Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they’ve set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I do a lot mini-meditations throughout my day. I practice being fully engaged in a task with all of my senses. I’ll place my mind on a single word or idea to clear out the mental chatter. I’ll envision a candle flame and pour all my thoughts and feelings into it until I’m empty. I’ll close my eyes and do a check in with my body to see where I’m holding tension and release it. I’ll take 3 deep breaths and relax a little bit. These practices, done individually, are within my constant flow of activity. They’re a few seconds to a few minutes long and I rarely do more than pause slightly to observe them.
But, they’re vitally important to my coping skills. I wouldn’t make it through the day with compassion for myself or others without them. I imagined that this challenge would give me an excellent opportunity to add a formal, seated meditation practice in to my day. I had expectations that I would find a greater sense of peace. I would be a better person and a gentler parent. I hoped I would reap benefits that would exceed the little pieces I gained from my mini-meditations throughout the day. I missed the piece of me that I had before becoming a parent when I luxuriated in uninterrupted meditation time and I wanted to get in touch with that part of me again.
I remembered from previous experiences how challenging it can be to start a meditation practice and stick with it. I remembered that it can be frustrating at times to notice my monkey mind chattering away nonstop in the jungle around me. But, I wanted those benefits that meditation can bring and was willing to face down the difficulties.
I didn’t expect to run into an impenetrable wall.
For six weeks, I sat. Back straight. Eyes closed. Monkey mind chattering.
Then, I would get to a small, still place and a wall would slam into me, knocking me into bewilderment. I tried examining this wall. Poking and prodding it. I tried kicking it and pounding on it. Then, I became afraid that I’d found another area with repressed memories. So, I decided I’d leave the wall alone. I’d be a meditating person, consciously choosing to ignore the wall.
But, the wall wasn’t ignoring me. It crept closer, eventually pressing in on me until I left meditating in a hurry every day. I was frazzled. I wasn’t able to practice my mini-meditations throughout the day. I became frustrated and depressed. I was often short with my children and my husband.
So, I stopped meditating entirely at 4 weeks. And everything became worse. The wall was with me all the time and I was miserable. I finally sought help from a therapist. She walked me through my meditation until I came to the wall again and helped me explore the wall in a way that took away my fear. She reminded me that this wall was strong because it came from me.
The wall was anger. I was walking around with this simmering, nonfocused anger. It frightened me because this is not the person I thought I was and I didn’t want to face it.
My therapist reminded me that feelings are not the same as the person. Having anger doesn’t make me an angry person. It simply means I don’t know how to process anger because I associate many negatives with it.
I’ve learned a lot about myself during this challenge. Going forward, I am continuing my daily meditations, this time, I finding the negative associations I have with anger and teasing them apart. As I unravel each piece, my anger is letting go. One day, maybe, the wall will disappear. But, for now, I’m happy letting it be.
Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- The Importance of a Moment Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama reflects on the need to slow down and breathe in life instead of rushing from one moment to the next.
- Mindful Playing With My Daughters Rani at Om She Said looked at her girls and realized that more than anything they wanted her right there next to them, playing, laughing, creating, and having fun; that’s exactly what she did!
- Watch Your Words Patti at Canadian Unschooler challenges herself to make her words a reflection of her intentions.
- The Mindful Benefits of Knitting Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares how knitting has helped lift her out of depression and has given her a new form of meditation.
- Self Compassion: How Thinking About Bad Experiences Can Make You Happier and More Compassionate CJ at Imperfect Happiness challenges herself to be more compassionate…with herself.
- Calming the Home Environment by Selecting Traditional Toys Sam at Love Parenting discusses the benefits of natural toys.
- Quieting my Infernal Inner Ramblings Tree at Mom Grooves writes about her commitment to get out of her head and into the moment with her daughter and husband.
- Changing Our Everyday The Aniweda Dream is sizing up the changes they’ve made by moving across the country and looking at how to make their lives more mindful as a family.
- A Mindful Cup of Tea Amy at The Daily Muttering tells how she’s trying to regain control of her life with the chaos of 3 kids thanks to the introduction of a simple daily ritual.
- Mindful Mama Moontime Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how becoming conscious of her moon time has helped her find balance in herself as a woman, and a mama.
- Speaking to the Need Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares how she tries to stay mindful of her preschooler’s needs.
- Going Within Amy at Anktangle describes a centering practice she’s been being more intentional about lately, and which she has come to realize is a precious gift in her life.
- Waking Up With Meditation Amy at PresenceParents shares how awakening with presence carries her through the day.
- Mindful Meditations Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores six weeks of seated meditation and discovers some things she doesn’t expect.
- Mindfulness in the Kitchen – an Everyday Challenge Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she’s been challenging herself to involve more mindfulness in everyday tasks – especially in the area of cooking for her family.