“Restore your attention or bring it to a new level
by dramatically slowing down whatever you’re doing.”
- Sharon Salzberg
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation
Something that occurred to me in meditation this morning was how our inability to be fully present in the moment and satisfied with what it has to offer, rubs off on our children. On the whole I am pretty calm, patient and aware but I am also someone who enjoys being busy and filling my day with activities. When I have a moment to spare, I will either fill it with writing or inevitably find myself in the kitchen baking.
Although this characteristic enables me to be the certain person who is never bored, I am also reminded of a truth I know through years of being involved with healing. That is, that we often ensure we are busy in order to avoid sitting with ourselves and our lives, and the self-awareness that doing so brings. This awareness comes through being still and at times it can feel uncomfortable, so we avoid it. The more mindful you become and the more you are then able to sit in meditation, the more you learn to heal this. But it is a work in progress for everyone, there is no real ultimate destination. I have taught many people to meditate, but through my own meditations, I am reminded that I am the student.
This restlessness and eagerness to move from one exciting task to the next, seldom stopping to pause, is something I have become to see in my youngest child. My daughter is no sooner finished one task, when she wants to be on to something else, then the next activity, and the one after that. She frequently asks what the time is and what it is we will be doing later or the next day.
I find myself having to say the same thing to her that I have to say to students and as I do so it is a reminder to myself as well, to "SLOW DOWN".
We need to slow down the pace of our lives.
Pause more. Sit with that cup of tea, phone away from reach. Stop and observe your surroundings.
More then ever our children are given more options and with spending time on iPads, watching TV and having busy schedules, the need for our children to practice mindfulness has become crucial.
I am trying to take time out of their days and do simple relaxations and guided visualisations with them. The positive effect on their mood and mental states is instant. I have to remind them not to rush. The interesting thing as that they are like sponges, absorbing the information and lesson and then reminding me of it (in my own words) when I may forget.
Children mirror us and so when they go out of balance, it is always a sign that I need to take stock of my own behaviour and slow down as well. We all need to take the time to savor the moment, to allow it to linger, to give ourselves freely and completely to that particular moment as it unfolds. We need to experience it fully so that we aren't robbed of the magic it holds. Notice the butterfly, stop and breathe. There is no need to rush all the time. Life is happening right now, enjoy it.
So my message for myself and you today is to go slow, be present and find the joy that awaits you. By doing this, we will lead by example and our children will have brighter futures.