I recently returned from a trip visiting family in Luzern in Switzerland. Luzern has an enormous lake, surrounded by many mountains, two of which are pretty spectacular Rigi and Pilatus.
There's something about the mountains. There's something humbling about their size, inspiring in their beauty and steadfastness, and rejuvenating in the air and vista they offer.
On the trip I was continuing to read a book about teaching kids mindfulness. I had in fact already started using some of the practices myself during my 10 minute morning meditation. - 'I breathe in, I feel ___', 'I breathe out, it's OK to feel____' . This simple tool allowed me to connect in the moment with how I was feeling in my body, heart and mind and to allow that and in that allowing to soften the power of that feeling over me.
During the trip I found myself using this technique often throughout the day. I'm not sure if it was the book that inspired me, the mountains, or having only one son with me which allowed me the space to. Whatever the reason, I am, and was very grateful for it. Particularly on a day when my son had a massive emotional outburst over an apparently small thing. He couldn't climb a rope ladder like his cousin could. This threw him into a rage. He wisely took himself off, only after a loud, aggressive outburst which attracted a lot of unwanted attention to me and him. He did calm down and my niece found a clever way to climb it and taught it to my son. He climbed it and his sense of wellbeing was restored.
During the episode I realised how much little and big people need tools to help them manage their emotions and not be consumed by them. As I watched my son from a far upset and calming down with the eyes of the community upon us, with their opinions floating in the air I found myself breathing deeply and saying silently, 'I breathe in, I feel embarrassed. I breathe out, it's OK to feel embarrassed. I breathe in, I feel sad. I breathe out, it's OK to feel sad. I breathe in, I feel confused. I breathe out my body softens.' And so I went on.
This practice allowed me to keep calm and not loose my temper with my son. It allowed me to give him the space he needed to settle. And I got the space I needed to stay there for him, focused on him and not stuck in the story of my emotions.
With the school holidays not even half way through this mindfulness practice is a must, a blessing and a good reminder that I'm not perfect, nor are my children and that's OK. Together we'll muddle through with awareness and love. I hope that when my children see me practising, they will over time come to join me. To be aware is to be free of the what ifs, could and should. It is to live in love and to be free.
Om shanti, a hopeful, mindful, tired but grateful mother x