This was originally written for working parents, but I’ve adapted it so it can be applied to people in all kinds of situations.
If learning how to do things well, doing the work, and worrying about outcomes drives our success at work, then shouldn’t it work at home too?
Most of us don’t even have time to think that coherent of a thought because we are worrying about how we are going to get through homework tonight and out the door to school in the morning. Or, we have older children with bigger problems and parents who need our attention as well.
Then there is the guilt and shame we feel when we think we are doing not enough, that we aren’t patient enough, organized enough, responsive enough, or (_fill in the blank_) enough. We hear or imagine other people’s criticism, feel separate and alone.
The exercise below is intended to ease the burden you carry on your shoulders.
Sit somewhere comfortable. You can have your hands around a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa, whatever will feel warm and nurturing to you.
Do you have a window with a view? Can you look out the window?
Or do you have a favorite photo, painting, piano, fireplace or plant where your gaze can rest?
What else can you do to give yourself a few minutes in a cozy, warm space?
Release a few big breaths. Just consciously releasing some breath can do a lot for your nervous system.
If you can – release, let the inhale happen naturally, then hold the breath at the top for a few seconds before releasing again. Repeat that several times, each time relax a little more with the exhale.
Now, let your gaze fall on the focus that you have chosen. Notice the contours and surfaces of that thing. Slowly trace the edges of the item with your eyes.
Next, listen to the distant sounds in the background. Is there a highway somewhere? Some birds outside the window? The hum of the refrigerator? If all is silent, listen to the silence. Notice how it feels to have a soft gaze, alert listening while sitting comfortably in a cozy place.
Hopefully, you are feeling settled, calm and grounded in yourself.
Sometimes when I do this, tears form in my eyes, a deep tenderness grows inside me. Something may come up for you. Let it be. Notice it and watch it leave on its own. Let it release.
In this relaxed state, you might also want to try one or more of the exercises in the tabs below.
Take a moment to write any insights you want to remember.