Photo credit: Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
I started on this journey of becoming a “conscious parent” ever since I became a mother eight years ago. I didn’t have the actual words of “conscious parenting” in my vocabulary at that time…only a few years later had I discovered the beautiful work of Dr. Shefali (her videos, books, interviews, etc). I loved and still love her pioneering efforts to challenge the traditional paradigm of parenting – which focuses on parenting the child, disciplining the child, teaching the child, molding the child.
In reality, parenting is, first and foremost, about the relationship we have with ourselves; about the ability and inner curiosity to pause and question a certain act, word, behavior, or reaction; about the desire and the need to challenge our beliefs about success, well-being, happiness, authority, autonomy, (self)- sacrifice, social status, responsibility, and dependency versus independence in a relationship; about the courage to ask: “where did that reaction come from?” Conscious parenting is about self-awareness, self-introspection, self-growth and self-leadership. We must keep on learning, expanding our inner worlds and evolving.
Parenting, like any other relationship in our lives, is a mirror that reflects the unresolved wounds that we are not willingly looking at. Most of us avoid looking in the mirror because we don’t like what we see unless we “stage and arrange” the set. Therefore, it is much more comfortable and societally accepted, to mold a child to fit into a predetermined shape of success, achievement, smart-ness, athleticism, and even beauty.
So, what do I mean by Parenting MADE Conscious? Why MADE? Isn’t “conscious parenting” enough? Isn’t the knowledge of what a conscious parent is enough? My answer is NO. Absolutely not.
Intellectually understanding the definition and meaning of “conscious parent” is a necessary start, but not sufficient. Conscious parenting takes work. It is MADE because it requires a lifetime commitment to the practice of :
- self- observation;
- detached witness exercises;
- exchange of uninterrupted listening time with another human being so we can access our higher intelligence;
- unrooting deeply subconscious beliefs;
- checking in regularly with our personal values ( they change in a very subtle way sometimes);
- inner child healing work;
- connecting to gratitude;
- showing up in our most vulnerable moments;
- giving back when we think we can’t afford it;
- staying humble;
- listening to and tuning into our children’s worlds, perspectives, needs, voices, priorities, desires, and higher calling.
By all means, this is not an extensive or exhaustive list of practices. Regardless, I want to make the point that conscious parenting takes commitment and lots of work. It is MADE. Just like we make a dish, a pie, a building, a business, a painting or take on any other endeavor that requires time, intention, passion, commitment ( no matter what!), investment, constant adjustment, tolerance to discomfort and pain – conscious parenting takes courage; it also becomes a fountain of joy for the inner growth we experience in this process. Consciousness is a choice in all that we do, especially parenting. Let’s choose wisely every day, one day at the time.