Growing In Self-Awareness
Conscious Parenting is recognizing that parenting is about the internal world of the parent, not about the child. When parents can feel safe and secure in who they are, then they can leave space to allow their children to grow with confidence into who they are meant to be, not who the parent, culture, society, or someone else wants or expects them to be.
How can parents begin again to feel safe and secure in who they are? It starts with connecting to ourselves as feeling, sentient beings through present awareness.
One main principle of conscious parenting is present, committed, and authentic mindfulness. Present awareness of how we are feeling in the moment allows us to begin to reconnect to who it is we truly are. Awareness allows us to take a pause and sit with our feelings, question our feelings, and respond with compassion to them instead of reacting out of our ego, our false sense of self who seeks to protect and control.
It is hard to feel. We are not comfortable with the feelings that have been locked and stored inside for so long. So we have to be brave. We have to be brave enough to take full responsibility for how we feel, think, and respond or react to ourselves and others, particularly our children. One way in which I have been able to connect emotionally to myself and therefore to my children is by creating presence in any moment.
Here is how to use committed, authentic presence in the relationship with yourself and your children:
- Tap into your senses with neutral observation– Use your five senses to connect to the sensations in the physical world. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? How do your clothes feel on your skin? What do you taste when you sip your water or tea? Get curious and always do so with letting go of any judgement that comes up.
- Am I breathing? How am I breathing?– Watch your thoughts as a neutral observer, as a spectator. Bring your attention to your breath and notice how your chest rises and falls. Now take 3 soft, slow, intentional breaths and focus on the inhale and focus. Do this regularly throughout the day, particularly when you are feeling triggered.
- Inner Body Awareness– This is connected to yet differentiated from your breath. Self awareness has both mental and physical elements. In addition to noticing your breath you want to notice areas where you feel pain. Do a body scan on your head, face, neck, shoulders, chest, legs, arms. Focus on your breath where the pain resides to find calm and relaxation.
- Get inspired with a mentor– Choose a wisdom teacher to guide this practice of increasing self-awareness and mindfulness. My teachers include Dr. Shefali Tasbary and Eckahdt Tolle.
- Name Feelings and Surrender to Them– feelings can hurt, particularly when they bring up old memories or fears of the future. But working through this pain allows a release that clears our bodies so we can maximize our creative and learning capacities. Although it may seem counterintuitive, naming and accepting feelings allows you to stop feeding them and allows them to vanish. So, practice naming a feeling, surrender to it, let it in with neutral observation and watch it vanish.
- Embrace the Beginner’s Mindset- This is easy when you have children, particularly young children. Throughout the day take 1-2 minutes to sit in silence and carefully watch your child through their eyes. Don’t lock eyes necessarily with them, but watch their eyes and place yourself in their experience. Feel their energy, wonder, and curiosity of the world seep into your body and awareness. Wonder and “not knowing” is pure magic.
Remember, you are whole and beautiful just the way you are! Be gentle with yourself as you begin to reconnect with yourself through present awareness.