Jun 6, 2016

Conscious Parenting With Jessi Elizabeth

“Let children have tales of the imagination. Scenes laid in other lands and other times. Heroic adventures. Hairbreadth escapes. Delicious fairy tales. Even where it is all impossible, and they know it, and yet - BELIEVE.” ~ Charlotte Mason

Welcome to Intentional Conscious Parenting! If this is your first visit please have a look around. We have posts related to conscious parenting and book reviews. We are embarking on a new series of interviews with every day parents! To us, there is nothing more important than the role parents play in the lives of raising their children. Read through the interview and please share it with your parenting friends. Stay tuned, there will be more interviews coming soon!

Today we have a special treat for you! We wanted to share with you a mother who is on a quest to raise her daughter with a deep connection and appreciation to mother earth. We are always so inspired by the daily stories and experiences she shares on Facebook. We invited Jessi Elizabeth to join us on our Intentional Conscious Parenting blog to share a glimpse into her conscious parenting world.

Carol And Stacy: How important is it for you as a mom to instill a love for nature?
And can you tell us about the day you made your nature mandala shared in the above picture?

Jessi: For me it is absolutely crucial to instill a love for nature in Sonora. It’s also something I think comes really naturally to children if given the chance. I think it is monumentally important for a child’s (and adult’s) mental, physical and spiritual well being to be in communion with nature.

I would also like to instill a sense of awe in my daughter. I think with the age of electronics we have lost the ability to be inspired by nature and it’s simplicity. We get stuck in a cycle of instant gratification and nature has a unique way of pushing us out of that pattern.  I think without a sense of awe and wonder about the world we can become complacent and apathetic. My wish for her is to be excited and curious about what life and the outdoors has to offer and to not be afraid of a good challenge.

It was a rainy, gloomy day and all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, but my husband convinced me to get on some rain gear and go out exploring. We were hunting for some mushrooms, but were unsuccessful. I try to make it a point to have a basket along so that if Sonora or I find some forest treasures ( a feather, cool branch, rocks, etc) we can bring it home to put on our nature table or for collecting items to sit and talk about before returning them to the forest floor.

Being in the woods is like going to church for me. I get all buzzy inside and a feeling of peace and contentment tends to wash over me. I have made nature mandalas in the past. It’s such a calming and meditative experience. On this particular day I had found a neat turkey feather, some balsam root and sat down next to a stump to explore the foliage around me. You get to use the ground as your palette and the leaves, flowers and other findings as your paint. You have complete creative freedom to make them as complex or simple as you want. Then when you go it’s like leaving a little piece of yourself in the forest. Sometimes we make a mandala together, other days Sonora likes to create her own.

Carol And Stacy: We’ve really enjoyed seeing the photos that you share on Facebook of your husband teaching Sonora how to create a campfire in the rain and how you all went mushroom picking. Do you plan these events ahead of time or are they spontaneous. Do you plan your teachable moments or do you just take advantage of each situation as it presents itself?

Jessi: It is hit and miss. Sometimes I’m a big planner, but I really try to let things happen organically. I think it makes things more magical and enjoyable for everyone involved. Plus, when you do things spontaneously it allows for mishaps - like forgetting a change of dry clothes, or a basket to carry things - which presents more opportunity for teachable moments, life skills and creativity. Questions like ; “ How can we get dry?”, and “ What can we make or use to fashion a basket to carry our forest treasures?”.

Carol And Stacy:
What are the most important life/spiritual tools you want to instill in Sonora?

The things I would like most for Sonora to have in her spiritual/life toolbox would be:
To know herself and trust her intuition. The confidence to rely on her inner voice and her power to guide her.

Also, to always be curious, ask questions and think abstractly.

To live simply.

Have a great love for animals, nature, music, art and a good book.

And most importantly - the ability to maintain a child like sense of wonder.

Carol And Stacy: When our kids were little we didn’t have the same kind of distractions parents do now such as our cell phones that are tied into everything. They’ve become like an addiction for many people. Do you find it easy or hard to be present in your parenting? How do you make sure at certain times there’s no interruptions such as during bath time, bedtime or reading time?

Jessi: I feel like distraction is a constant struggle. I often have to remind myself to be present and in the moment with Sonora. I can tell when there has been too much of a disconnect because we both get cranky and communication is sub par. There are times when the day is just falling apart and I realize we haven’t made eye contact and one or both of us are overstimulated. That’s when I say, “Ok! Get your shoes on - we’re going outside for the rest of the day!”.

We got rid of our TV three years ago, but then there’s always our cell phones and Netflix on the computer. I have had to make a conscious effort to try and get emails done in the morning before we start our day or after Sonora has gone to bed in the evening so that I can be fully present. I realize from experiences as a child that a distracted parent can be mistaken for an uninterested or emotionally unavailable parent, so I try my best when we are doing important routines, such as bedtime or dinner, to have a no phone policy.

Carol And Stacy: Children come here to show us where we have to grow. They help us learn more about ourselves and expand our own awareness and consciousness. Do you feel Sonora has triggered a deeper awakening within you?

Absolutely. I always say that she is my greatest teacher. I had all these preconceived notions before she was born of how I was going to be such a carefree, easy going, fun Mom. Then Sonora came into this world present, intense and awake and it turned everything upside down. It brought deep, subconscious traumas from my childhood into the light as well as maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors I was totally unaware I was using. She has been such a great catalyst for spiritual and self growth. Kiddos are magically engineered to find those places in our heart and mind that need to be healed and bring it into focus. Every time I am triggered by something she does I try to turn inward, ask myself what the real reason for my anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. is and try to be gentle with my inner child. It’s a journey for sure, one that I am deep in the middle of.

Carol And Stacy
: A few years back you cut off all your hair. Did you just need a change of pace or was there much more to it than that?

Jessi: A little of both. My identity had completely changed. I was now a “Mom”. More than ever I was aware of societal expectations of me as a woman. The thought that long, thick beautiful hair was a beauty standard that I wasn’t able to fulfill - was tiring. I was feeling transformed and powerful and raw. I had birthed an amazing little human from my body in the middle of my living room with no pain killers. I thought, “what better way to assert my femininity and power than to kind of give the proverbial middle finger to unrealistic ideas about what makes a woman beautiful?” It was really liberating.

Carol And Stacy: Wow! What an answer!!

Carol And Stacy: What does conscious parenting mean to you?

Jessi: To me, being a conscious parent is all about being authentic, mindful and aware not only about my child’s needs, but my own. It’s a conscious decision everyday to be more in tune so that I can model to my child how to be a conscious and kind human being. It’s a way of living. It’s about letting go of my ego so that my daughter and I can work in partnership. It’s about transgenerational healing so that the cycle stops here. It is a lot of work, exhausting even,  and I am by no means perfect. There are some days where I default to old, learned behaviors and responses from my childhood - but I see the difference in my relationship with my daughter and I know that the extra effort is worth it.

Carol And Stacy: Thank you so must Jessi for sharing with us and our audience. Is there anything in particular you would like to say to moms or dads reading this interview?

Please remember to be kind and gentle to yourself. I think the best thing we can do for our kids is to heal ourselves and our inner child so we can be fully present for our kids. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be “perfect” and it is damaging and unrealistic.

And finally - get outside. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it’s just a walk around the block or laying in the grass in your front yard. It can be a total game changer for you and your child’s mood and well being.

Sending love, light and peace to all you lovely parents out there!

X’s & O’s,