Mindfulness To The Rescue: 4 Ways Mindfulness Can Help Parents


When we become parents


Nothing is more important to us than being a good parent, even though we are certain we are messing it up most days.  While we dearly love being parents, our stress exponentially increases once that child is born.  When we become parents, doing is no longer what’s important; fully being is.  Making this shift can be difficult – mindfulness will help.


While I practiced mindfulness about two years before becoming a parent, it was only after my daughter was born almost three years ago that I have deepened my mindfulness to an extent I didn’t know was possible before she came into my life.  Here are four ways I’ve found that mindfulness can improve your parenting and enjoyment of it.  (If you are a parent of a newborn, save this and read it in the future.  You may need to only focus on sleeping when you can.  Be compassionate to yourself and know you’re doing your best.)


1.  “Floor time.”  This is a concept in play therapy that can turn around behavior issues instantly.  Floor time is setting aside 30 minutes with no TV, no phones, or other distractions.  You sit and play with your child, allowing him to lead the play.  You give her yourfull attention, awareness and presence.  This is an amazing meditation.  You do not correct your child or even name things unless you are repeating what he says, (i.e., You can’t color her face green!  Her face needs to be brown!).  I often find myself trying to use it as a reward for myself if I get some chore done, but then I miss it or my daughter really needs the attention right then and not later.  So, I suggest doing this as soon as you can in the day or when you get home from work.  I sometimes need to break it up in 15 minute increments.

Here’s an article from Psychology Today describing this in more detail:



2.  Notice emotions in your child and in yourself.  Teach your child emotion words as soon as possible.  I made a book with pictures of all of my daughter’s big emotions and describing what they are.  We have happy, frustrated, mad, tired, sick, surprised, etc.  When she was just a little over two, she could correctly name most of these when she felt them.  She replaced many tantrums with saying that she was “frustrated” instead.  While her feelings don’t always make sense, it helps me to know what she’s feeling and it helps me empathize with her instead of reacting angrily.  Notice your own emotions-when you are hurt that your child favors grandma over you, when you are frustrated with your child putting up a fight every night during the bedtime routine, etc.  By noticing my anger, I can usually stop myself from reacting and instead be calmly present with my daughter to help her manage her own emotions.


3.  Get up a little bit earlier to have time to yourself.  Or stay up late, whatever works for you.  This may be working out (I am a muchbetter mom after I work out), reading, planning your day, etc.  Spend at least 5 minutes in meditation.  Be kind to yourself and open your heart.


“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you

Don’t go back to sleep!”

– Rumi

4.  Try this Momma Meditation.  I started this during one of the hundreds of hours I’d spend holding my daughter while she was asleep because the second I’d lay her down, she’d wake up screaming.  The time to try this is while nursing your child, when you are rocking him to sleep or when she is asleep and you’re letting her get into a deep sleep before laying her down.  Start by watching your breath and not trying to change it.  Are you holding your breath?  Are you breathing shallowly?  As you hold your attention on your breath, you’ll notice it getting deeper and more constant.  Relax your muscles, starting from the top of your head, your face, your neck and shoulders, your arms, your stomach and back, and your legs.  It is often hard to relax these, but muscles can be relaxed and yet flexed to support your child.  Tension isn’t strength.  Now turn your attention to your beautiful child.  Notice her breathing and how it compares to yours.  Notice his features and how perfect they are.  Feel the weight of your child on you-from her head on your arm, to her fullest weight on your lap, to toe.  Sensing this weight on me is usually when I feel a swell of happiness and deep love.  Still allowing any other thoughts to drop, continue breathing and feeling your child’s weight.  Then, send love and energy from the universe to both you and your child.  I often picture a large, loving ribbon curling around us.  Visualize what you are grateful for in this day with your child.  Savor the perfection of this quiet moment.



Create a life you don’t want to escape from

“When you personalize your life, when you make your life a place where you can be yourself, when you do things the way you want to do them, your life feels like your home. And that is a tremendous source of emotional energy.” ~ Mira Kirshenbaum

#MondayMotivation: Create a life in which “escapism” need not exist. Reject the myth that you must step out of your daily life in order to step into feeling fully alive. What small steps might you take today to invigorate your everyday life with emotional wellness practices?

5 Reasons to Increase Your Play – Some Serious Reasons to Have More Fun!

Just PlaySubmerged in the responsibilities of life, the seriousness of world affairs, and an ever-growing to-do list, we often forget to PLAY. Animals, on the other hand, continue to play throughout their adult lives! We may believe that play is somehow no longer appropriate or cast it aside as a frivolous waste of time. Research suggests, however, that play is essential to our well-being, creativity, and health.

1. It Boosts Our Creativity Mark Beeman, Ph.D., at Northwestern University found that people have an easier time solving a puzzle after watching a short comedy clip. Having fun, perhaps by easing tension, may be

Read More

Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act

tim-ryanCongressman Tim Ryan has been a force for the support of mindfulness in our military and schools and now he is expanding that support with the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act. The act, co-sponsored by Congressman Dave Loebsack, Congressman Tom Petri and Congressman Matt Cartwright, amends the Elementary Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow funding for teacher and principal training and professional development to be used for social and emotional learning programming.

“I have already seen what teaching social and emotional learning skills can do for a student and their classroom,” said Congressman Ryan. “Teaching social and emotional learning skills is based on

Read More

The Good News About Stress and 5 Ways to Cope

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-stress-image1035525Originally published in the Huffington Post – April 16, 2013

“If you’re not stressed, you’re not working hard enough.” More and more this mantra seems to be woven into our cultural dialogue. Stress may be considered the new “normal,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple shifts in attitude and practices can yield big benefits. April is National Stress Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to look at both negative trends and some signs of hope. Here’s the bad news, the good news and how

Read More

Reacting vs. Responding

From Taoist traditions to the Christianity, much is written about Reacting vs. Responding. From international leaders to children in preschool, all of us when faced with a stimulus or situation, either react or respond. How does this affect us? Is one better? Can we control which we choose to use? Generally speaking, a response is is a considered answer to our present situation, whereas a reaction is an instinctive, often not thought out expression of our emotions in that moment.

It is simpler in the short term to react to stimuli, but it is healthier to your well-being to learn to respond. It is important to know that a response is never repeated. How can this be? Every moment is a unique one. Everything that happens to all of us is new and current. If we are living in the now no event in our life is ever duplicated. When you react to a situation, you are reacting to past emotional associations; a response happens in the now.

Read More

unexpected ways!

may we often find

our true self lingering

in unexpected ways!

may we be swept away

by a whirlwind

of love!

rest the doings

of the doer,

and just be

like a beer!


What’s Life Like?

So you ask me:

what’s life like

after death?

And I wonder:

what’s life like


So little I see:

in ignorance I live!


The Reluctant Dad

The Reluctant Dad

October 19, 2004


Until I was almost thirty, I felt that my childhood wasn’t complete. Missed all those ball games that I never played for fear of losing. Loved solo sports… even at 40, I can bet you a penny that I will lose a ballgame if I play it with you!


So… when my wife, Seema, said it was about time to have kids — that her BClock was ticking — I said, wait a minute! What about the exploding population that was burdening Mother Earth? Or, how about we wait until I complete my childhood, let alone taking care of kids of my own? How about learning tennis and golf and horse-riding, and completing some more treks: Yellowstone, Hawaii, Mt. Rushmore, Europe, Africa, South America…??


She was wise: she gave me a choice:

Read More

spread this germ…

let’s go,

spread this germ of joy:

an infectious symbiotic bacterium.


sticks stronger than vicious viruses,

spread faster than frantic flu.


mercifully puts an end

to war,

to terror,

to hatred…


let’s go,

spread this gem of joy!



a bed of roses!

i knew it, i knew it


that life

is a bed

of roses!


so long i denied

the thorns on that bed…


no more!

for now i know:


life truly

is a bed

of roses!




let’s be present

for our presence

is the best present

we can present

to all around us

in deep silence! :)





Picture by Leah Pearlman of www.DharmaComics.com

this quiet little inner child

this quiet little inner child

has gone totally wild.

dancing in wild abandon

in ecstatic delight

chaotically thrashing

like a Sufi gone mad!

slowly simmering

into a lyrical tandem…

to join you and me

into this trance

we call love.


may you always smile :)

may you always smile

as you serve all around you,
and may that smile
radiate for miles!


mystery in the moment!

come rain or shine

the universe reminds us

that each moment is precious,

each place we occupy

is filled with mystery,

each being we care for

is a door to love and joy!

do you feel the love,

the mystery in this moment?

are you filled with gratitude?

then please share,

forward and backward,

to everyone you meet,

real or virtual!



serene flow

welcome that serene flow

that serene flow of life
where needs and wants disappear
and all we have is delight.
that serene glow of delight
that glow full of life
that glow of being alive!


the search


the day i stopped searching

for some place special

for something special

for someone special…

every place i went to

everyone around me

everything around me

turned out to be really special!

perhaps i have been sent

in this magical moment

to remind you to see

everything and everyone

all around you and me

in some special way



Forgiveness: Making Space for More Happiness

From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/learning-to-forgive_b_1322686.html

Have you ever tried to be happy, yet something just irked you under the surface — a feeling that you had not been seen, appreciated, loved? Or even worse, a feeling of betrayal, total loss of trust or even violation? What can be done? The way out is forgiveness. Let’s make something clear from the get go. It’s not about saying that what happened to hurt you was OK — it was not. It’s about adjusting your outlook and the way you deal with a situation so that it does not entrap you, keeping you stuck in anger, sadness or frustration for years to come. Your forgiveness opens the door to your own freedom. A quote I love is, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Louis B. Smedes.

Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project defines forgiveness as “the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel and become a hero instead of a victim in the story that you tell. Forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment.”

My parents are getting older, and I find that long-buried feelings like “Why couldn’t they be the perfect parents I had wished for?” coming to the forefront of my mind. I thought that I had dealt with this sticky stuff long ago — what’s up? Hey, I know I should feel happy to even have parents who possess several amazing qualities and who are still here! I also know the drill: Everyone is human and does the best they can with the knowledge they have. Yet these feelings of irritation and sadness still arise. So I am trying to write this to learn to forgive, to let go and create more mental space in my life. More room for happiness! Here’s what I’ve found:

Read More

Valentine’s Day — Really?

From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/valentines-day_b_1247584.html

Valentine’s Day: What does it represent to you? Is it a reminder of the passions of new romance or the love that you are longing for in your life? Is it a commercial orchestration fabricated by the greeting card, flower and chocolate industries to make us buy more? Here’s the real question: Can Valentine’s Day remind us of the enormous capacity for love that we already carry within?

From the day we are born, not only do we need love and affection to thrive, we constantly give and generate love. Benjamin Disraeli says, “We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.” Yet the word love in itself is confusing. It means so many different things to different people. Here are some of its faces:

• the protective affection felt by parents for their children
• the resonance felt by sharing interests and true friendship
• the sexual expression of love that also can hold the potential of transcendence
• the sense of caring for others’ welfare — what we call unconditional love.

There are times when each of these types of love takes the lead, but

Read More

How can you find happiness in times like these?

I have spent a ton of time lately thinking about how to find happiness in times like these.

I think about all the different situations that surround so many people in my life. So how can you find happiness when: you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your house, your child is dying, your child has an incurable condition, you have cancer, your parent just died of cancer, or you are getting divorced? Those are just some examples.

How can you be happy amidst all the insanity that envelopes your life when you are dealing with just one of those things, let alone multiple things?

Read More

Holiday Happiness — Be Here Now

From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/gratitude_b_1165364.html

So many people grumble and gripe about the holidays — too much family, too much food, too many obligations. But what if you approached it all with another perspective — as though this might be your last time to be together. Would you overlook some of the annoyances? Would you focus on what amused you about specific people instead of what drove you crazy? Would you choose to make the moments special and have a deeper connection?

This time of year reminds me of my father-in-law. He was with us one year, and by the next holiday season, he was gone, so quickly and unexpectedly to pancreatic cancer. I don’t harbor regrets as we all got to be with him at the end, but it gets me thinking of how impermanent life can be. It can also be something as simple as

Read More