The Waking Parent cuts through the rights and wrongs of parenting and places the focus toward a bigger vision of the family dynamic. This simple, edgy, and insightful read has deep-rooted spiritual values combined with twenty-first-century reality. It points out how parents stay blind to how their own well-being critically impacts their child’s health, behaviors, and outlook on life. It encourages parents to wake up out of the cultural “box” and start moving toward more authentic, purposeful, and loving relationships. The Waking Parent will open your eyes to more clarity, simplicity and fulfillment in life.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.34(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Waking Parent
Surrender to the Everyday
By Steven Fonso
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Dr. Steven Fonso
All rights reserved.
The state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship
It is relevant to start the conversation with the topic that so many of us attempt to avoid. No one wants to admit it, but we all suffer. At times we feel completely helpless and powerless. Bed time, laundry, dishes, cleaning, putting away toys, brushing teeth, screaming, yelling, fighting, and more. When is this going to end? Sometimes it feels like nothing works. This is part of the human experience that is so difficult for us as parents to acknowledge or accept. We try our best to put on a pretty smile and hold it all together, and inside, we are feeling frazzled, disconnected or unfulfilled. Suffering is one of those things that may fly under the radar for quite some time. It is not always obvious. So part of us needs to connect with, and uncover the aspects of parenting that we may be blind to in the midst of our own suffering. What I do know, is that when we genuinely acknowledge and accept our suffering just as it is, just as we are experiencing it, we can be liberated. Without doing so, we stay stuck in the loop of endless trying, frustration, and judgement. Staying in stress is not where we want to be. Let's connect with suffering, so we can move on and awaken our authentic greatness.
What suffering looks like
You are at the end of your day and you lay your head on the pillow from an exhausting, action packed day. As you lay there, there is an inner sense of dissatisfaction. You are feeling the pressures of not enough time in the day, discontent with your surroundings, and wondering if the busy-ness is ever going to end. All of this mental chatter consumes you as you make a feeble attempt to quiet your mind. You feel you have done all you can do, but yet still feel a sense of disconnection within yourself, your partner and your kids. You feel that there is something missing, and there must be more, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Is this all there is to life? This is suffering.
You may also be a parent that feels you need to work all the time, that there is always something you have to do. You feel that your kids need to be involved in every possible activity, and there may be a consistent and low grade feel of angst within the household. This is suffering.
You may be the parent that attempts to exemplify that you are a family where everything is perfect, life is always wonderful, you personify perfection as a family, that your family is perpetually in a state of bliss and wonder and awe for every blade of grass you come across. You inflate how wonderful every single day is, as it goes off without a hitch. This is suffering.
The suffering parent is the version of you that will always think there is not enough; you don't have enough energy to make it through the day, you don't have enough money to buy what you want, you aren't doing enough to raise a happy family, you don't know enough to make the right choices, the kids aren't having enough experiences, they aren't smart enough or perfect enough and you don't have enough time to get all the things done that you need to do. For these voids of not enough, you deflate or inflate reality in an attempt to avoid your suffering. You burn out or burn up inside.
Through the hazy eyes of the suffering parent, we will never be quite good enough to meet the expectations and standards that our culture places on us. We are shown through the internet, magazines and media what it looks like to have the perfect family, and within our suffering, we always feel as though we fall short of meeting those standards. As we ebb and flow through life, we are all going to take on the role of the suffering parent at one point or another.
The "Dangling Carrots"
I know there is pressure that society places on you, I've felt it time and time again. There are unrealistic expectations placed on the family to make sure that your children get all the experiences they need to make it in this world. It can be horribly stressful can't it? Not only the stresses of whether or not you are doing things right, but also how the heck you manage your thoughts and emotions in the face of loud, busy, and often chaotic days. At the end of the day, society and culture impose a tremendous number of ideals on you as an individual and a parent. The media reinforces what success, happiness and fulfillment look like. They are the three dangling carrots of make more, buy more, and do more. They tell you how life should play out for you and your family. As we try so desperately to swim upstream, to meet these expectations, we base our success or failure on them, we exhaust ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally. We sacrifice our well-being, losing touch with the core essence of who we and our children truly are. Waking up from the suffering mind helps us to connect to what is really important especially in a culture of a thousand and one choices and comparing yourself to everyone else's beautifully painted life. Having worked with thousands of people to help them transform their lives and revitalize their health and well-being, I assure you that the pressures you place on yourself are not only unnecessary, but damaging to your body, heart, mind and family. Wouldn't it be great if you could find greater depth in everyday life that would transform your stresses into joy, your frustrations into laughter, and your suffering into unwavering love and gratitude? This is all possible, but you must first wake from the suffering mind.
What are the "dangling carrots" in which you define your success, happiness or fulfillment as a parent and family?
The "Chasing" Game
Inside of you, "chasing" the carrots shows up in different forms. It may be experienced through a chatty mind that won't turn off, or feels like tension in your body, neck or spine, or your body becomes symptomatic with digestive problems, anxious or depressive states. Your brain goes into overdrive with your foot cranked on the gas pedal, spinning the tires while feeling the churning on the inside. Anger, discontentment and frustration are all signs of chasing that which you can't quite attain. You may be chasing more time, more money, and more stuff and often striving to gain a false sense of control from that which you feel powerless. Your body-mind is giving you feedback to stop chasing and become present; to surrender and to tune into yourself. You know what will make you content in your heart, yet this contentment often eludes you. No amount of chasing will provide the fulfillment you're craving within or transform you into a peaceful being. Fulfillment comes from the inside and cannot be attained from the outside. This inside-out approach to fulfillment is the complete opposite thinking, and a departure from, the cultural epidemic of thinking fulfillment comes from sources outside of you. Now, as humanity shifts into more awakened consciousness and more awareness, we draw the magnifying glass closer to what is really going on. The game of life changes. As the game naturally changes, so do our thoughts, emotions, actions and consequences.
Where does society have you hooked?
What do you consistently chase?
Who does that really serve?
Stress Equals Fear
Although stress is an important growth factor for all people, most of today's "distress" is a direct result of fear. If you live a life of trying to match the "Joneses", where you attempt to fit into societal standards, you will feel the pressure of the external stress and the fear of expectations that you place on yourself to fit into this mold; back to the "chasing game" again. You often do things in your daily life out of a place of fear, to gain acceptance, love, and approval from your family and peers. When you try to live by someone else's standards, you will fear that you don't have enough time, energy or resources to meet those expectations. This is why you lie in bed at night with a mind that won't turn off. When you feel stress, this potentially indicates that you are not living YOUR life, but trying to live the ideals and values of someone else. Isn't this the opposite of what we know to be true? Each of us, including our children, are individuals, with different needs, yet we ignore that within ourselves and try to fit into the mold of what everyone else is doing. If you live a life of authenticity, where you are inspired from within and you set your own standards of living, which is honoring each individual as unique, you rest your head quietly at night knowing that all is well.
What areas of your life seem to be ruled by stress?
Where is the fear coming from?
Whose standards are you trying to live up to?
The Unconscious Mind
Right or wrong? Should I or shouldn't I? Have you ever used these words before while making a decision for your kids? The unconscious mind is a powerful place most people make decisions from and they don't realize what is really happening. This type of decision making is similar to when you have reached your destination while driving your vehicle, and wonder how you even got there. While you were driving, your conscious mind went somewhere else. A different part, your subconscious mind, drove the vehicle perfectly based on old programming. You can't believe you drove through four green lights and made two right turns to get there, but you did, all without consciously thinking. Much like driving your vehicle unconsciously, we often make decisions that come from the unconscious mind; the mind of a preprogrammed person. When you are using phrases like "I should" or "I ought to," or "I'm supposed to," you are not making conscious choices. These are preprogrammed rules you are abiding by from someone in your past. Those unconscious parts of you that have been trained by others are making your decisions for you and your kids; instead of your own conscious awareness. Right or wrong, should or shouldn't is made up of others' values and stems from a core of fear. This line of questioning creates stress because you are not bringing your full awareness in the moment to make the choice for what is happening right now, in the present. You attempt to make a decision from a belief you were taught from someone else's belief system, instead of listening to your own heart. When you choose from the unconscious mind, you will try to avoid the pain of being wrong and being a failure as well as the pleasure of being accepted and being loved.
An interesting observation is if you want to get to work and back or drive to a familiar spot, going on autopilot and tuning out will still get you there. If you want to go somewhere new, somewhere you haven't been before, you must drive with the conscious mind and a high awareness for the choices you are making and the turns you need to make. When you are going somewhere new, your inner voice sounds so much different. You are present and aware. This also holds true for parenting. If you want a new destination for your kids, different than that of you or your parents, then more conscious awareness of your choices is required. This is the reason why it is so relevant as a parent to spend time really getting to know your inner values and your vision for your family. A parent that is in tune with their highest versions of themselves creates a great deal of internal contentment because you are not being swayed in your decisions. Your clarity and vision for your children is crystal clear. Your decisions are coming from a place of authenticity, ease and love.
When do you most go on 'autopilot'?
What are a few decisions you are working to figure out that require more heart-centered attentiveness?
Where is the fun?
Remember when you were a little kid and you were along for the ride; you just lived for the moment and experienced life with joy, excitement and anticipation? Nothing was too difficult, too draining, too time consuming, or overly pressured. There was just a 'going with the flow.' That, is the pure, innocent child; a part of you that never dies. And then you spend a good portion of your life ignoring this essence and burying your head into 'adulthood', with the rules and conditions that come with being one. What if you tapped into your inner child just like that little free spirit you once were? Do you remember who that kid was? The part of you that doesn't over-think but just loves the ride and loves being alive. The one who gives big smiles just for the sake of smiling? The one who jumps puddles just for the sake of jumping puddles? To see the world unfiltered and connected. To embrace that part of you that is curious about everything. This is the playful version of you who we are inviting to come out.
How can you embrace your inner child and elevate the amount of curiosity in your day?
The Pattern Interrupt
Ask yourself "why?" "Why am I saying no to my kids?" "Why did I answer their question so fast?" "Why am I not letting them do something they are asking?"
To break up the unconscious programming, the question of asking yourself 'why' is a great way to interrupt your usual, knee-jerk patterns. This will generate a pattern interrupt within your normal decision making process. Instantly when you ask why, your higher brain centers light up. Your mind sharpens its focus into the present moment like a car honking brings your conscious mind's focus on the road. You instantly become aware as soon as you realize you are not aware. You begin to become aware of the autopilot, unconscious you. Anytime you ask the question why, you stop the habitual, mindless behavior and you enter into a space of inquiry for greater depth of clarity. This question may have to be asked many times as your initial response may be to answer the question very quickly. By asking why, you can start the process of deconstructing your automatic beliefs, thoughts and actions and get to a new level of awareness as to what is really running your decisions. In the shower one day, I picked up my razor to shave and I asked the simple question, "Why am I going to shave right now?" I came up with about eight reasons as to why I was going to shave and most of them were from stories that I had picked up over time. The stories ranged from looking more professional, being liked, looking honest, etc. If these rules were determining my behavior with a swipe of my razor blade, could you imagine how many stories are running our lives, our decisions and our actions? Realizing that parts of you have been hooked by the should's and should not's of parenting is always a humbling experience. Breaking the habit of being you will be the biggest challenge facing a more aware parent. It's easy to stay the same, and its challenging to ask yourself new questions. We start with the question of "why." If you want to live an authentic, independent and liberated life, you must ask yourself why.
Why would you want to become a more aware parent?
What areas of parenting need more "why" questions?
A little more on the "why" factor
Asking "why" takes some discipline because we aren't used to asking it. By asking the question though, you have a moment of surrendering and you instantly create a more clear mind-heart connection; the process of asking why is what I call "confusion to clarity." You confuse or mix up your normal patterning and allow a new level of organization to ensue. You allow an immediate introspective, unwinding, and discarding process that allows you to truly become more congruent with your core nature. You are a combination of your life experiences and have developed hardwired habits to this point. Your body-mind ravels together tensions, postures, beliefs, values, responses, reactions and emotions which combine to form your personality. If you are to go to another level of living, than you need to be open to throwing all those on the table and let yourself be vulnerable to growth. Take the current puzzle which is you, smash it on the ground, and gently move the magnifying lens closer on each of the pieces.
After asking the question of "why" to magnify clarity for your routines and behaviors, you begin to drop control and surrender to the moment. This brings presence. Surrendering into presence is being and living your life in greater awareness; seeing and feeling connection to life, observing order and synchronicity in your family, environment, and world.
Most parents today were raised in a culture of plow forward, domination, hierarchy and authority; don't question the doctor, kids know nothing, parents rule the kids, be obedient and submissive to authority, do what you are told etc. We had not been shown to ask high quality questions. By adding in new questions into your day, you create the opportunity to discover where your decisions for yourself and your family are really coming from. We all want the best for our families. Does that mean that we should stay a slave to our old programming and follow the values of our upbringing? People want to be passionate about their life, having the freedom to be who they are, and do what they love. People want to live according to their highest values. It's happening, and we as parents are ready and positioned perfectly, to guide our children to live authentically and follow their dreams. First things first, we need to be living it!
Excerpted from The Waking Parent by Steven Fonso. Copyright © 2014 Dr. Steven Fonso. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Control and Surrender, xvii,
Chapter 1 - Suffering, 1,
What suffering looks like, 3,
The "Dangling Carrots", 5,
The "Chasing" Game, 6,
Stress Equals Fear, 7,
The Unconscious Mind, 8,
Where is the fun?, 10,
The Pattern Interrupt, 11,
A little more on the "why" factor, 13,
Tuning in to your Essence, 15,
Our kids are here to assist, 16,
Chapter 2 - Waking, 17,
Wake Up, 19,
The Waking Parent, 20,
Inner Observer, 21,
The "Aha" Moments, 22,
A unique cycle of life, 23,
Parenting as your own "Awakening", 24,
Your little teachers, 25,
Expanding Awareness, 26,
Conscious Living, 27,
Chapter 3 - Surrender to the Everyday, 29,
Teaching Manners, 31,
Thank you, 34,
Incessantly Saving, 41,
Peaceful waiting, 42,
It is what it is, until it isn't, 44,
What's the rush?, 48,
Picky Eaters, 50,
They will learn, 52,
State Change, 61,
Presence and Force, 66,
Mother Nature, 68,
Divine Intelligence, 74,
The Body, 76,
Your Mirror, 77,
Soul style, 79,
Life is a Verb, 86,
Self Love, 90,
Right Now, 91,
Change for Change Sake, 94,
The Future, 95,
Loving Service, 101,
Death Awareness, 104,
Three Wise Gifts, 106,
It's All About Relationships, 108,
Surrender into love, 113,
Chapter 4 - Transform, 115,
Perfectly Imperfect, 117,
Do Your Best, and Your Best is Good Enough, 119,
One Step at a Time, One Moment at a Time, 120,
About the Author, 123,