Is Your Love Bucket Almost Empty?

Conscious living means taking better care of ourselves, so we can take better care of our families, our communities and the world.  

Father hugs bwI remember the days when I counted myself lucky to have an unplanned hour to myself.

It would feel rather strange.  

If both of my sons were out at the same time, if the laundry and my writing were done for the day...  

What to do with myself?  

Honestly, it would take me more than a couple moments to think of something to do, all by my lonesome. I might take a long walk, listen to some music, soak in the tub. I would call my mother or one of my sisters for a chat.

It was lovely, but it felt vaguely wrong. I would nervously check my To-Do list, certain that I was missing something important. Surely my children, or my family, or the school, or someone was waiting with bated breath for me to deliver... something.

Like many of us, I had been programmed to stay busy. To be productive. To live my life for others.

To sacrifice.

Wow. That sounds just a little bit crazy.

Now that we're older, my friends and I tell each other a different story: That life is a journey. There are peaks and valleys. Activity and rest. We time and me time.

Yes, we cherish our relationships with family and loved ones. Yes, we want to make a positive difference in the world. Yes, we want to give all that we have to our children.

But we cannot possibly hope to take care of the needs of our children -- or our planet -- if we are a walking mass of unmet needs ourselves.  

We cannot fill our child’s love bucket if our own is empty.

The more I pay attention, the more I understand that most negative behaviors – the things that people do that really push our buttons – are actually an expression of unmet needs for connection.  

Are you connected to your child? (Or spouse, or siblings, or parents?) Is your child connected to you?? 

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3 Great Ways to Be Nice to Your Neck

Self-care will always be an important part of your conscious parenting toolkit. Here are some of the ways that I keep myself healthy, so that I have what I need to raise healthy kids.

I love my children, really I do. Being a parent is the absolute, most wondrous thing that I have ever experienced. Still... every now and then... my little darlings can be a real pain in the neck.

And I'm not speaking figuratively. Adolescence has blown right past the "terrible two's" when it comes to cringe-inducing, brain-frying, jaw-clenching behavior. Some days I can actually feel the muscles in my neck tightening up. Then my right eye starts to twitch. Soon, my head is pounding.

Just another day of parenting pre-teens.

Of course, I can't blame it all on my kids. There is also my laptop, which I spend too many hours hunched over, typing away my life stories (or compulsively playing Freecell.) And then there are those forty-pound bags of salt, which I need to purchase and carry regularly to feed the voracious appetite of the water softening system in our basement.

There is much in life to strain, tighten and generally abuse our poor neck muscles. Fortunately, with a little extra attention, we can give them the care they need to stay strong and healthy. Here are three great ways to be nice to your neck:

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