So Your Child Wants to be an Artist? Relax, Don’t Worry

You want your child to lead a happy and successful life. How you interpret success and happiness may vary widely, however. How your child interprets these words and the feelings represented by them may vary even more.art

For many families, success is defined in terms of financial success, but even financial success can mean a lot of different things as well.

What parent wants to see their child struggle to pay the rent or put food on the table?

It may not be that your vision of financial success means your child having a six-figure income, but it probably includes them living on their own without needing regular influxes of cash from Mom and Dad in order to survive.

So what happens if your child comes to you and tells you that they want to be an artist? What thoughts begin racing through your head?

Are you excited glad that they have something they’re passionate about, knowing that their talent will carry them? Or are you concerned that they’ll be living in a hovel and face daily struggles for safety and survival?

For hundreds of years, parents have had to face the idea of their children pursuing the arts. Despite the risks, parental protests, and even the threat of being financially cut off, many of these children still choose to follow their hearts.

Some artists have a passion for the arts, but aren’t able to pursue their dreams until later in life. Other children are determined to follow their dreams earlier, with or without parental support or approval. Parents may disapprove entirely of a career in the arts or may only approve if their child fits within a specific mold.

Paul Gauguin followed several careers in order to first please his family and then his wife’s family. He had to return to painting full-time several times in his life. It was in his nature and part of his core being that had to be expressed despite the challenges that it created.

Painter Édouard Manet’s father was adamantly opposed to his son having a career in art to the point where Manet left for Paris to pursue his dream while still in his teens.

Singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson’s parents disowned him when he turned down a position to teach literature at West Point in order to devote himself to songwriting.

Katy Perry fashioned her musical career even though it still isn’t in harmony with her parents’ religious careers as evangelical Christian pastors and musician Miles Davis wasn’t met with approval of his choice in career. It was just that his mother thought he ought to play a stringed instrument rather than the trumpet. His father hoped he would become a dentist.

Fortunately, all of these artists persevered and have created art that’s influenced countless others and these are only a few examples.

Will your child struggle and suffer? Will their career soar or flounder? Is it a good idea for them to have a Plan B in case their art career fails? Or would it be smart for them to take another job and pursue music in their free time? Would a job in the field or something related to their field be as fulfilling and safer?

You can’t know what the absolute best path for anyone else is even if that other person is your own child. What you can do is tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) and encourage your child to tap into theirs as well in order to help discover their best path.

Whether your child will becomes rich and famous in their lifetime is uncertain. Are the odds in their favor? Maybe not. If you worry about it, it probably won’t make one bit of difference. And if you encourage your child to abandon their dreams in exchange for financial security, they may never find the one thing you want them to find in life: happiness.

If you can leave your personal preferences aside and let joy be your guide, then you’ll find the right path. Passing this ideal onto your prospective artist is the best thing you can do for them.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

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Raising Lucky Kids

fortune keyIt seems like some people are born lucky while others constantly have a dark cloud swirling overhead. How does a parent help ensure that their children have that lucky star? Luck is largely a result of one’s attitude and fortunately, that’s something that you can change.

Tom Brokaw is an example of a person who’s led a charmed life, but that’s not to say that his life has been without challenges.

In August of 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer, but at 75 years old, he’s had so many ups than downs that even his friends refer to his luck as “Brokaw’s lucky star.”

Being born in the right family at the right time is a big help when it comes to finding success in life, but luck goes beyond your circumstances. Brokaw offers tips that you can use to improve your luck and raise your own kids under their own lucky stars.

Mistakes

Everyone makes them. Lucky people learn from their mistakes and sometimes being lucky means recognizing the mistake early on so you can minimize the consequences. Other times, being lucky means getting a message from someone you care about and heeding it. And then there’s the matter of just learning a lesson from the mistake itself. In that sense, there are no mistakes because you might have needed that hiccup in order to learn something that’ll lead to your later success.

As a parent, you may want to keep your kids from making mistakes when in turn, that may be your biggest mistake yet. When you love your kids with their mistakes and all, they feel safer and are better equipped to live their lives to the fullest.

Opportunity

Brokaw admits that some of his luck came because he took advantage of opportunities when they arose. By listening to his Internal Guidance System (IGS), he was able to take on new challenges with confidence even when he didn’t think he wanted to make a move. This brought him to be in Berlin at the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was a high point in his career.

Teach your kids to tap into their IGS so they can recognize great opportunities. When you go with the Universal flow, you’re more likely to have an abundance of luck. As the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Attitude

By keeping a positive attitude, you can create your own luck. You’re open to opportunities and experiences when you face the day looking up rather than down. Feeling confident that you can handle any situation allows for many adventures.

Raise your kids to try a variety of things. Show them to take some risks – start small and build their confidence while they tap into their IGS to steer them towards what they want and away from what they don’t want. This builds up their positive attitude “muscle.”

Pay attention as you teach your kids to make their own luck. Let go of the idea of perfection — people aren’t perfect. Let yourself make mistakes every now and then, but learn from them. Notice the opportunities that come your way and keep your own attitude up. While you’re raising lucky kids, you may just notice your own lucky star shining brightly in the sky as well.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Spring Cleaning and LOA—Clear It Out to Attract More

spongeIt might be a little early for spring cleaning, but it’s a good time to prepare for that ritual — with a twist. This year, take the opportunity to do a thorough spring cleaning both physically and mentally.

One of the parts of the Law of Attraction that many people tend to ignore is that they have to have space in order to attract more into their lives.

The thing is, whether you’re talking about your home or you mind, you can’t expect to make room for anything if the space is already too full.

There are many shows on television about hoarders, so most people have an idea of how there is literally room for more stuff than you ever imagined in your home.

All you have to do is keep piling it up on top of the other things. Any horizontal surface is quickly covered with piles of paper, clothes, books, or what have you.

You can stack things, growing the piles until you have only a tiny path leading from the front door into the dark mass of things.

Even if you don’t hoard physical objects, many people are mental hoarders. You read, talk, watch television, and listen to the radio. Any quiet space, like the horizontal surfaces in your home must be filled. You’re so busy thinking and keeping your mind occupied that you don’t allow for any room to wander.

You know that hoarding is an illness and people who are diagnosed as hoarders need help. But how many people recognize the tendency in themselves? You don’t have to have literally maxed out the space in your home or mind to benefit from a good spring cleaning.

You might hold on to magazines because there was a great article that you meant to read. Five years later, it’s still there, unread. You have trinkets filling your shelves that you bought years before that no longer fit your taste or decorating style, but you still hang on.

In the same way, you hold onto old beliefs and fears. You cling to your old patterns even though they no longer suit you or make you happy.

Tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) to know what you do want. Use it to help you clear out the old physical and mental stuff to make way for the new stuff.

Getting rid of just one box of old stuff that you don’t need anymore can be freeing, so imagine the liberation of cleaning out the attic or basement.

Allow your mind the time to relax and be renewed as well. Filter the information that you put into your mind. Learn to be okay with quiet. Try meditating. On your next job, try listening to the sounds of nature rather than the tunes on iPod.

You’ve probably heard the saying attributed to Aristotle, “Nature hates a vacuum.” This truth explains part of how the Law of Attraction works. Instead of dreading spring cleaning this year, think of it as setting up a vacuum that the Universe will then fill with whatever you attract into it.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Our Feelings Not Actions Determine End Result

goal chart with armMany people who don’t believe in the Law of Attraction point out that we must take action in order to accomplish our goals. They seem to be under the misimpression that as believers in the Law of Attraction we are actually coaching people to only meditate or repeat affirmations and expect their heart’s desires to happily land on their doorstep. With a bow on top, to boot!

Of course actions are needed at times in order to get results. But the action without the appropriate feeling will not yield the desired outcome.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people will interpret this famous quote to mean that it is the steps you take that are important.

Yet, the journey itself includes not only the path(s) we have chosen during our lifetime, it also includes all the feelings that went into our making those choices. It is actually how we feel about the process, not the specific steps that we take, which really determine our end result.

If you think that the destination is achieving one of your big goals, then you are missing the point.

We all have lots of goals during our lifetime. Our journey doesn’t end when we successfully reach them. Sometimes we don’t even seem to have time to celebrate our accomplishments because we have created newer, bigger goals that we are now striving for.

This is what life is about, moving along a path. We can create the path ourselves, or we can choose to follow a path that someone else has blazed before us. Either way, it is up to us to follow a path and live in the moment. That is what the “journey” is — living in the moment.

If we are so absorbed with achieving a specific goal, we may miss the fork in the road that will bring us extreme happiness. If we set hard and fast deadlines where we will have accomplished our task we may lose out the most important part of the creation—the fun of it!

One of my big goals was to write my book “The Art of Blissful Parenting.” For a while I allowed self-imposed deadlines to create stress in my life and take away the fun of creating. That is when I had to remind myself to check in with my IGS so I could again enjoy the process.

When we allow our Internal Guidance System (IGS) to help us determine our path, the correct way will unfold more easily before us. Some people actually enjoy bush-whacking, forging a brand new trail through hard work and determination. Others prefer to create a unique path by selecting various meandering branches along the way. Still others practically fly along the path because for them speed is the thing. They want to see more and more progress.

It doesn’t matter what type of traveler you are, as long as you are following your heart and IGS. You may even find that you move back and forth from bush-whacker to flyer to meanderer. For a few moments, or even years, you may relish one sort of challenge only to find that later those challenges have no appeal at all.

Pay more attention to how you are feeling while you are on the path than how the path is being created. If you suddenly feel like you need more time, take it. If you have a sudden urge to skip over large parts of the trail or take a short cut “through the brush” then do that.

Our success as individuals is not measured by achieving of goals, accumulation of wealth, or by crossing the finish line first. Our real success is measured by the joy we have felt while we are on the trip.

When you truly feel good about your trip, you will find that your tasks become easier. I certainly have found that when writing my book. When I tried to force it, in order to meet a deadline, I found that it was difficult and others were not relating to the result. When I relaxed and appreciated the creative process, the words flowed.

I started to feel good again about taking the steps that I was inspired to take, but to let the timetable fall away. The end result is a wonderful book that I am very proud of. The bow on top of this end result is that I have memories of a pleasant, fun-filled experience as I move on to the next part of my journey.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Sharing Your Kids Over the Holidays

Most people’s lives don’t resemble movies, especially when it comes to the holidays. Even for those who have happy memories of their family gathering together for the holidays, the reality these days is different from anything Hollywood writes.
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No longer are families consolidated in a single area of the country.

You’re more apt to be traveling across the country for a visit to your parents’ house than you are to trek across town.

You and your generation aren’t the first generation to experience this, but it’s likely even more commonplace today than when you were growing up.

Traveling adds to the stress than many people already feel about the holidays. Whether you’re staying with friends, family, or at a hotel, you’re away from the comforts of home.

On top of all of this, you have to learn how to share your kids.

For some families, sharing kids is a part of the regular routine. Kids may spend the week with Mom and weekends with Dad, or they live with Dad for most of the year and visit Mom on alternate vacations. Obviously, this kind of sharing continues over the holidays, but it’s not the only “kid sharing” you might be faced with.

Even in families with both parents living together, it’s important to share your kids with your extended family and you have to share your kids with their friends too. When your children get older, you have to share them with boyfriends, girlfriends, and even in-laws. Suddenly, “your” family looks very different and trying to plan your holidays has gotten more complicated.

While you may still dream of a holiday worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting, many people will happily settle if we don’t reenact movies like Home Alone or Bad Santa.
Of course, you should still envision the family holiday that you want. Just keep in mind that you cannot create in anyone else’s universe and their vision of the perfect vacation may be quite different from yours.

What is the best way to handle sharing the kids, no matter the age or circumstances? By talking it over with everyone involved, including the kids themselves.

You can each talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re most looking forward to this holiday. What if your college student has his heart set on going to Cabo with his buddies or your daughter-in-law wants to host the family dinner for the first time? Or maybe your youngster wants to stay with his mom this holiday because he has a special tournament he would have to miss if he spent it at your place?

Since it’s not possible for anyone to be in two different places at the same time, you may have to use some creativity and flexibility. If you focus on the feelings you want to have as opposed to the exact experiences, then you truly can have it all. After all, nothing stays the same, including your family. Your traditions may just need to be able to evolve a bit so you have years of happy holidays ahead.

For more, please visit http://www.SharonBallantine.com.

“Do I HAVE To?” Teaching Kids to Respectfully Set Boundaries

Every parent has more than likely had the experience of making a request of a child only to hear the long-drawn out whine back, “But Mooooom, do I haaaaaaave to?” clothes on stairs

While you want your children to recognize their own value and to be in alignment with their true selves, it can be unpleasant and frustrating when your kids push back.

Setting boundaries is an important skill for children to learn. They need to practice these skills so later it will be easier to stand up for themselves in the face of pressure from their peers, a boss, a significant other, or even their community.

In most cases, setting your boundaries can be done in a way that is respectful of all parties. It allows your children to be their authentic selves without causing harm to another.

The best way to do this is to teach your kids to check in with their Internal Guidance System before they respond.

Setting boundaries is not an adversarial situation. It is a way for both parties to be heard and state their needs as opposed to putting up a metaphorical brick wall. By keeping the dialogue open, new solutions may be reached that neither party thought of, thus allowing everyone to be happy.

You can help your child practice this skill with a little role-playing.

One subject that frequently results in battles between children and parents is subject of room cleaning. The parent wants the room to be clean and they don’t want to have to clean it for their kids. Most kids don’t want to be bothered.  Whether their room is clean to Mom or Dad’s standards is just not important to them.

There is no better opportunity for both parent and child to practice respectfully setting boundaries.

Imagine you are walking by your son’s bedroom. Looking in, you see that it is a disaster area. Clothes are strewn all over and you can’t even see the floor. Check in with your IGS to see how that feels. Now ask your child to imagine the same scene. When he senses your reaction to the mess, how does that feel to him? More than likely, neither of you are feeling too happy right about now.

Now imagine you walk by your son’s room and it is neat as a pin, but you had to do all the work to get it there. How does that feel for you? And how does it feel to your son?

Have your son check in with his IGS and determine what is important to him. It may be that he wants his privacy and space and doesn’t want you to come into the room.  It doesn’t bother him if his room is a mess.

Check in with your IGS to see what is truly important to you. You may discover that you can tolerate a little mess, but you can’t deal with his having food in the room that could attract pests.

Once you have both determined what is important, you can work out a solution. One possibility is for him to keep his door closed so you don’t see the mess, but he won’t have food in his room.

By learning to set boundaries while respecting others, you teach your children important life skills. They learn to express their needs and to assert themselves. They also learn to listen to the needs of others and to seek out solutions rather than to win an argument.

It can be surprising how what you often thought was your “line in the sand” will actually shift when you take the time to really listen to each other and check in with your IGS’s.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

You Can Have Anything You Desire in the Universe

I recently heard this story and think it’s a wonderful metaphor for your Internal Guidance System and applying the Law of Attraction in your life. woman with shopping bags

A woman was walking downtown one day when she spotted a new store and decided to check it out. She couldn’t tell what sort of shop it was and she asked the clerk what they sold there.

“Anything you desire,” he answered.

At first glance, she saw nothing she wanted and felt discouraged.

Knowing her wallet was practically empty, the lady wondered out loud if there was anything that she truly desired in the store that she could actually afford.

The clerk then told her that everything in the store was free.

Upon closer examination, she could now see what was available to her.

There were jars full of luck, packages filled with hope, baskets brimming with satisfaction, boxes bursting with wisdom, and bags bulging with joy.

Summoning her courage, the woman placed her order, speaking with conviction. “I would like to have a glass of belief, a locket of love, and parcel of peace of mind. And plenty of gratitude and forgiveness, please.”

Immediately, she was handed a package, so small it easily fit in her hand.
Surprised she asked, “How is it possible that I asked for so much and yet it all fits into such a tiny parcel?”

Smiling, the clerk answered, “In this store, we don’t sell fruits; we sell the seeds.”

Whether you have plenty of money or are currently tapped out financially, the Universe will still provide what you truly desire. There may be many opportunities right in front of you, but like the lady in the story, you won’t even see that they are there until you believe you can have them.

In most stores, you choose between various material items. You can certainly ask the Universe for objects as well as a new job, an improved financial situation, or a wonderful new love in your life.

No matter what you ask for, you should not expect to walk out with your arms filled with boxes in this store. It isn’t that you won’t get the things you’ve ordered; you just won’t find them waiting and gift wrapped, right at the checkout counter.

The store represents all opportunities and choices available to you. You can have anything you want. It is up to you to decide what that is. The items that fill the store’s shelves will be different depending on who perceives them. If you listen to your Internal Guidance System, you will know exactly what will bring you the most joy and fulfillment. That is what you should order from the clerk.

Applying the Law of Attraction in your life is like tending to the seeds the clerk has handed you. By planting the seeds and giving them the attention they need, you know that you will get the results you desire. Getting what you want in life starts with selecting the right seeds.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Overcome Emotional Manipulation Using the Law of Attraction

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You are bombarded every day with messages that are intended to persuade you to take specific actions. These messages may come from your family members or employers, but many more come from advertisers who are intent on manipulating your emotions. 

Fortunately, you can learn to use the Law of Attraction to trump their best efforts and make decisions that are best for you.

Advertisers generally do not have any malicious intent. They merely want to convince you to buy whatever it is they are selling.

Sometimes this is just a product that they want you to spend your money and time on. Other people are selling ideas that they want you to believe or buy into.

If you ever watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper, then you know what I’m talking about. There are advertisements designed to tug at your heartstrings, encouraging you to buy a greeting card for someone special or to put on a specific type of aromatic coffee so you can have a family bonding experience.

Infomercials demonstrate gizmos that solve a problem you didn’t know you had – they want you to believe you can’t live without the gizmo in question. You learn about ways to make money, classes to keep your family safe, tests to take to make sure you have not contracted the latest virus; the list goes on and on.

Rather than allowing your emotions be swept to and fro like a badminton birdie, you can learn to trust your Internal Guidance System so you make the best decisions for yourself. Taking a few minutes every day to send out positive affirmations can also work wonders to keep you healthy, happy, and independent — no matter how hard the advertisers work at their job.

Awareness is the first step to making changes in your life. First, you need to become aware of what you are feeling. Pay attention to how you feel when you are watching commercials. Advertisers spend a lot of time and money learning about human psychology. They are trying to get a reaction and generally have pretty good methods on how to get the reaction necessary.

Most people merely react to their feelings without making a conscious choice. Often they are not even aware of why they are reacting. They aren’t aware of the feelings or the manipulation. By being aware of the feeling, you then have the power to choose how to act.

There is nothing wrong with being reminded to thank a parent or teacher for something they have done for you, but do it because you want to. Do it in a way that you want to, not merely because a commercial brought a tear to your eye or a lump to your throat.

Once you develop the habit of being aware of your feelings, you will be able to see and overcome the efforts to manipulate your behavior. Now you are in the driver’s seat and you can start to think about what you want and you can consciously create the life of your dreams.

For more information about the Universal Law of Attraction, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Coaching and Mentoring Our Children to Use Their Internal Guidance System

Children are very aware of their feelings. They may not know how to articulate what they are feeling to us, but they definitely know how they feel. Being aware of how they feel is an important part of learning to use their Internal Guidance System (IGS), which will help them to live their highest path as children and as adults.

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If we can teach our children at a very early age how to listen to their IGS, then they will learn to trust that inner wisdom and be the independent teens and adults that we wish them to be.

When children are very young, most haven’t learned to hide their feelings yet.

While there are times that, in the moment, this may not seem like a good thing, being aware of their feelings and learning to trust in them is a key to their future happiness.

Conventional wisdom has us teach our children to conform. This starts up a contradiction inside them.

They feel one way, but are told to behave in another way. When this happens often enough, they begin to doubt their feelings.

We want to encourage our children to trust their feelings so they can then use their Internal Guidance System as a tool throughout their lives. We can help our children develop their IGS “muscle” by reminding them to check in with their feelings.

When they are faced with a decision and they do not know which choice to make, ask them to consider how they are feeling with both options. Does this choice make them feel happy or sad? Do they feel lighter at the idea of it or heavier?

Of course, the words you use will vary depending on the age of your children and their vocabulary level. You can even use a chart that has pictures of different facial expressions to help them indicate if they feel good about a particular choice or not.

You can also help your children to determine how to proceed by exploring ideas that come about from the initial choice. You help them navigate the stream of emotions, always steering them towards the ones that most excite them, just as you would paddle a canoe with the river’s current rather than paddling upstream.

By coaching and mentoring them early to navigate using their Internal Guidance System when they encounter other people who would steer them wrong, they have already grown confident in their IGS and ability to make their own decisions for their lives.

Our children will not always make choices that we agree with, or even approve of, but by allowing them the room to make mistakes, we are helping them to fine-tune their IGS. Of course we will do everything we can to keep our children safe, but beyond that we are here to guide, support, and believe in their abilities. 

We are not here to dictate what path they are on. We are all blessed with knowing our best and highest path and by teaching our children to trust in their Internal Guidance System, we will have the joy of watching them grow and follow the path that is right for them.

Coaching and Mentoring Teens: IGS vs Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a powerful influence in the life of every child and has the potential to significantly impact a child’s attitudes and behaviors.  As parents, we long to have our children learn how to be more independent and make autonomous decisions.  While most parents want their children to appreciate their unique qualities, individuality, and to be able to think for themselves, the reality is that most children want to be just like their friends.  Image

A key role for parents is coaching and mentoring our children. As we encourage our kids to become their own person, we are often met with resistance along the way. Fortunately, we know that once they learn to use and trust their Internal Guidance System (IGS), we can feel confident in our kids’ ability to handle peer pressure as they mature into teens and adults.

When children learn how to access their internal guidance system, they will instinctively check in with who they truly are and how they are really feeling—even when friends may be trying to lead them in a different direction.

One challenging scenario is when your child presents you with “all-the-other-kids-are–doing–it” argument. This is often a signal that, although they know they should be tuning into their internal guidance system, they feel conflicted, and are struggling with listening and following their IGS. When this situation arises, you can help support and guide your child in the direction of his true self so he does not feel obligated to cave in to peer pressure.

Here are some important supportive messages you can offer to your child:

  • Remind him to speak his own truth. Your child has the right to, and should express, those things that feel good and right for him.
  • Coach your child to take notice of how he feels while in the presence of, and talking with, friends.
  • Teach your child to notice the difference between the words he is saying and how he feels after saying those words.
  • Suggest your child observe his friends, be clear about what they are doing, and check with his IGS to determine what he wants to do, and accept that their paths may be different.
  • Finally, he should notice how he is feeling when thinking about an action his friends are engaging in, or proposing to take.  Does it make him feel happy, sad, scared?

Teaching our children early in life how to access and trust their Internal Guidance System gives them time to practice and develop the skill, and confidence to act on their IGS. This allows them to integrate these practices into their lives, so that by the time that they reach high school, they can rely on their IGS and more easily deal with peer pressure.