Practicing Being Fully Present
Who’s ready for some fun yoga words? I am currently reading The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi and I am deeply enjoying learning more about the Yoga Sutras, so I thought I might share.
One aspect described in the Yoga Sutras are the three attributes of nature or gunas. These gunas are sort of like a little dance between inactivity (Tamas), overactivity (Rajas), and balance (Sattwa). All elements in nature are in a constant dance between the gunas. There is a time for rest, and a time for activity, and the smooth rhythmic back and forth between the two creates a state of balance. It is within this balance that we find that we are at peace with ourselves and better able to manage stress, listen to our inner voice, and can easily enjoy the present moment.
As mothers with homes filled with the chaos of children it can be very difficult to find that balance. Times of too much action (playing, chasing, dancing, singing, cooking, cleaning) and times of too much inaction (a few hours gone watching movies/tv or browsing on the web). When we are feeling out of balance we find that we feel as if we don’t have enough energy for the times of action, and a sense of “I’m wasting time” on the times of inaction, which should be a time for relaxation. We have to help ourselves gracefully move from action to inaction to regain that sense of balance that helps us feel both energized as well as rested. To do this, you must find your own rhythms and stick to it.
For many mothers, specially new mothers, finding this balance and rhythm is extremely difficult. We struggle sleeping, relaxing, and resting, struggle keeping up with house shores, struggle finding actives to do with our children and having more quality time, struggle making time for our spouses, family and friends. We can find ourselves in a constant state of imbalance that fills us with overwhelming stress. So how on earth do we remedy this?
Be present in each moment.
Often things that stress us out are in the past or in the future. We are unable to to dwell within what is happening right now. But being observant and mentally present in your day can help you alleviate stress.
Here are 5 ways in which practicing being present can help you find balance and rid yourself of worry, stress, and help you getting into your own rhythm of the day.
1- Be present in your living space.
Often we ignore our dirty dishes, the cluttery toys, the overflowing laundry baskets. We choose to instead focus on other things… Perhaps try and enjoy few moments of quiet by browsing the web, or maybe play with your children. But the mess is loud, it keeps calling your attention, your space is not balanced, and you can feel it.
If there is something in your space that is calling your attention, do not ignore it. It is calling you for a reason, and that reason is that you are feeling out of balance. To restore that balance you must hear the call, and attend to it. If your child also is in need of attention, most young children are able to “help” with chores (for really young toddlers, by help, I mean unhelp, but they still enjoy the activity, and that’s good).
Surprisingly (or maybe not so haha), most task of this nature only take 10-20 minutes. And once it is done, that sense of balance is restored and you can now rest peacefully without the nagging dishes or laundry staring you down. A time for action, and a time for inaction.
2- Be present with your child.
Sometimes we are trying to take a moment of rest just just as our child comes up to us and asks to play a game, dance, read, bring them as snack or drink, etc. We resist, trying to cling to whatever it is that we were just about to do. But how many times are these things seldom important. Replying a text message, watching a movie/show, finishing the last pages in a chapter, or browsing the web. Your young child may still not understand why an object seems to be taking priority over their perceived needs.
After asking your child to wait a moment, sometimes we really do need to finish a task, or if anything ,a moment to readjust our thinking. Engage your child fully. Take a few minutes to play, talk, and listen to your child. If they want to do an activity, go ahead. If it is a time confusing activity maybe offer something that you do have time for. But most importantly take this time and be fully present and engaged. Once you have had this together time you (and your child) will find it much easier to take a “mommy rest” and continue enjoying a moment of relaxation however you choose to use it.
3- Be present with your family and friends.
It is very easy to neglect your spouse, family and friends when you are a mother. Taking care of more than one human being is a lot of responsibility, between that and all those other obligations we may have, we can get a little short on time. But often we neglect small moments than can help us connect. If you receive a call from someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, take it, if it’s a bad time make a point to call back. If you start chatting with someone who you really miss talking to, soak it all in and take a moment to really listen and communicate. If your spouse, or significant other, shows some unexpected affection, take it. Stop what you are doing and take a moment, even just a few seconds, to really enjoy that feeling of closeness. If you notice a small moment of quiet where perhaps you are the one who can show affection, do so.
Enjoying your loved ones gives you a sense of love, joy and relaxation. Take these moments in, your soul needs them.
4- Be present in your rest.
Resting your mind and body is important. But it can be difficult if your mind is racing. This can happen when you don’t have enough moments of action during your day. To truly enjoy your rest, you must feel like you have accomplished enough throughout the day. Practicing fully present in your day will help with this. Once you decide it is time for a rest, take it. You have attended to your space, your child, your family, you deserve small moments of personal rest. Read a few pages of your current book, or catch up on a fun blog. Go ahead, enjoy facebook, youtube, or whatever social media tickles your fancy. Tv? A movie? You’ve got it. You won’t feel that sense of guilt over “wasting time” because you practicing being fully present. You have already played or picked up a few things, it is ok to ask for a mommy rest.
But don’t let yourself sink too far into to your chair, after some time, other aspects will start calling your attention. And being fully present, you will listen to their call, and attend to these matters.
5- Be present for yourself.
We have taken care of the home, the children, the loved ones, and enjoyed some rest, but we have neglected ourselves! We should have moments of action dedicated to ourselves. No matter what you enjoy, find some time for it as well. Take a run, a walk, spend time crafting, do some yoga. It often seems like there is no time in the day for such things, but try to find it. If you can bring your child along, bring them (I’m a big fan of jogging strollers!). Walking and running is such an accessible physical activity that can help clear your mind and you can have your child tag along. Make use of double strollers and if you have even more kids, have the older children ride a bike. Being outside can be refreshing for everyone. If crafting is more your thing, try and set up a space that is both child friendly and suitable for your craft. It can take practice, but your child will get used to this type of activity and will slowly be more accepting of this time.
Once again, these times of activity can be followed more deeply enjoyed small moments of rests. You will feel accomplished, relaxed, and motivated to keep going.
Once you have achieved a good rhythm of times of action and inaction, you will start to feel balanced. This will give you sense of peace that relieves stress. You will be able to more fully enjoy both being busy and resting as you will soon realize there is enough time in your day for both. Once we learn to pay attention to ourselves and our surroundings to know when it is time for each, we will be better able to find balance.
#divine mothering, mindful living, practicing being fully present, motherhood, uplift