“Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What we pay attention to thrives. What we do not pay attention to withers and dies. What will you pay attention to today?”
―Karen Maezen Miller
This is so true, isn’t it? The more energy we spend thinking or feeling about something, the more present it makes itself in our lives. This is not to say that we should ignore what is happening, but that instead of focusing on what is negative about a situation, that we should focus on what we would like to change or how we would like it to be. What is the shift we are seeking and desiring?
I find this to be especially important when it comes to my children. I feel that as parents—adults whose minds are occupied by baskets of laundry, appointment times, and meals to be cooked—we tend to forget that our children, though not as overwhelmed with the responsibilities that we have, are still human beings. They still have personalities and desires and wants and dreams. They still have questions. They feel, some of them very deeply, and are not always able to express what it is that they are feeling or might be unable to ascertain why they are feeling that way. So instead of talking, they act out. They whine, they yell, they scream—and we get frustrated. Why won’t they just sit down and eat? Why are they talking so loudly in the doctor’s office? Why won’t they just listen to me? We react in the heat of the moment and spend far too much time trying to figure out how to “fix” their behavior instead of looking a little deeper to see them as whole beings.
So what if I didn’t focus on the frustration I felt as a result of their behavior? What if, instead, I thought about how I wanted our exchange to be? If I really listen and think about what they are doing or saying that is putting me on edge, what am I being told? Is it that they need more sleep? Is it that they aren’t getting enough movement? Are they craving more of my time and attention?
When I sit down to think about these questions and what I crave for my children and what I want our relationships to look like, I discover that what they need is often what I need too. I need more rest. I need more movement. I need more time and attention with them as well. I can’t split myself into three, but I can be more mindful and intentional about how I use my time and how I can carve out space for each one of them to feel seen and heard.
It isn’t always their behavior that needs to be corrected. Just my approach to how I engage them from moment to moment. I choose to trust that if I focus on all of the inherent good that lies within them, their goodness will grow and grow.
These thoughts are the very reason that I have partnered with my dear friend and coach Natalie Christensen to develop MOTHER, a 4 week online course that focuses on connection, intimacy, and self-discovery. 2017 will be our 3rd year doing this course, and it only keeps getting better and richer with all of you women.
Please join us! Natalie and I are building a tribe of fierce Annapurna Mothers learning simple tools and timeless wisdom for connecting to our kids, each other, and our Selves. We are creating the life we love, together. The course returns in Spring 2017. This will be the third time we are doing the course. Read more about it here.