Monday, June 27, 2016

Mindfulness and Reaching our Children: 5 Simple Activities

MINDFULNESS is behind everything I do, create, and share.  Mindfulness has become a powerful revolution, because we are discovering that the more present and focused we are, the happier and more fulfilled we will be. It's a practice that offers a pathway to better physical and mental health, productivity, creativity and joy.
Most critical to this 'mindfulness revolution' is the ability to reach our children.
Teaching mindfulness to our kids is one of the most important things we can do as parents and as a society.  In light of the tragic events we are experiencing throughout the world, the distractions and overstimulation brought on by a technology-based culture, the academic expectations placed upon them - it can create an overwhelming feeling of responsibility, even helplessness, for our youth as they try to learn in school amidst what can feel like chaos.  It's crucial we provide our children with the tools they need to foster a centred, balanced and joyful life.  It's important we cultivate mindfulness in the home, be present with our children, and help them to listen to and to trust their own inner guidance system.
In Dr. Shefali Tsabary's beautiful book, The Conscious Parent, she writes:
"No matter how it manifests, our children's essence is pure and loving. When we honour this essence, they trust we understand that their internal world is good and worthy, regardless of what manifests externally.  Our ability to stay connected to their essence, holding steady through those periods in which their external world may be falling apart, conveys the message that they are of immense value."
Our children want to know that they're seen, that they're worthy, and that they matter.  They need to feel safe, supported, and empowered.  They must learn how to go INSIDE to cultivate self-love, happiness, joy and peace.  We can show them the way... and we might learn a little bit in the process.
"Inner work teaches us that despite all the things that happen outside our control, our
responses still mean that we can author our own lives." ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
Here are 5 simple activities we can teach our children that will foster mindfulness as a daily practice:
When children are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, or angry, taking just a few minutes to breathe deeply, in and out, is an incredibly powerful tool.  It calms the mind, relaxes the body, and relieves stress.  It can be done anywhere, any time, and is a practice that can help kids feel connected, safe, and able to stay calm and attentive.
Making a list of 3 things to be grateful for every day encourages us to see the beauty in the little things, and helps us to recognize and focus upon our many blessings.  Your child might thank their ears for enabling them to hear, or the friend at school who helped them with their math homework, or perhaps they're thankful for the beautiful blue butterfly they saw on their way home.  In any case, practising gratitude will promote happiness and will enable our children to recognize - and to expect - all of life's many miracles.
Focusing on each of our senses throughout the day is an activity that promotes gratitude, creativity, and helps children to live in the moment and enjoy new experiences.  We can remind our children to slow down, get quiet, and use their senses.  Do they see something new?  Can they hear something off in the distance?  Did they taste something sweet today, or perhaps they felt a fuzzy object that made their fingers tingle? This activity can result in some pretty special discussions with our kids at the end of each day.
I believe our children are inherently kind, and we can expand upon their genuine loving nature by teaching them to perform random acts of kindness without expecting anything in return.  We can teach them how valuable they are by volunteering for organizations we care about, helping the elderly with their groceries, donating to causes that are important to us, and the list is endless.  The more children practice kindness, the more empathetic, compassionate, and loving they will become.
This one's big. It's impossible to teach our children how to be optimistic if we don't practice what we preach, so it starts within. The good news is... if we focus on choosing a positive perspective in every situation, if we can choose an optimistic approach to every encounter because we know our children are watching and mimicking, it will be extremely beneficial in all aspects of our lives and the lives of our children.  It's not always easy, but it is possible, and it's well worth the work.  
Integrating these practises into our daily lives and the lives of our children takes time, but I'm willing to give it everything I've got.  I'd love to hear about your own experiences with your children, and what has been working for you!
Many Blessings,
Kelli Rain

Do you have Hitchhikers Sabotaging your Dreams?

"Who you spend time with is who you become. Change your life by consciously choosing 
to surround yourself with people with higher standards." ~ Tony Robbins
Hitchhikers can be the people you surround yourself with, the limiting beliefs you have about yourself, or the fear-based thought patterns that are sabotaging your ability to reach your highest potential.
Whatever the case, it's time to get clear on who your hitchhikers are and set them free.
I get it. You're working hard to create a life you love. You practice yoga, you read everything Hay House publishes, you've cleaned up your diet and try to meditate with Buddha in front of your mighty altar every day... but there's something that still has a grip on you.  There's something holding you back from the unlimited potential that is you.
Chances are you've got some hitchhikers to let loose.
1. Quiet the negative inner chatterbox. 
This inner critic is most likely directed toward yourself, or perhaps it insists on blaming others for your current circumstance or emotional frame of mind. Often this negative chatter begins without our awareness of it, perhaps persisting for years before we shine a light on it.  
Transforming negative thoughts into positive ones is a skill we can all develop.  It takes practice and a deep yearning for happiness.  Start by acknowledging when you are not being loving, forgive yourself for being human, and then change your mind.  Step into your power and learn to control your thoughts rather than have them control you.  The Law of Attraction states that "a belief is only a thought you keep thinking", and you can change your life if you simply change your mind.
Like any other habit, this one's hard to break, but I promise you it's worth the work.
2. Eliminate low-vibrational activities.
Living your best life is your birthright and traveling, spending time in nature, trying new experiences, meeting new people, and taking time to expand your knowledge through courses, books, workshops, retreats, documentaries, and anything else that feeds your soul is a sure path to living an abundant, fulfilling life.
Where we sabotage ourselves is when we indulge in low-vibrational activities like drinking too much, using recreational drugs, avoiding exercise, eating unhealthy foods, spending too much time on our devices, gossiping or criticizing others, and spending time with people who do not have a genuine interest in our well-being.  In my experience, I feel at my best when I'm eating clean foods, focusing on my yoga and meditation practice, connecting with nature, strengthening my spiritual journey through learning, and surrounding myself with heart-centred, like-minded people.
Don't get me wrong, I love to have a glass of wine, but overindulgence just doesn't work for me anymore.  I spent too many years living a fear-based, unhealthy lifestyle.  Any time I've fallen off track, I feel anxious, sluggish, and disappointed in myself, and have had to take steps to get grounded and back on my path.
Simply choosing kind words toward yourself and others, fuelling your body with healthful foods and exercise, being present, and spending your time with positive, inspirational people WILL change your life in magnificent ways.
3. Embrace the big dream.
No dream is too big. Resistance to the size of our dreams is self-sabotaging, often fuelled by a belief system we've created that we are not worthy, not capable, not smart enough, not financially secure enough, and the list goes on and on.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.  You have unique gifts that the world needs, and you are doing a disservice if you don’t nurture and share them! 
"There has never been and will never be another you. You have a purpose -a very special gift that only you can bring to the world." ~ Marie Forleo 
We are powerful manifestation machines. Take inspired action toward your dreams every day, no matter how small. Write down your big dream and the 'why'. Getting clear on your 'why' connects you to the feeling of already having it. This raises your vibration and the people and circumstances to help get you there will begin to appear.
Love is the fuel that lights your inner flame.  When you choose love over fear in every situation, your life MUST change.  When you consciously choose a loving perspective, it is impossible for current negative situations to remain the same.

Sending you love and healing,
Kelli, Holistic Rain