There is something that I truly feel needs to be understood on this journey of conscious parenting. Although I have been doing and being this work day in and day out (with many trial and errors) steadily for the past two and a half years, I didn’t truly realize how much I was going to grow and still grow by the moment. Sure, I knew and desired it, yet it wasn’t until I embarked upon my journey and began inhaling, absorbing and digesting the depths of the teachings and practices from Dr. Shefali that I felt the transformation rather quickly and as a result felt myself releasing much of my anxieties that were wrapping its arms around me tightly. My devotion and commitment to showing up first for myself and then my family – was second to none. Intuitively I knew I was at a crossroad and had a choice of going down the traditional path or that of one towards evolution. In the precise time I aligned myself with knowing I had to make some changes, did the Universe bring Dr. Shefali on Oprah for her message to be heard. It was Divine timing nonetheless and a confirmation to the path in which I was destined to embark.
Moments after my jaw-dropping experience of hearing Dr. Shefali talk for the first time on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, I started doing a lot of writing, beginning with my Facebook blog page and moving into my e-book and website. I allowed (gave myself permission) to use these platforms as a way for me to explore my inner terrain, unveil my vulnerabilities, let go of my ego and expectations, and be more accepting of how my journey was unfolding and immerse myself on a very innocent level. It was a form of self-therapy (best way I like to describe it) – for if I was going to really embrace parenthood as I had always envisioned I would, at the depths of my core, than this was my re-birthing period so-to-speak. And the truth be told, I am still doing this same type of “self-therapy” two and a half years later. The difference now, perhaps, is that my conscious muscle has gotten stronger and is less resistant to seeing where I have yet to grow and openly invites it. Whereas in the beginning, my ego was at the forefront, now my essence has the front seat most of the time. It doesn’t mean that my ego doesn’t attempt to get my attention, shout “hey look at me” all while trying to seduce me to creating a story around my experiences, because it certainly has and does.
So why do I share this?
Some people believe that because one is apprised of conscious parenting, they are immune to experiencing struggles, high emotions and must have the “perfect” way of handling every situation that comes their way. Well, no one lives a perfect life no matter how hard we’d like to try or intend to strive. The way we are built and wired, we are asking for the impossible to happen in creating this false belief system. However what may be more transparent for the individual taking the conscious parenting path from that of one who is not, is the constant awareness and self-growth. One can no longer not know what one doesn’t know. As the belated Dr. Maya Angelou profoundly said, “when you know better, you do better.” I feel this is precisely what we should strive for … “do better” not “do perfect.”
I have come to find that even with each word I’ve written, each experience I’ve shared, each deep breath I’ve taken and each struggle and challenge I’ve endured along this journey, I have encountered less triggers by far and can still find that the learning process is hard at times. Hard in the sense (for me) because I have become so much more acutely aware of my consciousness and that I have experienced such a paradigm shift, I cannot not see when I am out of balance and when my ego is fighting for a pity party. My inner compass has become such a true guide within that it keeps me in check and on point – thank goodness for that. But sometimes when I’ve reached the top of my threshold, oh how it would be so much easier to just play ignorant to all the incredible practices I have gained from Dr. Shefali’s conscious parenting teachings. Instead, I accept that I am still human and have my days and it all comes down to how I attune to them and not excuse them. I can easily recognize them as they show up in the raising of my voice by a couple of octaves, the shortness in my breath, the wearing thin of my patience barometer and through distracted thoughts. What I do that I didn’t always do before is take a deep breath, collect my thoughts, notice my body sensations and if needed (and an option in that moment), I walk away before my triggers get the best of me. And in those moments that I “miss the mark”, I am far more able to disengage more quickly, take a moment of silence and own my reactions, apologize to my child or husband for my missteps then have a well-balanced conversation around it.
This brings me yet even further into accepting the other hard parts of this journey and why I cannot be more grateful it found me. I have been given a child with special emotional needs and I fully accept this on every level. In her particular case and being a highly sensitive child, she is so easily triggered and depending on where her mind frame is – if something alters that at just the precise moment, the lightning bolt will strike (as my husband refers to it). Is it easy, not in the least? Could I imagine any other child being mine in which to guide and grow through, not even a thought. She is precisely who was called to me and had I received the easy-ever-so compliant child, I would have been stuck in “my” way and would have lost all that I have gained through her brilliance.
I have also come to learn that I don’t necessarily want the struggles to “end”. To me, this would mean my self-growth has neutralized. Just when I feel or think I am “sailing”, the Universe brings forth another brilliant lesson for me to learn and in my case, it comes through that of my daughter’s essence. This past week in particular, I have been going through an array of deep introspection around my daughter’s extreme “meltdowns”, which are a derivative of many aspects around her giftedness traits, general anxiety and sensory processing disorders. My husband has been traveling much of this week when two of the four episodes occurred and I really only had myself (inner guidance) to hold the space, be the container, be calm and help my daughter navigate through her very big emotions. Once she came through it, I could just see her cry for help as she threw her body into my arms. It came on her time. Not a single thing I could do in the moment of her storm was “working”. I silently held a prayer around her / us and just waded it out. Fortunately, I have really learned how to attune to my daughter’s needs and have infinite compassion around how traumatic it is for her to experience these “out of control” emotions as I feel equally helpless inside. I know when they are behavioral related and truly an unwarranted storm she is experiencing.
There have even been countless times when her episodes have occurred in public (even most recently) and it is not easy for many to identify yet understand because they are coming from a place of judgment and ego of their own. Out of fear, I can easily feel anxious and worried what other think of “me” (and this was a big part of my self-growth) but instead all I am truly concerned with is “how can I help my child through this very difficult and big emotion she is having” and “how can I be the soft place she lands?” This in and of itself is where I know my work of conscious parenting is calling me to rise further all while I am in the thick of it.
Lately, I have been sitting with and desiring the space and silence so I can deepen my learning around my daughter’s needs and honor my own. Yet through inevitable “noise” I feel tugged and pulled at throughout the course of any given day. But today, after she and I went to breakfast, and she was non-stop (like she is most of the times), I acknowledged to myself that I needed some space and silence to go within and just be. I asked my mom if I could drop her off for a few hours and granted myself that gift of self-love. Had I not, I could have easily projected my inner frustrations onto my daughter by being short-tempered for my own lack not hers. I detached from the trigger and created the condition for myself to rise so I could be most present for my daughter – mind, body and spirit. This is just one aspect of what conscious parenting has taught me.
A 4.5 minute video that highlights so many of Dr. Shefali Tsabary (The Conscious Parent author) brilliant work and wisdom on awakening ourselves through our parenting journey.
What is important to understand is that as we begin to un-condition the old patterns and belief systems – which takes time, patience, insight and courage – we must be willing to acknowledge they were not created overnight and they certainly are not going to unravel overnight. The un-layering of an onion requires a steady hand, delicacy and drying your eyes along the way – just as it does un-layering your ego to tap back into your core, your essence. As Dr. Shefali says “conscious parenting is a journey, not a destination.”
To read more about my journey (the earlier years), you can access my e-book “The Diaries of a Conscious Parent: One Mother’s Journey To Raising Herself Through Her Daughter’s Essence.