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Conscious Parenting Podcast Section.
This is a Continuation!
Please see the previous Blog: Consciously Embracing &
Transcending Stress for the first part . . .
May these words help you and your children embody and radiate love, like rays of
life-sustaining sunshine, as you navigate the unchartered waters
of daily living with clarity, confidence and ease.
As conscious parents we have an obligation to be aware of all the different hazards and stressors attacking our children and find ways to alleviate them as best we can.
These toxins in the air, water, ground and food are wrecking havoc on their developing bodies. And that’s just for starters.
Like us, children have their own challenges and situations that create physical, mental and emotional stress.
How comfortable do you think it is for a small child to have an adult who looks like a giant to them, who they depend on for almost everything, constantly tell them what to do and when to do it? What we say, how we say it, and the expressions on our face when we say it all determine whether we are creating a stressful or loving experience for our children.
When someone raises his or her voice at you or glances at you with less than a loving look, how do you feel? Relaxed or stressed?
We can truly support our children, and everyone else, by treating them with gentleness and respect, by listening to them with kindness and respect.
Amma, known as the hugging saint, the divine mother from India, says: “Love is a universal religion. It should be expressed in all of our words and deeds. Love and spiritual values received from parents are the strongest assets that a child needs in order to face the various trials of adulthood.”
It’s your love that can help your children face the various trials, fears and stressful situations of childhood.
Like being very sick or injured or even worrying about getting that way.
Trips to the doctor or dentist can be very scary and stressful.
Listening to or watching parents or other loved ones argue or fight with each other.
Being teased about their weight or looks is stressful to children.
Fears of punishment; darkness; barking dogs; spiders, snakes, and other creepy, crawly creatures; not being liked; and even thunder and lightning.
School pressures and interacting with other children cause stress. Anyone remember standing before your class for book reports or show and tell?
Doing things they really don’t want to do when they don’t want to do them causes stress.
Not having the material goodies that others have can cause stress.
Being forced to eat something they don’t enjoy. Children’s taste buds change with time and everyone has different combinations of taste buds—not everyone likes bitter or sour or even sweet.
Losing or not being the best at something causes tension.
Having to keep up with parents when they walk. That’s physically stressful for young children and perhaps mentally if the child thinks they are going to be left behind.
Hurrying to get somewhere or get something done on time. School bells have conditioned nearly all of us to be on time and fear punishment when we’re not or rebel by not being on time. This doesn’t go away just because we’re not in school anymore—the bells are still ringing in our subconscious.
Even watching violent cartoons and other shows or playing violent video games causes physical and emotional stress.
Our eyes, the windows of our souls, are designed to appreciate beauty—not violence.
Our ears are designed to listen to beautiful sounds—not violence. When we get quiet inside, when the chatter of our mind ceases, we can hear inner sounds far more beautiful and captivating than any sound ever created.
The American Academy of Pediatrics Strongly Urges Parents To Avoid TV Viewing Entirely For Children Under The Age Of Two and To Limit The Viewing Of All Electronic Media Combined To 1 to 2 Hours A Day For Children Over Two. We have another Blog titled Electronic Media Warning that may interest you!
The average American child spends 3 to 5 hours in front of a TV each day. 9-month old children are watching an average of 90 minutes of television a day while preschoolers are watching almost 4 hours a day.
Children 8 to 18 are averaging over 10 electronic hours a day.
Peter Mangione, Expert On Early Childhood Learning, asks: “How can children, bombarded from birth by noise, frenetic schedules, and the helter-skelter caretaking of a fast-paced adult world, learn to analyze, reflect, and ponder? How can they use quiet inner conversations to build personal realities, sharpen and extend their visual reasoning?
If a child spends an inordinate amount of time on video games (or television, or computer use) instead of playing and experimenting with many different types of skills, the foundations for some kinds of abilities may be sacrificed. These losses may not show up until much later. Tender young brains need broad, flexible development, not overbuilt neural pathways in one specific skill area.”
A competitive society causes stress.
Disappointments, big and little, cause stress.
What’s stressful for one child isn’t necessarily stressful for another.
I recall a young boy about 12 years old who was facing chest surgery when his mother asked me to try some energetic healing first. The center of his chest was caved in, significantly affecting his breathing. It looked like somebody had punched him with their fist and never pulled it out. Turns out he had been punched—only not with a fist—with words.
His chest caved in because something his father said crushed his heart. Those same words might not have had any affect on another child. But this boy was very sensitive and, fortunately, very open to healing. When he remembered this incident, let out the related emotions he was harboring, his chest let go. It started expanding and he didn’t need surgery.
Our bodies hold on to tensions we generate in stressful situations.
They reactively, instantly, out of self-preservation, tighten up very easily but they don’t automatically let go of that contraction. Unless it is released, they become stiffer and stiffer, more and more rigid.
Our adult bodies should be as flexible and pliable as when we were babies, not crippled with arthritis, pain, and immobility from unresolved traumas that get locked in place.
Until these tensions are released life can be very uncomfortable. Your body may still be holding tensions from when you were a child. From when you tightened up because you were afraid.
Richard Matheson, in What Dreams May Come, said: “As her analyst had told her: the deeper buried the distress, the further into the body it went. The digestive system was about as far as it could go to hide.”
How many people do you know with digestive problems—it’s not just the food they’re eating. It’s stuffed emotions too.
Have you ever noticed how dust and dirt builds up on the leaves of trees when there is no rain or wind for long periods of time? That dust and dirt is like the stresses accumulating in our bodies. Then along comes a bountiful rain or blustery windstorm that clears all the dust and dirt away, leaving the leaves and branches sparkling clean. I can literally feel how refreshed the tree trunks, branches and leaves are after a rain or cleansing wind. Their pores are no longer clogged, they can breathe easier. They feel happier.
Sometimes we have things that need to be blown off our leaves, shaken off our trunks and branches—our bodies.
We can do this by imitating a tree shaking or blowing in the wind. It’s fun, invigorating, and something you and your children can do any time to release stresses held by the body. You might want to get your children right now to practice along.
You can shake off everything (any feeling or thought) that keeps you from feeling full of joy and health.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with a little bend in your knees.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re a tree. Any kind of tree you want.
Feel the bottom of your feet (your roots) against the earth or even imagine them growing down into the earth.
Breathe deep through your nose into your stomach. Let it fill up like a balloon as you inhale and empty out as you exhale.
Keep breathing deep and imagine that you’re breathing in through every cell of your tree (your body).
Relax your shoulders and let your arms dangle at your sides. Drop your chin a little, relaxing the back of your neck.
Now slowly start to bounce in place by bending your knees over and over again.
Let your heels lift off the ground a little as you bounce. Gradually bounce faster and faster, shaking off all the dead leaves.
After about 100 bounces, gradually slow down until your body becomes still.
Feel like you’re still bouncing on the inside and keep breathing deep into the trunk of your tree--your spinal column.
Exercising like this will give you and your children the energy, vitality, and wisdom to really enjoy life.
It will help you and your children sing, dance, speak, paint, write, study, love others, or do anything else better than if you are stressed out.
It will help release the stresses that cause children to be irritable and hostile towards parents, siblings, friends, and them self--the stresses that lower their tolerance levels and attention spans.
And, just like trees need water to develop, children need to drink enough fresh, filtered water every day to keep their bodies healthy and stress free.
As conscious parents we need to provide our children with exercises and skills like these to face and conquer fear and stress--skills they can use for a lifetime--not temporary distractions like snacks, games, movies, etc.
We’ll explore more of these skills and things and we can do to create environments where our children feel safe enough to give voice to their feelings in a moment.
Skills we and our children can use to call forth the infinite inner resources we have to stay calm and centered in the midst of all activity and stress.
Knowing and having these essential skills will help you and your children transcend stress and interact lovingly with each other, friends, teachers and the community. Determine when situations feel “like something is not quite right” or threatening. Stand strong and true in the face of pressures from peers and society. Feel safe and confident to express creatively and enjoy participating in all aspects of life.
In “The Hidden Power of the Heart”, Sara Paddison says: “Appreciating each other is a true family value, one that will bail out much of the stress on the planet and help strengthen the universal bond all people have.”
Like Tree Shaking, slowing down, affirmations, conscious breathing, being conscious of the foods and liquids we consume, and the SAFE practice we did in the first show, appreciation is another way of transcending stress.
Tell your children and loved ones how much and what you appreciate about them on a regular basis. Giving and receiving appreciations helps stress roll off our bodies like water on a newly waxed car.
Over 300 years ago, Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
Make this a family sharing with everyone exchanging appreciations for and about one another.
Mark Twain once said, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”
Gardening, nature outings, crafts, and noncompetitive activities, are great ways to transcend stress individually and as a family.
Normal child play--running, jumping, walking, riding a bike, swimming, dancing, sports—are wonderful ways to facilitate breathing, relaxation, and maintain a healthy mind and body. Playing is playing for the sake of enjoying the movement and activity, letting go of any competitiveness. True competitiveness is competing with oneself--striving to improve oneself.
Andrew Malcolm says, “The car trip can draw the family together, as it was in the days before television when parents and children actually talked to each other.”
I found that taking my daughter for car rides provided her the perfect place to feel safe, open up and share what was alive for her.
Children need a place to feel safe, comfortable, relax and recharge.
A place in the home just for them, even if it’s just a corner.
A place free of all electronic interference (televisions, computers, games, cell phones, etc.) except some inspiring or relaxing music.
A beautiful place where they may have pictures of pets, nature scenes, grandparents, best friends, and even themselves.
Perhaps there are some beautiful crystals, feathers, a plant, or a small vase of flowers there.
A place with their favorite colors.
Help your child create this sacred space with the same care that you create sacred spaces for yourself.
And, if you haven’t created a sacred space for yourself, please bless yourself with the gift of doing so.
In future Blogs, I’ll show you how to help your children create a safe place in their imaginations where they can go anytime they feel stressed.
Psychologist William James said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
In What About Now--Reminders for Being in the Moment, Gina Lake shares, “We really do have a choice about what we listen to. One channel is the Stress Channel and the other is the Peace Channel. The Peace Channel can only be heard when we are present in the moment, when we are in the now. To tune in to the Peace Channel, all we have to do is be, experience, notice, and naturally respond to what is arising in the moment.
To tune into the Stress Channel, we just have to start believing our thoughts again. Eliminating stress is just a matter of tuning out the negative and tuning in the positive and just being, experiencing, and dancing to that music instead of the mind's chatter.”
Paramahansa Yogananda shares more about tuning into the Peace Channel, “Many people come to me to talk about their worries. I urge them to sit quietly, meditate, and pray; and after feeling calmness within, say to the Lord, ‘I can’t solve my problem alone, even if I thought a zillion different thoughts; but I can solve it by placing it in Your hands, asking first for Your guidance, and then following through by thinking out the various angles for a possible solution.’
God does help those who help themselves. When your mind is calm and filled with faith after praying to God in meditation, you are able to see various answers to your problems; and because your mind is calm, you are capable of picking out the best solution. Follow that solution, and you will meet with success. This is applying the science of religion in your daily life.”
And here’s one more way to embrace, release, and transcend stress that you and your children can do together. Please invite your children to join us.
Natalie Goldberg said: “Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”
Just lie down. And if you can do so on the Earth, the ground, it’s amazing.
Dr. Ramesh Kapdia, a cardiologist in India has taught tens of thousands of children and his regular heart patients to breathe, relax, release stress from the body, develop their focus, and maintain healthy hearts or repair a damaged heart, in most cases without the need for surgery. All this simply by lying down and practicing a variation of the ancient Indian practice of Shavasanah.
Dr. Kapadia’s website (www.universalhealing.org) has numerous free book and pamphlet downloads as well as videos on heart health, the practice we’re about to do, and much more. His compassionate heart, vast knowledge and divine wisdom are blessings to all of us.
Playing some soothing or lightly rhythmic music (like the Archangelic Harp Music of Peter Sterling or the Electric Violin Creativity of Robert Aviles--see music on this site) while doing this on your own will assist in a deeper relaxation as well as personal enjoyment.
Are you ready?
Simply lay flat on your back with arms at your side parallel to your body. Palms face up. Relax--feel like you are melting into the floor. Next, you are going to tighten and relax all the various parts of your body by tensing the muscles, holding for a count of 8, and then relaxing everything for another count of 8. Right now we’ll hold to a count of 2.
Begin with your toes. Curl your toes on both feet and hold to a count of 2. Now relax your toes and everything else to a count of 2.
Pull your toes toward your head, flexing your ankles. Count to 2. Relax everything. Count to 2.
Point your toes away from your head keeping your legs flat on the floor. Count to 2 again. Relax everything. Count to 2.
Tighten the calves of your legs. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Make your legs as stiff as boards. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Squeeze your legs together and hold tight. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Tighten your buttocks. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Push your stomach towards the sky. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Pull your navel back towards your spine, sucking in your stomach. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Make tight fists with both hands. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Tighten your biceps, the “Popeye” muscles in your upper arms. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Press your arms tight against your body. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
With your fingers, pull down on your ears. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Squeeze your front teeth together. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Squeeze your back teeth together. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Press your lips together. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Open your mouth as wide as you can. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Close your eyes real tight. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Open your eyes as wide as you can. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Press your head and neck into the floor. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Now tighten everything in your body all at once. 1...2...Relax 1...2.
Relax--totally letting go and, when doing this on your own, lay quietly for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Now, stretch your hands above your head and stretch your whole body from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes.
Then hug your knees to your chest and roll side to side a few times on your back.
Then rock forward and backward on your back, still hugging your knees.
Rock yourself up to a sitting position and enjoy!
You can also do this right when you get in bed to go to sleep. If you do, skip the rocking on your back!!!
As we conclude, please sit or continue lying there quietly for a few minutes and allow the energies we’ve co created to assimilate and integrate. Balancing all movements and activities of the day with short pauses for integration between them has a profound effect on our physiology and mental wellbeing.
Please be sure to read our next Blog and invite your friends and family too as we transform our entire beings into SMILES.
Once again, if you have any reflections or questions relative to this program, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
With divine blessings of love, light, gratitude, bliss and health in every moment of your precious and beautiful life streaming from my soul to your soul, from my heart to your heart, within the ONE INFINITE LOVE we are, enjoy each moment consciously.
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