So often my blogs focus on children and the work we do at Challenge To Change to make these beautiful change makers ready in our busy and disconnected world. However, today my focus is on adults. The readers of the blog. YOU are the caretakers of these amazing little human beings who we will hand over our busy world to. YOU are the examples they are watching everyday. YOU are the ones they strive to be just like one day.
Today I want to talk about relationships and mindfulness. Yes, relationships. We have so many. We have family relationships. Work relationships. Surface relationships. Deep relationships. In our day to day actions and interactions we are constantly giving off information with our words, body language and facial expressions. In this rushing world we have created, are we taking the time to be fully present in our conversations with others? Are we putting down our phones, our mental to do lists and becoming fully present in conversations?
Tell me this, when you are in a conversation, are you REALLY listening or are you thinking about how you are going to answer back? Are you looking your partner in the eye or letting your mind wander with your mind?
Many people would argue with me and say, “I just don’t have the time.” OR “I would LOVE to have that conversation but I need to ….” Are you guilty? I know I certainly am at times. However, when we live a mindful practice in our lives this often becomes second nature. When we practice mindfulness on a regular basis, it becomes part of who we are and therefore a natural response.
When we work with children in schools, we practice and preach this. We tell them to connect their “smart mind to their kind heart to their calm body.” In teaching this we show them how to close their eyes and breathe. We teach them how to self regulate emotions through mudras. We teach them how to connect mind, body breath through yoga. We teach them loving kindness practices through Metta mindfulness. We teach them strategies to be the best version of themselves for their friends, teacher and family.
So what do you do to make your mind, heart and body ready for your daily interactions? How do you ready yourself to be the best version of yourself? How do YOU, my adult readers, practice mindfulness?
Many of you know that I teach a yoga for teachers class to teachers wanting to begin implementation of the practice of yoga and mindfulness into their classroom. In this class, the teachers also have an assignment. The assignment is to meditate for 30 days and write a reflection to me everyday. They can reflect through emailing me everyday or posting a picture and reflection to Instagram and hashtag it #30daysofmorningmeditation.
In learning a mindfulness practice they are also assigned to read “A Child’s Mind” by Christopher Willard. In doing these two, they develop a mindfulness practice. Thus, putting the oxygen mask on themselves first before trying to help the students they serve with a depleted mind, heart and body. The results from this assignment have been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers have been drawn to continue this practice everyday because of the benefits it offers themselves personally, professionally as an educator and their families.
Below, I would like to share a reflection from one of my teachers. Everyday I find joy in reading her mindful reflections. She truly is finding the benefits of a mindful practice in her daily life.
But first, let me ask you this: If I were to ask you how you would rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, on how you interacted with your spouse on a day to day basis, how would you rate yourself? Tough question. Right? How often do you sit down, drop the business and really talk? Really interact? I know this is something my spouse and I have to make sure we do.
As you read the blog below, I ask you to reflect on how you can begin to incorporate the practice of mindfulness interactions into your life.
“I was thinking about how mindfulness and relationships go together. My husband and I were able to get a babysitter Saturday night and go to dinner. We haven’t had a sitter in 3 months!! So many days in a row it feels as though we just go through the motions as parents and spouses. Sometimes I think my husband and I are like two ships passing in the night, give each other a wave and it’s on to the next day. I really wanted to spend time together and be mindful about our conversations and just my overall attitude. Spending QUALITY time together is so important. Although I love my children dearly, it was so nice to be able to connect with my spouse too!!”