Thursday, September 22, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice: Becoming a Mindful Mother

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival 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.

What mindfulness means to me:
1. Awareness.
2. Being in the moment. 
3. Responding to the present with a sense of perspective, rather than reacting based on past conditioning.
4. Being conscious of what is beyond the material world and our tiny individual perspectives. Of the interconnectedness of all things, and our access to universal consciousness. 

Being mindful results in:
  • Not worrying.
  • Not getting upset about minor obstacles (or even major ones, ideally).
  • Not being attached to certain outcomes, or things being a certain way.
  • Accepting change, embracing the unexpected.
  • Not getting stressed, or at least responding appropriately to deactivate it when you do.
  • Seeing people and things as they are: seeing the beauty, perfection and divinity in others, and not projecting your own agendas and fears onto others.
  • Trust in yourself, others and life itself.
  • (As a parent): Being responsive to your child's needs, without imposing unnecessary limitations on their growth and development.
  • Being attentive to your own intuition, your child's wisdom, and whatever new information presents itself.

Being mindful takes practice:
I expect it comes easily to those raised in mindfulness, who have had mindful practices modelled to them, who have been taught to connect and respond, rather than judge and react. This is how I want to raise my son. But it does not come easily to me. 

I have all sorts of resistance to the world we live in. It gets me down. I get caught up and I suffer. I expected motherhood to be a wonderful practice in mindfulness. And it is. Koan reminds me to be present and to respond to objects and events without preconceptions. He is an amazing guide. But I also struggle with postpartum depression, and I often get overwhelmed with everything life keeps throwing at me. 

I know that my daily tasks don't define me. That existence is more than how it appears in the material world. That I am more than my body, my situation and my mind. I know these things, but in struggling to meet my own needs and those of my family, I forget.

Daily practice:
I've been trying to develop a daily practice. I find it hard to stick to a disciplined plan, like meditating every day. But maybe it doesn't really matter what I do, as long as each day I check in with my connection to the whole universe. With my true consciousness. To bring that deep universal consciousness to the front of my mind. When I do this every day, as obstacles and irritations arise, I can meet them with calm. 

I have been practicing this lately, either in my mind or on paper at the park as Koan plays. Or sometimes I even get up early and meditate for five or ten minutes while everyone else sleeps. On those days I feel strong. It seems like a regular mindfulness routine might yet develop for me, as it begins to come more naturally. Because the more I practice, the more it begins to feel like who I am. And the more I am sure that my son will know that it is at least an option, if not the only way to live. 

Do you think mindfulness needs to be actively practiced? How do you do it?

Mindful Mama Blog CarnivalVisit 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: