As the dust of the election starts to settle, I have found myself realizing just how distracted I have been. This year has been many things. While I have been totally grateful to be home full time with my two little ones, I realize that my mind has not been fully here. And it’s no wonder! Everything on the global and national stages have needed a lot of processing and action. Everything in the small bubble of our home has needed re-organizing, then re-re organizing to fit the demands of a new baby and the logistics of the pandemic. The result has been a lot less “presence” while I’ve been present with my children.
There is always an ebb and a flow with all our practices. Now, I feel the flow returning. I feel I have the space to re-engage with a presence practice at home. I want to invite you to join me. This is not a 14 day challenge. It is not an opportunity to judge ourselves or to add another stressor to our log list of stressors. It is not another item on the to-do list.
What it I’m offering is simply an invitation to join me in doubling down on being present while being present with our children. For February I plan to take 5 whole minutes every day to practice presence with each child. To me this simply means that when I am with my child I am doing whatever I am doing with them as a mindfulness practice. I am not making my grocery list in my mind, or planning the first thing I will do once they go to sleep, or re-organizing the play room one more time so that now that my son can stand it is still baby proof. I am not unloading the dishwasher or making dinner or watering the plants. Those things do need doing. But for 10 minutes each day (5 for each child), I plan NOT to do them. But simply to breathe. Breathe and just be. Together.
The practice will be to really let the fullness of my child enter into my awareness the way I would focus on the breath or on the sensations of a pose in my yoga or meditation practice.
When I was a teacher I did this regularly for each of my students. So many gifts came from simply giving my full presence to a child. I’m excited to begin cultivating those gifts in my home again with my own children.
If you need a reason to double down on presence, here are a few. You will benefit your own wellbeing. This is basically a mindfulness moment and you can expect similar benefits as you would from any mindfulness practice. You will benefit your relationship with your child. When we are present with each other, we are finally, really connecting. And connection is the birthplace of everything meaningful in a relationship. You will benefit your child. Your full positive attention is the most important “nutrient” you ever can give them.
If you feel to write me and let me know you are in – awesome! I would love to know you are practicing with me though we are apart. If you don’t write, but do still engage even every once in a while in this practice… still awesome. We do what we can do! We are in this together!