As we begin to wrap gifts for loved ones, it’s a perfect time of the year to wrap around our children. The end of the year, finishing kindergarten or school can bring tenderness for our young ones. With rising temperatures outdoors, the internal ‘soul’ temperature can be quick to rise too. Tempers can be quick to fire with late nights and the usual predictable rhythms being relaxed in favour of catching up with family and friends or attending events celebrating the year’s successes (and struggles).
Lean into the tools shared in Simplicity Parenting, particularly when life gets full.
The compassionate response; a way of holding children when they are in full flight, witnessing and waiting for their big feelings to pass is a powerful way to model empathy with and for our children. Talking, yelling or reasoning with a child in fight or flight mode is futile. Sending them away to their room, to be on their own as they process can be really frightening too. They are having BIG feelings, and the part of the brain that allows them to be in relationship with us has shut down. Standing close, holding the space in a safe and loving way gives our children the room to move through their big feelings. Once the feelings have passed, you see it in their body when they are ready to be back in relationship with us. Their face and body soften, words become gentler and it’s only then are they able to digest anything you have to say.
Using the compassionate response meditation is not just for use with children. You can transform the ways you imagine other people too. Christmas can be a time where old family wounds can resurface, and instead of seeing just the difficulties, this meditation allows you to see past the behaviours, actions or words that cause you upset to meet the whole person – their unique splendour as human beings as well as the ‘icky bits’ which grate on you and trigger unhelpful reactions.
This mediation does not require any particular preparation, nor is it founded in any particular spiritual tradition. It is a simple method of allowing your imagination to create new and complete pictures of the people in your life which can inspire different ways of reacting when difficulties arise. I’d love to share this with you, it’s an audio file easily emailed. Do let me know if you’d like a copy.
Christmas is also a time of the year where days and nights can become loaded with lots of end of year activities. If we’re not deliberate with our decision making around which invitations to accept, suddenly our calendars are overloaded. The joy of celebrating the year can quickly decline into fraught mornings with overtired children and parents with short fuses. Taking a look at a week in advance and choosing to schedule some down time can work wonders for the wellbeing of a family. A kind and loving decline to an invitation is better for everyone than a resentful acceptance.
I’d love to hear from you, if you’d like a copy of the Compassionate Response meditation email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call 021 520 118.