I've been off my game the past few weeks; one thousand apologies for the delay in blogging! Is it just me? Maybe. Lately, it's been a real struggle to keep up with the demands of life. The grass is bordering on offensively long status and our laundry backlog mocks me daily. Ordinarily, I'd chalk it up to classic *end-of-the-school-year-parental-burnout* (we are literally limping along, here folks! My daughter's pants are of the *flood* variety and I haven't cracked open her agenda in weeks -- oops. Also, she's eaten enough Chef Boyardee that I might consider buying shares in MLG Brands!)
But the truth is, I suspect all this malaise is more related to one specific action (rather, lack thereof): dodging Meditation.
See, Meditation and I were really good friends up until a month ago. We'd hang out each morning, sometimes just for twenty minutes or so -- but we never missed a beat. I came to look forward to our ritual visits. She'd quell my nerves about anything that seemed to steal my mental energy and refocus my attitude back to one of gratitude. I cherished our time and insisted that it trump all other morning distractions, such as but not limited to (a) getting sucked into watching the morning news (b) running around like a mad woman trying to find matching socks for the girls and (c) updating my social media.
Sadly, I fell off that proverbial wagon, and that's when life got hard. Which brings me to this post and the question of the day: Is Meditation right for you?
Thanks to the structure and philosophies of Forest School, our kids are taught young that Meditation can enhance their spirits and lives. I have witnessed first-hand the magical impact of *going within* as these youngsters are guided through centering thoughts and encouraged to explore whatever emotions come up. Their eyes tell it all: they FEEL more alive than ever; you can actually see the sparkle!
As their parents, however, we might be missing the boat if we don't jump on board, too. To some, Meditation can seem pointless. Just a waste of our precious time. To others, it may feel difficult and near impossible to settle a busy mind that doesn't stop at any second of the day. So what's the deal? Is Meditation a thing we should try and make time for?
In a word? YES! People, I'm proof positive that NOT meditating has drastic effects on my life. Nitpicky, previous inoffensive issues snake inside my overly-thin skin. Everything pisses me off lately. Self-esteem and motivation have been replaced by insecurity and procrastination. Honestly, if I plotted this out on a graph you'd see the correlation leap off the page!
If you'd like to get to know Meditation yourself -- I'm talking infusing her goodness into your family's life -- here are some tips and tricks directly from Miss Natasha. I've added a few of my own. Give it a try because you have nothing to lose other than the twenty minutes you were probably wasting anyways!
Natasha's Meditation TIPS & TRICKS
Check out the App Insight Timer. I feel like every person should have this! I could probably work for them I love it so much in so many ways. There are kid-friendly meditations as well as adult ones. All different time options. Do you have 1 min or 30 min or an hour? So much good stuff! Guided meditations, music and articles. It is kind of like Facebook where users will encourage and validate your efforts. My kids and I both love this app! Ideal for those who think they can't find the time... There is no excuse not to infuse 1 min into your daily routine. And if you do 1 min you will soon want more!
Make use of your time in the shower! Take this time to be fully present. Focus on you. Each movement, each sound, each smell. Lock the door and give yourself undivided time! This is for you but also a gift to your family, as you will be refreshed when you return to them.
Create a *Sit Spot* in nature. Sit beside a tree for 20 minutes once a week. Just do it and then get back to me and tell me how you feel. Sit in your own spot. Get your children to do this with you in their own spot. They don't have to be still, just in their own place and quiet.
Take 4 mindful breaths at transition times during your day. When you get up, at coffee break, at lunch, dinner, before bed and whenever you are feeling pressure in anyway. Breathe deeply in through your nose for the count of 5 filling up the belly, hold for the count of 5, then out through your mouth for the count of 5. If you can't do 5 start at 3 :) Notice how you feel afterwards! You can do these with your kids too!
Sam's Meditation TIPS & TRICKS
Ask your family to respectfully keep their distance for that 20-minutes you set aside each morning, or night. Under no circumstance are you to be interrupted -- everything can wait just 20 minutes; the dog, the kids, the cooking, the agendas.
Start with guided meditations as opposed to just sitting in silence. If you have a wandering mind (like I do) and are hard on yourself (like I am), the calming, directive voice of a meditation guru can assist in giving your cluttered mind some direction. Sometimes I just log into youtube and search "meditation" in combination with whatever issue is on my mind. (i.e. "Meditation + Detachment", or "Meditation + Trusting Intuition").
It's helpful to learn a few mantras. You can use these, along with breath focus, to centre yourself and aid in the habitually wandering brain habit. One of my favourites is the simple, "SO HUM" (so = "I am" and hum = "that"). This contemplation is your chance to focus on just being.
When in doubt, go back to the basics and mindfully review what you're grateful for. We ALL have a multitude of blessings in our lives. Contemplating these gifts puts us into a warm state of gratitude -- a fantastic way to start your day!