Parenting with Spirit part 1

I just finished reading Jane Bartlett’s good book, “Parenting with Spirit.” I am always in search of more ideas to enrich the lives of those I love, so this was a good read. I am going to share with you some of the ideas and tidbits that I personally highlighted and the many take aways that you can use with your family. [note: these ideas jump all over from highlighted lines I was drawn to, the book carries many ideas and shares action ideas and many good things for your families, so this is just a glimpse—go buy the book! smile. smile.]

Image“the greatest enemy of the spiritual life is the human tendency to sleepwalk through life. Prayer calls us to wakefulness.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Pray with your children: I wrote about the details of praying with your family in another blog post “are you sleepwalking through life”  God is not only to be found when we are on our knees with our hands together. I often find myself saying a prayer while driving my daughter to school, praying for her day, that she will be safe, that she will be a light to others…I will also find myself praying when I am alone, praying for my family, having those moments praying for my child, my husband, our life together, and it may be on a drive, parked at a park, sitting on my back deck, just looking at the sky, not necessarily on my knees.

Here was a creative idea that Jane shares from her book: Create a cairn–a pile of stones used as a marker to show walkers the way. This works best when there are a number of you gathered for a communal  [family] prayer. In turn, place your pebbles into a pile in the center and as you do so speak aloud your prayers.    This is an engaging way of helping children take stock of their day or week. Collect three stones: one smooth pebble, one a jagged piece, and the third a sparkling gem. Offer the children each of the three stones. As they hold the pebble encourage them to recollect an ordinary moment of the day for which they are grateful. With the jagged, they recollect a moment that was difficult for them. And with the gemstone they recollect a moment that was sparkly and happy.

Parental blessings: Giving your child a blessing is a powerful experience for both you and the recipient. You don’t have to be a priest or designated holy person to give a blessing, you just need to have a genuine desire to extend your love and care to someone else. Growing up in my home we had a designated chair that even had a gold plaque that read, “blessing chair” and the prayers in my home were very formal with oils and rules. I have come to a deep understanding that the above statement is so very true. It is a matter of the heart, it is not only men who can gift their child a prayer of wellness or a priest or bishop who is the only one with ‘special keys’, God wants us to care for one another & if our hearts are in the right place, thinking of someone else and there well-being, then so it shall be good enough for Him to help a need, calm a troubled heart, prayer for the gift of a child, heal a sick child, comfort a child on their first day of school, bless them to find a friend, etc.…a blessing is a gift from the heart.

Scientific Studies of Prayer: There is a small amount of scientific research that seems to indicate that prayer might work. One study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine followed nearly 200 women in South Korea on an IVF program. Unbeknown to them, half of the women were being prayed for by Christians in North America and Australia, who had their photographs. The results were surprising, particularly for the researchers who had intended to prove that prayer doesn’t work. The women being pray for had a 50 percent success rate, compared with a 26 percent success rate for those not prayed for.     Another study, published in the American Heart Journal, covered 150 cardiac patients. They had been divided into five groups: one group received just standard care and the others additionally received guided imagery, stress relaxation, healing touch or intercessory prayer (by seven different religious groups from around the world). It was discovered that, after allowing for all manner of variables, those who received the additional “therapies” showed a 25 to 30 percent better recovery rate, and the group being prayed for fared the best with a 50-100 percent better recovery rate.

 

ImageSacred Ritual: Sacred ritual, however, has been disappearing from modern Western culture. As traditional religion declines, so too do the opportunities to experience collectively our connection to God.      Light two candles on the mantle every evening after dinner, one to pray for themselves [your children] and the concerns of their own lives, and the second to pray for people in the wider world.   [She has lots of ideas for family rituals and traditions–check out her book]  I have another blog post all about rituals and traditions—great ideas for your family.

Family Meal: a quarter of families only get to sit down and eat together once a month, and only 15 percent manage it every day.  Mealtimes are very important and enjoyable way to gather as a family and share news about the day: in many ways they represent the heart of family life. Taking a moment to say grace adds a deeper level of meaning to the occasion because it makes us aware that the food in front of us is a gift. There is bounty in the world, and here on the table lies the proof. Briefly, we might contemplate the sun and rain that gave the food life, the human hands that brought it to harvest and stacked it on the supermarket shelves, and finally the person who cooked it. In its fullest sense to the forces of nature and each other. There’s something sacramental about sharing food together, and it feels utterly right to have a prayer at that time. I honestly believe that food tastes better when we have had a moment of contemplation.

 

ImageStory time: Leaving your child to listen to a story on an audiotape may be enjoyable for a child and easy for a parent, but it can in no way capture this magic, because children’s bedtime stories are as much about the intimacy between the teller and the listener as about the tale itself. If you have had a stressful day, this is an opportunity for healing, because on your lap or tucked beneath your arms, your children feel safe and loved. Together you share a story that is like warm milk, feeding your child’s imagination and understanding of the world. Here is a book list she suggested: Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, and the Wizard of Ozby L. Frank Baum. You can also look for book awards like the Carnegie Medal, The Whitbread, The Smarties Book Prize and the Guardian Award.  Favorite picture books include: The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell, Guess How Much I Love YOu by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.   One of my other personal favorite authors—Nancy Tillman, On The Night You Were Born and ANY of her other magical books. Love them!

I LOVED this idea: I have started up a new ritual in our household on Friday evenings. It is called hot chocolate night. Instead of story time taking place in separate bedrooms with individual children, we all gather together, around the fire in the winter, for hot chocolate and a story.    You could also do cookies and milk during the warmer months OR ‘Watermelon and Wonder’

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Awake in the Dream part 2

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AWAKE: to stop sleeping; wake from a sleep. To stir the interest of; excite. To become or make aware.

Here is the second part of info, tools, thoughts and ideas that I took from the inspired movie, Awake in the dream. Beautiful movie I would highly recommend. I had a good friend of mine read my last post and immediately call me and ask me where I saw the movie, she was intrigued. Anyone can find it on Amazon, so get a copy. It is worth the time. Amazon has it for $13.95. [fyi: I don’t make any money or gain anything from promoting this movie. I just truly found it uplifting, beautiful, inspiring]

FEAR: Walsch likes the acronym Feeling Excited And Ready for the word FEAR. If you follow that feeling you can look at situations with a different perspective and step into that space excited and ready for whatever comes.

Fear and disempowerment may disconnect you, but the divine power is always within you. BUT, how do you rid yourself of these self-limiting ideas? Here are some tools…

Root causes for suffering

#1 Identification with the BODY (I am my body)–this is the birth of the EGO. Beliefs begin about how ‘you are your body’–MY feelings, MY thoughts, MY story, MY work, MY country, etc. This causes you to be independent of spirit.

#2 Identification with the MIND. Arjuna Ardagh, Awakening Coach, put it this way…This is the commentary of the mind—future, past, fears, judgements, evaluations, etc. The good—this is the part that allows imagination—to desire to make something–you create it. But it is also a curse. This capacity to think and imagine makes a wonderful servant–can be used, but a terrible master. Almost all human beings have lost the capacity to know how to switch it off.

Thoughts aren’t the problem–it’s letting them stick that becomes the real issue. Sabotage of the mind: you blame, you judge the thoughts, your desires…you resist what is. Catharine (the creator of the movie) talked about how she began to believe and resist that she was a single mother, that she felt like she was a failure for not having the perfect family she desired.

You must let go of perfection and embrace the imperfectly you in this life. Enjoying, surrendering and not defending what is. If you defend–you blow it up. How long do you stay in the drama? When you knock yourself down, how long do you need to stay there? That is a choice. You can accept it as it is OR you can judge it, dislike it, hate it, RESIST it!!! There is the key, when you choose to judge or hate it, you are locked in it. Choose ACCEPTANCE of what is.

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“Peace of mind is not the result of obtaining your desires, it is the result of losing your desire.”  -Harry Palmer

DESIRE: Every desire will only satisfy for awhile. (i.e.: buy new shoes, new car, want a new house…) Desire is tricky because you think the peace you have is from getting something you desire, but in reality it is when there is no desire running. We are so conditioned by need—I need something, I need something. We are running around like needy beings. Our NATURAL BEING is without need and that is the wealth of being. It’s not lacking anything. FREE and RICH is the one who desires NOTHING (NO THINGS). Not even from God. Otherwise we are all beggars.

STOP RUNNING DESIRES!! See through the illusion. Don’t just jump from one desire to another searching for that little bit of peace. That PEACE will be there when you stop running. Stop believing that the object of your desire is what brings you the peace. That’s commercialism!! The mind does not need an object to be still.

JUDGEMENT: Judging is a very strong attribute of the personal mind. Someone who is judging others usually has a pretty strong inner self-critic. Usually when you are not comfortable within, you seek to pick on others.

EMOTIONS: Emotions help us to realize how clear we are with ourselves and how honest we live our needs. When we have strong negative emotions–we act apart from our inner self. Emotions want to tell us “Look here!” because all our cells are in yourself want to feel good. Everything that does not feel good needs to be changed back to feeling good.

FEELINGS vs EMOTIONS: Feelings versus emotions–when you allow yourself to have your real feelings–but it’s anger–let it come from within, let it all out, don’t attach the stories that often come with the emotions. FEELINGS become a teacher, a guide, free from thought (story).

FORGIVENESS: Forgiveness means FOR GIVING. Often times when we get hurt we shut down, we crack, we pull in. We don’t want to give anymore. If someone hurts us we don’t want to give them anything. When you forgive–you let go, you let go of the past or what happened, you allow giving to begin again.       This gave me a great visual—When you are holding on to something (imagine a bag marked hurts, regrets, pain) you are holding tight to this bag—unable to give anything else. Your hands are full of garbage, so you can’t offer anything else. Let’s say you wanted to give someone a bouquet of flowers, but you can’t because your hands are full of the bags of hurts, regrets, pain—things that you need to let go of, so then you can offer the beautiful things you can give to others).  In reality, usually when there is a deep need of forgiveness it is usually something within us that is in need of self-forgiveness that is at the core.

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In TRUTH there is only YOU that impedes your divine potential.

“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”  -Eckhart Tolle

Many religions will tell you that you are separate from God. That is a mistake, an error, so the unfortunate thing is many of us go through life born feeling alone, growing up feeling alone, and not feeling that connection, not understanding that we are always connected.

AWAKENING is not the fruit of getting rid of something. AWAKENING means to realize that the barrier never existed. -Arjuna Ardogh

LOVE is our nature. When you know yourself, you will realize that your true nature is LOVE.

ENLIGHTENMENT simply means to understand who you are—not who you think you are, who other people think you are, what others have told you you are and not what your society conditions you to believe you are. The human experience is an opportunity to discover that we are the divine eternal principle.  God is the center of everything. To find the center we must go within to our own center to find the connection, the deeper part is always divinely connected.

Your heart is the GOD FORCE of the creations that come from love. When you are able to shift your own identity to divine essence—the way is in the HEART.

Well, there are SO many more gems from this beautiful movie. I hope this has given you some good food for thought and will inspire you to get the movie to truly enjoy the full experience. It is a beautiful movie. Thank you.

Awake in the Dream part 1

I watched an amazing movie the other day called “Awake in the Dream” by Catharina Roland —I highly recommend watching it and taking the seeds of change that will help you grow into a higher, better part of yourself. It was full of highly intellectual people sharing their deep insights, set to beautiful backdrops all around the world. It was wonderful to watch!!

Here is the trailer for the movie– 

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AWAKE IN THE DREAM PART 1

I am going to share bits of knowledge from this movie into a few different parts—this one I am going to share the thoughts about limiting beliefs.

She had author, Bruce Lipton, Biology of Belief, talk about what stops us from creating and using our potential—We have settled for our belief system, instead of seeing all the shimmer, shine, possibility of what reality can bring. Beliefs can bring limits or possibility. Thoughts like: Life is hard, I am a loser, it’s out of my hands VS I am beautiful, It’s a new day, I live in abundance, All changes change for the better, I am beloved…

This was fascinating to me–he began to talk about research done with people who have multiple personality issues. He talked about how powerful the brain is and can literally change the physicality of the body like a switch. He gave an example of someone who had two personalities, while one was extremely allergic to strawberries and would have a serious reaction, when the other personality showed up & was asked about strawberries, the response was that they loved strawberries and ate five of them with no reaction. When your mind changes, your biology can change as fast as you change your mind.

He explained most healing truly is the placebo effect—if the person believes the sugar pill will affect and heal them–it will. The pill didn’t heal–the BELIEF OF HEALING is what healed them.

I thought the following DOVE BEAUTY PATCH video would fit beautifully into what we are talking about. MAKE SURE TO WATCH THIS!! VERY POWERFUL. (This was NOT in the movie–I just thought it was a good fit & very powerful)

 

Bruce Lipton also spoke of the Nocebo effect (negative thought effect/the opposite of placebo)–Here is a video I came across to help explain the “Nocebo effect.”  It is equally as powerful as the placebo, but it takes you in the opposite direction. A positive thought can HEAL you while a negative thought can KILL you.   

Bruce also talked about the messages from the media that we should be afraid, the world is falling apart. He said, We need to be aware of not believing these things and not begin to follow and live in that fear because then we lose our power. Bruce said, “Let the world fall apart because then the new, empowering ideas will emerge and will be able to replace the old ones that are not working.”

 

I also really enjoyed listening to Arjuna Ardagh (At first I was a little closed off to his slow, spacey way, but the more I watched and listened to him–I was hooked) He explained thoughts as this…Scientists say that we usually talk about 400 words per minute to ourselves. Thoughts are constantly assessing our surroundings, giving us judgements, how to deal with people, how to act…the mind always thinking, always wanting more.  This is the commentary of the mind–future, past, fears, judgements, evaluations. The good–this is the part that allows imagination—to desire to make a movie & then make it, to see a bldg & then build it…BUT it is also a curse. The capacity to think and imagine makes a wonderful servant—can be used, but makes a terrible master. Almost all human beings have lost the capacity to know how to switch it off. So the thinking process isn’t useful in the right way—it can become a disease. Like a television you can’t switch off anymore.

ImageHe had a great metaphor—it’s like having a parrot on your shoulder, always chattering, always wanting more—you can’t turn it off. It is genetic, it’s biological, always there, you can’t switch it off, but in the moment you are able to observe the activities of thought as something automatic something interesting happens–you become aware of the thoughts. You are no longer the parrot–you are the observer of the parrot.

 

Image“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not “the thinker.” The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.” -Eckhart Tolle

A few Horses, A lot of Life Lessons

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I had an amazing experience last Friday, I got to spend a day with beautiful horses learning about myself, energy, leadership and finding a deeper part of myself.

I am definitely a follower of my own intuition. I have tried to listen to any prompting, inspiration to try something, a book that seems to keep jumping out at me…there are always gifts and signs that can guide us to situations that will help us grow beyond our current state. I was listening to a podcast of Koren Motekaitis (she has a great podcast show) and she was interviewing someone named Renee Sievert who was a Equus Coach. I had no idea what that was, but I was drawn to her passion and excitement and then she mentioned working with horses. Deal breaker!! my interest was even more heightened, because I have always had a thing with horses, their wild essence, their spirit, watching them run…whenever I have had bad dreams throughout my life, I envision wild horses running and it seems to calm my soul. Not sure why, so a coach who worked with horses was very interesting to me. I listened to the podcast, immediately after I began to scroll my phone for anyone in my local area who did this type of coaching. I was hooked!! I instantly signed up for a class & was scheduled for a week later. Here we go!!!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my experience, but I went with an open mind and heart, ready for anything. I met up with a great coach, Erin Cutshall who was within about 15 minutes from my home & we began our day with hugs & a walk through the ranch to grab our first horse, Ginger. She was a spirited, cinnamon colored horse that I openly admit was a little intimidating. She entered the round pen and began to kick and neigh, running in circles and bucking with spirit. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with her. Erin began to explain how horses have a “Leader Mare” they follow in a herd. She has to earn the respect and leadership with every horse that is present. Erin ran through some of the steps horses go through when testing one another for leadership and then the signs when they begin to give in and follow the leader—to be friends, to want to have a meal together.

Now, this whole experience was primarily for me to understand myself and seek answers to why I have felt so disconnected to people. I have struggled gaining trust in friendships and have not had the energy to engage with enthusiasm, so I have no friends. I explained how I didn’t like feeling like I was trying to learn and grow spiritually, but everything I read or watched emphasis the need to have close social ties or connections. It was so frustrating to feel so disconnected and not feel a need for others in my life. I did not understand.

She began training me in how horses are able to “mirror” people & will let off the energy they are feeling within the round pen. She explained how if you don’t hold a high energy or an “inviting” energy, the horse will not follow your lead. She talked about how intuitive horses read the energy we carry & if it is not a leadership, or your best self that is being shown—they will not be interested in you. Erin began asking me questions about me, my needs, my disconnection issue, my alone time, if I enjoyed being around people or if it felt like a drain…She helped me to understand that I have a very ‘Introvert’ personality and being alone is very vital to my personal needs. She helped me see that it was okay to not enjoy being around lots of people and that conversations can be very draining. She expressed how I was energized by being alone and social situations were draining to my soul. I cannot tell you what a weight was lifted in truly understanding my feelings. I had felt all those things, but having someone see it outside of me, hearing my needs and allowing me to be—was freeing. Erin helped me see that when you understand yourself, what your needs are and being able to take care of those needs, then you will be your best self—the leader that lies within.

She then invited me into the round pen & began giving me cues of where to stand to make the horse do what I wanted (to move, to run…) it was harder than I thought. I LOVE seeing horses run, so of course I wanted to see the horse run, but when I tried to get her to move, she didn’t listen. My energy wasn’t strong enough for her to listen. It took some practice & finding my playful energy to send her into motion. It was amazing. She ran and ran & then when my energy began to drop she would slow (like me). I stopped & wanted the horse to follow me. Erin walked me through the final steps to win the horse over & she followed me step by step around the round pen.

We worked with three different horses, all with different personalities & it was exhilarating. It was a craft that took time, learning to angle my body, getting over wanting to lead like I would with a dog. That was another aha moment for me. Erin explained how most people are use to leading like they would a dog, but Erin quickly got out in front of the horse and began to say things like, “please come over and love me, follow me, be with me, listen to me.” the visual was so pathetic and disempowering that I instantly imagined how in our own relationships we could be like that with people. BUT, if we learn to be our best self, take care of our needs, then people (horses) will be drawn to us. The energy we carry will free us from the bondages of being small, acting small & will allow us to be who we are meant to be–to shine, to radiate, to be strong, to lead and guide. It was even relevant to parenting. THink of almost begging your children to spend time with you, to listen, to respect you with a tone and action of leadership and love vs begging. You want those around you to admire and love you, to want to be around you because of the good energy you send out.

Watching Erin was even more amazing because she has been able to master the art. She put me in a large arena with one horse & had me try to get it to go through different sets of cones, but the one caveat, I could not get it to follow–I had to lead it. It was harder than I thought. A couple rows near the fence–easy, but when I was determined to get the horse out into the middle and have it go through a isle of cones–no can do!! I tried a couple different tactics, but my reasonable brain couldn’t problem solve because I figured I would have to go one one side of the horse and then run over to guide it the opposite direction. I finally gave in & just walked through the cones and had the horse follow. Erin smiled & was happy that I had at least finished getting the horse to go where I desired. I explained my only reasonable thought of how to get it through the cones & threw her a challenge to see if she could do it. She smiled and agreed to the challenge. She right away led the horse through the cones—I couldn’t believe it. She explained and showed me how when she began to give the horse space, it would then come in closer to her & that ended up putting the horse right where she wanted. It was an art. I couldn’t believe it.

I enjoyed learning the parallels of life and the energy we carry. Horses are definitely a mirror, when I got calm, they got calm, when I got excited they would run, when they were confused by my needs and wants they did not follow, one actually began leading me by sticking her head out in front of me, so I was behind. When you give them space, they want to follow. It’s a balance, a dance, a harmony between two spirits. It was a beautiful experience that I will always cherish.

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