Updated: Jan 24, 2019
Peace, Love and Interruption
…on writing about practicing sitting down meditation with my 3 year old child.
During today’s practice, my 3 year old was determined to interrupt me.
I am about halfway through my time and he cannot resist anymore.
“Open your eyes!”
“Open. Your. Eyes!”
I am not giving in right away, trying to suck him into my space, but he is progressively both insisting and getting loud, in my face – remember that I am sitting on my knees, meditating and now about the same height he is.
“Please open your eyes”
“I said please”
“Yes, my Love”
You think it was annoying reading it? Try having a 3 year old yelling in your face while you’re trying to be a monk.
Turns out to be a great actually.
“Mommy! My shoes are over there!… But I can go get them!” …with a big smile on his face of course.
I am looking at a glance at his possible routes to access the shoes and quickly notice that it will be an impossible task for him to realize on his own.
I am trying to convince him otherwise, but it is quickly escalating into a struggle which I want to avoid because, remember, I am sitting in the middle of a meditation…
I decide to get up, pause my timer, and go get the shoes he had just thrown out to an area that was too dangerous for him to access. Helping him retrieving his shoes took about five minutes at the most. I did it all very mindfully, very grounded and very peacefully. It was almost a compromise where I was willing to help him but not willing to let him disturb me fully.
I went back to my space, put the timer back on, and went back to my center.
I noticed that I was more agitated than when I got interrupted. My first thought might have been something like “You lost your cool man”.
I then quickly rationalized thinking that I had just done some physical activity in the middle of my stillness, which also explains the increased heart rate, and fluids flow. But beyond the physical was also the constant conversation going on in my head while helping my son. And it goes somewhat like this:
“Fuck” –as I am pausing the timer
“I can’t just have 10 minutes of quietness.”
“What did he do now?… again…”
“Just tell him that he will get his shoes later.”
“Go back and sit down.”
“This is Your time.”
…And all that kind of grumpy shit…
…While my other self, my higher self or whatever you want to call it, was patting me on the back the whole time saying:
“It’s OK, it’s OK… Don’t be a diva… Go through the motion of it, the more peaceful this will all go, the faster you will be back in your space.”
After exploring what just happened, I went back to stillness.
For a few minutes only because today my son is very decided to wake up “Quiet little bear” (which is how we call meditation time).
“Open your eyes please!”
I open right away and smile.
He is sliding a pen on the rail ramp, which eventually rolls and drops down to the ground. He looks at me, and starts laughing.
I am amazed of how so little can excite him so much.
We loose that ability somehow. And we have to cultivate the habit and practice to get it back. That sense of wonder for small things.
I laugh with him and finally finish my practice with some yoga, which he joins me to do.
Today was a reminding practice of fully being present with my son.
He was the challenge, the teacher and the reward of the moment.
It is how ‘going with the flow’ looked like at this precise time.
If I had chosen another route and try to fight it, go against it, everybody –my son and I- would have ended up being affected to some degree –probably a tantrum of some kind for him and at least frustration for me-.
Now you’re going to tell me that it is easier to keep your cool when you are interrupted in the middle of a meditation compared to being interrupted by your 3 year old in the middle of a work call while grocery shopping. I get it.
But the practice, regular practice, of meditation will help your reaction and help you keep cool in a crazy, erratic environment.
And to refer to my story today, being interrupted while you meditated should give you a clear sense of how feeling cool and calm is like in a moment where things don’t go ‘your’ way. The resistance against how things are, or are going to be, is strong and present, but staying calm and the serene felling that comes with it is also very appealing…
By practicing regularly, you get familiar with your ‘coolness’, which becomes easier to reach whenever needed.
I love practicing sitting down meditation with Noah. It has become a practice on its own and it brings something new every time.
He is one of the best interruption, teacher and reflection I could ask for.
Emma Julaud, CMT, CST. Flowing Still, Body Therapy. emmajulaud.com
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