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Integration Works!

These uncertain times, where many are woefully out of balance or lack trust, call for a serious push towards integration. Last year was certainly chockfull of events and trials that shook many to the core. We were boldly reminded that no matter how hard we try to maintain balance, life is stirringly unpredictable. Managing to break free from the cyclical news and negative discourse, I chose to integrate.

Experiences, both enjoyable and exasperating, present themselves in our lives in order to teach and help us grow. At times these manifestations can feel more like chaos and destruction rather than helpful life lessons. So, how do individuals lead boldly content lives when they know that future experiences may likely jolt them into a muddled state of being? People who unwrap themselves from layers of childhood encumbrances and biased fabrications as they tap into their own inner guidance have an easier way in handling with whatever occurs outside of them.

Integrating a personal understanding with external happenings helps to eliminate obstructions and begins a practice of authenticity and ease. This route of self-improvement requires a level of development that comes from reaching deep within in order to access one’s best attributes. It doesn’t have to been in the form of a bold new beginning or unattainable list of resolutions. A simple awareness and activation of deliberate, feel-good shifts that represent an inner knowingness and graciousness to what exists leads the way to true freedom.

In my parenting work I speak of six principles that help children succeed. They are based on the premise of individuals needing to first be rooted in their best selves in order to feel supported enough to thrive no matter the circumstances. The same ideology rings true for adults. As we mature, our roots are our responsibilities, and our wings are our privileges. An individual who is anchored in a rock solid foundation is able to grasp opportunities and succeed at their own pace. More importantly, they are not rocked to the core by the tides of the collective. This is where the deeper you go the higher you reach takes effect.

Individuals who cling onto an intense desire to continually create a “balanced” life actually promote instability. It’s not about standing upright without wavering, but rather assimilating conditions and personal hopes within every opportunity to your benefit. Rooting is the foundation of personal progress and necessary for those who strive to reach genuine fulfillment. A state of centeredness and clarity is the way in which folks are able to make better decisions and steadily manifest their potential. When one engages in a personal investment for change, that individual inspires creativity, opportunities, and positive circumstances. This construction of consciousness provides individuals with the greatest propensity for personal growth.

Success happens when individuals unwrap themselves, integrate their true selves into everyday experiences, and remain in alignment with that which is their essence. Regardless of what the media presents, external systems, material possessions, and political leaders do not have the power to fix individual lives. Tragic events, negative people, or political dramas are not able to uproot you once this foundation is established. Life success doesn’t happen from top–down but, rather within each person’s own life. Engagement in a personal practice of healing unconstructive patterns along with an introduction of fresh, unencumbered, limitless confidence, even when the external world seems chaotic, makes all the difference when living in true integration. Constructing a personal mindset and life that is formed with substance and love will not break you no matter the circumstances. In essence, integration and engagement evoke genuine happiness and stability.

6 Things All Happy Moms Do

I often get asked how I can be so happy (and sane) while raising five children in today’s world. The answer lies somewhere between surrendering my old ways of trying to over-manage everyone in my family and, the recognition that the onlyperson who can make me happy is… me. This awareness integrates setting an intention to lessen stress in order to make my life easier and insisting on enjoying the adventures of parenthood. I have spent the majority of my life engaged in a curiosity of family dynamics and their outcomes. I am struck by mothers who seem to be happy regardless of the state of the world around them or stage of child rearing they are in. These observations have taught me essential ideas that, when implemented regularly, make raising children easier and this mama much happier.

1. Use intuition. Regardless of what’s happening in the outside world, blasted on the daily news, shared by grandparents and other parents, using your intuition helps guide you in making the best decisions for your family. It naturally boosts confidence the more you use it and teaches your child to listen to their own inner voice. No one can navigate your individual circumstances better than you and, that results in happier outcomes.

2. Say “yes” more than you say “no.” Are you saying “yes” or “no” because it makes you feel better or is it the best choice with the circumstances at hand? Moms who take the time to pause before responding to their children’s questions or requests allow both sides the necessary space to process their thoughts in reasonable ways. This builds a mutual respect, reduces conflict and helps children grow to be more responsible, and independent thinkers.

3. Trust more, fear less. There is much instability in the world that often causes parents to use fear-based approaches in order to “protect” their children. Having faith in your child rather than the situation at hand organically arms them with confidence. Children raised in trusting environments make better decisions for themselves and have healthier experiences. Naturally, dynamics within the family are less stressed and individuals are happier.

4. Tap into each child’s individual interests. Have you ever seen a family where ALL the children play a certain sport or instrument? Is it possible that all the children prefer the same activity? Rarely. Children, especially siblings, are very different souls with unique talents. Parents who honor individuality grant them the autonomy to seek and experience their own interests. Children need space and time to explore their personal talents which organically helps them build better self-esteem and reach their individual potential.

5. Appreciate the diverse relationships they make. Even at times when an interaction feels less than desirable, at the end of the day, it’s really good for children to experience different types of relationships. The way in which other people interact with them helps shape their understanding of human connections and the world we live in. Interacting with individuals who have different ideas and approaches broadens a child’s perspective and teaches them important life lessons.

6. Just relax. Worrying wastes time and energy. Above all, it doesn’t change any outcome. Whether you’re going on a family vacation or making a trip to the emergency room, freaking out is something the whole situation (and those involved) will do better without. There are a lot of bumps and bruises throughout the parenting journey and mothers who make a concerted effort to stay cool and calm undoubtedly remain happier… and probably have less gray hair.

4 Developments That Drive Success

Did you ever notice a child who runs faster than his peers in every activity? How about the three-year old who spells incessantly? These examples provide a glimpse of two easily recognizable developments in children. Both of them are essential to a child’s advancement. However, intellectual and physical developments aren’t the only areas parents should focus on as their children grow. There are two more maturations vital to the expansion and deepening of individual life experiences. Those who are conscious of the different developments, and are able to provide appropriate guidance absent of fear, significantly impact a child’s overall primary developmental success.

In order for children to mature properly and reach their potential parents must remain accepting and supportive regardless of the varying progress exhibited. No two children develop at the same time, rate, or manner. They mature and proceed at various stages and paces within the different areas of development throughout childhood. If the goal is to raise smart, caring, successful, responsible people then, parents must be aware of how their children are developing without forcing unnatural advancements. How well a child develops is based on if they are able to tap into their innate curiosities and abilities as they grow, learn, and gain confidence. This emerges whenever a child has people around them who remain open-minded and supportive regardless of what is happening with their peers or in the global world.

The areas of development that are most prominent in childhood are intellectual and physical. And, even though intellectual development is one that most people hold in high regard, to focus solely on intellect is detrimental to an individual’s evolution. Physical development is another area often scrutinized during a child’s early years. Intellectual and physical developments have a strong correlation to one another that helps children acquire greater life experiences then when considered independent of one another. When intellectual and physical developments are supported collectively, along with the latter two, individuals yield the healthiest progress.

Emotional development is just as significant as the previous ones and, requires equal attention. Thankfully, the importance of emotional intelligence has been recognized in recent decades both in school and the work force. A person’s skillfulness in navigating life with the ability to express themself properly and recognize people’s emotions has proven advantageous. A collaboration of the three areas of development: intellectual, physical, and emotional, creates a strong platform that yields great potential. However, there’s a fourth area of development that is commonly ignored in childhood and often tapped into later in life by people who want to expand their understanding.

The fourth development, which is spiritual, is essential in generating the best possible outcomes and true fulfillment. This concept is critical in helping individuals navigate life as well as spark an understanding of self-motivation and purpose. Spiritual insight is the balm that helps unite intellectual advancement, physical maturity, and emotional awareness thus, propelling individuals to flourish in their developmental progress.

A child’s overall development is a direct response to the environment in which they live. It’s the evolution and synchronization of all four developments that creates meaningful connections and greater chances for success. Children have an innate ability to move fluidly throughout their development when their upbringings do not stifle them. Parents need to remain open as they provide children a variety of opportunities that help encourage their individual paths. Children who have that support and actively engage in life can reach a balance as they magnificently progress through all four areas of development, ultimately reaching their potential.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anastasia-gavalas/four-developments-that-can-drive-success_b_8198590.html

Are You a Risk to Your Child’s Success?

What is it that today’s parents really want? Let’s start with the declaration of deserving it all; to be happy, raise smart kids, find their passion, have good relationships, and be financially independent. But, more often than not parents are being caught up in a roller coaster of fear-based competitions to be the perfect parent. The alarming speed of daily life, constant chatter, and bombardment of stimulation, technology, and global turmoil exemplifies the need for parents to recognize the extreme impact today’s disconnect has on raising children. We allow ourselves to get absorbed by elevated levels of fear and distractions that result in the prevalent sacrifice of human connection. If ever there was a moment in time that called for rising above life’s chaos and instability, that moment is now. We desperately need to bring back some sense and sensibility to the parenting arena.

The recent menagerie of flawed approaches, whether tigerish or hovering, controlling or carefree, all overlook the most essential aspects of parenting – consciousness and meaningful relationships between parent and child. Parents who have the courage to strike a balance within their lives set their kids up for success. Others will have to work hard at clearing the onslaught of busyness that influences daily life in order to reconnect and have a chance at success. This includes creating space and time to have courageous conversations. Communication needs to be fair and balanced, as do expectations. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the noise and distraction of modern-day life, we as parents have the opportunity to choose between bringing clarity or adding noise to life each day. When parenting practices are simple and balanced without being drenched in fear-based notions, children exceed expectations.

The current culture of the world exhibits consequences of disengaged philosophies and imbalanced practices. During these times of global unrest and uncertainty, we must return to truth and sensibility. Restoring balance begins as an internal shift and needs to be practiced every single day to foster a responsive and successful progression. Finding balance helps individuals identify their feelings, make confident choices, and remain present. Stress in the modern world will continue to accelerate; but the better we utilize the time we share with children will determine how well they grow. Remaining thoroughly modern and brilliantly balanced in parenthood is possible. There just need to be some shifts in perspectives. The hurried pace and superficial connections thrust upon us will need serious reflection and a new level of consciousness in order for families to not only to survive, but thrive.

Like never before, parents are caught up in intense self-satisfying battles of perfection displayed as the window dressing in virtual profiles. The hunger for “likes” and engagement on electronic devices trumps real-life living. Our craving for approval is now deeper than ever as technology tracks our every move, but the images often portrayed are slated. Individuals chronicle perfect parenting with forced, snapped, edited, and posted selfies, children’s accomplishments, and chef-like meals in anticipation of gaining approval. Worth is based on the amount of “likes” received on their Instagram or Facebook posts rather than what is actually happening in front of them. This fierce emergence of super-happy, camera-ready, one-sided personas, and lifestyles perpetuate more disconnect, imbalance, and an unbearable level of insecurity. This, will no doubt, produce a generation of children who lack self-esteem and continually crave outside approval. We must acknowledge this sense of urgency to incessantly be connected to the external world in order to live happily; the need to do it all, have it all, post it all, and gauge personal success by what others notice, rather than genuine experiences with the people who are right in front of us.

Modern day distractions generate experiences on a superficial level. The more connected the world has become, the more disengaged people are on a personal level. It takes courage to sever from the prolific habits that have led us to the gross disconnect currently in society. Today’s disengaged families are everywhere from ball fields to dinner tables, from urban life to the suburbs, to good old ‘reality’ TV that represents families filled with outrageous drama. Parents are bombarded with fake personas and addicted to keeping up. It is as though we’re duplicating a high school mentality of needing to be part of the crowd, but the crowd has grown and the world has shrunk with the growth of technology. We’ve forgotten the most important focus should be on real family life and not just the peripheral. That’s the central accomplishment parents need to concentrate on. Parents who live consciously, authentically, respectfully, and open-mindedly will organically ignite their children’s physiological potential.

Everyone benefits from parents being balanced. The simple effort of trying to reach balance, in the various aspects of life, helps your true self emerge and provides an opportunity to see your children for who they are. Family focused lifestyles do not warrant constant updates on our social media feed. Re-configuring these unproductive patterns will lessen stress and help parents live with more clarity and purpose. Raising a family is not meant to keep us from enjoying life, but rather to experience what really matters and, essentially accelerate personal happiness. Consider that parenting doesn’t have to be the hardest job on earth. That it can actually be fun. Parents make it hard by striving towards perfection, fearing the unpredictable, stressing out unnecessarily, and resisting what is right in front of them. They are the ones responsible for the energy they bring into the family. Those able to release the grip on perfection naturally create the desired space and energy to move passed challenges and enjoy life.

The energy expelled on pretending to have it all together deprives children and parents of the depth of relationships and true happiness. The longer today’s parents keep up this pageantry, the more they’ll get tangled up in instability and chaos. Continuing this pattern makes children more susceptible to respond to negative influences as they grow. Nourishing real-life connections and having more faith in the individual process eases the intensity of external powers and helps us live presently. Life as we know it is moving at lightening speed and children are quicker, smarter, and far more intuitive than ever before. Children have an inner sense of when parents are floundering in the chaos or striving for alignment. Balance brings clarity and the opportunity for individuals to take back their life. We often hear that parents are so busy and just need more time. With lack of time comes the incapability to be kind, patient, or flexible, all of which children need to grow and develop in a healthy way. A slowing down of the constant spinning that causes a loss in reality will help parenting. A process that is unhurried promotes more responsiveness rather than reactiveness which organically cultivates a deeper resistance from fear.

There is no such thing as perfect parenting. The good news is that it’s not about perfectionism; it’s about progression, which is something everyone can embrace. Learning from the not-so perfect moments will get parents closer to the life they imagined. Slowing down rather than trying to cover up reality or keep up with others helps individuals recognize how perfect their child is for them. That child is the one person who will split their parent wide open, force them to expand, and unmask their true self in a way that no other relationship will do. Parents who live intuitively recognize the path that’s right for them as opposed to the confusion that comes forth when they mimic someone else’s life or try to fit an image. True success lies in the letting go of the pressure to be perfect, continually striving to stay balanced, and courageously connecting more with the children you are raising. Remaining conscious of what being a parent really means and how it affects the deeper happiness we seek will allow us to create experiences that help to raise healthy, well-balanced, productive children for today’s world. It’s a balance; a buoyant blend of guiding and allowing that will propel children to not only succeed but, soar. Regardless of the diversity of our lives and experiences it remains obvious that parents simply want to be better-balanced parents.

Today’s world dictates the urgency for parents to get back in the driver’s seat and engage with their children in a collaborative, well-balanced way. They need to rise above this tide of insecurity and set proportionate examples because children learn from what they see and experience, not by what they’re told. Children who bare witness to parents constantly engrossed in their smartphones will lack self-awareness and the ability to form healthy relationships, which is really what life is all about. They will not acquire the ability to distinguish truth from fiction, balance from imbalance, simulated and real life, and whole-hearted success. When children witness parents who work to realign their physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual progress they will learn to do so themselves. They will know to look inwards instead of outside for approval and contentment, and will reach true fulfillment in doing so. Parents need to wake up and remove themselves from the intensity of reaching for forged connections. The effort to get real helps us experience authentic happiness, raise smart kids, find our passion, develop good relationships, and be independent, which ultimately launches children to success.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anastasia-gavalas/are-you-a-risk-to-your-childs-success_b_6923928.html

Two Things Modern Parents Need to Grow


”There are two lasting bequests we can give children; one is roots, the other wings.”

This Hodding Carter quote is one of my all time favorites. These words influenced my book WING IT: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent. The entire book is comprised of two parts; Root It and Wing It. This combination is what has allowed me to help thousands of parents to develop their own confident foundations of successful parenting.

I believe, now more than ever, that parents need to help their children grow a purposeful balance of two things: roots and wings. Children today are more insightful than ever, growing up during a time of limitless possibilities. Parenting in the past generally involved more rooting, focused on keeping children close and teaching them that hard work is the only way to succeed. This classic parenting style often excludes any sense of encouragement for a child’s individual preferences, differences, and potential. Techniques used with this type of child-rearing philosophy are commonly influenced by preconceived expectations and impart shame on children who diverge from generational patterns. More often than not, there has been a great deal of rooting that fails to consider the whole child for most of humanity’s existence.

In more recent times, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, where parents overcompensated for the lack of emotional support they themselves experienced in their own childhood. This resulted in a generation of children who grew up with an inflated sense of self, lack of responsibility, entitlement and little motivation. It became evident that the movement to provide a child more wings was not the solution. Thankfully, there are a growing number of parents whose perspectives have evolved. Neither of these two parenting extremes meets the needs of the child, or the parent. Those who recognize the importance of blending stability and real faith expand their influence with raising well-balanced, independent children in today’s modern world.

Providing children with opportunities to build self-confidence and a strong sense of self is what roots them. Individuals who successfully navigate parenthood construct a solid foundation. Furthermore, they recognize, support, and trust in the potential of their child and remain flexible to whatever that may mean. Roots emerge when a child experiences a secure, liberating, and empowering upbringing. Parenting done right is a process that involves trust and intuition. Modern day rooting entails understanding and connecting with children from the inside out. It’s about loving them for who they are, not for who you hope they would be. Children need to feel grounded and accomplished as they explore their unique interests and capabilities.

In order to balance this rooting, parents must also hold space for their children to grow wings. Exposing them to new opportunities and holding courageous conversations provides children the freedom to grow towards their potential. The practice of allowing children to make decisions at an early age teaches them to be independent thinkers and trust their inner wisdom. It will allow them to slowly develop their wings so, as they grow, they’ll know when it’s time to fly. Children need consistent guidance from their parents, teachers, families, and communities to form brilliant foundations and to feel safe enough to branch out, spread their wings, and discover their greatness.

If unconditional love influences the way you parent, then you will have an easier time parenting and form a better relationship with your child. The parenting process is the gift. It’s not about the outcome or what it looks like to outsiders. Contemporary parents who support diverse perspectives and the absence of limiting beliefs organically promote confidence necessary for children to grow healthy roots and wings. Loving your child for who they are while proving a nurturing environment will help them develop into their best selves. Be sure to plant your child’s feet deep in the soil of consciousness so that they ascend with gumption and ambition to be everything they were born to be.

A Game-Changer for Parents

In my latest video I share the one secret game-changing idea that will transform how you parent and enhance the relationship you have with your child. This simple idea knocks out all the frustrations I consistently hear about from parents who say their kids don’t share their feelings or talk to them enough. It’s an easy way in which parents get more input from their children with a lot less stress.

Watch Video

As you can see from the video, asking inspired questions and carefully crafting follow-up questions is key to dynamic communication. Parents need to be intuitive with their approaches while raising children and, as they stay flexible, build trusting, loving connections. The parent-child relationship is unique and requires a conscious exchange of understanding and guidance. Parents who interact using intuition as they remain adaptable gain the most traction and, often have an accurate pulse on how well their child navigates life.

You may be wondering what the intention behind asking inspired questions is. This type of inquiry elicits reflection and stirs up really juicy exchanges that point in a very different direction from predictable yes/no questions. This style of interaction respectfully opens up the lines of communication in order to build a foundation of love and trust. It’s an excellent practice that allows your child to feel heard and understood for his or her unique ideas. When threaded regularly into daily interactions, inspired questions propel children into independent, confident people and provide parents great insight.

So, what do inspired questions actually sound like? Instead of the “How was your day?” question, inspired questions are open-ended and often examine relevant subjects or current issues. An example is, “What are your thoughts about all students having to attend the meeting tomorrow?” This question opens up the dialogue in a thought-provoking, non-leading manner. Following these types of questions children need ample time to think about their opinions. This helps them sort through their beliefs and deliver authentic responses as well as bring forth the opportunity for a deeper exchange of ideas.

If we tell children how to feel rather than allowing them the space to figure things out for themselves they’ll never learn how to think for themselves. The purpose of inspired questions is to consciously guide them in thinking, feeling, and experimenting with their own ideas and solutions. By providing children expansive room for them to reflect and process thoughts, they will eventually learn how to listen to their own inner knowing and ultimately be steered in the right direction.

It’s never too late to start asking inspired questions. Timing is everything. So, start by figuring out the best time to begin. It’s so much easier to get to know what your child is thinking and how they process their experiences when they are willing to talk rather than dragging it out of them, word for word. Take advantage of the moments of opportunity when they’re ready to share. This may not come at the most convenient times for you in the beginning and, that’s okay. Once you build trust and openness, your child will feel more comfortable in speaking with you most any time.

The idea of asking inspired questions and follow-ups takes a bit more planning and consideration at first. Take notice of the rhythm of their expressiveness. It may be right before they go to bed or in the car. Be less concerned with “teaching” them and more focused on listening. That which they share and believe must be acknowledged and respected. Children who feel as though they are being misunderstood or judged will shut down and be less likely to voice their individual opinions. More often than not, if a child is given the proper time and space they tend to figure out what is best for their own situations at hand.

In my experience both as a teacher and parent, this approach is a game-changer. It is a beautiful exploratory practice that helps parents end the frustration of one-word responses, which lack substance, and guides individuals toward developing more intimate connections with others. Children who have adults around them who ask inspired questions develop a better sense of self and are able to recognize themselves as independent thinkers. These interactions lead them through life and help them learn how to make decisions for themselves. The best questions teach children to think for themselves and help them process their own ideas, ultimately enhancing the experiences and relationships they form throughout their lives.

In my experience both as a teacher and parent, this approach is a game-changer. It is a beautiful exploratory practice that helps parents end the frustration of one-word responses, which lack substance, and guides individuals toward developing more intimate connections with others. Children who have adults around them who ask inspired questions develop a better sense of self and are able to recognize themselves as independent thinkers. These interactions lead them through life and help them learn how to make decisions for themselves. The best questions teach children to think for themselves and help them process their own ideas, ultimately enhancing the experiences and relationships they form throughout their lives.