Mindfulness brings us into the present to just BE.
Mindfulness is a type of Focused Meditation or Dharana. In Mindfulness we engage 9 of our Craniosacral Nerves innervating our senses. In doing so, we are able to bring ourselves into the present moment, which helps us to usually feel safe, thereby nourishing the parasympathetic nervous system via our Vagus Nerve (10th Craniosacral Nerve). When we let our mind get ahead of ourselves or slip into the past we are focusing on things that are beyond our control... and really don't matter. All we have is the here and now right?! I'm not saying don't plan and don't learn from the past, but be mindful as to where you are spending the majority of the time or you won't ever enjoy the moment you are currently able to experience.
This is especially important when we have children. Not only are predominantly in the present, but they also know when we aren't present with them... and they will bring us right back!
Below are some of my favourite mindful activities, and great to share with little ones too!
Much like knitting (once you get the hang of it), the repetition of beading can be incredibly meditative. This is also a lovely activity because you can choose healing stones that are meaningful to you, that you can wear! I think it's really important as with any tradition from another culture, to understand the significance. Malas are for prayer or mantra (sacred words), and similar prayer necklaces can be found in many cultures. They can be a beautiful reminder for us to connect to our chosen mantra, affirmation, or prayer and very helpful for those learning to meditate.
These are such a fun activity for children under 7! Get a mason jar and fill it with water. Take a drop (max 2) of a food colouring that represents calm, and sprinkle in some sparkles that represent your wild side. Twist the lid on tight, shake it up and practice nice long, slow breath as the sparkles settle. The finer the sparkles the longer it takes.
Taking a trip into nature to find a special stone. When you get home you can paint it mandala-style or choose a word that is meaningful to you - maybe something you aspire to, like a word in your 'I Am' affirmation. Keep it by your bed or on your desk so you can see it and start your day on the right note, or take a break while working!
Rain sticks were used in many ancient cultures all over the world when praising the rain Gods, asking for rain. Get a paper towel roll, cover one end with paper then duct tape, pour about 1/4 cup of rice (and/or quinoa, dried beans etc) in, cover the other end, decorate and have fun! It can be used as a shaker or you can relax and breathe as you listen to all the 'rain' falling.
Eye pillows are a wonderful way to help children calm when practicing meditation. Get a new sock and fill it with rice, tie it securely with an elastic on the open end (and with a ribbon to make it pretty), sprinkle a few dabs of lavender or another soothing essential oil... and ta-da! You have an eye pillow to lay over the eyes, although in my experience most children prefer this on their chest. This can be a great calming, weighted tool for children on the ASD spectrum too.
This is one of my favourites and super therapeutic! When I was going through a hard time in my early twenties, I took fabric paint to a canvas and wrote out some of my favourite words (inspire, ubuntu, peace, love, joy etc) and my affirmation on another. I let it dry and then in various colours I took broad stokes across the canvas and watched the words disappear into the background... but they are still subtly visible. This can make beautiful, meaningful art to put on your walls too!
Many struggle to just BE in the present moment. The more we practice it, the easier it becomes... and incorporating these tangible reminders into our life can make it a beautiful ritual and fun for children too!
Below are more tools you can access for support to empower yourself as a parent and in-turn your children.
Please reach out if you have any questions – I always love to hear from you!
ps. Please share this with anyone you feel would benefit!