Welcome to the First Mindful Mama Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindful practices mean to them, how they parent mindfully, obstacles to mindful practice and experiences along the way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I became a mother a mere fifteen months ago and, while I positively love this life, I’ve found that it makes for a great many demands on my time. I remember, prior to motherhood, when issues would arise and I would actually be able to spend time thinking about them. I might respond to a situation in a way that I didn’t like, so I would stop and think about what I could have done differently. These days, I’m faced with situations of one kind or another in increasingly rapid succession, and not only do I sometimes respond in ways that are less than ideal, but I find that I don’t have a whole lot of time to stop and reflect on those responses.
Mothering aside, the past year brought up some deeply painful and challenging issues in my life that I have been unable to write about here because the stories are not mine to share with the world. Suffice it to say that there has been a great deal weighing on my heart. Between the demands of motherhood and the challenges of these other issues, I have spent days here and there feeling like I was barely staying afloat, drifting in a sea of overwhelm. I am thankful for those days because they showed me that something had to change.
While pregnant, I had prepared for my daughter’s birth using the Hypnobabies Home Study Course
, which included a number of different relaxation scripts. I uploaded these to my ipod and spent some quiet time each night listening to them and focusing on relaxing my body and reprogramming my mind. This practice helped to all but eliminate my fears related to childbirth, not by making me forget them, but by allowing me to face them head on, and then replace them with facts and positive images instead. At the height of my new mother overwhelm, I began searching for resources that would help me relax in a similar way.
I did some looking around and decided to purchase The Mindfulness Workbook: A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Fear and Embracing Compassion
. I read the first several pages and all the while I could feel myself squirming with discomfort inside. The author spoke of going with the flow of our experiences, and responding mindfully instead of simply reacting to them.
I have always tended not only to react to experiences, but to over
react and attempt to take control of the situation. I could tell that what I was reading was going to force me to look at these reactions and overreactions, and that I wasn’t going to be able to ignore what I saw. I jumped right in to the book, and tried the practices it suggested for a couple of days. I thought how valuable it would be for me to use what I was learning as part of a daily sitting practice, a regular time for reflection and meditation. I even decided when and where I could fit it into my day. And then I moved on.
I’m not sure if I failed to put my plan into action because I was afraid of the change I knew it would bring about in my life, or if I simply forgot because I was busy with my day-to-day responsibilities. Either way, weeks passed as that book became a doorstop in my bedroom. Each time I walked by, I saw it sitting there, serving as a constant reminder that I needed to slow down and learn to take time for the work of mindfulness. What’s funny is that unlike many other books I have started and never finished, this one refused to disappear from view on a shelf somewhere and be forgotten. I needed this one, and fortunately it stayed right there where I would see it.
Finally, I spoke to my husband and we agreed on a specific time each day when he would focus on our daughter so that I could focus on me. So far, I have simply gone into our bedroom and worked with one of the practices in that book. I am only a week into this new routine, but already I feel so much better. It’s not about the book, though it has been a useful tool, but there’s something about knowing that I’ll have the time each day to just sit and reflect and be in my own presence that makes the pressures of the day more akin to an easy flow. It makes me less likely to react, and more likely to stop and think about how I will respond, or even let go of the need to respond altogether. I have many years, perhaps a lifetime to go before I learn to truly accept the flow of my experiences instead of fighting for control against the inevitable, but it feels good to be trying.
Used by Creative Commons License
Visit TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: