There’s one thing I noticed pretty quickly when I started to practice mindfulness meditation. And it’s something I come back to ALOT.
In a lot of ways, it’s the heart of my practice.
It’s about relationships. In particular, it’s about relating to my six-year old daughter. She’s smart and sassy and she’s a real joker.
Having a little girl grants me a lot of gifts. For example, she’s taught me how to play again. How to get down on the ground and relate at kid-level. It’s a whole different world!
Avoiding Relationship, Avoiding Ourselves
But it’s also forced me to see the many many ways that I run from my relationships. Of course, I don’t think of myself in that way because I’m generally an extrovert.
And that’s what I’m talking about.
Through my practice, I started to notice that sometimes I just disconnect from my little person. Usually, it’s because I’m overwhelmed.
At those times, it’s easier to go into a rote response and stop genuinely relating to her as a little human being with very big feelings.
I go on autopilot and become a two-dimensional rule enforcer. And the thing is, kids really feel this kind of disconnect.
Take a Breath, Stop Running, Get Curious
Mindfulness meditation has helped me not only to identify this pattern, which is already a win.
But it’s also given me tools to stop checking out when I feel overwhelmed and when the demands of parenting push me outside my comfort zone.
Mostly, it comes down to reconnecting to my breath and remembering that I’m alive right now and right here in this moment. And instead of running from that feeling of overwhelm, I turn towards it and get curious.
From that place, I’m connected again. To myself and to my daughter.
And it’s always amazing what I find there. There are resources available to us in these moments when we come back to our own ground of being. Creativity, flexibility, ease of being.
The dignity of facing myself squarely…with compassion.
Meditation for Life
This move is simple, yes. But not always easy. That’s why we practice!
Practicing mindfulness meditation is as much about what happens off the pillow as on it. Maybe even more so.
As I hope it’s clear from this example, we practice on the meditation cushion so that we can remember not to run away from our experience in moments like these when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, scared, or enraged.
We’ll be learning how to cultivate these skills in Coming Home: A 5-week Mindfulness Meditation Course.