Being a mother is hard work. It’s the most wonderful, love-filled, joyful thing I’ve ever experienced yet it’s also confronting and overwhelming and I’m constantly working on being a more balanced, patient and present mother...
I’m far from perfect, but I’ve got a secret weapon now: vedic meditation. It has changed my life. I was taught the practice in Sydney at The Broad Place by the studio’s co-founder Jacqui Lewis. Next week, Lewis is holding a special ‘Mothers’ Gathering’ at her Paddington studio to celebrate her new book, the Mothers Mind Cleanse, a guide for the modern mother. She’ll be sharing her practical advice and wisdom and to encourage you to go – or buy the book – I thought I’d share seven lessons I took away from reading it (there are many more in the book, but here’s a few). Go and purchase it. You’ll love it. It’s sure to be the best cleanse you’ll ever do. Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe
The power of words
“I used to say when my daughter was small ‘oh you little rat’ (sometimes under my breath, many times out loud). The impact this had was that it became a trigger for her to act more cheeky and ‘ratty’ and once I understood this, I began researching and understanding more the power and impact of our words,” says Lewis. She explains that as mothers we have a bunch of negative words we use and they affect us and those around us. We have the ability to transform our thoughts and our words will follow. Lewis encourages us to try and replace negative language with positive language.
Get some perspective
“Everyone says ‘think Big Picture’, but how do we achieve this when we’re flailing around in modern day life?” asks Lewis. She explains that perspective is when we ask ourselves, ‘Will this matter a month, a year or even 10 years from now?’ and then make educated decisions on what demands our time, and more importantly, our energy, and how much of it. She admits that perspective isn’t easy especially when you’re faced with long nights with sick kids, toddler tantrums or issues at school. “Perspective is being able to live in the present moment and not snowball out of control with negative thinking,” she says.
Meditate, meditate, meditate
It will change your life. I can vouch for that. Don’t get me wrong – I still get very overwhelmed and stressed out but it has helped me to calm down. “My meditation practice I know makes me a better mother. A more patient, compassionate and grateful mother,” says Lewis who practices Vedic meditation twice a day. She explains that you can do it anywhere, anytime. “Don’t think you need to find some quiet place to do this. I’ve meditated on a couch with Peppa Pig playing loudly on the TV, with a dog scratching about, with a toddler crawling over me, and next to a cot late at night… anything is possible, just do it.”
Beware of the barrenness of a busy life
Ok, that was actually Socrates who said that but it’s a lovely reminder that Lewis has included in her book. Banish busy! “When you say you’re ‘so busy’ all the time your brain feels overwhelmed and exhausted,” says Lewis. “We actually make the choice to be busy. And the amount of time we invest in talking about and telling ourselves and anyone who will listen how busy we are is the most spectacular waste of time that makes us feel, ironically, more busy.” Prioritise what’s really important to you and simplify your life.
Stop obsessively multitasking
“As mothers we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask. And it’s a sure way to rob ourselves of present moment living.” Lewis talks about mashing (aka multitasking aka adult ADD). This is when we do more than one thing at a time. Examples of mashing include: driving the car while checking emails, bathing the kids while checking emails, lying in bed talking to your partner while scrolling through Instagram. Mashing, mashing, mashing. We’re not engaging in anything we do! “Mashing robs us of actually experiencing what is happening. It means we are never quite present and cannot pick up on the subtleties of each moment.” So stop, take a breath, and be in the moment.
Create daily rituals
Lewis’s day starts around 430am. She meditates twice a day. She only checks her emails a couple of times a day and she tries to limit her time spent on social media. Lewis also stays off her devices when she eats. “With these things in order I feel calm, balanced, inspired and energized. And I’m a more present parent.” Create new rituals for yourself that improve your wellbeing.
Let go of resentment
“Looking back to when my daughter was a baby, I held onto so much resentment. I felt like my entire identity and freedom were never going to be retrieved,” recalls Lewis. She believes that letting go of these ‘low grade’ emotions – resentment, anger, fear – “is one of the single most important things we can do.” In the words of Elsa: let it go. The Broad Place Mothers’ Gathering is on Tuesday February 16th at 6:30pm. Tickets are $55 and spaces are limited. The night will include teas and sweet treats as well as a goodie bag containing your free copy of the ‘Mothers Mind Cleanse’. To book, go to www.thebroadplace.com.au