Karen Ruimy, quite rightly, states that it can be quite straight forward to meditate in the morning and find a connection with yourself for that short time but how do we keep that going throughout the day?
I lie down in semi-supine first thing in the morning, connecting with my body and calmly breathing. It helps free up any niggles or pain I have woken up with, and energises me to start the day. Alexander Technique teachers call this Active Rest or simply Lying Down.
But I’ve often wondered how I can keep that bodily freedom, and overall calmness through my whole day. As soon as everyone else gets up it’s non-stop and it is so hard to bring it back.
An example was given of a horse rider who was working with a horse that wasn’t responding to her. So the horse rider decided to take 3 minutes out, almost ignoring the horse, to connect with herself and stay calm. The horse came to her within that time and responded to her request.
I love the idea that when you are stressed by something external, it's ok to allow yourself to take a moment to calm down and connect with yourself however you see fit. It's also a good excuse to use that situation to help you remember the calmness achieved through earlier meditation.
I wanted to try this out and what better external force to practice this on than a toddler.
The next day I spotted my first opportunity. My 2 year old was refusing to put her shoes on as we left nursery. So I moved away from her, let her get on with what she wanted to do and took some slow breaths. She actually did come to me after a few minutes saying ‘Shoes’! I thought, ‘Wow this works’!
I tried it again the next day when she was refusing to get dressed (these toddlers just love to say ‘No’ don’t they?). So, rather than pleading, begging or just pulling her clothes off, I sat down in the chair in her room, breathed slowly, found an inner calm and let her carry on playing.
I counted silently to 3 minutes and she carried on playing. Another minute and still the same thing. It wasn’t going to work this time!
In the end I found another tactic. It is, after all, mostly about tactics these days! I decided instead to read to her, as a distraction, while changing her clothes. I just about managed it with a few grumbles.
This situation made me realise that the point is not to tame my toddler, but to tame myself. Taking those few minutes out, takes me away from the stress and gives me an open mind to find that different tactic.
I know full well that every day is different and what works as a distraction one day does not work the next. So all I can do is remember to bring calmness back to myself and use that to help me each time.
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