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I love vintage book stores. I love to breath in deeply the smell of musty old books, paper cracked and yellowed from age, wondering who before me has caressed the well-loved pages. It’s a mystical treasure hunt knowing every time that a special book sits on a shelf waiting for me to discover it. A book that wants me to read it; a book the universe wants me to discover.
So the universe was whispering to me that warm August day in downtown Sonoma when I entered Readers’ Books. The sun streamed in through the windows catching the floating dust particles in it’s rays and I breathed in the magical smell of old ink and aging cellulose. I didn’t have a particular book in mind. I didn’t even have a topic I felt drawn to. I just wanted to peruse the shelves from top to bottom reading every title until I knew I had found “the” book.
About a half-hour later I found it. There, sitting on a top shelf but just within my “vertically challenged” reach, I saw it. A purple paperback entitled Cosmic Cradle: Spiritual Dimensions of Life Before Birth by Elizabeth M. Carman and Neil J. Carman. The back of the book posed this question: “Do we choose our parents and our future lives before we are born?”
This idea had been cartwheeling around in my mind for some time. I remember when my oldest daughter was about 3 years old and saw a picture of herself in a fetal ultrasound. She asked me if the picture was of her in my “tummy” and I said yes. Then she proceeded to tell me that she remembered being in my uterus and that she didn’t really like it “in there.” It was dark and cramped and she couldn’t wait to get out. I didn’t think much of it at the time attributing it to my daughter’s vivid imagination.
I had always (and I mean kinda-creepy-childhood-always) believed in reincarnation. No person, priest or religion could ever make me believe otherwise. In an effort not to alarm the adults and prevent any religious intervention, I just kept my “wacky” opinions to myself. So the idea of participating in the planning of my “future life” didn’t seem contrary to me. It made a crap-load of sense. And with every pregnancy I felt that I had been gifted a little soul to nurture not just a little person to safely raise to adulthood.
So what was so intriguing about the question of choosing one’s parents? For me, it completely shifted my perspective on parenting; a complete 180 on the parenting dynamic.
Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, married or single, religious or agnostic, you and your life circumstances were specifically chosen by your child. That’s a pretty big cosmic pill to swallow. I believe no soul comes into this world without a purpose, a calling, a mission. Just go to the self-help section of any bookstore and you will find countless volumes on discerning your calling.
How would you parent differently if you knew your child chose you for a reason, perhaps to learn a certain lesson? What are the life skills and experiences that make you the perfect teacher for your child?
And I’m not talking all sunshine and advanced degrees. What traumas did you overcome that allow you to nurture your child through their own soul growth? AND…what destructive family cycles do you now have the opportunity to conquer?
And finally, what does this precious child, the little soul who chose you, have to teach you?