Virtual Book Club: The Conscious Parent

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Welcome back to our virtual book club! Hope you are relaxing with a glass of wine or cup of tea and getting a little alone-time.

Here is a quote from this month’s book:

“The task is to raise yourself into the most awakened

and present individual you can be.” ~Shefali Tsabary

Do I feel awakened? Hah! No. Have I been present today? Not really.

Honestly, most days I disappointment myself in my easy irritability and impatience.

Mothering is hard, and I know I don’t have to explain it to any of you. I think we can all agree we’d like to be more awake and present in our parenting.

That’s what this month’s book is about: The Conscious Parent.

Below, I’ll highlight some of the main themes that stuck with me, with some relevant passages from the book:

Parenting can mean the death of our old self and the reinvention of our new self.

For me, one of my biggest struggles of young motherhood was the changing identity that can came with it. No one told me about that, or more likely that I couldn’t understand it.

“The transition to parenthood is complex, requiring us to surrender to an irrevocable loss of our identity as we have thus far known it. To create the internal space required to embrace the tending of a new spirit, the pillars of our old lifestyle have to crumble. Who we were before becoming a parent doesn’t and cannot exist with the same ferocity. Once children enter our life, their impact is indelible, and we are required to reinvent ourselves in response.”

It’s easy to lose ourselves in young motherhood. We aren’t the same as we were, and we have yet to fully define our new reinvented selves.

“Our identity comes into question as we understand that our life is no longer ours to own, but is betrothed to our child. We watch our heart surge with a protectiveness that’s as invigorating as it’s unfamiliar. We know we aren’t the same women we were pre-birth, but neither have we articulated who we are post-birth. Consequently, we get lost in our role as mothers, giving to our children with the zest and zeal only a woman possesses. In this giving, our sense of self fades, and we find ourselves increasingly alienating from who we intrinsically are. We feel as if we are in a no-man’s land, neither here nor there.”

What about the reinvention of our new self? What is my new self? What parts of my old self do I want to hold on to? What parts of my new self do I want to create?

Our children are our spiritual partners.

This can be near-impossible to remember in middle-of-night feeds or in the heat of a toddler meltdown.

But it’s true.

“Watch a child, especially an infant or toddler, and you will find the secret to living a conscious life. Children naturally inhabit the present moment.”

Our kids teach us a lot: to be more present, to be more patient, to be less self-centered.

“Very young children especially are able to reinvent themselves on a moment-by-moment basis. Intrinsically spontaneous, they are unafraid of a fluid way of approaching life, which renders them open to change. They see a flower and top to gaze at it, or notice a cloud and are able to drop what they are doing to admire its shape.”

Take a few minutes later and just watch your child. See what they can teach you.

“It’s through our constant service that our infant affords us access to our spiritual depths. The demands of caring for an infant cause us to dip into our core, where we discover that we do indeed have the capacity to give, serve, and nurture with the intensity required. Thus our infant shows us our ability to transcend our own selfish wishes and become present for another. In this way, infants are reflections of our deeper humanity.”

You are your child’s mirror.

Our young children absorb everything from us. The emotions that we have on our face are what they will absorb. We need to be aware of what we are mirroring back to them.

“Especially in the early years, parents function as mirrors for their children. Consequently, if you are unable to access your joy, you will be unable to be a mirror of your children’s joy.”

If we are unhappy or frustrated or depressed, how can we be a healthy mirror to our children?

What is your child seeing in you?

We must access our own happiness, peace, and health.

“The way a child’s parents burst into laughter or smile only hesitatingly, welcome the rain on their face or run for cover, embrace their fears or cower in shame, invite challenges or succumb to doubt, panic or calmly soothe their infant when it cries – all of this is noted by the infant, who is soaking it in. This is where the bricks and mortar of the infant’s sense of self are laid, and where the parent first forms its identity as a caregiver and nurturer.”

Find what gives you inner abundance.

For our children to find inner abundance, we need access to our own inner abundance. If we don’t, we risk looking to our children to complete us. We need our own strong and separate identities.

“When we are connected to a constant flow of fulfillment of our own, we radiate this energy, which serves to ensure our children won’t be used to fill an inner void or in some way complete us.”

What makes you fulfilled? What makes you joyful?

“When we don’t look to our children to make us happy, but find our happiness elsewhere, we liberate them to be true to who they are. They are able to bask in our happiness without the burden of being the reason for it.

Doing something we love, connecting to our inner being in stillness and solitude, honoring our body by taking care of it on a daily basis through the food we eat, the exercise we engage in, and the way we are at peace with how we look are all ways of teaching our children to value themselves.”


Our next book will is Only Love Today and will be reviewed on January 22nd! 


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