I have read Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn’s book “Everyday blessings”. It’s about mindful parenting and the different stages of parenthood. At the end of the book, there are 12 exercises for Mindful Parenting. I want to share them with you. They remind me of what is really important, when the everyday stress disrupts the peace. They are great to put on the fridge or just read them once in a while. Just as a reminder to stay present with our children. Especially since we often are way too busy because we love them so much, and want to give them the best life possible. We have that chance with our presence. Maybe this can inspire.
1. Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.
2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view; imagine having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?
3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. Work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.
4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children, and consider whether they are truly in your children’s best interests. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.
5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn’t some common ground where your needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.
6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still. Meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being, what really needs to be done.
8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. Practice moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. See what is “workable” if you are willing to trust your intuition and best instincts.
9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing, and they demonstrate that you see a situation more clearly, or more from your child’s point of view. But “I’m sorry” loses its meaning if we are always saying it, or if we make regret a habit.
10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.
11. There are very important times when we need to practice being clear and strong and unequivocal with our children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness and generosity and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid and controlling.
12. The greatest gift you can give your child is your self. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and in awareness. We have to be grounded in the present moment to share what is deepest and best in ourselves.
I was listening to Daniel Goleman on TED talks (iphone version – it’s great). It was a talk about compassion. He starts off talking about a study that was done, I won’t go into the specifics, but a group of theological students were asked to give a pratice sermon and they were given a topic. Half were if given the parable of a good samaritan. The rest had random bible topics. One by one they were asked to go to another building and give their sermon. On the way, each of them passed a man who was bent over and moaning, and clearly in need. Did it make a difference that they were contemplating the act of the good samaritan and how many stopped. It didn’t! What determined who would stop – was how much of a hurry they thought they were in, they felt that they were running late, or they were caught up in what they were going to say.
So even in the proces of talking/thinking/writing about compassion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are.
Are we really too busy to be compassionate people? Are we too busy to hold other people’s suffering not to mention our own?
Do we stop to help the elderly even if we are in a hurry, do we hold the door for disabled people, do we donate money to people in need and do we feel true compassion for others? Or do we keep running and say “I’ll do it next time around”?
What are we waiting for and running towards? And is this the trend of today? Waiting for and running towards the right moment to be; compassionate, have children, a partner, get married, do something nice for others and yourself, feel happy, lose weight, give a compliment, take action, take NO action, sit down and look at the children we might have found time to have, giving a hug, forgiving, loving, letting go.
We are waiting for a right moment that is constantly passing. We have the opportunity now, and are we present in the now to take it?
We don’t have to go anywhere else to find compassion. Not to a Himalayan monastery or even a meditation retreat. We don’t have to sit at the foot of a guru or stand on our heads. We won’t find compassion in a book or a blog or an inspirational quotation. There is only one place to practice compassion: the one you’re in. You can never leave this place, but you can turn it inside out. Do you want to live in friendship or fear? Paradise or paranoia? We are each citizens of the place we make, so make it a better place. Karen Maezen Miller
So week two hit the AIM2011 group. And I’ve been beating around the bush with listing what I’m grateful for. I don’t why, but it’s not that easy. Along the way I keep sizing things up, “this isn’t great enough to go in the list”, “who cares about that”, and so on. A great exercise in stopping, taking a breath, and just writing the damn list. Because I am grateful for a ton of things and sometimes, because I think too much, I end up not saying, writing or speaking of what I cherish, but mostly just what I don’t cherish so much – that’s putting it nicely.
So here we go:
#1. Little Lilli ♥
The little girl who came into my life in April 2009. She is a strong little girl with a soft side that is scared of everything. I hope she grows out of it, I would I hate for her to be as scared as I am. I have spent most of my time feeling overwhelmed and not being the mother I wanted to be. The mother guilt had a hold og me big time. And I was so affraid of her leaving me again, and that it took over. The last few months the love has grown, and I am so amazed. I love her to bits and she teaches me so much. So thank you Lilli for chosing me.
Oh… and with her comes her dad – I am very grateful for him as well. But he was out last night, so he doesn’t get a full post today. : )
I instantly feel in love when I hear that song. I don’t know why, but it just gives me the best feeling in the world. They are one of those band that I want to see before I go. And they are Canadian – which helps when I feel home sick.
And I waited 3 years for it. So another great things that happened in 2010.
#3. My grandfather – Wilfred Lyall.
He is not here anymore, but I feel grateful that he once was. He died too early, and I didn’t get a real chance to thank him. He was like a father to me, and showed me so much love. I miss him every day, and would love for him to have seen the way things turned out. A great man, with a great heart, the world truely lost a beautiful soul.
#4. The women
…that have attended my courses during the past year. I can’t thank them enough. They amaze me. The things they share, do for themselves, and give back to me, I wouldn’t want to live without. So thank you ladies, and can’t wait to meet the ones who will be joining this year.
#5. Ok then…
Stig my partner. He is a great person who never takes life too seriously, and is a constant reminder for me not to do the same. I love him very much, and I’m very grateful for the challenge of being in that relationship. I say challenge, because who am I kidding… it’s not always easy being a “control person” in a relationship with a man who isn’t having any of it. He makes me smile, and laugh everyday.
So I did it. The first real list of gratitude. I think it went alright?
It’s funny because there is a series on TV at the moment about extreme hoarders. I am trying to cut back on TV but somethings just fascinate me too much. It is very easy for me to shake my head, and ask how can anyone live like that. I’d go crazy in that mess.
Last night an elder women was close to being evicted if she did not clean her house. Her children were helping her and she was getting very angry. She could not allow her family to throw away her things. As she said “they are never here with me, but my stuff is with me all the time”. The autopilot started to judge her. “Why doesn’t she just call them, be more pleasent so they would want to come over, get her act together” etc. As they started to clear her house, and she was panicking and trying to hang on to every little piece of paper, I felt it sting a bit.
I might not have piles of “junk” everywhere, but I for sure have things that I cling on to. Things I feel represent me, things that give me a sense of self. I can relate to the feeling of that self leaving me if I ever threw those things in the garbage. I have books that are there because I feel that I stay bright in their presence, birthday cards so I still feel loved, clumps of clay I don’t know what is anymore – to remind me that I was a child once, t-shirts I would never wear, from festivals I danced around at when I was a fun person, clothes I can’t fit anymore, from a time when I was a better looking version of me… and I can go on.
It is in boxes, stuffed away in the attic, and maybe they will only come out again the day I am no longer here, and someone has to clear it out. So is my sense of self stuck in a box in the attic?
I have no intention of getting rid of everything I own, but I will definitely have a look at the reasons for why I hang on to certain stuff. Can I feel in touch with my childhood, feel loved, feel smart, be a fun person without a storageroom to define me? Maybe we all hoard to a certain extent. It must be harder to be present when we can’t let go of the past in fear of losing ourselves. Maybe the memories and feel of self, don’t get the place they deserve because it has become an external thing.
Since everything is forever changing, I have the intention of letting go of the fear, that the proces of change will lose me if I don’t hang on. And try to trust mySELF.
- The picture is painted by a man that I will never forget – Norman Knott. The day I met him I will always hold dear and it was a big part of my childhood. The feeling his presence gave me is in my heart, painting or no painting.
It has been snowing a great deal in Denmark. It is piled up everywhere, and it is hard to get around with a stroller. The other day Lilli and I were on our way home from a playdate. We/the stroller got stuck in the snow. I’m sure if I had tried hard enough I could have gotten us out… but hey sometimes you just have to throw in the girly card. Several men walked by, and didn’t stop to help. We live in a very colorful part of town, where pushers, sexshops, prostitues and familes live side by side. Anyway… a pusher stopped to help us out. No questions asked, he just stopped took the stroller, and carried it out of the snow. He asked if that was all, I said thank you, and we parted.
Out of all the people on the street I never thought he would stop. Why I wonder? Was it because I thought he was a pusher, and just automatically didn’t think any good was there to be found? Was it that because I feel very strongly about his line of “work”, and therefore he wouldn’t be capable of doing something nice for someone? It doesn’t change how I feel about pushing drugs on the street. But I don’t know ANYTHING about him or his story. I really don’t even know if he is a pusher. I just saw him hang out on that corner. Yet I had him put in a box before he even looked my way. Do we reject kindness because we reject the giver?
Being caught up in all this judgement, and thinking, “I know how the world works”, must happen at other times as well. How many acts of kindness have I missed due to this? We think we know how our partner will react, what he/she will say, what our kids will be like when they get up in the morning, what our boss will say when we call in sick, and even how we, ourselves, will feel, or react to certain events in our lives. I am sure if we opened our hearts, and minds a little, our experiences could change. We could see new sides of others and ourselves? Can the “evil” on the street also be caring, maybe the boss won’t be mad but give you a get well call, maybe our partner isn’t such a pain all the time, and our inner demons become our teachers…
“Beginner’s mind is just present to explore and observe and see “things as-it-is.” I think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. “I wonder what this is? I wonder what that is? I wonder what this means?” Without approaching things with a fixed point of view or a prior judgement, just asking “what is it?” (Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman).
I love the quality of beginners mind/being open. Children have it by nature, It tends to fade as you grow up, for many reasons. But it is there in all of us, and it can with full intention be present in our lives. It gives us a way of letting go of stuck perceptions and patterns and gives us a fresh start in every moment. We don’t really now what will happen in the next moment. Thinking we do and thinking we know what others will, might leave us missing out on the beauty of life – the surprises. Through mindfulness meditaion you practice opening yourself to every moment, exactly as it is. Letting go of all the “knowing” and judging. You practice presence with every part of your experience. and without judging the judging… Just observing and letting go. The quality of giving ourselves and others a chance to grow and change is amazing. So thank you mr. on the street that day – for reminding me to stay open.
My very very first ever blog post. I have been very certain of the fact that I never wanted one. For many reasons, but I guess I never liked being too exposed. With that being said, more likely it is the fear of putting myself out there for other people to judge. But what the hell they do it anyway, and if for no one else, this blog is my way of writing down some thoughts. So to those of you willing to read some of it – I thank you.
Going through the last year I was amazed of how much has happened. I found myself wondering hard if I during the last year, ever stopped a minute to be grateful… Well I am now and there are a lot of things to add to the list.
Thanks to twitter I found Sarah Prout who launched the eCourse AIM2011. Just being asked to write down what I am grateful for, I have felt so much lighter and happy. So for that I am grateful. Lilli (my daughter) is growing fast and I feel so lucky having her in my life. From being scared to be a parent and feeling lost in the strange mix of total anxiety of losing her and being extremely tired – I have fallen in love with the little girl. And it keeps growing. Along with her I have a wonderful man in my life. He has supported me in starting my own business in 2010, and takes the my nagging with patience… Bless him. We have no money and live crowded but we are happy together – what more can you ask for? Well a new bed maybe…
I have a ton of the best siblings and mother you could ask for and I’m very proud of every one of them. I cannot imagine not being a part of a big family with all the arguments, hugs and laughs that go with it. They have done great things in 2010, and I am thrilled that they all have talents and the courage to follow their dreams.
I have my business which I love. It’s weird to call it my business as it is my way of life. It is what I truely love to do and I take my own pratice very seriously. I work with wonderful people who come to my courses to learn meditation and mindfulness. I am humbled by the people who chose to devote 8 weeks to do inner work and do something amazing for themselves. They are the stars and if there wasn’t people with that kind of courage – I couldn’t do what I do. The business has nothing to do with me, it’s all about them. So thank you ladies.
So with the hope of having more juicy kisses and hugs from the little one I welcome 2011 with a lot of love and gratitude.
A big thanks to Nikole for spending the time to help me with the blog!