This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by hosted by Kelly of Becoming Crunchy and Zoie of TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindfulness mean to them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
For those of you intimately familiar with my blog, you know that I have been working through a 20 week Mindful Mothering Challenge. Clearly, being a mindful mother and practicing mindfulness in general is important to me. I won't waste space rehashing everything I have already worked through in the 17 challenges I have tackled thus far and instead, in the spirit of this wonderful blog carnival, I will give you a peek into my world of meditation…a practice I feel is extremely important if I am to do any “inner work.”
Meditation is something I feel every mama needs to do. It is also something that I feel should be a natural, daily or multi-daily occurrence and not something that is just another “to-do” to check off the list. If meditation becomes a chore or a task then it loses its authenticity.
Meditation is a way to help mamas come back to center, to rebalance their energies. It is a way to focus thoughts, feelings, emotions, and energy. It is a way to connect with your mind, heart, and soul. It is a way to reflect on the present, the moment, the day, as well as consider and prepare for the future. Meditation affords mamas the space to focus on their own needs, the needs of their children, the needs of their significant other, the needs of other family and loved ones.
For me, meditation is not always a quiet, serene, zen-moment. It can look different depending on my needs and the needs of my family. Ideally, I try to capture one ten minute block of time at some point in the day when I can be all alone with my thoughts, in a space I create that offers peace and tranquility. If I can light candles, surround myself with essential oils and healing crystals, breath in the positivity and breath out the negativity and challenges of the day, then I am really in my state of mindful bliss. But this does not always happen. Life's demands sometimes thwart my ideal meditative time.
So how do I embrace meditation in what I consider to be a less than perfect setting? Here are some of my “grab and go” meditative opportunities:
- While preparing a meal, I focus on my breath with each chop of a vegetable;
- While washing dishes, I reflect on three things I am thankful for;
- While walking Tiny to the park, I breathe in the world around me and let nature cleanse away any negativity I am carrying with me;
- While nursing Tiny to sleep, I give careful consideration to her current developmental needs and how I can better meet them. I also reflect on my mindfulness as Tiny's mother and whether or not I am fulfilling my role as a gentle, peaceful mother;
- While laying with Tiny in bed as she settles into her daily nap, I dig deep and evaluate the relationship I have with my husband and how we can be a stronger couple;
- While Tiny plays and I fold laundry, I concentrate on relaxing one part of my body and allow it the freedom of momentary rest;
- When I settle into bed for the night, I allow my mind to rest. (Ok, so that one isn't always possible.)
Personally, I think that allowing your mama mind to rest is crucial to mindful mothering. I do not know a single mama who does not overthink everything. Our minds cannot help but wander towards thoughts of this scenario and that scenario. Our minds second guess everything. Our minds compare our decisions, methods, and natural tendencies to what the rest of the mamas out there are doing. Our minds are clogged with research about this, blog posts about that, books about this parenting topic and that health issue. A mama's mind is CLOGGED up and a clogged up mind makes for a very “unmindful” mama.
So, we need to grab meditative moments when and where we can and help unclog our minds. We need to give ourselves permission to clear our minds and let go at the end of the day.
Mindfulness through meditation isn't always fancy. It isn't always serene. It isn't always lengthy. It isn't always in the ideal setting. However, a lot of small meditative moments can come together into a lot of inner work which leads to a more mindful mama. And really, that is what matters most.
P.S. Stay tuned for a future post on how to meditate with a toddler. Oh yes…it can be done.
Visit the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- An Alternative Approach to Parenting Mindfully Through Present Moment Awareness Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers an experience of present moment awareness as a pathway to mindful parenting.
- Define: Mindful Alicia C. at McCrenshaw describes the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings for Engaged Buddhism and attempts to describe how she can apply them to her non-Buddhist life on her new journey toward mindfulness.
- This is what mindfulness looks like in my life Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes what mindfulness looks like in her life in the form of poetry.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Becoming a Mindful Mother Erin at it's OK shares her definition of mindfulness, and her struggle to develop a regular practice.
- How Meditation Makes Me a More Mindful Mother Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her methods for sneaking meditation into each and every day in an effort to dig deep and be the most mindful mother possible.
- A Simple Practice Kat at My Mental Oddities outlines a simple practice with children
- Our Family Mission Statement Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how living mindfully means living intentionally. She created her Family Mission Statement to help her family stay focused on their goals and values.
- I REALLY Miss Being Mindful! Tracie at Purposeful Practices shares what it's like to find and then lose your mindfulness practice.
- My Job Made Me a Mindful Mother Amy at Anktangle tells a story about how a mindfulness practice she used to utilize in her job as a nurse still impacts the way she mothers her son today.
- Now Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shows how mindfulness is all about living in the moment.
- Stepping into the Unknown To Rachael at The Variegated Life, mindfulness is a way of stepping into the unknown.
- Derailed Kelly of Becoming Crunchy explores what mindfulness looks like in her new, somewhat more hectic life.
- Mindful Mama: The Places That Scare Me Zoie at TouchstoneZ learns to stop struggling by being present with uncomfortable realizations.