I am a mother of three—my house is hectic.
There is rarely a moment where the words “Moooommmmmm, can you help me?” or “Mommy, where is my…,” aren’t being hollered.
For the most part, I love it. I love being wanted and needed. I love that these people who I brought into the world are looking to me to help them in life. I love that I can often solve the small problems for the people I love.
I also love silence. I crave quiet. I happen to be one of those sensitive people who is hard-wired to react and respond to everything that is happening around me—especially to the emotions of the people I am surrounded by.
A long time ago, I discovered that meditation and the act of being silent and present was a practice I couldn’t live without. My constitution needs to ground into quiet so that I am centered and know who I am in the moments of chaos.
Becoming a mother rocked my world. But honestly, I found in those first days and months of motherhood that my existence was almost like a constant state of meditation. The fog of sleep deprivation mixed with the constant physical requirements of baby care created an atmosphere of presence mixed with quiet mind.
Yes, I had moments of fear, anxiety, and suffering, but for the most part there was too much to do and too much to learn about taking care of a tiny human to get caught up in my worries. And if I did, yet another breastfeeding session would seem to bump me back into the zen of being in the moment.
When my kids were toddlers however, finding quiet moments to calm or reflect—much less meditate—felt impossible. They were up at dawn, excited to show me their newest trick, or they needed to be changed or fed. They were curious little people who asked questions and wanted to be told and shown everything from how to use a toilet, to an explanation of why the sun is bright, or the night is dark.
It was in the midst of my second child’s toddler phase that I discovered my personal trick of meditating in bed, or as my husband humorously coined it, “beditation.”
My children, two and four at the time, understood the preciousness of not disturbing people when they were sleeping. They had learned that rest was important and that everyone needed to be quiet and respectful. Somehow, they could do this around sleep in a way that seemed impossible in any other circumstance, like when I was speaking to another adult, on the phone, or working at my computer.
When I was out of bed, I seemed to be their perpetual entertainer, chef, maid, and all around lady-in-waiting to their every whim. When I was in bed with my eyes closed however, they might come into my room, examine my state, even whisper my name, but if I didn’t respond they would quietly exit and find their father to help them with their needs.
I discovered that I could set my alarm for 20 to 30 minutes before I planned to get out of bed, prop myself up with a pillow enough that I would stay awake, and then take the time to meditate. No it wasn’t perfect posture, nor was it a specific meditation method, but this daily habit kept me sane. It was my precious time to connect with myself and my relationship to the world beyond me before I began my day of giving to and loving everyone else.
Of course there were days when it didn’t happen. The bad dream, bloody nose, or upset tummy always took precedence. But because inconsistency was the exception and my habit of grounding into myself had become so established, I could later duck into the bathroom and take a couple of minutes of deep breaths and re-center when things weren’t as urgent.
10 years later, I still meditate daily. My kids are older and usually I have to wake them up, so I have moved my practice out of bed and back into sitting upright, which feels more physically grounding—but ultimately the results are the same.
Fortunately, my meditation has become such a part of my family’s “normal,” that interruptions rarely happen—even if they do wake up and find me sitting quietly. Everyone has learned that for Mom, meditation is as precious as sleep, and if I get my time, everyone has a better day as a result.
How to “Beditate.”
1. Before you do anything else, let go of your preconceived notions about what meditating should be. Just promise yourself that this time is for you alone and that there are no rules about doing it right or wrong. The intention is to be awake, mindful, and open to peace rising inside yourself.
2. Set alarm for 20 to 30 minutes before your regular wake up time, then reset it for your get-up time.
3. Prop up your pillows enough to be uncomfortable for sleep.
4.Take three deep slow breaths with your hands on your tummy so you become physically aware of your inhalations and exhalations.
5. Continue to be conscious of your breath as you focus on finding spaciousness in your brain.
6. The most important thing is to try not to fall back to sleep—you can even make that part of your practice.
7. Do not worry if you are doing it right. Find what works for you. I find that focusing on the breath is my constant to bringing me back into the meditative state.
Author: Samantha Eddy
Editor: Lieselle Davidson