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First Book: SOUL TO SOUL PARENTING: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family
—A guidebook for parents who want to infuse greater spiritual awareness into everyday life, inspiring deeper meaning and connections within their family—
The 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award in the Family/Parenting Category, the 2011 Next Generation Indie Gold Book Award in the Spirituality Category, and a 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist in the Parenting Category
Parents yearning for ways to inspire deeper meaning in their family’s busy lives will find a wealth of insight and user-friendly suggestions in the new book, Soul to Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, June 2010).
It’s both a guidebook filled with a wide-ranging “toolbox” of ideas and activities and a remarkable chronicle of one family’s spiritual journey. The author, Annie Burnside, M.Ed.—teacher, wife, mother of three, and professional soul nurturer—is a modern mom who utilizes everyday life experiences including mealtimes, books, movies, art, friendships, time in the car, and family outings to open perspectives and nourish souls, infusing a heightened spiritual awareness into their lives.
Today’s parents are searching for more inclusive, less polarizing ways to evolve with their children. Soul to Soul Parenting can be a key part of that journey, exploring how to forge deeper, more intimate communication within the family in the face of a fast-paced world. The book encourages parents from every demographic and religious base to become active participants in their children’s awakening as conscious global citizens.
Adapting principles learned from her journey of self-discovery, her family, and her professional experience providing spiritual insight and support, Annie empowers parents to live soul to soul with their children, not just side by side, offering inspiring prescriptive tools, applications, and ready-to-use ideas along the way.
Annie shares a spectrum of 22 methods for integrating spirituality into daily family life, encompassing a range of techniques—such as visual cues, the intuitive-gratitude journal, family discussions, the spirit mobile, exploring music, utilizing nature, cranking up the joy, and showing your spirit—as well as fifteen universal themes such as connectedness and boundaries, presence and openness, truth and perception, authenticity and joy.
A key message for parents, Annie says, is that once a divine perspective is ignited within, we can feel more intimately connected to the eternal source, cultivating personal truth, authentic relationships, and enhanced life experiences. Effectively conveying this nondenominational, conscious spirituality to children will enable them to experience what the author calls direct divine connection, a sense of infinite possibility, and greater inner awareness.
In her nurturing and affirming voice, Annie notes that the spiritually conscious family is definitely not a perfect family, but rather one that is fully aware of each individual’s capacity to shape their reality. Conscious parenting, she says, requires paying more attention to bringing your children to a deeper understanding of such powerful concepts as self-love, unique potential, free will, compassion, and gratitude, through a variety of simple, daily means.
Recognizing that these subjects are distinctly personal within each family, Soul to Soul Parenting encourages all parents as the experts of their own families to tailor their efforts and trust themselves to teach their children universal spiritual principles.
Second Book: FROM ROLE to SOUL: 15 Shifts on the Awakening Journey
Awakening is a commonly talked about phenomenon today. Yet the deep sense of fulfillment that’s supposed to accompany this experience seems to elude the vast majority who claim to have awakened, as it does those who long to awaken and spend years seeking the experience.
To be a “seeker” is seen as a kind of badge of honor for anyone who thinks of themselves as on a spiritual path of awakening. So much so that it often becomes an identity to which we cling for years to come, if not decades.
“Seeker” is then just another role we take on—added to all the burdensome roles we already perform. But shouldn’t seeking lead to finding, instead of becoming another role?
After twenty years of seeking, I did find—whereupon I dropped the role of seeker, and all need for “paths” to get me there. It turns out I needn’t have sought all those years after all!
You see, I discovered that what I longed for lay right under my nose. That’s because what I was searching for all those years was simply my own dear self.
I learned that awakening isn’t some ethereal or metaphysical experience that either has to be sought long and hard, until it zaps a person and changes their life forever. Rather, it’s the simple realization that to be human is to be soul in embodied form.
Which means there’s ultimately nothing broken to fix, nothing wounded to heal, nothing damaged to be repaired—just our essential self to come alive in everyday reality so it can be explored and enjoyed.
It turns out that awakening isn’t something difficult to achieve at all. It’s not even something we “achieve.” Instead, when we give up all our “efforting,” life has an amazing way of showing us that we’re just fine as we are, and all our apologizing for ourselves—both to ourselves and to others—is our only problem.
As we begin to embrace ourselves just as we are, no longer trying to change ourselves, we’re surprised to find that it’s with such total self-acceptance that real personal development gets underway. Gateways now open for us that invite us to discover what we haven’t recognized about ourselves. We then begin expressing whole new dimensions of ourselves.
With this emerging self-awareness comes greater awareness of others. Appreciation for who they are as individuals, coupled with a realization of our total oneness at the deeper levels of our being, changes both how we see them and how we engage with them. Judgment largely dissipates as we realize that each person’s experience is valid exactly as it is.
Secure in ourselves, we are no longer intimidated by others, no longer require their validation, no longer need them to reciprocate. Coming from soul as the essence of our being, we become self-validating.
Even though we no longer feel a need to please others in order to be liked, paradoxically our life becomes one that does please others as our capacity for authentic service increases.
From my work with many who have awakened, I’ve learned that what it takes for us to finally quit trying to awaken, and simply awaken, is highly individualized. In my own life, I can detect 15 shifts that occurred within me. Yet, as I talk with others, it becomes increasingly apparent that those shifts are pretty much common to the experience of awakening.
From Role to Soul
, I take you into the everyday nitty-gritty of what awakening is—what it looks like, what it feels like, and how it comes about. As you experience the shifts in your own life, you’ll find a new joy arising in you, a deep love of life flooding through you, and the kind of meaning and fulfillment for which you’ve always longed.
©2014 Annie Burnside, M.Ed.
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