As I get close to launching my ultimate 8 week experience, Design Your Life, I drilled down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day. At the centre of it I found myself. Specifically a version of myself where I spend time filling my cup. So I decided to use my next few blog posts to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums. Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side. I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.
Meet my second guest blogger, Debbie. She is a Spiritual Alchemist with over 20yrs experience in the mindbody field. I spoke to Debbie because I have experienced that it is terribly hard to be mindful when you are a mum. We are pulled in so many different directions that I reckon our brains actually rewire to always thinking about the next thing we have to get done, instead of enjoying being in the moment.
In this blog Debbie shares her experience and a 1 minute meditation you can do anywhere at any time.
Mindfulness is a term bandied about frequently these days. But what is it?
It is consciously putting full focus and attention on what you are doing or engaging in. Being present in the moment.
With its roots in meditative practices, Buddhist teachings see mindfulness as a path to enlightenment as one discovers that our mind is the cause of all our suffering. One then works to master the mind through being present and the noticing of the Monkey Mind or the mind‘s need and desire to be attached – to outcomes, behaviours, beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and stories.
There are many studies that confirm the positive impact of mindfulness on our well-being and our worrisome minds. Sounds like a panacea for today’s world and the holy grail of calm huh?
It certainly is, but how does that fit for a mum who is struggling to juggle motherhood, business, finance, relationships, while still making sure the washing’s done and dry, dinner’s nutritious, cooked and eaten, the kids are happy, well and confident, and the house is not sinking under a foot of dust and grime?
How does it fit, when we feel like we have nothing left to give? And don’t know where to turn?
Less stress and topping up the tank
Taking a minute or two can more ‘space’ to breathe and be more of the mum you want to be – an empowered mum with more love to share. It helps our mind settle. Read – Less stress hormones = Happier mum → Happier children → Happier family → Happier community → Happier world!
We all know of the truth of making sure we top up our tank first as mothers, but it can be incredibly hard to do so. Our instinctive, unconscious actions are to attend to children/family first.
But remember the adage of the oxygen mask in a plane crash? We are no help to our children (or anyone else), if we have no oxygen and die. Implementing mindfulness practices are one way to support ourselves – giving our souls oxygen if you like, so we can support those we love in the chaos, muddle and joy of motherhood.
To help meet the challenge of everyday pressure combined with the overlay of motherhood try my micro-meditation here. This meditation is one way to top up your tank and your soul. It is easy to implement, short – under a minute, and with the exception of driving a vehicle, can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime!
Expand time, create space; take a moment
By putting our full attention on what is directly in front of us, we potentially create more space and time. I know it doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.
Think back to a time where instead of finishing a task and then giving your children attention, you did it the other way around. I remember trying to complete some university papers when my son was one or two, and saying hang on, hang on as he vied for my attention. The times I stopped what I was doing and sat with him (and Thomas the tank engine!) for 10 – 15mins then gave me a full half an hour (magic!) to get my words in place for submission. You may have had a similar experience of giving your children full attention for ten or fifteen minutes which then freed up half an hour for you to get those accounts done or phone calls made.
As a mother taking a moment whenever you can, to be present, creates an opportunity to come back to centre. And sometimes we need to take it whenever and wherever we can. I remember taking an extra moment or two in the toilet to sit and centre as sometimes this was the only time I had any space when my kids were younger!
What might mindfulness look like for an Empowered Mum?
- Planning time to be fully present when the kids come home from school or kindy so their well is filled with your compassion and attention (even 5 – 10 minutes each child will work wonders)
- I have found one of the keys to mindfulness is to surrender. Surrendering the shoulds, musts and need to’s
- Exploring your ability to expand time by intentionally focusing on and enjoying the task at hand – yes even the dishes, cleaning the shower!
- Try my one minute micro meditation to bring yourself back into centre regularly throughout the day
Further resources you might find useful:
Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle are well-known proponents of the power of now and being present and are the authors of many books.
Sarah Napthali has written several books on Buddhism and motherhood which may also be of help.
Mindfulness is a growing movement and there are many mindfulness/meditative groups worldwide. Check out the web for something close to you.
See more of Debbie at her Facebook page!