In Part 1 of Reflections on Balance, I highlighted that the rhythm of our breath is the foundation of life and a valuable reference point for gaining awareness and balance in the family. The natural cycle of inhale-expansion, exhale-contraction and the slight space in between provides a basis as we guide our selves and families through life.
When we think of balance we may visualize the busy parent who is spinning many plates, one on each body part, with them about to fall at any moment. How do we experience the inner balance necessary to keep up when life can be crazy, surprises and emergencies occur, and we sometimes don’t know where to begin?
Start right here, right now with the breath. Become aware of this moment. Feel your breath as it enters and exits. Notice how your body feels, any sensations present, and position yourself more comfortably as necessary. Continue feeling your breath and bring all of your attention into the inside of your body. Notice the life that is present within you. Observe the stillness and peace that comes through bringing your awareness to the present. This sense of presence is within you at all times.
You can take this experience a bit deeper with a bit of visualization and centering. As you breathe notice a cord running from above you straight through the middle of your body into the center of the earth. As you feel the invisible cord connect you to whatever spiritual source you identify with above, notice how you feel inside. As the cord connects to the center of the earth feel any straining energy sift out of you where the earth can recycle it. Feel roots extend from the bottom of your feet into the earth as you connect above and below. Notice the sensation of being strong and balanced like a tree. We have the ability to ground and center ourselves in any moment, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. It simply takes willingness to do something different.
The next thought that may come is something like, “I can’t just do that anytime” or “How can this help me achieve balance?” You can learn to focus your awareness at any time and this is the inner foundation of balance. We create our lives and parenting experience from the inside out. If we feel miserable, overwhelmed, and off balance we often project that on the outside. The more we tune into who we are on the inside and choose to create balance from inner clarity and calm, the more we experience it in our lives.
Parents from all walks of life have a unique opportunity to experience the benefit of being right here, right now. We witness our little ones growing so fast and it really hits home that enjoying the time we have is paramount to not only enjoying the act of parenting, but our life as a whole. Of course there are experiences that can feel frustrating – such as the times children do not want to cooperate, the to-do list is too long, or something breaks in the house.
It is during stressful times that the idea of being present is difficult for many. That is why it is so vital to shift our focus and put our attention on the breath and present moment while simply noticing the reactions in the mind and emotional sensations in the body. Combined with ideas and beliefs about the past and future, thoughts start to brew about what has happened, what is happening, and what may happen as a result of what is or is not happening. Truly, our thoughts lead to our words, our words to our actions – all having tremendous strength in our parenting experience. It is easy to see how this plays out in day-to-day work and life.
We are faced with several choices from how to parent to what clothes to put on the children, the schooling method that best suits each child, what to feed the kids – and many more. Attention to the present moment is another choice that allows you to experience true balance from the inside out.
Feel free to join me as I continue to the Reflections on Balance series at Peace 4 Parents.
Amy Phoenix is a gentle yet direct parenting guide, healing facilitator, creator of Peace 4 Parents, and mother of four dedicated to sharing insights and practices to transform frustration and anger, heal the past and nurture conscious relationships.