Archive | December 2014

New Year’s

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As someone who happens to think that time is an illusion I actually really love the freshness of a New Year. When I say “time is an illusion” I mean it in the sense of being and living in the present. The only thing real about the future is what your mind tells you about it. The only tangible moment is now. Well now. And now. Ok, you get it. I’ve heard Eckhart Tolle (author of two of my faves A New Earth and The Power of Now) discuss how obviously we need to utilize our mind and reference the future for practical purposes (making plans, marking things on the calendar, etc) but we need to be aware that WE are utilizing the mind. THE MIND is not utilizing US. The mind would be utilizing us if we soaked up the joyful present moment with obsessive or anxious thoughts abut the future. I was inspired to write today because with the New Year approaching I’ve been thinking of how full of life and how grateful I am. I want to keep living in and enjoying every moment as I head into 2015 and continue to evolve. As long as you are focused in this very moment, then choosing to make New Year’s Resolutions is a fine idea. Use this moment to manifest the reality you seek for the rest of your days. And really anything that will help you to grow and prosper is a positive, enlightening moment for your soul. I think the particular point that I’m trying to make is to be mindful and to make sure you aren’t waiting to live in joy, happiness and health until some future date.

Be the best YOU possible in the New Year and in each and every moment thereafter. As simple as it sounds if you can make this your primary “goal” in 2015, I think it’s a fantastic idea; and instead of goal, think “way of living.” Of course what you want to work on for yourself is an entirely personal journey and the specifics are unique to you, but really what it all boils down to is connecting mind, body and soul. Become one with your soul in each and every moment and bring that wholeness to your interactions with each and every person. If you lose your shit with your kids, don’t get too hard on yourself. Focus and gather that shit up in the very next available moment. If you act like an overly sensitive, hormonal, pregnant, brat to your husband (I am SO not talking about myself) choose loving and centered responses in the very next moment. If you have a negative or judgemental thought about another person then identify it as just that (a thought) and choose loving, accepting thoughts in the very next moment. And better yet, focus on yo damn self. Too much time is wasted worrying about nonsense related to other people in our lives. If you happen to I don’t know, let’s just say for the point of conversation, eat an entire box (almost) of Russell Stover Milk Chocolate Almond Candies for dinner, then be more present and aware in your eating habits the next moment you have the chance. Again TOTALLY not me.

If things in your life seem particularly negative or overwhelming right now I’m not dismissing what you might be going through (my life circumstances aren’t always great either), I’m trying to share with you that any change you want to make starts right now with this moment. And if there is something you really just can’t change, then accept. Don’t waste your time resenting the present moment. Don’t wish away the next day, week, month or even year. That is NOT living and actually it is the antithesis to happiness.

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The work you do on your self IS for the greater good because as my boy Wayne says, “you can’t give away what you don’t have.” If you intend to give away love, peace, kindness, acceptance, joy, and on and on…then it starts with you. I wish you all a peaceful 2015 and even more important than that, a peaceful NOW.

With So Much Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on December 31, 2014. 1 Comment

Parenting Consciously

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If you have had a child then you know the indescribable feeling of coming face to face with them for the first time. Like most of you I will never forget the moment I laid eyes on my first born child (and to my 2nd, 3rd and soon to be 4th born the feeling was just as life altering). The emotion is so completely overwhelming. I was immensely happy; completely over the moon. I finally knew what tears of joy were. I also remember looking at my husband with tears of something other than joy in my eyes and confessing, “OMG I just love him so much, I’m so, I’m so…I’m terrified.” Those first moments of utter bliss came with a feeling of vulnerability I had never imagined. They’re letting me go home with this kid? Shouldn’t I take a test? Like even if it’s a multiple choice test. I would feel much better if they would just give me a freaking test…I’ve always been a good test taker. “Nurse? Doctor? Yes thank you I would love another Percocet but after that can you please direct me to the hospital’s testing center?” Did you know there isn’t a test? Yeah, I’m just as surprised as you are. And let me clarify. When I think back to that moment 6 1/2 years ago I wasn’t at all scared of the day to day caretaking things. I had been babysitting since I was 12. By the way now that I have my own children why was I babysitting at 12? I mean I was actually really responsible, but 12? I’d be damned! Anyway, I knew the diaper changing, feeding, getting the baby to sleep, knowing when to call the doctor, figuring out the breastfeeding, etc. etc. would just kind of come naturally to me. There is a lot I am not good at but I’ve always been the “OMG give me that baby” person at the family get-togethers and I felt that I was qualified to care for an infant. I wasn’t scared of dropping him. I wasn’t scared he would pee on me. I wasn’t scared of clothing, bathing, or feeding him. Hell, I don’t even think I was scared of middle of the night feedings (Ignorance is bliss isn’t it? You silly, silly little girl). No the fear was something much deeper. I knew in the depths of my soul that I had been given this perfect little spirit and it was solely up to me (and my husband) to help this child become who he came here to be. I was afraid that I wouldn’t know how to properly provide him with the guidance he needed to follow his soul’s purpose. One little mis-step and obviously he would become a serial killer, right? Ok so maybe that’s slightly dramatic but I was on hormone overload. I sit here 6 1/2 years later and I no longer let the fear I felt in those first moments guide my parenting. Sure with the earth shattering love you feel for your child you are obviously going to have some deep-rooted fears, but I’ve become more and more aware as time has gone on how the parenting journey is something that has unfolded so beautifully and so perfectly just as it was intended.

I’ve been reading books on spirituality for years. Since becoming a parent I’ve continuously thought “I wish someone could tell me how to directly relate these ideas to my parenting.” First and foremost any work you are doing to become more of who you were truly meant to be will be completely beneficial to the little ones in your life, but I was looking for a little more. I feel more and more comfortable in my own skin and I want to fulfill my role as a parent to the best of my ability. Well, I’ve found the book. I have been thinking of ways to introduce the book The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary since I started sharing my ideas via this blog. I can not say enough good things about this book. I saw the author in an interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and immediately ordered her book. After I read through it I wanted to tell everyone to read it. At the time I wrote up a little status on Facebook encouraging everyone to read it and if you’re friends with me I’m sure I’ve tried to convince you too. I’m really glad I have this outlet to share this book with anyone who is interested. I’m sure I sound super annoying constantly telling people “you should read (insert my latest obsessions here)”, but when I get excited about something I want to share it. I’m a dreamer and an optimist and when something speaks to me and enlightens me I always think, “OMG imagine if everyone felt this way?! How the world could change!!” Molly’s favorite things? Oh and if you don’t trust my judgment, the Dalai Lama wrote the foreword for this book. The Dalai Lama. I’m not sure that there is a higher level of spiritual approval. That would be like Michael Kors telling you to wear something. Or Steven Spielberg telling you to see a movie movie. Or Beyonce telling you how many squats to do. This book can be beneficial for people wanting to become parents, parents to children of all ages, grandparents, caregivers, teachers. If you have an opportunity to influence a child in your life, read this book. And if you have any interest in creating a future that is free of assholes, read this book.

The Conscious Parent covers a range of parenting issues and has the basic message of allowing your complete and full awareness to guide the path of your parenting. Just to give you a brief description here are some of the Chapter Titles; The Spiritual Reason We Birth Our Children, Release Your Children From The Need For Your Approval, Parent From Wholeness Instead Of Your Wounds and Shelve Those Great Expectations…and that’s just to name a few. It also poses an important question throughout the book. What if the entire purpose of having children is for them to teach YOU? For them to show you the way and provide you with those missing pieces in your journey. Obviously we are here as parents to serve our children but what if we better serve them by fulfilling the needs of our own soul along the way. Are you super outgoing and always center stage with a painfully shy child? Maybe you are a stickler for the rules and have a non-conforming “strong willed” little one. Perhaps you were an academic over achiever with a child who struggles with a learning disability. Maybe you take extreme pride in your looks and outer appearance and have a child who likes to wear rain boots with cut off jean shortsand frequently cuts their own bangs. Whatever the circumstance may be, the entire purpose we have our children is to learn and not one of your children came to you by mistake. They were sent to you with a purpose. Their purpose and your purpose. Parenting is a spiritual practice; the good and the bad. Dr. Shefali explains throughout the book how the parenting journey is for our own growth and development which directly contributes to the growth and development of our offspring. The biggest way we do this is by being Conscious. Conscious can be defined in a ton of different ways but to me it means to be in a constant state of awareness. Completely connected to your inner being and the present moment. To be conscious means to operate from your spirit and heart and not your mind or Ego. And since none of us is perfect, to also identify when we are operating on an Ego level. We all know that in general children can be one gigantic blow to our Ego. If you are overly concerned with outward appearances then having a child will ROCK YOUR WORLD. A quote that jumped out at me when I was first reading this book is in a section dedicated to discussing the ways in which our children are their own people and how they arrive here with an unbridled joy and need to live a life unique to their own spirit. They are not ours to own and we need to provide them with the right guidance. Dr. Shefali makes a beautiful point when she says,
“Parenthood affords many occasions in which we find ourselves in a battle between our mind and heart, which makes raising a child akin to walking a tightrope. A single misplaced response can shrivel a child’s spirit, whereas the right comment can encourage them to soar. In each moment, we can choose to make or break, foster or cause to freeze up.”

I always think of my second born when I think about how it can be harmful to break one’s spirit. This child is FULL of life. She is a ray of sunshine. Along with all of those qualities comes her high level of energy and high requirements of attention. When she crawls in bed before the ass crack of dawn with lipstick on her teeth asking me where my mascara is I have two options. Option 1, I approach her from my Ego. The part of me that feels annoyed. The part of me that wants her to understand that I have 3 small children and am currently cooking another one and I need every precious moment of sleep before getting up to be greeted by the mess of my makeup all over the bathroom. That option might sound like, “Where did you get that lipstick? That is SO not your color! You know it’s on your teeth, don’t you? Do you know what time it is? Let me sleep!!!! And hell to the no you can NOT have my mascara.” This option will definitely chip away at her spirit. Maybe she won’t show me in the moment. Maybe she’ll skip away sass and all and find that mascara her damn self (she probably will); but in that moment I am showing her that not only is her uniqueness bothersome to me but that she needs to change. She needs to stop. I am the mother and my sleep is more important than any plan she has concocted at 6:30 am. I am more important than her. My Ego tells me she is MY child and I need to control her. I have just showed her that the one person who is put on this planet to love and guide her and help her “soar” wants her to stop being HER. Option 2? This option is to be conscious. I am present and aware and connected to my child soul to soul. This might sound like, “Don’t you look beautiful! I love the way you wake up every morning so happy and want to start the day doing what you love. Maybe mascara isn’t the best option for a 4 year old but let’s look for some eye shadow.” This option honors her. This option shows her that she is just as important as me. Now of course I also need to teach her about respect and boundaries so I may insert some lessons about asking to use my things before using them and waking me up a little more peacefully, but not before I let her know that living in the moment is what we all came here to do and I just LOVE the way she does that. In that moment I have taught my daughter to be loving and present and connected. But she has taught me as well. She has taught me to think, speak and act from my heart center.

I also use a lot of what I have learned in this book with my oldest child. He is such a sensitive soul who absorbs energy and emotions of those around him. While he is made perfectly just the way he was intended it is my job to foster all aspects of his spirit in a positive way. I can foster this part of who he is and help him to be who he was intended or I can do things which cause him to internalize his sensitivities. I read something interesting in this book that I’ve since made a mental note of. Dr. Shefali describes how important it is to pay close attention to the children in your family who seem the most sensitive. While in a lot of ways this is a very desirable personality trait to have, these children can grow up to display many unwanted behaviors or sometimes be labeled the “problem child”. She describes that this is due to the fact that these little souls absorb all the drama of the family. You can be the most well meaning, loving parents and still unknowingly create a chaotic and/or dramatic environment for your children. Every argument, every ill word spoken of others in front of these children can create disharmony for their little souls. I want to make it clear that people like this aren’t wounded or need fixing, I actually believe that they are really advanced souls who need respect and nurturing so they can continue to evolve into the empathetic, peaceful beings they were sent here to be. I can feed into my son’s fears and sensitivities with my own drama or I can connect with the awareness of my spirit and show him how to be present and conscious when problems arise. How to use his God given divine energy to make this world a better place.

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There is SO much more to this book. So much more I want to tell you about. She talks a lot about the ways in which our own wounds from childhood more can impact our parenting. She devotes sections to infants, toddlers and teens and even has a chapter entitled “How To Handle Your Child’s Mistakes.” I hope you get a chance to read it. I know that I will have many more real life experiences that will call on what I have learned in this book. I hope and plan to utilize those tools and I will absolutely share it with you when I do.

The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on December 18, 2014. 2 Comments

Love

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Back before social media I used to read a lot of quotes and if they spoke to me then I would write them down. You know good old fashion pen and paper? You remember that, right? The quote above is one of those that I have forever saved in my journal. I love it and share it with people in my life frequently. If you read the words from Wayne Dyer above and think, “shut this naive girl up” then you are probably living from an Ego center right now. And I don’t say that in a bad way. I’m not judging where you are in your life and I’m not saying that I or anyone else is better than you, it’s just that if you are leading your life from your heart center then you will just “get” this quote. I’m asking you to try and live from this place. Read this to yourself daily and use it in all of your relationships.

Think about this one. Any conflict at all whether it be romantic relationships, friends, family, or even with your children is most likely centered around different levels of unmet expectations. Different ways in which the needs of your Ego are not being met. The needs of your heart and soul need not be met by another person. What if you looked at every person and thought how can I serve them? Not, how can they serve me? I’ve been told a time or two that I’m too “nice.” It is not that at all and I’m in no way perfect. I have “un-nice” thoughts like everyone. I just know that that’s what they are. Thoughts. From the mind and Ego. Not from the soul. I think them, don’t act on them (most of the time) and discard them.

If you are having a specific problem with someone in your life that you love, think about what the problem is. Now read the quote again. If you lived by these words could it fix your issue? I’d be willing to bet that the answer is yes. I could probably insert a couple of real life examples right about here, but I think I’ll refrain. Anything I’ve learned is personal to my journey and whatever you need to learn is personal to yours.

Please know that I am in no way saying that you let ANYONE disrespect or disregard you or that you should even stay in a unhappy situation. You need to follow what your heart tells you and every soul on this planet should get to live a life full of love and the people they choose to have in it. I’m just saying that if all of your conflicts could be solved by this quote, then you have your answer. I’ve spoken before about letting people be who they are, especially our children. Why should it be different for other people in your life. And do you want to know the secret to this whole thing? Once you start putting this idea into practice those people you love the most usually start to get on the same wavelength as you. It’s how the energy of the universe works. It’s the best way to live. Walk the walk and lead by example.

If you are seriously unhappy in a friendship or relationship then by all means set your boundaries or move on if you have to, but if the source of your issues lies within your desire to change someone or if it’s fueled by your hurt or anger at what someone else isn’t “giving” to you or “doing” for you, then try fully loving and accepting that someone for exactly who they are without any level of expectation. And I’m not talking about those negative feelings of “well I just don’t expect anything from anyone anymore, people suck.” I’m talking about the peaceful, loving “I accept and love this other person for who they are and I expect nothing else.” If you truly love someone and know from inside of your heart that you want them in your life, then be willing to love them. Plain and simple. Be willing to let go of your Ego’s need to be satisfied by others. Being satisfied starts within your own heart. Everything else will follow.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on December 15, 2014. 5 Comments

Peace

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Peace. This simple word, simple concept, is at the core of your being; the basis of what you need to live a fulfilled life. Not only is it the basis of what you need, it’s actually who you are. We just forget our way throughout the dramas of our lives here on earth. Peace and happiness are often interchanged but I think they’re different. I like to think of peaceful as that which we are, and happiness as an emotion we get to experience during our life. We are all STRIVING to be happy. If you are at peace you will strive for nothing. You will just be. While I consider myself an eternal optimist and an overall happy person, I think the word happy can be limiting. People search for happiness and a lot of human beings base happiness on outside sources. Out of all of the bazillion quotes and books I have read on the subject I think THIS simple quote by the Dalai Lama states best what I am trying to say, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” I’ll go further and say that peace is already within you. It’s what you are made of. Just look inside.

When I was younger my sisters and I would ask my mom what she wanted for Christmas, her birthday, Mothers Day etc. and she would always reply “world peace.” Of course this was met with a collective eye roll and we would respond with “like, um yeah, sure, of course but what can we get you that you can unwrap?”. I whole heartedly get it now. See Mom, I listen to you. And obvi world peace is the overall end point, but if you can even start small that is a HUGE step in the right direction. Start from within your heart and even within those in your household and the rest will come. First and foremost I do this by “walking the walk” as much as humanly possible. I can post all the uplifting quotes on social media that I want and write as many blog posts on the topic as I can, but if I am not being the peaceful person that I try to encourage others to be, then it all means a big fat nothing. While I am clearly not without flaw I think as time goes on being “zen” and being a peaceful person is something that I am and not trying to be. I mess up, but the more my mind and heart are focused on peace the more quickly I can feel the disharmony of life and when my inner world and outer world are not working in sync. And the more quickly that I feel this, then the sooner I am able to change my heart, my state of mind and my behavior and actions; because regardless of your intention your behavior and actions influence all of those around you. Once I am able to walk the walk and get centered then of course my (personal) biggest goal is to instill this concept in my children.

When my children are bored, fighting, cranky, whiny, misbehaving, and YOU know the list goes on, well I think all of these behaviors tell me that there is some sort of unbalance of peace and harmony within them. That’s not to say that I don’t do my ultimate best as their mom to provide them with opportunities to experience joys and happiness, it’s just that I want them to learn very early that they just need to BE. They need to feel an overall sense of contentment inside of them and the rest will fall into place. Sure I can buy them a toy, give them a bowl of ice cream (did I mention I tend to be an emotional eater?) or give into their every complaint and plea, but by showing them a peaceful demeanor in every part of their day then they will be able to appreciate the joyful exciting days that are filled with activity in the same way that they approach the “boring” days at home when Mommy has a shit load of cleaning to do. I want them to know that peace is a state of being. It’s who you are. You don’t work towards being peaceful. I can assure you that once this is mastered the happiness flows. The joy and contentment will be abundant. And even when outside forces are seemingly “unhappy” it won’t matter. You are a soul at peace and you will need nothing else in your life to fulfill you. I’m banking on the fact that if they can master this one all of the ups and downs of their life will be much more manageable. And trust me it’s not like I’m a Buddhist robot, I just try to stay calm when dealing with my kids. They are such innocent little souls and they absorb our energy like you wouldn’t believe. It’s like when you have a newborn and you are so tired and have an irritable day, isn’t your baby more cranky that day? When I was in the thick of graduate school struggling to finish an intensive program, my classmates and I used to say “you gotta fake it til you make.” So even when you’re mind is like OMG please just shut the eff up, SHOW your kids peaceful energy. You can go in your room and scream into a pillow after you’re done dealing with them. Trust me this won’t teach your kids to be phony or without flaw. It will teach them to approach life from an inner calmness.

I am not saying that it is necessarily easy to stay peaceful in the face of so much drama and negativity in the world but it SO important to understand that you and you alone are responsible for your own happiness. And once you just BE and stop TRYING to be, the words easy or hard are irrelevant anyway. It is simple to tell yourself that HE made me angry when HE disrespected me, SHE made me mad when I heard SHE said this about me, my CHILD is acting like a crazed lunatic and now I’m frazzled and stressed, this OTHER PERSON dismissed me and now I feel wounded and like a victim. WRONG. Yes other human beings will do all kinds of things to you, but that is THEIR shit. Remaining loving, peaceful and grounded? That is YOUR shit. These other people in your lives who do things so seemingly offensive to the ego, they are trying to work out the kinks on their path just like you are. Plain and simple. And I make a point to say “to the ego” because your true spiritual self could never possibly be offended by the words and actions of another. A soul at peace is just that. Completely undisturbed by the drama and negativity of toxic behaviors and situations. And what about the times people appear to be doing and saying things to PURPOSELY steal your peace? You know a little dig here and there or even outright offensive words and behaviors? Well maybe they are doing it purposely. Maybe they are so wounded and so far from seeing the light that you could never relate to them. But guess what? Who gives a flying fu-shizzle? The more you respond to disharmony with more disharmony the more you are steering away from your path to enlightenment. Show them the way to peace by, you guessed it, being peaceful. You don’t need to prove your point, get revenge, tell someone “like it is.” No. That’s not peaceful at all. Just BE light. In this simple act you are putting out a positive energy flow that can change the world. I know that sounds slightly dramatic but think about it. I’m describing peace on a personal level, but if you are like me and believe that the energy of all human beings is connected then you can understand that small positive thoughts and behaviors can harmonize the world. The same negative energy that goes into small personal conflicts is the same energy that creates war on a grand scale. If every single person on this planet had a mind soley focused on peaceful, loving thoughts and energy O, M, to the G….think of the possibilities!!!!

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If you are struggling to discover peace in your own life spend quiet time with yourself. Be in nature. Go hang out with some puppies and babies. Do the things YOU love. Be around people who are positive and uplifting. Stay away from conflict and drama. It’s ok if it doesn’t feel like it’s coming to you naturally. It’s there peeps, you just need to find it. I wish you nothing but peace and harmony in all areas of your life.

The Enlightened Mama