Originally, this post was about positivity. I wanted to update this with a bit about meeting ourselves, those around us, and especially our children with love and with delight, pleasure and humor, and yes, with a certain positivity.
Kim John Payne writes eloquently about the “soul fever” the children of today are experiencing. HIs recent article published by The Huffington Post about “soul fever” is here: http://www.runyt.com/2012/03/12/kim-john-payne-why-the-ritalin-debate-is-asking-the-wrong-question-healing-our-kids-soul-fever-with-simplicity/
I was thinking about us, as adults, and the concept of “soul fever.” How we are and what we think greatly affects our children. Some adults are more melancholic than others. Some adults are very analytical and talk and provide elaborate explanations to the small child, and in the midst of this is often is the idea that the world is never right, never perfect, that there is always something to criticize. Some parents are very anxious and hovering.
This is not a post to condemn nor to judge, but just a gentle space and place to point out the value in stepping back each and every day and observing ourselves and how we feel toward life. What do we really think on our innermost and deepest level? What do we do when we have “soul fever”? How does this relate to our own mindful parenting?
I think the answer and the key to being joyous and positive is different for each mother. You and you alone hold the power to this.
Simplifying can be a wonderful start toward regaining balance and a positive, joyous attitude. Clearing one’s calendar and not being so involved outside the family can be helpful and calming. However, I have also found and seen that some mothers, whose lives are already fairly simplified, have found that they do very little outside of their own family and actually find that adding in an activity that helps someone else ends up bringing them joy. I have a dear friend who volunteers and stays overnight at a shelter for homeless women one night a week. She has told me what joy that has brought to her and how that radiates in her life. Again, every mother is different and part of this comes down to knowing yourself.
And sometimes even more than the radical changes, it can be the small things that makes one feel joyous, which then transmits into a joyous home and a greater ability to just be present. Accessing joy through the senses can be so helpful in this regard: freshly baked bread, the smell of something that was just cleaned, time in the hammock, listening to the birds, seeing a single flower picked from the garden on the dinner table.
Sometimes joy can also be found as we seriously and unceasingly work on our own inner development and how we capture and control our own worst enemy- our thoughts. I personally use many Christian spiritual techniques, including memorization of Scripture. Here is one of my favorite books by Orthodox writer Anthony Coniaris regarding controlling thoughts: http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=CONF250
Here are some other things different mothers have told me worked well for them to maintain a positive, confident attitude of joy in family life:
- Positive self-talk – in other words, learning how to use our words to NOT magnify a situation.
- Focusing on solving the problem rather than just the complaint of it all.
- Encouragement from a spouse or dear friend or family member.
- Taking care of oneself – Are you getting enough rest at night and are you taking a daily quiet time?
- A Support System – this is so important; many mothers are very isolated! ….Which leads me to…..
- Do you have any community at all? A religious community, a spiritual community, a neighborhood community, a homeschooling community?
Leave your thoughts and inspiration for other mothers in the comment section! I cannot wait to hear your experiences and suggestions to help other mothers renew themselves.