8.01.2012

Awareness

I think it’s amazing that you can pack up and set off with plans to experience one thing, but end up experiencing something completely different, only to realize that you got exactly what you needed in the end. That pretty much sums up last week’s vacation experience.


Now, for those who have vacationed with two preschool-aged kids, you may already be grinning. This may not be too surprising to hear….but our week away was hard. Really hard.

I believe it is simply overwhelming at times to be a little child, away from the truest comfort of home. And I believe it is simply overwhelming at times to be a parent, when you let worry, embarrassment or frustration crowd out space for deep, nourishing, unconditional love.

Our week’s vacation had lots of joyful moments full of sand castles and boogie boards and giggling and ice cream cones. It also had moments of stress and anger and tears. Through it all, I held my intention to be mindful and became totally aware of some important things:

  • Some days my very first sensation is tension. If I’m awakened earlier than I’d prefer or if I’m worried that the first child up will wake her sister, I feel tension in my body, my breath is shallow and my mind is racing.
  • I am actually afraid of the powerful emotions of anger and frustration. When I witness these emotions in my children, I feel worried, my mind scrambling for the “right” thing to do. When I feel these emotions arise in myself, I stifle them and grit my teeth until I can’t bear it any longer.
  • When a wave of powerful emotions has passed in my family, I remain held in the experience. My mind replays interactions, judges how things were handled, worries about the reasons or the implications. (Children, however, have this amazing ability to let go and move on).
  • Children cannot settle into a peaceful rhythm, when the adults around them are unsettled or not at peace in their own minds. Children do perceive anxiety, even when it is not expressed outwardly.
  • I am completely grounded when I am outdoors, surrounded by beauty and a limitless sky above me. When I am in nature, I find fewer distractions, I engage with my children more easily and really enjoy being in the present moment.
When I left for vacation, I could not have guessed that I would have learned these things about myself. As I unpack them, I see where I need to direct some attention and some love for myself. And I am beginning to understand the transformative power of mindfulness.

You can try this, too.  Spend some time as an observer of your own day.  Notice your own thoughts- where do they drift to? how can you bring them back?; witness your experience of different emotions;  watch yourself actively engage with your children, and notice the moment you drift. 
What do you think you will you learn about yourself? 

4 comments:

Hobby House Creative Living said...

Allison,

This resonates so much. I love your blog and your wonderful insights. I'm reading "Simplicity Parenting" for the second time, and it's really hitting home for me right now. I have always practiced simple parenting, but I've somehow moved away from it over the past couple of years. Your blog is a reminder of how to move back towards what has always made more sense for me and our family. Thanks again!

Stacey

Allison Abramson said...

Stacey,
I think I've been drawn to Simplicity Parenting because it recognizes the fact that life is fluid and always changing. It's comforting to have something solid to return to whenever we need it. Thank you for reading!
Allison

Lisa said...

Thank you for the reminder that kids are perceptive to your own mood. And also for bringing to light that I, too, am much more grounded when I am outside. With two preteen boys, I must remember get them outside as much now as when they were littler. Being outside with them changes the whole mood!

Allison Abramson said...

I find that to be true, Lisa. If we're having a tough day, even a walk around the block can snap us out of it. The sun is an amazing mood-buster!