As a new mother, I am getting in the habit of making sure my daughter gets empowering messages on a daily basis. Rather than only hearing she’s adorable (which, granted, she is), I want her to hear about the volume of her power, depth of her compassion, and the scope of her abilities. I recently wrote an article for Inner Fire on this topic: 7 Mini Mantras You Can Share With Your Kids. Although it’s presented as suggestions for others, I wrote it as a commitment to myself; these are the yogic messages I want my daughter to grow up on.
Some of these messages I emulate naturally: from the day she was born my daughter has struck me with her sense of determination and purposefulness. To convey other messages, though, I have to overcome my own quirks and reservations. One of the hardest messages for me to commit to when the baby topples over or gets scared is:
5. “It’s okay to have feelings”: Accepting loss and change is not easy. It is normal to feel grief, sadness, frustration, and anger. Resisting these feelings or pretending they’re not there only creates more suffering. Being okay with unpleasant feelings (santosa) and expressing them in healthy ways won’t make them go away immediately, but it will allow you to move through them with grace.
When she falls or gets startled, my automatic reaction is to swoop in to hug her, kiss her, cuddle her, distract her from what happened, and prevent her from crying. I like to think that my daughter is getting 24/7 on-call private yoga instruction from me, but this is the exact opposite of how I encourage my yoga students to face challenges. When I’m being more mindful with my daughter, I put a hand on her to let her know I’m there, and say, “How was that, little one?” Often, once she gets past the shock, she goes back to what she was doing as if nothing happened. Sometimes she cries, and then I hold her close if she reaches for me and reassure her, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to process what happened.” I think she picks up on it. I notice that from the safety and security of my arms, she immediately looks back to the location of the fall or to the stranger who surprised her and moves through the negative emotion so she can go back to exploring confidently.
Read the rest of the article over at Inner Fire>>