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“Mom, tell them to surprise their kids—listen to them, have fun with them and


just spend time with them.” ~ Jonah Trudeau, age 9


overworked and overloaded with too much information. It can feel so good to be productive, and American cul- ture rewards output. But we need to be mindful of balancing the harder task of ‘being’ with the seduction of doing, for we are at our most powerful when both of these energies are equal.


Where do we start?


If we are not currently living in align- ment with what matters most to us, we can stop what we’re doing and course-correct. We have to define what simplicity looks like for us and can start by just slowing down. Do less to experience more. Unplug from technol- ogy. Try spending unscheduled, media- free time together. My family feels most nourished after weekends that we hardly did anything and just enjoyed connecting through simple pleasures.


What role does spirituality play in fostering a healthy family life?


I hear a lot of parents say that they used to think that spirituality was separate from parenting. Then they woke up to the idea that being a parent is a spiri- tual practice, maybe the most profound one they will ever have. Connecting to the sacred in everyday life yields nurturing gifts we can enjoy with our children, not separate from them.


What is the most valuable ad- vice that you offer to parents? Pause to breathe in compassion and re- alize that our outer state is a reflection of our inner state. It helps us release whatever we’re dealing with and recon- nect with ourselves and loved ones.


For more information, visit ReneeTrudeau.com.


Meredith Montgomery is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.


Five Reconnection Points


n Be mindful of how and when the family uses technology. Put people first.


n Tap the healing power of nature together. Take hikes, picnics and explore a local greenbelt.


n Love the ones you’re with. Schedule regular time together to make sure it happens.


n Define your family’s values and honor them.


n Slow down. Do less to experience more. Fewer choices and a lighter schedule can make for a happier family.


Source: Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, by Renée Peterson Trudeau.


Small Daily Practices Make


a Huge Difference by Renée Peterson Trudeau


A


regular spiritual practice grounds us and helps us navigate the challenges of just being human. It helps us stay awake, begin to let go, trust the rhythm and flow of life and relax into the beauty of our true nature.


Create Ritual – Meaningful rituals can be carefully planned events or casual, but regular remembrances, such as voicing gratitude before a family meal or greeting one another with a hug. Marking transitions and milestones in the lives of family members likewise connects everyone to the sacredness of daily living. We remember that life is more than to-do lists.


Cultivate Stillness – Quiet private contemplation through stillness, prayer, meditation or reflection is a daily way to connect with our inner wisdom and/ or embrace a higher power, and can make the whole day better.


Practice Service to Others – The more we reach out and are present to one an- other, the stronger we become and the easier it is to understand our intercon- nection—that we’re all one.


Live in the Present – Many great spiritual teachers believe the answer to everything is to just “be here now,” and that our suffering and emotional


natural awakenings August 2013 23


distress would end if we simply stopped resisting the present. When we temporarily suspend our desire to change things, we can embrace that where we are is exactly where we’re supposed to be.


Choose Happiness – Can we only be happy if things are going our way? Experts suggest that we’re born with the innate capacity to experience inner well-being and joy; it’s our birthright to feel good. We must remember to choose happiness in each present moment.


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