I didn’t grow up in the most conscious of environments.
Particularly in the earlier years of my childhood, I grew up around constant fighting, fear, brushed-under-the-carpet trauma, narcissism, lies, deceit, bitterness and treachery.
As the grandchild of immigrants, in a family of humans torn between wanting to keep their traditional values from their home country alive while raising children in the western world, I also had to endure conditions, restrictions and expectations constantly placed upon me.
But, I was always different from the rest of them. There was always an inner knowing deep within me that this wasn’t how we were supposed to live. There was always a desire to be free.
I questioned and I rebelled, and it wasn’t until my own spiritual awakening at the age of 22 that I suddenly began to realise how unconscious my upbringing actually was. How so much of my identity had been constructed around the ideals that my family and my culture expected me to fulfil.
And I finally broke free.
The black sheep of the family suddenly sprouted wings and began to fly… And nothing has been the same for me ever since.
An unexpected pregnancy
In no way am I saying I am a perfect or enlightened human being, but I am hugely grateful for the path of consciousness that opened up before me, that I now try my very best to walk along every single day.
I’m actually even more grateful that I came to this path before having children, although my unexpected pregnancy at the age of 24 meant that I was very new on my awakening journey.
Yes, there is so much I wish I had healed and so much more knowledge I wish I had had before co-bringing a child into this world, yet at the same time, I am fully aware that this is an ongoing journey and the person I am today is not the person I was yesterday.
We live, and through experience, we learn.
Raising my children
I don’t think there is any coincidence that my parenting journey coincided with my journey to awakening; parenthood has helped me to awaken to so many different aspects of my being in many different ways.
Simultaneously, my awakening journey has helped me to become, what I hope, is a better parent than I could have ever been before my spiritual awakening experience.
I am still learning and growing every day, but here are some of the ways in which I hope I am contributing to raising more consciously aware, confident and happy little humans…
1. We practice gratitude every day
Although gratitude suddenly flowed through me after my awakening experience, I wasn’t quite aware of the importance of a gratitude practise until around 5 years ago.
I’ve been gratitude journaling ever since then, and although the little ‘uns are still a bit too young for journaling, every day over breakfast I ask my 3 and 6-year-old to share three things each that they’re grateful for.
We also end the day giving thanks and prayer when they’re cosily tucked up in their beds, ready to drift off to sleep.
This is such a beautiful way to start and end each day as a family and I know instilling these values in them at such a young age will help them to always look on the bright side of life.
2. We acknowledge our feelings
You know what kids are like, right?
Scrap that — you know what humans, in general, are like, right!?
Feeling our feelings and understanding that our feelings don’t define us, is such a vital part of our human experience.
I grew up suppressing a lot of emotion, and I know that doing this only contributed to my later experience of depression.
Of course, this is something that I don’t want my children to go through, which is why we encourage them to express their feelings and let them feel whatever they’re feeling until it passes.
What’s making you feel sad?
Why are you angry?
What’s made you so excited?
It’s so important to talk about their feelings and what caused them, helping them to understand that as they grow, feelings will always come and go as visitors passing through — and that we have to allow them to do just that.
3. We create awareness of their power as co-creators with the Universe
Growing up, I didn’t know the power that I had over my own life.
The idea of a pre-determined destiny was instilled in me from such a young age — especially when I saw the adults around me falling victim to their own situation and claiming that this was their lot in life and it was kismet.
Although I still do believe in destiny to some extent, I now know that we are the creators of our own destiny. Whatever we fill our mind, heart, body and spirit with all contribute to our creating of a more positive destiny, or a darker one.
My husband and I speak about these ideas often with our children. We let them know that they have the power to create whatever they desire in their lives.
And one thing that I ensure I do is to sing positive affirmations out loud with them every day:
I am happy
I am healthy
I am wealthy
I am wise
I am abundant
I am Love
I am Light
I am joy
I am peace
I am beautiful
This is one of my favourite things to do with them and I know that the earlier these positive thoughts seep into their psyche — (although as children and the pure beings that they are, they’re already well aware) — the more they will carry these beliefs into their futures, helping to create the happy, abundant lives that they are here to live.
4. We don’t attach importance to identity or to the social order
Being on this journey of awakening and consciousness, my husband and I are both fully aware that as human beings we construct our identity based on our social, cultural, historical, political, familial and social conditioning.
We’re also very aware of how much importance we place on identity in society, and how that can more often or not, lead to our downfall or destruction.
With our children, we educate them on different aspects of society and the things that make up their ‘identity’, but we don’t place importance on these things or allow our children to believe they are defined by them.
We also encourage them to think freely for themselves — even at the young ages that they are — and draw their own conclusions about certain things that they see, without passing judgement, reminding them despite our external differences as human beings, we are all one.
I hope that this helps them to grow up without putting pressure on themselves to achieve things for social status and to never feel superior or inferior to anybody else.
Freedom and happiness are some of our main core values which we hope to pass through to our children.
5. We always listen to each other
Wellllll… we try our best!
When our children are speaking to us, even if it’s my son retelling a story for the fifteenth time that day or it’s my daughter complaining about her brother AGAIN, my husband and I both try our best to stop what we’re doing and give them our utmost attention.
I’m not going to lie — being self-employed and working from home while trying to take care of the kids and the house — it’s sometimes a massive challenge to give them my full attention. But I’m still growing and learning on this journey too, and it’s important that I just try the best I can.
As a child, I hardly remember my parents being around when I wanted to tell them things, and even when they were there, I don’t remember ever being able to, or them ever really paying attention. I guess that’s why our relationship isn’t the best it could be now.
I want my children to know that they are always heard, they are always seen and what they have to say is important. This is vital in helping them to become more confident and happy humans who are able to express themselves openly.
6. We practice kindness
My 6-year-old son is a very calm, happy and kind human being.
My 3-year-old daughter on the other hand, although she has a very caring nature, is a feisty, outspoken child who knows exactly what she wants and goes for it, no matter what gets in her way.
Sometimes that’s her brother. And sometimes she can be unkind — pulling his hair, bossing him around, and all sorts.
This is why we place so much emphasis as parents on kindness, and in our family, we always lead by example and ensure we are always being kind to one another and whoever we meet.
We don’t raise our voices, we use kind words and when one of the kids does do something ‘unkind’, we always speak about their actions and ask them whether what they just did was a nice and kind thing to do — leading to a discussion to help them understand their actions further.
In this busy world that we live in today, I feel like we can be so caught up in the busyness and distractions of our own lives, that we can sometimes easily forget to be kind to each other.
Kindness is the simplest of acts but can sometimes be hard to practice, which is why we remind our children about kindness every single day.
7. We constantly remind ourselves of the beauty all around us, especially in nature
I’m definitely one of those “oooh look at the sky”, “oooh look at the MOON!” tree-hugging kind of people — no judgement please, haha.
And just through being so appreciative of the beauty around us and trying my best to be as present as possible, I feel that this has already passed on to my children.
More often than not, my son and daughter will look at a flower and comment on its beauty and its perfection, or notice the crescent moon hanging perfectly in the sky before I do.
We love nature and one of my favourite things is being in nature together and admiring the natural beauty that exists everywhere.
We remind our children that everything in this world is alive and that the beauty they see around them also exists within them, too.
I hope this helps them to grow up being more mindful of the world around them, giving nature the respect and love that it deserves.
To end, I leave you with these words from Shefali Tsabary which sums up unconscious parenting wonderfully,
“Our children pay a heavy price when we lack consciousness. Overindulged, over-medicated, and over-labeled, many of them are unhappy. This is because, coming from unconsciousness ourselves, we bequeath to them our own unresolved needs, unmet expectations, and frustrated dreams. Despite our best intentions, we enslave them to the emotional inheritance we received from our parents, binding them to the debilitating legacy of ancestors past. The nature of unconsciousness is such that, until it’s metabolized, it will seep through generation after generation. Only through awareness can the cycle of pain that swirls in families end.”
Let’s not let our children pay the price for our own unconscious upbringings.
Here’s to breaking free and learning to raise more conscious, happier, healthier children in mind, body and soul.