How Kids actually HELP Cultivate Mindfulness
Over the years I grew to be a 'super soul mom' aka bonus mom aka step mom-ish, aka 'Nee' which served as my name and my title for years to be used in sentences such as "I love you Nee" or "that's my Nee." We've moved into more traditional terminology for conversational sanity while I would like to officially coin the term 'Nee'! For others to use that embark on these blended and less traditional times who may not have a catchy nickname like mine. (Nee can be both masculine and feminine- why not:) Pronounced like the end of my name Reneé.
This was about the time I was kicking my mindfulness practice into a higher gear yet still was baffled and infuriated by the bipolar-like behavior our toddler exhibited. It made me feel manic and insane. As per usual I struggled with this more than my partner.
This is coming from a person, a female, who has managed and at one time battled, overwhelming emotions and mood disorders. I have overcome many of my symptoms that were a result of my poor emotional and mental well being. At the end of the day and throughout it for that matter, I am still human, an adult human. Equating to an array of emotions being experienced through an entire day, say before/after an event that stimulated negative feelings, then positive etc.
Here's the thing- my stuff lingered. I didn't jump track to track-I was still establishing that mental resilience in regards to this directly. Even when my mood-pendulum would swing chances are I brought a lot of what I was thinking/feeling over to the other side and maybe even onto the next day, heck even week or let's be honest- years for some things! You can see why I needed to practice mindfulness- because to hold onto stuff for that long only fuels anxiety and depression, stagnates productivity, creativity and so on.
I define Mindfulness as the presence of heart. Paying attention in a systematic way to the present moment (without judgment.)
So when things occurred that frustrated both the small human (him) and me- adult human, he would move from neutral behavior to being upset, sometimes to the point of hysterics, and then once calmed down, laughing. This reminded me of movies with the 'worst of the worst' criminals who would laugh at gut-wrenching crimes.
I was left feeling slighted, concerned, and as if the relationship was harmed after the interaction. On the wave of a bad mood filled the nights or even following days with stress and confusion. I especially felt this pressure not being the bio parent~ dad being bio dad could discipline and the relationship was perfectly intact, yet 1 moment of discipline after hours of patience with misbehaviors (I have a lot of patience with most things, and a few pet peeves I have little patience for) could lead to days of turbulence. Even when the little man couldn't communicate if- you could feel the tension between us. This of course rippled into my adult relationship with my partner/bio dad.
So in an effort to continue building the relationship that was so important to all of us, it was imperative that I moved into the moments as consciously and even more intention than he did. I could learn from him though, and simply (simply:) let it go.
I am proud to say that now, years into this blended family life of balance and fulfillment I can move more seamlessly into the minutes that follow a hiccup without holding negative resentment or grudges of bewilderment, into the hours and days that make up our weeks, the weeks that make up our months and so forth. I seek to find connection and understanding, communicating and being open along the way, feeling more present to what ever the moment holds and allows, rather than being pulled into the past or the anticipated future. We grow together learning and evolving as individuals and as a family. His willingness to be in the moment even if he isn't as aware of the effort helps me feel the same joy he feels even after a tough conversation.
Take it in, and let it go. The non judgement part is key and a practice in itself. Not labeling good and bad- but recognizing that many things are obviously more enjoyable than others and embracing it all the same.
This has been my experience and I believe that if you work to embrace the flow rather than fight against it, you could easily be the "I" in this post when you cultivate or deepen your mindfulness practice.