Contributor: Author Leta Hamilton, whose books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.
As a mother of young sons, I was seeking balance in my life. I wanted it to be on my terms and not dictated by when I could get out of the house, the schedule of the day spa and/or my husband’s availability to take over childcare while I was away “doing something just for me.” Meditation was a thing I had heard a lot about and I wanted to go there, explore that and make that the focus of my “me” time.
Meditation is something I can do anytime, anywhere. It requires no special equipment. It’s simply me and my body and my mind. Simple does not necessarily mean easy. We have minds busy with chatter. We can and do often become swept away with the parade of thoughts that disrupt us – an inner sense of peace is swallowed up by all those thoughts we think.
Reading up on meditation, I knew it was a way for me to master my thoughts, use my mind as a servant instead of making it my master and create the inner space to allow that peace in. Kids are a source of chaos both internally and externally. We berate ourselves with all the comparisons between ourselves and other parents and our kids and other kids. We also look around to our environments and see things out of place. Toys needing to be picked up, kids wanting to play with objects that are not intended for small hands and a gazillion other ways our external landscapes are thrown into chaos with tiny ones in our lives.
None of this is wrong. Kids will be kids! They need outlets of play for their personal development and I for one did not want to stifle their budding personhoods through my own insecurities and inability to deal with them. After recognizing the benefits of meditation, I set in place the intention to make it a part of my life. I did not know how I would do it, when or where it would happen. I made the declaration of wanting meditation to be a part of my existence and let God do the rest.
Soon enough, I noticed how Oliver would fall asleep in the buggy on our way home from dropping William off at preschool. I took that opportunity to sit in the garden of a park near my home and simply practice breathing. If the weather was too cold or rainy for that, I would roll Oliver into the house still in his buggy and just sit while he slept.
If I was in the car while children were sleeping, I would stay there in the driveway after we arrived home and do nothing other than close my eyes and breathe. I would practice meditation for durations of 2 minutes through to an hour or more.
It was a miraculous “noticing” of space in my life. Whenever I could meditate, I suddenly had the inspiration to do so. It was marvelous how these moments came with precision and regularity. It did not have to be at the same time every day or for the same amount of time. What had shifted in me was the awareness of those moments existing: moments when it was possible, doable, to meditate.
Meditation for me has expanded into a lifelong habit. I meditate now as a way of being. I take time every day to sit quietly and watch my breath internally. I also use meditation as a form of presence. When I am with someone – that is a meditation! It is a meditation of presence, of BE-ing with that person, listening to them and responding from a place of spontaneity. I no longer think what to say ahead of time. I sit with a person in a state of presence-meditation.
When I do the dishes, it is my “dishes meditation” time. I do the dishes with presence. I wash them as if this were the greatest meditation ever. I love the dishes as I clean them. I am with them as a lover. It’s the same with the laundry. I just do the laundry like I would if I were sitting cross-legged in a room of meditation students. Wherever I go, whatever I am doing, I practice it as a meditation. Life is a meditation to me now. It is no longer separate activity from the rest of my life. All of life is calm and meditation.
Of course, there is still noise in my life. With 4 young boys how could there not be? However, my intention of creating life as the meditation makes it easy for the calm to stay inside. I still go off and sit by myself from time to time to regroup and restore an inner sense of balance. I have a chair that is specifically placed in my bedroom for my quiet meditation times. I sit on the floor and focus on beautiful objects that are pleasing to me. I stay in the car when I am able and breath while the baby continues to sleep.
All of these things I do as a habit because meditation is important to me. It’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, priority of my life. Above caring for my kids, being there for my husband or taking care of personal hygiene I intend the peace meditation brings me. When peace is taken care of, all those other things fall into place so easily and effortlessly. I have noticed how easy my life is and with what grace I am gifted every day. I have peace as a core value. I arrive there through vigilant adherence to the intention that meditation is in my life every day. Then I wait for the opportunities to “pop up” and I take them, I act on them, I do as I am guided and I notice how often it is there is that space for what I desire.
You too can make something a part of your life that you desire. Whether it is more time for meditation or something else, there is something powerful in the intention. Then, it is up to you to notice and act on what is opening up in front of you. Be very open. You will be surprised at how many ways The Universe brings you what you desire.