Saturday, June 04, 2016

Mindfulness, green, and children

If I were to rename this blog, I would call it Green Mom Sangha, because those three cover the things I am most passionate about and interested in and love - being sustainable in everyday life, sharing and being with my kids, and mindfulness, to which I have devoted more time lately.

There are many, many books, blogs and other materials available to those who wish to bring mindfulness to parenting, and likewise being mindfully green is an emerging, growing area. Still, if you want to be green AND mindful with your kids, you have only a few small choices, and not necessarily instructions. So...I hope to fill this gap with a few posts. Please let me know if this is useful to you!

I'll start with getting outside. Fresh air helps children appreciate nature to want to take care of it, and a view of trees is calming, giving oxygen. From the point of view of mindfulness it gives us a lesson in interconnectedness and impermanence, as trees grow, leaves fall, flowers bloom and wilt, then compost below to give new life.

A simple way with little ones is to go for a walk. A stroller for the younger ones is fine. They may have food and drink but avoid other distractions for yourself and them. Put away the phone. Take out the earbuds. Carry a single bag to pick up trash along the way.

Stroller and walking meditation

Walk - slowly and deliberately. Feel the ground beneath your feet, the handles in your hands, the flex of your toes.

Notice the breeze on your face, the ground before you. Each step is a lift, a movement, a careful placing of your foot. Bring your attention to your breath - in and out.

When your child needs your attention, stop the stroller. Go to her kindly, and help silently, with a gentle smile. If she is screaming, console her as long as she needs. If he wants to go back, turn around. If they want to examine rocks, let them. If they ask a question, answer. If you or they see trash, pick it up.  If you see something beautiful you want to share, stop and share it. This is the moment.

When your are stopped, breathe. Slow your walking. Focus on the in and out of the breath. You may wish to count your steps or your breaths.

When thoughts arise, stop to return your focus to the breath, or slow down. You are here, now, in the ground under your feet. You are solid. You are all together, and free.

No comments: