The secret to mindfulness is making it your own. While breath work, meditation or other ideas may not resonate for you there are a plethora of other ways to bring more spaciousness into gifted parenting. This little piece is a short and sweet approach to the power of mindfulness. During this time of epic challenge when nearly everything touching our lives is complicated by worry and change we can incorporate mindfulness to bring more beauty and purpose into our family lives. Living mindfully also models the behavior that our children mirror, and allows us all to feel the full circle benefit of our best parenting selves.
As parents we find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands and the intensity of raising gifted children. Integrating self care into that picture can be a challenge while tending young people who are intellectually energetic, asynchronous, perennially inquisitive, and perfectionistic. Meeting the needs of gifted children takes time. It may feel like we’re always “on.” Our bodies and minds can feel the strain and demand even when we don’t consciously allow ourselves to connect with that fact. Always being “on” creates disequilibrium, with effects that slow us down and create imbalance in our bodies and minds.
Many of us parent to give our children the benefit of our knowledge and life experience, though we often overlook our own self care. In short, this doesn’t help anyone, least of all ourselves. We know this, yet we may still find ourselves in a spiral of disfunction. Resentment can creep in when we’re overwhelmed with the demands and intensity of guiding gifted children. Resentment was often the sign that my life was out of balance when my children were young. It is helpful to remember that equilibrium is not a permanent condition, and the first step to achieving balance is to acknowledge that we’ve gone awry. LESS is an acronym for light, easy, soft, and slow. When we have things to do and problems to solve how can less be helpful? As counterintuitive as it sounds LESS is really the answer to finding our sweet spot again. Let me elaborate.
When we discover that chaos has infiltrated our lives we may respond feeling panicky, stressed and blame ourselves. Consider taking the opposite approach. Consider being easy with yourself taking a kinder more understanding approach—think light. No one likes or plans on being overwrought. Hold that uncomfortable moment in a container of lightness by inviting self compassion and forgiveness. Lightening our lives with tenderness creates space, clears the air and in time allows you to remember your best intentions. An intentional moment of lightness lifts the burden of self blame, and reorganizes us to be present in kindness, and in greater service to our family.
The path to ease can seem like a mirage when we’re surrounded by challenges and disorder. Resisting the pressure of “too muchness” that feels like the theme of the day is a path to freedom. Taking a moment, even just standing at the kitchen counter to close your eyes and exhale the perceived obligations can literally ease the tension out of our body. Better yet, quietly sitting with eyes closed can offer great relief. Vision takes the vast majority of our sensory energy, and taking a moment to remove yourself visually, will punctuate the day with peace. Use the minds eye to observe the subtle qualities of your breath, and take in this moment, allowing your body to relax into breathing. Suspend judgment and in time the breath will respond by flowing easily, evenly, and kindly. Take as much time as you can to discover the sense of ease. It is always there with the element of time that will bring it forth.
When we’ve realized a lighter more easeful approach it is a natural progression to renew our ability to be soft. Yielding to what is may sound like an avoidant approach, but is really about being with what is in a more accepting, loving way. The long list of things that require attention will not be shorter, but our approach can be made easier. Finding ease in the demands of the day reminds us to prioritize and create an approach that encourages rather than disheartens. A softer approach can really remind us of the power of what’s in our heart. The heart yields naturally to softening (and it’s central to cardiovascular health!), and responds with warmth and intentional energy. Feel the difference of softening throughout the day.
The daily demands of gifted children are often conducted in hurry, and pressure. We lose a great deal in the rush. Of all the things that happen during demanding times, hurry may be the most challenging. Hurry blunts our sensory input. We tend to overlook the cues that tell us our energy is draining, overlook the suggestion that may help us be the parent we intend to be, feel disconnected from those we love, and become detached from the insight of our heart. Even when there’s much to do, and emotions are elevated, slowing down simplifies our lives, and reminds us of the power of our true presence. Slowing down reminds us of our purpose as a parent, the commitment to model loving behavior, and to feel a more caring path toward our daily work. Notice when you take a moment to breath you’ll naturally slow down, and the body, mind and senses are once more in sync with our purpose. Slowing down, even when you don’t have to, is a heart warming, welcoming break from daily demands.
Want to breath more sighs of relief? Join co-host Violeta Balan and I on Zoom Thursday, January 28 and Thursday, February 11 with guest speaker Michele Kane, Ed.D., to enjoy in depth conversation, guided imagery and discussion about our current read for gifted parents and mindfulness for all of us. Details on the CGCC calendar.
CGCC Board Member
Human Potential Coach