I am a mother of two amazing girls, and have spent most of my career working in business and tech, specifically in product management and consulting. The birth of my first daughter changed how I viewed my work-life balance and sparked the start of my journey into mindfulness. When she was six months old, I realized that disciplining a child may be one of the hardest parts of parenting. I started learning about the ideas around positive discipline, and thus far have successfully integrated these techniques in our home. I’ve since learned that the positive discipline practices are a form of mindful parenting and thus started my journey into mindfulness.
I continued being drawn to books on child development, education and empathic parenting. In one book, “Beyond Measure,” I learned about an incredible program, Mindful Schools, based out of Oakland, CA. The program primarily targets teachers and school administrators- to bring mindfulness to schools, but I decided on a whim to enroll in my first course. I did not have explicit plans to teach kids, but I figured taking the first course through Mindful Schools couldn’t hurt, and if anything could help me become a better parent. I fell in love with the program and finished the training to teach mindfulness in classrooms and group settings. I have now begun teaching mindfulness and yoga to children at local schools and community organizations.
Since starting this mindfulness journey, I’ve had epiphanies about my own childhood experiences- both positive and negative. Some of these experiences especially the negative ones with my peers truly shook me to the core, and influenced some major life decisions I made. For a long time, I lived my life with insecurities and fears and internalized aspects of myself that I had not fully accepted.
I know that mindfulness is a practice- not an end state. It’s a constant learning process for all of us. As I learn and reflect, I’ve felt compelled to journal. And I hope that by sharing this journal in the Mindful Littles blog that others may find insights that may help them in their own mindfulness journey with their littles. There are two key tenets of the shared journal:
1. Helping my children be more mindful is not just another to-do, but naturally integrated into our daily activities as a family.
During this journey, I have learned that there are simple ways to easily integrate mindfulness practices so it doesn’t overwhelm our busy lives or feel like a forced chore. Children have such a natural curiosity and awe of the world that there are organic opportunities to practice mindfulness as my kids play or we do things together. I’ll post our experiments with mindfulness activities- those that we create ourselves at home and others experts recommend. I’ll also include ways we are cultivating compassion at home and in the community.
2. In order to raise mindful littles and educate littles in our community, I need to practice being a mindful big.
I’m focusing on my own practice as a mindful big- as a parent, as a wife, as a mindfulness and yoga teacher, and in all aspects of my life. I’ll post reflections from my own internal journey, external experiences and from insights I gain from key experts and resources.
I am certain that one of the best ways I can give back to my daughters is by helping them and other littles in our community become more mindful and compassionate. I want my children to have the tools to self-regulate their emotions and to think before they act. I want them to feel grounded and have “an internal home-base” they can rely on, as they face both the positive and negative realities of life. I want my children to thrive in a community where kids are more conscious and aware of themselves and others; where they are compassionate and empathetic, and where they can safely, freely and confidently express their authentic selves. And providing my children and those in our community with tools to be more mindful and compassionate can hopefully help us all lead more full, present and hopefully peaceful lives.