Hi Friends - I don’t think I even know how to write blog posts anymore. Please bare with me. It has been a long time and a lot has happened since I posted last. We’ve taken amazing trips and lost some important people since I was with you last.
For now, I have been writing a novel for the last six months and am so caught up in narrative and my characters’ lives, I find it difficult to write about my own.
A few weeks ago I took my, now 12 year old, daughter to a half-day mindfulness retreat. I was a little nervous about how she may react. Would she reject the idea? That's what tweens do sometimes. Would she blurt out something or fall asleep? She is pretty sensitive but, at times, her filter is not there. She tends to say what she thinks and it’s not always polite or thoughtful. She’s a kid, that’s what they do. So, so what, right?
The general goals were;
- To give the two of us a shared experience,
- To fill our toolbox with new ways to deal with stress and anxiety,
- To find new ways to allow us to focus on what we want to focus on, instead of reacting the majority of our days.
The biggest surprise of the day was watching my normally self-conscious, somewhat shy tween participate and actively listen to the lessons we were being taught.
She soaked it in and seemed to flourish in the quiet calm of the day.
I was reminded of when she was a baby and would quickly fall asleep in the middle of loud crowded places. How she would cover her ears when loud music played and how she would be happily reading in a quiet room alone during many, (sometimes her own) birthday parties in the early years. I was reminded that she is sensitive in every sense of the term and that she needs the quiet calm to think and to be.
One of the last activities we did at the retreat was to create a Mind Jar. We gathered an empty mason jar and filled it with glitter in various sizes, colors, and shapes, then added water with a little glue. The Mind Jar, when shaken, looks like the busy blur of our minds during times of stress. Then when left still, the glitter all slowly settles and the jar becomes clear again.
I watched my reserved, pensive tween eagerly create an array of colors, adding music notes and butterfly shaped glittery pieces into the jar, then comfortably go to pour the water in the jar with others. She didn’t shy away or ask me to do anything.
This was a safe and comfortable place for her and I got to see her within that space, outside of our home and with other people. I watched her hold the door for others. I watched her help a little girl. I watched her politely wait in line for lunch. I watched her all day in amazement.
The tools that we were taught and given will be helpful to both of us but the real gift of the day was witnessing the beauty of my daughter, in that time and place. The gift of seeing who she is really becoming in the quiet calm.
My Introverted Child | Listening to HER Voice
The Gratitude Project | 'Unspoiling' Our Children