Archive for Sandra Fazio

The Tragic Suicide of Izabel Laxamana and 3 Ways to Parent More Consciously Online

15 06 05 Posting Positive PicsI used to spank my kids.  I remember putting soap in their mouths.  I remember saying to my husband in a moment of exasperation, “If they don’t obey me at 3 they’ll never obey me at 13!”

Jim was always more conscious than me.  When I was at the end of my rope, he would gently take Molly in his arms and she’d melt.  I guess my time-outs and ‘discipline’ weren’t working but at the time I thought his ‘giving in’ was doing the damage.  Thank goodness Facebook didn’t exist.  Or YouTube.  Or social media at all.  What happened at home wasn’t publicized.

Then conscious parenting change everything for me and my family in 2010.  Dr. Shefali literally saved me and I am forever indebted.  Being a new life coach and having done a lot of personal growth work in other areas I was still parenting traditionally.  Meaning: “Do what I say.  Now.”

Learning that our children are a spiritual gift to help us grow up was revolutionary to me.  I started seeing how my ego was getting in the way.  How my need to be right had damaged relationships throughout my life.  How thinking my child’s behavior was a reflection of me had me trapped.  Little by little I started letting go.  I judged less and loved more.  I looked for ways to connect and not control.

Dr. Shefali posted a heart-wrenching article on Facebook yesterday which has been the topic of much conversation.  It starts out with this tragic paragraph:

“Izabel Laxamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington died by suicide after jumping off a highway overpass on Friday, May 29. Days before, Laxamana’s father Jeff had reportedly punished her for an unspecified transgression by cutting off her hair and uploading a video to YouTube. There’s now a controversy brewing online and among the girl’s friends and family over whether the video caused her death.”

How can this happen?  Yet it does happen.  There are blogs that encourage you to post pictures of your children when they are throwing tantrums. There are moms who write sarcastically of their children’s dramatic behavior and think it’s funny. Publicly shaming your child?  Since when was funny?  Never.  That’s when.  Dr. Shefali said in a recent text thread that suicide from public shaming is happening almost every other week!  That is insanity which must be stopped.

Think about this for a minute.  Once something is online it is PERMANENT.  There is no way to take it back.  What happens when your child grows up and reads your blog or sees the pictures and videos you are posting of them?  How will they feel?  Did you ever stop to think about that?  What are you hoping to gain by sharing their mistakes?  Would you want me to come and publicly record you the next time you are senselessly yelling at your child or worse?  Of course not. None of us would.

Rather than pointing a finger I’d like to suggest a solution.  Here are 3 simple ways we can all commit to parenting more conscious online:

  1. Remember you are not perfect- This can go a very very long way. Humble yourself and extend the same grace you would hope to receive to your children.  There is NO WAY your children will NOT make mistakes.  This is part of life for all of us.  Conscious parenting embraces mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.  It’s a chance to connect with your child.  Create a teachable moment free of judgement.  Think right now of the ideal way you would hope someone would treat you when you mess up and then act that way towards your child.
  2. Commit to only positive comments and posting– I remember my sister used to keep a journal where she would only record all the things she loved about her day. Great people she met.  Places she went.  Things that surprised her.  What a great way to create memories that focus on the positive.  What if we did that for our child.  Keep a journal of all the things you love about them.  Only post positive moments and comments about your children online.  Make it a discipline to see life through this filter and keep your conversation with your child mainly focused on what a wonderful person they are.
  3. Commit to consciously choosing the blogs and books you read– Your eyes are the window to the soul. Don’t allow your eyes to feast on negativity.  Sarcastic and negative jesting about children is not worth your time.  Keep your energy and attention focused on who you want to be and hang around with people online who also share these same values.  I have loved every second of Sandra’s Conscious Parent blog.  Support Patrice and the amazing work she is doing in the world.  Dr. Shefali is a pioneer.  Follow her everywhere she goes.  Suzi and her husband Jami shine so brightly.  Meghan, The Prof Mom, is one to follow too!  These are women you want to choose to be around as much as possible.

There is so much more.  Too much to share here.  Read The Conscious Parent if you haven’t already.  Take our free conscious parenting mini-course to learn more.  Transform yourself through the gift of your child.  Awaken to the beautiful perfectness that is standing right in front of you with messy hair and crusted oatmeal on their face.  Then day-by-day, week-by-week you will see the light of consciousness growing in you and spreading outward to others.

My heart goes out to the Laxamana family for the devastating loss of Izabel and to all children who feel isolated and unheard.  We will do our best to help your parents see that your life is their biggest spiritual blessing.  You are the one they have been waiting for their whole lives to help them grow up.

We love you all and pray for those, like your father, Izabel, who are living unconsciously and who are hurting those around them.  May your light and legacy continue to shine and help others as we bring your story to the world to help make it a more conscious place for everyone to live together.

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How Fear Can Paralyze You If You Let It

Photo Credit: BK, Flickr.com

Photo Credit: BK, Flickr.com

I stayed in a career for 20 years because of my fear of changing & doing what I love doing which I had lost sight of plenty of times but it never lost touch in me. However, after my daughter turned one, I consciously left my six-figure career 3 years ago with fear of so much (fear of what if, fear of money, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of not having control, fear of not being accepted for my decision). But you know what I knew for sure, I trusted my decision at the core of my being. I knew that being a stay-at-home-mom was where I needed my energies to be most. And ultimately through my daughter’s birth & all she has taught me, I was brought full circle, through The Universe, supporting my decision to do my life’s work both as a mom & life / parent coach & now blogging & serving others through my journey and helping them grow through theirs.

Rewind to the year my daughter was born (2011), I knew from that moment I was going to create and invite the opportunity for greater self -evolution. I was no longer going to allow the battle of the minds (so-speak) but instead I was going to manifest and put out into The Universe my desire to be at home with my daughter – pay heed and receive it in its due time. That September, my husband and I had a “meeting of the minds” (Labor Day weekend) to be exact and we discussed the “how to” plan so I could be a SAHM. Bottom line, we looked at everything from our finances, to our current situation to aligning our values (which we were already very much on the same page) and our understanding of what was going to need to change in order to make this happen. We literally created a “power-point” action plan. Then that December, just three months after I let go and let God, I had a call with my boss at the time and within that conversation when she shared much of what was going to “need” to happen the following year (from a sales perspective, travel requirements, etc) and I knew that this was my official sign from The Universe and my moment for departure. I was no longer going to serve a career that did not fulfill my inner being. I was not going to be “that mom” who came home from work – bitter, frustrated, worn-out all because it paid great. The cost was TOO HIGH for me to stay as opposed for me to leave.

After my call with my then boss, I called my husband and told him today is the day that I am giving my notice this week. Over the next five days, I called everyone one of our bill payers (reduced our bills where I could) and ended up saving us $500 per month (which although this was minimal compared to what I was making, it was a good determined start). Three years later, and through my conscious parenting journey, blogging, coaching, etc , God is providing me with many ways to earn an income again and doing the work I love and was called here to do.

So if this resonates with you in some capacity, I encourage you to take the steps, think through the process, lay out the plan, garner the support, be honest with yourself and follow your life’s path. You, your family and your children will all be better for it. I truly and whole-heartedly believe that God always provides. It may not be in the immediate way we perceive it or fantasize about but He provides in many others ways (money is the bonus) including our spiritual and emotional health being at the helm of the true value with bring into our lives and our children’s.

The transformation I’ve personally made plowing through fears & still plowing through them has been liberating & I think “what if” I never embarked upon my journey because of fear, I would not be here in this moment & what a disservice that would have been to myself, my daughter / family & others. This path & process to consciousness has allowed me to truly tap in, honor & trust my voice. I accept that as part of this ever-evolving journey, have a lot of self-talks and move through it. I look back at some of the fears I’ve come through & let them empower me for those that continue to arise.

What fears are holding you back from stepping into your true essence? 

How can you create more space to allow the organic flow for what is naturally ready to bare fruit in your light?

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The Essence of Conscious Parenting

Photo Credit:  ann_jutatip, Flickr.com

Photo Credit: ann_jutatip, Flickr.com

When we desire the thought of having children and then the Universe fulfills our wishes, most of us don’t realize the full commitment it takes in raising them after they are brought into this world. We talk about our desires so freely, scripting the play-by-play on how it will look and be once we have them. We have already planned out all of their years and framed them accordingly to meet our standards. They will do this and be that, they will do as I say (not as I do), they will know who’s boss and know their place, they will listen when I speak, they will not talk back, they will not be like the next door neighbor’s child, they will be better, more and the list goes on.

Anyone with a child (whether a parent, care-taker, guardian), knows these egoic patterned thoughts and beliefs all too well if they are willing to admit it. Yet, most don’t – for fear of shame, guilt, lack of acceptance, judgment and caring what other people think.

What I absolutely love, admire and respect about the brilliant work of Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent, is her matter-of-fact yet authentic, truthful and insightful approach to how parents have been doing it all along from the conventional parental hierarchy mindset to a more conscious-minded parental approach – and how with just a shift in consciousness and more inner connectivity to ourselves, we have the power and the ability to recognize and to transform these patterned beliefs into empowering and life-changing ones, both for ourselves and ultimately for the benefit of our children.

So when our children are brought to us, we need to raise our level of consciousness to new heights to meet them where they are and what they have come here to teach us. We must release the grip on our ego and embrace our child’s essence, all while tapping into our own. It’s no longer about the wish but now about truly facing the raw reality and messages that our children have come to deliver.

Through our full on presence, daily connection – emotionally, physically and spiritually, our children’s presence awakens us to the core of our being (if we so let them) and to the point that we experience our own re-birthing, attending to the inner child within that was left behind for so many years. The inner child that needed the attention, validation, acceptance, love, connection – yet through life’s peaks and valleys – that child was no longer nurtured, covering its head and heart so it didn’t have to bare the pain any longer. That pain can remain sedentary for years and manifest through ones actions, behaviors, emotions, thoughts until one day it cries for help. It is through the practice of conscious parenting that we are given a gift to nurture and connect to our inner child so we heal those wounds and in turn what we ultimately project outwardly to our children is that of wholeness and abundance – allowing them to lead an authentic life that is true to their own essence and being.

So with each day, each new sunrise, and through the daily awareness of your own self, you will come to see your children not as an extension of you but as their own being?

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The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

Photo Credit: Takver, Flickr.com

I became a first-time mother at the prime age of 39 (my daughter is now 3.5 years old) and find she is “raising” me in ways I never thought possible. Prior to becoming a mother, I had parenting all “mapped out” from how it would look and how it would “go” and to my surprise it was anything but what I expected. From having her four weeks premature to her very strong-willed and spirited personality, I had all my “ducks lined up” and thought with my “controlling ego” that so long as I was in charge it was all going to fall into place just fine. Now reflecting back, I can see that every part of my pregnancy journey happened exactly as it was meant to be – to better prepare me for what was yet to come when she actually arrived and my own birthing as a mother officially began.

I was about to embark upon a new paradigm shift / awakening to “grow myself up” in ways I thought I already had and see that my daughter was always destined to be called into my life so she could teach me how to grow my underdeveloped being into the mommy she needed me to become that of more ease and calm for our journey in life together.

Before becoming a mother, I would describe myself as follows: full-time career woman, always busy doing, set in my ways, very structured, anxious / anxiety, controlling, impatient, perfectionist, people pleaser, care what others think, black and white thinker, over-analyzer, hyper/intense personality, high expectations of myself and others, not in the present moment / future-based thinker, wanting to always be prepared and ten steps ahead, very fixed on my own expectations of parenthood.

Then after seeing Dr. Shefali Tsabary for the first time this past May on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday followed by her first Lifeclass show, I knew this was my official wake-up call from the Universe (bringing all my past experiences) including the birthing of motherhood to a higher calling. I began reading The Conscious Parent book and it continues to affirm that being right where I am in this very moment is where I am supposed to be – with my greatest teacher, my daughter, as my guide. Furthermore, I began doing some spiritual meditation / work to tap more into my essence and be more present, aware of my past conditionings, limited-self beliefs and behaviors so I could more consciously parent my daughter from a place she needed me to vs. stay stuck in my old ways. I came to recognize through Dr. Shefali’s work that anxiety, doing, control all go hand in hand and had never really looked at it this way before. This past June, I started this personal blog (The Conscious Parent) as a way to continue the conscious parenting conversation and provide a platform to journal (self-therapy) while helping others in return.

When my daughter turned one, I consciously quit my job to be home full time and although this was a blessing to have had the choice to make happen, at the same time it was a huge adjustment from being a career person and having a very structured routine to a non-structured routine and no longer in control of my day. It gave me new insight on how my own anxieties, preconceived beliefs, behaviors and restrictive ways were limiting my ease and enjoyment of motherhood at times and taking ownership of how I was contributing to burdening my daughter’s emotions more through my own frustrations. With my “A-type” personality style, I wanted to be so prepared in knowing it all (about motherhood that is) to be at ease and be steps ahead of my own anxiety at any given point (ego – need for control). Well that back-fired and created more frustration onto my daughter, who sensed my anxious and controlling energy) and when she didn’t fulfill my expectations that I had “planned out” in my head (ego – perfectionism, conforming) my inner tensions deepened.

So here is a glimpse at how I have grown along my conscious parenting journey (and continue to work on these matters of the heart) on a daily basis – while still realizing my unconsciousness can still get the best of me but being more quick to awakening my consciousness and staying present in my own emotions:

  • Developing my patience muscle and awareness to my emotions; pro-active in my thinking
  • Not caring what others think
  • Remaining open and flexible
  • Apologizing and admitting my faults to my daughter and others
  • Speaking more calmly
  • Walking away as needed / pausing before reacting during my child’s tantrums (which have scaled down immensely)
  • Recognizing my emotional triggers
  • Staying honest and vulnerable with my child about my own feelings, emotions, frustrations
  • Teaching / modeling more relaxed vs. anxious responses to my child
  • Re-emphasizing the importance of self-love and self-care
  • Taking more time for me (making me matter)
  • Understanding and empowering my child to do on her own that I know she is capable of – even when she wants to resist greatly
  • Staying consistently mindful of my language choice, tone, behaviors, responses, etc
  • See her and understand her own emotions – letting her have her emotions and upsets and go through her own process removing myself “personally” in the moment it occurs
  • Validating her own being through my words and affection
  • Talking to her after her meltdowns and moving on vs. holding a “grudge”
  • I am learning that as I stay true to my own feelings and remove ego (perfectionism) I can be honest with my daughter about my frustrations, she sees me not as “super mom” but more of a reality to her developing self – to accept her emotions as they come.
  • I am learning that my tolerance has grown (from the past 3.5 years), when I am faced with her melt-down days, I can get through them without letting my anxiety get the best of me and in my most available conscious awareness.
  • I am learning that my daughter needs to have her “off days” too so she can learn and grow through them for herself.

Conscious parenting is not about perfection nor is it about getting to an end-point as it’s a constant evolution of raising ourselves as we raise our children and teaching them as much as they are here to teach us first and foremost.” – Dr. Shefali

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