Mama Has A Quieter Mind
The past few months I have been moving away from doing; instead, I am staying engaged in life in the moment. I wanted my writing to come from a place of enlivened energy rather than a “checklist” of things to do. I was much like the winter here in British Columbia, dormant, bubbling and growing under the surface. I also was very much aware of using my computer, phone and iPad as a source of stimulation rather that a learning tool. At times I allowed myself this indulgence and noted the escape, and other times I was sucked down the vortex before I even knew I had left. There were some moments, however, and stretches of time that I was conscious of just not doing and not needing any stimulation whatsoever.
James writes in our book Awakening Joy For Kids, “We usually think of lack of stimulation as … boring. We often miss the peace that’s right here by relating to a moment where not much is happening as just the boring gap between entertaining stimulation. With pracitce, this joy of being can be held was a “homecoming,” as the experience of coming back to your ture home. As long as we’re looking outside for the next experience to delight or entertain us, we miss the peace that’s right under our noses. ”
“Parents have a tendency to think they need to find some entertainment for their children to keep their minds occupied. Paradoxically, children usually need free time away from stimulation to discover their inner world of imagination.”
I carried many moment of non-doing over to the classroom as well. Grade three and four children were given extended periods of time to paint, draw, or build. The artwork and creativity that arose was amazing. Students worked without the goal of being finished. At first, many little ones came up and asked, “What do we do next? Am I done?” When I responded with, “Do whatever you feel drawn to and you need to do right now.” Some kids stood for a while and then magically moved onto something that they wanted to do. Many of the children already knew what they wanted to do with their precious time. They dove in deeply to imaginary worlds. It is such a different world than the time-driven schedules we seem to impose upon ourselves and our students.
I asked my students last year what they loved doing when they were simply being, and I wrote about it in Awakening Joy For Kids. Here are some of the favorite memories.
- “I like just sitting with my mom doing crafts. We don’t have to talk.”
- “When the bed is really fluffy, I love snuggling with my Dad.”
- “We watch raindrops on the window.”
- “I put my head on my dad’s chest, I can hear his heartbeat.”
- I love it when my parents play with my hair and stroke my head.”
- My brother and I watched a whole army of ants for hours.”
- Well I like a good bonfire. We tell stories and eat marshmallows and just hang out.”
So when you feel you must fill space for your child, take a step back and simple create space. See what arises. It may seem uncomfortable for both of you at first but slowly this wonderous place will open once again and a sense of relaxed curiousity may arise.
Think about moments from your own childhood that were times of relaxed non-doing. Moments when time stretched and the worries of the day evaporated. Use these ideas to inspire your moments of simply being.
P.S. I did the stick drawing at the top as part of my non-doing this month. I created quite a few new characters. Hope you like them.