Simple words written by Poet Mizuta Masahide in 17th century Japan now swimming inside my head and helping me understand my purpose with new clarity.
When I started this nutrition coaching work I used to jump out of bed, like a horse out of the barn. Full of energy to create content and answer questions. Ready to serve, ready to learn, ready to help.
I was filled up.
But then something went “off”...
My work stopped making my heart sing.
I learned years ago that my body will feel a shift long before my brain gets around to figuring out what’s up. So it’s not surprising that my back went out in May, forcing me into stillness.
And then those words.... “Barn’s burnt down - now I can see the moon”.
They made me realized I was focusing too much on WHAT I was doing, and not enough on WHY I was doing it.
Here’s where those words took me....
People come to me because they want to help their struggling kids. They want to know how food plays a part in their behaviour - their tantrums, their anxiety, their hyperactivity, their autistic symptoms...
They want to help. They want to fix. They want to see their kids thrive.
Of course they do. We love our kids with a force that is unimaginable. We Will Do Anything.
But here’s the thing.... there’s nothing wrong with your kids. They are perfect. They are the moon. Bright, glowing, reflecting, beautiful, whole.
Your kids are actually doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing.
They are reflecting.
They are the moon.
On the surface it might look like something is wrong with them.
They can’t self regulate.
They have aggressive outbursts.
They bang their head.
They can’t focus.
They can’t calm down.
They can’t get up.
They have bad skin.
They can't sleep.
They can’t learn to speak.
And don’t misunderstand me. There is something wrong. Often deeply wrong. But it’s not your child. Perhaps it's what they're reflecting.
Your child is reflecting. Reacting.
Reacting to foods, reacting to stressors, reacting to patterns, reacting to their environment
They are the moon.
Our kids are a gift. An invitation into change and growth.
They are a call to action and it's my deepest hope that we heed their call.
I've learned a lot about growth from Dr Shefali Tsabary. I've learned that we need to flip the idea of growth on its head.
Growth is not about adding complex layers or "stuff". It's not even really about moving forward. Or innovation. Growth requires a pairing down. Growth is about deconstruction and simplification. It’s about getting to the Core.
Growth is about dismantling the barn so you can see the moon.
Deconstructing and simplifying is really, at its core, what the process of Raising Resilience is all about.
And this was the missing perspective I was feeling in my work - that without a conscious understanding that what we're actually doing is dismantling the barn so we can see the moon, we risk missing the point. We risk not seeing our children behind their struggles or diagnoses. We miss the bigger picture of what they're telling us.
Raising Resilience is about getting back to basics - basics of healthy living and healthy connecting and healthy growing, and healthy learning - because our kids are demanding it.
Yes, I give you meal plans. Yes, I suggest some food eliminations. Yes I teach you about supplements and testing options and biological pathways. Yes I ask you to cook from scratch. Yes it's work. It's certainly inconvenient (another inconvenient truth?) Because, quite frankly, when it comes to healthy living, healthy connecting, healthy growing, and healthy learning, we've lost our way.
All these tools mean nothing unless you see this process for what it really is - a dismantling of the barn so you can see the moon.
In the process of Raising Resilience what I'm really asking of you is to examine and un-pack the biological, social and environmental stressors that are contributing to your kids’ symptoms. I'm asking you to examine the reflection and in the process tune in and grow with your child.
There’s nothing wrong with your kid. They are the kid they were meant to be.
I knew this as a teacher. I know this as a nutritionist. And I know this as a parent.
Believe in your kids. Tune in. Listen up. They’re trying to tell you something. They are inviting you into change.
I'm fired up again. Fuelled with a refined perspective.
Let's connect if you need support with this.
Burn down your barn so you can see your beautiful moon.
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Jess is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ and Family Health Expert, specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is the author of Raising Resilience: Take the stress out of feeding your family & love your life, a mother and an advocate for children’s health. Her book and online resources have helped families all over the world improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, autism and mood disorders by fitting the food and feeding piece into their health puzzles. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work helping families get healthier, and she continues to work at bringing an understanding of the power of good nutrition to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses and as a contributor to print and online magazines. You can reach Jess at www.jesssherman.com
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