The Practice of Parenting: Mindfulness as a Way to Authentically Connect

The Practice of Parenting: Mindfulness as a Way to Authentically Connect

lacey headshot outsideLacey is first and foremost a mindful mother, practicing conscious parenting.  Founder of Unscripted Heart, a community that believes in empowering women, children, and families to live wholeheartedly, one breath at a time.  Lacey served as the Mindfulness Educator at Wholesome Generation teaching pre-K-2nd graders during the 2017-2018 school year where she developed and piloted a mindfulness curriculum and teacher training. Currently she is implementing her curriculum in Leander ISD at the elementary school level.  A graduate of Dakini Meditative Meditation Teacher Training Program, a 300 hour certified meditation program, as well as a Certified Kids Life Mastery™coach. Lacey is on a mission to inspire and bring the simple yet profound principles of Mindfulness based Meditation and Social – Emotional learning into the hearts and minds of  children, families, and schools. Lacey is a constant student of life and feels honored and humbled to share the wisdom she has learned over the years in her own journey. Follow Lacey’s work here.

 

 

 

Practice (prak-tis) noun: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency: Practice makes perfect.

In our society of never ending information, unsolicited advice on parenting, and a constant stream of overachieving; we all somehow get the message that we are not doing enough or that we will not ever measure up to what being a “perfect, or even good” parent is. There is no one size fits all approach to parenting despite the overwhelming amount of books on the bookshelves of bookstores and libraries. You can find an expert in any and all types of parenting styles and there seems to be someone who has an opinion on exactly what you should or should not do as a parent. As we seek external validation from outside sources we can gain knowledge, but at what expense?

Parenting is a practice that is constantly changing, and evolving each and every day that you and your child wake up to a new day together navigating the challenges of the human experience. We are all led to believe that as the parent we are expected to have all the answers. Answers to questions that will guide this human into growing into whoever it is that they are meant to be. Frankly, this task can often feel frightening and overwhelming. Parenting is the greatest joy we will ever be given, but it is not without hardships, sacrifices, and emotional ups and downs.

For just a moment, let go of your idea of what a good or bad parent looks like. Let go of who you want your child to be, or who you want to be as a parent. Let go of the worry, the stress, the shoulds, or should nots and for this moment just stop. Stop to breathe and notice the way the air moves in and through your nostrils. Is it cool or is it warm? We are just noticing.

Place your hand on your heart and notice if you can feel it beating. Breathe in, and breathe out allowing your exhale to be twice as long as your inhale. Bring your attention to your feet, breathe in and out. Slowly move your shoulders up and down inhaling and exhaling with the movement. Notice what you see around you without judgement. Observe the colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Breathe in and breathe out. Listen with your attention on what you can hear in the environment around you. Listen for the sound closest to you and then bring your attention to the farthest sound you can hear.

We are just noticing. Breathe in and breathe out. Welcome to the present moment. Notice how things slow down when we focus our attention on the present moment on purpose without judgement. This is authentic connection and this is where the wise parent lives. Within each of us is a wise parent, the part of us that has the answers that we are seeking. Reading books and seeking advice from others is always helpful in this parenting journey, as it takes a village but remembering to pause and listen to the silent wisdom that lives within each parent’s heart is where we gain access to the insight necessary to parent with consciousness and connection.

The more we practice the better we become, practice makes better. What we do continually gets stronger. What if you as the parent, let go of having to have the answers and surrendered to each moment you are given with your child?

 

Parenting (pair-uh n-ting) the methods, techniques, etc., used or required in the rearing of children.

Parenting is a journey of the heart, mind, and spirit. A parent is born when the child is born. We are not meant to have all the answers, but in each moment that presents itself the answers can be known. Through an open heart and an open mind with curiosilty and exploration we find routines and ways of being that benefit us and our children. And then they change. And then we change. Over and over again. There is only one you in the entire world and there is only one of your child in the entire world! Who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow.

Little by little our children change and grow, and we are stuck somewhere in the middle watching the miraculous gift of life unfold each day with all its ups and downs. What if we observed before we acted? What if we connected before we condemned? What if we were more concerned with who our children are in this moment as opposed to who they might be in the future? What if we let go of everything we thought we knew about parenting, and we stopped to breathe, listen to the wisdom of our own hearts, and looked at parenting as practice. A practice that we do over and over again, not for proficiency but for presence.

 

Presence (prez-uh ns) the state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place.

Meditation is a way to train the mind. It is a way to be present with your thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Meditation allows you to practice paying attention on purpose to the present moment. It is a practice, and a journey much like parenting that will lead you many benefits both mentally, physically, and emotionally. Most importantly, in the role of parent, it will give you the gift of self-knowledge, self-care, and self-compassion as well as give rise to the voice of wisdom. When we show up for ourselves and our children in new ways, when we sit and practice together, it is of benefit to ourselves and our children. Meditation has many forms just as parenting does.

Through curiosity and exploration we develop new relationships to our own thoughts and feelings without a specific outcome with greater levels of kindess and compassion. Meditation soothes the nervous system and moves us out of the fear based flight, fight, or freeze mode into a more calming space where love can and will lead the way. When we model this type of presence with ourselves we can then give it to our children. Life is inevitably not always going to be easy and part of being human is experiencing a myriad of different emotions. The practice of meditation and the practice of parenting, when done mindfully opens us up to be able to give ourselves and our children the gift of connected presence which naturally gives birth to joy.

 

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation”– C. Everett Koop

May we all remember our privilege and responsibility to practice parenting in a way that nurtures our children as well as the inner child that lives within each of us. May we all experience the joy of connection that lives and breathes in family. May we awake to each new day with awe and wonder and allow our children to teach us, as we teach them.

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. – Alan Watts

 

 

If meditation and the lens of practice inspires you today, I encourage you to explore this meditative practice for self-encouragement.

Find more resources from Lacey here: Parenting as a Practice® – Part OneThe Woman in the Moon™ ,  Quick Tip for Parents to hit the “pause” button

Leave a Reply

Close Menu