God is the madwoman in the attic.
I'm camped out on the threshold with my journal, camera, and plenty of snacks.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

raising a spiritually conscious child

I'm perpetually wondering about and wrestling with 
how to share the spiritual aspects of life with Little N.

no peeking...
We've tried a couple different churches, which he loathed and resisted, and even dharma school, which was a hit this summer, faded away as Little N started enjoying Sunday mornings at his dad's place.  How do I want and choose to tend my son's spirituality?  In the absence of a worship community, who can help me?

Growing up as an Evangelical Christian, my family did a lot to develop my Christian consciousness.  In addition to Sunday worship at church, there was attendance at a Christian elementary school for some years, weekly Pioneer Girls (think Christian Girl Scouts), and nightly Bible stories, prayer, and praise songs before bed.  As a teen, Pioneer Girls was replaced with Bible Study and Youth Group.  But always there was some group activity and relationships participating in my development.

As an adult, I've largely stepped away from Evangelical Christianity and adopted a more spiritual-but-not-religious approach to my faith, with pagan leanings.  This is rich and meaningful to me, but leaves me at a loss, I feel, for how to share a vibrant, lived spirituality with my son.  With no community with whom to share this good work, I'm seeking alternatives on my own.  To that end, I've ordered the following three books, in hopes for some cues and clues along the way:

I first saw Peaceful Piggy Meditation in a therapist's waiting room and wanted to steal it!  (I didn't.)  It offered such a simple clear way to start meditating with this totally non-threatening little pig.  Piggy makes it look easy, do-able even.  I've thought of the book several times since then and finally decided to purchase my own copy to share with Little N.

Sitting Still Like a Frog came up to view as I searched for the Piggy.  Written to parents, I'm optimistic that it can be one of my guides in teaching Little N mindfulness, that I hope will help him to manage and process the big emotions that seem to come with Autism.  Also, I need help with mindfulness.

Finally, The Earth Child's Handbook speaks to my pagan interests.  It offers crafts, recipes, coloring pages, inspiration and information that I can share with Little N about respecting and dwelling in the in the natural world.  I don't expect that everything in this book will speak to me, but I think it will give us enough material to play with spirit together.

A note on Christianity: I feel like I'm recovering from years in Evangelical Christian culture.  But that is not the same thing, to me, as the person, life, and message of the Christ.  In my spirituality there is plenty of room for meditation, mindfulness, and even pagan awareness in concert with Christ.  So while I (try to) remain open to Christianity, the packaging tends to turn me away from it, and makes it hard for me to find open, vibrant, true ways to share Christ with my son.  I will say, that Mima sent Little N a Christian book about kindness and he loves it.  We read it most nights.  It's offered us an excellent place to start.

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