How are you? This is the first (of hopefully) a series of posts I want to do on mindfulness, relaxation and connecting with your authentic self. I have talked about relaxation and meditation previously here and here.
I am one who is always up for trying things out, researching, testing, changing and hopefully evolving. I don’t like being stuck and feeling like I am right or have all the answers. Recently, I have been trying out meditation and different relaxation techniques with awesome results so I want to share what I have learnt with you all. And I am hoping to share it in a series of posts with simple, easy to apply exercises. Little things can make a big difference I am finding.
This little exercise is really one that has been taught to me by my children. Sometimes kids are really good at doing things we are not. It is like we have trained ourselves out of experiencing the moment. Children really are good at engaging in the moment, noticing what is right before their eyes and getting pleasure from the simple things. They are also wonderful at being inspired by the moment and coming up with amazing and wonderful ideas for creative play.
My girls are really creative and love the moment. This is awesome to watch. As a parent though it can become frustrating when you are trying to get somewhere on time and you have 3 different and equally spirited children in their own worlds. Trying to get them dressed, ready, out the door and doing what we “need” to be doing can be extremely challenging. It is really easy as a parent to go into fight or flight mode and start getting upset. Start feeling like it is an emergency. Start building anxiety and tension and then start taking it out on your children. And then we wonder why our kids are resistant and anxious and express this battlefield of emotions back at us!
A while back we were having a lot of this go on. One day on the way to the park I was getting stressed because they were dawdling. And it hit me. We were heading to the park for them. We didn’t have to be anywhere at this particular time or for any reason. So why was dawdling a problem. Everyone was safe, everything was okay. One of my daughters wanted to spend awhile staring at the flowers and share the experiences with her sisters (and with me if I would open my mind to it)! Why was I rushing them? Because rushing was a habit for me, I couldn’t enjoy the little journey to the park because I was so set on the destination.
I made the decision to stop rushing them when we had luxury of taking our time. And you know what it made it much easier to get them out the door when we were in a rush. And it made me better in those situations where we did need to be somewhere quickly for me to stay calm and realise even if we were late it wasn’t an emergency. It would all be okay and getting stressed was not going to help. Watching them live their life has made me a better parent and live my life more fully.
Being in the moment and being present can be practised and I really think it helps to constantly remind ourselves to do this. We have so many distractions taking ourselves out of the moment cough cough phones, that it really does help to consciously bring yourself into the moment.
The key to it is finding a time (or making a time) when you are least rushed, when you don’t have to get something done and you can set aside even a few minutes. Set an alarm daily (or even once or twice a week to begin with). Stop and relax your jaw, relax your neck and focus on breathing deeply using your stomach. Look at what is around you. What can you see? What colours are present? What can you observe about the world that you are usually too busy to care about? What does it smell like? What can you hear? And how do you feel? Do you like what you hear/ see/ smell? Pick up an item, touch a flower, your quilt, whatever it might be that is near you. How does it feel? How does the feeling make you feel? What do you hope to get out of the moment? Set an intention, continue to breathe and thank yourself for taking a moment out of the day.
Do you ever focus on the moment? Does it help you relax? Does it help you feel more connected to you or perhaps someone else you are sharing the moment with? Have you ever learnt anything remarkable from watching someone else?