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.

Continue Reading

Beyond Balance, To Thrive

daisies_base_79679_l.jpgI’ve mentioned before the topic of balance, the importance of prioritizing aspects of our time and delegating it appropriately.  This is necessary.  What has been brought to my attention since then is the notion of thriving, going beyond being balanced, finding what it is our soul yearns for and going full speed ahead to make sure we attain what it is we most desire.

Be very aware, for this shouldn’t be taken lightly.  In fact, my husband’s life coach was guiding him (and indirectly me, too) through the process.  You have to find out what it is you truly need, what your values are, what your true interests are and which of those are what you feel your soul’s calling is. 

If each of us have a purpose, I like to think that discovering what it is we want to thrive for will give us a pretty good sign of what that purpose is.  Maybe it’s teaching art classes to children in your community, helping at a local clinic, tutoring, writing novels, opening that cafe, having a gathering center or intentional community, starting a business with your unique ideas.  We all have gifts.  The universe has room for and welcomes what we have to offer. 

Our time is precious.  Get your plan in action for how you can do what it is you dream of.  You have to take care of necessities, but when it comes time to take that leap of faith, if it’s meant to be, the universe will help carry you through.  It’s not as easy as simply finding balance (and who said that was easy?).  But I’m sure the reward for the soul is manifest in more ways than one.

May we all find a way to thrive truly and thus bring fulfillment to our souls and richness to the universe.  Think about the wonderful example it sets for our children, too, as they grow up knowing that dreams aren’t always hokey, that even Mom trusted enough to follow at least one of her dreams.  Maybe the rest will have to wait until the kids are in college . . . or have kids of their own.  Be realistic.  Give yourself time.  Allow your soul to thrive.

* * *

I wrote this meditation last year.  A year ago, let’s just say we were putting all our eggs in a basket for a business that didn’t take off like it was supposed to according to our plans.  How often do you hear success stories from Plan A or even Plan C?  Who knows what plan we’re on now, but I feel great about where I am now for several reasons.  Perhaps this will help you, too.

I know, I’ve mentioned it before, and I know it seems hokey . . . if you’re not ready for it.  Apparently I was ready for it.  The realizations that I had a year ago (above meditation in mind) are reiterated in the book.  It’s just that in reading the book, a new level of clarity was attained for me, which is just fabulous.  But I can’t be attached to that.  : )  Others are having similar experiences.  Read on.

  • Purpose

The above book focuses on inner and outer purpose, your life’s purpose.  Everyone’s inner purpose is to connect to the Divine, in whatever lingo you prefer, with your ego diminished and out of the picture.  Great.  Now, with the ego gone, you’re more receptive to the Greater Calling.  Consider your gifts and passions.  How do they mix?  This will lead you to your outer purpose if you’re still enough to listen to that still small voice that speaks to your heart.  I’ve been wondering about how my spirituality, connection to women, writing, mothering all work together.  Well, here I am, writing almost daily on this blog I love, loving my children without owning them, and developing a role in the birth activist realm.  I’ve published my first article to DivineCaroline.  Read it here.

  • Thriving

God only knows the potential of the Universe.  If your ego is out of the way, you are tapped into that energy.  On days like yesterday and mornings like today where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining (at least most of the time), I feel like the energy overflows without and within my being.  I feel like I am that conduit of Divine Love and Potential.  I can’t do enough to share this with others.

  • Work

To my husband and to many others, all I do looks like a lot of work.  Looking at my lists, it looks like a lot to me, too!  But I LOVE all I am doing.  I feel like this is good stuff.  I tend to feel guilty, like I’m having too much fun, meeting too many wonderful people, receiving too many blessings.  BLAH!  This is GREAT!  No ego here.  I’m just tapping into the wonder that is Life.  Don’t worry.  I have bad days, too, when I don’t feel the connections so strongly.  But today, right now, is where I am, and now is good!  Echart Tolle mentions that the outer work might look like stress, but when you’re passionate, “in the zone,” (you know what I’m talking about), the vigor of your work is perfectly healthy.  With awareness, you know when your time comes to rest, and if you miss the clues, you wind up sick.  We’ve all been there.

hand_blue_light_796135_l.jpgThank you for sharing this journey with me.  I cannot wait to see what is to come.  While I cannot carry you or show you your purpose, I can inspire you to connect with the Divine.  I can carry the Light, a reflection of the Light that is within you if the real you chooses to see.

Continue Reading

Time to Listen

As important as our time in community with supportive others is, our time alone holds answers to questions we may not have realized we had.  With a quiet  environment, we can hear the racket in our minds.  If we sit in the outer quiet long enough, our inner quiet comes.  The “stuff” that clutters our mind hushes gradually like a first grader at the beginning of class.  “What will the lesson be today?”  If we hush and listen patiently, what’s important will reveal itself.

Perhaps our intuition will reveal itself, too, answering those questions we previously thought were beyond our comprehension.  Mind-thinking becomes centered response, a much better and more mindful way of saying “gut reaction.”  The power and wisdom of God is accessible through us, just as it was for Buddha, Jesus and others.  We’re just too busy to pay attention and too caught up in our own agendas to let God’s will be.

* * *

Now, interestingly enough, I originally wrote the above meditation sometime early 2006 in my journal from which I am pulling posts from time to time.  Here’s the really interesting bit.  I spent most of last week in Orlando, FL at the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services Forum.  (If you read my ACOG response post, you’ll know I mentioned them before in regards to Mother-Friendly Care.)  At this forum, I met amazing women, women who have spent most of their lives advocating mother-friendly care at all levels and women who are new to the effort but have dived in completely.  (I suppose I consider myself one of the latter.)  I spent last week surrounded by “supportive others.”  This is a WONDERFUL motivation for action.

Yet something happened which could have been considered unfortunate.  I left the forum early to catch my flight . . . the flight that got delayed.  I would have missed my connection, so I switched flights . . . to the one that got cancelled (after we were all boarded) because the co-pilot’s travel time was up (or something like that).  Because of the morning’s weather, most flights were delayed, and Atlanta was basically crazy.  I would be stuck in Atlanta’s airport all night even if I did make it there.  In line to get a voucher for a hotel in Orlando, a gentleman told us there were no hotels available anywhere in the surrounding area.  I was getting to stay in the airport all night anyway.  I must say images of The Terminal ran through my head.  But what could I do?  All along, I kept telling myself to just go with the flow.  Believe me, there were many others expressing their anger, and negativity can be hard to resist.  Perhaps it was a good thing I was tired already.  Only 12 hours until my flight.

Fortunately I had my bag filled with notes from the forum, my notebook (my memory) and some books.  Eating dinner of some highly nutritious Burger King, I settled to finish book one — Cesarean Voices.  (If you want to know what doctors aren’t telling you about cesarean sections, READ THIS BOOK, along with Silent Knife.)  Finishing and resolving to share the book, I moved on to organize my notes from the forum.  Sounds easy, but there were many slide show handouts to sort and pages of notes to categorize — tedious but necessarily helpful.  Then, on to the project that lasted the rest of the night and through the next morning — reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

Normally, I’m not one for hype.  Just because it’s an Oprah Book Club book doesn’t give me incentive to read it, but a recommendation from my spiritual director does.  Turns out, I love the book.  It voices and clarifies much of what I have experienced and feel in and about this life.  Thoughts I had would be addressed in the next pages.  I’m sure I’ll refer to it frequently, as I received much inspiration in my night alone in the concourse, despite the constant reminder of the terrorist threat being Level Orange.

For now, I’ll wrap up an otherwise long ramble to say that synchronistic events led me to have a night alone, a night of relative quiet, a night and morning of genuine insight and revelation that might have been otherwise missed or delayed.  Hopefully you won’t have to spend a night in the airport to get your quiet, but if it is due, apparently the Universe will go to great lengths to help you.

Blessings.

Continue Reading