Children Desire our Consciousness
I connected with Sara from Sarnia, Canada through a group called FWFG Kula. It is a community of people from around the world who not only love to practice yoga physically but work on taking the lessons we learn on the mat out into the world. Sara's words are just what parents need to read to know that mindful parenting can be as simple as putting away distractions and just focusing on really listening to your child. I also love that Sara uses prayer to keep her on the mindful path. Sara explains that mindful parenting and spirituality are both daily practices.
What does mindful parenting look like?
It looks like playing with my son, being actively involved with what he is interested in. My son is 3 and a half...so I feel most "mindful" when I have my phone put someplace out of reach, TV is off, and I am not distracted with my own agenda. It's certainly something I aspire to and often feel I need to keep reminding myself of the precious time I am given with him. It also looks like peace, and calm in our interactions. Not always the reality but what I again aspire to. It looks and sounds like me taking time to listen to him, and give him answers to questions he has. It looks like not rushing him along in frustration (again this is sometimes what happens but I am trying to be aware of it and take steps to come back to what's most important and slow down and connect with my son). It looks like warm hugs and loving connections like eye contact and meaningful conversations that show I care about his day and his feelings (all kinds). It looks like me apologizing when I have blown it and lost my cool or get frustrated and take it out on him unfairly. It looks like me acknowledging when I am distracted and not giving him the attention he deserves. It looks like setting an example for how we ask about each other's day and listen with questions and curiosity. Finally, setting an example of how we treat others in the good manners we use, or ways of speaking kindly. Also acknowledging and apologizing when we act or speak harshly.
I am constantly working on this and having good and bad moments everyday.
What are the spiritual or mindful practices you do for yourself?
I find comfort in my personal relationship with God through prayer and reading or watching devotional or inspirational texts including scripture. I find the more time I carve out to pray throughout my day over all types of things, big and small, the more I feel supported and strengthened for my day as a mom. This also helps me in my relationships and with work etc. I have enjoyed practicing guided meditations and I also like to practice gratitude on a daily basis. I practice yoga asana daily (Yoga with Adriene), which has become very spiritual for me. I can see how the physical practice and focus on the breath helps me to relax and release any pent up or negative feelings or emotions on my mat.
I find all of these things kind of go hand in hand for me and build on each other.
Why is it important for you to practice being a mindful/conscious parent?
It's important to me to be a mindful/conscious parent because I can see how much more meaningful my interactions with my son are when I have that intention. It's obvious to me that when I am distracted or not being mindful that its hurtful and detrimental to him, he is getting ripped off as kid and he deserves better.
He desires my consciousness and I do too because when I can be mindful I am less likely to react in negative ways, and I am better at keeping my cool and the peace in our house.
Also I see how easy and tempting it is to want to go through life being distracted and how it's just such a shame to not fully experience the life and the people right in front of us by being present.
Do you have any advice for a parent looking to lead a more mindful life, what is one thing they could do today?
Keep on trying everyday, throughout the day even when you feel like you are failing at times. Pray and ask for help in this area and practice meditation and yoga daily.
One thing you could do today: put down your phone, turn off the TV.