Perhaps you have loved like I have, so deeply that like a child who finds a wild animal and wants to keep it, you yearn to shelter the object of your love. As an adult, however, we know that wild animals don’t thrive in confinement, and likely die an untimely death, and therefore we ease the would be pet from the grasp of the child as we convey the meaning of true love.
Sitting on the couch one afternoon holding my newborn daughter, immersed in love, I found myself conspiring to protect her. Once I gave up the constructs of the bubble I was envisioning putting her in, I decided that the best way to keep her from harm would be to teach love, to not only her, but to all her peers. While I made this secret commitment I had no idea how it would play out.
About 7 1/2 years later, following the death of my parents, I was clinging to threads of connection as I attempted to prove to myself that life after death existed. I simply refused to believe that I had to let go of my parents forever. As a result I became certified as a Reiki Master Teacher and in Sacred Geometry and Energy Healing, eventually finding the proof I needed from the book Evidence of the Afterlife by Jeffrey Long, M.D., with Paul Perry. Along the way I stumbled upon mindfulness, a concept coined by Jon Kabat-Zinn who later referred to it as heartfulness, and the key to not only teaching love to my daughters and their peers but to loving myself.
Through my journey I learned how intentional attention affected my daughters and improved my relationship with them. I was moving closer to being the mother I wanted to be, although I still struggled with occasional dramatic outbursts, the practice of observing myself led me to greater and greater discoveries that unleashed me from a past that was controlling my behaviors. In 2015, the practice of walking meditation catapulted my personal growth into a new dimension and it was from that point forward that I have been my best self as a mother, always confident in my interactions with my daughters without regrets or self-judgment, and to this my daughters will attest.
Recently, during an interview with Alyssa Alvarez for the Aura Awakening podcast, I told the story of how I started teaching mindfulness in my oldest daughter’s 3rd grade classroom. I felt like someone’s grandmother, enthusiastically greeted each time as if I were bringing treats and the unconditional love that goes along with being a grandmother, which of course I was. My daughter always ran to welcome me and showed a sense of pride in me being her mother. By the time she was in 4th grade, however, she bullied me before a mindfulness lesson in her classroom, telling me none of the kids liked me and that I wasn’t funny enough. When I overcame my tears I walked into the building and once in the classroom the children ran to me, excitedly sharing mindful experiences, holding my hands and hugging me. I realized in that moment that it was time to let my daughter go.
From then on she was excused from the lesson to volunteer in another classroom. I didn’t teach mindfulness to my daughter’s 5th grade class, except for one time, and it was around then that she asked me to start tucking her into bed nightly with mindfulness. There were numerous occasions when we’d be out with her friends and an opportunity for a lesson on the brain science of mindfulness would arise. I recall several times when she’d interrupt me to teach the lesson. After 3 years or so she began keeping more to herself at bedtime but in the beginning of 9th grade, when she wasn’t able to attend school due to the debilitating pain associated with Lyme’s disease, she started a daily meditation practice on her own to manage her symptoms which got worst with stress. It was in this time that I saw her start to exhibit the characteristics that develop when a person meditates regularly – a disinterest in drama and a fascination with the intricate wonders of life, such as the beauty of droplets of water on the windshield. In 10th grade she wrote a paper on meditation instead of medication for teens with anxiety and depression to prevent suicide. More recently, when I am lucky enough to be part of conversations revolving around teen struggles, she allows me to share with her friends, after which they exhibit a look of understanding and she comments, “she’s a smart woman.” Alyssa commented, “you created that bubble after all, didn’t you?” Yes, I guess I did.