Adventures in Family Meditation

IMG_5849We have a family meeting every Sunday night.  A few weeks ago at one of these meetings I applied for the role of “Miller Family Healthy Habit Coordinator.”  I told my family that no one will love them more than I do and no one will devote more time to caring for their well-being than I will.   I lovingly explained that I’ve been ardently preparing for this work for approximately 30 years (my twin sisters were born when I was 6 so my mothering career began early) and that I would like to offer them guidance for growth, health, healing and wholeness.  I earnestly explained that there are a lot of other places where my knowledge and experience are in high demand but that the most meaningful place for me to employ these skills is at home with them.  And to top it all off, I would be willing to do this job for free.  After some “where is this going” looks and some laughter, Jessica made a short list of people who she felt were better qualified to fill the position.  Among her preferred applicants were Grandma, Grandpa and Cassie (our dog!?!) but as none of them were available or able to verbally petition for the post I was able to secure it.  I explained that each week I would introduce one new habit for us to incorporate into our routine with the hope that our health and happiness would be enhanced as we seek to care for ourselves and help other people.

We started with meditation because it’s the most logical place to start.  Meditation is a powerful tool for increasing resilience, navigating stress, and growing through struggle.  When you’re a living being, it’s nice to have a few minutes where you just sit still, remember that you have a body and listen to your breath moving in and out of it.  Each night, after Jessica puts on her pjs and brushes her teeth, we sit cross-legged in a haphazard circle and practice meditating together for 2 minutes before we say a family prayer.  To increase kid-appeal, we light a little candle and use the free Insight Meditation Timer app and Jessica gets to choose the chime that signals the beginning and end of our practice.   It’s fun because there are little dots that show you who else in the world is meditating with you.  (We found that Friday evenings are a low point for global meditation while Sundays are pretty popular).  Usually we meditate with around 800 other people and it makes it feel a little less foreign and a lot more communal.

Now before you say “we could never do that” let me reiterate that it’s a practice meaning the whole goal is to try, put forth the effort, put our bodies there, recognizing that most of the time it’s a little crazy with Cassie licking our faces or Jessica staring at the wall (sometimes I peek to see what she’s actually doing while Ritchie and I are closing our eyes).  It’s me telling her to meditate the way I do instead of respecting that she’s going to have her own little 6 year old way of managing things (something you’d think I’d be used to by now…).  It’s Ritchie chanting “ommmmmm” with a playful smirk on his face.  I take it all in stride (probably because I meditate on my own each day so that I can handle whatever these yahoos throw at me 🙂 and I smile.  Meditation is changing our life.

With love,

Lindsay 2.0

 

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The work of childhood

photo 2I’ve been thinking about the immense quantities of time that I sink into my relationships and how many of my precious minutes find themselves spent building connections with other people, especially the two darlings that live here in my home.   Oftentimes in conversations that tend toward exciting endeavors or recent accomplishments I find myself quietly thinking of the relative simplicity of my days.  At this point in my life, I am quite literally immersed in early childhood.  It is simultaneously grueling and fascinating.  How often does one get such an intimate view of the building of a person?

In my more humble moments, like when we’re shoe shopping and Jessica loudly says to me, “Mom, you can’t make me wear those shoes,” I find myself smiling slightly after I process the blow to my pride.  Yes, this is where I choose to devote almost all of my energy-to my relationship with this child, who sometimes backtalks, frequently whines, complains that I’m inconsistent, doesn’t like my story selections and thinks that I hardly know how to do anything.   Living daily in moments like those, makes it hard to articulate just what it is that I do that is so meaningful and valuable.  But I’m helping to build something.  And it’s gonna be beautiful.

With love,

Lindsay