A mother’s emotions are intense and they can swing from bliss to rage in a heartbeat. This is in part thanks to the incredible pressure coming from all sides to be a perfect mother while simultaneously pursuing a career, being a loving wife or partner, a goddess in the kitchen and a temptress in the bedroom. All this and of course, looking like a supermodel.
Leonie Percy reminds mothers of the impossibility of living happily like this. Using mindfulness techniques aimed at gently refocusing perceptions of what it means to be a mother, Leonie guides mothers to “let go” of what they don’t have in order to be fully present in their day-to-day role as a loving parent. Below is an excerpt from Mother Om’s chapter on Cultivating Compassion.
Awaken your mind and open your heart.
Buddhism teaches us that if we harm others we are actually harming ourselves, and when we help others, this actually helps us.
The first step in practising compassion is to truly love who you are. You can give yourself permission to be happy and take time out for a break. It follows that when you feel good about yourself, you will feel great when you take care of others.
“We cannot give to others what we do not
already have.” Leonie Percy
You know, your children can teach you so much about life. They see the world through such innocent eyes, observing nature and beauty all around, where we so often ignore it, suffering from our own ‘busyness’.
Make the most of your time with your children by being sensitive to what they are feeling. Recognise the triggers for destructive emotions like anger and practise not indulging in these feelings because, like clouds, they are temporary and they will pass. Just like difficult patches in your child’s behaviour. Tantrums come and go and children tend to let go of these feelings quickly.
When rushing around dropping off the kids and battling rush hour traffic, let go of stress and worry. Holding onto it harms you and the more stressed you feel, the more your children will absorb this energy, leaving them feeling anxious, too. In turn, an anxious child will project their suffering onto you.
After you shout you can:
- Calm down together with some mindful breathing
- Say sorry Mums’ mind got cross
- Make up with a yoga hug
- Let go of the guilt, as it only hurts us more
Learning to let go
The reality is, we are incredibly complex beings and our thoughts and emotions change from moment to moment. We get so lost in our own story. We have no real understanding of who we are. We are born with wisdom but also ignorance. When we are ignorant, we judge. You can learn to soften and let go. You can learn how to tame your mind. You can work with anger when it arises and look at the causes and conditions of this destructive emotion.
By seeing what diffuses anger and observing your role in the situation, you can bring in compassion toward yourself and others.
“Remember, your children follow your example,
not your advice.” Leonie Percy
Each morning the first thing I do is switch on my conscious mind. I take a few deep belly breaths and set the intention for the day. I visualise a calm morning that flows before the mind becomes busy with the day’s events.
Find your mindful moment today…
- Practise a loving kindness meditation
- Send out loving kindness with your child when they hear a siren
- Set an intention each day to be a mindful mother
- Look at the sky and liken it to your mind
- Everyone has a story, so be kind, always