Friday, November 8, 2013

Mindful Parenting- Playing

I can't say that I am a good parent. Quite frankly, I am not sure what being a "good parent" means. I do my best like most parents. We try to juggle our schedules between work and family and hope in the end we raise normal kids who have a good head on their shoulders with a basic moral foundation. I have been reading a lot about mindfulness. I recommend going to I have tried to be more mindful in my daily life. I have stumbled many times. However, what I learned more than anything else is that my kids help me be in the moment.

For example, last night my son was complaining that I have not spent a lot of time with him. I responded that I have. But, he said, "Dad, I mean you have not spent a lot of time with me playing." He was right. Sure, I was spending "time" with him, but was a really "present" mentally. Of course not, I was thinking about work or the football game the next day or about ObamaCare or global warming or any other thing that came across my mind. I was not focusin on my child who was right in front of me.

When you play with your child, you have no option but to be in the moment. Playing is one of the most basic activities of being in the moment. So, before dinner, he and I played Legos, which I loved as a kid and still do. However, today, there are a lot more cooler Lego products than when I was a child. There are Star Wars Legos and Harry Potter Legos. Have you ever done a crossover where the Star Wars Legos and Harry Potter Legos meet up. You know, Valdamort and Vader team up against Harry and Luke. My kids and I did that and it was so much fun. When I play with my kids, I am in the moment. If I am not, my kids will let me know that I am not because you cannot really play unless you are in the moment.

So, if you son or daugther complain that you are not spending enough time with them, they mean that you are not in the moment with them. Turn off your Iphone, computer or kindle and go and play with them. They will appreciate it and you will too.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

No Pain

I had the unfortunate experience of having a wisdom tooth removed at the age of 40 years old. Normally, you get those things removed during college while on break. This allows you to veg out on the coach doped up on some type of pain killer eating ice cream and watching the Duck Dynasty marathon. Unfortunately, I did not have that luxury. I have a job, kids and a gold fish to feed. No slacking off for the working man.

One of the big issues with the removal of wisdom teeth is the pain that comes from the surgery. Yes, you get a nice batch of drugs that can knock us out into a comatose state where we wake up in a puddle of our own drool; however, I had to get back to work the next day. I am not saying that I did take my happy pill while recovering; however, I used it in moderation. I tried to use mediation and mindfulness to deal with the pain. I focused on the source of pain and felt the throbbing in the area where the tooth was removed. I visualized the pain and gently released it. I did not resist it. I embraced it gently. The result was I felt less pain even though was focusing on it. Of course, this did not always work; however, many times it did.

By becoming in tune with my body, I was able to mitigate the pain. This can be expanded by physical pain. One could take this one step further and focus on any emotional pain too. Due to all of the distractions and drugs available, we have become disconnected with our body and mind, which results us ignoring the actual pain we feel because we do not want to deal with it. Yet, dealing with the pain in the long run is more beneficial to our minds and body. It may be uncomfortable in the short term, but it allows us to really be awake and connected with our mind and body. It can be our canary in the coal mine. It can pick up things before they get out of hand.

I am not saying to throw away your advil, aleve and tylenol, but sometimes the best medicine is your mind itself. It is really amazing what a little focus can do.

Now, I have to get back to my ice cream and the tenth episode of Breaking Bad Season 5.