In my last post I talked about building trust….so how can we build this trust? I’d like to share my learning and experience as a mom of a 20 and a 10 year old and as a psychologist with 23 years of working closely with parents.
To build trust we need to connect with our children deeply. Very deeply. And to do this, we can take the help of Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hahn) and the Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle)
Here’s an exercise we can try….
By the way I feel every human being can do this exercise to connect with anyone or even with themselves.
Pick a time when you’re all by yourself, make sure there are no distractions…doorbells, phones, visitors, kids, etc.
Lie down in a comfortable position. Preferably Shavasan or Corpse pose. Starting from the toe upwards, tighten and relax every muscle of your body, one at a time…toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hip, waist and so on up to the crown of your head. Then become aware of any tension in any part of the body. Breathe normally. When you feel any tension anywhere, breath awareness into the part and try to release the tension in that part lovingly. Fill the part with the light of consciousness. You can use guided relaxation videos for this.
When you get a thought or feel an emotion, gently set it aside by focusing on your breath. You may already know that stressful thoughts and emotions manifest as tension in the muscles. A relaxed mind leads to a relaxed body.
Now when you’re deeply and completely relaxed, experience it fully with all your awareness.
Remember how it feels in your body. Remember how blissful it feels, how light your body feels. Feel your body letting go and sinking into the mat under you. Remember, the only emotion you feel at this point is love. Love for yourself, love for the world around you.
Practice this for a week or longer.
Let us now come to the parent child part.
Look for a time when you’re child is relaxed…either reading or lazing or playing by him/her self, or any quiet time- indoors or outdoors. Go sit or lie down next to your child…
Now remember that deep relaxed state that you’ve been practicing for the past few days…try to go into that deep relaxed state.
You may get thoughts and emotions related to your child. If the child is busy playing with a gadget, you may get edgy or irritated. You may feel restless that you and the child are wasting time when you can do homework or practice something in this time. You may remember and become anxious about your child’s behavior or performance at school or elsewhere. Its okay…its normal to feel that way. But now is the time to breathe. Bring your awareness to your breath. Keep breathing. Calm yourself down. Feel your muscles relaxing. Feel your body getting more and more relaxed as you free yourself of every thought and emotion. Become aware of tension in any part of the body and let go consciously.
You may remember something important or urgent to take care of. But that can wait. This is a precious moment with your child…..even if it lasts only 5 minutes.
Five minutes of doing nothing.
Five minutes of being-ness
Five precious minutes of total presence in the here and now.
If possible and if your child allows it, you can gently stroke his hair or play with her curls on your finger or stroke her soft cheek with the tip of your finger….
Can you visualize what I’m saying?
Picture yourselves on a lazy Sunday morning ..when you’ve just woken up….or in the afternoon when you’ve just finished watching your favorite movie for the umpteenth time or in the park, on the grass where you’ve both fallen…lying there after a game of catch- gasping for breath, watching an ant carrying a load together, building a sand castle together, standing at the beach and watching our feet get buried under the sand, sitting by a pond and loking at the fish….these are those quiet moments of nothingness where you’re in a completely relaxed state of just being there with your child….either dong nothing or enjoying a simple sensory activity together…the crux is full presence in the here and now and togetherness.
Such moments strengthen the bond..such moments deepen the connections….such moments bring us closer…such moments enable a relationship of warmth, safety and security.
Childhood goes away faster than we know…let us try to increase such moments, try to maximize and utilize such moments when they naturally arise…..these are precious little moments that the child will cherish all his life…maybe in her subconscious, but will help him to trust you, to connect with you, to bond with you and grow into a confident, secure, balanced adult. These moments help us and our children become more grounded.
This is especially important when your child is a sensitive one who tends to pick up your emotions easily. We find that when we are relaxed, our child is calmer and happier.
Remember this deep relaxed state and operate from here in various moments of anxiety, conflict or confrontation. This state connects you to your highest self. And decisions and responses from this state of deep calm and trust seldom go wrong. A clam mind enhances our thinking and efficiency.
Being calm is one of the best gifts we can give our children.
Do share your experience, responses and feedback!!
Lots of love,
Wish you a happy and mindful parenting,
Here are some beautiful images and links:
From the above link: Slipping Through my Fingers- from Mama Mia featuring my idol Meryl Streep
(Above pics shared with permission from a dear friend)