1. Cultivate Compassion-

We can all improve the quality of our lives by looking more often through the lens of love and compassion. The Buddhists have a term called lovingkindness, which is a practice that they consciously cultivate. The yogis use a Sanskrit term called 'ahimsa', which is one of the Yamas, or concepts to live by. Ahimsa translates into 'do no harm to any living creature' or 'act in a loving way toward every living thing'.

When we practice compassion, we open our hearts to the truth of what is and see the positives of the situation. When we use sacred listening techniques, we truly hear the other person and come up with respectful solutions where everyone feels satisfied. Doing this instills a sense of value in the child. We can also use words that empower rather than deflate. When we take a compassionate approach to life, we release our unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our children, opening us to the love and joy inherent in all situations

We all try to be more loving and compassionate in our daily lives, but sometimes it seems that there is just no more of us to go around. When that occurs, we can be sure that we are practicing 'one-sided' compassion. As parents, and especially as mothers, we tend to overfocus on our children and our partners, and often neglect ourselves in the process. However, we have all heard the story of the parent on the airplane which is about to crash. When the warning light comes on and the oxygen masks drop, you are directed to place the mask on yourself before attending to your child. The idea is practical yet profound. If we forget to nurture ourselves in the process of parenting, we will surely have less to give our children in the long run. So many of us feel guilty taking time for ourselves in order to rest and recharge, but that is exactly what we need if we are to be good parents to our children.

2. Simplify Your Life-

Our lives are so hectic these days and it seems like time is moving faster than ever, leaving us with a fear that we will never catch up. When we have children, our lives seem to get only busier and our children end up living lives as hectic as ours. They go from school to practice to appointments, and on and on. No wonder they have trouble going to sleep at night and waking up on time in the morning. So what do we do? In this day and age, we will probably never achieve a truly simple life, but simplifying down to a manageable level rather than having overwhelming stress is a worthwhile goal. Mimi Doe calls it living a 'busy but balanced' life in her book of the same title.

Can we reduce the number of activities our children are involved in on a daily basis in order to bring us back to the 'speed of life'? It is far easier to stay relaxed and loving when you are dealing with fewer deadlines. Clearing out the clutter in our homes so that there is less to deal with can also simplify things. Sometimes we feel more stress when there are too many options to choose from. I don't know of anyone who, on their deathbed, complained of not working more. When you 'do less', you can 'be more'.

3. Invite the Scared into Your Life-

Whether it is through formal religion or personal spiritual practices, a sense of being connected to the flow of life helps us feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves. Turning within for guidance when facing everyday problems helps us to become centered and offers a deeper understanding of any given situation. Sacred practices can be as simple as family traditions or rituals. Saying a blessing before meals or sharing a bedtime prayer can teach gratitude and nonduality. Children can also learn that there is a higher power through connecting with the Earth, in such simple activities as planting seeds and watching them grow. Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22, provides a nice opportunity to honor Mother Earth and to begin activities that can continue on for the rest of the year.

Johanna van Zwet, author of "Parenting and the Spiritual Life" suggests that we look for and recognize the spiritual reality in everyday life. She defines spiritual reality as "the place where the spark of an idea originates and the realm where love is recognized as the essence of life". We can invite the sacred into the ordinary moments of our lives when we nurture our child's pretend play and join them in seeing magic everywhere. We can also create sacred space in our homes; a place where we can go to recharge and become centered again. As adults, we can set aside a corner or our bedroom to place a candle and a meditation pillow. But children need sacred space, too, and we can help them accomplish this by encouraging them to make a special room in a hollowed out tree or simply by draping a blanket over two chairs to make a fort.

4. Live in Harmony with Nature-

In our technologically advanced society, we have lost touch with nature in many ways. We eat food that is shipped from around the world, are exposed to fluorescent lighting, and spend large amounts of time using technology such as cell phones, computers, etc. Technology has helped us in many ways, but it has also taken a toll on our health and well being, and has separated us from nature. Our sleep/wake cycles have been interrupted, we have developed allergies and sensitivities, and we spend more time in virtual reality than we do face to face with other people.

What can we do to reestablish our connection with nature and still live in society? We can begin by reducing the amount of time we spend using technology. We can also get out in nature more, so that we can re-attune ourselves to the cycles of light and dark. We can eat food grown locally , in season, and organically if possible. We can also wear clothing made of natural fabrics and clean with nontoxic formulas. By living in harmony with nature, we can begin to reestablish a connection with our tru nature.

5. Incorporate Energy Balancing Techniques-

One way that parents get support for their spiritual journey is through classes such as yoga, t'ai chi and meditation, to name a few. But did you ever think that your children could benefit from these types of classes as well? Children can derive many benefits from these types of practices, and there are many classes now offered just for children. In addition to classes, children can benefit from the use of aromatherapy, essential oils, and flower essences, which can help them focus and calm themselves.

Bodywork is another beneficial means of balancing and stress reduction for children. Massage, reflexology, IET, Polarity Therapy, and Reiki are all good choices, and help children to achieve balance at the level of mind, body, spirit, and emotions.

This is an excerpt taken from Mary Riposo's book, "Using Reiki Techniques with Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals". The book is available for purchase through her website www.IntegratedEnergyHealing.com

Author's Bio: 

Mary Riposo received her PhD in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. She is a NY State Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified School Psychologist. Mary has also completed training in a variety of healing modalities; she is an Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Polarity Therapist, Soul Realignment Practitioner, and Divinely Guided Life Coach. She owns and runs the Center for Integrated Energy Healing, which offers energy healing sessions, transpersonal counseling, intuitive readings, intuitive development training, and Reiki certification classes. She has written a book, "Using Reiki with Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals," which is available through her website. For more information, go to www.IntegratedEnergyHealing.com.