A Year of Parenting Mindfully

Peace

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Firstly, a note of recognition and thanks to my friends, colleagues and kindred spirits who, despite wanting all the best for me personally, kind of want to puke when they read my blog (because of the rah-rah/everybody join vibe).  I have never been a joiner, and here I find myself trumpeting the call to sangha.  There is a large part of me that does this project with trepidation as I wish to do no harm.  Yet harm we do (if I blog, I’m not with my kids as much; if I’m helping one thing, I’m ignoring another; if I’m trying to be “good” then someone has to hold the “bad”).

Because of these inevitable opposites, I invite mindfulness, discussion and authenticity; and not “drink the cool-aid” isn’t it all wonderful naiveté.  Yes I am inviting us to mentally gather as a group in the service of our kids, but my friends’ counterpoint of “thanks but no thanks” helps me remember to also strive to value and give voice to the importance of the individual. 

Today marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  If the winter solstice is associated with the birth of light—of Jesus, and also the ancient sun-god, Mithras, then summer, by implication, marks the “birth” of darkness.  The most sun-filled day of the year is also the turning point toward the darkest time. 

Perhaps the groups we join (particularly our families) mark the embarkation toward our need to separate, individuate and find our unique voice and purpose—our individuality; and, conversely, perhaps our true individuation, our hero’s journeys through our dark nights of the soul, also harkens our movement back toward the group—maybe even the Oneness of a group beyond names, words, leaders, egos, money, power, fame, etc.

If we acknowledge that there is darkness within the light (and light within the darkness, as even “Lucifer,” or the Dark aspect of the Divine, actually means “morning star,” or “bringer of light” in Latin), then the summer solstice is a propitious day to embark upon a year of mindful parenting. 

So, here’s the “pitch”:  take a moment to consider what you want for yourself a year from now (i.e. health, abundance, love, creativity, freedom).  Next, place that wish in the service of your child, or children (or students, animals, causes) and, in turn, in the service of all our collective children. 

If you can’t think of what you want, just imagine completely wanting what you actually have, content with who you authentically are.  And if you’re already there, just throw a little light-dark love into the pot for the rest of us. 

No matter what we personally believe, most of us would agree that we want the best for kids everywhere.  And while most of us are unclear about whether we personally deserve abundance, peace and happiness, we generally trust that children do deserve these things.  Since our being happy (by which I mean the grown-up and bitter-sweet balance of love and pain) is a blessing for our kids, then working mindfully toward this balance is a win-win for parent and child alike.

In this way we might reframe parenting as a potential mindfulness practice, like yoga, prayer, cooking or fishing.  While mindfulness, focus and setting intention can be very effective, it works best if it is done consistently over time.  To that end, this blog will post something daily (if physically possible) to serve as a reminder to each of us of our own intentions.

A year is a circle, so is a day, and so is a single breath.  This year of parenting mindfully is something that you can enter or exit at any point, but our sangha, or community, will be here every day.  You visit when you want/can (or subscribe to be automatically reminded).

There is plenty of research that shows that changing one’s mind can also change the brain; and yet we should be wary of anyone who tells us what to think, or tries to offer up brain-wash cool-aid.  I’d sooner have Holden Caulfield be our patron saint of good parenting than Mother Theresa.  And even then, none of us are well-advised to try and be that catcher in the rye—that’s an archetype, and if we try to become it, we draw the crazy and the dark right to us. 

Being our best Selves as parents, and in general as humans, means being conscious of our Shadows.  If we know that the darkness is within, we are less prone to project it onto others, or deny it, in effect asking others to hold it for us (i.e. the madness of our overflowing prisons and the folly that the “bad” guys can be identified and put in jail so that the rest of us “good guys” would then be free to live happy lives).

So, good luck to all who join in wish well for all children, harnessing personal intentions to a collective ethos of caring about our world because we recognize that every child is our child.  And good luck and best wishes to all who say, “no thanks, no way, no need”—the “yes” and the “no,” taken together, come closer to the Truth. 

For those who do choose to participate, please visit often, putting in love for others, taking out love and compassion as you need.  And when you cannot come to visit, or don’t want to, no guilt, no control, no agenda (beyond wishing love for parents and kids in a consciousness inclusive of the dark). 

If we do not defend, we are not attacked (and if we own our Shadow yet do not attack, we do not need to defend).

Namaste means, “the light in me recognizes the light in you” (and from here forward, let’s allow this to also mean that “the darkness in the light in me recognizes the darkness in the light in you”).

Namaste, Bruce

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5 Responses to “A Year of Parenting Mindfully”

  1. A. N. Says:

    wow! Happy fathers day to all!

    “the light in me recognizes the light in you, the darkness in the light in me recognizes the darkness in the light in you ; the light in the darkness in me recognizes the light in the darkness in you ; the darkness in me recognizes the darkness in you”

  2. Chris Sorgi Says:

    This blog is a service to all who choose to use it and it does no harm to those who choose not to.
    Namaste

  3. We teased her a lot, cause we’ve got her on the spot—welcome back (Persephone) « Privilegeofparenting’s Blog Says:

    […] in June on the summer solstice I committed to a year of blogging mindfully, and this is a fine day to consult that post to return to your own original intention, or set one […]

  4. Saska Says:

    Full Circle Solstice

    “…In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. One remembers here Dante’s (Alighieri) notion that the secret rhythm of the universe is the rhythm of love, which moves the stars and the planets. Love is the source, center and destiny of experience.”
    John O’Donohue

    Ciao Bruce, hello again….and Thank you!

    • privilegeofparenting Says:

      Perfect.

      Spiraling through the eternal gate, we are love. All of us, all our children, all our time—we are One. Always have been, always will be… the universe whispering its secret when we learn to listen to each other as our Self.

      Hello again indeed—and thank You!

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