Annie Burnside’s ‘Soul to Soul Parenting’ Interview
From 2012: This week is our very first Women For One interview with internationally acclaimed author, Annie Burnside. The minute Annie and I connected I felt a “sisterhood-like” kinship with her. We are close to the same age, both moms and also, what I would call “very thirsty” for spiritual knowledge. When I began to feel the most connected to Annie was when I read her book, Soul to Soul Parenting. When I read a book and feel like the author is speaking to my soul – that’s when my heart opens and I know I will have a unique and special experience.
Annie’s book is about creating the most spiritually aware and conscious family that each of us know how to do. When my children were younger, I wanted to teach them about my own values and belief systems regarding Spirit and God. I also wanted to just generally give them the knowledge and experience to become more peaceful, loving and soulful individuals. Unless I took them to a traditional church/synagogue/mosque with belief systems that I did not align with, there was not another place to teach them these values – other than in my own home. A few friends and I started what we informally called our “church group”, where we would educate our children about different beliefs throughout the world and what we personally believe around our own spirituality. I wish I had known of Annie’s tools and knowledge at that point in my life. It is truly incredible how wisdom speaks to me. I encourage you to purchase her book Soul to Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family.
Here is one of my favorite excerpts from her book on the theme of Authenticity:
“Authenticity comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. This is where wondrous, miraculous, and beautiful variety expresses itself within the Oneness. Most human beings are very much in touch with their authenticity and joy as children, but ever so quietly, they conform to parental, peer, and societal expectations, losing what they know to be true about them along the way. Don’t allow your children to lose themselves in conformity. Encourage them to heed the voice of their soul and to resist the temptation to rely on outside sources for personal truth. It’s never to late to reconnect to your most authentic and joyous inner space, your soul. The voice of your soul will always lead you home.”
Annie possesses a unique talent to transfer esoteric and spiritually sound principles into an everyday applicable language for all of us to apply to our everyday lives. I wanted the Women For One community to hear from Annie in a more personal way.
The questions below truly demonstrate this Soul Nurturer’s heart and soul.
1. What is your very first memory in life?
One of my earliest memories is being in the car in my car seat and listening to music. My parents loved all kinds of music, and I can remember at a very young age enjoying it immensely. I would stare out the window and feel good. At age four, I fell in love with dance and ended up dancing six days a week through my adolescence. It is where I felt the most connected to my inner self. Beyond the movement, it was the music. To this day, music and nature are the largest gateways to my soul. They are my paths up the mountaintop.
2. What lead you to a life of sharing your wisdom? How were you inspired to serve others?
A deep and reflective child, I was always aware of others’ feelings. As early as age five, I remember being able to sense that we are all connected and felt tremendous empathy for my fellow human beings. I knew that I was here to work with others on the inside of who they are rather than the outside. I am a former elementary school teacher who took several years off to raise my three children, now ages 16, 14 and 12. I re-entered the workforce as a professional soul nurturer. Officially, I have been a soul nurturer for over seven years. I created it as a career as soul nurturing has always been the most natural aspect of who I am. A soul nurturer helps others awaken to their own truth in all aspects of life by providing the tools and encouragement to look more closely at their inner world. I assist others in viewing their life from an expanded perspective by helping them to remember their divine, creative, intuitive, eternal nature and how to integrate this knowing into their life choices. A soul nurturer’s primary role is to inspire others to listen to the voice of their own soul so that inner truth, joyful self-expression and direct divine connection can become fully accessible within daily reality.
3. What/Who are your models of authenticity? Why?
Children are my models of authenticity. It has always been my great pleasure to observe how truthfully children interact with the world before psychic debris builds up from feelings of not being enough just as they are. To witness a child’s true passions as their eyes sparkle and enthusiasm emanates directly from their spirit is a joy to behold. It is their capacity to live their truth without the masks that has inspired me to find the courage to live more authentically myself.
4. What methods do you use to nurture your soul, your emotions and your body?
I utilize solitude, gratitude, family-time, nature, music, walking, biking, journaling and time spent near large bodies of water as my primary means of connecting to my soul which in turn helps me to feel my true emotions and maintain well-being in my body. These are my top priorities as far as how I choose to spend my free time. They are essential to my overall fulfillment and JOY. As I have grown in self-love, which in my opinion is truly the pinnacle of the spiritual journey, I realized that many of us spend years and lifetimes searching outside of ourselves for all of the things that we hope another can give to us to make us whole. It has been my experience that heaven, the ecstasy of which so many masters have described, is found deep within where self-love merges with oneness. I feel that it is imperative that we create a life that allows time for the personal methods, as mentioned above, that offer us spiritual sustenance—greater intimacy with our own soul. All that we then speak, say and do will be of a higher quality in that the inner matches the outer, a cornerstone of self-love and integrity.
5. What are three words or phrases that you would most like to share with our community?
1) Grow is Me Rather than Woe is Me!
Every challenge has two layers: The physical layer that we can detect with our five senses AND the rich, metaphorical, energetic layer that represents the expansion of our soul. When we simultaneously navigate challenges from both perspectives, we are truly consciously spirit-embodied and have the greatest opportunity to experience joy, gratitude and awe for the sacredness of what it means to be a human being.
2) It’s Really Soul to Soul!
We tend to view relationships with others as role to role such as— parent/child, doctor/patient, teacher/student, and cashier/customer—but there is always so much more going on than meets the eye. From the largest perspective, every relationship is really Soul to Soul, and when we open to this truth, it creates the space for greater non-judgment, forgiveness and neutrality.
3) Choose And/Both Over Either/Or!
The earthly realm is all about paradox, and yet we attempt to make it black and white, right and wrong, and us versus them. Everything depends on perspective and multiple perspectives share the same space. Once this is realized, we no longer resist the paradoxes, but rather embrace and enjoy them even. I call this Peace in the Paradox and have found it to be the secret to happiness. I am more than okay with contradiction, ambiguity and many shades of grey because I feel the Oneness deep within and view life as simply different vantage points of one Source. Or to put it another way, when I walk down the street, I am moved and thrilled by the 7 billion faces of Oneness and the endless expressions of Oneness through our natural world.
6. What is your new life’s vision in releasing your stories from your experiences?
It is my intention to simply continue being ME to a greater and greater extent as I move through this beautiful world. Whether I am attending my son’s baseball game, walking through the grocery store, writing a book or speaking to a large audience, this is the only way I desire to show up—I like to call it full-out Annieness☺ Fully feeling my emotions as they arise and joyful self-expression are my top priorities. The personas, roles and labels have less and less meaning for me now. I want to offer my heart and soul to others and my greatest hope is that they have the courage to do the same. This is how we will change our world. It isn’t easy getting there, but once the doorway opens to live true, the freedom felt is truly priceless and worth every close look at the inner wounds that it takes to get there…