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How Journaling Boosts Spiritual Development

Whether you journal regularly, sporadically, or you’ve never gotten into it at all let’s talk about how putting pen to paper can be used as a valuable tool on your spiritual path of exploration.

Journaling can be approached in many ways of course, but here we’ll go through a few of the ways I use most.

1.  One method is a ‘brain dump.’ Use this to when you’ve got a case of what I call ‘tornado brain’–you know, when you’re mind is just going in circles stirring up a whole lot of useless debris that makes it hard to see clearly? Get everything out of your mind onto paper.

This is helpful in a few ways. Continue reading

3 Ways to Teach Children Spirituality

If you’re reading this, you’re probably someone who has been exploring her own spirituality for a time. You’ve probably come to some understandings of yourself and the Universe/God/Godess/All that Is (or whatever you choose to call It).

These days with so many of us not resonating with The Church we can find ourselves wondering: How do I convey and teach spirituality to my kids? It can feel like a big responsibility, so let’s break it down to some simple steps.

#1 Listen

Today, in my final minute of meditation I heard the familiar sound of baby-elephant footsteps down the hall with an abrupt stop at the doorway.

My six year old waited till I whispered “come sit down” with my eyes closed. She came and sat opposite me as I finished.

I opened my eyes and she greeted me with eyes bright and a huge smile.

I invited her to come snuggle into my lap and we sit in silence for several moments until she can’t hold in her thoughts any longer.

Curled up in my lap she says “Mom, I don’t know how to explain this, but sometimes I wonder–‘Who am I and what am I here for? How did the sky get there? Was it always blue? Sometimes I see things that no one else can see. There are little bubbles that burst into rainbows.”

I could really see her trying to explain these things she had no words for.

If you stop and listen to what’s in their heart and on their mind, you are teaching them a valuable spiritual lesson: the ability to connect to others and offer unconditional love and acceptance.

Teaching children how to hold space for someone, how to support someone, how to listen without any other goal than to understand comes from our modeling those behaviors.

If you do nothing more than hug them and validate their process of exploration, that will encourage them to keep reflecting.

Bonus: The fact that you’re listening means the world because you are their world. 

#2 Share

After I listen for a while, I tell my daughter when I was her age I felt the same way. I felt how big the Universe was and how I felt big and small all at the same time. I tell her about how I still feel that way, about how there are things we can feel even though we can’t see or touch them (like Love) and how believing in something you can’t see is called FAITH.

We talk about the wonder and the mystery of LIFE. Then she jumps up to show me her yoga moves, eyes alight.

Use these moments to share your beliefs, but don’t be attached to your child taking them on. Spirituality is personal. It’s an exploration. You being open about what you’ve come to, or are still coming to, will help them to see how that process is never ending.

Sometimes we struggle because we think they just won’t get it, or it’s over their head, but finding ways to communicate your beliefs will help them feel confident in trying to find their own expression of their experiences so there really is no getting it wrong.

Use everyday, regular moments: “Right now when I’m holding you I feel tingly in my heart and Love all around me. To me, that is the energy of the Universe and I feel so grateful for you.”

Use the big moments too! It’s easy to shy away from talking about the spiritual experiences of birth, death, sex because we don’t know how. A simple explanation can go a long way. Nature is often a great reference: “Everything must die. A flower, a fish, a grandparent. It’s part of life. But I believe….”

#3 Learn.

Still cuddled on the couch, I tell my daughter that her whole Life she’ll be figuring out who she is and what she’s here for, that that’s what I’m still doing and I’ll do it forever. 11058496_10152566535802325_5667615103294730693_o

She tells me she knows what she’s here for: “Mom, I’m here to listen and be with Nature. To listen to the birds and to BE ME with the sharks and the sting rays.”

She says it with conviction…and me? I say nothing. I sit stunned into silence.

Listen. Share. Learn. Don’t ever discount that your kids have something to teach you. Their minds work in a perfectly simple way and they see things we have forgotten to see. Modeling your willingness to be open to learning from them will not only imbue them with confidence in their own inner authority, but learning with them will connect you two deeper.

Seeing you practicing how to be a perpetual learner with an open mind lays the foundations for their own spiritual practice.

Also? When you listen, share, and you’re open to learning from your kids you’re own heart very well could crack open even more.

I hug my girl close, feeling that same familiar awe that I did as a child, that same sense of wonder.

Then I tell her to go brush her hair. It’s time to get ready for school. I argue with her sister about shoes. The world keeps on ticking, the same as always–full of lots of ordinary moments, sprinkled in with a few extraordinary moments like this one.

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How to Create Beautiful Memories [Letting Go of Expectations]

When you build up something in your head, but it doesn’t turn out as you’d expected…. When people don’t respond as you’d hoped….when you feel disappointed with a situation…what’s your reaction?

Better yet, are you able to respond instead of react?

Today I thought I was a rock-star.

My daughter told me she wanted a ‘strawberry cake with chocolate filling, vanilla frosting, and a cherry on top.”

When I’d finished this cake I thought I was going to be the super-cool mom that impressed all the kids….

Until I found out (most) Australians don’t like maraschino cherries. Say what?

Great. So instead of being the uber-cool mom, now I’m the weird foreign mom.

This after my 6yo told me kindly earlier that morning: “Sorry mom, I don’t mean to be mean, but I don’t want to wear the dress you got me for my birthday.” Ouch.

You moms know what I’m talking about. Those moments that gut you. Those easily offended, highly emotional moments of rejection from our own flesh and blood.

Ohhhh those moments cut to the bone!!

But this stuff happens all the time in all sorts of situations with all sorts of people. We build up something in our mind that doesn’t weigh up. So…what do you do?

Whether it’s work, kids, friends–it doesn’t matter. It’s not WHAT happens but how you RESPOND that people remember.

I bet you have lots of situations where you don’t remember exactly what was said or the details, but you know exactly how you felt, right?

So when my daughter told me she didn’t want to wear the dress? My heart sank, but I gathered up all my strength, put on my big girl pants and said…”That’s okay” as I kept making the cake that all the kids would later pick the cherries off.

I don’t want her to remember the time I got upset that she wouldn’t wear the dress I bought her for her birthday. I want her to remember what a great 6th birthday she had and how beautiful she felt in the outfit she chose. 

I don’t want to remember the time I was crushed my cake was a reject. I’d rather remember the laugh I got from yet another cultural snafu….and the time I got to eat as many maraschino cherries as I wanted!

She doesn’t have to like the dress. They don’t have to like the cherries. I don’t have to understand the lot of them!

But I CAN let go of my expectations and accept what IS. Otherwise I’m just creating my own suffering not to mention contributing to the suffering of others.

Yup, my kid has her own sense of fashion. I live in a different country and the people have different taste (weirdos!…..KIDDING!!).

Repeat after me: “I let go of expectations and accept what is” any time you find yourself getting caught up. You’ll create a whole lot better memories, I promise.

Much love, xo Shawna

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Growing Happiness

It did not happen overnight

and it was not given to me by another.

I am the maker of the happiness and love growing within me.

~Yung Pueblo

Boom. This quote. So simple, yet so powerful. “…it was not given to me by another….”

How many times have you looked to someone else to make you feel happy? To make you feel loved?

Taking personal responsibility for our lives is something that is talked about quite a lot in the spiritual community, but like so many parts of our spiritual journey…it’s complicated. Continue reading

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Get in the Flow

 

Are you in the flow of 2017 already? I am so there. So much so that the past few days have flown past and I’m losing track of what day it is (my kids being on school holidays probably doesn’t help!).
 
I’m experiencing that sweet spot where work doesn’t feel like work. I’m flowing from my business, to being with my kids, to catching up with decluttering projects, and back to my ‘work’ again. Time sorta seems non-existent. I don’t feel any pressure. It’s all just ticking along and even when I’m physically tired, I’m somehow energized from a different place.

Continue reading

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Tiny Earthquakes

This is my work space today…I’m in the Gold Coast visiting family and with 8 adults plus 6 kids running around there hasn’t been much work or me time. The family has all gone to the beach and I’ve stayed behind. I’ll tell you-this little slice of quiet time by the pool feels like a luxurious spa retreat.

One thing I’m devoting time to today is looking to the year ahead. With 2016 wrapping up I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting these past few weeks. At first I was feeling pretty down because while I’ve made some huge strides this year toward what I’ve envisioned for my life, there were some benchmarks that I didn’t get to.

But then I started to look a bit deeper. Continue reading

Love. Light. Heart

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What is most important to you? Most sacred? Now that we’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season have you kept that in mind or been swept away with the craziness?

It’s easy to get swept away. SO easy. But, it’s never too late to come back to center.

So what is it that’s most important and sacred to you over the next few days? For me it’s feeling connected to my family. That’s what holidays have always meant for me. Continue reading