The Wisdom of Mindfulness and Motherhood
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By Cassie Schindler, guest contributor
Whether you’re a mom, have a mother, or know one, it’s likely you’ve witnessed or tapped into the powerful wisdom of motherhood.
On the heels of Mother’s Day in the U.S., many of us recently acknowledged and celebrated motherhood, sharing loving words written in well-crafted cards or spoken face-to-face.
While this essence of what it means to be a mom lingers, I invite you to turn your attention to those attributes of motherhood that can be powerful tools for all of life – home and work.
Generally speaking, moms lead with a structured set of principles that unfold and evolve as a child progresses through predictable stages. These tools, applied consistently, contribute to the unity and growth of a family unit.
If you think about it, any group of connected individuals, working toward a common goal is a family. Coworkers and associates, like siblings, deserve and thrive on respect, non-judgment, and the loving kindness of their team.
Based on my personal experience of birthing and raising two children, coupled with a 25-year career in corporate America, I can attest to the fact that what I’ve learned as a mom directly informs my approach to my work, and interactions with various teams.
Let’s explore a handful of what I’ll call Mindful Mothering Principles, all riding under the umbrella of unconditional love, which is by far the strongest characteristic of motherhood.
Consider that creation, nurturing, patience and appreciation can be force multipliers for mindful living, leadership and connecting teams.
Giving birth is powerful! Whether a child, a work of art, or an idea, creation is nature’s finest expression of growth and expansion. We’re each capable of this amazing feat called creation, and should applaud ourselves, and others, when something comes forth from us, into the world.
It helps to adapt the pillar of mindfulness known as Beginner’s Mind, to clear the present moment of past and future thoughts, and allow the new and fresh to emerge.
Once a seed is planted, and a human or idea has been born, it’s time for proper care and feeding – in other words, nurturing. In order for the “newborn” to thrive, a consistent application of praise and encouragement, tempered with the tender hand of structure and guidance is needed.
To enhance your nurturing efforts at home and beyond, you may wish to practice being present, opening to change and evolution, and perhaps most important, offering forgiveness, when life strays from the expected path.
Patience is a virtue; no truer words were ever spoken, and the grip of impatience can apply undo stress and pressure when our desires are not being met in the timely fashion we require. Our culture certainly emphasizes efficiency, and has us on the go, and even tapping a nervous foot when waiting for the microwave!
To actively cultivate patience is a
recognition that things unfold in their own way,
and in some profound way, things cannot be hurried.
When we are always rushing to be some place else,
the by-product of that is that we
are never where we actually are
which is a tremendous sorrow and a
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Both patience and impatience come along with a physical sensation. Tuning into body sensations during formal practices like the Body Scan and Sitting Meditation can help you recognize when impatience is present, so that the choice to soften into the moment can be made with greater ease.
A two-way street, appreciation is both an outward gesture that acknowledges the accomplishments of others, and an inward stroke of self-gratitude for all that you have and are, right now.
As part of the art of nurturing, appreciation is a gentle pat-on-the-back that can be expressed in myriad ways, ensuring that your loved ones and peers know how proud and grateful you are for them.
Don’t shy away from the old-fashioned Thank You card, or voice-to-voice phone call, which are both truly personal ways to touch in with another person.
Finally, we humans tend to land on one accomplishment, and without a pause in the action, strive for the next. Rarely do we celebrate each step of the way, and feel contentment with the way things are in this moment.
You may wish to occasionally, or often, repeat an affirmation like the one that follows, to appreciate your wholeness, as you are now.
“I love and accept myself unconditionally, exactly as I am now, in the moment”.
As a renewed wave of feminine energy is unleashed in our world, and increasing numbers of women and moms inhabit the highest roles of leadership, the mindful mothering principles of creation, nurturing, patience and appreciation will undoubtedly be embraced, in and out of the workplace, and any place where more than one are gathered in her name – mother, that is.