When my oldest daughter J, was four, I moved back with my mom so I could finish school. During this time in my life, I was severely stressed and depressed. I started seeing a wonderful therapist, who introduced me to meditation. At that point, I didn’t know much about meditation and I thought it was something really complicated and hard to do. I thought there would be all of these steps to proper meditation.
I was surprised when she just had me simply follow my breath. Just breathing in and out? I could totally do that. So I started practicing daily. As I got better at keeping my mind still while meditating, I noticed a shift in my mood. For almost a year I meditated daily and sometimes twice daily. I eventually was able to get off antidepressants and meditating became a big part of my world.
When I graduated from school and didn’t have 2 hours of downtime between work and school, life got busy and meditating got put away. It has been a little over a year and a half since I graduated from massage school. I had noticed that I was getting angry more often and being short-tempered with those around me. I have been trying to get back on the wagon, but it is hard to find uninterrupted alone time when you have two children. I can’t imagine doing it when you have more than that!
I ran across an article yesterday that got me to thinking. So what, I can’t always get alone in the quiet to meditate, I can make my whole day a meditation if I want. I can focus on my breathing, both the in and out breath while I focus on my family. I can be present when demands are made of me. I can breath while holding a smile. I can be aware. I can bring my attention back to my breathing when I realize my mind is running away with me. When I feel angry and frustrated, I can breathe and focus on being compassionate. Then my family will benefit directly from my practice.
I tried this yesterday and right before I tucked my oldest daughter into bed, she said, “Mom you were really happy and laughing a lot today.”
That made my heart smile. I just tried to focus on my breathing and maintaining a smile and she noticed it. I didn’t point out what I was doing or make a fuss about it, and she noticed a difference in me.
What about you? How can you incorporate whole-day meditation? How do you think that your family will benefit? I intend to keep testing it out and see what happens. I believe that having meditation time by yourself is important to, but when you can’t get away, meditate with your family.