Conscious Parenting & The Power of Saying No with Cal Callahan : Episode 282


Hi sister! Welcome back to another episode of A Taylored Adventure to Happiness. If you are new, welcome! If you are a regular, you know I love you! 

Today, I have a deep dive that’s going to totally flip your views on family dynamics. I have so many juicy nuggets that can empower you as you move through life and relationships in a new way. It’s life-changing stuff, so get ready for a new perspective. 

When you think about conscious parenting, you might be thinking about teaching mindfulness, doing yoga with your little ones, discussing emotions openly, and connecting with like-minded conscious parents. Those are all great examples of conscious parenting, but we’re going into something much deeper today. It’s a total flip of perspective.

Our families are often the source of so much pain and baggage, but what if you considered that you needed that pain and baggage to grow? What if you considered that your soul chose your parents and your life experience ahead of time so that it could evolve in exactly the way it needed to. How would that shift how you look at your parents? At your life experience? How would you view your children if you adopted this worldview? Would you still see your children as mere extensions of you, or would you see them as empowered souls who have chosen to spend their time with you?

I covered all of this and more with Cal Callahan, who was an absolute delight to talk to. Cal and I discussed our own experiences growing up, how his parenting mindset has shifted over the years, and how he defines “conscious parenting.”

Who Is Cal Callahan?

Cal is the host of The Great Unlearn, a podcast that questions the roles, ideologies, and systems that most people accept at face value. Cal’s mission is to empower people to choose a new paradigm for themselves — to discard outdated, outmoded, or unwanted social constructs and concepts. He covers everything from money to power to friends, love, and family.

He has a great sense of humor to match his candid personality, and he was open and honest about his personal life. I admire Cal’s dedication to helping people cut the bullshit, raise their vibes, live their dreams, and find their soul’s calling. It’s some really juicy shit. Let’s get started!

Do We Choose Our Parents?

I’m going to start off with one of the most empowering concepts I’ve ever encountered: The idea that we choose our parents. That’s right. We chose our families, even the fucked up ones, because our soul knew exactly what it needed to grow. It knew the lessons it needed. It knew the experiences it needed to have. And it chose ahead of time.

Is it really that hard to believe? Think about it. Do you really think an amazing, evolved, ascending soul, could have just accidentally stumbled into your life experience? Or do you think that maybe it wasn’t just an accident? That it was a decision you made to evolve?

I know it’s a hard concept to take in — it was hard for me to take in initially. But the more time goes by, the more I believe it, and Cal agrees. 

“I do feel that we choose our parents to learn the lessons that we need to learn. … When you look back objectively, it’s like, … some of that was kind of hard to go through for a kid, but it allowed me to work in that space and to understand it, heal it and, and then really have a full idea of what that’s like. … s I was going through my awakening, … I was like, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the way [my parents] showed up.’ And I didn’t feel that way. Those were just words. And it wasn’t until recently where I got it and I felt it.” – Cal Callahan

It’s amazing what this deep understanding does to shift our mindset. The thing is, we did choose certain experiences in our life by choosing soul contracts. Those contracts can have a variety of different purposes. We may choose to marry someone, give birth to someone, be friends with someone, or business rivals with someone. 

Some of the people we choose to hurt us, love us, or parent us are souls we have known for many lifetimes. We decide that we trust and love each other so much that we are going to allow each other to grow together through conflict, pain, or even trauma. It’s an incredibly deep and powerful bond that is not always logically understood 

Cal didn’t always feel this way about things. He shared that his life experience in early childhood was painful, and his father wasn’t a “conscious” parent at all.

“And those were the tools he had to unfortunately use. Rage and an oppressive nature to get me to comply with what he thought a good man — a good boy — did. … My response to that was to overachieve, so work really hard to earn his love, … not understanding that that wasn’t the way to do it necessarily. But, you know, along the way, I developed a lot of really useful skills in being able to create, … gather resources, and create this abundance.” – Cal Callahan

I grew up with a narcissistic father, so I can totally relate. I had to work through some very tough shit. It wasn’t easy. It landed me in anger management classes at a young age. I had pain, suffering, and trauma. It takes a lot of healing and evolution to be able to say that I’m grateful for my parents. I’m grateful for the lessons and I acknowledge that I chose that experience 

It’s an incredibly empowering way to experience our parents. Instead of considering ourselves victims, we come to realize our power of choice and to understand that our soul knew it was strong enough to come into this experience and heal from it.

What Conscious Parenting Looks Like

So what does this mean for parents? Cal shared that he views his kids much differently than many other parents do: 

“I started to see them as individual souls that are here and who happen to be living with my wife and me right now, but they are not extensions of us. They are not little versions of us, even though they may look like us” – Cal Callahan 

It’s an incredibly enlightened way to look at parenting. So many people are operating out of ego when they’re parenting. They’re either overbearing or overprotective, or they have expectations set up that completely miss who that young child actually is. 

Does that mean you let your kid do whatever they want? Have no limits or boundaries and let them make decisions that are way beyond their age? Absolutely not. Cal shared that, of course, he still is a strong, protective force for his kids. He just recognizes that it’s not his place to be super judgmental and overbearing. He doesn’t need to use force, aggression, or overt control to make his kids comply. Instead, he takes a gentler approach and one of open communication: 

“Just developing this trust with them and saying, ‘Hey, I trust you here, and if something does happen where you cross a boundary and it’s not something we agreed upon, then we’ll deal with it. But everything’s good.’ And the biggest thing I want to share with my kids is that they can come to me for anything.” – Cal Callahan

Cal also takes a realistic approach to his teenagers, one that takes into account the realities of teenage life, the limitations parents have, and how one can approach parenting in a healthy way.

“My 15-year-old is super interested in learning about psychedelics. He’s heard me talk about it on my podcast. He knows I’ve done it. He’s asking me all about it. I’ve told him everything, and he’s doing a high school project [about] the therapeutic use of psychedelic medicine, which is awesome, …  but I also know that he’s not just curious about the therapeutic use. Like he wants to try it now. I’m not ready today to say, ‘Sure, let’s, let’s have you drink some Ayahuasca,’ but …  I do see this as an opportunity to not get in that old parent paradigm — ‘You’re too young for us to be talking about this.’” – Cal Callahan

What would it look like for you to approach your parenting with a sense of supporting them instead of alienating them? Of opening up discussion instead of creating barriers between you? How many times have we seen kids who grew up with repressive parents totally rebel? And how many times have we seen mature kids with parents who were kind and open with them within reason? Cal shared his perspective on this: 

“How can I create a container where he can learn from the stuff that I learned from not yet through direct experience? … I think a lot of parents would just be like, ‘How can you talk to your kids about this?’ Well, … he’s got to find out the information somehow, it’s on the internet today — it’s not like when we were growing up — and I’d rather be the guide for him in how he learns and when he has his first experience, rather than leave it to chance.” – Cal Callahan

What are the taboo topics that you couldn’t share with your parents? How did that affect you? Did you learn from direct experience and in a negative way, or were you spared by a parent who was honest enough to guide you through those choices?

What are you bringing to the table with your kids, or your future kids? What baggage do you have that you could potentially project onto them? Did you grew up in a repressed household and feel afraid of sex? Do you think you might project those fears onto your kids? Or have you worked through them?

What do you wish your parents had been honest with you about? What did you feel judged by and how did it affect you? Most importantly, how would you like to flip the script and parent your kids in a new way, regardless of whether you believe they chose you or not?

When we realize the incredible beauty and power that we have as souls, we are liberated. When we realize that when one person heals, everyone heals, we realize our interconnectedness. Do I know if I made a soul contract with my narcissistic father for him to be hurtful? I don’t know for sure. But I’m willing to consider and honor that truth. Remember, we came here to ascend over many lifetimes. We’ve all been good and we’ve all been bad. We have so many connections with other souls here it’s insane, and it’s amazing that we’re healing together.

Learn More About Consciousness and Growth

Damn, that’s some juicy stuff! Cal had plenty more nuggets of inspiration to share about unpacking the bullshit, don’t forget to check it out.

‘When we show up with honesty and integrity with them, they know it. [On the other hand], they know when we’re full of it. They know when we’re telling a story. “ – Cal Callahan

Okay, I’m ready for more of Cal’s insights. Don’t forget to follow him on Insta at Cal Callahan.  

Remember, I love you. I see you. Cheers to parenting in the new paradigm. And remember always choose happiness because, well, why the fuck not? 


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:  

  • What does abundance mean to Cal
  • Taking a better look at why we may be people pleasers and overachievers 
  • Navigating through soul contracts with people who have hurt us 
  • Learning to find the pleasure in the pain
  • How Cal integrates his breakthroughs and healing with his children so they heal too
  • How to start building an open and communicative relationship with your children
  • Releasing the shoulds and relearning what parenting means to you
  • Start getting present with what feels good for you today
  • Learning how to set boundaries and start saying yes to fun
  • The importance of speaking your truth and pausing before saying yes or no
  • Cal’s life-changing awakening that had him stop saying yes to everything

Connect with Cal: Instagram