As we walk, she gives me gifts and it reminds me of the magic that surrounds me and ensures my meditation comes in many glorious forms.
Walking through the forest I imagine all small children’s attention can be caught by the bite-size pieces of natural exquisiteness. Intrigued they pick them up and may share them with those who are walking along side. Simple and natural beauty and a presence of what is right there in front of them. A truly soulful place of being.
This was my recent experience. Myself and my three-year-old daughter walked along just a few days ago. My mind was very busy and not present. Focused on mental challenges of the past few weeks and concerns of the year ahead. I was occupied by the thoughts and stories which were figures of a worried imagination. It wasn’t just that day though it had been some days going around and around in circles. Needless to say it was pointless mindless chatter with little relevance to what I was actually doing.
So as we walked, and my mind did the loop to loop, my daughter would stop every now and again and hand me a little piece of nature. A bright red petal of a flowering tree first, then a palm berry, and then a clipping of a wattle that we just passed.
Staying connected and present through play
“Presents for you papa” she would say as she handed them over. The first one went straight through my mind with little consideration. Not recognising the words presents and presence can be one and the same here. But by the third present she had caught my presence and bought me back to the present moment of bush-dawdling. The present moment where we were finding natural simple beauty in our path and honouring it, taking a moment to marvel at the intricacy of natures creations.
What I often find when I spend time in her presence is that she truly does require my presence and what a glorious exercise that is. Painting, pretending to be a shop owner, colouring squiggles, bus driving and many more activities that I find myself engaged in become a time to meditate. To stay connected to the game, stay mindful of the exploration, stay aware of the learning unfolding and brain developing of this little, ridiculously cute being who chose me to be one of her guides.
So where I’m getting too is the first three years of parenthood has made meditating sitting on a cushion with my eyes closed more challenging than it use to be. Tiredness, busyness and cleaning have risen up the ladder to be trophy winners of most time spent.
Meditation can come in many forms right?
But in moments like this when my daughter bought me back to the present through her presents I was reminded my meditation can happen on a daily basis in many ways. When I tune into the games, thoughts, ideas and magical play I am involved in with my daughter it does require my full presence. To be immersed in play for 20 or 30 minutes, and I mean fully immersed in an imaginative or creative game is a form of meditation that is not only benefiting me but also providing her with a safe space to explore, learn and develop her brain! It’s a double win!
I’m grateful for those moments. I can only speak for myself but I’m sure many parents find it a juggle to cook, clean, work, exercise and also connect with your little teachers. Meditation is about presence right – with your breath, with your movements and thankfully with the play you can undertake with your child. No doubt your mind will wander, but just bring it back, back to being a lively and active fruit shop owner, or a jolly horn beeping arm waving bus driver. Bring it back to the simple, creative and often hilarious free imaginative play available to you.
I remind myself it will be gone in the future soon, she’ll be off with her friends or something of that nature, so for now I want to read this over and over so I take every moment I can to………..um…… medi-play. Meditating through play, and medicating my mind! I might put that on my wall.