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What Is Real? Redefining Pretend

I led a beautiful workshop the other week for parents, teachers, counselors, yogis, anyone who supports and works with kids and teens in all different ways. The workshop was an introduction to three mindful practices to teach children meditation. We talked about ‘Peace Place’, ‘Time In’, and the ‘Pause and Check In’. Most of the meditation practices I teach are active forms of meditation which means we connect with ourselves and create with the energy within and around us. We do lots of imagining, because imagination gives entry to our intuition, which is our place of knowing and the power we are meant to use to bring forth our experiences in the world. At one point the idea of whether this type of work is ‘real’ or ‘imaginary’ came up. As if they are two different things! I mentioned how I don’t use the word pretend or make believe with my family or the kids with whom I work. Why are they thought of as separate? I suggested aloud. How could what we see and create with our intention not be real? It’s creation with energy. Energy may be the only real thing that exists at all. Of course, it’s not that cut and dry though, this is a rich topic that I’m always finding myself exploring further.

Always in tune and a constant guide, my daughter woke me up that evening in the middle of the night, and as she was sharing something neat she learned watching the Cat In the Hat (Yes, we watch PBS from time to time) she asked me, ‘Mommy, is the Cat In the Hat real, or just an idea? I gently reminded her, since we’ve talked about it before, “Honey, maybe its be the same thing,” I continued, “Someone had a very special idea about a cat in a hat and he created stories about it and those stories became books and a television show and now you and children all over the world get to experience what it’s like to get to know a cat in a hat and learn from and with him. He is very real. You have very real experiences with him, even when you aren’t watching the show. He stays with you, his energy stays with you. Now, he doesn’t have a physical body, if that’s what you are wondering, but he is very, very real.” “Oh ya,” she said, “I remember. Just like Buddy on the Dinosaur Train or Daniel Tiger. Ok, maybe we watch PBS more than just from time to time.

So maybe that’s what people mean when they ask if it’s real. It is in the physical?

And that, I think, is a better distinction to describe to our children. Often my daughter and I will use the language ‘beings with bodies’ and ‘beings without bodies.’ Or, ‘physical bodies’ versus ‘energetic bodies.’ Or I am 'sensing' this, or 'knowing' that, or 'seeing' this with my inner eyes.

This has been an important learning for most of my life. My Dad passed over when I was nine years old, so my desire to connect, communicate and attune myself to a deeper awareness has been survival in some ways for me, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. It can be a way for our children to fully thrive and embrace what they already know to be true. They are born knowing and being aware of creation. They come in with all their information, and until we program them to not believe in the ‘make believe’, they understand the importance and power of their inner world, their inner landscapes. They know they are being held by something much larger than what they see in the physical. And then we begin to bombard them with messages that someone other than them knows what’s best for them, that their inner worlds hold no power here in the world where control is our currency. And slowly they begin to question what their truth.

I recently began a group with 6th grade girls learning mindfulness and meditation. At our first group we talked about what the word intuition means, what it means to connect to our inner knowing. Through this conversation, they reminisced about how, when they were younger, they were more connected to it and how they believed in what they felt, heard, saw (with their inner eyes) and weren’t only guided by their outer senses. They remembered for a moment the BIGNESS of who and what they are, and all agreed they’d like to know how to create a space inside themselves to live from that knowing, that power, their true selves again. 6th graders! They had already begun to forget.

Which is why so many of us, having been in bodies a lot longer than those 6th graders, so easily and often unknowingly program our children and the ones in our care not to believe in, or rely on, their inner worlds. We don’t take the time to nurture that sacred relationship with ourselves, so how do we expect to nurture it for our children?

Well, I know this for sure. Our words have power. When you tell a child of any age ‘oh you’re just pretending, you can’t actually hear or see or know that’ we are robbing them of their innate wisdom, their inner guidance. Not just robbing them, but breaking it down, destroying it even. Because when we do so, we are at a very young age, dishonoring our children’s knowing. We are in effect saying, it’s only real if you can see it with your outer eyes, in the physical. We are sending them the message, ‘don’t believe in what your inner knowing sees, and hears, and feels.’ We don’t give them the chance to see what it’s like to create an outer physical world based on the intimate inner world of our intuition and imagination.

I would assert, and there would be those who agreed, that our physical world is simply a reflection of our inner world. And as such, if we can raise our children with a sound, strong, vibrant, clear, fully embraced and acknowledged inner world, then their outer worlds, what they see, what they do, what they bring in, their ideas, their beliefs, their creations, their manifestations, will be in alignment with the light that they are. They will be who they came here to be, with all its glorious messiness and beauty. Of course, the opposite is also true. If what we see outwardly is a reflection of what’s happening inwardly, that is where we must focus our interventions. We need to support the foundational development of those inner structures in ourselves and in our children.

We are at a time in history we have never been in before. Quickly, ever so quickly, the world is changing. People are awakening to themselves and realizing they haven’t known themselves, developed a relationship with themselves, honored themselves, or appreciated themselves. Many of us are so deeply desiring resources and new ways of being to embrace the navigation of our collective conscious journeys.

I want my daughter, and all our children, to live in the knowing that the physical is only part of our experience as beings. We are multidimensional beings here to play with creation and expansion for the good of us all. So, let’s make pretend mean something different. Not the opposite of real. Let’s not tell our children it's not real if they can’t touch it with their hands, or see it with their physical eyes.

Let’s honor their knowing, their voices, their desire to connect and create from within themselves. And since we’re doing that, why not just join with them? Let’s start using all of ourselves to live in this world.

You know what’s real? What you believe. It starts as a thought, and nothing that is physical ever became without that first. Let’s teach and live that. Let’s teach our children that physical is the last step in the process of creation. If we only emphasize the last step, we rob them of learning all that comes before. That’s like honoring our food but giving no gratitude to the farmers, or the soil, or the sun, or the rain. We do this all the time, right? Like this rice and beans just showed up on my plate with no thought to how it got there!

Creation begins with an idea, an imagining, something someone could call PRETEND, and then with energy, and love, and focus, and action, and tending...something becomes. Every step is REAL. And yes, maybe we are just simply playing with semantics here, but I believe it’s a worthwhile exploration.

My truth and my life have showed me that there is so much more to the world than what is physical. The world has much, much, more depth than that. I love living my life knowing I am in this world but not of this world. That I am a energetic being having a physical experience. And while I love to create in the physical, and I love physical connection, I also love connecting to what’s not physical but is extraordinarily real and true and transformative for my whole being, while being grounded in a physical vessel. That, to me, is true freedom and true power.

Before you stop reading and close this page, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a moment to just BE with all that you just read. Now think about what ONE THING you can do to more deeply honor the inner guidance of your child, or the children with whom you work, or your own inner child. That's a good place to begin.

Thank you. You are deeply loved.


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