Mindfulness...it’s out there in the Universe.
It’s a way of looking at your life, of being IN your life, fully present without judgement. It’s easy and not easy at the same time. It’s a practice and a process. It means sitting with discomfort in the body, in the mind. It means creating distance from emotions, feeling them and letting them go. It’s work and also ease. It’s benefits are supported by science and by noticeable increases in self-love and awareness, deeper connections, empathy and compassion. As a person it’s what we want to cultivate in our own lives and as a parent it’s what we need to help our children cope and flourish in a world full of challenges and highs and lows.
So the question becomes WHO is a mindful parent? It goes without saying that parents love their children and want the best for them whatever that may mean. Being a parent isn’t easy and can bring up fear and a range of emotions that were seemingly never there before children or certainly not to the same degree. The potential for mindfulness however, is there and accessible. All parents have moments of mindfulness whether they call it that or not. There are those intimate moments of connection when you and your child are fully engaged in an interaction..a bedtime story, an incident at school, a time when you are disseminating advice from you experience and your child is giving you their full attention. There are moments when you are experiencing nature, listening to cars go by, dipping your toes in the ocean, tasting something delicious and savoring every bite. These all count as mindful moments because you are fully in them.
However, as parents we know that there are also many times of challenge, sadness, defiance, disengagement, anger and frustration. We know that we and our children have conflict and times when we are overwhelmed and full of anxiety where we judge our feelings, behaviors and actions. This is where the practice comes in,the meditation, finding our breath. This is where we learn to notice our thoughts and feelings in our bodies. Where do we hold our anger, happiness, excitement? When do we judge ourselves and how long do we hang onto those big emotions? When we begin to ask ourselves these questions and work on our own mindfulness practice that is when we can become more mindful people and parents. It takes work and forgiveness. So WHO is a mindful parent? One who has the intention and the willingness to practice and who desires to be present in her own life so she can be present in her relationship with her kids and help them have the same tools. A mindful parent can be every parent. Like anything else it takes practice but it’s so worth it!