Four years ago (my God, four years!) I completed a month long immersion program at the Sivananda Ashram. I inhaled and exhaled yoga and meditation and mantra. I learned of illusion. I learned to see through it. After coming back home, 200HR Certificated in hand, I felt entirely changed. I was living in the present. Healed. Whole. I meditated & practiced asana for two hours daily. I had all the time in the world to mend my Self and cultivate light.
Since then, I've been born again (and again) as a mother.
Understandably, I fell out of practice. I stopped meditating - at least in the way I used to, legs crossed, eyes closed, heart fixed on mantra and silence. And during my pregnancy with Finn, I even stopped practicing asana. And yet, I've somehow held fast to the simple practice of mindfulness. Now, instead of practicing for two solid hours, I allow my meditation to gently touch everything I do throughout the day. And with time, with grace, I believe this is making me a softer mother.
These are the ways I meditate, when I truly have no time to meditate at all.
1. I imagine that the space between my eyes is opening like French doors.
2. Breathing through my nose, I slightly activate my throat, allowing each inhale and exhale to make a gentle whoosh sound as they pass through me.
3. I find the present moment and silently note all of the smells around me. Cut grass, salty skin, laundry soap, frying tortillas, honeysuckle.
4. I try to feel the hair on my son's cheek as he rubs it against my own.
5. I imagine my mind is the lens of a camera. With eyes closed, I imagine it turning to focus on the present moment.
6. I sing in Sanscrit. Ya devi sarvabhuteshu vishnu-mayeti sadbita.
7. I sing in English. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
8. I bring awareness to the beautiful things I see and make sure to mention them to both Aspen and Finn. Look there, my love! I wonder what sort of flower that is! Do you see the way it reflects the gold of the sun? And she says to me, Mama, how beautiful!
9. With absolute presence, I quickly check in with each part of myself, spreading a warm awareness, from toes, to the crown of my head.
10. I hold the cat, Primrose.
11. I listen to the sound of Aspen breathing as she sleeps.
12. I flex my fingers, bringing awareness to the creak of the bones, the stretch of skin, the quiet rubbing sound each finger makes as it touches the next.
13. I notice the clouds, or the stars, or the blue of the sky.
14. With my heart against my husband's back, I try to match my breath to his.
15. I breathe. And I start over. And I breathe again.