By Kathleen Aharoni
“You are here at a Conscious Parenting Summit,” award-winning author and international speaker Shefali Tsabary, PhD, told a gathering at Chicago’s Bodhi Center in October. “If you don’t want to be conscious of how you parent, you aren’t in the right place.”
To be or not to be: conscious.
Am I more concerned about my death or how I am choosing to live? Is it possible to celebrate the end of life as we do birth? These were the delicious sorts of questions discussed during Death Over Dinner, organized by Chicago’s Lorene Replogle Counseling Center this fall. Creating mindful and honoring ways to travel through end-of-life was core at this gathering.
The consciousness movement is big and growing, as evidenced by these two events, among many others. There is conscious leadership, conscious capitalism, conscious parenting and anything and everything Oprah, for example.
Consciousness is imperative to health mastery—any mastery—in fact. The more we deliberately choose, the more our dreams can activate and the more we can support how we wish to live and the world we wish to live in.
I choose to be conscious. Period.
The other day, my husband and I were in line at Starbucks. He noticed an ad for the new Mobile Order & Pay, which allows customers to order from their phone and have their drink waiting when they arrive. No Time, No Line, as the Starbucks ad says. He asked if I had tried the app. I flashed to my 6 a.m. Monday wait in the store. A series of bizarre events had occurred that had me and another customer exchanging giggles and conversation. I became filled with the palpable exhale of the peace that I afford myself in a line, of time to be—in my thoughts, in my senses, in my self, in my community. Nope, I did not have the app. I’m not looking to make my world faster but to savor the moments when I can slow down and be still, aware, saturating in the moment.
It’s interesting; once I chose to be conscious, I no longer could hide, feign ignorance or tell half-truths. This summer, friends celebrated my nuptials with a beautiful luncheon. I woke that morning stuffed and with a sore throat and achy head. My first thought was, “Really, I’m sick?” My second thought was from my aware self who reminded me that I don’t like being the center of attention and that I’ve used my sick in the past to get out of such situations. I thanked my sick for its help and assured it that I was greatly anticipating the impending love fest. Five minutes into the luncheon, my symptoms disappeared.
I have witnessed clients and family members break bones and suffer serious physical pain as an unconscious way to deal with life choices instead of expressing their truth. I’ve seen the self try to wake up his/her person through accidents, heart attack and other serious illness. I know it sounds far-fetched, but ask yourself next time you are injured or sick, “Does this ______ serve me in any way?” or “Am I trying to tell myself something (such as TAKE A BREAK!)?” If you have even the inkling of truth that you are served, ask your self more questions, discover your truth and take charge of your life from a place of health and conscious intention instead of illness and chosen ignorance.
Consciousness requires awareness. And two of our greatest tools for having awareness are tuning in to our sensory system and asking questions (not questioning). So, here are a few inquiries to get you started:
• How do I feel? Ask this all the time about everything, including your answers to your questions. Do only that which is nurturing for and caring of you.
• Do I give myself enough rest?
• Do I eat foods that support my health and eliminate those that are harmful?
• Do I create opportunities for physical movement that give me pleasure and are easy on my joints?
• Do I find time for stillness, often?
• Do I like my self and my choices? If not, am I willing now to cultivate a better relationship with me and choose differently?
• Have I curated a team with whom to collaborate when health questions arise (medical and/or holistic practitioners, nutritionists, acupuncturists, therapists, etc.)?
• How do I feel about diagnoses, medications, protocols, etc., that I am receiving? Do I need more information and perspectives?
I think you catch my drift.
Be, to your own self consciously true. Happy thriving.
Kathleen Aharoni is a movement and life coach, speaker, workshop leader and author of the book I breathe my own breath!, illustrated by Ann Boyd. She has served on the faculties of Northwestern University and Columbia College, Chicago. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.