How Meditation Changed My Parenting

How Meditation Changed My Parenting

I still can’t believe that couple of days ago I saw this on my screen:

current-streak

I’ve been meditating every single day for the past 365.

I started this practice for three of reasons:

  • I spent my entire existence overthinking stuff. Most of life, for me, happens in my head. Exhausting inner dialogue, unspoken assumptions, overanalyzing, unworthiness, “what if”s and measuring up or down to other people. The idea of a quiet mind was the sexiest thing I could imagine.
  • My husband kept on telling me that I have become angrier over the years. I would lash out quickly. My family was suffering, and I was also suffering from the associated guilt. (more on the anger later)
  • I have been listening to the Tim Ferris Show since it started. It seemed that a vast majority of high performers and many people I’ve been admiring have some mindfulness practice. If they figured this out one, I could only learn from the best.

Resistance though was still there.
I fully embraced it only in the moment I gave it a new definition:

Meditation is SLOWING DOWN AND PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT IS HAPPENING, AS IT IS HAPPENING.

Or even simpler:

Meditation is paying attention.

Also, when technology catches up and comes up with something as easy, fun and not at all intimidating that is Headspace, I was hooked.

Some helpful things for beginners:

1. Make it easy not to quit

When you start, choose the path of least resistance. For me, as I started, that meant meditating as soon as I opened my eyes. I would grab my phone, put the headsets on and start. I wasn’t even upright in bed. I was lying down, still sleepy, but fully willing to make it a part of my day. And with ten-month-old twins who weren’t sleeping through the night and a three-year-old who was waking up every other night, that was the only time I had.
After about a month, I started being upright.
A while after that, I was setting up an alarm earlier so that I can meditate.
I added to that enjoying a cup of tea before the kids were up.
After one year, I wake up at 4:45 am almost every day, and the morning routine is the most cherished part of my day. I drink my tea, meditate, write and sit in silence. When the kids are finally awake, I can welcome them in my day that is already going well – my needs are met.
But it didn’t start like that. It started with me half sleeping and believing that I am not a morning person.

2. Reward your beginner self

For as long as I remember, gold stars were a perfectly good reason to continue doing something. I loved acknowledgment, progress, and ticking boxes. Let’s not get deeper into overanalyzing that, but I was thrilled that my app knew I needed it. Initially, this is what got me going forward to reach the next milestone.

run-streak-targets

3. It’s ok to cheat

The minimum guided meditation set is 10 minutes. The maximum is 20. I chose 15 after I tried them both for a while. That was my sweet spot. But there were days when my kids didn’t sleep well, or when we traveled or simply when 15 minutes just seemed unachievable. During those days of overwhelm, I just followed a 3 minutes SOS session that was enough to ground me and recalibrate how the day was progressing. 3 minutes make a difference, especially during the days when even those minutes for myself seemed like a luxury.

And now to the deeper lessons, I finally understood after meditation was part of my life for a while.

4. Permanence is just an illusion

My anger… it consumed me. I would get so pissed at something that somebody else did, that I would run with those thoughts for days, analyzing, guilting, feeling hurt and entitled. Exhausting.
Through meditation, I learned that I have a choice to identify with my thoughts or my emotions and start riding with them or acknowledge them as something that will pass. All feelings pass, all thoughts pass, provided I am still, recognize them for what they are (just a thought, just a feeling) and then let them go.
Allow me to use a metaphor, even though I suck at metaphorizing.
Imagine a blue sky. That’s me. Sometimes, a cloud will come. This can be a thought or a feeling. Then, more will join. If I focus too much on the clouds, I can start assuming I am no longer a blue sky; I am a cloudy sky. But underneath all the clouds, the sky will always be blue. Clouds are not the permanence that I should fear. The clouds will always pass. Thoughts and feelings will always pass if I don’t engage in them.

This is something I still struggle to do, but now I am aware of it and believe it to be true.

5. I can slow down time

Living in my head for such a long time meant I had very little REAL time to see my surroundings and appreciate what was happening in my life. I was constantly rehearsing the past and projecting the future, but almost didn’t notice what was happening under my nose.
Surprisingly, I found that once I started to notice the exact moment of present and free it from judgment or expectations, that moment seemed to last longer and be richer.

The smell of my baby’s skin after playing in the afternoon sun.
The hundred shades of brown in my daughter’s hair.
The smell of garlic softening in butter.
The chubby arms tightly hugging around my neck.
Love.

And for me, now, happiness is built on those moments.

6. Perfection doesn’t (and shouldn’t) exist

More than that, perfect or continuous stillness and silence doesn’t exist and even if it did, it can’t be fully enjoyed. We are creatures of change.
It took me a while to realize that “perfection” is not only unachievable but “the pursuit of perfect” is probably our worst enemy.

7. Bouncing back

The miracle is not that I don’t get angry anymore or that I manage to gracefully let go of hurtful events by breathing deeply two times.
The miracle is that I’m aware of it happening and I decide to come back to my blue sky faster. And it gets quicker and quicker.

Meditation became one of the reasons for feeling great, happy and in perspective every single day.

Do you follow a mindfulness practice?


Who needs to slow down and pay attention? Share...

How Meditation Changed My Parenting 

Meditation is slowing down and paying attention to what is happening, as it is happening. 

A great reason to feel great, happy and in perspective every day. 

Click here to Pin or right click to download + share on Instagram.

 

Join the discussion!

1 Comment

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field