3 ways to connect you and your family to what matters most
"Mom, is Dr. Seuss still with us physically?" I looked up from the TV. It was movie night and we were all engrossed in the latest animated iteration of Dr. Seuss' Christmas tale. If equanimity was a voice. It would have sounded like my daughter in that moment. Her tone full of life, curiosity and non-judgement. Her question sounded more like "How is Dr. Seuss here?" It was beautiful, innocent and true. "No babe" I answered. We both turned back to the TV and continued with movie night.
Wanting that connection to the eternally spiritual has always been a part of who I am as long as I can remember. Growing up we were church folks. On Sundays we rose early to attend Sunday school, where we learned Bible stories and memorized verses of the bible so we were able to recite them when called upon during class. We drew pictures of a man that got caught in a whale and One family who escaped a terrible flood and built a boat large enough that all the animals on the earth could fit on. That part was great, fanciful and colorful. Because I went to a small church, I loved being around family and friends.
As I grew up, I felt a draw to connect with God. I felt like Sundays and whatever other days were set aside for the communal gathering of church were not enough to satisfy this deep desire to know something more.
After I got married, I totally began to throw myself into “doing” mode. Participating in all the different church functions and started volunteering more in different aspects of the church life. There was a point in the throws of it all that I felt I was “doing the most” and not feeling any more connected to the Spiritual. If anything I felt like I was drifting further away.
After I had my first child, Motherhood, transformed me in a way that I had not anticipated. I felt like I could never do enough to be able to protect this child. I did not know enough to guide her and I was absolutely sure that I wanted her to know her connection to God from a very early age and be able to tease out the fact that we have faith traditions that point us to the way but at the end of the day those traditions and things we do are not what makes us whole. They are pointers to wholeness.
Fast forward to now, 3 more kids later and I have to admit I feel like I “know” with my intelligence even less about Spiritual things but what I can say with confidence is that I have learned how to “be” and connect back to “being” even in the midst of some of the most trying situations and busiest days. Being is peace, Being is light, Being is love. And you can use everything around you and everything life brings at you to point to these truths to which we all have access.
Samuel and I are teaching our kids many of the same Christian faith traditions we had growing up. Many of those traditions are beautiful pointers to light, but not everything we learned did that. So for us our priority is practicing presence ourselves as parents.
Taking regular pauses throughout the day and longer pauses such as creating a “Rest day” on the weekend to create a space to connect with that non-thinking part.
Using meditation in its various forms to learn a healthy orientation to our thoughts and practice being in the space of “no thinking”
Practice being with people in the moment. Whether it be informal around the dinner table or during bath-time or a structured time of volunteering or service, Bring your attention to the moment by feeling what is going on in your body. Being fully engaged with your physical sensations can be an excellent point of entry to presence. The here and now. The limitless and infinite.
That part of you that is in awe and speechless during a sunset. That part of you that seems to grow when we are participating in our passions or serving others. That part of you that is still and seems deep and calm when we gaze out on a lake. That part of you that feels warm when we sit together around people who we accept as they are in that present moment and accept us unconditionally. This is how we bring this consciousness into our family and our world. We as parents are focusing on transforming ourselves. I cannot teach the kids “being” but these pointers can guide them. I cannot protect them from everything this life will bring, but these pointers will lead them to peace.