For years I wanted to be that woman meditating.
I wanted to feel that peace. I wanted to be mindful and purposeful in my everyday moments.
But getting myself to the meditation cushion was so hard, and the more I didn’t do it, the more guilt I felt.
So after a while I gave up on it.
And even now that I can easily sit and meditate for up to 40 minutes at a time, I am reminded of those days when I released meditation as my goal.
Instead, I took up daily meditation in other places and spaces because that was more possible with my busy mom schedule.
You can simply focus on every moment of your day as if it is your last one. Your day as a mother, in fact, has many moments that are ripe for meditation and attention.
Zen is the art of noticing, observing, paying attention to the moment you are in right now — not thinking about the past or the future, which is where so many of us spend our mental energy.
It’s actually much easier for really busy moms to meditate without formally sitting and meditating, as long as you put yourself fully into the moment.
In fact, you can meditate without sitting on a cushion in any moment in your day.
I want to inspire you to find the least likely spaces in your day when you can reduce the noise and the thoughts in your mind and just be. When you find yourself doing any of these everyday tasks, make a point to give yourself permission to slip into a meditative state of not thinking, not doing, not dreaming, not planning and just being one with your body and mind.
Taking a shower
Normally, a busy mom doesn’t think of a shower or bath as a place of meditation. Refuge, maybe, but not necessarily meditation. However, in this one moment of our days, we are given the one thing we need most: privacy. At least for some of that time. Physically imagining the water washing over your mind and rinsing away your worries is a powerful way to start — or end — a busy day. Letting fears wash away can open new spaces in your mind so that when you are done and dry and ready to go about your ordinary routine you will feel more grounded and centered. The key, though, as to all of these unique spaces, is to be in the moment fully for as long as you can be there.
Doing the laundry
The second you pull a warm towel out of the dryer and bring it in close and smell it, that moment is a potential for meditation. To let every worry and fear go and just relax into the bliss of folding towels. When I fold laundry with all of my senses, I am in that moment and nothing else really seems to matter.
Washing the dishes
Just like doing the laundry, washing the dishes is a perfect time to awaken all of your senses, a perfect time to stare out the window or at a beautiful painting you’ve hung near the sink. We need to make more time for sinking into a moment like this where our hands are busy doing and our minds are allowed to rest and be idle for a while.
Watering the flowers
Anyone can have plants, though, I haven’t had indoor plants in a long time. The art of watering flowers or plants, indoors or out, is a mindful one as well. You have to pay attention to how much or how little, and you will also notice the other details of what is for these living beings. And while you do all of that, your mind has instantly detached from your other to-dos for a while.
Putting a child to sleep
Many little children want their parents to stick around for a while after lights out. They are afraid or worried or just reluctant to be alone from us. This is a great time to get settled into a comfortable position and sit with your quiet thoughts and breathe. You are doing a good thing for your child by being there, and you are doing a good thing for yourself by just being.
Walking to the mailbox or around the block
Walking anywhere is a great time to put away the worries and to-dos and just live in the moment. As you are walking, notice what you are doing and what you see and say it all in your mind — or even out loud. Noticing and paying attention to what you see all around you allows your mind to rest. This kind of walking can be done while walking to get the mail or walking a dog or walking around the block or along the beach or in the woods. The location matters not at all, but the quality of your mind on that walk matters a ton.
This is an excerpt of “The Abundant Mama’s Guide To Savoring Slow” from the Replenish Yourself chapter. The book also discusses the 12 Habits of Savoring Slow in your family.