Please enjoy this post and guided meditation written and recorded by our newest VBE, Donna Chin.
Sometimes our lives get so busy that we shift into autopilot mode. We act without thinking, kind of like how you get in the car in the morning and suddenly you’re at work and you can’t remember how you got there. Maybe you were on the road one day and without noticing it, you accidentally took the route to work when you really meant to go somewhere else. When this happens we miss the tiny details that make our lives rich and meaningful. Mindfulness meditation is a technique of bringing focus to the present by directing our attention to how we feel on the inside and outside. By intentionally giving more attention to the present, we can live more fully, moment to moment.
The simplest and most powerful way to practice mindfulness is by noticing your breath. Pay attention to the way your body feels as you breathe in, the way the air flows into your nostrils, filling your lungs with air. Your chest and abdomen lift and swell with your in-breath. There is a slight pause as you get ready to exhale, then you begin to let the breath out, through your nose or maybe your mouth. Notice the sound your breath makes as it leaves your body.
If you read the above paragraph and and breathed along with the words, then you have just performed an act of mindfulness! By intentionally choosing to have a mindful moment, we take a break from the rush of busy thoughts that distract us from the present. You can be mindful of anything you do, whether it’s mindful breathing, mindful eating, mindful walking, or mindful babywearing.
Many of us use our baby carriers to help navigate our busy lives. They help us do chores, manage our other children, and get work done while keeping our little ones close and safe. While it’s a wonderful tool to help us manage our day, babywearing can be a rewarding activity on its own. Holding our babies close helps us notice their signals sooner, making it easier for them to communicate when they are hungry or tired. Just like noticing the sensations of our breath is a simple way to anchor ourselves in the present, being attentive to the sensations of our little one’s body against ours can bring a moment of calm in the middle of a hectic day. Being present while babywearing helps us appreciate and enjoy the short period of time when our children are small enough for us to carry.
The next time you wear your baby, take a moment to notice and be present. As you observe the sensations of your own breath, also notice your baby’s breath, how their chest swells and sinks against your body. Observe the pressure of your baby against your body, their weight distributed across your shoulders, chest, and back. Notice how their body shifts to find balance with yours as you move or sway. Direct your attention within yourself, noticing whatever feelings and thoughts may arise as you expand and direct your awareness to include your little one. As you bring an end to the moment of mindfulness, give yourself credit for taking the time to nurture and bond with your child. By taking a break from the distractions of our thoughts and demands of day to day life, we nourish ourselves and our baby.