Practicing Being Present at Home
This week has been so exciting with the official opening of my practice! I've been dreaming about doing this for a while, that even now as it is happening I can't really believe it is! With that said, I'm a little behind with blogging so I apologize for that and hope to write 2 this week to catch up.
Ending the 4th week of January was to be about application and showing ways of how I apply some of what I was writing about into my daily life. I talked earlier in the month of simplicity (particularly with parenting), then we moved to discussing feeling overwhelmed, and lastly about letting go of unhealthy thinking patterns. To me, a practical way I combat feeling overwhelmed, work on simplicity, and letting go is practicing presence. I notice I feel overwhelmed and frustrated when I get in the mode of "doing" and feeling the need to accomplish, and then I start thinking about the future outcome. I live so much in the future that it is a lot of work for me to slow down and be in the moment. Especially for me in being a parent. I am often thinking about what needs to be done, who needs to be fed, laundry that is piling up, appointments, schedules, etc. At times I get lost in the doing and I really have to work on being mindful of being present.
When I am consistently practicing being present, then I remember that my identity and intention is not on what I complete, but on who I am.
What is practicing being present? Being present, for me, means first setting an intention of wanting to focus on the moment in front of you (not in the past and not in the future), being aware of who you are, and being aware of your surroundings. It is not being distracted by your thoughts. It is being grounded in who you are in this moment.
It is being aware of what is in front of you, so you don't miss it.
I practice often have to work at being present at home because it is so hard to not focus on my distractions. I have little children (who take up a lot of energy), I am starting my own business, and I also still have to just do day to day things. I have to set my intention that when I am home with my kids, I need to chose to be present and not distracted by everything else going on. I don't want to miss moments because I'm distracted. I've found that if I can connect my need to be doing, to focusing on simplicity, then I am more present in my thoughts and behavior. I was doing some research on ideas of how to do this as a mom and I found this idea by another Instagrammer (@brooklynmorninggarden). It's called creating a "roly poly" with your children.
The steps are basic and simple:
You need knitting needles and soft yarn
Start by casting on 10 stitches to your needle (youtube how to do this)
Use the knit stitch of 10 each way to create it
Make it as long as your kids are
This activity has helped me to set the intention of creating something without much purpose (so you aren't too focus on what you are making). I love that I am showing my children how to create something from scratch. I've found myself to be more calm in just doing the activity and then more flexible with understanding what my kids need. I love that there is no purpose but that when it is complete the "toy" in itself is simple and they can choose what to imagine to create with it, or they can roll it up and let it down. It is SIMPLE in its meaning and its intent.
When I first starting doing this, the kids were all up in my space and wanting to pull the yarn, etc. I noticed my first response was wanting to tell them to "stop" and I was starting to get frustrated. I had to chose to focus in on allowing them to be present in the moment with me, and let go of controlling what I thought should happen, and just let it happen. As I began to relax, I noticed myself naturally becoming more present with my kids and enjoying watching their fascination and exploration of what I was creating. I let go of thinking I needed to be a certain parent, of needing to teach them, of needing to create something with purpose, and just allowed myself to BE. It was almost as though I had created a meditation and practice of focus for and with my kids that was allowing me to be present with them. All of this was simply by knitting a very basic project.
I will be honest, practicing being present is continuous work for me. I am often a doer so I am thinking about what needs to be done than I am relaxing in the moment. I think part of it comes from being raised in the US, where our culture is one that emphasizes on doing, what you achieve, and control as a means of identity. It is re-teaching myself that I am not what I do, but that is hard word. I notice that when I focus on the process not the product, it allows me to work on setting my intention of being present and work on letting go of everything else.
How about you? Any suggestions of practices you put in place to help being mindful and present, especially in doing your day to day?