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We all know that using our smartphones and social media platforms can be detrimental for our mental health and well-being. But we can't just stop using them, can we? After all, we do live in the 21st century.
So, how can we use these genius, digital innovations consciously, so that our humanity, peace and calm are not compromised?
According to bestselling author Cal Newport, we can ask ourselves: Am I using this phone to serve a value within me? If so, is this the BEST way for me to use it?
Sounds simple enough, but values and best practices can get lost in the multitude of options available through our devices.
So, how do we regain control of our values and well-being? By asking these six questions to ASCEND to a higher level of smartphone consciousness.
1. IS THIS GOING TO CONTROL MY BRAIN THROUGH POLARIZATION?
A friend and I had a disagreement in regards to a parenting topic. Later that day, I went home and scrolled though my social media platforms only to see several posts that further re-confirmed my side of the topic. I felt myself nodding my head. Self-righteousness started to flow throw my bloodstream. As I took a step back, I wondered if my friend also just went home to find the same echo-chamber that supported her opposing viewpoint.
If I could tell my child one thing that I haven't yet told them, what would it be?
This was what my journal asked me this morning. And this is what I wrote down...
I am scared every day of messing you up.
You are so magnificent in my eyes.
But... I am not yet magnificent in my eyes.
This is my daily struggle. I am so aware of the clean slate our children come with. And I am so scared of not honoring their light in the most divine way possible.
The other day I had few hard days back to back, during which I couldn't seem to regulate my emotions. I realized once again that I had prioritized everything and everyone else instead of myself. I failed to set boundaries that prioritized my self care and mental health.
This is when I am completely out of tune with my own greatness. I do for others more than I do for myself. I stand up for others before I stand up for myself. My cup is more empty than full.
So, I made this drawing for myself. I intend to look at it daily so I can make sure to fill my cup FIRST.
A Tree and His Cup
A story about fear and love. About burning yourself out...
and how important it is to fill your cup FIRST.
Copyright content by Hatch Brighter
Once upon a time there was a forest. In that forest, there was a tree. On top of that tree, there were some leaves that made a shape of a cup. These leaves were strong and powerful. Every time Sister Rain came to visit, she would fill up the tree's cup with water. And all of the forest animals would gratefully come to drink up all the water. This would make the tree feel very good. He would feel joyful, grateful and loved because he was able to help his forest friends.
This went on and on for a while. Until one day when Sister Rain came to visit. This time he noticed different feelings. He felt angry and resentful. This was because he was feeling afraid of his forest friends coming to drink all of his water, without any left for him again. After Sister Rain left lots of water in his cup, all of his forest friends came running and drank it all up. He tried to feel happy about it but it something just didn't feel true to him.
You know that feeling you get when your favorite TV series just came out with it's new season? That’s the feeling I get when I get an email from the library saying the books I requested on hold are now available. I literally count the days till I can pick them up. Here’s my most recent pick up and I’m just sooooo excited to explore these books and share the big realizations with you.
A little bit about each of these books:
I own a dance company of which I manage several locations, instructors and students. The other day, I had a very upset and frightened mother call me. She said “Amna, I am so livid. I just came to pick up my daughter from dance class and she was outside all alone and your studio was locked. All the instructors had left. I am so scared thinking of all the horrible things that could have happened to her.” As she said this, I could hear her voice trembling while she tried to push away her tears.
I am a mother. How could I not relate? My stomach was in knots. I messed up. I royally messed up. I took full accountability and did my best to show her I do care for her little seven year old and thanked her for sharing this with me because now I get to do better.
I felt the waves of emotions within me. The judgmental thoughts that started to tell me ‘How could you do this?’ ‘What's wrong with you?’ ‘No one will trust you again’... you know the spiel.
Click here to read full article on how this big mistake helped connect me to my intuition.
I used to hold your hand so tight
When the waves would hit our feet
And now I see the space that time
Has made between you and me
You no longer need my hand
You stand tall and strong
Water knee deep. Your back to me
You are Curious. Enthralled
The space between us will only grow
As I learn to let go
And you yearn to see more
One day you will make a boat
And sail far away
While I watch from ashore
As bittersweet tears warm my face
Until that day when I will no longer feel far away
Because at that moment I won’t be standing here
I will be the ocean in which you sail
2021 (and 2020) has connected me to nature in a deeper way than ever before. Here are some things I have learned about the human experience through the incredible wisdom of Mother Nature.
Changing seasons show us that…
The season of Autumn shows us that…
Animals who hibernate show us that…
Animals who can camouflage show us that…
Trees that last 100s of years show us that…
Birds that pollinate show us that…
Metamorphosis shows us that…
Caterpillar’s chrysalis show us that…
… and it goes on and on and on. May you have a soul-enlightening and connecting-the-dots kind of new year ahead.
Patterns you react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you, but you are unable or unwilling to detect within yourself…
Anything that you resent and strongly react to in others is also in you. But it is no more than a form of ego... it is completely impersonal. It has nothing to do with who that person is, nor has it anything to do with who you are.
~ Eckart Tolle's A New Earth
The path of true consciousness requires us to really understand our egos, not just yours or mine, but the collective ego of humanity. And in my opinion, the hard work is set out for us with our kiddos. Because they test us. They trigger us. They challenge us.
And they will continue to challenge us until we are able to step aside and realize their egos are not who they are. Just like our egos are not who we are. And when we can really internalize this truth, then we can see our situations simply as events. Not emotions. Not reactions. JUST events.
A year ago, I was triggered by my five year old…
Something horrible happened
I am calm
I say my truth
I set a limit
The limit gone
My voice forgotten
Why am I not heard?
Do I need to be loud?
Why can’t you hear
The pain in my calm?
Dose the strength of my calm
Weaken the story of my pain?
I feel Resentment
finding a place to live within
It’s time Assertiveness stops feeling like a guest
So my Calm cannot be confused again
I had been working with my five year old on emotional intelligence tools for years now. We have read a ton of kids books on feelings. We have a calming corner for her to reference tools to help her shift her moods. I model it for her by narrating what I am doing internally to regulate my emotions. You name it and we have probably done it.
Yet, if there is one emotion she struggles to regulate the most, it is anger.
She is in a primitive reactionary state and literally cannot hear me when she is angry. I tried to focus on just one strategy... deep breaths. But she refused to take deep breaths in the midst of her roaring anger. That is until, I created this story for her.
Next to modeling, stories are perhaps the most powerful tool we can offer our kids to learn the big ideas in life.
When do you listen best? When someone tells you what you should do? Or when someone shares an experience (or story) with you?
Stories is the way to go! That’s why I am so passionate about them.
Through stories we activate the creative side of the brain, the home to our imaginations.
Stephen Spitalmy in his excerpt on…
I attended a phenomenal mental health workshop in which Daniel Siegel shared the above knowledge bomb.
I have often felt this way but to hear it being backed up by science and clinical studies just sealed the deal for me.
Dr Siegel shares that if you don't make sense of your life, then you are likely to pass on non-secure attachment to the next generation.
What does this look like? It’s when you yell at your child and you show that you have made sense of your triggers (or past) by saying, “I yell when you don’t listen to me because when I was a kid, my mom did the same thing. But that’s not right. I want to be better. Next time I raise my voice, can you remind me to speak to you with respect? I promise I won’t get mad when you say that.”
Or… “ I am sorry I made you feel like you are not good enough just because you didn’t get an A on your test. When I was younger, I felt like I had to get As so I can be liked and admired. But that’s not right. You are extraordinary just the way you are. And all that matters is that you work hard and do YOUR best. Please help me remember this next time I forget.”
You don’t need to feel overwhelmed about this though. You just need to start. Here’s an extremely simple example. Next time you are with your kids and you struggle to be completely PRESENT - as in not thinking about what you have to do next, or having a bunch of mind clutter, judgmental thoughts, anxiety, etc. - NOTICE IT. Be aware of your internal world. Look at your inability to be present straight in the eye.
Boom! You are awake now and the rest will flow… because when you start to ask the what, why and how questions of your internal world, you will uncover things about your life and past that will not only create a better version of you but also transform the generations of souls that come through you.
So, do take the time to reflect and make sense of your past when the time is right, that’s the ONLY way to avoid passing it forward.
Being aware of the source behind what we say is not only powerful for our own consciousness but also for our kids.
One wonderfully easy way to alleviate any power struggles with your little one is by sharing the source of your directive.
Sometimes we say things because we have to. But sometimes we say them because we heard that directive from deep within us... you may call it your gut, a feeling, your heart, or even God.
Say that out loud!
"I just got a feeling that..."
"My gut just said..."
And boom! Your inner muscles are getting stronger.
AND your kids now get to learn how to connect with the ultimate power house - the POWERFUL VOICE OF TRUTH from within them.
My Outer-Self: B.S. from USC in Industrial & Systems Engineering, owner of Amna Dance, Co-founder of Hatch Brighter and You Matter Too.