I was enjoying a walk with a friend last week and we got talking about the relationship between our minds, bodies and souls. Being a “soulful parent” does not mean I undervalue the importance of our minds and bodies to our experience. In fact, as time goes by, I see less and less distinction between the three aspects of ourselves, noticing more and more how they are interconnected and co-operative.
This is what I have come to understand about how these three parts of ourselves work together –
Our minds and bodies are in service to our souls.
Our minds and bodies are incredible tools, gifted to us to help us through our experience of life on Earth. I believe that each soul is here with a distinct purpose – a combination of lessons to learn and ways to contribute. It is upto us whether we choose to fulfil our purpose but we are given everything we need to do so, including complex minds and bodies that are useful for all sorts of things! Like good girl/boy Scoutts, we come prepared!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SOULFUL PARENTING?
I value all aspects of my children. I have some knowledge of cognitive and physical development, learned mainly through my work as a school teacher, and I use it to help me as a parent. What I do, which may be different from parents who don’t identify as “soulful parents”, is I lead with Spirit. I let my soul and my boys’ souls guide my parenting.
Once I have established what my boys really need through spiritual connection, I can utilise the capacities of our minds and bodies to meet those needs.
When faced with difficult behaviour from my boys, for example, leading with Spirit is very helpful (though I can forget to do it when I’m tied up with the frustration or stress of a situation!). The usual approach in the face of challenge is to subject our children to a range of strategies, often recommended by psychologists and parenting experts. The limitation of unquestioningly depending on parenting strategies, even good ones, is that we don’t stop to determine what each child’s soul really needs in that moment. When we recognise what they need first, we recognise the strategy or response that would serve them best and we can use our minds and bodies to do this.
Being led by Spirit doesn’t only apply to parenting challenges. It’s about seeing who our children really are, individually, and supporting & empowering them to be themselves. When we recognise their passions and strengths, for instance, we can encourage our children to develop and follow them.
HOW, EXACTLY, DO WE LEAD WITH SPIRIT?
Here are the three things I try to do to help me recognise what’s really needed in a situation –
I listen to my soul – I begin each day by connecting & inviting Spirit into my day and I’m getting better at recognising & listening to it throughout the day. It will give us messages that will help us parent, we just have to be listening.
I listen to my children’s souls – When I’m present with my boys, my parenting is at its best. I seem to recognise what they’re really needing from me intuitively, without giving it much thought.
I encourage my boys to listen to their souls – I find this difficult to do because Spirit is subtle but I’m experimenting with different ways to help my boys connect. I’ve been teaching Jake to take a moment to still his mind & body when he’s feeling overwhelmed by an emotion. When he’s trying to make a decision, we talk about what “feels right” for him. If my boys know themselves, I can follow their lead.
IN SUMMARY – TOOLS FOR OUR SOULS
Human beings are complex and, when we stop to think about all the mental and physical systems within us, we can’t help but marvel. While my blog focuses on the spiritual aspect of parenting, because it is the starting point, I’m also fascinated to learn about the workings of our bodies and minds. Being spiritual doesn’t at all require us to dismiss the science of being human – by understanding it, we can utilise it for our souls’ purpose.
Let’s end with this often-quoted phrase –
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Much love to you and your little souls,
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