A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: Awesomely Awake

Photo Credit: HEJ! yan via Flickr

This week our mindfulness intention is Be Fragile. You can receive each weekly intention on Mondays by subscribing to the Wake Up e-zine. It’s free. The mindful notes are short, inspirational and help set the tone for the week on your “Awake” path.

I’ll admit it there are times when I have a very difficult time ignoring a crying child.

I like peaceful and happy days so I want to soothe them. Make them feel better. Help them be happy again. When I cannot, I get frazzled and frustrated. I often have to walk outside or go to my room. Why can’t I fix this problem?

Part of my Awesomely Awake journey as a parent has been to let my children’s emotions run their course. This is new, of course, because newborns and babies unable to care for themselves need us to help soothe them. But as our children grow older, they need to learn how to soothe themselves, calm themselves and lessen their own fears and anxieties. It’s not always easy knowing when to step in and when to simply be there for emotional support and understanding rather than trying to fix or change the situation. By nature, I’m a fixer.

Original Photo Credit: Pink Poppy Photography via Flickr

I have a mantra that goes something like it’s OK to have feelings.

It’s OK for my child to feel upset.

It’s OK for my child to feel passionate.

It’s OK for my child to feel scared.

It’s OK for my child to feel jealous.

It’s OK for my child to feel disappointed.

The list is endless. And, as much as we need to accept our own feelings, we also need to accept our children’s emotions as they are without judgment and without trying to control our children’s emotions. We don’t want to force on them what we want them to feel. And, above all, we should never discount how they feel — no matter their age.

Can you even count the number of times you see a child crying in a store and the bad-ass parent is threatening to spank him just because he’s crying? I’ve lost count.

That’s not the parent I want to be.

There are many tools and books to help families understand their feelings so that they can grow up emotionally intelligent, and all of them will be helpful for young children. I wish all parents would study this as much as I have so that they can understand what they are feeling and what their child is feeling.

Only then can they show compassion, empathy and respect for how their child feels. And maybe parents will have a bit more respect for themselves as well. All of this will, ultimately, lead to more peace in a household.

Ah, peace.

Mantras  like the one above help us through the harder moments as parents. I’m curious if you have your own wisdom to leave here in the comments about letting children handle their own emotions or about how you handle your own emotions. Do you have something you say to yourself or to your child to ease the emotional drama? Please share!

Photo Credit: Mykl Roventine

Spring is here.

Stay awake.

Rise early. With a hot cup of coffee, walk outside. Close your eyes and listen for the birds. They seem to wake happy every day no matter what. Their songs will bring you instant joy if you let them.

Breathe in the smells of the trees and the grass, both dripping with tears from the night sky’s beauty.

Let the crisp, cool air fill your lungs.

Sit quiet and let your mind wander. And wonder. Let it rest before the day begins.

Do this as many mornings as possible.

Photo Credit: Robinrkc

In the middle of your day, walk outside and look up.

Float with the clouds. Smell the flowers. Sway with the trees.

Feel that glorious sunshine pour into your way-too-busy mind.  Stay there and let it pour through you until you’ve recharged and reenergized.

Do this as many afternoons as possible.

Stay up late. Take a cool glass of iced tea onto your front lawn. Listen to the darkness. Listen to the quiet. Honor that neighbor who is rushing to mow before tomorrow’s rain. Honor that dog barking in the distance.

Listen to the rain drip into the earth, quenching the bugs and worms beneath us.

Feel the night air soak into your skin. Watch as the stars twinkle and whisper sweet everythings into your ears.

Do this as many evenings as possible.

Photo Credit: Craig Cloutier

Stay awake. Spring will fly by like a flock of geese. Summer will be here soon.

It’s not too late to fall in love with spring.

Stay awake.

Our intention this week is to be inspired. You can read about other Awesomely Awake intentions here.

Some days we have regular, average, nothing special kinds of days — you know, when you drop the kids off, go to work, pick the kids up and then go home and make dinner and then do homework and then give baths and then read books and go to bed.

Should I say collapse into bed?

You know those days, right?

They are regular. Nothing sparkled. Nothing shined. It was OK — and you had plenty to be grateful for, for sure.

I call them Mondays.

I can’t live that way. I don’t expect my kids to live that way either.

Part of my awake journey is to ensure that each day has a little bling of living in it. We get this one great chance at a lifetime of love and wonder and I believe we have to grab it with a firm grip and not let go.

Because a busy life naturally leads us to disconnect from what matters.

Of course, I have to be reminded of this time and time again, especially when life gets hectic as it has most definitely been lately.

That’s why we love weekends so much and hate Mondays equally. So, a while back I decided there weren’t going to be anymore Mondays in my life. That every day should be as fun as a Saturday. That’s when I started this project.

Lately, I’ve gotten extremely busy again and I can feel myself starting to endure another bout of careaholic burning inside of me. I have had to remind myself that to live an inspired, awake life takes effort and creativity. It takes a lot of deep breathing. It takes a tiny bit of planning. But when we do take the time, the results are magical and full of awe and wonder — as life should be.

Such as tonight when we split two big cupcakes and each shared our best moments of the day. Not perfect moments but things we feel we did better today than days past.

Life is meant to be lived. That’s why we are here, isn’t it? That’s why we are striving to be Awesomely Awake. That’s why we wanted a family and children, right?

So, let’s take a moment and really brainstorm how to turn a regular day into a spectacular day with very little planning. First, return to that lovely Energy List you made Monday, and the “Think Outside the Box” box list on Wednesday and read them again …

Now, we’re going to write a third list. Write the things you love to do as a family, things that bring laughter, things that bring big smiles to your day; things that give you energy, that make your day as a family shimmer and shine. Write for a long time. Keep adding to this list when new ideas come to you. They will for sure.

Now today, this weekend, next week … start doing those things as often as possible.

Science experiments always brighten a day

Here’s our family’s 9 Ways to Make Any Day Better:

Celebrate — Light a candle for something ordinary and lovely like how you did the crow in yoga or how your child was brave during the school’s fire drill. Put that candle in ice cream, a cookie or even a muffin. Anything at all that’s on hand. Even an Eggo waffle would do! Of course, the best is always a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Get Outside — Days are just better when we get out for fresh air. It’s as simple as that. Even when it’s cold and snowy. Even when it’s cloudy and grey. Even if we just play with sidewalk chalk, being outdoors makes everything better.

Talk Walks — Explore, wonder, live in awe as you walk. Make up stories. Walk in silence. Hold hands. Definitely hold hands.

Read Together — Carve out one hour to just read together. Could be anywhere but make it special and make it an ordeal with blankets and pillows and special snacks. Talk about the books. Stop often and really embrace the questions and comments. Be patient to move on to the next page. Really patient. When you run out of books, tell stories.

Throw a picnic — At the park, on the back patio, in the front yard, in the living room. A blanket and some fun food is all you need. Day better already!

Be silly — Have a night of telling jokes. Or drawing funny pictures. Dance. Play follow the leader and put Dad as the leader. Wear silly clothes.

Go some place new — I only recently added this to the list. We went to a very old-school diner kind of place and it was so nice to experience something so different together. I didn’t realize until that moment that we had been stuck in a routine that avoided some new experienes — all because we were so used to taking care of little children. Now that our girls are older this will certainly be a top energy driver in our family.

Mix up your routine — I like certainty. I like knowing things. If you pick your kids up from school or after care as I do, pack your sneakers and head across town to explore. If your kids go home on the bus, meet them at the bus stop and go for a dice walk. Let the kids make dinner. Skip baths and just play games. Go off schedule. Do anything that allows you to do less than you normally do.

Jadyn with her first Eiffel Tower drawing!

Creative boost — Anytime we use art materials as a family and create something we can be proud of it turns our day into magic. I love when we put a little family art into our day. Make a poster, a banner, special cards for family or church members who have been sick and need a pick-me-up. Or, just go with the flow and create anything.

Please add your favorite family friendly posts to the Kids Co-Op below!! Leave a comment with your link # so I can check out  your posts, in particular. Thanks!

Original Photo Cred: Greg Westfall via Flickr

Welcome! I am honored you chose to visit today. This is the village for you if you strive to balance busy lives and fast-changing technology along with feeling connected and engaged to those you love.

Being a parent is hard work — if you’re doing it right. To be Awesomely Awake means to be mindful and intentional — which means we’re also creative and authentic. We promote and support families as they seek out ways to connect, celebrate and instill a love of learning that the whole family can enjoy. Learn more about this project at Why Awesomely Awake? and About me.

Subscribe to our Wake Up E-Zine and you’ll receive a short, inspirational e-mail each week setting a mindful intention to use at home with your own family. While we focus a lot on parents with children, the intentions are absolutely for anyone and everyone with any family at all. Subscribe now and receive The Awesomely Awake Manifesto to jumpstart your path to becoming an intentional and mindful family. Sign up for our Newsletter right here. ~Shawn

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