We are all unique, spiritual beings having chosen this life for some higher purpose. Prior to our arrival, we consciously chose our life situation and our parents, knowing well the path that was laid out before us. Our children chose us before they were born, already knowing all of our beautiful and broken places.
Beginning with conception, the alchemy between us begins. Their lives become intertwined with ours in both loving and difficult ways that we cannot fully comprehend. Our children can both inspire us to be better people and completely agitate our delicate inner balance. They come into our lives as our mirrors and become our primary spiritual practice. There is no other relationship that has allowed me to explore my own pain and growth more than that with my daughters.
As children ourselves, we’ve had loving, hurtful, joyful, sorrowful and traumatic experiences. We do not arrive at parenting without our own suffering and fear. Everyone enters into their parent-child relationship with their own pain lingering in the background. Regardless of how our children have come into our care, there is some period of anticipation, wondering and dreaming about what that child will be like. We dream about holding our child in our arms and playing catch with them or teaching them how to sew. We dream about whom they will grow up to be and even what college they might attend.
This dreaming is beautiful. It reflects the loving waiting that precedes the arrival of our child. The trouble comes, however, when this dreaming morphs into fear and expectation, which we derive from our own sense of lack.
Remember when I said that our children are our mirrors? The primary barrier to truly being able to connect with our child is our hurt, fear and suffering that we bring into our relationship. How many times have you heard people say that my children “push my buttons”? Becoming conscious means that you courageously identify and withdraw those buttons. You take responsibility for your own suffering and no longer burden your child with it.
How many times have you been angry with your child because you felt they disrespected you? Ask yourself, “Have I ever disrespected my child? In this moment, am I reacting to my child or to a hurt that I received in the past that I’m feeling once again? What is it that I need to heal for myself in this moment? Why does this interaction hurt me so deeply?”
The work of becoming conscious is multi-faceted. Along with taking responsibility for our own suffering, we are also charged with the task of truly knowing and understanding our child, free from our own fears and expectations. Our children come into this world as spiritual beings with their own signature. Our job is to hold space for them, guide them and be the parent they need us to be. Who is the beautiful being who sits in front of me at the breakfast table? How do they show up in the world and what do they need in order to blossom? Why does my child do what they do and act the way they act? What is the feeling or deep need that motivates their behaviors?
So many questions, I know. The good thing is that you are the expert on your child and the best person to answer these curious questions.
Becoming a conscious parent is an everyday act of courage and bravery. We cannot always be the parent our child needs us to be. We cannot always deeply connect with our child. We can, however, begin the work with openness and fully allow ourselves to be curious about whom our magnificent child truly is.