There’s something that my mindfulness teacher (Susan Reifer, I might have mentioned her here before? Like a hundred times?! :)) has said that has stayed with me… (this is in my words) – that mindfulness tools can help create a little bit more space in our operating systems. Can be a way to inject a pause, in between a life stimulus and our response. (And that pause can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE!)
Our responses – when we are aroused – are not always the most zen. I will speak for myself. When my nervous system has been triggered into a state of arousal and I’m anxious, angry, hormonal, frustrated, hungry, tired, distracted (etc), my immediate unedited response is not the one that’s going to help bring about great peace and harmony in my home.
My friends with older kids – pre-teen and adolescent – warn me that the “stimulus” that is going to come my way in the coming years, is going to be even more emotionally challenging.
Part of what motivates me to practice mindfulness, and join Susan’s free offerings through the library, is
1. I don’t have to leave my house, and
2. I am developing a decent bag of tricks for being a kind companion to myself, stopping the self-flagellating before it gets out of hand, and being more present for my family.
Sometimes, it has just helped me name an emotion and buy myself a bit of compassion or altered behaviour, like “I’m actually feeling really distracted by some work stress right now and I don’t have a lot of patience for silly energy, I’m sorry. Do you think you could take that outside while I have a cup of tea?”
It hasn’t necessarily given me any answers for how to solve my kid’s problems. But it has helped me be more present for him – to sit with an uncomfortable feeling without flaring up and racing into crisis mode or implementing the “let’s call the principal/parent of that kid/bus-driver and rip them a new one” response, or falling into some kind of slump because my kiddo’s drama of the day (Didn’t pack him enough lunch! OMG, how could I not have known that he’s growing and needs more?) must reflect on my inability to be a good mom. Sometimes, it turns out his problems aren’t actually problems at all, just things he needed to get off his chest, things that were literally resolved by my supportive presence and nothing really else. Who would have thought.
The Pemberton and Whistler libraries have joined forces to offer this free program – two hours spread out over two consecutive evenings, to help empower parents with practical and diverse tools that you can share with your kids to support them…
Part of the wisdom in offering these tools to kids, via us parents, is that
1. kids co-regulate off us, so if we can soothe our nervous systems, they can settle more easily, but if we get aroused in response to their stress and drama, which is a pretty natural thing, everything will escalate, and
2. we are the frontline care worker for their emotional health and having some really accessible tools gives us a bit of a mental first aid kid so we can intervene with suggestions that are helpful.
And 3. at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter anywhere near as much what we tell our kids to do, as what we do. They’ll pick up what we’re living, faster than what we’re laying down. So the sneakiest way to make them do what we want (get off the phone, practice the piano, hang up your jacket when you get home, take your temper for a walk instead of taking it out on another family member) might be actually to also do it ourselves.
Please register in advance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Pemberton Library at 604-894-6916.
Help your kids learn to more skillfully navigate daily life’s ups and downs with everyday mindfulness tools.
In this two-hour virtual workshop, divided over the course of two consecutive evenings, you’ll learn the basic foundations of mindfulness and meditation, and an array of tools and practices you can share with your kids to help support their resilience and well-being.
In session one on Monday, December 5th, we’ll sample introductory mindfulness and meditation practices, and cover a brief overview of the brain structures, biological science and behavioral research behind why and how mindfulness tools are effective for both kids and grown-ups.
In session two on Tuesday, December 6th, we’ll cover an array of specific mindfulness-based exercises that can help support increased self-regulation, resilience, self-awareness, stress management and well-being in youth of varying ages.
This special workshop is geared toward Sea-to-Sky adults with kids between the ages of 10 and 16.
Registration is required to attend this virtual workshop. By registering you will be signed up for both sessions. To register: Please email email@example.com or call the Pemberton Library at 604-894-6916.
Sponsored jointly by the Pemberton Public Library, the Whistler Public Library and the Whistler Pemberton Literacy Partnership, this community learning event will be facilitated by local meditation and mindfulness teacher Susan Reifer, whose workshops have been a popular and regular feature of Whistler Public Library’s events schedule since 2018.
Learn more about Susan here: www.susanreifer.com/meditation