Taking it all in.

I am going to continue the theme of mindfulness, parenting and children. I have heard a lot of comments about the 12 exercises for mindful parenting, and it seems to be something a lot of parents would love to work with some more. I know I do. So when the intention to meditate is there, but we lack space, time and motivation what do we do? A women I really enjoy reading is Diana Winston. What an inspiration. She wrote a blog post about meditating with toddlers.

“Well one night while meditating, I had the brainstorm of bringing back formal practice in toddler-friendly style. And thus we instituted “family meditation time.” My daughter is only one so we don’t have too high of a bar. We sit together, the three of us, for five minutes. We have one of those wooden pyramid timers that we set for five minutes; we all listen for the ding (extremely exciting to the one year old in all of us). Then my husband and I close our eyes and try to meditate. (Operative word: “try”). And what does my daughter do? She tries to nurse. She fiddles with the bell. She pokes us and giggles. She wanders about, not too far usually. Sometimes she whines and occasionally cries. Once she seemed like she was meditating along with us—for about two seconds. More often than not she’s jumping on us.”

I smile when I read it, I know it happens around here a lot.

I often hear, in classes that they couldn’t meditate because the kids were screaming, tv was on and there just too much distraction going on. No time, no space, and kids are awake. It is possible to commit to being aware of what is going on in this moment, without it being in silence. I believe that for us parents, that is a big part of the practice - in our everyday lives. Being present with chaos. As Diana goes on; "She bonked me with a book, and I just sat there and took it all in— spacious, open, wild-child mind..."

In my home we have a buddha statue. It is in my meditation corner with my cusion. Well... the cusion gets moved around all the time, when it’s in my daughter's way. I find it sort of symbolic, to remind me to take presence with me troughout my day. I walked into the living room the other day, to find the buddha over in my daughters play-corner with lip balm on, and hair bands around its head. He still had a big smile on its face, so I took that as a thumbs up... And she loved it. She was in peace and having the time of her live. True awareness and meditation. And I just sat there, and watched her observed her playing, with awareness of what was going on inside me, taking it all in. I love my meditation corner, but it goes where she goes and so does my everyday practice.

What do you do? I would love to hear your experiences.