I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Although Valentine’s Day may have become a very commercial affair I think it is a beautiful opportunity to check in with ourselves and see how much love we are showing ourselves. It can sometimes feel easier to show love to those around us so what would it be like if you were to show yourself that same love? Is there something you could do for yourself today that you would encourage your kids to do to each other? Just something to think about before we dive into all things mindfulness!
Mindfulness in its simplest form is being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. So if you are aware that you are cutting carrots while you are cutting carrots you are practicing mindfulness, if you are practicing mindfulness, or if you can notice the trees around you while you walk through the forest you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be practiced on a cushion or sitting quietly we can be mindful anytime we remember to be mindful. The trick is usually the remembering but that is why we call it a mindfulness practice. The practice is coming back into awareness of the present moment and we have to do this again and again and again, whether we are new mindful practitioners or we are experienced.
When I teach mindfulness classes to adults we usually sit in silence focusing on our breath for most of the class. When I teach mindfulness and Relax Kids classes to children and their families we spend most of our time playing games and the class will end with 10 to 15 minutes of relaxation. My thoughts are that adults come to learn how to quieten their mind and how to relieve stress. Children come to have fun. Children always want to have fun so if I can make mindfulness fun for them then my job is done.
What do you and your family love to do? Do you love hiking? Colouring? Playing music, listening to music, dancing, cooking? Whatever it is you love to do, can you practice mindfulness when you are doing it? Children can find it much easier to be mindful than adults. Next time your children are playing with their toys or are helping you make dinner, watch how they are. Are they fully engrossed in what they are doing? Are you? Just notice what happens for you when you’re doing something you love. Or maybe you’ve forgotten what it is you love to do. See if you can remember. What did you do as a child that you really enjoyed? And if you don’t think you have time to do it now could you make it a family activity? Would your kids enjoy it? Could you do it with them?
Mindfulness is simply bringing awareness into what we are doing. It doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult and it doesn’t have to be another thing to add to your to do list, you can simply bring awareness to what you are doing – home schooling, cleaning, cooking, playing. Make it your own.