By Amanda Dobby
My little family has recently faced some very major struggles.
I began to get very desperate over the last three years, and I unknowingly focused all of my attention on what I later realized, were all of the wrong things. Starting at the age of four, my son was diagnosed with a slew of medical and mental health conditions, including an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety and ADHD.
The majority of his symptoms were present prior to this age, however doctors originally brushed off my concerns about things such as him banging his head repeatedly when upset and frustrated, and having major meltdowns over everything including the fact his shoes, socks and clothes didn’t fit or feel right. The behaviors and challenges associated with this became very overwhelming for me to handle as a single mother of two children, who also happens to struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as dealing with a few other health issues—such as fibromyalgia.
Life became a dizzying juggling act of doctors appointments, counseling, assessments, paperwork, meetings, suspension after suspension and teary night after teary night spent alone desperately trying to find answers,while viciously blaming myself. I did also try blaming every single person and system that I was dealing with, but that did not seem to get me any farther than blaming myself.
Nothing and no one was working fast enough, and I absolutely did not want to use medication to treat him. Over the last year I had begun to realize that many of the prescriptions I was taking and had been prescribed over the years, were actually making me into an emotionally and spiritually numb zombie. This was about the last thing I wanted for my son.
All the support service wait lists were a mile long, and I was finding as we slowly started getting access to some, they were not the magical solutions I had thought and hoped they would be. On top of it all I was still unable to work or attend school myself because of the tumultuous situations James was having at school, and all of the appointments and requirements upon my time.
Money became nonexistent, and this added another major stressor to the mess for me to handle as the sole captain of this ship. A ship that seemed to be precariously teetering on the tippy tops of raging waves, in a stormy sea of grief and misery.
I began getting angrier, more resentful and fearful, and more desperate than ever.
My youngest, McKinley, was starting to mirror many of the negative behaviors that my son, James would engage in, and it made the entire problem even more difficult and heartbreaking for me. A piece of me was starting to nag, whisper and wonder if my daughter would also be afflicted with these same mental health illnesses; maybe it wasn’t just that she was imitating him.
Finally I started to walk down a brighter path that eventually led me to what I will call my ‘Spiritual Awakening.’
To me this simply describes the journey, and a special point in time where I came to the realization that there was—and is—definitely more to the world than what I and the rest of the world was seeing. I would also like to say that this is a journey that is always changing, growing and flowing as time goes by, and by no means is it without it’s challenges, pain and sorrow.
I do not want to make it seem as though walking a spiritual path is that of all sunshine and roses. However the idea that there is a little something divine and loving seems to be helping ease these times, and is also helping me to accept these feelings when they hit, and bring me out of their darkness that much quicker.
There are empaths, there are clairvoyants, seers, weavers, dreamers, believers and hidden achievers and leaders; and there are beautiful and loving things that are influencing the events that happen to you and me. I finally came to a spiritual understanding that felt right to me: in life, there are no mistakes. Everything, and everyone that happens upon your life is intended to be a blessing, a gift and a lesson.
When I adopted this mindset, everything in my life finally began transforming in the ways I had been long dreaming they would.
I started to look at my son as an opportunity for me to open up my eyes, heart and spirit to the possibility of more—more love, more hope, more faith, more help and more support. I started looking at the events of my life and they started to show me that there were some serious things lacking inside of me that were showing themselves in my children and their learned and mirrored behaviors, including my lack of spiritual connection and understanding of unity and oneness.
I accepted this, and began to get to work looking and focusing, not on and for all the things I couldn’t change and didn’t like, but on and for all the things I could, and did have easy access to as it already exists readily provided by and within Mother Nature. I began to look, not where the world told me I should look, but where my heart, my intuition and eventually my spirit told me I should look.
I decided I would not accept all these answers that my heart was unhappy with, and that I would search for answers that made my family whole, healthy and happy. I decided to go with what worked for us, instead of trying to force three the of us to go along with all the things the world said we needed to do and be in order to achieve the seemingly ever evasive ‘happy.’
I started being drawn and led to research things like crystals, flower essences and fragrance oils. I began experimenting with different ways that I could utilize these with myself and my children; in addition to ways I could incorporate them into our home for feng shui purposes to better promote peace and tranquility.
Things now finally seem to be weaving themselves back together beautifully.
Many new routines and practices have slowly made their way into our lives. One of my favorites is called going outside. We talk about our dreams and nature, and ask and answer each other’s questions. We are practicing being present and in the moment, and aware of how each other are feeling and thinking, and what is going on around us with the beauty of nature. I try to inspire conversations that lead them to make connections between themselves and their own emotions and nature. I want them to relate with something that is natural, beautiful, loving, assertive and giving all at the same time; instead of attempting to relate to a very cold and sometimes angry and hateful society and culture.
Supper gets eaten, and then—weather permitting—we escape to roam with the trees, the faeries and the angels for a while, enjoy dessert with them (the kids have even done tea parties). I let them take turns leading the way, and allow them to explore the areas around the path, if they happen to be drawn away by something. It almost always turns out to be a fascinating place or thing; whether it’s a little hidden oasis with cool rocks where we can sit, dance and eat, or a neat flower that McKinley has decided to admire and stop to smell.
On one of our recent walks, James had many questions about the Gods and Goddesses, Mother Earth and the Creator, and how that all works. He seemed to have a lot of information to give back to me as we talked. The goddesses apparently love being around the water, he told me. I told him I could really see that since water is emotionally healing, and many of the goddesses are nurturers. He agreed with me and then moved on to his next question.
My personal conclusion in all of this is that all children intuitively know there is more than we see; and when the world starts to tell them these things don’t exist, it can potentially take away what was previously a source of support and comfort for them. In some extremely sensitive cases and children (otherwise known as star, crystal and indigo children), I have come to suspect this can cause great anxiety in many circumstances. My suspicions were supported when I recently picked up a copy of The Spiritual Child, by Lisa Miller (Ph.D.)
If you think about it from an analytical standpoint; we fill our children’s heads with stories of things they don’t see, and it is all now based on materialistic possessions such as presents, chocolate and money. Santa brings you presents, the Easter Bunny brings you chocolate and goodies, the Tooth Fairy brings you money; and in almost all cases as parents we turn to these as supports when we are trying to discipline and gain the upper hand in disagreements and power struggles.
These things they dream about are not things that provide them with long term support, especially if we use them when disciplining, or for incentive for good or better behavior. In fact eventually they come to see that none of it was even real at all. I’m starting to wonder what the long term implications of some of these ‘silly little’ things we do and pay no mind or attention to, as it has become ingrained into all of us and our livesalmost systematically by society.
What of we could give our children something more to support their feelings of love and unity? Would you take the plunge?
What if we could better prepare them from the beginning and avoid struggles with issues such as anxiety and depression? Would you decide to start dreaming and learning so you could nurture them, and maybe and more importantly, nurture yourself and your inner child in the process?
If we were to remind these precious and compassionate little spirits that they are never alone—even when they think they are alone—then maybe we could give them something that could not be taken from them, even if it was something that was taken from us.
I have decided to take this plunge for the benefit of myself and my children. I hope that in sharing my story, I might inspire a few of you who may be facing similar struggles, or anyone for that matter who is looking for or asking: is there more? To stand up again with pride and look for that more, with a renewed hope and faith.
Look for those answers in new places, and do not be discouraged when the world tells you that you are broken and do not work right. Instead let it inspire you to step back and look for something else to help connect your supposedly loose threads and maybe even embrace a whole new kind of love and help that will show you that you were always whole and were never far from the sanctuary of home.
If you are a parent, then I suggest you too embrace the view of Kalil Gibran, as he speaks in The Prophet On Children. My shortened rendition is that we are meant to be the bows, and they are to be the arrows, launched into the world by our life force, but never solely controlled by it. They are of us, but they do not belong to us. They belong to the world, and if they are ever meant to fulfill a true, happy and fulfilling purpose, then they must be launched by bows of strength, whole love and courage. I began mending my bow first and foremost, in order to ensure that my children come to make their intended mark upon this world as I am now hoping to as well.
I know that you all hold the ability, the potential and the loving support needed to reconnect and do the same if you have not done so already. There is a never a wrong time to jump on the crazy train, and enjoy a new sense of personal freedom that you can pass through the ages.
Much love and many blessings to everyone, and I wish you all the most joyous and prosperous journeys.
Editor: Dana Gornall