Our Children Are Our Awakeners
Posted by Arathi Ravichandran on Mar 2, 2018
"Our children may be small and powerless in terms of living independent lives, but they are mighty in their potential to be our awakeners. [The term awakeners] speaks directly to our children's potential to enlighten us and raise our consciousness to new heights. When I began to notice how my daughter accomplished this, I was in awe.
The really surprising aspect of this is that the insights our children offer us aren't so much epiphanies as they are lessons stumbled upon in the plainest of moments and the most humbling of situations. Actually, more often than not it's in times of conflict that we get to see the full range of our unconscious theatrics. This is why instead of shying away from conflict as many parents do, or even denying the existence of disagreements in the home, I encourage parents to accept the inevitability of conflict and use the insights that emerge to awaken themselves to the growth that still needs to take place in them."
Tsabary's message hit home for me, as I find in our family, most moments of awakening have come during conflict which inevitably arises during the plainest of moments (feeding, bathing, and putting the children to sleep).
One mom shared, "When things get really hard, I say the following prayer "May this moment awaken me." Her share hit home for all of us, and was a potent reminder of the power of prayer and intention. I've certainly taken a leaf out of her book and repeated this prayer countless times over the last few months, particularly when food is being thrown at the walls :-).
Last night, a few of us got together to discuss Brene Brown's Whole Hearted Parenting Manifesto.
Brene shares, " Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel."
While some moms didn't resonate with Brene's language, the central feeling was that teaching our children love, respect, kindness, and compassion really does begin with truly embodying these values ourselves. And while we know this to be true, the path of motherhood has also involved a significant amount of doubt and self-blame when things go wrong, and many of us are working through how to re-wire these thought patterns.
One mom reflected, "So much of our journey requires us to learn and re-learn and re-learn. I might have embodied some of those qualities that Brene speaks of prior to having children, but having children has presented me with an opportunity to re-learn how to embrace my own imperfections in a new way."
As usual, I personally left the call with gratitude for the wisdom shared and a deep bow of respect to the sacred path of motherhood. Looking forward to more in 2018!