Issue 72

Page 82

The Crazy Wisdom Community Journal • May - August 2019 • Page 80

Mindfulness with Barbara Newell, Joy Aleccia, and Anique Pegeron

Photo by Rachael Waring

“Of all the to-dos on my mom list, the most upsetting and hilarious has to be self-care through meditation.” By Laura K. Cowan Of all the to-dos on my mom list, the most upsetting and hilarious has to be self-care through meditation. I do actually have a supportive spouse, I work flexible hours, and I only have one kid. Still, the idea of adding one more to-do in addition to taking care of everyone around me — taking care of myself and forcing myself to calm down — is high in irony and low in fiber.

It’s about living in the doing instead of just another to-do. Currently I’m launching a tech blog with my husband, writing magazine articles, nursing a sick puppy, keeping up with a kid who is determined to catch every strain of flu this side of the Mississippi, and writing my twelfth novel, while planning all the family vacations… so we can relax. And… I’m one of the privileged moms who gets to choose how she spends her days. I know if you’re a single working parent or doing the stay-at-home thing instead of juggling work, you’re probably dealing with something much harder, like taking care of aging parents while raising babies. For a parent to prioritize keeping calm is inevitably required. That’s one of the reasons mindfulness meditation is a growing trend breaking into the mainstream. It is a type of self-care that helps people, moms in particular, stop and smell the roses and refresh themselves. It’s about living in the doing instead of just another to-do.

I’ve learned to say no to practically everything to manage the barrage of opportunities we don’t have the energy to balance.

According to Ann Arbor mindfulness coach Barbara Newell, this world we live in of thinking and improving and doing often leaves no space for feeling. Mindfulness meditation, which teaches ways to be present in daily life, is trending with parents and high-performing professionals. It helps us bridge that tendency in our culture from being carried away by thinking about all the things that need to be done to just acknowledging thoughts as they pass.

People are learning that mindfulness is a very simple way of connecting with a self-care routine that doesn’t require a lot of time, spiritual study, or any particular belief system. Kids are now getting into the mix as well, learning tools to cope with the stresses of school. Parents know it's harder on kids these days to keep up. Kids are seriously stressed by the load of over-scheduling and high-achieving school standards, especially in a place like Ann Arbor, where my nine-year-old can already opt into advanced math programs or take after-school activities until she drops. If I let her. I did bring her to AAPS in second grade because her smaller district wasn’t challenging her, but there is a down side to every school system as wonderful as Ann Arbor’s. I’ve learned to say no to practically everything to manage the barrage of opportunities we don’t have the energy to balance. Yes, I force self-care and balance down my family’s throats like brussel sprouts. It’s good for them. We will not be stressed out and exhausted, so help me if it’s the last thing I do. Right. Where was I?