Annie Burnside discusses her book Soul to Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing 2010), and is offering a copy to a lucky whipup.net reader.
1) Tell us a little bit about why you decided to write Soul to Soul Parenting. Why “Soul to Soul”?
Soul to Soul Parenting seeks to move beyond the physical realm to understand the child from an energetic perspective, too. The human body is seen as only one aspect of the child’s totality as an eternal, infinite spiritual being on one leg of his/her journey. From this widened vantage point, everything is different—there is a core belief that there is so much more to the child and all of life than what meets the eye, and the parent becomes willing to allow that larger perspective in regards to life choices, priorities, thoughts, words and deeds. In other words, in Soul to Soul relationships, one feels for the underlying texture of all that occurs rather than simply the rational, socially acceptable aspect of life. We all simply desire to be fully seen, heard and acknowledged. The Soul to Soul Perspective invites parents and children to shift their focus on the external world almost exclusively to a deeper intimacy with their own soul. Greater intimacy with our own soul creates a conscious perception of who we really are as spirit-embodied. Ultimately, this shift in core belief will internally ignite true self-esteem and simultaneously change our world.
2) In your book you write about a “universal soul language”. Can you tell us more about what this is?
There is a growing belief in the world today that enlightenment is very possible for all who deeply desire it. Publicly discussing spiritual development and matters of the soul continues to accelerate at tremendous speed and conscious parenting is on the rise because more and more parents themselves are becoming self-aware and honoring their authenticity. Due to the joy, freedom and empowerment derived from such interior knowing, they desire, above all else, for their childrens self-realization and comfortability within their own skin. Many parents are seeing that the family unit offers a magnificent opportunity for personal growth in both the parent and the child simultaneously. We are mirrors for one another, and parents are beginning to utilize family relationships as the gift that they truly are as we move into wholeness. Parents desire a safe place for children to work through challenges and release negative emotions as they occur rather than stuff down, deny or save for later creating a tremendous amount of unnecessary baggage and psychic debris. Instead there is a growing shift to live true as soon as possible so that children can get on with what they came here to offer the world in their own special way. Essentially, as parents become more conscious, they cannot help but desire that for their children. The grandest hope for their children is not that they fill their lives with endless accomplishments that require a total focus on doing, but rather that they come to know themselves experientially as a unique part of the divine whole through an increasing number of moments of pure being—illumination.
3) Why is parenting our kids to live consciously important? How do your own children feel about your parenting as they get older? Has there ever been any resistance?
We officially began Soul to Soul Parenting in our home when our children were ages 8, 7 and 4, extremely receptive ages to begin. That having been said, it is never too late to lead the family into deeper contemplation of life in your own way. Our children understand that this is simply part of what we share together as a family, but as with anything worth doing, it doesn’t come without its challenges. Yes, there is some eye-rolling every now and then now that they are teens, but it is our deep understanding that once they move through the necessary move towards independence, by the time they are adults, a model of conscious spirit-embodiment will be the best of what we offered our children. Gone are the days for most where spiritual contemplation takes place in solitude on a mountaintop. We are a modern family leading a very busy life. As you understand the importance of allowing each individual family member to live authentically and follow their passions, a great deal of balance is needed within the family requiring daily reminders and discussions. Also, the more transparent you become, the more you bump up against one another because emotions are no longer stuffed down or denied or saved for later. So a conscious family is definitely not about peace at all costs, but rather utilizes the safety of the family to process all kinds of emotions as they come up so that individuals do not acquire “psychic debris” that will eventually have to be dealt with…
4) What are your guiding principles for Soul to Soul parenting? Are there particular elements that you recommend?
The following ten tips may be useful for parents to post somewhere as a reminder of the guiding principles of Soul to Soul Parenting:
- Utilize everyday life—such as friendships, nature, mealtimes, music, movies, and much more—as the perfect curriculum and forum to teach your children powerful, universal principles such as connectedness, self-love, presence, and forgiveness.
- Teach your children to allow multiple perspectives in all life situations and relationships by “flipping” challenges into positive, learning opportunities.
- Train your children to be more conscious of thoughts, words, and deeds so that they can assume greater responsibility for the shaping of their own reality.
- Encourage compassion, empathy and gratitude in your children on a daily basis by making them the most-used words in your home.
- Turn the JOY in family life way up by singing, dancing, smiling, humming, laughing, and relaxing rigid perspectives as often as possible through openness and gratitude.
- Model authenticity through speaking and living your truth , giving your children permission to do the same.
- Show your spirit daily so that your children can witness multiple aspects of you, and in turn, see multiple aspects in themselves.
- Teach your children that they are intuitive, creative, eternal spiritual beings—much larger than simply their physical form—and filled with infinite possibility and the capacity for direct divine connection.
- Assist your children in understanding that an appreciation for life in the present moment, coupled with enthusiasm for their future, plants the necessary seeds for manifesting their true heart’s desires.
- Provide the space and opportunity for your children to focus on their interior world as much as the exterior world, allowing greater intimacy with the voice of their own soul to feel what resonates as truth for them.
5) For readers whose children haven’t been exposed, in the soul to soul sense, to spiritual beliefs or thinking, and their kids are no longer little ones, is it ever too late to begin the process?
It is NEVER too late to begin a process of personal growth! The book is entirely based on what we have put in place in our own life to offer personal development and expanded spiritual awareness to our children so that they can utilize right now their capacity to lead a conscious and fulfilling life. We did not want them to have to wait for a tragedy or a disappointment to awaken them. Inner work must become a top-priority. Our children are slowly coming to understand that they are responsible for their own reality. They must on the front-end be accountable for thoughts, words, deeds, priorities, choices, beliefs, health, etc. by perceiving themselves as captains of their own ship. Along with that, they can be taught ways to navigate challenges as they occur. This work is ongoing and simultaneous for both the parent and the child—a continual balance of inner and outer pursuits. If there is healing that needs to be done within a child, do not wait! Help them to become clear NOW through any means that feel like a fit—animal therapy, art therapy, water therapy, yoga, meditation, journaling, counseling, channeling, intuitive reading—there is much insight available if one is willing to look both within themselves and outside-of-the-box externally, as well. Once life-affirming themes such as self-love, authenticity, and oneness have been introduced then they can be woven into all aspects of life—friendships, disappointments and choices—to offer an expanded perspective in everyday life.We must help our children to heal so that they can offer their highest potential to the world.
A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer specializing in conscious relationships and spiritual development. Her first book, Soul to Soul Parenting, won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award and the 2011 Independent Book Award.
If you have enjoyed reading about Soul to soul parenting and are interesting in learning more – grab your copy of Soul to Soul Parenting here, and Annie is also offering a copy to a whipup.net reader, so please leave a comment here to be in the running. You have 48 hours to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email and announced here on the blog. Thanks so much for reading.
This competition is now closed – the winner was #9 Sharon. I have emailed you with the details, if you don’t received the email please get in touch with me.
Thanks everyone and thank you Annie!