Monthly Archives: January 2011

Soul to Soul Parenting

Soul to Soul Parenting

I recently came across something very interesting that I felt was worthy of sharing, hence classifying it in the AWESOMELY AMAZING category. Even though I’m not a parent, I know many of my readers and followers are and this book aligns philosophically with the kind of energy I believe can have a far-reaching positive impact on our world. Next to life itself, parenting is about as fundamental as it gets and this book tackles exactly that. Here is a quick synopsis:

Annie Burnside’s newly released book, Soul to Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family, is a non-religious book written to inspire parents to utilize everyday mediums to infuse greater spiritual awareness into their daily family lives. She focuses on raising consciousness and expanding compassion by putting forth a transformative parenting approach.

Annie Burnside is is a soul nurturer, author, public speaker, parent and teacher specializing in conscious relationships and spiritual development. As a soul nurturer she helps others awaken to their own truth in all aspects of life by providing the tools and encouragement to experience direct divine connection in everyday reality. As a means to share her own spiritual evolution, Annie created a spiritual support practice in 2005 where she supports others in balancing the exterior world with an interior focus. She also writes a blog called Soul to Soul Perspective: A Little Bit of Soul Goes a Long Way for the Chicago Tribune and is the family consciousness columnist for Evolving Your Spirit Magazine. Besides writing, Annie speaks publicly and teaches workshops. She lives with her husband and three children in Chicago, IL.

Knowing vs. Learning

Knowing vs. Learning

I recently had the realization that I’m not very good at learning. Not because I’m not capable of learning or because I have a learning disability (at least not in the clinical meaning of that term). No, my disability is that I don’t want to learn anything, but I want to know everything.

That creates a real conundrum that gets exacerbated when in the midst of learning something new. And learning something new is exactly where I’ve been for the last 5 months—actually learning several new “somethings”, which adds to the complexity of the issue. Now I know that we are all always learning something new—that’s the nature of living. What I mean is that for the last 5 months, I’ve been learning multiple and specific new skills and that being on top of the staple life learnings like how to be an authentic woman, a good mate, a good daughter, a good leader, ad infinitum.

I realize now though that the complexity of this learning multiple “somethings” within the same window is precisely what tipped me over to the point surrender. It got to be overwhelming and I waved the white flag and said “Uncle”! And then it came to me: “I am making these processes (learning curves) way more difficult than necessary. I am piling additional difficulty on top of something that has its own inherent difficulty”!

The entire time I am learning something new, my mind is holding court making judgments about my progress and it says things like: “When are you going to get this deal already?”; “How long does it take to get this figured out? You’re smart, what’s the hold up?”; “When are you going to be done with this? We’ve got other things we need you to do. So hurry up!”; “Time is of the essence and you sure are taking a long time. Maybe you’re not cut out for this.”; “You better hurry because time is running out. Your window of opportunity is closing.”

My mind is a dangerous neighborhood sometimes. Obviously it serves a valuable purpose and is necessary and essential to my entire being, so throwing out the baby with the bath water serves no purpose, but how the hell do I get it to stop holding court? Like any tyrannical leader, it gets me convinced that IT is not the problem, IT is the solution, IT is what keeps me moving closer toward the goal and without IT, I am nothing. I think there’s a name for that dysfunction when a captive idolizes their captor, but looking up that term is not the point. The point is my mind has me captive and I keep listening to it!

It has me buying into this belief that everything I learn and eventually know (from experience) will assist me in arriving somewhere new. That isn’t true! First of all, there isn’t anywhere to arrive and to the extent that there is, I’m already here—in the present moment. So this idea of movement is an illusion. It’s really growth I seek. Growth inherently requires change. Change is hard because it doesn’t always feel right. The “not feeling right” part is what makes learning something new difficult.

The process of learning is already difficult enough because it requires us to expand ourselves and change. It’s not about satisfying an insatiable appetite for knowledge just for the sake of knowledge. It’s about being open to the experiences necessary to bring new knowledge into my conscious awareness, so that I can apply it to circumstances and situations in my life. The “knowing” is not the objective—that’s just a clever mechanism for trying to arrive again. The objective is to be in acceptance during the process of learning, whether that be in the microcosm of learning a specific skill or in the macrocosm of learning one of life’s staples.

When I can ignore the bullying of my mind’s court sessions and allow myself the freedom to accept the process of learning; well then, learning is a much more tolerable process. It feels like expansion of me rather than an obstacle for me. Limitations while learning are part of the process. It’s not wise to compete while learning or imagine competitors when there are none.

Time is of the essence, but time is always of the essence because the only time is the “now time”. That doesn’t mean time is running out; it just means I am where I am and I am right on time, whether I think that to be true or not. And that, I believe, is the key to peaceful learning. The trusting that I’m always right where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing; even if I don’t like it, understand why or think I’m late!

The Divine Right of Abundance

The Divine Right of Abundance

We manifest our fears by obsessing over our resistance to them becoming a reality.

We manifest our dreams by accepting the fruition of our fears as possible and then focusing our attention on following thru with action inspired by divine guidance–the next right step.

The results then are the manifestation of our heritage–that which is ours by divine right–abundance.

Expectations vs. Standards

Expectations vs. Standards

I recently has a conversation with a long-time friend of mine and she was sharing about something in her life that was repeatedly frustrating her. My response, after listening, was a gentle reminder that what she resists will persist and that she might consider lowering her expectations. It became obvious, in short order, that what she heard was “Lower your standards”, in contrast to what I actually said, which was “Lower your expectations”.

So, now being one that wonders about life, I got curious and I resorted to Webster’s. Here’s what I found:

Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something.

Standard: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence; principle, ideal; code of behavior, code of honor, morals, scruples, ethics

What jumps out at me right away is the difference between what’s within our realm of control and what isn’t. “Expectation” is all about something outside of us, whether that be a goal we want to attain or a measure for another person; “standards” are all about things within us, things within our realm of control, choices we can elect for ourselves.

It seems that where we get confused is in thinking that we have control over someone else’s standards. We may have influence (positive or negative), but influence and control are not the the same thing.

So, it’s not a wonder that when someone says “Lower your expectations”, that what is heard is “Lower your standards”. When we have crossed that invisible line into placing expectations on another person’s standards, aren’t we really just trying to mind their insides, so we don’t have to tend to our own?

It is much more challenging, yet rewarding, to act in a manner congruent with the inner knowledge that my standards are personal to me and, likewise, others are personal to them, and they don’t all have to be the same. My expectations are exactly that, MY expectations—and those have no bearing on what might actually happen other than to set us up for disappointment or to get us so focused on that exact thing happening that exact way, that we entirely miss something way better is unfolding.

My expectations are inversely proportional to my my level of peace. The higher my expectations, the lower my peace; the lower my expectations, the higher my peace.

Standards, on the other hand, are about knowing who you are, what’s important to you, what’s not, what your boundaries are and what’s tolerable. As with anything though, “standards” are not without their risks. They give us easy ground from which to judge others—higher ground.