Make yourself as comfortable as possible, sitting on a chair or laying down on the floor on a thick mat or on your bed, choosing a spot that will offer the fewest distractions possible. Whether it’s siblings fighting to the death over the last cookie or the unbalanced washing machine pounding, texts coming in from your older children, or your spouse wondering whether the dishwasher is clean or dirty.
As we go along, use my voice and my suggestions to guide you, whether there is a strange smell coming from your child’s closet or the potatoes for tonight’s dinner need to be flipped in the oven. Use the stretches of silence to ignore multiple household emergencies.
Remember that we are working at achieving a lower level panic than usual, yet not so low that we just drift off into sleep.
When you are ready, gently bring your mind to your breathing. And as you lie here, reminding yourself that sibling rivalry teaches children useful negotiation skills and that the probability that they will actually require hospitalization while you are meditating remains low.
Be in touch with things as they are rather than planning, remembering, or labeling thoughts “good” or “bad”. Whatever your toddler is drinking probably isn’t so very dangerous and poison control is tired of hearing from you anyway.
Be at peace with the world as it is, whether your children are merely screaming or knocking over furniture. Gently remove your spouse or partner’s hands from underneath your clothing.
Remind yourself that the practice of meditation involves the ability to be here in this present moment. Whether your oldest child’s teacher has emailed 5,324 times today or merely 4,320 times, whether your middle child has practiced piano this week or not, pay attention to your breath. Concentrate on each breath as it enters your body. Concentrate on each breath as it exits your body.
Remind yourself from time to time to let go of wanting this to be different in this present moment. Whether your child has placed real worms on your face or just gummy worms. Pay attention to each breath, in and out. Give yourself permission to be aware of the gummy worms as they are right now. Remind yourself that there is no right way to feel about the worms. The worms you are encountering are merely the worms you are encountering and what you are feeling is merely what you are feeling. There is no need to remove the worms.
And as the meditation comes to an end, re-establish contact with your household. Perhaps wiggling your fingers or removing the gummy worms from your face. Perhaps opening your eyes once you have licked the granulated sugar from your fingers. Perhaps eating one of the gummy worms. And, as you feel comfortable, gather your strength to face whatever has come to pass in the rest of your household, reminding yourself that you can bring mindfulness into every aspect of your life, be it putting ice on an owie or bathing a toddler, moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer for the seventh time today, or withstanding your fourteenth round of hide and go seek.
Freelance writer Jill Morgenstern has 13 years teaching experience and is the mother of four. You can find her on Facebook at Do Try This at Home.