Clients and students often ask me about creating and sustaining a meditative practice when their children are demanding their time, energy and attention.
I recommend making them a part of their practice (being fully present with whatever’s going on). Sometimes, I tell them about how I use Rainbow MagnifiCat’s interruptions during the day to enhance my mindfulness practice. As she looks expectantly for attention, I make my lap available for her, pausing work or whatever (unless I’m with a telephone or online client, obviously) and relax into the Rainbow Appreciation Time, hearing her purr, feeling her fur (and claws and weight) and generally feeling pleasantly present and grounded.
This morning, I realised that this is not (of course) the full story. Most days, I let her out while I do my morning meditation and a little yoga. My eyes frequently open and glance towards the door, checking in case she wants to come in.
This morning, with a lot of pent up energy from her snow avoiding time indoors yesterday, she didn’t want to go out while I meditated. I told her (and her angel) that I’d be meditating and focusing on my experience yet still noticed myself getting very distracted. Lots of opportunities this morning for noticing this (with as much self-compassion and curiosity as I could muster) and gently bringing my mind back to the meditation.
And Rainbow’s a cat. Babies and children (and puppies and goats etc) are far more demanding.
What can you do to make them part of your practice in a way that’s practical for them and you?
As with everything, some days, it’s much easier to be present than others. Many mornings, Rainbow’s so peaceful and quiet on the bed, I do my meditation next to her there before I even brush my teeth.
This morning, I could have easily locked Rainbow out of the room but I wanted to challenge myself to stay focused. (I can almost hear her howl, ‘Mwah hahahaha’ from the other room where she’s been peaceful and still since I finished and put my yoga mat away.)
Children and animals are wonderful at bringing us into the present moment.
This isn’t to say it’s always easy. Just as it’s often easier to be aware of our bodies and what they need when we feel strong, fit and healthy, it’s when we’re in pain that the biggest benefits of being present and really paying attention to what we need can pay off.
Do you include your children and/or animals in your meditative practices?
When is it easiest?
When is it most challenging?
What helps you most?
Feel free to share below.