Planning a summer of fun-filled events that set you and your families up for heartfelt meaningful moments is one thing.

Living that way is another.

Somehow us Moms have become experts at planning and anticipating the fun, but when it happens not-the-way-it-should, we feel disappointed and look back with regret, or begin to look ahead at something else with anticipation {or worse, anxiety}.

{This is the magnificent work of our busy Mama monkey mind.}

Just think of that family holiday you so looked forward to…then you are there and your kids are acting up, you are reliving that dysfunctional family dynamic again, your partner is miserable. And you just want to go home and put the kids back in camp.

Summer as a whole can look and feel like this. You look forward to it with excitement. But after week 2 of being on your own with the kids, you are counting down to back-to-school fever.

Being present, in the moment without judgement does not always come naturally. {I’m the first to admit it!} And it’s doubly hard when we don’t have the time and space to ourselves that our sanity desperately needs {a.k.a. summer}.

This is why I thought that a few simple tips to support us through the summer months might help. These are inspired by one of my all-time favorite parenting books: Buddhism for Mothers, by Sarah Napthali.

These tips are great to practice when emotions take over – guilt, regret, anxiety, worry – are some of my favorites {ha!}.

They are also good go-to’s when you fall out of balance, or go off track, or make that mistake and start ruminating into self-criticism. But best of all they are super preventative techniques that will help keep you grounded, with perspective.

Here you go…

TIP #1:: The ONE-MINUTE GRAB

When you are able to find time to yourself or in a calm connection with your children which lasts about one minute. Use this precious time to practice mindfulness of the breath.

Simply be where you are – in the kitchen at the sink, in the garden hanging clothes on the line, upstairs folding clothing, blowing bubbles with your children, walking, at the local park holding a child’s hand –  STOP, feel your breath, your connection to the earth, the air on your skin.

Simply BE. Simply FEEL. Click To Tweet

When I do this, I am amazed (as is Napthali) of the calming result this has; the way it can actually transform my perspective from a frustrated one to a positive and lighter one. See what happens for you.

{Naphtali even suggests that you will feel even better if you adopt the half-grin of the Buddha when you do this.}

TIP #2:: INTEGRATE MEDITATION INTO YOUR DAILY GRIND

We all know that being a mindful Mama isn’t easy. Finding time to sit in meditation sometimes feels impossible, especially now that kids are out of school.

But for many meditation teachers, sitting meditation is not necessary. They actually see meditation as a ‘dynamic activity’ that is linked into our daily chaos – into our daily activities and interactions. These teachers suggest that we use stimuli around us to root our minds in the moment.

So here’s the deal…identify one or two activities you do daily and use these as opportunities to meditate.

mindful tips 1These might be:

  • washing the dishes
  • sweeping the floor
  • folding the laundry
  • drinking our tea
  • walking with your child.

Immerse yourself in the activity, holding a complete physical awareness of what it is you are doing. If you are washing the dishes, be aware of “the movement of your hands, the warmth or coolness of the water, picking a dish up, soaping it, rinsing it, putting it down.”

Say to yourself calmly, soothingly: “I am washing the dishes, nothing else is happening right now.” And breathe.

This full immersion in your activity à la Karate Kid may help you to extend mindfulness to more chores and interactions with your family. It will support a sense of calm in and around you.

TIP #3 SURRENDER INTO INTERRUPTION WITH GRACE

In her book, Napthali spoke with Tibetan Lama Choedak, a father of three who made the point that parenting and practice should be treated as one.

In other words, if your child does interrupt you halfway through your one-minute grab or your mindful sweeping, allow your concentration to flow smoothly, without resistance and mental comment, to what is required of you in that moment.

Continue being in the now. Click To Tweet

yoga interruptedChoedak says: The carry-over of the practice is more important than the formal practice itself…”

So, in practical terms, don’t yell “GET OUT! I’M FINDING MY INNER PEACE!!” at the top of your lungs when a child tries to sneak into your meditation space or yoga pose at the wrong moment. {Not that I’ve done that…ever…}

Invite awareness of your transition from solitary mindful moment to shared mindful moment with needing child; take a deep breath and practise switching from being mindful in one space, one action into another.

This week’s simply mindful Mama summer tip is about surrendering to interruption with grace…to practice continuing to be in the now with child.

Oh, and by the way, this is a great tip for anytime of year, really…I can’t actually think of a time when mothers are not interrupted all.the.time. In fact all of these are great tips for any time of year, but let’s stay focused on the here and now…

This summer. This month. This week. This day. This moment.

Right now.

Delicious.

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