Awareness, Presence and Connection - the Basics of AwP

I had a joyful Skype consultation with an Aware Parenting couple last night.  Their baby had developed a control pattern, and they wanted to understand more about what was going on for them as a family, and what they could do to help things shift.  I found our talk together so beautiful because we focussed on what I believe to be the core aspects of Aware Parenting, which are awareness, presence, and connection.  

It can be so easy with any paradigm, including Aware Parenting, to focus on the theory and the techniques.  As we learn and grow, the practice of Aware Parenting becomes more about our being, and less about our doing.  

Last night we talked about slowing down; slowing down and bringing more presence to those places where our baby or child gives us clues about what is going on for her.  Slowing down in the way we respond to her when she is in a control pattern, slowing down with our child when she is agitated, or crying, or wanting to tell us something.  

The slowing down doesn’t mean going to her more slowly; since of course we want to respond to our baby or child promptly.  The slowness is more an inner slowness; where we click into a kind of timelessness where we are aware of ourselves, of our baby or child, and of the relationship space between us.  We might be particularly aware of looking into her eyes, or touching her and sensing right into her body, or sinking into a space where we are curious about what is going on for her.  This slowness is the kind where we are open and responsive, rather than acting in time-worn and familiar ways.  

We will all have our own different practices and development in increasing our presence and ability to respond rather than react.  There are many roads to Rome, and to that sense of inner slowness.

For me, participating in Field theory (www.fieldproject.net) over the past six years has given me many gifts in this way.  There is a presence, an inner calm, an expansiveness, and a joyfulness that have become my home.  

My children are now nine and five, and I’ve been practising Aware Parenting since my daughter was three months old, so I’ve witnessed my own development with Aware Parenting over those nine years.  For me, Aware Parenting is now about the quality I bring to my daily life, and thus to being with my children.  

Nowadays Aware Parenting for me is much less about theory and technique, and much more about that internal slowness and wonder.  About those many timeless moments in my day where I hold my daughter’s hand, or touch my son’s back, or look into their eyes whilst they tell me something, and feel the abundance of love and gratitude for having them in my life.

I wonder what brings more wonder into your life; what gives you that internal slowness, what helps you connect to the timeless connection with yourself and your child?   And whether you are willing to give those gifts to yourself and your children?

Edited July 2011