I have been asked so many great questions about the book, My Forgotten Self especially as it relates to children, parenting and spirituality. I compiled the questions in this interview which is divided into three areas:
1. The book
2. Spiritual Insights
3. Parenting Wisdom
I use the word “parent” throughout the article. This is purely for efficiency. I am also writing to those who have an invaluable daily impact on children such as teachers, family friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. Enjoy and let me know if you have more questions!
Looking back, I believe the story's seeds were planted in my childhood. Growing up, I was blessed; strong women and men surrounded me; however, I also struggled into early adulthood, with a deep sense of insecurity and inadequacy. I attempted to fill the gap with education, but the abyss remained. Eventually, I returned to my childhood faith and began reading, meditating and asking deep questions. Over time, I received what I felt were divinely inspired responses. The God that once sat on a cloud now felt a lot closer and kinder than I was raised to believe. The gap within me began to fill.
When my son was born, I felt a deep desire to expose him to the insight I’d developed but I did not know how, so I prayed. I believe, My Forgotten Self was an answer to that prayer.
There is also a shortage of children’s books containing culturally diverse imagery. In the real world, everyone is not the same color, age, or gender, and we all possess different strengths and abilities. In My Forgotten Self, a lot of care has been taken to reflect these differences throughout the illustrations drawn by Michele Phillips.
As my children grow, I believe my purpose is to nurture and empower the spiritual essence that already exists within them. Based upon this belief, I want to reach parents who are open to exploring creative ways to enliven that essence. Though we often believe children are too young to understand spiritual concepts, I hope this book offers parents a new creative approach through which they can reconsider that belief. Additionally, I want to reach children, and the inner children of adults, whose unique thoughts and dreams may have been discouraged or minimized.
My prayer is that this book will enable children and adults to remember that they are powerful, spiritual beings whose ideas and passions can carry them farther than they ever believed. Remembering this, I hope they are inspired to continue to explore their dreams with a strong sense of excitement and purpose.
I believe we have a presence within and around us that fills us with wisdom, power, and guidance; some refer to it as God, Spirit, Universe, intuition etc. The messages in My Forgotten Self, are universal in that they touch on everyone’s ability to access this source of love and power.
In My Forgotten Self, Tiev feels discouraged after hearing her protective family members give doubt-filled reasons why she should not seek her dreams. As a psychologist, parents ask me to “fix” their children. Parents then feel confused when I ask about their core beliefs; how parenting was modeled for them growing up; or old wounds that were poked within them during difficult interactions with their children. They do not always understand how their doubts and fears impact their relationship with their children.
Parenting is not easy, but when we become aware of how our beliefs, assumptions and history impact our daily interactions with our children, we deliver more creative responses that are less reactive and more intentional. This is, in part, my reason for blogging so much about healing, self-awareness, and spiritual growth. By focusing on these three areas, instead of dominating relationships with the children in our lives, we can co-create a connection and even learn from them.
We struggle to teach our children to live fully and authentically because we limit our dreams to the four walls of a tiny mental box.
We struggle to speak about self-compassion with mouths sore from self-inflicted emotional wounds.
We struggle to pass on our wisdom when we feel spiritually or emotionally blocked.
We struggle to model how to shoot for the stars when our eyes cannot see past the lids which fearfully cover them.
In short, as much as we may want to, it can be difficult to give what we do not feel we possess or believe.
The greatest gift we can give to our children is a clear and present head, heart and mind.
Trust me, I KNOW it's hard to turn off the mental to-do list, but try your best to be in the moment with your children. Focus on what they do and say; and focus on the emotions, thoughts and memories that come up for you in response. Do not judge or analyze yourself, this is just an opportunity to be curious and notice who you become, mentally and emotionally, when you are with them.
For the sake of all of our relationships, healing wounds and becoming consciously aware of how we view ourselves, others and the world will help us to reach clarity and be more present with those we love.