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Posts Tagged ‘conscious’

Some up and coming business people promote Conscious Entrepreneurialism; there’s conscious living, conscious business, conscious eating, conscious parenting.  But what does it all mean?  What’s at the heart of living a conscious life?

Believe it or not, conscious living is not the opposite of unconscious living – not exactly anyway.  In western culture we are conditioned to make decisions on just about everything based on how logical or smart something is.  We are celebrated for our ability to reason out a problem and come up with a logical solution.  And we are commonly “poo-pooed” for making a decision based on our feelings or intuition.

When we live consciously, we don’t abandon logic for intuition, but we do combine them.  That means, sometimes our decisions don’t appear to make sense.  For example, when my kids were little and everyone else was teaching their kids about stranger danger, I was encouraging my kids to say, “Hello” to the elderly man in the grocery line AS LONG AS it felt appropriate.  We would enter all kinds of situations where I would ask them how the person or the situation felt.  When it felt good, safe and nurturing I would encourage them to say, “Hello.”  If it felt yucky, threatening, hateful or scary – we left and they were told that that is the kind of energy to run from.  Some parents got very upset that I wasn’t teaching what made sense to them in a frightening world, but my heart and mind were in alignment and now I have two children who don’t even go near a friend’s home if it feels “yucky.”  They also have not missed out on opportunities for making new friends because they were allowed to talk to people they didn’t know.

The essence of living consciously is living with intentions and with an open heart.  Your mind may come up with some grand ideas, but those who live consciously run that feeling through their heart to see how it feels.  Most successful people will tell you their fortune came on the wings of a faithful leap.  They took a chance because it felt right, not necessarily because it made sense.  Yes, we can make mistakes, but we make mistakes every day trying to follow a linear thought based path.

If you live consciously then you don’t just eat veggies because you’re supposed to, but you eat beets because you feel you need them.  You don’t just take on a business partner because they have the cash, you bring them on board because your personality melds with theirs creating a powerful feeling.  You don’t just issue any punishment to your child for hurting someone, you teach them with an appropriate response how to deal with the fear that made them act that way and then how to apologize and make it right. 

It’s easier than you may think to live consciously; you’re probably already doing it.  Take a moment right now and assess how this article made you feel.  How does your chair make you feel?  How is the temperature in the room where you are sitting?  Be conscious of how you are feeling in every moment and make decisions about your life from that place.  You’ll find it not only feels good, but it makes sense too!

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It’s hard to believe that summer is half over.  Whether you are a stay at home parent, a work outside of the home parent, or a work at home parent, you hold a minimum of two jobs.  There’s the one that takes you away from your children and the one that bonds you ever closer to them.  It’s the job that occupies most of the away-from-your-children hours that earns you a few cherished days off.  And whether you take an elaborate vacation to Europe, cruise with club Disney, go camping or make home-made popsicles and play by the pool, vacations bring up lots of boundary issues for parents.

Summer is the hallmark of extended bedtimes to accommodate amusement parks, night swims and s’mores by the fire.  While bending the rules is certainly acceptable, make sure that as a parent you are bending them consciously and with forethought, and not from a place of being worn-out or from guilt of not having been more available due to work.

Children need boundaries, and though they tend to fuss, resist and even rebel against them, they actually like them.  Imagine that the boundaries you set for your child are like building fences out on the open range.  Once the fence is built you can fill it with cattle and let them roam freely. The same is true of children, once you establish the boundaries, they have a lot more freedom to make their own choices as long as they stay within the limits.  Conversely, it’s disastrous to just plunk the cattle down in the middle of your property with no fences to keep them safe.

Kids need those fences so that they can stay safe and healthy.  If you extend a bedtime or let them have an extra treat at a picnic because you have weighed the consequences, evaluated their needs and feel the decision is appropriate, then that’s like moving the fence a little on your property to allow for more movement.  If you let them have extra treats or stay up late because you feel guilty or because “it’s vacation, who needs rules,” then you are setting a dangerous precedent.  The precedent is one where the child begins to realize that decisions get made based on guilt levels and whimsy instead of with forethought and care.  In effect, they find a hole in the fence.

Two things occur when a child finds a hole in the fence.

1)  They love the initial freedom, but then become scared.  They realize they are no longer in the protected zone and will start pushing more and more to force a new fence to be built.  You’ve seen this, one cookie becomes a whine for two… becomes a need for an ice cream… becomes a melt-down on the pier.  Parents who indulge these requests absentmindedly are actually decreasing their child’s emotional safety.  To the parent’s credit, they think they are being “cool,” “lenient,” or “vacation minded,” but in reality they are stressing their child out.

2)Children who find the hole and exploit it on vacation will remember this,and if the parent who was being indulgent just because it was “vacation,” will have a great deal of difficulty re-establishing the boundaries once the normal routine is again in place. 

How to get around this as a parent?  Decide what summer/vacation rules are appropriate for your family.  If you are a parenting team, it is crucial that these boundaries be set and enforced as a team.  It is appropriate to have more wiggle room, to allow the boundaries to cover a larger area than they might otherwise cover.  It’s OK to extend bedtimes, allow more friends over and have a sleep-over in the middle of the week, as long as these are decisions that are made consciously with the entire family’s well-being under consideration.  Don’t get caught off guard, know what’s important for you and your child and why.  Next, don’t falter.  If bedtime is 8:30pm, then move your schedule to accommodate that.  If you allow one treat a day, then don’t double or triple that on a whim.  Every time you make a conscious choice or set a boundary with love and intention, you are teaching your child how to do the same for themselves.   Children who understand how to set boundaries are generally more content, more self-aware and healthier (emotionally, physically and mentally).

If you are gearing up for one last summer vacation, a trip to an amusement park or a few glorious days off with your children, enjoy!  I promise you, the more consciously you set loving boundaries around these times, the more you and your children will enjoy them.

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