20 Questions — Soul-Style, with Annie Burnside

Welcome back to 20 Questions, friends! I am super excited today to share the 20 Questions platform with a fellow CN blogger, the lovely Annie Burnside. Annie is the author of Soul to Soul Parenting, winner of the Nautilus Book Award, and she is also a teacher and public speaker specializing in helping others to embrace a soul-to-soul approach to life through self-awareness. When I stumbled upon Annie's site through the ChicagoNow network, I knew she'd be a perfect fit here. Please enjoy her answers below to my 20 Questions.

20 Questions — Soul-Style

1. Who are you?

I am Annie Burnside. No taglines, just Annie.

2. What do you do?

I support others who desire greater intimacy with their own soul. In other words, those ready, willing and able to take the leap into self-exploration. I like to call it soul nurturing.

3. Why do you do it?

Spiritual development has been my great personal passion since the age of 19. Eventually, I felt called to share my experience and perspective with others who were drawn to the awakening journey. It is a mutually beneficial exchange in every way. I deepen my own awareness as I assist others in doing the same.

4. How did you find your way to it?

It was a very natural path. I was a stay-at-home mom sharing my passion for the soul in normal conversations when asked about myself. Eventually, a friend invited me to speak at an event. I was supremely nervous, but something deep inside of me said yes. After that talk, I began working as a soul nurturer — writing, speaking, offering soul circles and eventually 2 books — all very much in alignment in size and scope, though, with who I am, where I am on my own awakening journey and my role as a mother, first and foremost. Organic and relatively small reach…

5. How do you feel when you do it?

I feel like I am living true and offering my clearest, highest self to the world. I am a natural “Be-er” more than a “Do-er,” and it is a space for me where the two seamlessly blend. I am at rest even when I am doing. It is perfect work for my soul.

6. What is the joy that keeps you up at night?

Being myself. It took a lot of deepened inner understanding for me to get to a place where I am unapologetically myself. It is absolutely liberating. I desire this for all people, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I do the work I do. That’s really the awakening journey in a nutshell — a sense of self-love and oneness known deep within and then lived.

7. What is one thing you still have to practice every day?

Balancing the doing that naturally comes with being a mom in the modern world and my inner desire to wander, observe nature and people, experience solitude and blend fully into the oneness.

8. What are you always searching for?

After 25 years on a “spiritual” path as a seeker, I now enjoy no particular path. I am much more open to the beauty of an unfolding life — my own, my children’s, all others. Less searching, labeling, need for life to show up a certain way. Last year I recognized that I was no longer a seeker in the way that suited me for so many years. Joy arises naturally. Sadness arises naturally. All passes through.

9. What have you found after searching?

The peace that passes all understanding… After years of searching, relative truth (humanness/duality) and absolute truth (soul as spark of oneness/non-duality) became my integrated reality. It’s now the lens through which I navigate my life. The paradoxes of life are totally accepted in this space where unity and multiplicity are both known as truth without contradiction.

10. How do you stay connected to your inner core of peace?

I am connected to both my humanness and my soul, simultaneously. For me, it has been blending the smaller perspective of the former and the larger perspective of the latter that has brought peace. So, even in the midst of a challenging human situation, the larger perspective is now always there to a certain degree. Sometimes one is primary and the other secondary. It depends on the circumstance, but they are both always available as a blended perspective.

11. What makes you feel led or guided?

Intimacy with my own soul, which comes from lots of quiet, solitude, walking, biking, time by water and in nature, journaling and listening to music. I place a very, very high importance on soul time. My life is typically scheduled around soul time more than anything else other than my family. I tend to be task-specific rather than multi-task-oriented. I am a simple person. My life is very streamlined. I would choose sitting on a park bench over shopping. I know myself. Everyone is different.

12. What do you do when you can’t hear God (or the Universe, or Source, or your intuition) speaking to you?

All of the above until my channels have been cleared. The difference now, though, is that I know it hasn’t somehow disappeared. It is who I am and just a bit shaded over at the moment due to an uneven alignment between relative and absolute reality.

13. What is the difference between resistance and fear?

That’s a tough question because we must feel the difference for ourselves, and that depends on how much we have cleared psychic debris (subconscious, past conditioning) to know the difference. Sometimes fear is feeling excited and ready, and sometimes it’s a true red flag. Sometimes resistance is feeling that we are not enough, and sometimes it’s an inner acknowledgment of worthiness and we truly desire to simply be as we are. In my world, sitting and petting a dog is as valuable and important and worthy as running a huge corporation. So for me, leaving fear and resistance has meant doing less, not more, in that I know I am worthy no matter what so the need to continually prove it (either consciously or subconsciously) has dissipated to a large degree. Life looks a lot different when what we do stems from wholeness rather than shadow. It often is simpler yet fuller.

14. Where does the idea come from that we are broken, unworthy or undeserving?

Ultimately, we are whole and always have been. And yet it is also true that, when enmeshed in the relative, human landscape, we often must move through a phase of “clearing” that appears as self-improvement/self-exploration to remember our wholeness. It may seem contradictory, but there is a beautiful cross-space between the two (and in all things on the relative plane) that create the opening for peace in the paradox.

15. How do you move past that to connect with others on a soul level?

Train yourself to connect soul-to-soul rather than role-to-role. If you even sit with this idea quietly for a short time, it can be felt and is self-explanatory.

16. What most fosters a healthy development of self-awareness?

Time alone without the need to prove self-worth through all of the ways that we seek to be liked, normal, productive and successful.

17. What comes after awareness — should we expect change, or is awareness the end goal?

Awareness deepens, widens and shifts as we go. There is no end goal except to be fully yourself, love yourself and live true. This alone, once uncovered, will uplift the world through personal integrity. Laws can’t force integrity. It must eventually come from within.

18. How can parents nourish a greater spiritual connection or curiosity in their children?

Parents must first come to know themselves as mentioned above, and then they naturally offer it to their children. A high respect for an individual unfolding life within the oneness is the best “formula” I know for good parenting. Truth and compassion…

19. How can I live my most authentic life, without the fear of being judged?

It’s an ongoing process to become more intimate with your own soul. Paradoxically, it is a journey of shedding, not adding. The taglines begin to fall away. The closer we get to one in every way, the closer we are to truth.

20. How can I remember to bring awareness to the literal table, when I’m eating, whether it’s mealtime, for nourishment or in a moment when I’m really “hungry” for something else?

Breathe. Smile. Breathe. This repeated sequence can hopefully, if even by a degree, shift any situation into one that’s filled with a little more love, acceptance, gratitude and awe.

Thank you, Annie! I do feel like she just opened a little window into her soul for us, and I so, so appreciate that. Sometimes I can get so absorbed in my own spiritual path as Annie mentioned above, I forget that there are people out there who have zero experience with this language, these concepts, the truth. If this is new to you today, leave me a comment below. I would love to hear how it affected you and if you're interested in hearing more.

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