Siegel. There’s other brain books. It’s just, I feel like that kinda lays out, here’s what’s going on brain development wise, here’s what’s going on with pre-adolescence. There’s a lot of book. Books about pre-adolescent brain. And so you can, instead of think this shouldn’t be happening, you’re like, well, of course they’re having this experience.

And of course it’s triggering me. 

Todd: I have one more take before we get onto the gist of the show. Sure. But I’m in the background. I’m gonna go ahead and this is a song called Just Breathe by Pearl Jam. Gotta do that, right, sweetie? 

Cathy: I guess it does fit. Yeah, it does. Just 

Todd: breathe 

Cathy: some some [00:14:00] teams were making fun of this song.

Why Other night? Remember when we were on the deck? What was their problem? I don’t know, but they, I think they, just, the way that Eddie thinks it, 

Todd: they were like, he’s he’s an acquired taste to Eddie better. Yes. I just wanna remind the person who wrote in that you know, when we say temper, we’re talking about anger, right?

Right. Anger. Anger is uncomfortable and anger is uncomfortable, but it’s also one of the five or four basic human emotions and. That it’s not such a bad thing to let anger out. It just depends on how we are encouraging somebody to express that anger. 

Cathy: And so let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about your anger first.

Writer. What should we just call her mom? Yeah, let’s call her mom. Let’s and it could be a dad, but, so we’re s assuming, but it, you know, let’s talk about your anger first. Mom. Like anger. What is anger? It tells us when our boundaries are crossed. Right. That’s what it’s there for.

That’s why it’s a message and an arrow, it tells us what to do and where [00:15:00] to go. So what boundaries are you feeling are crossed? Are you feeling like you’re not sure how to speak with your kids? Are you feeling like they’re taking advantage of you? Do you feel like you are over responding and so you’re angry with yourself and you’re crossing your own boundary?

Like you’re feeling annoyed at yourself. Like it could be them. It could be you. So, Anger first, like what is it trying to tell you? And then with their anger, if you could see, this is the thing about, the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing as a parent’s self understanding is that if you understand your anger, you can talk to them about theirs.

You can talk to them about, I get really angry when. And you can tell them your story about, I get really angry when I feel like I’m not heard, or I get really angry when I have to repeat something. Or I get really angry when I feel like I’m working real hard and nobody notices. And then you can talk to them about their anger so they can be more.

Thoughtful. Sure. And knowledgeable. And you may say, well, they’re eight and 11. These things take time. Like telling a kid or helping a kid with their self-awareness [00:16:00] doesn’t shift to their behavior immediately. Heck no. It’s a building block. And so what you’re doing is, instead of just letting it go or getting into a different, a yelling relationship with them or breaking your connection with them.

Cause you’re constantly frustrated. You’re putting in some bricks. Know, it’s a building block to help them understand themselves. So by the time their brain really starts developing, they’re taking all those things to into account. 

Todd: Well, 

and they’re learning from you one way or another. Correct. They’re Lear learning from you on how to.

Express anger from a place that creates more problems or express anger from a place that reduces problems. 

Cathy: And just to even say to your kids, your boys anger can be really uncomfortable, can’t it? And also to help them differentiate again, your raising boys between anger and other feelings. 

Todd: Well, and don’t forget, anger can sometimes feel good.

Right. Interesting. A release letting it out. So last thing, but don’t, 

Cathy: before you play another clip, 

Anger as a Mask of Sadness 

Cathy: Anger. It can also be a [00:17:00] mask for sadness. True embarrassment, fear, frustration, fear. So especially with your boys who in society typically, gender, specifically men, can. Can use anger. We are 

Todd: encouraged to use anger more than any other 

Cathy: emotion.

Correct. And so if you can help them kind of slice that up a little bit so they know they can have access to other emotions as well. So, you know the way I’ll leave this with you mom, before Todd plays something is. Any kind of experience like this that you’re having is an opportunity. It’s a doorway.

Do we like it? No, of course 

Todd: not. And are you gonna do it perfect every 

Cathy: time? No. Heck no. But you’re gonna, it’s a door. It’s like, okay, I get to look at my anger, I get to look at my adolescence, I get to look at them. I get to learn about brain science, and I get to talk to them about feelings,

Todd: sweetie.[00:18:00] 

Don’t be afraid to care. No, no way, man. That’s my Pink Floyd. Dave, Roger, and the guys. Speaking of the guys I am listening to two different podcasts right now. One of them is that witchcraft thing JK Rowling, and the other is, It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia podcast. Wow. Two very different.

You cannot come up with two more different podcasts to listen to, and maybe at some point Cathy and I might in the future talk about this JK Rowling thing, but not yet. We’re not ready. Oh, not ready. Okay. So the title of today’s podcast is Nurturing our Kids Spiritual Growth and Self Understanding. Where are we going with this?


Cathy: I, so Todd and I have this opportunity to do this Interview. I think we’re doing it, we’re doing it today with another podcast. So they asked us and it’s a more spiritual podcast. It’s like Cathy, Old school, like Cathy, like. 10 years ago, 20 years ago when we first started. Are you saying you’re no [00:19:00] longer spiritual sweetie?

No, I am. I’m all those things, but it’s the books and the things that she was talking about. I was like, oh, that used to, you know, I was actually just talking to my daughter about this. I am still all those things, but I’m older and the world has shifted me to, into different directions and so it’s not that I let go of those things, I just don’t talk about them as much.

Maybe you brought it, brought them with you. I brought them with me. Absolutely. They’re rolling in. To every other aspect of who I am. I just used to be. I mean, if you look back at our shows from, and I don’t even know if you can anymore, like the 100 level, 200 level. 

Todd: You can go to our website. That’s the way to do it. But you can’t do it on Spotify or iTunes or anything like that. I bet. 

Cathy: At least one outta three podcasts from the first three years of our show was about some kind of spiritual growth. A book I was reading about self-help, which I still do, but it was just, it was deeper. It was like not deeper, what’s the word?

It was more intense. 

Todd: Right. Can you give any examples? 

Cathy: That [00:20:00] I’d be reading like three self-help books at a time. I wasn’t paying attention to the news. I wasn’t as involved in politics. I was involved in my own spiritual and personal growth. 

Todd: Well, who’s the authors that our interviewer threw out to you that you 

Cathy: thought she threw out Wayne Dyer, which is an obvious one.

That, that was my first intro when I was 16. She threw out Eeb Alexander, which was a guy that had a near-death experience. He was a neurosurgeon himself, and then had a near-death experience. So he understood what was going on in the brain. And I just remember his book. I remember all of the interviews.

I remember his story, which then led me to Jill Bolte Taylor. I was thinking about her and the stroke, her stroke of insight where she had a stroke on one side of her brain and, experience what it’s like to not have our more linear, way of thinking and to just be right brainers. And then that led me to all these other super soul things.

I was just thinking about how, like, I bet if I were to look at my syllabus, Cuz I’ve been teaching college [00:21:00] students now for 11 years. If I looked at my syllabus from the first couple of years versus now, it would be, it would represent the difference in where I am. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. E exactly like it’s, I’m still teaching social work and all of those kind of things.

But what are my examples? What are my books I’m suggesting and I have. Because of the way the world has gone and because of the age of my children and because of who I am, you just evolve. It’s, I like the word evolve because it’s not about that I’ve changed. I’m just rolling it. 

Todd: So when I see that we’re gonna title this, nurturing our kids’, spiritual growth, uhhuh and self understanding, let’s just focus on spiritual growth.

 So for me, like what does that mean? I mean, there’s. There’s volumes of books written about what spirituality means, right? Sure. And then there’s a whole faith-based religious thing, which we’re not really talking about right now. A lot 

Cathy: of people, we’ll say religious dogmatic, cuz spirituality can be faith-based.


Todd: Sure, of course. I don’t know. When I think of spiritual, I think of and I believe in [00:22:00] spirituality, but I think Cathy’s lens is a little bit more clear than mine. When I think of spirituals I think I was somebody before I showed up. I think I’m gonna be somebody after I pass on. And my hope is that I kind of grow and do whatever it is that I’m supposed to do on this earth.

And, other people are like, no you’re here when you show up and then you die when you pass on. And that’s fine. A lot of people believe a lot of different things, but. I think of what was, who was Todd before Todd even showed up? And that may not really connect to spiritual growth, but it’s the opposite of what I’m comfortable with, what I’m comfortable with.

Logical, practical science. Objectivity. And And with spiritual it’s a little bit it’s uncertain. It’s so uncertain. 

Cathy: So, anyways. Well, and I’m a little more uncomfortable with un or excuse me, I’m a little more comfortable with uncertainty and mystery because I think that’s really what it’s all about because [00:23:00] you know, I, my, one of my baseline understandings because it resonated so deeply, which if something resonates super, super, super deeply, it’s.

It’s not just about verifying your point, it’s about, I think that it’s something, you know you just know. And 

Todd: when you know, 


having read it in book, 

Cathy: you just know you’re like, yes. That, that just feels so correct to me. And Joseph Campbell said that our brains our human brains don’t hold the capacity or ability to access life and death.

Like we can’t, we don’t have the hard wiring and to really know for sure. So, So what that means to me is we get to live in the mystery and the hints of it. It doesn’t mean we don’t get the hints of it and the connections and the feelings and the heart is, cha, no, what’s the word? The heart connections.

We know, but we can never fully know. That’s what I love about 


Todd: Well, and when I [00:24:00] hear you say that, for some reason I just think of stars because you know, you see a bazillion stars when you look up in the sky, which is just a tiny fraction of what is out there. And I know that there’s no way I can get my arms around.

No. The vastness of space. No, of course not. In the same way. I don’t feel like I can get my arms around the vastness of God, whatever, insert love, whatever universe. I can’t get my arms around that, nor I don’t think I’m supposed to. Well, I think 

Cathy: the, one of the, talking about our topic of conversation for this show is that something I’ve always found to be so important in teaching the girls is you are special and you are important, and who you are and who you came into the world as is vital and necessary.

We know that because you’re here at the same time, you are tiny. In the big scope of life and, in the universe, you’re like not even a speck. Right? And so you are the biggest thing. And the [00:25:00] smallest thing. And you have to live in that paradox of understanding that you’re here for a reason. And I don’t mean a c a career reason.

I mean, you’re supposed to be here. This is your time to be here. At the same time when things feel heavy and overwhelming, all you have to do is look up at the stars. This is just a moment in time. You are a piece of a big puzzle that you’re never gonna be able to complete in your lifetime. You’re never gonna be able to see it done.

It’s just this big puzzle and we get to figure, we get to work on it in our lifetime, like listen to it and access it and move with it. But you don’t get to be done until you’re done, which means you’re not here anymore. And so the, big thing that I have always wanted my girls to know is this is, I often call it cuz a teacher said this to me a long time ago, this is your earth walk.

You are here on the earth for this time, or this is your soul school. And then when you are not here anymore, don’t, [00:26:00] you’re maybe not on the earth anymore, but there’s other thi and I don’t know what they are, but you, 

Todd: go like, well, and then there’s that quote where spiritual beings having a human experience.

 This is our human experience. for some reason when I, whenever I think of like, I don’t know, universal expansiveness, like I just got back from Alaska with my oldest daughter JC, and you don’t know. What I experienced when I was looking at the mountains and how many mountains there are in the state of Alaska and how big they are and how small I felt.

And then we stayed in this cabin, there’s this river and all the water was being fed from the, snow melt from these mountains. And I’m just like, it’s just, I seem so small compared to all this. And then when I think of the earth being so small in comparison to the vastness of the universe, like there’s so many different layers of smallness and vastness. Complete awesomeness. And, so that’s, I just keep, and as long as I can maintain that, [00:27:00] the idea that I can’t get my arms around it and I don’t think that what life is whatever’s right in front of me. And there’s actually a lot of other things going on that I. Don’t understand, not supposed to understand and will never understand, then I feel like I’m in a pretty good place when I’m in that mystery.

My problem is I sometimes I’m like, Nope, this is what life is. It’s work and it’s family and it’s dinner and that’s it. So, yeah 

Cathy: and I think what you just said is, the important thing is I think the mystery, ironically, paradoxically gives us peace. Because then we don’t feel like we have to figure it out.

If you and again, but again, this is why this is called Zen Parenting Radio. Zen is the, understanding that you never really know. Everything is another riddle. Everything is another like layer and the. As soon, as soon as I say you don’t have to know, you get to live in the mystery, then that’s when I wanna get to work and start figuring it out.

And then when I [00:28:00] realize I can’t figure it out, I live in the mystery and then I’m like, Ooh, but there’s a universal sign. And then I go that way. So you get to play in the mystery. You get to like experience it and enjoy it. And there is no end to it. There is, and I will say, as far as like, I, I talk I talk a lot about, the mystery of when people die and where they go.

And yesterday I was, yesterday was Father’s Day, and so obviously I was thinking a lot about my dad and I was looking at pictures of him in the morning and I was like, Ooh. Like, okay, so. I don’t know if everyone can relate to this. Maybe I should just talk to you, Todd, but when I look at people or I’m with people, they have, I’m gonna use the word energy, but I don’t want you to get lost in that word.

What I mean is when I think of my dad, there is a feeling I get and I’m like, that’s my dad. Does that make sense? Sure. Okay. So like, when I think of your mom, there’s a feeling I get where I’m like, that’s your mom. So I feel them [00:29:00] when I think about them. And I had a moment yesterday, I told the girls this cuz it’s so funny where I was looking at picture my dad and I was like, I could feel him.

And I was like, where is he? Like, I had a, where is he not like, it was almost like I thought I had forgotten to go visit him or something. I forgot he wasn’t in this realm. Not on this plane. This wherever we are. I was like, Where is he? And I’m like, oh wait. He’s not here. Like I have to remember then I don’t, sometimes I cry when I have that feeling.

I cried this morning in meditation actually thinking about some loss, but I was more like, oh yeah, he’s not here. But I can still feel him. Like it’s not always sad. Because I know exactly what my dad feels like when I think of your mom. I can feel her. Like I just, and my mom, I can feel her.

 Like I know. So I think some people. When I use that word, sometimes they’re like, oh, I can’t relate to that. Try and think of your own word, like you remember what she smells like or you can hear her voice or his voice. Like there’s these things where we understand and [00:30:00] that’s as much as I can really when I’m, so we’re going back to talking to our kids about these things.

These are the stories I share with my kids. I don’t give them certainty stories. I have pictures. I. Of people who have passed that we love all over our house. In our kitchen, we have a picture of my mom, my dad, and Todd’s mom, and we look at them every day. We talk about them all the time. They’re in the ethers, they’re in the air.

We talk about our rabbit who died. We talk about our fish who died. We just keep them here. And that’s as much as I can give my girls. I can’t say, when they’re like, They don’t, they’re older, so they don’t ask questions about words like heaven or any as much anymore. But I just try and think of those as words rather than absolutes.

Like if that’s a word that feels good to them, but they’re around. Well, 

Todd: and I just wanna add like, if your kids, whether they’re five or 15 or 25 had asked questions, I’m never gonna tell anybody how to answer. No. Instead, that’s your thing. Instead, I’ll tell you how I answer. My [00:31:00] answer almost always starts with, I’m not sure Right.

What happens when you die? I’m not sure, but I think blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I tend to like really disconnect from somebody who tells me with certainty that they know what’s gonna happen. 

Earth Walk / Embodiment

Todd: But I wanna pivot and we may just wanna spend a minute or two on this the whole Earth walk idea. 

And then whatever the spiritual walk, whatever we wanna call it, I don’t even know. To that is, don’t, we have had some people in our lives that reside in the spiritual walk at the expense of the Earth walk. Yes. Yes. And I just wonder if you wanna riff off of the idea that we can’t forget that we’re.

We’re human beings breathing air that have to pay bills too. 

Cathy: So it was 

one of my favorite parts of yoga is that I used to do yoga. I had, I was a good student, I have been for 25 years. And then and one of the things I felt like I was learning early on was this, like detachment from the body.

Like you wanna be more spiritual, you wanna get out of your body. And then, when [00:32:00] I started learning, when I started teaching yoga or going through teacher training, it just so happened I was learning a kind of yoga that it’s not around anymore, but it was one of the best teachings was to be in your body to practice embodiment.

And I think this is more normalized now for yoga teachers. So if you’re someone who’s just gone through teacher training, you’re probably like, well, yeah, but it didn’t, we didn’t used to talk that way 20 years ago it was much more of a separation and now you know, the kind of tea, the kind of yoga I learned was no be a human being.

This is your time to be humans. So don’t separate from your body, right? Don’t try and be something above other people. Don’t reside in this spiritual realm where you miss out on having a body. Enjoy food. Enjoy sex, enjoy. You know, hugging somebody. Enjoy wearing clothes that feel good. Enjoy putting a lotion on your skin.

This is your [00:33:00] body. And again, I’m not even getting into diet, culture and weight. That’s a whole other thing. I’m just talking about being inside a body and that has always been really, again, another thing I’ve talked to the girls about is like you get to feel these things. You get like, I love it when someone combs my hair.

Or if Todd rubs my feet or, I love, there’s certain things that feel good to me and that’s, I feel so lucky cuz I’m in a body. And I get to feel those things. And I think a lot of somatic therapy is now catching up with these ideas with that. Somatic therapy being like that reconnection to what’s going on inside of you and like, feeling things through, talking things through your body that it resides inside of you.

And making those connections where the mind and body have been separate, you’re reconnecting. And this is. So to your point, Todd, I [00:34:00] used to be very frustrated with writers, yoga teachers who would teach us that we need to be above our bodies. I think that’s what you’re talking about. And also people in our lives who 

Todd: have blind faith. Who have blind faith that things are just gonna fall in into place. 

Cathy: They play the spiritual game and forget the body game. 

Todd: Like, no, you got bills to pay and you gotta go figure out how to pay those 

Cathy: bills. Thank you. That’s where I wanted to go.

And if you are a body and you are a human on this human walk, then you have to live as a human being, which means you live in a community, and you live in a home and you have to mow the lawn and you have to pay your bill, and you have to, do good things for people. You don’t get to just be like, I’m so spiritual.

I don’t have to do these things. You need to show up as a human being. 

Todd: And there’s times when you can get lost in the spiritual realm. Great. Go ahead. And there’s. You can get lost in the human realm. And I tend, that’s where I usually get lost. And I think if there is an answer to this, it’s like, make [00:35:00] sure that you’re paying attention to both.

Cathy: And I think that Todd and I hold hands through this. I think I’ve gotten very lost in the spiritual realm and we, and have more of a propensity, is that a word? Sure. To do that. Because that’s a very soothing connected place for me. I feel very in my element, but Todd holds my hand and keeps me on the earth.

And I think with Todd he can be so, yeah, sweet, 

Todd: earthy. You lift me 

Cathy: off the ground, I say, yeah, I’m kinda like Todd, look up. Not, and I don’t mean, I mean you look at the stars just as much as I do, but recognize what you don’t understand. 

Todd: Speaking of looking up, my friend Mark Miller texted me this morning and wants us to consider doing Up.

For pop culture. Oh, I love Up Favorite and I thought about that and 

Cathy: We should see if my Aunt Peg wants to do it with us. Yeah, let’s get Po Bear 

Todd: on there. She’s the biggest fan. Yeah, and I totally sidetracked here, but the first 10 minutes of up might be the best 10 minutes of movie cinema history.

Cathy: That’s human. Man. The first 10 minutes of that movie is just a [00:36:00] human experience. And the spiritual nature of it is the love. You know what I mean? The being there like, so someone may look at that and be like, Well, that’s all in the human element, but the reason it’s meaningful, the reason we can feel it.

Well, let me go back to the ai, the chatGPT. And I know you’re saying I can heighten it and it can all of a sudden become kind of humanish. But you know, I was saying, I was asking it for words. I. It gave me words, but they were empty words. They didn’t feel like anything. Then I kind of reshaped them, put my personality into them, took this word out, changed this word, and all of a sudden it was like I filled up a balloon.

You know, it was like, now this was an empty balloon and now I’m in it. Now, and that’s the same thing with the beginning of up Opus. It’s like, even though it’s a cartoon, you feel the love between these two people. Well, and for 

Todd: me, like the whole spiritual. Piece for me, like that’s heart center stuff.

For me. Exactly. Just love, [00:37:00] attraction, relationships, partnership, courtship that like there’s, I mean, I know we’re wired for procreation and all that, but there’s still like something really spiritual about the whole idea of that we’re still on this earth. It’s kind of crazy.

Cathy: Well, and dig into I don’t understand what you mean. 

Todd: I don’t even know what I mean. I just feel like, like we should be exta. Like No, well that’s one thing, obviously. I mean, there’s plenty of reasons why you might say that. We probably should be based on how some of us are acting towards this earth, towards each other, everything else.

But I don’t really know. It’s just when and because I think the thing is, you talked about the body and to reside in it. And I, my thing is the one part of the body that is not on the earth walk is the heart. Even though it is heart pumps blood, but the heart also creates intimacy. It creates affection for one another in a [00:38:00] way that just seems mysterious to them.

Cathy: When you say it’s not on the earth walk, what do you mean? 

Todd: I think my kidneys and my feet and my brain and all these other things are here for my earth walk. And I feel like the heart, not the one pumping in my chest right now, but instead, my love for you or my love for our kids? 

Cathy: You, you mean the feel, the Yes.

The energy Yes. Of connection. Yes. It’s not just the the organ. Correct. The heart, correct. But you mean Well, as Todd, as a trainer for the Institute of HeartMath. Yes. This, that’s something Todd and I used to do. 

Todd: I think my certification expired about eight years ago. Well, 

Cathy: one of the things that we learned from the Institute for HeartMath, we used to work with them, was the fact that the energy of the heart, like the lengths, the the amount of what would I say, the energy that emits from our brains is not as much as the energy that emits from our [00:39:00] hearts. So, and I’m saying this from Oh do you understand what I mean? The 

Todd: electromagnetic field, the electromagnetic around your heart, electro larger, is much larger than the one around your brain. 

Cathy: So when we think we’re thinking beings and we connect through thoughts, yes.

Like that’s, you can’t deny that. But really the way we connect is through this like energy around our heart. And I think that our ability to tap into that more, to tr talk about embodiment. To trust what your body is feeling, but you can’t trust what your body is feeling if you’re disconnected from your body.

So this is why some people will say, I have no idea what you’re talking about. One of. My husband, okay, so I’ll just talk about you, Todd. Talk about me for a while, Todd. About a month and a half ago hurt his ankle playing pickleball or he thinks he did that way? 

Todd: It’s two and a half months ago and it was my Achilles tendon, but go ahead.

I’m not keeping track of dates. Right, but it’s been 10 weeks. 

Cathy: It’s been a while. He then had to work on focus on the healing of it because he is [00:40:00] going to Alaska with JC and he just wants it to heal in the right way. He’s being very smart, but he’s been incapable of moving the way he really wants to move.

I feel a different energy from Todd. And I have since this happened. Now, when I say that, I don’t mean there’s something wrong with him or he needs to change it or anything like that. I know he’s not at his top layer of energy. I know it. And someone will say, well, how, what did he say? What did he do?

I have no idea. I, he, I can just feel him around me. And I’m, and it’s like, almost like I can, when we look at our computer and we see the battery power Todd’s battery power is like 82%. So he’s still doing all the dad things. It’s not that he’s disconnecting, it’s not that. It’s that he’s not where he wants to be.


Todd: And I can tell it’s like, for what energy am I doing these things from? 

Cathy: Exactly. And that is not, I think some people would be like, what are you talking about? From the surface, it looks the same. I can feel him, I can feel that with my children too. I can feel it with people that I walk by in the library.

It’s exhausting. You know, like you can [00:41:00] be you know that some, you can feel these things. And I believe that’s a heart energy. I think there is that kind of connection. So these are things going back to the title of the show that I talk to my kids about. My three children are very different and they look at things differently.

They handle life differently. They have different skill sets. It ha these kind of beliefs, intertwine in their lives in different ways. They do not all speak the same language. They do not all interact with the world in the same way. But there is this underneath foundation that I believe they trust in.

And that underneath foundation is that the universe has their back. It also is that things go wrong. Don’t be surprised. Because hitting walls, Is how we then course correct that because the universe has your back. There are times that A, you’re going to hit a wall, something will not work. And can you [00:42:00] look at it through the lens of, after you’ve tried it a bunch of different ways.

Cuz again, I’m not saying one hit against the wall means give up, but if you’re like, wow, this isn’t working. Yeah, that maybe there’s something there and I don’t simplify it. I don’t say, well see the universe has protected you move on. I say, This is mysterious. Right? So maybe there is something in this that we should consider going a different direction.

Todd: I have as we get close to closing shop here two resources. Remember the book Life’s Operating Man Manual by Tom Shady. Oh, so good. So good. And then he also did a documentary called I Am. And in that documentary it has a bunch. In the book, it has all these kind of like, just really interesting ways, experiments that, that don’t. Back up by scientific reason. It’s like remember, or they actually do, well, remember when he is connected to the yogurt or he’s, they’re doing the yogurt experiment, 

Cathy: but that is scientific. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. It

Todd: doesn’t make sense. So what happens is [00:43:00] they throw a bunch of images in front of this guy, in front of this yogurt and in they have these whatever testing things.

They’ve got it connected to you inside the yogurt to see what type of energy is being emitted from this, I guess person looking at pictures, inanimate substance. But you, but the guy looking at the fun pictures and the scary pictures is not connected to the yogurt itself yet. The yogurt is carrying different energy based on what the person is observing in front of 


Cathy: Well, isn’t this the thing about, isn’t this, the thing is like if you something The double S slit 

Todd: experiment. The double slit experiment. Yeah, that’s, he talks about that as well, and he’s got like six or seven really good, interesting examples of spirituality, heart essence, whatever word you wanna use.

But yeah, the double slit experience is basically, and I’m not a scientist, but basically the act of observing something changes that the properties of that thing. Exactly. And if somebody, if nobody’s looking at it, then it acts one way. But if somebody’s looking at it, [00:44:00] then it acts differently and it’s, I think they’re like measuring beams of light or something like that.

Cathy: So basically what Todd is saying is he’s doing, he’s talking about experiments and you know, kind of, he’s showing illustrations of how there is mystery. And how does this make sense? Even though Todd’s like, this isn’t scientific. It is, but it’s not science that we focus a lot of energy on. Right.

And this is why it’s the only thing I didn’t love biology. I didn’t love chemistry, but I did like physics because it had a spiritual nature to it, there were things about it that are mysterious, you know, why? And we don’t get to know why. We just get to live inside of it. Yeah and you know, as this is a very cliche thing to say, so I’m owning that, but you know, it, life is not about answers.

It’s about asking questions. You’re always staying curious about what’s going on. I have like 50 other things on this list. Well, maybe we’ll do part two next week. I was gonna say like the, we obviously talked about embodiment, but I wanted to talk about initiations and rituals. Oh, interesting.

Because that’s a huge part of helping [00:45:00] our children understand a more spiritual, self-aware nature. Recognizing coincidences. I wanted to talk about this. Can I finish with this? Sure. 

Yoga and Meditation 

Cathy: Because a lot of parents talk to us about yoga and meditation. How do I get my kids to do yoga and meditate? Okay, so because I was doing yoga, teacher training, when my girls were little, they were watching that.

So they knew I was doing yoga all the time. And you don’t even have to do teacher training. If you’re doing yoga in your house or going to classes or there’s yoga mats around they know what yoga is. You know their watch. And Todd does it all the time too, or he used to. And so they see it. Sometimes we would invite the girls to do classes with us.

Todd and I used to teach family yoga and we’d invite them and they’d sometimes come, they sometimes wouldn’t. But basically it was more of a role modeling of here is something that helps me here is access to a mat. A couple years ago, Skylar and I started doing yoga every morning cuz it was really helpful to her and stabilizing.[00:46:00] 

She doesn’t do that anymore, but she still does it occasionally. What I notice cuz now that my girls are older and have been through the stages, they have picked it up when they’ve needed it. Like instead of doing pe they both JC and Cameron did yoga class in instead of doing a regular physical education and they, and now sometimes Cameron goes to yoga classes on Saturday morning.

This is without my influence at all. These are things they’ve figured out for themselves. And it’s the same with meditation. You don’t force your kids to do these things. You role model it. You offer them ways to do it. You create a place in their room to meditate. You say let me help you with that if they want it.

But they will. If they see it as an option that has worked for you and your partner or you, they will then become more interested. But if you don’t do either of them and you tell your kid to do it, it doesn’t mean anything. 

Todd: Wonderful. Sweetie, do you wanna add anything to that? No, I think that there’s a lot [00:47:00] there and I think if we want, maybe we’ll go with part two next week.

Okay. I like it if we so choose cuz there’s, we know where I would start with all that. But but in closing, I just wanna say we did not talk about Team Zen, but if you as a listener wanna spend more time with Cathy and I, we do these talks twice a month. We also send out fuzzy sh fuzzy socks or t-shirts.

They’re so warm. And if you want to be in a community of about 95 or so, other amazing moms and dads please join us. It’s 25, 20 bucks a month. 25 every go. 25, 25 bucks a month. So just scroll a little bit and you will find the signup and you can cancel it any time. 

Cathy: It’s an app and there is a lot there, man.

Yeah, I am. I just, I know we don’t have time, but I just got off Twitter again cuz Twitter makes me sick to my stomach sometimes, and I just love our app. Like I love scrolling through it. I love putting stuff on it. It’s just a more optimistic place to be. Boom. 

Todd: Cathy, wrote a book called Zen Parenting: Parenting Ourselves and Her Children in an Unpredictable World, you can. Pick that [00:48:00] up wherever bookstore are sold, absolutely everywhere. And then I am also a one-on-one coach for guys and also lead a international virtual men’s organization called Men or Men Living Go. So go to men

So, we’ll see you all next week and I guess keep on trucking, right? You bet. And don’t forget to breathe.