Spiritual Partnerships

image

I was inspired to write this last week while I was reflecting on 9 years of marriage (having just celebrated my wedding anniversary). This is not a “my relationship is so marvelous post”- I really get a very icky feeling with bragging and I genuinely do my best not to- think of this as more of a “I’m really proud of my relationship, and while not perfect, we both work really hard at it.” I’m not using my writing for the sole purpose of shedding light on my marriage, but to use what I’ve learned and try to share it with others. I write this today because there is something I have discovered about being in a marriage, or any long term committed relationship really, that I want to share with you. Partially based on my own discoveries and partially based on things I have read by Gary Zukav regarding a “spiritual partnership.” My basic message to you? Any relationship that you are currently in should be meant for your growth. If you are choosing to share your life someone it’s time to asses if they bring out your absolute best.

I was extremely intrigued by something I read in The Seat of the Soul a while back. Basically Zukav was discussing how many years ago the human race NEEDED marriage. It was a survival thing. It was the point in our evolution that we were at. Now? Not so much. Our souls have advanced and not one of us needs to be dependent on another person. Everything we are looking for we hold within the depths of our soul. It’s not necessary, really even to have children it’s not necessary. So if it’s not necessary shouldn’t it at the least be to our benefit? Here comes spiritual partnerships. The only real reason that anyone today would need marriage is to advance their soul’s journey. To fulfill their purpose. We can still honor the tradition of marriage but it’s time to view it as having a purpose much greater than ourselves.

Think about what your purpose may be. The specific (maybe being a mom) or the general (maybe spreading love in all of my actions). Think about your partner. Do they love, support and accept you enough to help you with your life’s purpose? And conversely do they challenge your wrong doing and poor behaviors so you can be the best you? If you can honestly answer yes to that you are engaged in a spiritual partnership and life is more likely to be inspired and joyful for you.

We can obviously learn so much from the negative forces in our life too, especially when those negative forces are so intertwined with our daily lives, such as in a spouse. It’s up to you to figure out when you will learn the lesson and move past your current situation. It is 2016. Divorce is not taboo. Single parenting is not taboo. Second and third marriages are not taboo. If you are not living a life of happiness make the choice to. Happier people make happier children who make a happier and more peaceful world. You do you boo.

I dedicate this to my husband who has shown me with his actions time and time again that his spiritual journey and mine were destined to be and how we both allow and enable each other to be the best versions of ourselves. NOT perfect. Perfect for each other.

image

❤️
The Enlightened Mama

Being Real- And Letting Go Of Your Ego

Ego. One simple word, so much weight. If you are on a path to self-discovery, improvement, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it, I am sure you have read tons about what this word means. I too have read so much about the Ego and have discovered that overcoming the Ego or in other words, breaking your attachment to the Ego, is maybe THE most vital part to living a life of peace. There are so many different philosophers that have given their definition of the word but I will just give you my personal understanding of it.

Ego in it of itself is not necessarily a “bad” thing. Some people consider it the mind and your thoughts about life and in a lot of ways it does serve some purpose, but essentially it is an image or ideas of who you are and who others are. It is also what gives you the idea that you are separate from others, on a heart or a soul level we are all connected but the Ego will want to tell us otherwise. In some respects we need it in our human existence to function in all of the roles that we play, man, woman, mother, father, job titles, etc., but all of the biggest problems in the world stem specifically from over identification with the Ego. The second you try to cling to an idea of who you are, an image to uphold so to speak, this is when you have become overly identified with the Ego. My main purpose of writing today is to help even one person learn that when you let go of your Ego you can be who you truly are and you can finally let other people be who they are. This is authenticity…I’m sorry this word is used to absolute death….but being who you are to the core without any ulterior motives and interacting with others based exactly on who they are, is true authenticity.

Here are just a few examples of what identifying with your Ego might look like:
Thinking you are superior OR inferior
Basing your worth on your financial status or job title
Being judgemental of the way other people live their lives
Having a hard time giving other people credit for their accomplishments
Taking credit
Making others wrong or always needing to be right
Boasting or bragging
Lying or exaggerating to uphold an image
Constantly looking for sources of outside validation (social media is really, really testing this one)
Being threatened by someone else’s success (jealousy, envy, etc)
Judging yourself or others based on things like the size of your home, the car you drive, how much money you make
Striving for recognition for everything you do
Anger
Resentment
Playing the victim
Basing your worth on how others view you

I could probably go on, but you get the idea. I ASSURE you, I am not being preachy here in the least. We are human and part of the journey to enlightenment is to connect with your soul and disconnect with your Ego. We obviously need something to work on in the first place. If you are living a human life, you are currently faced with these egotistical behaviors daily in order to challenge yourself to grow. Think about it, I can almost guarantee you have constant situations where you can easily do or be one of the above OR you can make the choice in that moment to let it go and choose love instead. It’s always about choosing love. It’s hard. Our Ego is slowly diminishing as the world progresses and more people “get it” and it is clinging on for dear life. It actually just dawned on me recently that when I get annoyed for someone else having a “big Ego” that’s actually MY ego judging and labeling someone else. My true self is only concerned with my journey and being the best person I can be, if I become frustrated by someone else I am just as bad.

I know we see this play out in our children. Part of my goal when sharing these ideas on this blog is to take my teeny tiny corner of the Internet and do my best to make the world a better place. If we can help our children to identify with their heart and soul and not their mind and Ego, we will all find peace and our future will be very bright. Think of your toddler. I had an experience with my son recently that showed me how opportunities to help our kids dis-identify with Ego can reveal themselves. My son is an all around mild and peaceful child. He is good natured and kind. I don’t worry to much about the man he will grow into, which is why every now and then I think I need to be thrown for a loop and shown how my parenting is required all day everyday. He had a baseball game recently where he didn’t play that well. He is typically a good player, gets a lot of recognition from his coaches, the other players and my husband and I. He also has no problem encouraging other children and being happy for their successes, which is why I never think twice to acknowledge him when he plays well. At this specific game he was just off. Struck out at every up to bat, dropped balls in the outfield, throwing lots of balls at the pitchers mound etc. He’s 7, by the way, and all of these things were complete non-issues in the real world. I care way more about how my son is as a human being than how he is at a sport. Which is why I was seriously upset at the behavior I saw. He was not only completely down on himself and in a terrible mood, but as I watched him I noticed he did not once cheer for his team mates or give them recognition for when they played well. It was almost as if he couldn’t be happy for others’ successes if he himself was not experiencing success. OH HELL NO, I needed to cut that crap immediately.

I don’t often get disappointedd in my children, they are children for a reason, but it was very clear to me that the universe was giving me a wonderful opportunity to give my child a lesson in Ego and how attachment to the Ego can lead to a lot of unhappiness. I explained to my son that his mood can not be determined by how well he plays in a game and that his performance can absolutely NOT dictate who he is as a person. This is a naturally friendly kid who let his view of himself in that moment (his Ego) affect how he treated those around him. I also took a moment to explain humility to him and sometimes when we are really good at something we need to be shaken up so we can learn. So we can grow. I think he got it. I also thought how if my husband and I had been overly identified with our own Egos we could have really screwed up in this moment either by being hard on him for his performance (showing him that how well he plays a sport defines him) or we could’ve displayed similar behavior to him which would have modeled that that type of thing is ok.

This is a very small example of the ways in which we can see when our kids are beginning to identify with their Ego and how we can parent from our heart and shut that shit down. When you think of the ways you might overly identify with your own Ego, try to figure out how you can begin to live from your soul, which I promise you will lead to peace. Every time you want to put someone in their place, make someone else feel wrong, feel threatened by someone, try to make yourself seem “better than”, feel envious, feel inclined to boast or brag…take pause and try it a different way. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but that is GROWTH. It’s why we are here and if we don’t figure it out we can never fully live a peaceful happy life. Be your real self, it is so much more comfortable and way less exhausting than clinging to the tings you are not.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on May 25, 2016. 2 Comments

Great Job, Mamas!

I think I spent about a solid year of my life as a mother feeling inferior to other women. I was a new mom trying to find my way, focusing my energy outwards when it should ALWAYS be focused inward. I can’t tell you when or how that shifted for me, but what I can now say for sure is that I am a confident mom. That doesn’t mean I don’t question what I do or that I don’t continuously strive to be better, but what that does mean is that I DO NOT compare myself to other mothers. I know deep in my heart that my journey is mine and mine alone. My children are uniquely mine and my intuition knows who and how to be to them. As a mother, this is freedom. You can have real genuine relationships with other women without superiority, inferiority, jealousy or cattiness. Honoring the type of mother you are is honoring your soul’s purpose. In honor of Mother’s Day I want to send love and acceptance to ALL moms. You are all doing a great job.

image

To the mom with the picture perfect vaginal birth- You did it! Your body went through an incredible journey and at the end your body was used to birth your child in the most natural way. It was hard, I know, but you should be so proud of yourself. I am so proud of you. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the unplanned c-section- You did it! I’m sure you tried to do it the “conventional” way and for whatever reason your body and your baby had other plans. You went through a major surgery to have your child and that is incredible. You made an educated choice to get your child here as safely as possible. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. Great job, mama.

To the mom who carried her children- Conception and pregnancy are miracles. Even with several children that is never lost on me. You and someone you loved came together and created life. It’s beautiful and magical and something to be honored. Great job, mama.

To the mom who did not physically carry children- Being a mother to an adopted child, a child through surrogacy or a step-mother is a beautiful thing. What a miracle it is that you were able to become a mother to a child in your own way. I’d imagine you never gave up until your dream of motherhood came true. It was a journey that was designed for YOU. I have no doubt that before your soul was even here that child was planned in perfection just for YOU, regardless of how that child was placed in your arms. Great job, mama.

To the mom who stays home with her children- If this was your dream like it was mine I am so happy for you! You get to spend your days exactly as your heart desires and that is so important for your children. Maybe this wasn’t your dream. Maybe you don’t have the type of job that makes childcare worth it and here you find yourself at home. You’re doing a wonderful thing. You are there for it all and THAT is priceless. I know it can be hard, but you are giving your child such a gift. Great job, mama.

To the mom who works outside of her home- Perhaps you love your career and it is an important part of your identity. Maybe you need to work and it is not what you would necessarily choose, either way YOU are giving your children such a gift too. You are showing your children how to be who you are and do what you want (or need to) to raise a family. You have (most likely) meticulously chosen your childcare and I am sure that your children are getting enormous gains by being around people outside of their family during the day. Great job, mama.

To the mom who breastfeeds- I am a huge lover and supporter of breastfeeding. I breastfed all of my children and am currently still breastfeeding my 1-year-old. If you are breastfeeding I am so proud of you. You are giving your child the gift of nature, the gift of using your body as it was designed. The bond is incredible. I also know that at times, especially in the beginning, it can be a challenge. If you desire breastfeeding your children, stick with it, it gets so much easier and so much more rewarding. Great job, mama.

To the mom who bottle feeds- I am a huge lover and supporter of feeding and nourishing your baby any way YOU see fit. Maybe you tried and tried and it just wouldn’t work for you. Maybe you made your own educated decision to skip the breastfeeding and start right away with the bottle. Whatever the reason, I know that you did it out of love. If something stresses you out, you can be assured that it stresses your baby out as well. By choosing to bottle feed I’d imagine you made yourself happier and therefore your baby happier. Great job, mama.

To the mom who makes her own baby food- What a gift you are giving your child. A natural, healthy diet will set them up for the rest of their lives. I’d imagine they will probably crave healthy foods in general and the effort you put in to making that happen does not go un-noticed. Great job, mama.

To the mom who lets her 1-year-old eat McDonald’s (this may or may not be yours truly)- You want the best diet for your children too. I know they eat fruits and vegetables and a well balanced diet most of the time, but hey you are busy. And you are probably busy giving your older children a full life. Sometimes that means fast food. You are teaching your children balance and I’m sure they will have a healthy relationship with food understanding that sometimes they can have treats. Great job, mama.

To the mom who co-sleeps- I have only co-slept when it was of necessity or to make my night go smoother. If I had the choice I’d be sprawled out in my king with no one to elbow me in the face. I did however have my child within arms reach for an extended period of time. I completely appreciate and understand how constant accessibility and physical contact is a great way to nurture and raise a child. It’s admirable. Great job, mama.

To the mom who lets her baby cry it out- I can almost guarantee you don’t want your child to cry. But I can also guarantee that you and your spouse hit a point where the sleep deprivation became too big a burden to bear. Took too much of a toll. I’d also imagine you did your research and followed a plan. Maybe it was hard for a night….or even a few nights, but maybe now your child can blissfully fall and stay asleep. You have a healthy attachment to your child and want the best for your household. You are providing your child with self-soothing techniques. It’s the best choice for your family because it’s YOUR choice. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the supportive partner- A family unit. It’s probably what you’ve always wanted. It isn’t always easy is it? But when you have that one person on your side to share the burden with, you feel like you can do anything. A life partner who is your equal and brings out your best can only enable you to be the best mother you are capable of. That relationship takes nourishment too and I know how hard it can be to give yourself to another when you already give so much of yourself to your children, but the effort is so worth it isn’t it? From that unity you get another person to travel this journey with. You are giving your children the gift of seeing how to nourish a loving partnership. Great job, mama.

To the mom doing it on her own- I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of you didn’t intend to fall into this category, and maybe some did and that’s great too, but which ever way you slice it, raising a child on your own has got to be one of the most challenging things I can think of. Maybe you feel like your kids are missing out because there is only one of you. One of you to blame, one of you to pick up the pieces, one of you to be the good guy and the bad. You know how much admiration your child will have for you when they are grown? Do you know the pride you will feel when you look at that grown child and know you have no one to thank but yourself? You’re doing it, it might be hard, but you’re doing it. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the healthy kids- Keeping our kids healthy is so hard, isn’t it? A good bit of it is luck but on the other hand I know how much energy you put into making sure your kids get the right amount of sleep, take their vitamins, brush their teeth, have a proper diet and go to their check-ups. All we ever want is for our children to be healthy and I know that in any way that it is within your control you are doing your best to help them stay that way. Great job, mama.

To the mom with a sick child- You have done everything right like the rest of us. You have made the healthiest possible choices for your child that were within your capabilities. You have a sick child, and that is out of your control, but within your control? How you continue to mother. I am in awe of you. Parenting healthy children is tough enough and your burdens are greater, but you persevere. Your child will learn strength and bravery from watching you on this journey. Great job, mama.

To the mom back to her pre-baby body- You are amazing. You have found the time to invest in yourself and you are showing your children how to be strong and healthy. I know that they notice that and they will grow up to take care of themselves too. Great job, mama.

To the mom carrying extra weight- You’re tired. You want your pre-baby body, but your energy is so drained. You know you’ll get there someday. You are showing your children self-love and self-acceptance through your journey. You are also showing them how amazing a woman’s body is and that you aren’t in a hurry to erase the evidence of carrying them. Great job, mama.

To the mom with a large family- Having one child is work enough and you have chosen to expand beyond that and give your children the gift of siblings. You have built-in opportunities to teach your children about respect and flexibility and getting along with other human beings. You have also given your child the gift of built-in friends. I know it can be overwhelming to have so many people who need you, but the love of a large family is so rewarding. Great job, mama.

To the mom of an only child- Whether by choice, or not, you have the incredible ability to devote all of your love and energy on one little human being. That has got to be so amazing for your child. You still have quite the task ahead of you and don’t let anyone take that away. I honestly think I was a more stressed out mom with 1 than 4, so don’t feel like you aren’t putting in as much work as everyone else. Your child will learn a valuable lesson in independence and creativity that children who have others around them constantly aren’t privileged to. Great job, mama.

To the mom of young children- Girl, you are in the THICK of it and I am right there with you. We have been given the responsibility of raising up these little humans and we so desperately don’t want to screw it up. You are under so much pressure, but you are doing it. Great job, mama.

To the mom of children who are grown- It must be so nice for you to admire your grown children and to enjoy the years of work you have put in. Your job is still not over and I know it must be hard to nurture adult relationships as a mother. I know it must be difficult to stand by and let them make their own choices. You are transitioning into a new role and it’s the way the journey of life unfolds. Great job, mama.

Join me in uniting and celebrating all moms. I have never felt so close to another group of women as I have since I have become a mother. I can look into the eyes of another person walking the same incredibly difficult, incredibly rewarding path as me and instantly feel love towards them. We need each other. We are in this together. Great job, mamas.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on May 6, 2016. 4 Comments

Mommy! I Don’t Need You!

image

I have a strong belief that children, when we let them, are our spiritual teachers. Here to help us find and connect to our soul. My children tend to give me the exact right message at the exact right time to put me back in my place. Back to the moment and to what matters the most. Today that message came courtesy of my 3-year-old.

I’ve had a rough few weeks. All very small issues in the grand scheme of life but the parenting gods were definitely testing my patience recently. Sicknesses and temper tantrums galore. You know all of the things that your heart knows don’t really affect you, but your mind tells you to be miserable about? That kind of stuff.

As I was rushing my oldest daughter into dance and juggling the other kids, my 3-year-old had to use the bathroom. I’m ashamed to admit it, but in the moment I was annoyed. I told her to go before we left, she of course didn’t, and now I am doing the public restroom dance with 4 kids, one of which is already late for her class. I handed the baby over to my son and proceeded to follow my little one into the stall as she very abruptly shut it in my face. “Let me in please,” I said. “I need to help you.” Probably in an annoyed tone, which is ridiculous when you think about the fact that it is my responsibility to meet the needs of my children. Anyway, as I went to push the door open she shouted, “Mommy! I don’t need you!”

Ummmm what? Of course you do! I spend every waking moment providing for your every need. Most likely sacrificing far too much of myself to make sure your life is wonderful. Jumping on a whim. Taking care of your body, mind and soul. AND you’re 3! What do you mean you don’t need me? You needing me is the very premise of this relationship! A grown adult crying in the girls bathroom of a dance studio is completely acceptable, right?

All of those rambling thoughts belonged to a tired and overwhelmed mama. A mama whose heart knows that every part of her parenting journey is a blessing and to be cherished, but whose mind can at times confuse her into focusing on how stressful and overwhelming the younger years are. Not the true mama that I am. The not-so enlightened mama, if you will. And you know what? As much as her words crushed me, they were exactly what I needed right when I needed them. There are seasons to everything in life. Things are exactly where and how they are supposed to be by the very law of the way the universe works. And, after all, fostering independence IS part of my job as their mom.

I don’t want to wish ONE SECOND away. My first-born is almost 8! I can’t even wrap my brain around it. I’m living every day knowing how quickly it goes and yet in the less than glamorous moments I forget. Maybe I sound a bit dramatic but all of these little moments are representative of the big. A 3-year-old not needing my help in the restroom is a 18-year-old leaving for College.

Thank you my sweet daughter for reminding me that with each passing moment you will “need” me less and less and that the identity I cling to so hard and embody so whole heartedly will cease to exist as quickly as it came into my life. Thank you for resetting my thought patterns and reminding me to focus on gratitude and my blessings, which enables my peace, and in turn yours.

No matter what phase you are in on your parenting journey, I hope in the weaker moments you can listen to the little messages that are given to us. They are spoken to help us redirect our energy to the here and now. To grow and evolve and to become whole. This moment is all there is and nothing should take our focus away.

Xo,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on March 13, 2016. 2 Comments

The Best Version Of Myself

image

I think if you are a parent it’s easy to rattle off the ways that your kids make you a maniac, that goes without saying. Zen or not they can surely press your buttons. But if you take a deeper look, I know we would all agree that having kids has made us rise up. Rise into the greatest version we want for ourselves. Even when we might have to fake it, they bring forth our best because we want the best for them. Having children gives you a new set of eyes. A set of eyes that makes you kinder and gentler with the world and those around you because, after all, everyone is someone’s child. That right there is reason enough for empathy. Every decision, every relationship, interaction and choice I make is based solely on these two thoughts “what would I want for my children?” and “who would I want my children to be in this situation?”. Those questions help me to examine who I am and what I want to add to my time here on Earth all while passing those same lessons down to my children. Here are the ways I have found that my children bring out the best in me-

They’ve made me live more presently- This right here is the ticket. The one true avenue to a peaceful life. I’ve shared many times how I’ve learned that no real problems exist out of this very moment. Regret, guilt, anxiety, fear and even your views of other people and events are all figments of the imagination. What is right here in front of you, being done and said right now, is all that is true. Nothing has forced me to live more presently than having children. Until then everything was always about getting to the next thing. Finishing school, engagement, getting the house, the marriage, the babies. The next BEST thing. Well now I know that the best thing is right here and I will never wish it away. No matter where you are on your journey, it is exactly where you are supposed to be. It is almost a betrayal to the life process to desire anything more or less. If you are reading this and are pregnant, have small kids, grown kids, grandkids…it’s all the best thing because it’s happening right now. There is nothing else. Appreciate it. Enjoy it.

They’ve made me see the best in others- people screw up, people say and do hurtful things, people are flawed…and guess what? None of it matters. What matters in each and every situation is what YOU bring to the table. This is what I teach my children daily when it comes to their interactions with each other. If you have more than one child you know how many opportunities to resolve conflict arise during a day. Sure small kids mean small problems but all of those problems are representative of the bigger conflicts that may arise when they get older. My kids are going to be adults with their own free will in the blink of an eye and I want them to be forgiving and tender-hearted towards their dad and me, towards their siblings and towards everyone they interact with. How do I make that happen? I model it. If I want my children to grow to be loving, forgiving, non-judgemental people then I need to live that truth. And not just to those who I deem worthy, to every other human. Daily. That goes for those that I love that may have hurt me all the way down to the person who cut me off on the highway. I am not saying I don’t have negative thoughts, I just choose to let them flow instead of attaching to them. Having children who look up to me forces me to give pause to what I do and say and what imprint I want to leave on the world.

They’ve made me love my body- I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m still a work in progress in this area. I mean let’s face it I had 4 children in less than 7 years and am currently breastfeeding (and breastfed the older 3 for a minimum of a year). Any time over the past 7 years that I’ve gotten to, or have come close to, being where I want to be I got pregnant again. Things are NOT where they’re supposed to be. At least not where I think they’re supposed to be. But you know what? I’ve created 4 humans with this body; that miracle will not be lost on me. And as importantly as that, I have 4 little ones and especially the 3 girls, looking to me to see how I view myself as an example of how they should view themselves. Self-love comes naturally (did you ever witness how amazing a 3-year-old thinks they are?) and it’s only when an adult shows their child all the ways we can dislike ourselves that they will follow suit. These days I still strive to attain a certain body, but that body is strong and healthy and energetic and has nothing to do with getting back to something I used to have. I’d rather have what I have right now, although both would be nice, wouldn’t it?

They’ve made me love their father more than I thought possible- I could go on and on about how much love and admiration I have for my husband, but I won’t annoy you all with that. Especially those that aren’t feeling so lovey dovey towards their partners today (we’ve all been there), but I will say that creating children with someone else is a sacred thing. Something not to be taken lightly. Not only do I genuinely and deeply love him, but even when we have our “downs” I want to model respect for him. How we treat each other is how my children will learn to engage in all intimate relationships. Even if that means arguing in a gentle and respectful manner.

I will not pretend that some of our ugly doesn’t come out on this sometimes thankless all of the time exhausting journey of parenthood…but we don’t have to give that energy to the universe. It happens but try to let it flow and let it go. Choose instead to examine the beauty of who you have become by raising these little beings and share that energy with the world.

Love to all,
The Enlightened Mama

Why I Let My Kids Be Bored

image

There are few things less dreaded coming out of the mouths of my little ones than, “I’m bored.” These two simple words work my nerves like none else. Mountains of toys, crafts and games, not to mention a billion chores they could help with around the house if they really wanted to, and they’re BORED. They can’t find one single, solitary thing to do.

I began making the mistake of overstimulation with my first baby. I had a child that was my responsibility, I was at the time home with him for the majority of the week, and it was my job to completely entertain him like some sort of side-show. The times when I had other things to do or just plain didn’t feel like getting on the floor to play with him, I felt the dreaded mom guilt. A good bit of maturity, experience and few kids later, my thoughts on constantly keeping my children entertained have done a complete 180. Today I let them be bored. I let them figure it out.

In my opinion one way to rest assured that you will lead an unhappy life is the mindset that you need outside validation and fulfillment. Even though we might get it and appreciate it, it can not be our main source of happiness. It is fleeting and it is a tricky game to get yourself involved in. It’s hard for adults to really grasp this concept and work to undo it, so imagine the heartache we can save our children from if we let them figure it out as soon as possible?

Think of it like this. When a child is “bored” they are basically telling us that they need something to make them happy or interested or excited. And not only that, but when they come to us to provide them with the fulfillment they are not digging into their own wealth of imagination and will eventually become unable to develop a strong sense of self. A child that can’t wander around the house and find a cardboard box to play with or play in the backyard collecting rocks, will turn into an adult that can not sit in silence. An adult that can not revel in the delight of being alone with themselves. And adult that needs constant stimulation to remain happy, alive and engaged. By letting our children be bored we are giving them the tools that they need to be self-directed in their joy. And in addition this will help them to realize that there can be joy in everything. Reading a book, playing with the dog, coloring, playing outside, listening to music and more. Entertaining them by constantly finding big grand things for them to do with their time or always buying better toys and video games, will only raise the bar higher. They will need more and more.

During the teen years this can become dangerous. A teenager that looks without, rather than within, can make a lot of heavy mistakes. It can range from something simple like basing their happiness on being liked by everyone all the way to using drugs or even young women doing the wrong things to get love and affection from young men. If our kids are taught from the earliest of ages that when you feel unsettled, bored, lonely and unhappy that all you really need to do is dig a little deeper within to explore the solution, they will turn into adults that appropriately and healthfully fill their time and their internal needs.

Kids need direction. No matter our intention they will still come to us for fulfillment of their inner most desires, but our job is not to discover for them what that might be, but to point them in the right direction. These days when my children tell me they are bored I do one of two things-
– I say, “that’s good, be bored, feel it, enjoy it.” This drives them crazy but I just know eventually what I’m trying to do will make sense to them.
– Occasionally I assist them in figuring out a way to feel engaged, but only by listing or narrowing down some simple things they can do. Sometimes it’s hard for children to organize a thought when they feel overstimulated by choices.

Comparing a bored child to a teenage drug user or a depressed adult may seem like a giant leap but really the small is always reflective of the big. Seeking outside fulfillment takes on many, many forms, but giving our children tools to understand how to become fulfilled appropriately and to look within will result in confidence and contentment. And by the way how many of us adults would give anything to be bored?

✌️
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on February 5, 2016. 1 Comment

Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes- Contribution from Zachellamom

image

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.

image
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

image

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.

image

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

How My Children Show Me Beauty

image
“Mommy! See this beautiful star over here? Did it fall out of the sky?” That’s the question my innocent 2 year old yelled out to me with her squeaky little voice. It was gray and rainy and I was getting my 5 year old on the bus as my curious toddler was squatting in the grass looking at something. Clearly I knew it wasn’t a star that somehow fell from the sky and honestly I wanted to get back inside my warm house and get my little ones down for a nap; but feigning excitement, as us moms often find ourselves doing, I went over to check out the “star.” As I looked in the ground I began to say, “no that’s just a ….” but thankfully I took pause. You see, it wasn’t a star, it was a weed. An ugly one. But my daughter, the embodiment of innocence, saw something beautiful. I’ve always been a believer that your view of the world strongly reflects what you have going on inside, and so it only makes sense that the most un-blemished of a soul would see a star where someone else would see a weed. And not just any star. A star from the sky.

I put a great deal of mental energy into how to instill and maintain peace and positivity in my children when the outside world is in so much turmoil. No matter how peaceful and positive I like to believe that I am, it’s hard not to be afraid for their tender hearts; and I’m desperately searching for ways to securely fasten their rose colored glasses. I want it so badly for them that I read, and then I write and then I do some more soul searching. I am always looking for an answer, when the answer is right under my nose. The answer is in them. It’s always been in them and if I follow their lead, they will show me the way.

They will show me excitement in the simple. They will show me brightness when it’s dull. They will show me joy in the pain. They will show me acceptance with their trusting eyes. They will show me novelty in the things I have already done and seen. They will show me light in the dark. They will show me hope with their innocence. They will show me beauty in the ugly. And today, one of them showed me a star where I saw a weed.

I am well aware that I don’t hold the key to world peace, but the truth is that if left undisturbed, our children ARE peace. They are the manifestation of love and in their short time spent on Earth, they have yet to be touched by negativity. Their view of the world is beautiful because their insides are beauty. How do I maintain that beauty? I allow them to be as they are. I don’t put my judgements, or labels, or fears in their minds. I realize how much they have to teach me about life and I allow myself to be still and learn. I don’t dismiss their positivity. I choose to see the beauty and the magic in the world around me the same way that they do. I let them lead the way. And when I do that, I have access to all of the stars in the sky.

This entry was posted on November 19, 2015. 4 Comments

You Can Have It All! Just Not At The Same Time.

image

I’ve started to say no to things lately. Not like a negative no (yeah I know that’s an oxymoron), but more of a “I’m taking my life back” no. Every now and then when you feel resentful of your commitments or completely depleted of your creative energy it’s time to examine the way you are living your life. I like to think I’m a person who lives life on my own terms but I also have a lot of passion. With that passion comes this little voice inside my head that wants me to do it ALL. All of the time. Combine that with an underlying need to please and one can really exhaust themselves.

I remember something Oprah said when she had her talk show that really stuck with me. And yes I know I reference Oprah all the time, but she totally gets “it.” I believe the discussion was about the fact that she had this big, grand, over the top life but did not have any children, something of course that she decided was best for herself, and she said “you can have it all…just not at the same time.” This little piece of advice has lead me to make so pretty big decisions in my life and more than that be at peace with them. A major one regarding my work choices. I love my chosen career as an Occupational Therapist, but RIGHT now, I’m want to stay home and raise my kids. Sure the luxury of two incomes would be fabulous, but I can have that at another time too. I mean while we’re at it, I also love the idea of sleep. BUT more than that I want to raise a big family, so RIGHT now, that choice puts a damper on those zzz’s. That’ll come later too, and probably a lot sooner than my mind can comprehend. Obviously the choice is different for everyone and I’m sure there are a lot of people that are much better at balancing than me. No one can say what the choice should be for others. We all bring different talents and passions to this world and that’s what makes it go ’round.

This sage advice leads me back to what I’m feeling right now. I have a lot of roles in my life and that’s great but for me personally when I feel like my energy levels for my main role as mom to 4 small kids (and ALL that goes with that) are depleted, I need to re-examine what I’m doing. Like what is the point of me staying home with them if I have my hand in a million different things all of which take the energy I need to be an engaged parent? And it’s not like I’m saying you should say no to everything and only commit yourself to one thing, that would be unrealistic, I’m just saying that when you feel resentful over commitments to people and things I think that’s your subconscious mind alerting you to the fact that your energy is best spent some place else. Some people need to have a busy, big, full life to feel alive…but if you are so worn out from things that don’t fulfill you that it leaves little to give to the things that do fulfill you, time to make a change. And what fulfills you can change daily…just go with it.

I don’t completely have those rose colored glasses super glued to my face. I get that there are jobs and other commitments that people can’t give up given their current situation. I just think that every day you should center yourself and examine if there are things in your life that you give your time and energy to that just aren’t worth it. And maybe there is a bigger picture that will take time to work towards, just align your actions with that and it will surely manifest.

I remember reading somewhere that when what you believe to be true in your heart and what you DO do not match, that will be your biggest source of stress and unhappiness. Find what makes your heart sing and TRY to give your energy to that. It’s about the small decisions every day that make you a loving, giving, fulfilled person. It doesn’t have to be about exhausting your heart and soul. And for me, even if some days my only loving actions all day are raising decent people to send out into this world, well then cheers to THAT.

The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on October 30, 2015. 2 Comments