Welcome to the First Mindful Mama Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindful practices mean to them, how they parent mindfully, obstacles to mindful practice and experiences along the way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Part of my post partum depression treatment is monthly deep tissue massage with craniosacral and energy work. I had been having severe pain on the right side of my neck. So I purposefully scheduled my massage 3 days before my family and I were set to fly across the US. As it was, the amount of pain I was in would have prohibited the traveling necessities of babywearing, childwrangling, and toting heavy bags. So being in pain was not an option.
The massage kept the pain manageable for about a day. I went to the chiropractor, but was still in an intolerable amount of discomfort. I was suffering enough that I was snapping at everyone. I was pretty miserable to be around. So, I begged my massage therapist and she graciously agreed to see me the morning of my flight. When we met, she had with her an arsenal of tools to figure out the root cause of my pain and remove it from my body permanently. She was on a mission of compassion, but it was a bit frightening to see her determination. I described my symptoms and she looked up some treatments and emotional causes in some of her books, including You Can Heal Your Life, which said my symptoms came from in part an intolerance of another’s viewpoint. Uh, ouch! That was a hard thing to hear. To be fair, she agreed that some of it was because I was cosleeping and tandem breastfeeding, which takes all sorts of tolls on the body. But, this had the (ouchie) ring of truth to it. It may have imploded my ego, but I was prepared to accept whatever I needed to accept in order to take away the neck pain I was in.
I made the choice to be fearless. I used the intense massage session to meditate on what we had learned and see what came up for me. What arose within me was the emphatic word,
I decided to take the radical step to say, “Yes!” to anything that was asked of me for the entire day. And I couldn’t think of anything more terrifying than traveling across the country with 3 small children and my husband without the option to say, “No!” to anything. I would have to trust the people around me without any of my usual reservations. I also knew that I would have to be mindful of saying “yes” at all times.
I would hold to two key rules:
- I wouldn’t tell anyone what I was doing in order to keep it authentic (e.g.: no being taken advantage of)
- I would hold to my core value Ahimsa, or non-violence, to make certain neither I nor anyone else would be harmed by the “Yes!” This meant always looking for the yes in the no and keeping my mind in the present moment at all times. This is one of those mindfulness practices that I find really juicy: being mindful off the mat.
All of this arose in me in the 10 minutes it took for me to mindfully disrobe and get settled into the table. This is what happens when I really listen to my heart-not often an easy thing for me to do. I spent the rest of the massage repeating the mantra that I was safe and protected, so that I could let go and trust everyone with my open heart.
And I did it. I said “Yes!” to everything that was asked of me from the time I left the massage table until the time I finally fell asleep-36 hours later. My neck pain resolved and it has yet to return. But, here was the real proof for me that working constantly to be mindfully in the moment with everyone brought a change to my life: My husband and I had zero disagreements the entire trip. My children and I had zero disagreements the entire trip. I felt safe and secure, with clear boundaries, the entire trip. I felt happy and playful the entire trip. There were challenging moments, of course, but I enjoyed my family the entire trip. I suppose it is easy to travel with someone who is always open to hearing what you need and is readily in touch with their own needs.
Anytime I need a quick pick me up or anytime the day isn’t going well, I set my inner timer and say, “Yes!” to anything for an hour, or 15 minutes, or 1 minute-whatever is reasonable and feels safe to me. This practice completely turns around the energy that I and everyone around me is putting out. It is difficult to remain mindful at all times, but like any practice, finding the Yes! in the No! is becoming easier.
Have you ever tried saying “YES!” to everything? Would you ever try this practice? Why or Why not? I’d love to hear from you.
Visit TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- The Lost Art of Chill One Rich Mother explains how she overcame her habit of screaming through mindfulness
- Mindful Running Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction shares how running has become her meditation.
- Mindful Mama…Who, Me? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about why it’s difficult for her to be a Mindful Mama.
- Ritual of Affirmations Patti @ Jazzy Mama finds out that a simple evening ritual can take on new importance when it is done with thoughtfulness and intent.
- My Mindfulness Challenge Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro has set forth a mindfulness challenge for herself in an effort to become a better person.
- Keeping My Sanity by Losing My Mind CJ at Imperfect Happiness describes how she connects with reality by disconnecting from her mind.
- On Becoming an Aspiring Mindful Mama Melissa at The New Mommy Files has found that motherhood demands mindfulness, so she’s working toward becoming a more mindful mama.
- Perfect and Complete, Lacking Nothing Rachael at The Variegated Life finds more time in the practice of being now.
- On Mindfulness and Multitasking Terri at Child of the Nature Isle reflects on how her mindful practices have changed since having children and how multitasking has been the key to maintaining a balanced life.
- I’ll Have What She’s Having Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she learned to trust in the “YES!”