Parenting with Awareness: Don’t Keep the Home Fires Burning

momandbabe.jpgWhile doing the dishes yesterday, I took the opportunity to listen to/watch Oprah’s latest A New Earth webcast.  Obviously I’m enamored with this book right now because it applies so much to my journey.  If you read it and think it’s bunk, it’s not for you right now.  Read it again in a few years.

The thing about Chapter 5 is the “pain body,” that emotional aspect of the ego that feeds on negativity.  Think Christmas and all the family feuds simmering until the first bubble surfaces and bursts, setting off the chain reaction until everyone’s boiling mad.  Think your child throwing a tantrum,  pushing all your buttons until you, too, are throwing your own tantrum or stifling it, building up for sometime soon.

I call it our ball of fire.  My kids have the brightest fire at times, and if I’m caught unaware, caught when I’m in my unconscious mode, mine is ignited, too.  Negativity spreads like wildfire around here.  But it doesn’t have to.

Often I can almost see the fire growing.  I can keep it contained to the affected being and send him/her to her own space until the cinders cool down.  It’s better for me to have one in her room smoldering than a whole house full of flames.  I get horrendous headaches, which was a huge signal for me.  I could feel the kids draining my energy when we were at odds.  Maybe I wanted to let go of my pain body, but one of my buttons could be pushed to manifest a headache.  It could go from bad to worse, or I could let go.  Often, I let go in tears.  As sad as it was, it helped the kids open their eyes to their own part in the drama.  Fortunately, this hasn’t happened in a while.

As Mr. Tolle suggests and we know, the only thing you can do — the only thing — is to be present and aware.  This means not taking it personally.  (We like The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.)  This means realizing that this behavior is not who the person truly is.  My children are not little devils set on ruining my life.  They are beautiful beings who at some level have an issue (to say the least) to work through in this life, to let go of.  I can feed that issue, fuel the fire, or I can realize that I, too, am just working through this life, my lessons.  Together, we can Be with each other, offer space to each other.  We were brought together in this beautiful relationship for a reason.  This holds true for my 18 month-old to my 9 year-old.  I’m sure it holds true for my husband and myself.

Again, it’s just one of those simple lessons.  Just Be.  Just listen with Compassion, not your compassion.  Experience the moment like a breath.

Parenting simplifies itself once we bring awareness to it, a sense of non-attachment.  Each moment, though, we practice.  Each day, we experience a new aspect of our pain body, a new side of our ego, and, thus, a new opportunity to grow.  This is our spiritual practice.  This is our Purpose at the moment.  Our children are wonderful teachers.  When and if they have their own children, they may see us as teachers, too.

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