Saturday, August 27, 2011

Who has time to breathe?

I've always wished someone would have taught me how to meditate when I was younger. Honestly, I wish someone would teach me now! It's challenging. I've attended seminars, read books, talked with others who seem to have it down, and have practiced...practiced...practiced but I'm still not sure I have it all figured out.

I think I can meditate. I mean, I can clear my head - breathe deeply - and feel present, aware, and much more relaxed after a "session." But does it make a difference if my so called meditating sessions have been taking place in spaces like the shower, in the kitchen while washing bottles, hiding in the basement (I swear I'm doing laundry), etc.?

These days, my life is so overwhelmingly busy. I fear if I need to schedule meditation I might start to resent it. That being said, I'm not giving up. I'm determined to teach my children that even when life is hectic and crazy busy - you can still find peace. And the only way to teach my children this is to show them.

When Madelyn gets upset about something, Matt and I have always said to her, "take a deep breath Madelyn...slow down, let's breathe together." We started this before she could even talk. I wasn't sure how much it was truly working until soon after the babies were born, Clara was fussy and I heard Madelyn whisper something to her. Clara stopped fussing, Madelyn looked at me and said, "Mommy, I told her to take a deep breath and she's happy now!"

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I've observed Madelyn breathing deeply on her own when frustration rears it's ugly head. I've observed her going to her quiet spot on her own when she knows she needs some down time (even if its only for a few minutes or even seconds). Not only does this make me proud, but it's a constant reminder that I need to take a deep breath...or slow down and focus on my breathing for a moment.

Our dear friend, Alisa, always buys the best books for Madelyn. The latest one was called, "Peaceful Piggy Meditation." I LOVE this book. It's perfect to not only introduce the idea of breathing deeply and walking away when frustrated, but it also explains ways to set up a quiet space for little ones. This has been a bedtime favorite for Madelyn since Alisa gave it to her.

Another great book for children regarding peaceful moments, is called - "At One in a Place called Maine." This book is extra close to my heart since we lived there for several years. Beautifully written with constant references to nature and the joy and peace it brings.

And then there is - "Each Breath A Smile." This is my all time favorite. I used to read this book in my classroom each year, and I'd leave a copy in our yoga center in the classroom year round (I read it to my adult students now!) It's such a simple yet powerful way to teach mindful breathing. The language is inviting, you'll find that you can't read this book without breathing deeply a few times.

"Let us put our hands on our tummy and feel our breathing. Our tummy goes in and then it goes out. Breathing in and breathing out."

These books, and the many others we have, are great reminders of the importance of mindful breathing. I love reading books with Madelyn, but even more so when we are both learning a valuable lesson through the reading.

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