Mindfulness and Parenting

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Hi everyone, this is Gaston from TeamUp. for a new update and some new insights all the way from plum village Thailand. And today it’s about mindfulness and kids. As you can see here this is Namo my six month old boy. And a few things I really learned about mindfulness and parenting, as I’m staying here for a few weeks in retreat, the first thing is it’s not any more about my individual practice. I used to be loving sitting for long hours alone doing formal sitting meditation, what I realized is it’s all about family practice, now it’s collective practice. And so I need to loosen up my own attachment to my own practice and how this was before. I really focus on the ‘We’ so moving from the ‘I’ and the mindfulness practice to the ‘We’ in the mindfulness practice. And so my levels of stress now affect the family and if Namo is happy that affects the family and so it’s collective practice. And that helped me a lot and letting go some of my earlier attachments. The second one we need to get really creative in our mindfulness practice, again formal sitting meditation for a father of two young boys like this it’s just hard to squeeze in a little bit, maybe but and not at at the frequency I did before. And so one of the things that I’ve realized here in Plum village, is a great place to do that, is to become creative. So I now start my day with stroller meditation and so for about 45 minutes to one hour I actually just put Namo in the stroller in the morning into walking meditation and it’s incredibly calming and peaceful if he’s happy as well. And there’s other ways like actually taking the boys for a walk or simply enjoying a cup of tea with the boys. And so you find different ways to apply your mindfulness practice. And thirdly no expectations, this one is probably the hardest for me as a father. Whenever I have a little bit of time left I have all kinds of ideas on how I can use that most productively and maybe okay maybe Tao is awake but maybe I can do this at the same time. And the moment that I create these expectations to be productive in some way or form I often get frustrated afterwards because, as all the parents will know, kids draw their own plan and they do their own thing. And so I’ve learned to let go of expectations when I’m with them, dedicate that time and let go. And then once have time for myself I can really focus on things that I want to do. So three tips from now. Namo, any other wisdom? Namo is an expert in beginner’s mind which will talk more about it next time Bye-bye!

The power of stopping

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Hi everyone this is Gaston from TeamUp. I know I haven’t sent a written blog for a while and so I was actually thinking to do some short videos instead. And this is a special vlog so to say because it comes from the South of France from Plum village. I’m currently in this mindfulness practice Center, it’s one of the biggest mindfulness practice centres in the world and I’m practicing mindfulness here for the next ten weeks. I’m going to be on retreat, living in this monastery with my two sons and my wife and I want to give you some key insights of some of the teachings I’m getting here and I want to start today with talking about stopping. This is something that is needed for any growth process, personal development, transformation, healing whatever you want to call it; you first need to stop and here we learn how to stop one of the things they do here is they invite a bell, the bell of mindfulness and every time this bell rings. It takes many different forms it can be the bell in the dining hall or it can be a bigbell outside like a Church bell. Everyone stops and everyone takes three mindful breaths so everyone stops: stops conversation, stops cooking, stop serving fluid, stop on their way to the toilet. Everyone stops and it’s very powerful, five six hundred people stopped at the same time it’s very powerful and everyone goes back to themselves so it’s a very powerful mechanism to also disrupt habit, habit energies as they call it here. There’s two extra benefits from stopping the first one is you often realize all the conditions that you already have to be happy so when I’ve stopped here I’m in my last week was without a doubt the most happy week of the year, I’ve been quite successful in lots of other domains, this year but the peace of mind and the calmness you get when you learn how to stop and get in touch with the beauty that is already there, it’s very powerful so the benefit of stopping is also touching what you have already. The second partly benefit is all your unfinished business comes up once you stop and once you stopped longer, the unfinished business comes up, that sadness that I didn’t want to be with, that turned into frustration and anger came up, a disappointment that I never wanted to feel that became resentment came up, the fears and insecurities I have that I don’t think I should that turn into, you know, getting lost in work or stress. All these things come out when you stop and this place here is a very nice place where the space is held to actually notice that and be with that not instantly shifted or change it that will take time but stopping really helps unfinished business to come up and to look and notice what’s really going on so that’s my thoughts for today I will keep you updated and speak to you soon . May you all be well! bye bye.