This post was written as a submission to the Bellies and Babies April month of Conscious Parenting. Head over to Bellies and Babies to find more conscious parenting posts and enter some lovely giveaways.
Simply being present is one of the most important, life influencing 'presents' we can give to our children, yet simple as this may seem, it can prove to be a real ordeal for parents in a modern world.
We are so consumed by the bigness of the multitude of things we engage in that we walk past the small and the rare without noticing. Our children's marvels can seem futile compared to our struggles and worries.
We stress and ponder and fret and plan, and all the while life passes us by. While we are busy looking to the future, the presence unravels.
In order to be present for our children, the first thing we need to do is to be in the present. To experience the "now" as it is. Most adults have become conditioned to live through future or past projections so this may prove a difficult task.
Becoming centered in the present can be practiced through some simple exercises, which are possible at any given moment.
Take in your environment, notice the details, the smells, the feel, the textures, the sounds. Experience the moment through your senses. As you focus on your senses, your preoccupations will evaporate. You will feel your mind clear up. As you rid yourself of thoughts, fears and projections, and experience through sensation, you are in the present. Now is a good time to approach your child and just be present together.
This is how a small child approaches every moment of the day, before he is conditioned to do otherwise. Allow your child to take the lead and follow through your senses, without getting lost in thought or expectations of how things should be. Do not impose an agenda, don't worry about what your child is or should be learning and what you should be doing.
Notice how time seems to move differently when you are truly present.
You can apply this exercise any time, not just on parenting. Try to live through the senses even if you're doing something routine or insignificant.
You can also do this to focus on moments that are important, to really live them and create strong memories.