Dr. Jan Johnston
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The Parent's Journey

Be here now:
Deal with one interaction at a time.

Self Territory

Knowledge of your inner self sphere helps provide a map to “making it” through life’s difficult journey. 

Having the presence to relate to your child one interaction at a time requires intention and awareness.

When you hear someone say, “I am not myself today,” the person means that they feel preoccupied and have not made a connection to self territory today. They have not taken time to breathe deeply, listen, or reflect. When we do not listen well to another, there are different perspectives or mind divisions, whether acknowledged or not, that keep us from being able to focus on the present moment even when that moment involves ourselves. We think one thought, and then our mind darts off in another direction. We may change directions in our thinking before we even finish our first thought! Sometimes our minds are so wrapped up with so many different mind divisions in our personalities that we miss the present moment altogether. Can you think of a time when your child asks you a question and you totally space out, even though the two of you are standing right next to each other? 

You can learn to make space between the bossy, critical roles in your personality and the overwhelmed parts that chronically have too much to do, too many worries, and too much stress. You have choices in your approach to every situation. If you want to practice being in self territory, becoming conscious of your self and others’ selves in here-and-now awareness, find spaces between your personality roles each day. Realize present moments. In one interaction at a time, you slow down the rapid-fire pace of action/reaction that characterizes much of your days.

What do you have to do in the present moment in order to mobilize self territory for one interaction at a time? 

  • Slow down your racing thoughts by taking three or more deep breaths.
  • Become aware of the intuitive, reflective nature underlying your personality. Just like vast, uncharted land and water territories, self territory has a quality of spaciousness that awaits your discovery. Your recognition of self territory continues to grow as you focus on becoming aware in present moments.
  • Have patience.  Devote yourself to becoming a responsible listener
  • Do not give up when you “mess up” and yell at your child. Collect your runaway thoughts and take some deep breaths. Say that you are sorry that you yelled and that you want to say something different now. There are multiple daily opportunities to practice relating to others one interaction at a time. 
When parents are in contact with their self territory, they have the best chance of meeting their own daily survival needs along with their children’s daily survival needs. A parent finds the space to relate to their needs and their child’s needs one interaction at a time.

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Continue the Journey

Become a Savvy Traveler:
Learn four keys to successful parenting.

Gather Family Stories:
Both children and adults have basic needs.

Map Your Personality:
We each have a peaceful core.


Dr. Janis Clark Johnston
Email DrJan@JanisJohnston.com • Telephone 708-334-9126

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The Parents' Journeys
Family Stories: 5 Needs
Savvy Traveler: 4 Keys
Be Here Now: 1 at a Time
Personality Map: Calm Core
About Dr. Johnston




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