I’m not sure when I originally wrote this. Perhaps in 2016 or 2017.
Our Children, Our Awakeners
In my illusion I thought I was going to raise you
To be whole, complete, and worthy,
To be educated, kind, and wise,
To be a leader, empowered, and free.
I was deluded to think I knew it all,
fooled by my age and might.
I thought I had it all together,
Ready to teach, inspire, and change you.
Only now, after so many moments
Do I realize how foolish these ideas were,
How baseless and grandiose.
I now understand …
That it is you who is here to teach me,
To guide, lead, shift, and elevate,
To transform, awaken, and inspire
I now realize how I had it wrong,
Upside down and outside in,
It is you who are this perfectly designed clarion
To wake me up to my true self. -Excerpt from the book, “The Awakened Family – A Revolution in Parenting” by Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D.
(Thomas and Lillian at 2 years old and 6 years old)
I have made many facebook posts with the comment, “They are my greatest teachers”, referring to Thomas and Lillian. I have written several blog posts that connect with this concept also.
Yet, only recently did I know I was simply scratching the surface of just how much and how deep Thomas and Lillian teach me … if I am open and conscious to receiving it. Little did I know that I was only skimming the top layers of conscious parenting.
And on the flip side laying the foundation for some of the same erroneous lessons, stories, and blocks that were unconsciously taught to me as a child.
In my heart I knew that these two, in fact all children, can be our greatest teachers if we are ready to live consciously in the present moments of life, release blocks, and create our future from the here and now and not in reaction to our past. I simply was not ready to know the depth of what Thomas and Lillian had to teach me.
These teachings are by no means fun and full of glitter scattered joyful moments. They are tough. They hurt, physically and emotionally. They suck big time. Yet, these moments are the doorway to our own freedom. This doorway serves two purposes.
One is the freedom to live our lives in the present moment; not being held back by our past. The other is freedom for our children of not being led down a similar path with similar thorns and blocks.
This doorway can be difficult to enter. We try and try to enter it, yet it seems stuck. There is no handle and we push with all our might to open the door to freedom. At last, we can take the looping patterns of our past no longer. During this darkness we awaken to the idea that the doorway opens within. All we need do is allow it to open by being in the darkness, feeling it, and release it.
Again, NOT an easy thing to do. It is extremely uncomfortable as memories surface and we allow ourselves to feel what we dared not feel as a child.
Further thoughts, on a different day, still in 2016 or 2017 …
What if? What if all of the suffering of this world, all the fighting, all of the destruction to our Mother Earth; comes down to this one global wound? This wound that was inflicted so long ago no one even remembers where or how it happened. What if we let this wound heal? What if we nursed this wound? What if we sat with the wound, drained the poison from it, and nurtured it? What if we learn to unconditionally love our self?
I raise my hand now and say, “I’m in.” I consider our kids to be mirrors to reflect back to us our own thorns and darkness. I’m blessed to have two such mirrors in my life. And sometimes blessings are not comfortable or fun. Over the past six months these beautiful and amazing mirrors have shown me in a hugely uncomfortable way that I have never loved myself unconditionally and so therefore, I have never loved another unconditionally. And, yes, that includes my own two kids.
(Thomas and Lillian at 14 years old and 18 years old)
This has been a perfectly timed mirror message as I needed to get to a place where I would not let myself be overcome with guilt and sorrow with this knowing. Had I been shown this earlier, I would have sank down deeper into the black hole pit of despair, judging and becoming the victim.
What if all the times of disrespect, disregard, arguing, back talk, “laziness”, unkindness, excessive use of digital devices was not about that at all? What if it’s about our relationship with our kids? What if it’s about how we only conditionally loved them when they were wee little ones and on into their young life? What if all they are truly saying is “Love me. All of me. Love me as I am; not as you wish me to be. Don’t shame me. Don’t manipulate me.” What if excessive use of anything is only an attempt to escape from the pain of not feeling loved for who one truly is?
What if we took this same scenario out onto the streets and into the world? What if that person having a meltdown in the grocery store is truly saying, “I am so unloved. I don’t love myself. I’m horrible. No one has ever loved me.” What if people committing crimes are simply saying the same thing? What if people in power are saying the same thing with decisions or comments they make? What if “natural disasters” and any negative seeming environmental issues are Mother Earth saying, “I need your unconditional love. Love me when you perceive beauty and love me when you don’t perceive beauty.”
None of this to excuse unkind behavior or to give anyone a free pass to wreaking havoc. Yet, when we can not let ourselves be affected by unkindness directed towards us, we will know that we have learned how to unconditionally love our self … And, can now unconditionally love the one directing unkindness our way. No matter what they say or do; our love never waivers. We can look them in the eye and say, “I love you brother, or sister.” And, what if, when the other is unconditionally loved, the unkind behavior and the “escapism” simply melt away? What if?
My take: It’s not about the unkind behavior or the object used to escape. It’s about our relationships. It’s about unconditional love. It’s about unconditional love not received as a child. It’s about being raised with and taught conditional love.
It’s absolutely and definitely not about blaming our own parents as they could not love in a way they had not been loved or taught. It’s about how most of us learned to love one self only conditionally. It’s about sharing that conditional love with others and only conditionally loving Mother Earth. It’s about passing that conditional love to our kids and so the cycle repeats.
I don’t claim to know whether this is “correct” or to know the solution. I’m also not implying with these words that we simply let kids rule their own life, making their own decisions without our guidance. There is a drastic distinction between conscious and unconscious parenting.
I do feel that the more people who are unconditionally loved, the more peaceful and joyful world we will create. So I’m starting where I can. With me.
I vow to unconditionally love my self. I vow to clear my own cobwebs so that I can be a mirror for my kids without my past interfering. I vow to unconditionally love my kids. I will release all expectations and agendas I have for each of them. I will engage with them. I will not manipulate. I will not cause them to feel guilt or shame when they are sharing of their true self. I vow to try. I may fail at times. Yet, I vow to notice when I have failed and to let them know when I have failed. I vow.
**October 8 2020 Update** – What a powerful message to have written at the time, and to take in again. For the most part I agree with all I wrote and concluded back then. I do want to say that when I speak of unconditional love I am not suggesting we stay in harmful situations, or continue to communicate with abusive people. One can love another, and never be in their company. And, we do not have to unconditionally love every human we encounter.
(I recently changed the hosting company for this website, along with all other websites I manage. In the aftermath, my draft posts got deleted. Oh no! Fortunately, they were in the back up and could be reinstalled. However, the original draft dates were deleted. I’m taking that as a sign that it’s time to do cleanup and housekeeping.)
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.
Amazing news! My 19 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here.
Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.