Clinical psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, and international speaker, Dr. Shefali is revolutionizing the parenting process as she integrates Eastern philosophy with Western psychology.  With a belief that connecting to your authentic self is the key to empowering your children, colleagues, and business, Dr. Shefali has shared her wisdom on Oprah’s Lifeclass and Super Soul Sunday television shows, as well as the TEDx series, Wisdom 2.0, and many more.  Author of the best-selling books Out of Control, The Conscious Parent, and The Awakened Family, Dr. Shefali is now sharing her expertise in New York City with a revolutionary 3-day summit designed to help you evolve towards a higher state of awareness that will lead you to a greater sense of self, empowerment, and clarity.  Learn how to become your authentic self, listen to your inner wisdom, use vulnerability to grow, find deeper peace and joy, and become an empowered and effective woman in all areas of your life.

Purchase Dr. Shefali's books here and receive 15% off using code 15OFF when you register for Evolve 2016 here!

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There’s an inner life within each of us that demands wholeness, to be seen, and heard.

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Authentic Awakening

Who is our authentic self and how do we awaken to that reality?

Who is my authentic self?  What does it mean to be authentic?  I get asked these questions all of the time.  Authenticity means being your truest self.  Many of us grew up in homes where we weren’t seen for who we truly are.  We grew up with parents who perhaps were unconscious and used their children to represent the best version of themselves, to meet their unfulfilled expectations, and fulfill their personal dreams.

We had to abdicate our authenticity (our true selves) in order to fit in, receive approval, find belonging and a sense of identity and purpose.  Along the way, our truest self fell to the wayside.  When we grew up, we started longing for a true expression of our self, free from seeking approval from the outside.  

This is what my work is about - helping our children preserve their authentic self, and the way to do that is to help the parent step more and more into their authentic self.  When we’re in touch with our own sovereign empowerment, then we cherish and treasure this in someone else.

How does surrender create wholeness on our journey to self-discovery?

Surrender is pivotal on the journey toward wholeness.  Inherent in ‘doing surrender’ (even though you can’t ‘do’ surrender, you have to ‘become’ surrender) is the acceptance of the ‘as-isness’ of our life.  If we don’t accept our life, understanding that there are lessons of growth in the ‘as is’ (even if they’re unpleasant or painful), then it’s difficult to surrender.  The moment you surrender, you open yourself up to those lessons of growth and transformation, and can continue on the path towards greater integration and wholeness.

When we’re in touch with our own empowerment, we cherish and treasure this in someone else.

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What are some of the culturally reinforced myths of parenting?

The most common myth about parenting is that we need to raise a successful child who is always ahead of the curve.  When we ingest this cultural stereotype, the parent feels like they need to push, pressure, and be stressed toward reaching this outcome when we don’t even know what success truly means.  Then, when our child resists us we panic.

One of the other myths is raising a happy child.  Does it mean that every time our child cries we’re failing as a parent?  Many parents feel that way, so they want to fix their children and try to control them.  But, then this gets in the way of our children’s evolution.

We have to stop, take a moment, recognize the prevalent belief systems we’re blindly ingesting, and deconstruct them.  My latest book, The Awakened Family, helps parents do this so they can then enforce their parenting with close connection rather than rigid anxiety.

How does vulnerability shift us from expectations to engagement?

Vulnerability is the direct pathway to empathy.  We all want to be effective with our children, colleagues, and business, but if we don’t connect at the human level and make that heart-to-heart connection, we might be effective, but not in the long run.  If we want to create long-lasting deep relationships in our communities, we need to expose ourselves and our humanity.

In order to do that, we have to be in touch with our deepest feelings, which is vulnerability.  This doesn’t mean you’re bursting at the seams with emotionality, it means being connected at the human level, and seeking that connection in every transaction and relationship.  When you open your heart, you’ll create deep, long-lasting relationship.

The moment you surrender, you open yourself up to lessons of growth and transformation.

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How can a conscious marriage help us awaken to our true self?

Every relationship is attracted by us in order to awaken us to greater wholeness for us to grow - regardless if the relationship is conscious or unconscious.   If you believe your relationships happen to you, then you’ll feel victimized and resentful of the other person, and try to control and change them.  Instead, ask yourself, ‘Why did I choose this partner?  How can I learn from my partner?’  Maybe the relationship will expire, but only after we have learned the lessons that this relationship has brought forth for us.

Watch Dr. Shefali's bSmart interview here!

When we’re in touch with our fear, it becomes the fuel for deeper compassion, empathy, and courage.

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Surrendered Stillness

When and how did you first learn to become mindful and live in the now?

My journey to present moment awareness began in my early twenties.  Like all journeys that start with some sort of tipping point or trigger, mine was leaving my country of origin, India.  I moved to America and things combusted within me.  My old old belief systems were no longer working in my new environment, so it caused me to reexamine.

Instead of resisting shocking and traumatic life events, we need to embrace them because they cause us to reshuffle, realign, repurpose, and relook at everything we believed previously.  Sometimes we look for answers that take us outside of ourselves, such as unhealthy relationships, addictions, or we fall off the grid.  That’s okay.  Some people need to do that and then eventually they find themselves, too.  But let’s short circuit that and go deep within ourselves right away.  That’s what I began to do.

I began questing for what I truly believed and who I was.  Inevitably, the question ‘who am I?’ led to a deep soul searching and then meditation, one of the greatest tools to go deeper within the self.  I meditated for my entire twenties and began the process of awakening.  When we enter ‘the now,’ the present moment, our relationship with this thing called life changes.  We no longer look at it as separate from us or happening to us.  We look at it as happening for us.  We look at it as something we are co-creating moment by moment.  

There are deep benefits to the practice of entering the present moment through mindfulness, meditation, and deep stillness.  There is no other way to access the present moment, except by entering it, and meditation is the direct path for entering the present moment.

What are ways you have transformed fear into consciousness?

Fear can undergird everything.  When we’re in touch with our fear, recognize it, and embrace it, then it becomes consciousness and the fuel for deeper compassion, empathy, and courage.  Most of us are disconnected to the fear at the foundation of our life.  If we keep remaining disconnected to the feeling of fear, we’ll run away from it, mask it, be terrified, and it will rule the roost.  It’s only by befriending fear that it can be used as the greatest source of transformation.    

Our fear is going to have to be confronted, befriended, and crumbled in order for us to rise in our truest sense of empowerment.

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What has been your biggest challenge as a professional, mother, and wife?

Every woman confronts the question of how to balance everything she desires.  She wants a career, to be a mom, be a good spouse and partner, be a great friend, and still have time to workout.  People ask me if there is such a thing as balance.  I truly believe there isn’t.  I don’t believe we should seek balance.  In the seeking of balance, there’s an illusion that there is some sort of perfect way to be.  

What I prefer to do is be deeply in touch with who I am in the morning and how I want to manifest my day.  Many people don’t have an external choice - they have to go to work, catch the train, get to a meeting on time.  You may not have an external choice, but you have an internal choice for how you want to emotionally live out your day.  

If you can be deeply in touch with yourself at the emotional level, and not run away from your feelings and fears, then slowly, the external begins to manifest and reflect the internal.  It’s when we’re disconnected on the internal level that our life on the outside is chaotic, stressful, conflictual, and we don’t know why.  The reason is that we’re not connected on the internal level.  

No matter what your external choices are for today, be connected emotionally and very surely (perhaps slowly or quickly) the external will begin to align itself with the internal.

How do you practice listening and create space for stillness?

We’ve been culturally indoctrinated to rush, do a thousand things in the day, achieve, and strive.  There’s a belief system that life’s supposed to be a hard mountain to climb, and you eventually reach a pinnacle on the top.  Life isn’t like that.  It’s not about climbing and striving and then getting to the pinnacle, only to realize this pinnacle is at the base of another mountain.  

We can run the rat race and go through the hoops of life, but eventually we’ll come to the realization that life isn’t about doing.  Life is about a deep experience in the present moment.  It could take an illness to realize this or it could take a tragedy.  That’s why I say our children are our biggest teachers, parenting is one of the biggest and most spacious portals to enter the present moment.  

Our children make us stop, pause, and realize they don’t need a fancy mom who has a career or a million dollars, they need us to enter the present moment and deeply connect.  Our children, or some turn of events, will stop us on our path, and teach us how to connect.  This is the goal of life - to be present in the present moment experience and be truly joyful and connected.  If we don’t have this, then what good is all the doing for?  

Our children don’t need a fancy mom who has a career or a million dollars, they need us to enter the present moment and deeply connect.

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How can we be smart living in the now listening to our inner wisdom?

One of the ways to be smart is to understand early on (the earlier the better) that there’s an inner life within each of us that demands wholeness and to be seen and heard.  We can run away from our inner wisdom, our inner voice.  We can pretend, fake it and make it for somebody else, we can desire approval and worth from the outside, but eventually we’re going to come to the realization that if we’re not manifesting our truest authentic inner self, then life is going to force us to do it.  

We’re going to collide with our inauthentic self and realize that it has to be shed.  It’s called the ego, and it’s going to have to be moved to the wayside.  Our fear is going to have to be confronted, befriended, and crumbled in order for us to rise in our truest sense of empowerment.

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The goal of life is to be in the present moment experience and be truly joyful and connected.

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Spotlight on Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Occupation: Clinical Psychologist + Author

Twitter: @DrShefali

Instagram: @DrShefaliTsabary

 

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