Sally Colling's book Parenting with Soul - Practical ways to find calm amidst the chaos brims with heart, humour and spirit.
If you're feeling like your soul, your spirit, whatever you like to call it, is lost beneath dirty dishes and crumpled washing then this is the read to fill you up.
Sally and her family don't live in an ashram or have extra hours in their day to dedicate to prayer or meditation. They live in Brisbane where Sally and her husband run their own publishing business working from home and they share the parenting of their two daughters. Sally writes from her own experience of finding ways to connect with deeper thoughts and feelings even when life feels like it is racing along.
In nine neat chapters Sally shares situations and anecdotes that every parent today can relate to, and then follows them up with reminders and ideas to foster and weave spirituality into your family's everyday life. Chapter titles give you a feel for the direction of the book - 'This messy life', 'Gold in the laundry basket', 'Six soul aches and how to cure them', 'Decorate your inner room' and 'Top ten soul practices' were among my favorites.
Each chapter contains a number of mini 'essays' one to two pages in length, making it easy to dip in and out of. Within each chapter there are also a number of highlighted boxes containing practical ways to put soul into your day. Such as, "How to let go today. Meditate on change today: when your thoughts turn to The Thing that would make you happier (...a better relationship with your sister), see yourself in ten years time and imagine your current frustrations and yearnings being a distant memory, as the issues that concern you now are resolved or have become less painful."
Quotes from authors, philosophers and monks such as Thomas Moore, and Thich Nhat Hahn pepper the text and provoke new ways of viewing your old thoughts, feelings and attitudes.
I'll leave you with this quote from the chapter 'Decorate your inner room'. It is something we all know at our deepest level but it is so good to read it so clearly and be reminded of what really matters.
"It is worth considering, too, that our good fortune doesn't lie in what we have. The real blessing lies in how we respond to those circumstances that are given to us. Our good fortune is not about clothes or houses of cars. It is the daily renewal of our capacity to connect, love, share, bless."
Parenting with Soul - Practical ways to find calm amidst the chaos by Sally Collings. Published by Harper Collins 2011. RRP $27.99