“We accepted the probability that she would walk a unique path and we honored her courage and determination to live authentically.”
Parenting is humbling.
It can reduce successful, professional adults into a state of irritability, confusion, and self-doubt. It can trigger negative feelings in the most spiritually oriented seekers. The daily challenges can turn love and adoration into a cycle of worry and control. Parenting kicks up our deepest wounds and presents opportunities to live in our highest form of unconditional love.
To be a parent is to taste the agony and ecstasy of being human.
Before I became a parent I was considered an expert in child development and education. In graduate school I studied child psychology, age appropriate best practices and curriculum development. I trained new teachers and launched programs that inspired children to thrive as they discovered their skills and talents.
I wondered why parents didn’t do a better job of preparing their children emotionally as well as cognitively so they would meet with school success more easily. I knew that once I was a parent I would do it the ‘right’ way.
When our first child was born it seemed like everything I did was brilliant. Matthew adjusted easily to life, slept through the night, potty trained early, shared his toys, handled disappointments well and learned quickly. I was sure it was because of my genius parenting.
Four years later his sister was born. That is when my real education about children began. It seemed like nothing I did would soothe Melissa, and I spent her first few years feeling frustrated and confused. She would not conform to my expectations and the strategies that were supposed to work did not change her sensitive, intense, power-seeking nature.
My ego, like a punctured balloon, was reduced to a whimper and I became the parent who was looking for help. The door to my emotional and spiritual journey was forced open and I am eternally grateful to the forces that led me kicking and screaming down the pathway of self -discovery.
The wisdom of traditional childhood development coupled with the new understandings of brain research provided intellectual insights into the mysteries of why children behave the way they do. But transformational wisdom does not stop with cognitive theories learned at the University level. It was in the private moments with my soul that I woke up to the power of acceptance, compassion, and of seeing my child through the eyes of her Creator. Once I entered this field of Infinite Intelligence the floodgates of authentic love filled my entire being.
It felt magical.
My first ‘Aha Moment’ was when I realized that nothing was wrong. I did not have to fix Melissa. I did not have to change her. She came into physical life exactly as she was meant to and my work was to adore her exactly as she was.
The challenge was figuring out how to stay loving while guiding and supporting a child who could not play this game of life by the pre-established rules. I wanted to validate her perspective and depth of spirit, but at the same time I ached for her to be appreciated and accepted by her strongly opinionated grandmother, a test-oriented school system, and a society that lived by hypocritical standards of appropriate behavior.
The first step for me was giving up my Ego. I had to stop worrying what other people thought. I had to care more about how my child was experiencing life than looking good in the eyes of friends and relatives. I began to release my own childhood story about being a good girl and pleasing others. I trusted my gut and realized that when my parenting responses felt good, felt connected to the truth of my own soul, felt in alignment with something Greater than myself, that I was on the right path. When I stopped interpreting Melissa’s sensitive and intense nature as a problem that needed to be corrected I became free to enjoy her unique sense of self. Once she started to feel understood and validated then her sweet, creative, kind, cooperative disposition began to shine through.
I learned how to create boundaries and set limits within an environment that honored her temperament. I stopped comparing her responses to life with the style of her easy- going brother. Her dad and I made a conscious decision to really listen when she said something didn’t feel right, smelled funny, tasted yucky or was too loud. We accepted the probability that she would walk a unique path and we honored her courage and determination to live authentically.
She has grown into a remarkable woman. She has become my greatest teacher as well as my business partner.
I am sharing this because I believe that each of our children is a gift, and the ones who come wrapped in a non-traditional way are the ones who can lead us down a road of pain and suffering or out into the sunlight of new understandings and transformational compassion. Translated into life, in general, I’ve come to trust that the people who are most challenging are angels, wrapped in physical bodies, come to offer us opportunities for expanded growth and spiritual enlightenment.
Sometimes the human challenges feel overwhelming and our mind whirls as it tries to protect, argue, find solutions or run away from the very conflict that is the seed of enlightenment.
That’s often the signal to get quiet, be still and connect with your soul. In that space, you just may sense a thought that comes from a knowing that transcends space and time. The willingness to follow that guidance is the pivotal moment when the magic begins.
The time is NOW to heal what is within ~ mind, body and spirit.
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