This article first appeared on The Montague Reporter,
under my monthly column called “The Life and Times of an Indie Mama”
Anyone out there reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose alongside Oprah and millions of other people around the world? Since mid-January, they’ve been doing a chapter a week, and discussing it on O’s Supersoul podcast.
I gotta admit- I’ve never been part of Oprah’s bookclub. But I have been an avid listener to her podcast over the last 6 months (and it’s been life changing). Plus, I was gifted this book by a friend, and it sat unread for over a year. So I dusted it off and dived in.
The overall message of the book, in the words of O, is “A wake-up call for the entire planet . . . It helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future might be, and to put ourselves in the now.” Because the now, the present, is the only moment where we can bring our conscious awareness, our full presence. Otherwise, our energy is diverted by the ego: the ever-incessant train of thought that we confuse to be our true selves.
In chapter 4, Tolle talks about the many faces of the ego; essentially, how we play different roles depending on who we are interacting with. Either measuring ourselves up or down based on who we think we’re in the presence of. My attention peaked when I read about Conscious Parenting: how Doing our best as parents is not enough if we neglect Being. Children have a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role. So how do we bring more Being into parenthood? Being “alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than the moment as it is… You are the alertness, the stillness, the Presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the Being behind the doing.”
The Being behind the doing.
I can think back to countless times when I’ve been with my child, more focused on doing, my thoughts elsewhere, hardly being. It’s hard not to get lost elsewhere as the adult, when there are bills to pay, responsibilities to worry about, things to think through. And I don’t know about you all, but January sucked big time. I recently laughed it off when a friend showed me a meme that read:
“January was a tough year but we made it.”
But joking aside, it was a stressful month, and I found it really challenging to just Be when I was engaging with my child.
Reading this book has been a lifeline, no doubt. Understanding that it is up to me to make the time and space to plan, to think about the things that need to be thought about, rather than allow myself to be pulled by these thoughts all the time. I’ve also noticed my son calling me out on this, when I pull away or disengage. He will insist: “Mama, play with me,” at which point, I snap back into Being. When I am with him, it is up to me to prioritize being with him. It is up to me to model what Being looks and feels like.
This certainly adds a new twist to that “walk your talk” adage. I realize I must practice being present, particularly around my son, so he can know what being with someone who is truly present feels like. In this era of technology, when children his age are loosing connection to themselves through increasing use of computers of all sorts, this work feels all the more important.
But the work starts with us. Our children are watching. listening, and learning from us. Doing has its place, but Being feels like something we need to really practice. They say that people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
This is fertile ground when it comes to living the life we want to live. If we are able to tap into how we want to feel, we automatically vibrate on that level, which then helps us attract more of what we vibrate. So, are we doing the things that make us feel how we want to feel? Do we even know how we want to feel?
As we shake off the beginning of the new year, and the resolutions and goals that come with it, perhaps we can tune into what Danielle Laporte calls Core Desire Feelings. Rather than going for specific goals, we can become more interested in how we want to feel, and find ways to generate those feelings day-to-day. Chances are if we are feeling the way we want to feel, we will have an easier time dwelling in the present, and for those of us who are parents, it will translate into Being present with our children.
(For those of you local to Western Mass who wish to explore this further, I am leading a Vision Board + Yoga workshop on Satuday, Feb 16 from 2-5pm at Great Falls Yoga. An afternoon of self-care, visioning, movement and yoga, essential oils, and vision-board creation. All details at greatfallsyoga.com)