bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: anxiety

goodbye back pain

I’ve had constant lower back pain for several years. I’ve tried yoga and chiropractic and massages, but nothing really made it go away. I mean, all those things made me feel great, but the back pain still lingered.

Okay, switching gears for a minute – hold tight, this will come around.

I am typically messy and disorganized and forgetful and overcommitted. It’s a problem for me and it’s a problem for those around me. So I’ve made deliberate efforts to simplify all parts of my life and have been super disciplined and organized for about two months. I always strive to walk my talk, but these months I’ve been absolutely intentional about it. Will power and discipline are my #1 and #2 challenges in life so this effort has taken *extreme* concentration and commitment!

I’ve noticed, as I’ve become more disciplined, my back pain has dissipated, to the point that my lower back feels loose, flexible, and healthy. The pain is gone. And there’s no reason for it to be gone. But it’s gone nonetheless.

Physical pain is a manifestation of spirit’s last ditch effort to communicate with us. “There is something really wrong here! Please pay attention! I’m talking to you!!!” I’m totally convinced that God has rewarded my organizational efforts by alleviating my back pain. I can find no other explanation and I do not believe in coincidences.

So whether or not you buy into my healing hypothesis, consider this: What could your body be telling you? Do stress and challenges manifest for you physically? Have you ever equated your physical pain with emotional pain?

Here’s a fun exercise – write down something going on with your body that’s troubling you. (Headaches, allergies, back pain, tummy troubles, etc.) Now write down your biggest challenge or source of stress. (Be careful not to name another person as your source of stress – this has to be all about you!) Spend 3 weeks working deliberately and intentionally to ease that emotional challenge and see what happens to your physical pain.

Share your thoughts!

http://www.vanessagobes.com

Do You Talk Too Much?

Use mindfulness and meditation to SHUT UP. (Oh, how I need to master this practice!) I know sunshine and rainbows are glorious but sometimes our love and enthusiasm needs to be reeled in.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

step-by-step: how to teach your young kids to meditate

This is a script that I loosely followed while teaching the children in my town’s public elementary school to meditate.  I thought it might be helpful for other parents who’d like to do it with their own children, with scouting troops, with church youth groups, with summer campers, with classrooms.  My best advice in doing this is to be animated.  Don’t be afraid to ad-lib or get silly.  The kids will respond beautifully.

For children grades 2-5

Hi, my name is ________________.   I’m here to teach you a way to be happy.  Not haha happy.  Not that-was-a-funny-movie happy.  Or I-love-ice-cream happy.  Not even I-just-got-a-new-puppy happy.  I mean heart happy.  We’re going to use a tool to help us learn how to do that.  Can anyone imagine what our special happiness tool could be?

 

The thing I’m thinking of is very close by.  It’s free, it’s super easy to find and it does not require assembly or a special carrying case.  It’s as close as your breath….  In fact, it IS your breath.

 

Just by breathing we can help ourselves find happiness.  And we can use special breathing tricks to help us.  But to be good at anything, what do we need to do?  Practice!  Right.  Just like soccer or piano or drawing.  If you want to be good at something, you need to practice.

 

But before we start practicing our breath work, I want you to help me with a check list.  You don’t need to raise your hand, just check a little box in your head if you’ve ever experienced the following things:

 

  • Had a big fight with someone at home
  • Forgot to turn in your homework
  • Couldn’t sleep because you kept thinking about something
  • Felt embarrassed in front of your friends
  • Worried about something happening in the world
  • Got the sillies and found yourself in trouble
  • Was scared on a carnival ride
  • Felt out of control with excitement before a big day
  • Knew the answer but felt shy to raise your hand in class
  • Got left out of a party or outing with friends

 

I’ve felt all of those things.  And I bet you have, too.  And if you haven’t yet, you will.  No one is exempt from this.  We all feel bad sometimes.  We all mess things up.  We all feel insecure.   You, me, the most popular kid in school, the bully down the hall, the star on the basketball court.  Everyone.  And it’s okay to feel these things.  These feelings are important parts of being a person.  The bad stuff lets us know when something’s wrong so we can work to ease those feelings when they’re no longer useful.   Once we acknowledge the bad stuff and send it packing, we can create more open space for the good stuff that reminds us how wonderful it feels to be alive.  Each and every one of us deserves to know happiness and success, acceptance and love.  And we can achieve these beneficial feelings when we activate our superpowers.  We are all born with super strength.  No one is exempt from that either.  We’ll talk more on how to use your superpowers later but I don’t want you to forget you have them, so let’s pull on our super suits, tie on our super capes and adjust our flashy masks.  Check to make sure our tool belts are on tight.

 

Okay, good.  So when we can find a comfortable balance amongst all these feelings, we can feel peaceful.  Composed.

 

What does composure mean?  Let me try to help you understand.  Listen to this.

 

(Play a bit of Mozart.)

 

Can you hear how everything is in harmony?  All of the pieces of the orchestra are very different.  Some are deep, some are light, some sound a little sad, some sound cheerful or even silly.  But when they work together they create something balanced, productive and beautiful – something composed.  In order to maintain this composure, the musicians need to practice.  They need to dedicate time.  They need to focus.

 

We are like that.  In our lives, we juggle lots of different feelings.  They’re all important.  But when we can make all those diverse feelings work together and still feel balanced, we can maintain composure.  When we can engage that composure throughout the day, our frequency begins to rise.

 

Frequency is a big word.  It’s like the radio station our lives are tuned into.  You can tune into frustration and negativity or you can tune into love and empowerment.  Which one would you like to tune into?

 

Yes, me, too.  So think of frequency like energy – and get those super suits ready.  When it’s on the rise, we’re getting happier and happier.  We can use our super powers to feel good and think clearly.  And when our frequency rises, the people around us can feel it and believe it or not, our awesomely fast frequency helps others.  Just by being fast.  Superhero fast.

 

Understanding that we are all very much the same may help in relieving some of the confusion we feel when we’re angry or sad or anxious.    And we can team up that understanding with meditation to cool our own jets and ease the stressful feelings we’re carrying around.

 

Who has heard the word meditation before?

 

Meditation is a quiet time to connect with our breath, to be still, to remember that right here, right now, we are alive and safe and okay.  When we meditate, we remember to treat our bodies well, to use kind words with others and think before we speak, to think clear, useful thoughts.  When our thoughts are good, our lives will be good.

 

For some people, this comes naturally.  But most of us need to practice to achieve that state of peace and harmony, which we can find by taking a moment to TUNE IN.

 

Times to use meditation:

  • While taking exams and quizzes (you know the answers but your jitters keep you from remembering clearly)
  • Leading up to big celebrations, holidays, vacations or events (when you’re so excited that you’re having a hard time sitting still or thinking clearly)
  • Before games, recitals, performances (visualization helps you prepare by creating a vision for your future)
  • During arguments with friends or family members (taking time to breathe will calm you down so you can use your most compassionate voice)
  • In uncomfortable social situations (mindfulness will bring you back to your personal truth and keep you out of trouble when trouble is tempting)
  • To ease depression or sadness (bringing your thoughts to center will connect you to “what is” instead of “what was” or “what might be”)

 

There are many ways to meditate.   But we always begin by breathing.  So let’s sit straight in our seats, feet on the floor, spine long, chin tucked in, head reaching to the ceiling.  Place your hands in your lap, palms up and close your eyes completely.  Now think of yourself as breathing “on purpose”.  Start with a deep inhale, filling your lungs as much as you can and releasing the breath, completely emptying your lungs.  Try it two more times with me.  Now breathe in and out through your nose naturally and notice the way your body feels from the inside.  The chair supporting your weight, your hands relaxed on your legs, the air touching your skin, your soft belly rising and falling with every breath.  If your thoughts get lost and you forget that you’re breathing, just gently bring yourself back to this place.  Let’s breathe for one more minute and when the time is up, I’ll invite the bell as a signal to end this meditation.

 

(Wait one minute.  Invite bell.)

 

A great tool to help us is this bell.  You can think of the bell as a peaceful voice, inviting you to take a breath.  You can accept this invitation each time you hear any bell.  Keep your ears open for school bells, church bells, door bells – and use their sound as an opportunity to stop what you’re doing and breathe.  Tell the people around you what you’re doing and invite them to stop and breathe, too.  Use it as a reminder to think about your breath and about being connected to the earth and about being a perfectly imperfect human being.  Listen to the way the bell resonates and stay still and quiet until you can no longer hear its sound.

 

The Pebble Meditation is visual type of meditation that we can use to relax.  I learned it from a book called Planting Seeds, written by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh.  He worked with Martin Luther King Jr. to bring peace to America and to his own country Vietnam during a tough time in our countries’ histories.  And he’s continued to help us find peace since.  He especially loves to help children like you.  So here we go.  Each of you can close your eyes.  Imagine that there’s a black movie screen behind your forehead and you are a film director.  You choose all of the pictures in the movie.  Let me guide you the first time.

 

Imagine a flower.  Any color.  See its petals, its center, its softness, its beauty.

Imagine a mountain.  The weather around it is stormy, but deep inside the center of the mountian, it’s solid and still and quiet.

Imagine a clear, still, placid lake.  See the way the water reflects the sky above and the trees around like a mirror.

Imagine the sky.  See the clouds and the sun.  See a bird wheeling through the air, turning and twisting, happy and free.

 

Now, I’m going to share Thich Nhat Hanh’s Pebble Meditation.  As I share this meditation, I want you to imagine yourself as really being the things I say.

 

Pebble Meditation:

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.

Breathing out, I feel fresh.

 

Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.

Breathing out, I feel solid.

 

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.

Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.

 

Breathing in, I see myself as space.

Breathing out, I feel free.

 

Flower, in, Fresh, out (3X)

Mountain, in, Solid, out (3X)

Still water, in, Reflecting, out (3X)

Space, in, Free, out (3X)

 

(Invite bell.)

 

How do you feel?  Do you have any questions?  There are lots of ways to meditate and you can learn more about a mindfulness practice at the library or online.

 

In order to enjoy the benefits of meditation, we need to practice.  Try to find a few minutes every day to sit and be quiet.  Maybe for a minute or two after your alarm clock rings.  Maybe when you get home from school.  Maybe in bed at night when your mind is racing or before you start your homework.  As you work on your practice, you will find that you’ll notice your breathing all day long.  And that’s when you’ll know you’re getting really good at it.

 

Grades K-1 (Have kids sit on a line in a circle.)

 

Hi I’m ________________.  I’m here to teach you a way to get happy.  Not haha happy.  I  mean heart happy.  But to be really good at something, what do we have to do?  Practice!  We’re going to practice something called meditation today.  Does anyone know what this is?

(While you say the following sentence, use your fists to demonstrate the way these feelings look – ball up your hands and squeeze then hold them to your mouth as if you’re terrified, punch the air like you’re fighting, pump them in the air as if you’re excited, squeeze the seat bottom and bounce like you can’t sit still, pretend to hug something as if you can’t squeeze it tight enough.  Give yourself over to the acting – the kids won’t judge and it’ll help them understand.)

Have you ever felt squeezey?  We ball up our fists so tight like this.  We feel Scared.  Angry.  Excited.  Overwhelmed by love.  (This puppy is so cuuuuutte!)  Fidgety.  Meditation helps us to control our minds so that when these challenging feelings pop up, we can let them go and make our hearts happy and peaceful.  We can relax our bodies and our squeezey hands.  It starts with breathing deeply.  When I ring this bell, I’d like everyone to take three beautiful breaths.  Then we’ll stand up and start moving our bodies mindfully.  Stand in a circle and be sure not to touch anyone else’s body.

 

Invite the bell.  Walking meditation…

 

Imagine walking through very deep snow, leaving deep footprints.

Imagine walking on thin ice, careful not to break it.

Walk like a business person.

like a big hairy beast.

like a robot.

like a burglar.

like a soldier.

like you are wearing a big crown.

like you are sad.

like you are happy.

like you are scared.

on a tight rope.

like a cat.

on hot coals.

like a toddler baby.

elephant.

shy

confident.

skipping across stones.

really fast.

 

Now walk really slow.  Notice how the heel of your foot touches the floor.  Lift and move your other foot slowly.  Can you feel how your body keeps its balance?  Let your body relax in each step and put all of your weight on the floor.  Breathe deeply.  Now breathe in whenever you lift your foot and breathe out whenever you place it down.  Walk this way for one minute.

 

When I invite the bell, I want you to stop walking and sit down where you are.  Then close your eyes.  Walking is a fun way to calm down, but we can also calm down by breathing deeply.  And no one even has to know we’re doing it.  Let’s try that now.  We’re going to do some square breathing.  As you breathe in count to 4.  When you reach the top of the breath hold it there and count to 4.  Then release the breath to the count of 4.  Then wait at the bottom of the breath for the count of 4.  I’ll snap my fingers 4 times while we breathe and help you keep track.

 

(Do 3 square breaths together.)

 

Now take 3 deep breaths.  Feel the way your body connects to the floor underneath you.  Relax your jaw, your hands, your belly.  If your thoughts get lost and you forget that you’re breathing, just gently bring yourself back to this place. Reach your head high to the ceiling and draw your shoulders back.  Let your body feel heavy and loose.  We’re going to do one more meditation.  It’s called The Pebble Meditation.

 

(Use same meditation written above.)

 

Invite the bell.  Anytime you hear a bell ring, I want you to stop what you’re doing and take three breaths.  Church bells, school bells, door bells, cow bells…  any bells.

 

Try to do this at home.  Teach your family and friends.

Have a peaceful day.

 

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

 

hi, it’s vanessa. where are you?????

IMG_1812

The clock in my kitchen is my go-to for all my timely needs.  There are other clocks around the house, but for some reason I always consult the kitchen clock for accurate time.  Oddly enough, the five minute intervals read “now” instead of numbers, so time telling is a two step translation process – a process that perhaps took the edge off last night as I was watching that minute hand in orbit, converting “nows” into numbers, waiting for my husband to come home after work.

We were all hungry, dinner was hot.  Around 6:0o I called him four times in quick succession.  I thought the intensity of my effort might encourage him to pick up, mentally willing him with every ring.  No dice.

So finally at 7:00 I sat the crew down to eat.  Dinner was typical.  The girls chowed down while my son staged a sit-in across the kitchen.  We ate the last half of our meal in intentional silence, doing our best to focus on chewing and tasting.  In the silence I had a hard time focusing on anything really.  Well, anything but this:  Where the hell is my husband???

As the “nows” accumulated, one nagging, irrational thought snagged its claws on my otherwise typical thoughts.  If he got into an accident, the hospital would have called me, right?  Would I have a sixth sense if he was dead?  Would I just know?  He’s not dead, though.  But he could be.  No.  Could he be?  I’m sure he’s fine.  Maybe I’ll watch a little TV.

The phone finally rang after I put the kids to sleep.  He was fine, enjoying dinner with a friend visiting from out of town.  He had actually told me several times he had plans but I forgot, didn’t write it down, screwed up.  Oops.  All that worrying for nothing.  It’s not as if I didn’t have a gentle reminder telling me to be here and “now”.  Jeez.

The scene brought to mind of a poem I heard by Richard Blanco on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  I pulled this off of NPR’s transcripts, so I’m guessing how the stanzas might be broken up.  Enjoy…

***********

Killing Mark, by Poet Richard Blanco

His plane went down over Los Angeles last week, again.

Or was it Long Island?

Boxer shorts, hair gel, his toothbrush washed up on the shore of New Haven, but his body never recovered, I feared.

Monday he cut off his leg chain-sawing. Bleed to death slowly while I was shopping for a new lamp.

Never heard my messages on his cell phone.

Where are you? Call me.

I told him to be careful.

He never listens.

Tonight, 15 minutes late. I’m sure he’s hit a moose on Route 26.

But maybe he survived.

Someone from the hospital will call me, give me his room number. I’ll bring his pajamas and some magazines.

5:25, still no phone call.

Voice mail full.

I turn on the news, wait for the report. Flashes of moose blood, his car mangled, as I buzz around the bedroom dusting the furniture, sorting the sock drawer.

By 7:30, I’m taking mental notes for his eulogy, suddenly adoring all I’ve hated, 10 years worth of nose hairs in the sink, of lost car keys, of chewing too loud and hogging the bed sheets,

when Joy yowls.  Ears to the sound of footsteps up the drive and darts to the doorway,

I follow with a scowl: Where the hell were you? Couldn’t you call?

Translation. I die each time I kill you.

***********

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  If you like this article, please consider sharing it on social media.  Thank you!

children respond beautifully to meditation

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A column that I wrote for The Winchester Star on April 11, 2013 (revised with a few edits):

An amazing opportunity was awarded me thanks to the annual Health Fair at my children’s elementary school, organized and staffed by town’s Moms and teachers.  The Health Fair showcased interactive healthy-living demonstrations designed for our kiddos – from dental care to martial arts.  My contribution took place in a quiet corner of the second floor library, where I taught 500 children how to meditate.

Every 10 minutes for 3 hours, a new contingent of tiny people filed into the room.  As this was my first foray into meditation instruction, my expectations were low – for myself and for the kids.  I assumed I’d experience:  A)Eye rolling  B)Teeth sucking  C)Boyish antics  or D)Utter Despondence.   Much to my relief, I encountered E)None of the above.

In fact, I found that the majority of children could already accurately define meditation, and a few even shared eagerly that they practice at home, tossing out yogi words like “shavasana” and “om”.

I also found that our children were engaged.  They were alert and seemed invested in the conversation.  They were actively listening, downright ready, willing and able to participate in the act of non-doing.

I referred to the famous Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who worked with Martin Luther King towards non-violence and peace in the 60’s and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, for a secular meditation suited perfectly for children:  “The Pebble Meditation”.  The students (with very few exceptions) closed their eyes and took a ride on their own breath, in and out, filling their bodies with Earth’s goodness and affirming their own goodness with every exhale.

The (amazing) school nurse, said to me, “That’s 500 souls you’ve touched today.”  I admit, it was hard to hold back the tears.  And I’ve felt quite humbled over the past few weeks as moms and friends have approached me to say they appreciated the lesson.  Many have shared their children’s requests to continue the practice at home and have asked how they can do that.

I think the best answer is to begin a practice yourself.  Our kids don’t do as we say, they do as we do.  So when we are living wholesomely and practicing meditation in the home, they will model the same behavior.

There are some gurus and experts that will say you need to do very particular things in order to meditate – hold your hands just so, seat your body this way or that.  I always think, “If I had no hands, if I had no legs, if I couldn’t sit up, wouldn’t I be able to meditate?”  So I think that the best way to start is by just feeling comfortable wherever you are, without judgment, inhibition or over-instruction.  Give yourself a chance to succeed and find peace in your own comfort zone.  Once you feel confident in your ability to practice non-doing you can work on posture, form, mantras and breathing techniques.  But to begin, just shut your eyes and breath.

Meditation is not only for Buddhists.  Science has proven that meditation unites the left and right hemispheres of our brains, stimulating our ability to maintain composure, find peace, perform better at work and school and feel a general sense of well-being.  As Dr. Deborah Rozman says in her book Meditating with Children, “The child is helped to develop the attitude that apparent barriers or obstacles to progress are only challenges for greater growth and opportunity, so that she can cease identifying with any limiting condition and can begin thinking in terms of expanded possibilities for herself, for the grip, and later for the world in which she lives.”

Our children seem to understand the benefits of and the need for meditation this innately.  At the health fair, our babies took to non-doing easily – almost automatically.  They closed their eyes and allowed themselves to be guided into mindful breathing.  It was so beautiful.  And I’m so grateful and humbled to have been part of their collective experience.

If you’d like to learn more about meditation, please visit Thich Naht Hanh’s website or check out books like 10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn or The Soul of Education by Rachael Kessler.  If you’d like to see a mindfulness practice incorporated into your child’s school curriculum, please reach out to your child’s educator or school PTO.  Reach out to me via email or Facebook and I’m happy to share more.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

 

p.s.  I am deeply grateful for your likes, shares and tweets.  I’d like to grow my audience and could really use your help.  Thank you!  Peace!

don’t-worry-be-happy mother’s day

It was spring and I was walking under the pink magnolia blossoms lining Commonwealth Ave in Boston, on my way to a prenatal yoga class.  After a long struggle with morning sickness and lethargy, I was starting to feel energized again and was exploring ways to stay in shape while carrying.  Yoga sounded like a safe bet so I trotted off to my first class.

I was five months along, just starting to develop a visible roundness to my belly, finally wearing real maternity clothes and beginning to think of this baby as more than just the impetus for nausea and a stuffy nose.

There was a teensy person in there, growing fast.  I’d just found out she was a girl and obsessively tried on baby names.  I can’t be sure, but I can imagine myself mentally combing through “The Best 1,000 Baby Names of 2004” when my clog caught a mislaid brick and I face-planted right there on the sidewalk – well, more like belly-planted.  I landed tummy first, arms reaching awkwardly forward and legs stretching behind me.  I didn’t move.

A man in a business suit hustled over to help me find my feet and I stood there for a few moments, examining my scraped, bloodied palms, brushing sand off my protruding belly.  I told the good samaritan I was okay and hobbled off to yoga, sniffling and deflated.

The scene, in general, was nothing overly memorable.  The pain was minimal, the spring day was ordinary, the clumsiness was nothing I hadn’t experienced before.  But this stumble laid the first foundational stone in what would become a motherhood filled with worry.

During the weeks following my fall, I had convinced myself that I’d caused my baby harm.  I would lie in bed at night with my palms splayed out on my belly, begging Baby Girl Gobes for a kick or a hiccup or an arcing elbow to confirm that she was still alive.

I called my OB, “But I fell FLAT on my belly, doc… all of my weight… must have crushed her.  Should I come in for an ultrasound or something?  Anything?”  My doctor assured me the baby was fine.

Pregnancy progressed normally but I still found other things to worry about:  smoke rising from manhole covers, cabin pressure on a trans-Atlantic flight, chlorinated pools, bumpy car rides and arguments with my husband.  All of these ordinary things seemed to pose a danger to my unborn child and I began to stockpile an armory of “what ifs”.

As I neared week 40, I committed myself to natural childbirth.  I worked with a doula, an extraordinary woman who assured me that both the baby and me would be better off for a drug-free experience.

No drugs.  No way out.  Well, one way out – between my legs.  Holy shit.

I liken the feeling to preparing for a date with the firing squad.  The sentence has been decided, it’s scary, people are watching, it’s going to hurt like hell and the aftermath is a complete and utter mystery.

As it turned out, all those things were true.  But instead of a blindfold and a lit cigarette, I was equipped with an IV and ice chips.

After several hours of contractions and pushing, my baby girl was placed gently on my chest and I briefly bawled my eyes out.  I didn’t die after all.  Instead heaven came to me.  And with heaven, as is expected in motherhood, came even more worry.

Am I doing this right?  Am I permanently scarring my child?  Am I a crappy Mom?  Is my kid going to hate me for all of the mistakes I’m making?  We all ask these things, right?  Unfortunately, the answers to these questions validate all of our parental concerns.

Because we aren’t doing it right.  No one does.  We are totally scarring our children.  That’s what parents do.  Every parent wears the Crap Crown sometimes.  And yes, our kids will hate us at some point – we’ll just have to hope it’s short-lived and based in irrational, hormonal, misplaced illogic.

But unlike the pain of childbirth, there is a way out of our looming motherly fears – acceptance.  When we accept these inevitabilities, something really amazing happens.  That tight grip we have on the worry and concern and anxiety, nestled so conveniently into parenthood, loosens.  The worry evaporates.

We accept that there’s only so much we as mothers can do.  We can guide them.  We can educate them.  We can encourage them.  But we can’t live life for them.  They are who they are.

They’re going to fail classes, get sick, lose games, offend adults, break arms, lose expensive electronics, crash cars and make fools of themselves, just like we did.  That will change when they are adults.  Or it won’t.

Some will overachieve early then burn out – or maybe continue to overachieve and stress out.  Some will fly below the radar then launch into the stratosphere of success later in life.  And some will be total screw-ups for the duration of the ride.  And all of that is okay.

There are important lessons to be learned regardless of the path, each as valuable as the other.  In fact, the drug-addict / drop-out / derelict probably learns more about life than the magna cum laude MIT grad groomed by his parents for high achievement.  Life without life-learning is no life at all.

But enough about them, let’s get back to us.  The Mommies.  Because we’re the ones connecting here.  We’re exploring our own feelings associated with worrying about our kids (who probably aren’t worrying about themselves at all).

Our worry is like tumbleweed, picking up all sorts of garbage as the winds of life roll it along.  Garbage that doesn’t help us one bit.  If we Moms allow the tumbleweed to entangle us, we’ll only end up with deep wrinkles, sleepless nights and multiple prescriptions for Xanax.

But worry and acceptance cannot exist in the same space.  It’s impossible.  And there are beautiful side effects of acceptance: liberation, trust and peace.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from the obsession?  From the projection?  From the competition?  From the fear?  From all of those ugly tendencies that we’ve been carrying around since scraping our bellies off the sidewalk in week 20 of pregnancy?

Dragging around a garbage bag of fear will only encourage those same feelings in our children.  That black Hefty is only so thick.  And our trashy bits end up ripping the liner, leaking out and causing a big stink for the people around us.  People like the kids we’re worrying so much about.  Sure, we can tell them not to worry.  But our kiddos do as we do, right?  So let’s do something helpful – model acceptance and collaboration.

Easier said than done, I know.  But acknowledging fear and the reasons for fear is a beautiful stimulus for change, creating wide crack for light to shine in and expose fear for what it is:  Useless.

Meditation is a great way to drag those useless habits out to the magnolia-lined curb.

Often when I meditate lately, I hear the words “create space”.  (I’d love to know who is saying that to me, by the way.)  For me, the creation of space is a deliberate effort to push all of life’s clutter off to the sides and invite an open connection between me and the universe.  In that open space, I can find acceptance.  Anyone can do this.  You don’t need to take a class or read a book or have a special degree to do it.  You just have to know how to breathe.

Solutions don’t have to be complicated or even external.  Peace is as close as your breath.

I’m so grateful for this mindfulness practice.  Through non-doing, I’m actually doing the best thing I could do for myself and my family.  There will be times ahead during which my trust in the universe will be tested, I’m sure.  Nights when I’m wearing a trench in my hardwood floors from pacing.  Days when my kids are flailing and I’m desperate to carry their pain the way I carried their little bodies so long ago.  But the more I practice acceptance, the easier I’ll recover from those angst-ridden moments.   Mindfulness is a lifelong practice that deepens with time.  And as far as I can tell, time is all we’ve got.

Have a happy Sunday, Mommies.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

ps

I am ever-so-grateful to those who share, tweet, like and/or promote my writing in any way.  I’m a stay-at-home mom trying to rub two sticks together and spark a career.  Matches welcome.  🙂

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this is my favorite personal pic. holding my first baby moments after birth. my face full of unanswerable questions.