Daring greatly…Choosing Courage
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” Brené Brown
Parts of me never wanted to be in the arena. But the Universe had other plans. My Soul had other plans. Turns out my mission is to be in the arena, living a life of daring greatly with my highly reactive, hypersensitive, high needs child. Not only so that I could learn, grow and help myself and my child to thrive amongst all the challenges, but also so I could then serve and guide other mothers who are struggling to thrive with their hypersensitive kiddos.
There is no one in the world that will challenge you more than your child.
There is no one in the world you will love more and learn more from you than your child.
And, there is no greater job in the world than to step up and dare greatly to transform into a better you in the face of your child.
How I went from triggered, depleted, hopeless and trapped to greater calm, empowered, hopeful and even free.
Before I became a more regulated parent who could once again experience hope and joy, I was living a “conditioned” and “programmed” life ruled by survival reactions, helplessness and feeling trapped in the face of my highly reactive, hypersensitive, high needs child.
It was exhausting and futile to try to get my child to change his behaviors.
Fears of the future were crushing me.
I was reactive, hard on myself, and on my child.
My mental and physical health were suffering greatly.
I felt deeply alone….and helpless to change any of it.
Ruled by survival reactions
No one could have prepared me for the rough start of parenting.
From a baby who barely ate, slept and deemed “failure to thrive” to a growing child struggling with Anxiety, Demand Avoidance, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Sensory Processing disorder and Autism…I was challenged to the extreme.
Often hand-cuffed by the fear of his health and future, I spent much time in hypervigilance trying to find a fix for my child.
Stuck in reactive anger patterns, my survival brain saw my child as an “imperfection” that threatened the “false” safety net of fitting in with society and being a good enough parent.
Feeling out of control to change him or me left me feeling helpless and trapped.
Wanting to change him left me feeling a lot of guilt and shame, as deep down I knew it wasn’t his fault.
Before I knew it, I fell into a pit of despair yearning to leave this planet.
I was failing as a parent, and I was blaming my child for it.
The discovery that changed everything
I am not my survival programming. I am not my brain and body.
I am Awareness. I am Consciousness. I am a True Self. And, I can be in relationship with my programmed body and brain and help it to change.
This is the discovery that started to give me space to work with what was causing me so much pain and suffering in the face of my highly reactive child.
I am living with this brain and body that is programmed for survival…but it is not me. So how do I work with this survival programming so I can see my son differently and instead thrive with him?
All I (my true self) wanted was to show up as the calm, regulated parent so I could help my child. All I wanted was to feel joy with my child and delight in him again. All I wanted was to feel hope for the future and once again feel the freedom I longed to feel.
Being in relationship with my survival programming and helping it back to safety was THE WAY.
It was time to do the U-turn and work with what was going on inside of me, instead of hyperfocusing on trying to change what was outside of me.
Working with the nervous system…a body based approach
So, I embarked upon this path of healing, and learned that my survival programming lived in my body - my nervous system.
I tried for years to work with thoughts, only for my body reaction to take me over when the triggering got to be too much.
I learned that trauma lives and reacts from the body, so I went on a journey of learning to be in relationship with my nervous system and help it to feel safe in the face of my child’s reactivity.
Using this body based approach was the greatest opening for me to finally feel like I had some agency to help myself and my reactions.
The more I did this work, the more I moved out of helplessness and fear, to being in my power to affect change, both within myself and my child.
Working with the brain…using the power of neuroplasticity
Due to the negativity bias of our brains, and living in a chronically triggering and stressful environment, my brain became a big pile of fearful and negative thoughts. This is the power of neuroplasticity gone wrong!
As I understood my brain and how it got to be wired this way, I was able to work with its fear and the meanings it was making.
I am a bad parent if I can’t control my child’s behaviors
I am a failure if I can’t get my child to change
I am wrong and bad if I can’t stay calm with my child
I can never be successful in life with this child
Nothing works! I’m helpless to affect change
This is where the brain goes if left to its own devices (aka negativity bias!) because many of us have been programmed to think this way.
What I really wanted my brain to believe was…
My child’s behaviors do not reflect me and my self worth
I am a good enough parent who is doing the best I can
Success is not about my child’s success, it is about how I show up with an open, accepting and loving heart
I have choice in every moment…I am in my power
I am safe, and I am free, even in the face of a child who needs a lot of control
Working with the meanings my brain was making allowed me to step more into my power and show up with greater calm and regulation in the face of challenges. And, it allowed me to once again feel joy and hope.
Changing my relationship with myself
Through my healing journey, I also realized the crucial importance of how I was in relationship with myself.
I could not accept my emotions or acknowledge my true needs.
I was hard on myself, with a wicked inner critic that shamed me for anything I did that was not in line with perfection.
I had to learn how to let go of perfectionism, and instead develop self-compassion, self-forgiveness and love and accept all parts of me – the dark and the light - so that I could then love and accept all parts of my son.
I had to develop a more comforting relationship with my emotions, and allow myself to grieve for the parenting experience I never got, and allow sadness to be expressed for how hard and painful things were at times.
I also had to let go of being the martyr and allow myself time and space to do what I wanted and needed to feel whole and free again so that I could show up as the regulated parent who could be a source of safety for my child.
Embracing my soul’s mission and the bigger purpose
On the journey of realizing that I was not my brain and body and its programmed survival reactions, I began to embrace spirituality and the bigger meaning to the challenges I was experiencing in this life with my child.
I came to understand that I am a soul living in a human body for a short period of time, and I am here to play a role on this stage called life. I actually did have agency in choosing this role and its circumstances from a soul perspective.
And this role has a greater purpose: To face these challenges so that we can learn and grow and discover who we truly are when we do not blindly follow our programming and conditioning. This became my anchor for the hard times.
Surrendering to what is meant to be, and having Faith in a bigger meaning to it all is no easy task for the survival system which will fight tooth and nail to maintain control at all costs.
Embracing the soul-led path is what ultimately helped me to step into courage, stay in the arena and find my true power.
The more I trusted in the Universe, and developed faith in the growth experience of this life, the more I saw the experience of the relationship with my son as a gift.
A gift that would teach me how to become my greatest and most purposeful true self!
Find your power
Parenting a highly reactive, hypersensitive, high needs child is no easy task but it is part of your path for a reason: so that you can find your power within an extremely challenging circumstance.
This starts with understanding who you truly are and working with changing your unconscious survival programming at a body and mind level that is keeping you reactive, stuck and disconnected.
When you change what’s on the inside, you change the way you see your child and your life. You step into a bigger picture view of your life. Your whole experience of life changes as a result.
This is your POWER.
As someone who has experienced great shifts in nervous system and emotional/mental health and has helped hundreds of clients to do so too, I can help you find your power to reprogram your nervous system and brain towards greater calm, confidence, empowerment and hope in the face of your highly reactive child.
Free Offering To Get You On Your Path To Regulating Your Nervous System
FREE EBOOK + VIDEO SERIES: 7 STEPS TO REGULATED & RESILIENT PARENTING with your highly reactive, hypersensitive, high needs child
I believe in your ability to find your power in the face of your highly reactive, hypersensitive child.
Now it’s time for you to start believing in yourself.
Book a free 30 minute call with me today!Please email me at [email protected] to book a free consultation
What Clients Are Saying
Before working with Afshan I didn't have the words to identify what or why I was feeling the way I was both internally and also in the overwhelm of parenting. After working with Afshan I can now better identify signs of my own dysregulation. This has helped me parent with less explosions. But what I also found huge value in, is rather than having the same explosions when they do creep up, I now sit with them for what they were and then focus on my choice point to change the trajectory. What I like about Afshan is her voice and ability to break down the information she is sharing in a way that just makes sense. She has helped me understand a whole new perspective of my kids, husband, and really the world around me. I feel like I made HUGE progress throughout my time with Afshan. Her teachings are still with me everyday. The whole family benefited from my time with her. I spread the word about her every chance I get! For one, she has the best voice! She is also very organized and was able to keep us focused throughout our sessions. I found the way she teaches was very digestible and in return it made it "easy" to implement. I would highly recommend her because of the lived transformation I had working with her!
Before coaching with Afshan, I was challenged with knowing how to calm down my daughter when she would have constant tantrums. It was very draining, disheartening, and I felt powerless and like an incompetent parent because I wasn't able to help her, or to regulate my own emotions. After Coaching With Afshan, I have very specific tools that I can use to bring my nervous system down. She also offered me many insights and changes in perspective, which I found immensely valuable. Afshan was very kind, compassionate, understanding, and had a ton of knowledge and experience relating to children with high needs. Not only is she able to teach you how to manage the difficulties you may be facing, she is also able to offer you specific paths to look into that you may not have thought about. I truly feel like a more capable mother after working with Afshan :)
In coaching with Afshan, within 6 sessions, I definitely feel I have come a long way in terms of staying calm and being less angry. My children and husband have noticed and recognized when I *would* have “exploded” in the past, but am now holding it together better. I used to think that “Staying calm/being less angry” were two sides of the same coin, but now I see them as more separate: I think now I can get angry about something and not let it overflow into things unrelated and as a result of that I am more calm. Now I am more “in the moment” with my interpersonal in-home relationships and can deal with conflict better. I think my biggest (emotional) obstacle was getting a hold on my anger issues. All the other things have progressed because that anger is not as ever-present as it was. Afshan’s ability to listen with an understanding heart, making it feel like a safe place to share my conscious and unconscious thoughts, and following up with emails and suggestions on how to deal with complicated feelings between sessions helped me to feel heard and like I mattered.
Before coaching with Afshan, I was struggling with rage, giving looks of disapproval, lack of confidence and worthiness. In 6 sessions, Afshan helped me to make a lot of changes in my thought processes, beliefs and action changes too. I am a calmer parent, a more aware person and in touch with my consciousness. I feel worthy and able to handle situations from my true self, feel supported from my Self and way less reactive. Afshan was so gentle, non-judgmental, gave prompt quality feedback and checked in with me. I felt I could trust her right away. All which made a difference. I feel gratitude.
Before coaching with Afshan I always felt like “my kids were doing this to me” and they were being “bad”. I felt frustrated and very concerned that they were not nicely behaved human beings. At the same time I felt a lot of guilt for getting frustrated with them. As we worked together, I learned that a lot of my reactions to my children were due to my own traumas I had experienced with my parents and at school, which resulted in me feeling like I was “bad”. As we healed these wounds I found myself not reacting as much with my kids. I could see that their behavior was just a cry for help and I could feel more love and acceptance for them. I was also able to let go of the guilt and shame of feeling like I wasn’t a good enough parent. I’m much happier and more at peace as a parent.
Afshan’s coaching helped me to improve my relationship with my husband and let go of a lot of built up resentment and bitterness. I am much better equipped to handle disagreements and things don’t escalate like they used to. I am much happier and more at peace. Afshan helped me to listen to and understand what my emotions were telling me. It’s amazing as the little things that used to bother and sometimes consume me now don’t effect me at all. I also was able to understand my soul’s journey and my life purpose. I am so grateful. I believe I’m a much calmer and better mom as a result of this inner work.
The way that Afshan has helped me to get out of my own way has been nothing less than incredible. I'm pretty uptight and keep-things-to-myself still, and Afshan was able to really gain my trust -- fast. I could tell that she'd walked the walk and was so dedicated to helping others be more free from the emotional burdens that hold us back. I loved it that coaching sessions with her never added complexity or "layers" of further problems to weigh me down. She was the compassionate, clear guide to help me more fully relate to myself in ways that integrated (previously stressed-out) parts of my experience into the whole of who I am. We could dig deep without coming anywhere at all near the risk of emotional overwhelm and end sessions with new lightness and joy. I was especially touched by how above-and-beyond committed and utterly thorough she was in meeting me where I am and seeing me through the process. After just two sessions, I could write her saying, "I cannot even quite imagine why what used to fill me with such dread and sinking feeling could have been so stressful before!"
More About Me
As an expert in rewiring the nervous system and brain for greater calm and regulation with your highly reactive, hypersensitive child, I have been featured in multiple parenting summits and shows talking about the importance of prioritizing emotional health and learning to regulate your nervous system so you can have a more connected and trusting relationships with your kids.
I have also worked with other conscious-minded, mind-body health oriented organizations providing content on emotional health and conscious parenting.
Honours Bachelor of Science (H.BSc.) degree
with majors in Biology and Psychology.
Internal Family Systems Practitioner Level 2
A form of psychotherapy developed by Richard Schwartz that is compassionate, inclusive, spiritual, powerfully healing and deeply respectful of our inner life and the many “parts” of our personalities.
Certified Havening Practitioner
A psychosensory modality using the mind and body to gently repattern the brain and nervous system towards greater calm and resiliency.
Accredited Certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Practitioner
Certified Practitioner with EFTi. An Energy Psychology method proven to reduce stress and improve emotional health.
Certified Adler Trained Coach
Professional coaching certification, viewing the individual as a whole person with an integrated mind-body approach.
Compassionate Inquiry Certificate (Attendance)
A psychotherapeutic method that helps clients liberate themselves from the unconscious dynamics that run their lives.
DARe Level 1 - Healing Early Attachment Wounds
An attachment based approach to healing early attachment wounds with Diane Poole-Heller of Trauma Solutions.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), New York.
Foundations of Polyvagal Informed Practice
Deb Dana’s signature professional Polyvagal Theory training for clinical application.
Certified in the Body-Centered Coaching Method
A whole-person-centered approach that combines mindfulness with access to the body’s wisdom.
Tapping out of Trauma Certificate
A study of the neurobiological effects of trauma on the body and using EFT “Tapping” to release trauma so that the body/mind can self-heal.
Somatic Stress Release Level 2
The Embody Lab (Dr. Scott Lyon’s) somatic training on how to restore your biological stress response system.
Trainings with Child Development and Behavior Experts:
- Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s Attachment and Child Development Model (Level 1 + other courses)
- Dr. Ross Greene's Collaborative & Proactive Solutions 2 day training
- Dr. Stuart Shanker’s Self-Reg Foundations
- Dr. Mona Delahooke's Beyond Behaviors
- Dr. Stanley Greenspan DIR/Floortime, Level 201
- Studio 3, Low Arousal Approach
- Pathological Demand Avoidance, Level 1, PAST Organization (Laura Kerby)