Practicing Divine Mothering
Just a short while ago, I would have admitted that finding time to meditate with a toddler in toe was impossible. But this year I decided to start a new habit of finding time for 15-30 minutes of yoga and meditation every day, first thing in the morning.
It’s now been 3 weeks since I started doing this and I wanted to share what I have learned so far.
At first, I would try to get up a little bit earlier than usual. I wanted to have enough time alone before my daughter woke up. I have a pretty late riser on my hands so this really wasn’t much of a bother, and it just seemed logical to try and do this while she was still asleep.
This worked out well at first, particularly because it was still the holiday season and my husband was home as well as some visiting family. If my daughter woke up, she was kept busy by others. But as the family left and my husband went back to work, I had to start figuring out what to do in the case in which my daughter woke up before I was finished.
Instead of meditating in a different room as I had been, I decided to meditate in our bedroom close to where my daughter sleeps. I had been meditating downstairs by our larger window, but this felt too far away in case my daughter woke. The window in my bedroom has a much less pleasing view than that of the downstairs, but I figured some sunlight is better than none.
At first this change worked well, my daughter continued to sleep peacefully while I quietly did a simple sun salutation routine as well as a few minutes of meditation. See my earlier post for an example of my morning meditation. But eventually, after one particularly long night, I slept in, and barely snuck out of bed with enough time for my little routine.
I could hear my daughter moving around in bed as I tried to focus my attention and finish my morning routine. But as I sat down to meditate the jig was up. I was no longer alone. But instead of feeling defeated, I found I was already in a peaceful state of mind. My meditation time is usually about creating more awareness of the blessings in my life, particularly my family, so this morning, when my daughter came to embrace me while I was having my “quite time” I sudden appreciation for her unexpected presence.
She came up to from behind me and hugged my neck and I just soaked in the embrace and focused on how great it felt as opposed to thinking about how my “me time” had been cut short and interrupted.
This reaction came as a surprise to me. I had been dreading the thought of my daughter interrupting me since I had started meditating in the same room as she slept, but on that day I realized how silly this was! I was trying to be in tune with my blessings, and here she is, filled with joy and love, coming to greet me first thing in the morning.
Ever since that morning, I no longer feel stress over my daughter waking before I am finished. While I usually have to cut things a little short if she wakes, and my quiet time is a little less quiet, the energy she brings can be incredibly uplifting and more than makes up for a shorter session. If anything, they become more powerful.
So I realize now that when you mediate in the presence of young children it is important to harbor their positive energy instead of our instinctive negative reaction. Focus on the love you feel between yourself and your child and embrace it. Hug your child if they approach you. Welcome them into your space and invite them into your meditation. Perhaps they may want to join, or maybe they will simply observe. Sometimes your child may just wonder around the room entertaining themselves for a few moments as you finishing things up, they are still benefiting from the positive energy you are creating. Whatever works out, make use of your child’s energy in the room. Just as they feel your calm energy, embrace their loving attention and use it to expand your sense of joy and peace.
I wanted to share this experience in the hopes that it inspires others to give meditation a try, even with little ones in the home. It can bring much needed calm to the mind and heart and help you regain some sense of balance in our often messy days.
I would love to hear of other moms who meditate with their children. And if you have never tried it, I invite you to do so and share your experiences.
#divine mothering, mindful living, motherhood, spirituality, uplift, meditating with children
Let’s be real here. Motherhood can be a very stressful time for women. Caring for young children in the selfless manner in which mothers do can leave you ragged and overwhelmed. Somedays are spent in “survival” mode where we can just barely put one foot in front of the other to get through to the next nap time or bed time. Even on these hard days there are small burst of light that have the potential to turn your mood around.
There are many ways to harness positive energy during your day, today I want to discuss how to begin your day on the highest possible note. This is simply one way to alleviate these negative feelings and stress.
Starting your day on a positive note.
Didn’t get to sleep? Your child(ren) kept waking up crying, asking for milk, maybe a flue, or worse, perhaps they slept fine but you found yourself unable to get proper rest, rolling around in bed half the night. It’s quite natural to wake up not so happy on nights such as these, but it’s important to try and shift your focus before you start building up that negative vibe.
First thing in the morning, go to a large window in your home that has lots of sunshine. Make some space on the floor by this window and grab a cushion/pillow/yoga mat. Prepare yourself for a short mediation time by sitting in lotus pose, kneeling, or perhaps just sit in a chair if that feels most comfortable; standing with hands at your side or palms pressed together over the heart is also a nice calming pose. If you don’t have a pleasing view, or your windows simply don’t get much light, find a peaceful area anywhere inside the house (or better yet, outside).
Take in some deep breaths. Breath in deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Feel the calm building up and your mind clearing. Look out your window into the light. Keep breathing. Once you feel you have entered a peaceful state of mind, start thinking about the loved ones in your life you are thankful for. Name each one of your children (out loud, our quietly in your mind) and visualize their faces, their unique personalities, and their love for you. Take a moment to allow the feeling of love for your child fill your heart with peace and joy. Take more deep breaths. Continue on to think abut the blessings of this new day. A roof over your head, the food you will eat, the time you have with your family, and the opportunity to start anew. Remember, each day is unique, yesterday may have been a difficult day, acknowledge that yesterday is in the past and today is a fresh start. Forgive your children, and, more importantly, yourself for any upsets that might still be bothering you. It’s not worth it to start the day with that weighing on your mind.
Personally, I like to finish this type of meditation with a small bow. I place my hands on the floor touching the tips of my fingers in a triangle or diamond shape and touch my head to the floor. As I do this I reaffirm my gratefulness for a new beautiful day.
Now, some of you may be wondering how on earth this is possible with a little one who wakes long before you do and there is no such thing as “morning quiet time”. If this is the case in your home, don’t worry, you can still do this meditation. If your child(ren) insist on being with you first thing in the morning (of course they do! they love you so dearly!) have them meditate with you. This may be intriguing for them and they might happily follow your lead. Ask them to sit facing you and take a few deep breaths. Keep them engaged by having them tilt their heads from one side to the other relaxing the shoulders and neck muscles. Now, out loud, list the names of your family members saying “Thank you for ____” including yourself. Next continue with “Thank you for our home. Thank you for our food. I am loved. Thank you for this day.” Pausing between each sentence and taking a deep breath to really feel the words you are saying. Finish up with a few more deep breaths. Very young children may not last the entire meditation session, that’s fine. Finish it on your own.
Now you are ready to start your day filled with peace, love, and positive energy. Soak in this small peaceful moment and let it follow you throughout the day.
Try committing to doing this every morning for one week and reflect on it’s effect on your mood. Does this help you feel more connected to your child? Perhaps you are more aware of the specialness of a new day. Do you feel more spiritually aware? More observant of your blessing?
I truly hope this tip helps make a positive difference in your day and I’d love to hear about it!
#divine mothering, mindful living, motherhood, spirituality, meditate
So… Exactly what is “divine mothering”?
I happen to believe, as many others have over the centuries, that the act of raising children can be a sacred task. Children are our future, our next generation, our most innocent, our most wise, our most loved, and our dearest treasure. They inspire a powerful selfless love, demonstrate incredible compassion and understanding, and exhibit joy, curiosity, and wonder. They are simply the very best of us. And since the beginning of time, the vessel by which they arrive on this earth, the nurturer, the first caregiver, and the first teacher, is the mother. This task mothers are given is sacred. There is simply no other way for me to describe such an honor, privilege, and duty.
So, if I am to treat parenting as a sacred task, I would do so with respect, love, and devotion. And if I am to do this, it means that pretty much my entire day is going to be filled with small acts of devotion not only towards my child, but also towards our home, our bodies, our minds, our family, our community.
In essence, our life is transformed. And if you wish to view it this way, mothering (and parenting), can become a means to expand your spiritual consciousness, your inner light and reaffirm your own divine presence within.
7 Ways to Practice Divine Mothering
1. Find and listen to your inner voice.
Let’s call it mother’s intuition for now. There is no denying this secret power. Mothers sometimes just know. Intuition is a powerful tool and can help guide us on the best course of action. Don’t take your mother’s intuition for granted. Find that voice, listen to it, and put your trust in it. When it comes to your child, and your life, there is no voice that is more important than your own. Trust and believe in yourself.
2. Treat your body as a temple.
It can be difficult finding and listening to that inner voice when your body isn’t getting what it needs. To tune in better to the messages your heart is trying to deliver you should treat your body with the upmost respect and dignity. It is after all, the dwelling of your soul, spirit and divine spark.
Try to eat as cleanly as possible. This may mean different things for different people (and it should! Every body is unique), but in general more fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating whole foods with the least amount of artificial preservatives, flavors and chemicals. Organic can be expensive, but consider switching some of the foods most relevant to your daily diet. Buy fresh local produce when available.
Drink water, lots of it. Instead of juices or soft drinks, as often as possible, choose water. Our bodies need it much the same way we need oxygen.
3. Practice being fully present.
In a modern era of being on the constant GO, it’s difficult to enjoy any single moment fully. The tv or radio may be in the back ground as you try to have a conversation. Your smart phone incessantly vibrates and beeps while you are attempting to color with your child. Even cuddling up and watching a movie as a family after a long day can turn into a dizzying screen frenzy as the laptops, tablets, and smart phones are kept on your lap or side table.
This is the world we live in. It’s just what we were handed. We must go out of our way to be fully present in our day, in our child’s and our loved one’s lives. Practice purposely leaving your phone in a different room throughout the day. Try starting and finishing small daily tasks without getting distracted. Cook and enjoy the smells and sights, after picking up around the house admire your handy work, sing, dance, play, craft, and read with your child(ren) with the tv off, the phone hidden, and your mind present in what you are doing.
4. Let your child be your teacher.
Often we assume that as parents we must always take the lead and that we are the ones who must teach. But our children come to this world with lessons they are here to teach us. Watch the joy and delight they take in small tasks. Watch how deeply focused they are. Marvel at how young infants savor fruits and vegetables that we would turn up our noses at. Pay attention at the deep focus and determination toddlers have when working on a new skill. Let yourself read more deeply into young children’s gratefulness, their compassion, and their unconditional love.
Your child has much to teach, and we have much to learn.
5. Take time for stillness, meditation and contemplation.
Along the lines of treating your body as a temple, making time for stillness is important to find balance in your day. After running around the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal, take the time to sit and calmly enjoy it. When your child naps, take a moment to relax, meditate, and rest, even if only a few minutes. At the end of the day after everyone has gone to bed, or perhaps in the morning before everyone wakes, take a few minutes to meditate in whatever way you feel is soothing. Even if the only time you have are the few moments you have before you fall asleep, take some deep breaths, quiet your mind, and enjoy the calm.
6. Take time for movement, and activity.
There is something incredibly soothing about movement, for the sake of movement. Taking a long walk, a run, exercising, and doing yoga can have a very cleansing effect on the mind and body. A physical activity helps clear your head, fills you with positive energy, and helps express stress from the body. It can feel difficult to find the time, but commit to 30-60 minutes of physical activity once or twice a week. Your mind, body and heart will thank you.
7. Let your heart be fully exposed.
Most importantly, let the love you feel for your child completely intoxicate you. There is no power on this earth greater than love. And the unconditional love you give and receive as a mother is an uplifting, healing, and contagious kind of love that will bring out the best in you and those around you. Feel this love, focus on it’s immense unexplainable size, and reside in it. Let this love and the joy it brings lay exposed for the world to see. You will glow.
In later posts I hope to expand and elaborate in more detail each of these topics, as each one truly encompasses so much more than what has been said. For now, I would love to discuss your first impressions! What do you make of Divine Mothering? Does one of these seven aspects call more your attention than others? Which one resonates with you the most?
#divine mothering, healthful living, mindful living, spirituality, motherhood, uplift