I have been really interested in the concept of Mindfulness for some time now. I think just having children in itself makes you more mindful. On a walk once I remember we stood while Wilf looked at a bumble bee for what seemed to be about half an hour. After a few minutes we started our usual, “come on, keep going” but Wilf was not to be moved, he was absolutely fascinated. This was probably the first time he had ever seen a bumble bee so close up. He talked to it, he watched it, he tried to touch it. When I considered this fact I suddenly saw the scene very differently. As an adult I now took these things for granted, it wasn’t anything new. But the whole world is new to children and so amazing. And in being in their lives we get to experience that all over again. If we slow down long enough to do so. When mine were babies I found this a bit easier but before you know it life has taken over again, the clock is ticking and you are on a schedule whether that be for lunchtime, getting to work or just that you get a bit bored with standing in one place for such a long time.It sounds a bit rubbish but I love spending time with our children because they help me reconnect, take notice and remind me to be spontaneous and have un self-conscious fun.
Which I don’t always find that easy to do. I like a bit of routine and structure, particularly when I find things stressful (which having 2 young children can be). So a short while ago I started looking at other things to support my quest to be more mindful, more often. I read a couple of books and I do yoga fairly regularly but the thing which has helped most has been subscribing to Headspace. This isn’t a sponsored blog post by the way!
It isn’t super cheap but I think it works out about £4 a month for daily meditation exercises. The thing I like most is that you start on a programme called Take 10 and then it builds up from there. You can trial Take 10 as an app for free. Ten minutes a day, how difficult can / should it be to fit that into life. Notably it is quite difficult and I probably only manage it every other day but even so. I like that it is guided so I feel I am learning this new skill properly and I like that I can monitor my progress (it is not a competition, it is not a competition). New elements are added over time and you are constantly asked to remind yourself why you are doing it (for me this is about slowing down, becoming more aware of my body / health and more empathetic & calm with my family, in particular our children).
I genuinely feel some of these benefits have been recognised. When woken at 4.30am by a moody toddler who then tantrums at being told it is night time and wakes up the whole house, I find myself able to tune in to my breathing, relax my shoulders, consider whether she is really ‘choosing’ to wake up at that time and think of a more creative solution than forcing her back into bed. Don’t get me wrong I still get stressed, I still rush on, I still fail to notice what is in front of me and I still ask, “why did you think that was a good idea?” expecting my 3 year old to answer, “you’re right Mummy, I weighed up the options and in hindsight unraveling every single toilet roll was not wise”.
But I am sticking with it. I’ll let you know how it goes but if there is anything else you can recommend (for excess toilet paper no longer on the roll if nothing else) then do let me know…