When a Northern Beaches Mum recently reached out for a great stylist after receiving a…
Rituals! Do you know this word ………….
Often people ask me where do I come from, when I say India, 99% of the time they have something nice to say, like I love indian food, oh! I have been to India, oh I love India, the food the culture. Sometimes it takes us to lose something to really appreciate what we have. Though I have not lost anything but I am very aware of the fact that I miss raising my children in my culture. For me it goes a step further, as I come from an Island, in the far east coast (and yes it is not Sri Lanka).
What I missed most was the pregnancy and post baby care of a mother and child. The hot oil massages, the special diet, the hot baths, children were taken care of, and new mums and bubs unless sick were not allowed out of the house for 40 days.
Advice were given you wanted or not, experience was shared you wanted or not, jokes were made you liked it or not. But most of the time we were grateful as, this is the ritual, an age old sharing of wisdom, from older women of the family to the younger women. This was our RITUAL. And it was in these Rituals that we learnt mindful raising of our children.
It is through these Rituals we learnt the art of breathing, not giving into our ego, taking a step back and looking at things, this is where we learn to hold on and to let go.
If you look for proper definition of the word RITUAL in oxford dictionary the word is labelled both noun and adjective. I would love to draw your attention to these particular meanings.
A series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone.(1)
As an adjective
(of an action) arising from convention or habit.(1)
Why am I talking of rituals here and what this means to you as a mother or a father.
A head that often pounds, a body that is exhausted, a mind that is often vague or in overdrive, a spirit that is weary is all a sign of a life without mindfulness. Yes I have to use the buzzword. Today in this blog I will give you the flip side of mindfulness.
When something becomes a buzz three things happen.
- People runs towards it, without proper thought and preparation thinking this is the answer to all my prayers, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month later the novelty wears off.
- People who have for some time now realised they have this need. They either did not or could not fulfill those needs, they come they try and succeed.
- People perceive that it is not for me. These are often people with underlying thought process of I am not good enough, if I try it and fail it is another heart ache, I have tried many things before it did not work.
Every time people hear that I teach Meditation and Mindfulness they come up with amazing statements. That’s how, I know which above mentioned category they fall into. You see my initial education was buried in my culture my gurus were elders of my culture. And mindfulness was learned in simple statements such as….
- When you cook your food cook your food.
- When you fold your clothes fold your clothes.
- Wash your mind as you wash your dishes.
- Two empty pots will clash.
- And much more…………………..
For an outsider these are just random words, for a person who looks beyond the words, these words hold a depth of meaning. Meditation and mindfulness is a part of every religion and culture. Now it is become the buzzword, that people perceive is either for them or not for them. This indeed is a faulty thought process, because simply put it is a mental health and spiritual health exercise.
Now scientist have conducted 1000s of research and come up with
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Mindfulness based Stress Reduction and Exercise.
So what does this mean for us. The existence (culture) and validation(research) of mindfulness just proves it is an exercise (An activity carried out for a specific purpose (2))
In simple words Pay Attention ………..Is it really that simple though? you decide by doing the following
- When you fold the clothes just fold the clothes.
- When you cook just cook.
And judge for yourself is it that simple. Here I must add, the understanding often relayed along with these statements was, keep your thoughts and actions aligned and in the present.
I do not know if you find the activity of mindfulness that simple, but I assure you, you can make it simple as 1-2-3 for your children. Why ? we are going into an era of mental health crisis, it is our right to protect our children.There is no doubt about the mental health crisis in our life and it will only get worse for our children.
Being mindful and practising mindfulness are they the same? Mindful the meaning – Conscious or aware of something and Inclined or willing to do something.
According to ancient teaching we have a body a mind and a soul. When the scientist did the study, the body and mind were taken care of. The soul, well we will explore it another day.
Now while reading if you had stopped and took a moment to just think back on how you fold your clothes then Kudos to you. Because it is never easy, we often fold our clothes in auto pilot, or our mind is anywhere except the texture of clothes, the colour ….. . Remember how earlier I said you can make it easy for your children to keep their thoughts and actions aligned.
In today’s world we can not take mental health for granted. We can not transport our self in ancient cultures but we can access their knowledge. There are many schools that are bringing mindfulness to the education system. Hospitals have it, great working space have it. Still they wonder why it sometimes work and other times don’t or they question, why people find it so hard to meditate? Why people think it is not for them as if it were a choice?
The answer – think of it as planting a seed. The seed may sprout or not no one can guarantee this. Lucky for us the seed sprouts and grows to a tree. And we are happy. Then comes unfavourable conditions and the leaf turns yellow and bugs attack . We get all worried and get pesticide and kill of the bug, do the soil test. It take weeks if not month for the tree to heal, for us to carry on the treatment if the tree responds to those treatments.
What if we would have provide a favourable condition, water, soil, nutrients, in the first time, inspected the tree and took proactive steps in stopping the bug attack on the tree.What if we took these measures even when the the tree looked self sufficient and healthy. Would the tree be that sick ? Yes, Maybe or May be Not. We all know that when we are healthy of body and mind it is much easier to fight off stress and illness.
As parents we have all grounds covered school, sports, dance, technology, great living experience ( food, clothes, money, smart devices). So what are we missing or what can we add to our parenting, to help our children grow not only physically but also have excellent mental health.
Yes parents, mindfulness should be a part of our daily living activities and thought process. So how would an already busy and overworked parent fit it into their routine
Especially if you have little or no knowledge about it. The answer is turn your activities into rituals.
There are 3 elements that help you engage at a deeper level with your children. They all deserve their own space. Look for them in the next article. Till then if you want to know more about the Parenting Ritual workshops that are coming up, click the link below to register.