Creating a space in which to get in touch with silent gratitude or whisper prayers of love into the Universe is something that many of us feel compelled to do. And as a mom, the practice of meditation is something we greatly benefit from.
But living in the erratic nature of family life can make a meditation practice tricky, especially when the babes are young. Family life can be chaotic.
Chaos is in the sense here, implies a certain level of messiness, loudness, and disruptiveness that can come with living with a family. Some of it can be avoided through organization and planning, but some of it just has to be expected and accepted.
It can seem like an insurmountable task to find the time to meditate. Or the space. But when we have a very busy life then meditation can be our salvation, if we can just find the time and space.
Someone once asked the Dalai Lama, “how do you find time to meditate with such a busy schedule?”
He replied, “On the busy days I meditate twice as long.”
Okay, so how do we find that moment to nurture a mediation practice?
1. Let go of everything you have been taught about meditating.
How are you going to create a sacred space to meditate in when every inch of every space is occupied?
You’re not. Not right now. Right now you are going to sit down in the middle of the legos and get to it.
How are you going to find that ritualistic moment everyday at the same time and meditate when the baby wakes up at a different time every morning? When your 2 year old is going through a bad dream phase? Or when we turn the clocks back (why do they do this to us?) and everyone’s routine is thrown off?
You’re not going too. You‘re not going to find the same time everyday for the same amount of time everyday to meditate in a nice clean organized space.
You are going to take 2mins of meditation when you can get it. You are going to take 5min when the kids have fallen asleep in the car, and you are going to sit in the car and meditate. You are going sit down and meditate for 3 min while they are still asleep in the morning, even if it only lasts for 3 minutes.
You are going to be the craftiest and most frugal meditation shopper you can be: you are going to take it whenever you can get it and wherever you can find it.
2. Let Go of Society’s Image
You are going to leave behind the image of the mom wearing a flowing white shirt sitting in a candle lit room with plants and meditation pillows around her, while the breeze gently rustles the curtains as it wafts through the window, carrying her into meditative bliss.
Just let go of the image of a peaceful and clean meditation space with candles and sage burning. I’m not saying that you can’t have this, you can, later. But right now you don’t have the time to prepare the space. Right now you have 3 minutes because the kids are napping, you payed all the bills, and its not quite lunch time yet.
We have to let go of the images that we use as a society to portray such images as the peacefully meditating mother that finds the time to do it all. Although it is a beautiful image, it can create a falsity of how things really. And it can create self judgement.
Let go of the image.
For example as I write this you might picture me sitting at a clean desk, with a cup of hot steaming tea, my hair is neat and tidy cascading over my shoulder, and I am wearing a beautiful cream sweater, and outside snowflakes are gently falling to the ground.
The only truth in that statement is the part about the snowflakes.
Reality: I am sitting in my pajamas, my hair really is a mess of a half up half falling out ponytail with curls sticking out, my coffee is now cold because I have been interrupted roughly 20 times, Ayla is calling Ronan a copycat, and Koda is saying something about “stop, stop, stop.. those are my markers”. And I am writing, sitting in the midst of it all. Not the pretty image you might think, but I am happy and I am writing. I let go of the image of what it should look like.
I have trained myself through snippets of meditation. I have learned to seize the peaceful moment whenever and wherever it arises. I stopped waiting and longing for the perfect moment in a perfect space to let go and sink down into meditation. Instead I learned to shift gears from learning abc’s while cooking dinner, to dropping everything when the neighbor called the kids over to play and sinking into meditation for 10min right in the middle of sauteed onions.
And now I can switch gears at the drop of a hat. Now its a skill I can call upon when needed. I can close my eyes and meditate just about anywhere and so can you. I can switch my energy into that place of receptive peace quickly, and so can you. I can drop into a meditative state without all the fluff and props and so can you.
As the kids get older, you can reclaim time and space. You can have a sacred space dedicated to meditation, and you can have a routine. But when mine were very young I found it easier to take when I could get it. (I still have days like this) And easier is what its all about, going with the flow.
And if you are one of those moms (or dads) that manages to maintain a scheduled time and dedicated sacred space with several little toddlers in the house, my hat is off to you!