When our Inner Child needs some Well-Deserved, Conscious Parenting.

It was not until moments after a long meditation, when I was lying in a pile of my own bliss, that I let go of the idea of becoming thought-less.

Ironically, that morning, upon returning to my body, I was thought-less—for a whopping three seconds. It felt strange, amazing, beautiful, yet also, fleeting.

For 10 years I had attempted to become thought-less during meditation. And if I hadn’t heard the saying, “We are not our thoughts” from almost every spiritual guru, I might have given up long ago. That morning, something changed. Perhaps I was ready to hear the truth, or I had just had enough of trying. Either way, it was time to give up.

Moments later, I received a download from the Universe. I saw the image of my thoughts as an extension of myself, only it was my child-self. When my thoughts were at their most abundant, she, meaning me, was having a temper tantrum. Ruminating, worry, fear were all manifestations of her trying to get my attention. To wake me up.

The Universe then asked me a question: “Would you follow a toddler into a full-blown temper tantrum, screaming along with her in the toy section of Target, or worse, would you give the toddler what she is demanding reinforcing the behavior?”

As a parent, I knew the answer was no.

I also suddenly knew meditation was never about becoming thought-less as a goal but about creating the space for self-reflection to emerge. And what was unfolding was one juicy insight—that the child inside of me needed some well-deserved conscious parenting.

My first role as the parent was to improve our communication. I tried to reason and was rebuffed. Then I got down on the floor and looked her in the eye. Gently, I said, “I hear you. I see you. You can do your thing and think whatever you want. You can go to the past and think about what you could have done better. You can worry about the future. You can think you will not have enough time to get everything done, or wonder if people will hurt you. I will be waiting right here.”

She turned and stared at me for a few moments, seemingly confused. “You mean you are not coming along?”

“No,” I replied. “But you go ahead. I am just going to do my thing here. To just be. Rest. You can yell as loud as you need.”

I got that she wanted me to join her or it would not be as much fun. I got that she was shocked. I also got that I was on to something.

She tried again to lure me in with our old pattern. She was not giving up so easily. She tried again and again. Testing me over and over, just like a child.

I did not give in. I also did not get mad or frustrated. She was doing the only thing she knew how to do—to be repetitive, get loud, even scare me into listening in order to be heard. I knew instinctively she needed boundaries, not a laissez-faire attitude. Responses, not reactions. Discipline, not control. Love, not neglect. And it was my job to give it to her.

Over time, we stumbled and fell, but we persisted. If I was not going to follow her down the rabbit hole, she stopped sniffing around it.

When I fully got that the little girl was me, we sealed the deal. That little girl was screaming for my attention because she was never praised for who she was, never loved for who she was, never allowed to just be herself. I simply let her be. 

The little girl whose boundaries were trampled, and who was loved—conditionally—never gave up. She was that stubborn, amazing child who would not be silenced. The part who still wanted to be acknowledged and heard. I grew to respect her.

It does not matter how we get there: through meditation, connecting with nature, or following our breath. Take some space and we will see that our thoughts are us! They are not our enemy or something to run from.

Among other things, they simply need a little love, patience, and understanding.

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How to know if you are a Lightworker.

According to Google, a lightworker is “a special person with almost psychic ability to intuit what other people are thinking, feeling, or need in order to heal.”

Wrong!

We do not need psychic abilities to be a lightworker. I have seen lightworkers busy doing their thing, everywhere, every day.

My son is a lightworker when he snuggles up to me and utters, “I love you, mommy.”

My dog is a lightworker when she wags her tail and licks a stranger’s hand.

The man who pumps my gas who asks me a question instead of staring at his phone is a lightworker. The stranger who passes me on the street, meeting my eyes, followed by his warm smile, is a lightworker.

Children are lightworkers, bringing their vulnerability and openness to everyone they meet.

A lightworker is someone who wants to yell back at her Facebook friend for the post about a political candidate of the opposing political party, but instead writes, “Thanks for sharing,” and takes a walk instead.

A lightworker takes a moment before lashing out at Verizon for charging so much for service. A lightworker is the one who lashes out before apologizing for taking out their money frustrations on a stranger.

A lightworker connects us to the feelings of regret or sadness through the words of a song, and is the one who listens in the quiet of their bedroom, weeping alone.

The man who stands in the freezing temperatures directing traffic away from the road construction is a lightworker, as well as the one who puts her hands upon a man’s leg, healing his tumor.

Deer grazing and birds flying in unison are lightworkers, as is the homeless man who tugs at our heartstrings, reminding us to have gratitude for all we have been given in life.

The grief-stricken man who forgives the police officer who shot his unarmed brother and the woman who bakes homemade chocolate chip cookies, spreading sweetness in the world, are lightworkers.

The young woman who stands up in court, speaking her anger and grief to her perpetrator, is a lightworker.

We do not have to have a profession as a spiritual teacher or become Instagram famous to be a lightworker. Handing another a blanket when they are cold, letting a car pass in front even when we are in a rush, texting a friend whose radio silence could be a sign of her struggles, and saying “I am sorry” are all signs of lightworkers doing our job.

Getting out of bed when we feel like hiding and standing in front of an audience speaking about “shame and vulnerability” are the actions of a lightworker. Sharing our story so others feel less alone and listening to a friend with all our attention are signs of lightworkers doing our thing.

Lightworkers fall down and break apart. We also get back up. We remember it is our mission to walk away when our soul is waking up, and then to help another do the same.

We stop in the road to help a deer who has wandered out into traffic, and put a hot meal on the table for our family. We take our children out for ice cream, and laugh when we see their face covered in chocolate. We get our hands dirty, and clean up our messes when we make a mistake. We work long hours so our family can go on vacation at the beach. We collect clothing for those who are in need and send cards to our elderly grandmother who feels alone in the world.

All lightworkers are angels, their wings hidden beneath their human facade.

We all came here to be lightworkers. We just need to get on to how we are to use our gifts in the world. We may become a comedian creating laughter, or we may be willing to pick up everyone’s trash each Monday. We may organize rides for those without cars, or give temporary jobs to the unemployed.

We connect one another by running support groups, networking lunches, and book clubs. We share what is on our mind and in our hearts.

Lightworkers are agents of change, bringing light into the darkness.

The whistleblower. The mother who allows her son, the addict, to become lost and hit rock bottom so that he can find his way back. These are lightworkers.

A lightworker is even the person who takes the time to put on a new roll of toilet paper for the next person.

Lightworkers reach out, cry, laugh, lend a hand, say no, speak the truth, face their fears, fetch the newspaper, create beautiful bows, cook, clean, love, share, respond, walk away, and connect. They are healing our world.

The next time you pass someone on the street, look them in the eye, smile, and say silently or aloud, “Thank you.” And then give yourself the same gratitude.

For more inspirational and heartwarming messages, please visit my website at www.thesacredletters.com

 

The Sounds of Silence

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Simon and Garfunkel got it right when they wrote the timeless song, Sounds of Silence, over fifty years ago. Many remakes hit the charts, and then in 2015, the song was given an upgrade by heavy metal band, Disturbed. Not that the original needed any tweaking, but the incredible feeling and power behind David Draiman’s voice brings the song to a whole new level. The first version creeps quietly into my heart while the second, reverberates throughout my body. I listen to both, often.

Like our music that often permeates our homes and our cars, the sounds of silence are anything but silent. As I sit this morning, bringing forth this blog post, I feel the power within and beyond the silence. For many of us, it is rare that we sit in silence. It has been awhile for me as well, yet today, the sounds within and around me, feel like music. Like an old friend, I am welcomed back with open arms.

My home, usually quiet on a Saturday at seven am, feels no different today.  It has been years since babies and toddlers woke us much to early, with their wide eyes and intense hunger. Like a reward for all those sleepless nights, older children sleep late, especially on a Saturday. Two years ago, we emptied one of our bedrooms upstairs as my oldest went to college. In the space she left, we could feel the silence. The first to fly the nest left our house feeling different, a bit awkward and lonely. Yesterday, my second daughter left for college, and along with far too many clothes, she took her laughter, loud music and friends dropping by at all hours of the night. Our newfound silence, again unnerving, but now, more familiar.

Yet, it was not just the empty bedrooms. I had no choice this morning but to sit within the silence. When things call to me, as I follow that inner voice which feels anything but silent, I listen. Sit and do nothing, it said. While I do miss my daughters, the silence they left behind in this moment feels welcoming. A chance to reunite with myself.

I have heard all the arguments why people do not like the silence:  I have no time. It makes me uncomfortable. My mind always wanders. I just can’t sit there and do nothing. I know them well because I have used all of them.

Maybe it is because we don’t ever visit with silence that we fear the worst, and then we think we are proven right when we finally sit quietly. Our thoughts go on tangents, seeking rabbit holes without our permission, and our feelings, having been stifled, seem to bring forth the most inconvenient emotions. Perhaps this happens because we never allow them to come out, we never give them a chance to run free. Like a dog kept in a cage or cows prevented from grazing, it is only natural for it to be awkward when finally given a voice, a chance at freedom. Perhaps that anxiety and depression that seems to coming knocking is actually our soul’s need for silence. It is our inner voice of our soul that is banging on the bars of the cage, begging for freedom.

I have only two rules when it comes to silence.

  1. What happens in silence, stays in silence. It need not be discussed, unless that is your desire. Forging your own relationship with the voice of your soul for the first time can look messy.  We may think strange things, or feel that anger that has been buried for years. We may have intrusive thoughts about what we said in jest to a friend or feel the grief from our grandmother passing decades earlier that we never fully felt. It gets better. If we ride out the wave of what happens when we allow ourselves to sit quietly, things will settle. We will begin to hear the music playing so beautifully from the silence of our surroundings.
  2. Be comfortable. No need to suffer in silence. Grab a blanket, a mug of hot tea, a glass of water with ice. Sit in a field of grass or lay in bed. Even driving can be a wonderful place for silence when we turn off the radio. I like to hear the silence with my morning coffee. It seems that if I do not sit first thing, I do not sit. Emails, errands, writing, cleaning, my son – all take precedent. When we don’t label it, or think that it has to be done in a certain way, silence feels like a warm bubble bath, both soothing and invigorating.

As much as I love the mindfulness movement, the encouragement to meditate, it has created an imaginary box, a way of doing something that puts many people off. Sitting in silence is not about setting a timer and closing our eyes, chanting or listening to our breath, unless it works for you. There is no time limit or method. It is just about sitting, in the way that feels most comfortable for you, and just being. You can write things down, or not. Focus on your breath or not. Close your eyes or leave them open. Go for a run. Garden. Bake.

What do you hear? Smell? Feel? Sense? 

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With my coffee this morning, as I sit, I can both, hear sounds I usually overlook and feel what lies beyond the silence. I hear my husband snoring from the other room, my dog breathing lightly, and the birds making  plans around the yard. I can feel the emptiness of my daughters’ rooms, and the anticipation of my son’s excitement waking on a Saturday morning, having no school. I sense the flowers on the deck making their final offering to the bees, before giving in to the cold and snow.

As I sit longer, the sounds continue. An alarm from a watch goes off for ten seconds. It calls to me from a distant room of the house, likely lost behind a dresser. The white noise from the environment increases in intensity, its energy pulling me into the remembering that so much is going on behind the scenes in our lives, that there is another world going on within our world. Ideas, plans, to do lists begin to elbow their way to the forefront. I greet their existence, and having been welcomed, they simply take a number and wait their turn for my attention. Body sensations become known – last night’s dinner having a rager, while cool water settle its rumblings.

The sounds of silence are never silent. It is filled with hope, sadness, passion, expectations and anticipation of what is to come. As it was sung, “Here my words and I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you. But my words, like silent raindrops fell. And echoed in the wells of silence.”

In the end, it is not my words that will teach, or another’s. But the walls within your own desire to sit within the silence and all you need to know will reveal itself to you. Your questions, desires, hopes and dreams. Don’t be afraid of the silence. It has everything you want and need. You just need to open the cage and walk out.When we welcome silence, it receives our invitation. As often as I forget, silence is always waiting, patiently. It will always invite me back no matter how many times I shun it, or put it off.

The world is your oyster. It is waiting for you. You just need to be quiet enough to hear it.

Please excuse all grammatical errors and typos. My editor is on a permanent vacation in the Bahamas.