One of my favorite activities is hanging out and watching my children, just watching, not necessarily doing anything for or with them. Often, I sit at the antique wooden table in our kitchen and look out our picture window at their activity. This window frames the life work of my children engaging in play. By sitting and slowing down, this staying in the present has created our best moments as a family. I have discovered that when I am still like a flower, my children come to me and hover. They hover over and around me like a bee. And I sit and watch, as we savor the nectar of being together. Balancing their fullness and vigor with my own quiet reflection and wonder at their grace. The power of this silent meditation yields calmness and healing for everyone in the family. Pick one day a week to experiment. I take one "day off' a week. So it is on this day that I have the greatest opportunity to hover. When my children come home from school, I sit on the sofa and let them come to me. I am not in the basement doing laundry or typing on the computer. I don't run errands or answer the phone. We don't choose an activity. I just sit and observe their movement, skateboarding and basketball, practicing piano or completing homework. I receive their thoughts and listen to their mind's chatter instead of my own.
As you are sitting, letting your children's life and activities unfold around you, your mind may continue to chatter. As you sit on the sofa, holding your daughter, your eyes wander to your favorite houseplant which is wilting because it needs water. Your job is to continue to sit and hold your daughter. Turn off the message that the plant will die if it is not watered today. Your steady demeanor becomes like the light from a tower beckoning your children home. You create safety and harmony through your energy. You will hear and learn about new dilemmas in their lives as you sit and watch them resolve their differences with each other without any interference.
"It's my turn, now. I want to talk," my little girl said last night. "OK," I said, "Momma and Daddy won' t talk about this grownup thing anymore. What did you want to say?" "I don't know, nothing. I just want to be able to, if something comes up," she sighed, obviously feeling left out of our adult conversation.
Pay attention. Stop your movement, your phoning, your cooking, your planning the school picnic or church bazaar. Stop and attend to your family's motion as if in meditation, be in awe of them and their higher beings. Stop and be still in their jumping. Hover and let them hover. You will find great happiness and delight when you jump into the stillness of your family.
Julia practices with her family in North Carolina.