I always thought that love alone is what made you a great parent… And then I became a parent. When I look back on my parenting throughout the years I often find myself judging my actions. The lack of sleep left me exhausted, short tempered, and impatient. I would be angry, resentful that I had to stay home and take care of four kids while my husband traveled for business. Who was there to rescue me when I needed love, attention and a break from my duties? In this mindset, all my motherly love went out the window, leaving me upset and angry with myself. It wasn’t like I was being rewarded or getting a raise for a job well done. Giving, giving and more giving left me wanting answers to how to be a better mom. I thought loving and caring for my children was all they needed and everything would be calm and run smoothly. That wasn’t always the scenario that played out in my wishful thinking and fantasy of parenting.
Then one day the truth took hold; this whole ordeal was really all about me. My needs. How they made me feel. How they made me look. I had the startling, gut wrenching realization that my unconscious programs were self-centered at best. When my daughters didn’t follow my commands, I had my own childish tantrums and acted out in childish, needy, judgmental ways. I felt so lost and ashamed of myself.
Searching for the answers, I turned within. I saw how many conditions I had put on myself wanting to be the perfect mother, and then projecting my ideals and beliefs onto them. I just wanted so much for them to follow the conditions I had placed on them, those old-paradigm thought forms I inherited from societal “norms” programs, and cultural values and beliefs.
This programmed behavior was projected onto me, and now I found that I was doing it to my own children. I would hear the voice of my grandma or other parental figures saying, “If I do all these things for you, you need to act a certain way. You need to treat me with respect and obey my wishes and commands.” As I released the fear that control brings, I was able to surrender and let go. Trust myself to do it right, and more importantly, trust my kids.
From this new perspective, I began to experience the ideology of conscious parenting. This was leading by my heart mind, using my intuition to navigate in a world that transcends any ideology, belief, or attachment to outcomes. This was experiential navigation facilitated by vibration. This required discipline and practice, a new style of feeling my way through my authentic expression. From this new found place I was automatically loving and conscious. The only way to be in my loving state was to remain stationed in a state of transcendent awareness, practicing being present with the feelings that came up in the moment with engaged, heart centered listening. As the old paradigm programming began to dissipate I didn’t intellectualize the right vs wrong mentality anymore. I was a liberated practitioner of conscious parenting.
You might ask “what is conscious parenting? How do we raise our children this way when we live in a mainstream cultural misappropriation that dictates our life and how we raise our children?” We can parent in this style by dispersing the inauthentic qualities of: control, fear, social pressure, judgment, authority, rigidity, lack of spirit, intellect based. Everything basically coming from fear not love We can match these more negative or reactionary emotions with their positive counterparts, like patience, expansiveness, open-hearted communication, being liberated from the mainstream, etc.
I remember my twins Lily and Rosie being in Pre K, and the teacher said to me “your girls need to stop hugging other children.” The part that really got me upset was Rosie telling me at the tender age of four that the teacher told her she had to keep her hands to herself. I had raised them to give love to others that feel sad or lonely, knowing that love is the only thing that truly heals us. She understood the concept and tried practicing it, but was shut down by the teacher’s unawareness, and the cultural beliefs of public school that no touching is allowed, even humane signs of affection.
As I was evolving from the old paradigm into the new I tried to eradicate myself from this wounded cultural belief and emerge whole. I wanted to raise my children differently. But I lived in the “real world,” so sending them to public school was what I did. I was in the midst of the duality. I never wanted to exit this material culture and live off the grid. The question that challenged me was how to integrate into the cultural norms with all these projections I was shedding for myself and practicing with my children. I was diligently integrating my beliefs, and heart –centered approach, while living very much in the material world that I was grateful to be a part of. As I evolved, a new worth of myself and parenting as a mother, caregiver, healer, and caretaker was transforming. Instead of self-sacrifice, and losing myself in motherhood I began to honor myself and children in my intuitive decisions and do it my way. This was always for the highest good of all concerned for my family when making choices, and not to operate out of fear.
I have given my children the tools to use their intuitive abilities and integrate into the cultural beliefs that they are faced with everyday. To find the balance within I introduced them to the healing of sound, vibration and movement. Many a night I took them to chanting and ecstatic dancing, or sound healings to feel the unknown forces within and feel the power of their own inner healer. I feel that giving them the opportunity to check out from the societal pressures to achieve, or the rat race of constantly doing with hobbies and multiple activities truly gifted them an opportunity to experience themselves. and just BE.
This has been a bigger gift and blessing than they may be able to comprehend right now, but it is my intention to set them up for a successful, happy life of loving themselves. How can a child love his or her self if he can’t experience his or her inner landscape? The unknown inner world where dreams, desires, and joy live. How can they have an experience with their soul, outside of organized religion that many feel as their spiritual encounters? I believe our children should be raised by making choices from their authentic self, and at a young age we don’t understand this concept. So many young kids second guess themselves and rather than being set up for success with their own self confidence and navigational ability, they derive their primary guidance from friends and observing what others are doing as a guide to finding happiness.
I cherished the days of riding in the open spaces, being free on my bike until dawn. I want my children to let their minds just wander into the vast inner depths and silent crevices where the small voice of intuition becomes louder. Where happiness isn’t later and something we chase. Its NOW. We are born joyful and happy, and then all these mandates bombard our being. The art of truly living is tapping into the unlimited joy within. Role modeling that to my children is the gift I could give them. We can live by our inherent nature, which is joy. Instead of guiding them around the parameters, incessant rules and restraints we place and then try to find joy within. The keeping up with all the others around us is daunting, fueled with the societal pressure to always take action. Dancing, soccer, art, gymnastics, choir, singing, it goes on and on. Falling prey to the irrational belief that if we don’t do all of this we will fall behind, or not be good enough. We have become enraptured with constantly comparing ourselves to what all the other kids and moms are doing. This has been highlighted in social media today.
No wonder all of the kids have anxiety, its insanity. The problem is the intent is for external approval and living in a false self. This leads to unhappiness and burn out if you can’t and don’t want to keep up anymore. I have bought into this many times. I recently opted out of a trip to St. Tropes with my husband, which was a big shift for me. I go every year, but this year decided to stay home, take care of the girls, and get them off to summer trips and camps.
When our children try to keep up and their spirit wants otherwise, the rebel in them emerges. As parents we often get angry and resentful instead of listening to the needs of their spirit, and their dreams. Teaching them to discern between their resistance and trusting their own intuitive choices is conscious parenting at its best, and a lifelong tool to activate their authentic self-expression.
So the question is “what do you want to create for yourself and your children?” or, “What am I feeling right now? Why am I losing my patience?” In this self-inquiry we must always discern if we are coming from a fear-based reaction. It is so important to be mindful not to project your own fears onto them.
How do we send them out into the world to follow their heart?
It starts with the parents. As a mom, I have embodied a different consciousness within myself. I show them what that looks like, which I refer as the new paradigm. With this knowledge and empowerment, we wake up excited to do what we love, knowing that we are the ones that ignite the fire within. That happiness is doing and trying new things and from that you feel content and purposeful. Its all about new experiences.
My kids laugh all the time at me and all my experiential lifestyle. I’m hooping, learning harmonium, surfing, singing, wanting to start a band, the list is ever evolving and changing. In this new attitude, I’m saying that life is meant to be embodied, to fully experience and be felt. The goal is not for outcome, or expectation for gain alone. It also teaches them the value of their needs and wants. We set them up for trying, making effort, not giving up, listening to their spirit. As we do the same for them and ourselves together.
Teaching our children to trust themselves and their actions is helping them take responsibility for their own success. When we trust ourselves we can trust others and create a life of love not sourced from fear. They then have the opportunity to own their mistakes and limitations. Instead of teaching our kids how tough the world is, we teach them to be loving, and loving themselves, not coming from fear and not being motivated by fear or pressure. Being motivated by fear leaves us doubting and feeling empty. Kids don’t know fear; it is a learned behavior. From adults role modeling it to them, sometimes we aren’t conscious of it. This isn’t to place blame, but to awaken a new perspective and explore how it can be so different when you set them up for a glorious life by saying life is good. The unknown can be supportive with trust. As a practice, going to gratitude and feeling blessed and how much we have. Not just materially, but also helping them to identify the abundance within. Instilling them with the knowing they always have a choice to turn things around by shifting their perception.
I often tell my children that in every so called “bad decision” is an opportunity to see the good or the lesson. Fear based breeds bitterness, resentment, and negativity. Always reference back to the truth that we have a choice to decide otherwise in any given moment, and to choose love over fear. You can travel down the rabbit hole or say life is abundant. That we all have troublesome things that come into our lives, and that life throws us curve balls. But who we are with ourselves while going through the challenges is the only exploration that is the most rewarding. To unearth, understand, and take time to contemplate our life, situations, reactions, motivations, etc. It is in this growth and expansion within we can teach our children to be mindful of the person they are showing up as in the world.