Archive | January 2016

Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes- Contribution from Zachellamom

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My blog today is a shared work from a woman I respect and admire. Her writing speaks to me and I connect with her ideas about spirituality and family. Pam Boccia is a mother, wife, teacher, exceptional writer and fellow blogger. You can find her work at Zachellamom.com.

I have long been fascinated by our children’s connection to the “other side”. I love to read accounts from parents about the things their children say in regards to death, heaven and deceased loved ones. It is my belief that children are so connected to the other side because their journey is brand new. It’s only as we grow and our mind gets filled up with Ego illusions and body connection that we “forget.” I think we can help them remember as much as possible by encouraging the dialogue. I know my readers will enjoy this piece from Pam.

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My children have been blessed to know many of their great-grandparents. Such a blessing also means they experienced the loss of four close relatives (the 5th died when my son was 6 months old), with three passing away this year. I have had concerns about my son, at 5-years-old, being exposed to so much death in such a short period of time, but ironically he has been the one to help me through the loss with his innocent insights about death and heaven.

Observant and curious, he asked questions about where people go when they die. Both my husband and I believe that every person has a soul that lives on after death, so it seemed natural to introduce the idea of “heaven” to my son.

At first he asked many honest and adorable questions like, “If we had to drive to heaven, how long would it take to get there?” and “Does great-grandpa still have that cough in heaven?” He seemed to accept the idea of heaven and added his own interpretation to it.

When each person walked up to place a rose on the casket at my grandfather’s funeral, we went up as a family and placed our roses. As we walked away, my son said, “When we see Tata again, he’s going to have those flowers.” I nodded and managed a “yes” through tears. Of course, he would have those flowers.

My son brings his great-grandparents to life quite often through imaginary play. It usually starts, “Mommy, so-and-so is coming to visit,” and then he walks in the room taking on the role of his deceased great-grandparent. The first time he did this it made me a little uneasy, but now it’s become quite commonplace in our house to bring to life deceased relatives. I know I will miss this one day when he outgrows imaginary play, or as his great-grandparents fade from his memory.

Our next-door neighbor also died this summer. Being an observant and imaginative child, he would often talk about these neighbors and sometimes pretend to be them when playing. While part of me worried about how much he’s had to hear about death in the past few months, I decided to tell him that our neighbor, “Mr. Miller,” passed away. He asked me a few questions about Mr. Miller “passing out,” another adorable interpretation that I did not bother correcting because it was so sweet. Could death be more like passing out and waking up in another place? Maybe he knows something I don’t.

Later that day, at the playground, my son was climbing a ladder up to a higher level of equipment. Smiling, he called down to me, “Mommy, look, it’s Mr. Miller going up to heaven!” It was beautiful, innocent, and true. I knew it was a moment I would hold in my heart forever.

While the seeds of my son’s idea of heaven were planted by us, his parents, he has taught me much about what it means to not just believe in something with your mind, but to know it in your heart. Even though I believe in an afterlife where we are reunited with a greater being, I forget what I believe every day. I’m the one who gave him the idea that heaven is place of love, not suffering, so why was I surprised when he joyfully imitated our neighbor going up to heaven? Do I believe what I tell him? Do I know it in my heart? My son has reminded me of what I know to be true in my inner being, during moments of stillness, beyond fear—that heaven is a place of pure love.

My children’s last living great-grandparent died on July 13, 2015 at 102 years old. When my husband shared this news with my son, he responded saying, “Well, at least she won’t be alone.” She definitely won’t be. We also know that according to my son’s interpretation, she won’t be far away.

Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes

Going to the afterlife is as beautiful and seamless as climbing up to a higher level at the playground.

We don’t suffer from the ailments that plagued us on earth.

We can hear the thoughts and words sent up to us by our family and friends.

We can visit our relatives on earth whenever we want, even just to play with our grandchildren.

We will be holding the flowers strewn upon us by loved ones, why did we ever doubt that?

We will be holding those flowers in good health, mingling with our loved ones who have gone before us, coming back for the occasional visit, especially with creative and innocent children who call upon us at whim to join in their games and the world of the impermanent for a time.

Where did he conceive of this heaven? From the little bit we’ve told him, from his own intuitive knowing, by seeing the world and heaven through his own eyes, the eyes of a child.

I wanted to protect my son from dealing with so much loss at a young age, but instead he taught me much about losing the ones we love and how to keep their memory and spirit alive. While this was the year that our three loved ones departed this world to go to heaven, it has also been the year my son taught me what it means to believe in something with your whole heart.

If he forgets what he knows about heaven as he grows up, as most of us do, I would encourage him to question his beliefs, as true faith can only come through personal experience. However, if he asks me why I believe in heaven, I might tell him this:

Why I Believe In Heaven

If you want to know the truth about life and death

Be present in nature

Observe a child

Spend time with what you find to be beautiful in this world

Sit in stillness and listen for a while

You can ask, pray, beg if you have to, but then be sure to listen

Answers may come at unexpected times, from unexpected places, so stay alert

The heart knows. The body knows.

Faith lives there.

The mind is often the last to know.

If you feel fear, sadness, or anger–

Sit with it.

See what’s behind it.

It could be a beauty beyond your imagining

You don’t want to miss it.

Thank you for sharing your heart and stories of your family with us, Pam ❤️

This entry was posted on January 27, 2016. 2 Comments

Your Gifts Are Meant To Be Shared

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I have been looking into taking an online course of Brene Brown’s called Courage Works- if there is anyone else that has heard of it or is interested in this reach out to me, I think it would be beneficial to do it with someone else and discuss and I watched a video clip on her site of a discussion between her and Oprah about being “full of yourself.” They were discussing how at earlier points in their lives this was something they never wanted to be viewed as and would avoid at all costs.

I totally relate to this. I never, ever, ever want to be viewed as conceited, full of myself, egotistical or basically any other adjective that is the antithesis of humble. I have been like this as long as I can remember. I keep things to myself that I think might ignite envy and I rarely discuss any of my accomplishments or good deeds with anyone. I even tend to conceal things my sweet husband does for me or acknowledgements my children get at school for their good behavior. As I’m writing this I am actually recalling another blog I wrote on this very topic, so it must be a central theme in my life that I am meant to overcome, yikes, see we are all a work in progress. If I’m being honest with myself I might be starting to mold my kids that way. If they are proud of or excited about an accomplishment I always make sure to validate them as their mother and celebrate them, but then I ALWAYS follow it up with something like “but we don’t need to brag to others so don’t talk about it too much or it might turn other people off.” Prime example of how we let our shortcomings affect the way that we raise our children. Just as in all areas of my life I need to better myself for them.

Most people I’m close with knew that I was an avid reader and pretty spiritual, but only a select few knew that I was contemplating sharing my thoughts with a broader audience via a blog. And I only spoke to people about it that I knew wanted the best for me. As a side note if someone doesn’t want to see you rise they will find flaws in all that you do and belittle your ideas, so I was careful not to open myself up to that. We all need constructive criticism from people who we trust and if I trust someone I know that if they tell me something that I consider “negative” it is genuinely to better me and help me, not to put me down. If you don’t have a good core group of people like that in your life you should probably re-examine who you put your energy into.

I was recently thinking of a conversation I had about the blog’s name with one of these people. Aside from The Enlightened Mama I had considered Zen Mommy. Both she and I loved the sound and the meaning behind The Enlightened Mama but I could not commit to naming it that. She loved it and encouraged it but I went back and forth for a few months. Do you know why? I was afraid of what people might think of it. Yep that’s right. I have spent years trying to conquer caring what anyone thinks, thinking I’ve mostly overcome it, and here I was getting ready to share my heart and soul with the world (or at least my small corner of the Internet) with the PURE intention of spreading love and peace and I was concerned that I sounded too “full of myself.” I thought that if I described myself as “enlightened” it could be perceived that I was indicating that I was somehow superior. But when I really examined those thoughts my answer came to me. Do I think I’m superior to anyone else? No. Do I want to share what I believe are gifts I’ve been given to help other people? Yes!

My intention is to share what I know and feel to be true in my heart in order to (hopefully) inspire and help others. My intention is not to have attention or have people think highly of me. The type of acknowledgement that I want (if any) is from people that are being helped by what I say and then sharing it with others. If there was ever a time I felt that my intention was attached to my Ego I wouldn’t continue. I have a lot more plans and big ideas for my writing that I plan to pursue and I refuse to let any labels of being too “full of myself” stop me from following my purpose. Can you imagine if every person that has ever accomplished something great sold themselves short because they were worried people would be jealous? Ugh, I hate that word but unfortunately it is a real human emotion.

-Nope not going to pursue that polio vaccine, don’t want to get too carried away with myself.
-Maybe I won’t invent the iPhone…wouldn’t want to show off.
– Facebook sounds like a great idea, but will people think I’m dreaming too big?
– Am I going to be offending anyone if I invent Spanx? (That would’ve been tragic)

I mean really, it’s ridiculous if you think about it. Oh and I’m not saying what I’m doing here is on the same level as these people…shit there I go again.

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I’m encouraging myself and anyone reading this to always lead with their heart and with pure intentions and THAT will be all that matters. Being egotistical or “full of yourself” are both definitely real feelings and attachments that humans have but the point is to examine that before sending your energy out into the world. With every good deed, every social media post, every interaction you have with another individual stop and ask yourself what your intention is. Are you being real and sharing your heart and soul or do you have an attachment to the outcome? Are you hoping that in what you say or do someone else will think you are superior or give you a pat on the back? Are you trying to dominate or manipulate? These are the things our soul wants to refrain from to help us to evolve into who we are supposed to be and be more connected to our soul’s purpose. Every time you choose to share yourself with love and refrain from sharing yourself with an ulterior motive, you are taking steps to evolve your soul into completion. We all come here with gifts that are meant to be shared, what good would it be to anyone to withhold that for fear of others’ perceptions?

Oprah concluded this conversation with Brené Brown by saying that she is FULL OF HERSELF. So filled up with soul and love and passion that she is overflowing and able to share with others. I hope you are all feeling so full and willing to give it away for the benefit of others.

Love,
The Enlightened (in the humblest form of the word) Mama

This entry was posted on January 20, 2016. 2 Comments