Tea Meditation - Mindful moments every mum can manage
The act of mindful meditation can feel incredibly hard to commit to for most people? For busy mum's, meditation of any kind can tend to border on feelings of impossible at the beginning. The expectation of time and focus put into long periods of stillness? Unless you are asleep? Laughable. I personally suck at it. But I am working on it. Constantly. Because I know how amazing it is for me. Thousands of years of history shows it works. Science proves it works. Speaking with people who regularly meditate, you can feel their calm and focus. They are functioning at a higher energy level. In all concepts of the word 'energy'. And so I have been on a gradual mission to improve my efforts and find ways that work for me. Because sitting still for long periods in the traditional sense of meditation is still beyond me, I love a good practice that makes everything feel so much simpler.
For me, I find weaving mindful practise into short activities in my every day happenings far more successful than trying to sit for long meditations with my eyes closed and body still. Either my mind goes crazy, or I fall asleep. Total novice, right. Plus chronically exhausted. And so my focus is on the simple and achievable. Carried out with acute awareness and appreciation of the joy of that everyday activity. For me this can be just as much a mindful, meditative practise. One that I can achieve. And succeed at. Even as a busy mum!
How to introduce mindful practise into your daily activities:
Focusing on a daily activity that you do anyway will set you up for success. The last thig you need to do is introduce one more thing to juggle in your day.
Don't 'overthink' it. I mean, a really big aim is to give your mind a break so you can reset, right? So don't get all flustered creating the perfect space/position/ambiance...simply begin where you are at and work with what you’ve got. The more I focus on everything being 'perfect' the trickier it is for my mind to switch off checking and rechecking the level of perfection whilst I am supposed to be focusing on the moment. I mean it is important to find a space that you feel good in, not distracted by the chaos. But perfection focus is a set up for failure.
The more time and energy you put in to making this ‘perfect’, the more chance you have of being interrupted. Your time will be used up before you get to appreciate any time out all. For me, my kids will sense from next door, or deep sleep that I am trying to take a moment of peace. AND THEY WILL HUNT ME DOWN!
Never EVER lie down Mum. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz
Mindful practise can be introduced into different activities in your day. The more you practise, the easier it is to roll into something else. Today, let’s begin with a practise popular across the globe when it comes to slowing down and appreciating the moment. Making and drinking tea is an art form in some cultures. There are a multiple of books on the topic. I must be honest. I have not gone so far as to read the books. We are keeping things simpler than that, and simply focusing on the process, using and adapting to what we have in our own homes.
How to create a simple 'tea meditation':
If you are after tips on a traditional tea meditation as is done in Japan or China, I suggest you return to Google or the books right now. What I am aiming to provide here is some steps in creating a practice revolving around an activity most people do every day. And most mums find themselves living in the "just get me through these next few hours" kind of focus. Tea drinkers will hate me for my next words, I'm sure, but if you're not one (a tea drinker/lover), try substituting with your coffee, or whatever beverage floats your boat. We are focusing on the practise itself, not specifically the beverage.
(Although we do host a herbal tea workshop that may be enough to shift your focus to the tea itself, sharing with you the wisdom of some simple and delicious herbs to safely support a pregnant or breastfeeding Mama (or anyone else) curious in creating and brewing their own fresh blend.)
The aim today is to 'be present' in the simple acts of life. The simple joy of a hot or chilled beverage, often the first real break after a crazy morning that may or may not have started before the sun was up. Find what makes you happy, and what you already do. It will help you succeed in your practice.
So let’s begin. If tea is not your thing, work through the process replacing ‘tea’ with whatever you are working with, and adapt as you go.
Your steps to a simple tea meditation:
1. Pick your timing -
You do not need long, but a few moments without distraction is key. Plan for when your bub is sleeping or if when someone else can watch them. When the toddlers or older kids are happily distracted in play. We're talking 15 minutes here minimum. Longer if you can, but work with what you have. Your ability to grow your time will grow with practise.
2. Prepare your tea-
The goal here is to bring your focus on this one activity alone. Begin with selecting your favourite cup, A spoon. The selection of tea. Inhale it’s aroma as you open the packaging. Be aware as you place your tea in a pot to brew, or teabag in it’s cup. Pay attention to the sound of the water as you fill your kettle or pot on the stove. Inhale the scent of your tea as it brews in the pot, or as you pour the boiling water into your cup. Notice the sound as the water pours in. The steam rising, the smells that fill the air. Be acutely aware of every tiny step it takes to make your tea. When ready, seat yourself in your selected spot. Be sure this is somewhere comfortable. Peaceful. Be sure you can turn your back on the mess and chores you have waiting for you. These do not matter right now.
Before you take a sip, sit quietly. Inhale your tea. Feel its warmth in your hands. The shape of the cup in your hands. Take a moment to give gratitude. Gratitude that no matter the chaos, you have found 15 minutes for YOU. You deserve this. Gratitude that you have been shopping and remembered to buy tea. Gratitude that you have been blessed with an amazing tiny soul. They may make your life crazy, but it really is a magical kind of crazy.
Gratitude is a way of focusing on and appreciating what you have, rather than what you wish you have. Our culture has a habit of ever reaching for that ‘something else’ that will add to our happiness. Gratitude is about realising how much you already have and taking a moment to appreciative for it all. Take it as far as you want. The simple things around you are important too. Do not underestimate the little things. Or the things we take for granted that are kind of really big. Like walking. Or you can sink into a deep spiritual level. Whatever works for you. Sit quietly with those thoughts for a minute or two. As long as feels right for you. I invite you to bring this mindful practise into your daily routine too. Even on the days tea is not on the table. Gratitude on waking or before sleeping is a fabulous habit to get into.
4. Drink your tea-
Mindfully. What does this mean? Be 'intensely' aware of each action. Little sips. Inhale the scent. The taste of the tea. It's smell, the warmth in your mouth. Where in your mouth do you taste it most? Can you separate the flavours (if it is a blend)? The feel of the cup in your hands. It's warmth. Inhale. Deep, calm breathes. Notice the action of your arm, the sound as the cup is set down. Other thoughts will likely come to mind. Acknowledge them, then let them go. Now is not their time for your attention.
5. Sit silently and process-
When your tea is done, just sit. (If you can) Sit with the silence. Notice the sounds around you. Let your thoughts come back in. GRADUALLY. Notice how you feel. Calmer? Or is there another emotion. Are you a little more prepared to jump back on the crazy train. And think about how you can slow all that down. Try not to jump up and race blindly back into chores and activity. Try to hold onto that calm feeling and step into your next activities with this awareness. End as you began. As a mum, first give thanks that you simply got to finish this meditation uninterrupted. If you did not finish this time, do not be discouraged. You will be interrupted some days. That is the life of mum. Do not let this stop you trying again. And again. Until this practise becomes habit and feels simple and manageable. This whole process could take you just 15 minutes. Or an hour if you have it. Simply work with what you have.
If you are not feeling calmer, but perhaps find yourself feeling a little anxious or overwhelmed, please don't assume that this is an awful practice that is all wrong for you. Instead, try to recognise that you have possibly been feeling this way for a while. Possibly you have been keeping yourself crazy busy to help keep 'control' of any negative feelings. To suppress them. Possibly this time of stillness has allowed for these emotions to surface, and this is exactly the right time to address them. To sit with them and feel the feels, as uncomfortable as they may be. Or maybe to pick up the phone and talk to someone. Your partner, or friend, or a total stranger is sometimes easier. You are not alone. Sometimes choosing to write, letting your mind work the pen with no control from your conscious, letting your thoughts pour out. This can all be part of your process.
Being a beginner at all of this, and an anxious over thinker, I would feel irresponsible to not warn you that practicing mindfulness even in small ways can sometimes stir up your suppressed 'stuff'. Which can be daunting, but also incredibly cathartic. It does not mean that this is how you will feel every time. It probably does mean that your mind, body and soul have been needing this more than you realised. Other times you may be left feeling so light you could float, ready to take on your day. Or you may just feel content in your stillness. Your own day and emotions going in may impact your outcome, but stillness and mindfulness tend to bring out what we need at the time.
Do you love tea and want to learn more about how herbal tea can be used to benefit your day? Or perhaps just love the idea of this mindful practise, and are keen to give tea a go just so you can join in? Join us at our Herbal Tea for Two workshop here on the Sunshine Coast. Our workshop is tailored to introduce delicious and beneficial teas for anyone, but with particular focus on these teas being safe for the pregnant and breastfeeding Mama. Meaning everyone is welcome, most especially our new mums and mums-to-be. Check out our event here, or if none are currently running at your time of reading, email me here and ask about our next workshop.
If you are interested in learning more about basic mindful moments, and how you can bring these into your day with a young bub, learn to better to connect with your bub, and connect with other mums' , all over a cup of tea AND morning tea, why don't you take a peak at our Baby Massage program here.
For further questions, please contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
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