Because Nature is the best Muse and Teacher
Beauty Compassion and Love cannot be explained, only experienced. This is where we started our reflective journey. Last week we joined my sister, her husband, a friend of hers and my parents for a vacation of 4 days. During this trip Beauty Compassion and Love amalgamated to present themselves as Grace.
My sister Somu often spoke of Bow Lake in Canada as a mystical place of stillness where all thoughts cease. Last time I visited Bo lake with her was in November 2017. During that trip I experienced no such stillness and attributed it to traveling with my toddler son Unmukt. Therefore, this time when someone expressed hope of a similar experience my knee jerk response was “I doubt it since we are traveling with this loud one.” A few moments later the highway began running parallel to waters of Bow River and despite utter chaos in the car I found my mind still. It lasted for a minute till the water was visible. After that every time waters of Bow became visible my mind stilled.
I understood it as Bhagwati’s grace. Lovingly she was reminding me that the stillness within is ever present unaffected by the chaotic cacophony around us. It simply waits for us to be felt. That evening she sent me another message through my little one.
Unmukt asked for the story of Kanakdhara Stotram as we waited to be served at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. At the end of the story he wanted to hear the stotra. Since I don’t have it memorized my father pulled it up on YouTube. The video had Lakshmi’s image and Unmukt asked “Why does Devi hold the Lotus?”
Mother holds a Lotus flower to remind us that just as a Lotus is born in muddy waters but never immerses in it so should we live in the Sansara (world). Never immersed always floating above it spreading the fragrance of our essence.
As a young adult I bought into the idea that children are natural Mindfulness Experts. Today as a mother to 3 yr old Scorpion 🦂 child I know that’s not true. Mindfulness is a habit we need to develop. Earlier we start easier it gets. Over time I have tried many methods to encourage Mindfulness in him and his friends. Following are our favorite Mindfulness games.
1) Beauty Game – Ask your toddler to point out 5 beautiful things he or she sees whenever you are outside the house. Take turns at finding beauty and you will be amazed at some of the things your little one finds beautiful.
Advanced version – Depending on how far along your child’s language skills are, you can even ask “why do you find xyz beautiful”? It makes for some interesting conversations.
2) I 👁 Spy – This has quickly become a favorite precursor to bedtime. I Spy is a guessing game in which each person takes turn at spying an object. Others have to guess the object. We can ask questions like “Which part of the room is it in?” “What color is it?” Is it living or non living?
Often we spy objects that have been around forever but went unnoticed.
3) What do you hear? Unmukt hates taking naps so in the afternoon when he is tired we like to cuddle in the sofa, read books and play this game. We close our eyes and describe what we hear. Sometimes his imagination goes in overdrive and he will tell me a Dinosaur 🦕 🦖 story based on the sounds he heard.
4) The Breathing Game – This is less Mindfulness and more a precursor to Pranayam. We inhale deeply and then blow at each other’s hair. To win he has to exhale longer than me.
5) I touch – In this game I count to myself all the things Unmukt is touching as he sits in bed or sofa with me. Next I say to him – You are touching 10 things right now. Can you tell me which things? For every correct answer he gets a sticker. Next I ask him “How many things is mumma touching?” He never gets it right because the kid is bad at math. But, it’s a good game for developing counting skills, increasing vocabulary and even identifying body parts.