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Mindfulness in the Making
MAY WE BE MINDFUL AND LISTEN
By: Jocelyn Kay Levy | May 5, 2022
Hey mom, it’s MAY already! I cannot believe we are almost halfway through 2022. MAY we celebrate all we are! But who are we? Who am I? Who are you? As moms it’s often so hard to take even one minute to drop down into who we are as women when we are not in our 24/7 role of “Mom.”
I don’t know about you, but as a mom of two younglings, I simply cannot pause my mom brain; I’m a constant mess of worry. I worry about whether my 5-year-old daughter will feel included and empowered during her day. I worry about whether my 9-month-old baby girl is getting enough milk or if I should supplement with formula.
On a day like today, I’m extra worried. As I write this article, I’m gorging pizza in one gulp so I can get it finished before the babysitter leaves. I’ve also been up all night—and I mean all night—in our family bed worrying about my 5-year-old kicking us or falling off the bed and, worse, believe it or not, I’m still doing the constant checking to make sure the baby is alive and breathing! All this worry is exhausting.
I do know that this sounds a bit “cray cray.” I don’t want to worry this much, hence my devotion to yoga and a career in mindfulness helping others bring these elements into their lives. But, hey, the reason I got into these practices in the first place is that I’m only human, and not just any human, I’m a Mama, and my hawk-eyes, ears, and sensitive heart feel everything!
So, how do I calm my worried mind? For the past six months I’ve been teaching a class in my home that I call Mindful Barre 6-Week Series. I taught at Yogaworks for 13 years but I have not returned to a studio since the pandemic. My new classes are small, intimate groups where we drop in, tune in, and work out hard on my back deck amidst magnificent redwoods.
Teaching these classes has been super sweet for me, not only because it’s in the comfort and convenience of my own home (where I can literally breastfeed my baby while I teach), but also because it has been nourishing for me to be in community with local mamas! We get to share and sweat away the sh** we carry in our heads, then relax and be our real, juicy female selves. When we gather this way in community and class to drink tea and talk about our true feelings . . . guess what—nobody calls us crazy!
I truly believe in the healing power of a Mom Community, which is why I’m sharing about this. There is nothing quite like coming together as women, as moms, in a non-judgmental space that can hold all of our super-real-mom thoughts and feelings. This shared weekly time is one true way I know we can honor ourselves as May Mamas! It all begins with mindful listening, and, side note, this practice is not only for women. Men, feel free to join me on the deep-connect.
Sit with a good friend or your partner. Have a question or prompt to connect you to your authentic feelings that may have gotten stirred up during the week. For example, “Share three obstacles from your week.”
Decide who will answer first. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes for each speaker to share. When one person speaks, the other is an active listener, which means they do not talk, ask questions, or judge, but simply take in what the person is saying. Please note that this is sometimes easier said than done. I often need to remind people that if they realize that their mind is drifting, to return their focus to the speaker’s lips. If the person speaking runs out of things to say before the timer goes off, then the active listener simply sits and waits with patience and presence connecting through their eyes until the speaker either continues to share or the timer goes off. After the speaker is done sharing, the active listener pauses to ask themselves whether they truly understood what the speaker meant, and if not then they need to ask the speaker any questions to clarify. Instead of making assumptions, causing misunderstandings and confusion, this brings openness and curiosity to the interaction. Finally, the active listener reflects back to the speaker what they heard. This tells the speaker that the active listener was truly present and listening with an open heart.
A great mindful listening exercise that you can practice with your kids uses a bell. Your kids can do this with eyes open or closed. Encourage them to try it with their eyes open first, and then to do it again with eyes closed after you explain that closing our eyes (blocking out visual distraction) may help them to listen for, and hear, the bell better. You can prompt your kids with, “I’m going to ring this bell. Listen to the sound it makes until you can’t hear it anymore. When the sound stops, raise your hand.” Then you can give them a chance to ring the bell, which they always enjoy. A simple exercise like this can truly help focus your child’s attention and greatly improve their capacity to focus and their ability to listen.
Jocelyn Kay Levy is a mama, musician, yogi and social innovator. She has been performing music and leading yoga and barre fitness workshops for over 15 years. Jocelyn is the founder of Wee Yogis Organization whose mission is to bring yoga and mindfulness to children through music, videos, podcasts, and teacher training. Wee Yogis is also the kids yoga program for Ram Dass’ Nonprofit Love serve remember. Learn more at weeyogis.com
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Book Picks: Mother's Day Read >>
Community Heroes: Postpartum Support Center Read >>
May is for Mothers Read >>
Mindfulness in the Making: May We Be Mindful and Listen Read >>
Mother is the Teacher Read >>
Reach a Little Higher Read >>
Share the Bounty Read >>
SMMCpreneur: Ellie Dominguez of Ellie's Essential Blends Read >>
Something Good Read >>