(An unrelated photograph of Thursdays strawberry and mulberry harvest in the peg basket. I ran out of hands to carry them all.)
This week I find that I have been musing over calm and mindfulness. I've been focusing on several questions. How do I want to 'be'? What needs to change? What should be prioritisied? What does balance look like? From there I have been writing down the three things I can be doing right now to make those changes a reality. I think they we can benefit from slowing down and asking ourselves such questions more often. What makes us happy? How do we add more joy to our lives? Or how can we better appreciate the joy before us?
There are a few things I want to focus on right now, I know I want to be calmer, I want to create better routines, and I want to stop rushing and being late. All of which are interrelated. Firstly though, calm. I really want to be less snappy at my husband and children. Instead, I want to be more patient and lighthearted, more open to the joy around me. One solution to finding this calm in myself, which I practiced pre-children, is yoga. However, as a mother hoping to attend a class there are practical problems to consider, such as the difficulties of finding time, money and baby sitting. I mused on this and realised I didn't need to go anywhere, I could do yoga at home, I just needed to make the time, and a commitment. (I find the slogan 'yoga every damn day' very motivating!) By creating a reasonable bed time for myself, as part of developing better routines, I could then get up half an hour earlier than the children, and practice half an hour of yoga each morning by watching Youtube clips through the tv. This has now become a priority and a part of my routine, and I am enjoying it immenselly. Even after the first morning on Monday I felt a greater calm and a greater well of patience when the children rose and joined me for breakfast.
Since then the children have been waking earlier too and joining me on the mat. Goodbye Mama's quiet time! At first I honestly felt frustrated by this. I wasn't able to do 'serious and relaxing yoga' while the children crawled under my down ward dog, or sat on my lap at every opportunity. But it was fun, and I love having them giggling beside me and mimicking me. So I found a solution to the absence of the relaxation element too. The Smiling Mind app. Clare Bowditch recommended it at the Big Hearted Business morning tea, and it fits perfectly with where I'm at and what I am looking for. Short, guided meditations, tailored to you - for free. (Pop over and check it out, you can down load it to your phone. I don't know a single mother, or anyone really, who couldn't benefit from this!) This way, I can practice yoga with or without the children, then when they go for a nap, or before bed, I can practice mindful meditation. It is excellent for treating stress, anxiety and depression and for general calm. Perfect!
By going to bed earlier, getting up earlier and feeling calmer, I have been better able to improve our established routines. I also feel less stressed and hurried in the mornings, because having to hurry children stresses me out like nothing else, and I hate being late. I am often my own worse enemy though, as I am prone to thinking, "well, I have another ten minutes before I need to start getting ready, I'll just finish this first." Before I know it twenty minutes have passed and I am suddenly in a rush. What I am trying to re-train myself to do is get ready to go first, then if there is time to spare I can do a short activity and still leave with time to spare. It working well with Cohen too. It's so much nicer to not have to say 'hurry up' ten times to a four year old because you have given them well enough time to get ready and then have a play, rather than the other way around.
I think we all want to live well, be happy and find contentment in our lives. All of which I believe are absolutely worthy goals. And it's interesting the way that technology can be used to help fulfill those ambitions. What those goals are is different for all of us and changes with the season of our lives.
Do you have similar goals?
Do you use any apps you use to exercise, unwind or find calm?
What motives you?