Creating Rituals for the Whole Family
October - November 2018 Connect Magazine Article.
Addiction comes in many forms, some that we recognize instantly when we hear the word addiction, and others that we don’t always associate with the word, such as food and technology. Yet they are all synonymous with disconnection, whether we have an addiction to use up our time so that we don’t have to focus inwards, or whether we have become attached to the ritual we are moving through as a way to help us regulate, albeit with a not so healthy process.
How many times have you found yourself wanting to relax so you lay down in front of the television to watch something or play a mindless game on your phone? We are led to believe that this is a appropriate way to relax, however the combination of the blue light as well as the content of what we are viewing and hearing isn’t particularly beneficial in the long run, and even less so for our children. The feeling we appear to be searching for in these moments is that of dropping in to theta brainwaves; that nourishing feeling of deep relaxation or that of experiencing a waking dream. It’s blissful and can often feel refreshing. It is also a powerful part of our conception, pregnancy and parenting journey.
From birth many of us have been shown that our understanding of ourselves, our bodies, our needs and wants are not important or are not valid and as we move through the years we find ourselves disconnecting with more ease and frequency. We feel hungry, but remember that it’s not mealtime, we feel tired, but remember that it’s not sleep time. Our lives are ruled by the force of the clock and eventually we forget to feel. But it goes back even further than that and this is where the process of conscious parenting begins. When we are planning or preparing to consciously co-create our children we have the chance to reset all of the clocks. To rest ourselves and begin the healthy rituals and eliminate all that no longer serves us.
Even before conception we can begin to reset our bodies, our minds, our brains and our lives, and with this we can allow a gentle journey for our children. There are so many ways in which we can begin this process. For each of us our journey will be different and we will feel drawn to working on different areas. The opportunity here is for consistency and gentle nourishment, therefore just taking one pattern to reset and doing it consistently will begin to shift your whole experience. Some ideas include:
Preparing our bodies by nourishing them with fresh, real, wholesome food; we can discover what our bodies do and don’t like to eat by listening in to our bodies to see what food feels like as we prepare it, consume it and digest it. We can then use this process later with our children by introducing them to adult food from six months old, eliminating the outdated process of pureeing their food and allowing them to discover real food, how it grows, looks, smells, feels and tastes. This is best shared together around the family dinner table.
We can begin to reset our own circadian rhythm so we no longer need to wake with an alarm or fall asleep by the clock; we can begin this by preparing our sleeping space and adjusting our morning and evening routines. And we can share this with our children later by eliminating sleep training and beginning with creating a gentle sleep-time routine as well as co-sleeping so we can reduce the stress in their waking periods and allow them to build a belief pattern that sleep is a safe, beautiful, comfortable, nourishing process and to be welcomed at the end of each day.
We can turn off the televisions, mobile devices and computers and put on a guided mediation; Yoga Nidra is a beautiful process for deep, nourishing relaxation and regeneration or we can put on an instrumental musical piece and allow our bodies to flow into a spontaneous dance. As we dance with our own unique body rhythms we begin to connect deeply in with our selves. This state drops us in to the theta brainwaves and allows us to dance our waking dreams. Spontaneous dance is a safe and powerful preparation for conception and birth. Children also love to join in with body movement from a very young age and this process can help to alleviate physical, emotional and mental health issues later in life.
There are countless more ways throughout our days that we can reset our pre-programmed ‘relaxation’ tools and begin to nourish our bodies without needing to spend, buy, consume or numb ourselves out.
I encourage you to take some time to go through your patterns mindfully. Spend a day or two observing your rituals and routines quietly and without judgement; notice what you do to zone out and how that makes you feel, does the action align with your intention? Do you come out of the process feeling nourished? If not, what is it that you are seeking for in that moment and how can you fulfill that intention with gentle lovingness towards yourself? Feel into what process would support you next time that urge appears and when the opportunity presents for you to try something new, allow yourself to meet the need with a new loving, gentle, caring practice.