This is a guest post by Kristin Dodge.
Life as a busy parent can get hurried and stressful, especially when you throw work, and/or PTA involvement, house projects, and whatever else into the mix! For me, it’s important that I have routines that help me stay healthy as well as present and in the moment with my six-year-old son Tyler, because I know he will grow up fast and I want to soak up every moment!
Working meditation into my life helps me handle issues more calmly and wisely, be less distracted, and importantly, enjoy the little things in life! I believe that it also helps me to be physically healthier, and it just so happens that this belief is widely supported by research. (I looked into it recently.)
First of all, what is meditation? As Western meditation teacher Kabat-Zinn says, “Meditation is simplicity itself.” Meditation is merely quieting down enough so that you can get in touch with your center, or your spirit, and be a silent observer to the thoughts and feelings of your mind and ego. This may require letting difficult emotions come into your awareness (emotions that have been suppressed in the past)and letting yourself feel them, and then you will experience the calm peace from within (I have studied this and experienced it many times!) Breathing deeply helps you find your centered place. Accepting all as it is in this moment is important. If you feel space and peace, you are there.
Meditation helps me to be less distracted because when I meditate, I become aligned with the present moment. For example, when I meditate on a walk, I notice and take in all that I see and hear: the wind in the trees, filtered sunlight peaking through the clouds, green grass. It is then much easier to be present and in the moment for the rest of the day, when I’m spending time with Tyler or accomplishing tasks. Also, as discussed previously, when I meditate it gives me a chance to become aware of any feelings of stress, frustration, or sadness (etc) so that I’m not carrying these feelings around, ready to be triggered at any moment. Once I bring these emotions into my awareness and let myself feel them, they actually dissolve, and I then experience the calm from within and parent from a place of inner wisdom and strength. Finally, there is no doubt that meditation has beneficial effects on one’s physical health; when I researched this topic I found evidence supporting the positive effects of meditation practice in the treatment of a wide spectrum of health issues, including headaches, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, chronic pain, cancer, obesity, over-all effectiveness of the immune system, and others!
How do I work meditation into my life? At least once a week (and preferably more!) I take a nice thirty or forty minute walk by myself. I also strive to meditate as I’m sitting up in my bed for ten minutes before I go to sleep and ten minutes when I wake each morning (I combine meditation with prayer). However, sometimes I’m too sleepy; the great thing about meditation, though, is that it can be done for as little as five minutes, or even for one minute! Sometimes I take a few minutes to walk around the block, or I might sit quietly at my desk at work for a moment. I even focus on returning to my “true self” as I sit at a traffic light!
In summary, meditation has helped me work through hurtful experiences from my past and continues to help me be present and at my best each day. I feel healthy, happy, and in the moment with my family- so much so that I wish to share my secret with others!!
Copyright Kristin Dodge 2011
If you liked this article, you will love Kristin’s Facebook page on meditation ideas and quotes. Click here to check it out.