Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
When my kids were younger, and I was feeling overwhelmed or stressed from adulting, I would throw on a movie, cuddle up and the world would seem right as rain.
Witnessing them watch the movie and the different feelings they expressed as they viewed it, brought me much joy. Their honest, real expression was very present moment. Any previous or future challenges, stresses or issues were gone. They were engaged in the moment.
From the moment children are born they can offer us lessons in life. Of course, there are the challenging lessons such as patience and staying sane when they have been colic and crying for two hours or when they have asked you “why?” for the six thousandth time that day. But the lessons they teach us about staying mindful and present in the current reality can be a practice we all can take note of.
Think about it, from the moment they take their first breath, they are thinking, feeling and communicating their truth. We know exactly what is going on with even though they can not say a world by the way they communicate. They have a unique cry for a wet or dirty diaper, letting us know they need their diaper changed. They have a different cry for when they are hungry, gassy or sleepy. They tell us specifically what they are wanting in each moment and when their needs are met, they are content. They don’t worry about when the next feeding will happen. Once they get fed, they are fulfilled. They don’t’ worry about the last time they had a poopy diaper and it didn’t feel good. As soon as they get a dry diaper change, they are satisfied in the moment. For children, it is about when is happening right now that matters.
As we grow and have life experiences that are contrasting or challenging or even traumatizing, we must work to release them either through conscious intentions or counselling or whatever it takes, so that we can focus on the now. Either wise we can begin to let those experience affect us negatively and impact our lives through worrying about the future or feeling resentful about the past.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” - Lao Tzu
As my children were growing up, they taught and inspired me to be aware of some very important lessons of life.
No matter what was going on in their life (and there were some big, big challenges in their lives growing up) they taught me it was still okay to be happy. Despite dealing with a divorce and other difficulties, they showed me that happiness and life stresses can co-exist. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
They showed me how to express passion for things we want in life. Yes, sometimes it was a full-blown temper tantrum melt down in the middle of the mall, but you must give props to their theatrical passion for what it is they truly desire in the moment and the length they would go to get it. Of course, it would be unacceptable to do this as adults (albeit hilarious to witness). Just as I taught my children self-leadership of emotional intelligence and more affective ways to communicate our desires, kids teach us to find effective ways to go after what we want, demand it and expect it, with all our might.
Children see the world with curiosity, innocence and wonder. I remember my father telling me a story of when he took me grocery shopping once. I was just a little toddler and I saw a tall, large black man. He said I stared in amazement at his size and his differences. I ran over to the man and tugged on his pants and said hello. He looked down, smiled back and picked me. I reached with my little hand to his cheek and wiped his face and then looked at my hand, as if his colored skin would rub off on my hand. My new large, black, man friend let out a loud and hardy belly laugh, to which my father felt much relief.
Recently, I had a friend’s little 3-year-old at the grocery store. A woman that was shopping down the same aisle was wearing a large brimmed hat with a netting over top of it. It looked a bit like a bee-keepers hat, but I presume perhaps she had a sun allergy or something. The little one with me didn’t judge her hat as “weird” but simply smiled at her and said, “I like your hat”, to which the woman smiled back at her.
Kids don’t judge or discriminatory people that are different. Instead they have an innocent sparkle of admiration to everything and everyone. They remind us to clean our own dirty lenses, so we can see more clearly, celebrating the wonder and uniqueness of each moment and each person.
“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “you owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” - Hafez, 14th century poet.
Kids give love with an open heart and expect nothing in return. They are unconditional love, freely teaching the same. That love flows not just to those around them but to themselves. A chunky monkey toddler is not judging themselves as imperfect. They don’t feel the need to people please or compete or keep up with how fast other kids are learning how to count to ten. They are just happy and playing and digging life as themselves. They are authentic and true to who they are, with no apologies.
They teach us to be a bit more fearless and brave. They aren’t afraid of trying, failing, and trying once more. My daughter got her bottom teeth early as a baby. As she started to learn to crawl she often lost her arm strength and landed on her face, cutting her lip with her teeth. She cried. She bled. She stopped crying. She tried again. Kids step outside of their comfort zone. They know that in life, sometimes we win, and sometimes we learn.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” - Marianne Williamson
(If you would like to see an article on a specific topic, please email email@example.com).