Mindfulnesses - Finding My Happy Medium
Quote of the Week
“Be. Here. Now.”
WHAT MINDFULNESS MEANT TO ME
I was sitting at a bar on a work trip with a women who is a business manager for Ziva Online. She was talking through the Ziva method and the minute she said, “Mindfulness” I became angry. It’s become such a dirty word to me. I’ve only met a few mom’s who practice “Mindfulness” but it felt so stressful to be around them. Like I wasn’t a good enough mother because what they talked about was so idealistic.
I thought Mindfulness was about being a completely all natural mother, like only using cloth diapers, making all food from scratch, breast feeding only, and more. Which makes me want to lay down and sleep for a year.
When this gal said “Mindfulness” I wanted to jam that word right back down her throat. But I took a breath and heard about the whole practice and it’s possible positive side-effects I decided to step back and look more into it.
So for this newsletter I decided to get over my prejudice and look at what Mindfulness really means and what it could mean for my children.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is defined as the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.. The way this is practiced in Ziva is that before you start meditating you do something Emily Fletcher calls “Come to your senses.” With your back supported, neck free, and eyes closed you do a few breathes - two counts in then four counts out - then you follow each sense; hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting, then smelling. Then you try to do them all at once. It routes you in the present moment.
Remember the phrase, “stop and smell the roses?” It’s that only you want to not only smell the rose, but feel the ground under your feet, taste the air, hear the sounds, and see all the different shades of the rose. Basically an all inclusive experience of actually stopping to smell the rose.
“The greatest impact I’ve seen so far with the students I have worked with has been an increase in compassion for themselves and for others. They learn how to pause and respond to situations rather than react. They have a better understanding of the ways that their brains work and have an increased sense of curiosity and wonder about their own thoughts, emotions, and body sensations.” Danielle Mahoney, certified teacher in mindfulness.
The main problem I ran into when researching mindfulness is that other writers took things to the enth degree. Walk with mindfulness, eat with mindfulness, breath with mindfulness, throw up with mindfulness.
This all sounds exhausting.
Which is why the meditation has been helpful because it’s walking me through being routed in the present and feeling what’s around me in that moment and as I practice it for just a few minutes before meditation twice a day I can feel myself taking more note of it throughout the day with out having it top of mind all. the. time.
Now, I’m not saying to sit your children down twice a day and teach them mindfulness through meditation… they can barely sit still for 15 seconds whether alone 15 minutes.
The other night I started when they were sitting in a bubble bath and I asked them about their senses in relation to the bubbles. They smelled like flowers, they felt fluffy and light, (I skipped taste on this one ;-), they could see them move around the bath and make shapes, and they could hear them making a static sort of sound. Ellie tried to recreate the sound as if hissing like a snake. This isn’t the point. I want to get them to a place where they’re telling me what their senses are telling them, I just thought by starting specifically with an example we would be able to practice and build up to it. They are only 2 :-)
Today my son was being carried by my husband and he looked down and said, “Daddy, what’s that smell?” “Is it a good smell or bad smell?” “[sniffs again] Good smell!” “It’s probably my cologne. Do you like it?” “Yes!” Obviously this isn’t going to help when my son is having a meltdown, but interesting that he’s taking note of the senses around him in a moment.
SO FAR SO GOOD This is a tough week to draw conclusions as our new nanny started and we all know kids are great little performers for new people - but overall there was been more calm in our house overall. Less fighting and frustration all around. I’m calmer which seem to have set a tone. Hoping this is the new normal and not just a moment in time. I’ll keep you in the loop in the weeks to come.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
I mentioned this in my previous post (and please note I have no affiliation with Ziva and am not getting paid to promote them), I’m finding it incredibly helpful as a very busy momma. It makes me stop twice a day and take a breathe (or more). If interested in learning more check out ZivaOnline. Also for you, a book that talks about how mommas can include mindfulness in their day and breaks it down in a way that’s easy, adaptable and fun - like different ways to spend time with her kids during the day with dance parties and pillow fights :-)
Find the methods in your own mindfulness that works for you and apply it to working with your kids. Taking walks and asking what they see and feel. When they’re having BIG FEELINGS give them a hug and take three long deep breathes with them. You’re probably already doing most of these things based on instinct, this idea of “mindfulness” just brings it into your awareness and helps apply it more often.
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