New Year
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New Year, New You: Finding your center

By Leslie Lindsay

Putting a little zen in your life can help you become a better parent, right?  (And now why am I not at yoga now??!).  Well, let’s see here…today, being the ominous Friday-the-thirteenth, I have detected a bad vibe.  Or, as one person told me today, “anger in my heart.”  Excuse me?!

I won’t bore you with the details.  (They really aren’t as juicy as I am making them sound).  I think it had to do with a tired, overworked, underappreciated clerk at at local bookstore.  Maybe she was having some bad luck today, and took it out on me?  I don’t really know.  But I do know she was rude and I called her on it by saying, “Um, you are really being unkind to me.”  (wanted to say, “What did I ever do to you b*****?!” but held my tongue).

So, I began reflecting on this “bad vibe” business.  Perhaps it has something to do with not feeling centered/grounded/balanced?  And maybe it was the clerk who  mistreated me who was feeling unbalanced today.

This grounded feeling is relevant to us in all areas of life.  For example, as parents, when we feel grouned, we parent better.  Simple as that.

 Just last evening, I said to my hubby, “I don’t feel like we have really connected with the kids lately…we aren’t doing anything all that enriching.”  He nodded and shrugged as if to say, “You’re right, but I am exhausted.”

So I thought a moment and decided that the whole family would work on coloring a poster-sized piece of art work my 6 1/2 year old drew with pencil but ran out of time to color.  We laid, belly-down on her bedroom floor markers in hand and enjoyed a good 20 minute coloring session.  It was almost therapeutic.

That was just one area of my life–and we all know there are many other areas of life that need balancing, yes?   When our lives are too full, we live on autopilot; just getting through the day–completing tasks and checking them off–and not really living the day.

Here are some ideas from Chicago Parent magazine, November 2010 issue that may help:

1.  Find Silence.  Life is noisy, our homes are too.  Everything from the dog to the cell phone is demanding our attention.  Don’t know what you need?  Maybe it’s because you can’t hear yourself think.  Make yourself a priortity by sitting in silence for some time during the day. I do this first thing in the morning, before even getting out of bed.

2.  Be thoughtful about how you start and end your day.  After lying in bed and gathering my thoughts (gumption?) for the day, I am often greeted by two very busy girls who have gotten into every craft our home owns.  The dog wants to be fed–now–and I am still fumbling around trying to find my faculties. Maybe I need to wake up even earlier?!

3.  Realize what drains you and what gives you energy.  Make a list.  What do you really hate?  How can you make those things better?  You don’t have to do everything perfectly and you don’t have to like everything you do, but something things just have to be done.  Now, make a list of what you love–writing works for me, maybe it’s exercise, reading, watching a movie…yes, it’s okay to do things things, too!  In fact, it’s required.

The best thing you can do for family is to take care of yourself by finding your center.  Inhale all of the good energy and exhale all of the negative.

Now, where’s that yoga mat?! 


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