From Empty to Nourished: Parenting with a Practice, a Path, and a Prayer

My husband and I added spiritual life to our family life 3 years ago. Actually this month is the anniversary of the very beginning of the awakening process we experienced, which started in June 2014.

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Prior to 3 years ago, we were caring people, striving to be good and do good. We were eating organic food, recycling, signing petitions, doing attachment parenting, listening to our children with empathy, playing, cleaning the house. You know, being responsible, working, being good community members, caring about the state of the world. We even were doing our best to grow in our self-development and communication skills. We weren’t drinking alcohol… I mean it was a good clean conscientious life! And yes, we still do all of those things, plus some…

But I’ll be completely honest. When I look back on those years, and all the years of my life before having an active and alive spiritual life ~aka~ relationship with God, it seems like a lost and empty life compared to what I have now.

It’s not that I didn’t have beliefs or values. Yet, there was no alive conscious practice, path, questions, study, community, nor even very much desire to be involved in spiritual activity. A little desire, yes, but no burning determination.

I did not pray and I did not have any kind of aware contribution to my relationship with God. So the bottom line was me. What do I want? What do I think is best? What is my best thinking of how to live my life? As far as spirituality goes, I understood that there is Divine energy, and that somehow my energy/karma brought to me what I deserved. Yet I was puffed up about what I could manifest in my life, not acknowledging or saying thank you to Higher Power.

It was lonely, spiritually-speaking, to say the least, and I felt anxiety in that state of existence, distanced from Source. I was mostly in go-mode/do-mode, reacting, surviving, trying to concoct a good life, telling myself stories and justifications about why I did what I did.

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Then, in June of 2014, I came into contact with a path, a practice, a community, and a way forward to try and experiment with. A few months later my husband started to try out this practice. We were in experiment mode – asking questions, trying on a new paradigm, and overall really appreciating this path that was presented to us in a divine way.

I experienced a spiritual awakening. I was taking an honest hard look at why am I here in this body on this planet, where am I going after I die, what is the purpose of my life. I was struck with the realization that I am a spirit-soul, not my body, and that this “Universe” that answers my prayers and showers me with blessings ~ Himself ~ has consciousness. There is so much consciousness in the timing of EVERYTHING.

I began praying to God. I began practicing a process called bhakti-yoga, which is a non-sectarian yoga system of connecting to God through loving service. As the name indicates, the practice has its roots in ancient Indian teachings such as the Bhagavad-gita. I developed a servant mentality towards God, and what a huge relief this was (and increasingly still is)!

Adding God to my life, or rather, actively choosing to open my heart to Him, to say thank you to Him, to ask, “How can I return the favor? How can I serve You?” – my heart transformed in such a way that there’s no going back.

My husband and I steadily exposed ourselves to spiritual scriptures and spiritual community. We asked many questions, we got an equal amount of satisfying reasonable answers. I can’t speak for him, but I’ll say for me that I found my path. I developed a fledgling practice, and I began to re-establish my eternal relationship with God.

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I could say SO MUCH MORE about that journey in 2014 and during the last 3 years, what happened, how, when, and then what… Actually, I’m collaborating to create a book that will come out soon, in a few months, which is about the principles of bhakti-yoga, shared in a series of lectures and discussions that happened in my home…

But, right now I’m looking at how it’s been three years, and I’m just marveling at the quality of our family life and what we experience now, having begun to center our life around loving and serving God. We still have the same needs and struggles, but our consciousness and goals have dramatically changed.

I am more surrendered and humble. My husband is more assertive and clear-headed. Our children are more compassionate and secure. Everyday we appreciate God for His creation, for what He brings into our lives. My husband and I have a unified vision of purifying our hearts and separating from the empty habits that numb our pain and also joy. It’s as if the satisfaction of life is 1,000 fold now, compared to life without spiritual focus.

We still experience stress, struggles, and conflict, but the difference is having perspective.

Having perspective, such as:

  • This body is temporary, but the soul is eternal.
  • These children are God’s children.
  • I have an eternal purpose.
  • My purpose is to serve the highest truth with love and devotion.
  • Times of happiness and distress have a beginning and an end.
  • There are activities which support spiritual realizations and activities which hinder spiritual realizations.
  • Whatever I experience is a result of my past actions/my consciousness.

And much more…

We have an incredible amount of perspective now, which means when I look back on our life prior, I see it as being seeped in material perspective and lacking spiritual knowledge. So it was kind of a dark place in a sense, despite all of the goodness we attempted to cultivate.

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It’s like I can breath better and I have better vision. “This temporary difficulty is here, and it’s an opportunity for my growth.” “I feel happy, but let me stay grounded and connected to God’s will for my life.” “I feel stress, but I’n open to a lesson of how I can grow closer to God through this situation.”

Linking parenting to serving God is a big deal. It brings in the reality that I’ve been handed the responsibility of bringing these two souls back to their Father. I mean, wow. What a task. And these children have their karma and their own relationship with God that in some ways has nothing to do with me. I’m not the bottom line. The bottom line is what does God want for my sons?

For me personally, there’s a lot of surrender in praying to and serving God. I experience a deep satisfying relief deferring to God, to His representatives, to scriptures. It’s like, thank God that He is there offering instructions and orchestrating everything according to the highest good for all. There’s really someone to rely on who is infinitely more intelligent than me, and who provides guidance to our hearts, at all times.

Parenting with a practice, a path, and a prayer means I have the ultimate friend to lean on, activities to train me to think of God constantly in my actions, and a way back to my original pure state as a spirit-soul. Having all of this to share with my husband and children brings great purpose and clarity to our goals as a family. It’s as if there is a bright light guiding our way to our souls’ purpose.

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This spiritual focus within our small circle, hopefully and by the mercy of God, will spill over to the people we come in contact with, so that we can support others to realize who they are as spirit-souls. I speak in grand terms, I see that. I also acknowledge that we are far from perfectly walking the path. I have a long way to go, but indeed I have my goal and I make small step to arrive at my destination.

I wanted to share my experience because I know how much parents are struggling in material existence separate from Source, and I get it. What is the point of all of this effort we give forth? Why are we here in these bodies, on this planet? I want to encourage you to bring Higher Power more and more to the center of your life. How can Divine Source fail you? If God is providing everything for us including our complete existence, our intelligence, our intuition, and this whole material world, why would he not provide supreme guidance and support to us as well, on our journey? We only need a sincere and honest prayer to begin with…

How distant are you feeling from Higher Power?

What small step can you take to re-connect?

What spiritual perspective can you share with your family members to ease their suffering?

What is your spiritual practice like and how can you create more fulfillment in those activities?

What is your source book for spiritual knowledge and how can you tap into spiritual knowledge even more?

Where do you find spiritual support and can you go spend more time with them?

How can you give back and serve your higher purpose?

How can you serve others in their self-realization?

What unhealthy or distracting habits are hindering your progress and focus?

What prayer is in your heart that you need to express?

What commitments are you ready to make to support your family life on its spiritual journey?

These are what I see as vitally important questions when choosing to get more serious about spiritual life and choosing to infuse spiritual consciousness into family life.

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To whatever extent that I am able to, I attempt to bring my spiritual understanding and practices into everyday life. I mention God often with my family members. We pray before every meal and snack we eat. We have a morning prayer ritual. I try to connect what we see in nature to God and His artful touch. It’s really quite small and simple, and I know we could be so much more immersed in spiritual life than we are now. Still, it’s something, and I celebrate our beginning stage. Honestly, it still feels like the very beginning!

I hope my story and questions somehow connect to you where you’re at, and that I am encouraging to you. Maybe you will be inspired to bolster your practice, path, and prayers. That’s my prayer!

Thank you for your presence in my life. I would be glad to hear from you – please feel welcome to write to me and share your story.

Sincerely,

Dominique

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