Participation Check is a concise and powerful Tool that involves registering within myself if I am positive, Present and engaged or simply puttering by in life, am into my repetitive inner story line of hurt, worry, fear and simultaneously contracting my energy. Similar to an interested scientist, when I do a Participation Check, I simply look within and take tally of what I find. Am I harboring anger? Am I considering life to be the boring doldrums and just scrapping by the day with an inner grumble? Do I notice the world around me and am I Present with the gifts and Blessings that each moment offers – whether is it a flower blooming beside the bus stop or a child laughing or a co-worker bringing me a tea? Essentially, the question is, am I awake in this moment to the flow of Love around me?

After several months providing family therapy in the adolescent unit of a psychiatric hospital I have come across some common denominators of problematic parenting that have taught me important lessons and changed my own parenting approach. Granted, children’s behaviors are not entirely in the hands of their parents; they have their own temperaments and, in the case of these patients, they may have what is labeled as a mental/physiological disorder; nevertheless, parents have great power in influencing their kids and their behaviors and this is key for creating more ease for both parents and children.

Have you ever had the experience of “battling” with a loved one? Recently, I had been battling with my four-year old son. In the past month we moved into a new house and welcomed a second son into the family. I’m certain my four-year old’s behavior was due to all the change that had occurred in our family. To be honest, I was feeling some growing and adjusting pains, too. Even though I intellectually knew that my son was having a hard time adjusting and his unpleasant and even violent behavior was a result of this, when he started to push my buttons my response was to push back. We battled like this for about three weeks until finally I found a solution. It was, of course, Love.

In the Fall of 2008, I began participating in Cosmos Tree Meditations and studying with Founder and Director, Dr. Roger B. Lane. At the time, I was married but did not have any children. I had no idea how much I did not know about mySelf or about being a parent. Before having children, I was certain that my own experience with my parents and the babysitting jobs I held throughout my life were preparation enough to raise my own. Blessedly for me, by the time I did have children I had a foundation of The Teachings that inform Cosmos Tree, Which every day assist me in being the best parent I can be by Teaching me how to be the Spirit that I am.

Many, if not most of us, are unconscious when we speak to others. One of these “unconscious” forms of communication is making “nice, nice”. For example, a friend of mine recently asked me to do her a favor and instead of simply asking me directly, she chose to flatter me over and over again before finally, finally asking for the favor. I knew it was a manipulation. It’s a lot like the example of a husband who tells his wife how much he loves her cooking, which can be a Loving and Clear communication, but it can also be a manipulation so that his wife continues to cook for him and to cook for him and to cook for him some more.

This may shock you but The Teachings that Cosmos Tree Founder and Director Dr. Roger B. Lane brings forward teach us that the product of the mind is negativity and it isn’t real. As Dr. Lane Teaches: the mind loves to be busy; it loves to create problems so that we can then go “out there” and solve them. It wants to be “the Queen of Sheba”; the “King of the Hill.” And it can make a fool out of you if you choose to give your power over and allow the mind to be in charge as you go running around trying to solve all these so-called problems, which don’t really exist and that the mind loves to create.

Can’t get over the hump, cross that first bridge you are staring down, let go of the end of the rope you’ve tethered yourself to for staying in the shallows? Many of us wonder when our dull lives become the lives we envisioned ourselves leading. We make resolutions – empty promises – gripe about the blockades in our way and feel somehow disempowered and disenfranchised from the life, the excitement, the fulfillment and the peace that we really want. How do we move from stuck to living a vibrant life that beats true to the drum of our innermost heart?

Recently I decided to play a little trick on my four-year-old girl. We were in my bedroom and I suddenly decided to turn off the light and run out of the room as fast as I could. I knew she would love this. I knew she would immediately understand that she needed to chase me and catch me. When she caught up to me she said, with surprise, “Mama, why are you happy?!”

Tools For Living Free are FREE two-sided publications combining valuable excerpts from the Enlightening Monthly Talks given by Cosmos Tree Founder/Director Dr. Lane together with short exercises that you can do during the day to help you be present; live more Joyously and Peacefully; and, most importantly, focus into the Spirit you are and know that doing that is the Purpose of this life you’ve been given.