I did a Facebook live yesterday whilst I was in the park enjoying the sunshine under a big oak. I was in London and it was very busy with people rushing around and 39 degrees in the shade but I felt very calm and grounded. It made me remember why I love nature so much and how powerful it is to help you get out of your head, the rush and pull of everyday life, the to do list and the “shoulds” and back into your body and heart.
I became aware of how everything in life has a natural rhythm and flow and how this creates grace and ease. Everything happens in sync, everything in inter-dependence, as one.
When my children were very small, I used a natural rhythm in my day which helped us flow and sync up. Rather than seeing parenting as a battle of wills, of opposing needs of my own, my husband’s and my babies’, I saw how we could all use the natural rhythm of life around us to flow and to nourish and nurture ourselves.
The need for routine
Routine gives the day structure and as an ex lawyer before having kids, this appealed to me. I bought “The contented little baby book” by Gina Ford after many recommendations from my friends and I thought that it was the answer to my prayers. I can get my baby to fit around me and I can know that at certain times of the day she will feed and sleep BUT what sounded like good advice was actually more like a manual for control. It ignored the fact that babies are unique and individual. That babies have emotional and spiritual needs. That babies deserve respect and have voices we must listen to. So after a week of having my daughter Emily, the book was in the bin and I looked for another way. It was actually baby massage that helped me find it, as in it’s practice I felt more empowered and confident in trusting my instincts, and I moved towards a rhythm approach over routine.
Finding your rhythm and flow
So I had three children in three and a half years. It could have been a full on experience but it was one of the most beautiful times of my life.
It was easy, simple and fulfilling. It was full of love and connection and curiosity. The reason for this was I followed my flow with my babies. Everyday was the same rhythm so that we all worked together knowing the path of the day. The days were of course different but the flow was largely the same and based on feeling nourished.
Everyday I would;
Move- I would get out of the house and walk or swim or dance. Any kind of movement
Eat well-Regular nourishing food at the same times of day.
Rest-My babies all slept for 3 hours in the day as they had a natural rhythm after movement and being nourished.
Nature- A big part. I went out in nature everyday. To the park, the woods, the beach, the zoo.
Breathe-When my babies were small I did not do any active breath-work but I am aware that I do breathe mindfully. I am a day dreamer and find my breath deepens when I am in this state. Active breath-work can be transformational in connecting you to the moment, your heart rather than you head and elevating your energy. You can mindfully connect to your breath whilst breastfeeding or practising skin to skin.
Creativity/Stories/Songs- This part was very important to me. Being childlike, using the imagination and being creativity everyday. This was a great chance for cuddles too.
Throughout the day there was lots of touch points of cuddles or being carried or snuggling up to keep the oxytocin and good vibes flowing.
Now you might think I am romanticising this a bit and my memory may be influenced by nostalgia, but what I would say is I have been in this flow since I became a mother as much as possible and it energises me. That energy allows me to be creativity and to attract into my life what fulfils me. I do a lot of things and I am a very postive person and people often ask me “How?” What I would say is, by working in rhythm and flow with my body and mind and doing what makes me happy. Even when my babies were all small I had a quiet trust that all would be well. I was pretty much calm and positive most of the time. I believe this is due to my energy and being in flow.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed, out of sync, in your head and not your body, try finding your own rhythm. Listen to what makes you happy and notice when you feel good and then do more of that. As a mother, your baby will follow you. Lead him into flow rather than structure. Give him the gift of moving and acting with intuition rather than rules. It sparks creativity and joy.
Relax into shared experiences, they are deeply connecting and healing. Be present in them and celebrate everything you have. Grounding into rhythm can help life seem more simple even when there are moments of stress. Parenting was not meant to be hard or stressful. There are challenging moments for sure but we can’t change reality. Only how we feel and act as a result of it. If I do feel overwhelmed in my life, I step away and go back to nature, gratitude and the present. It’s a fast track to your heart. Return to your breath to find yourself over and over again.
Let me know your thoughts on this or ideas for each one of the rhythm sections. It’s good to share. You are welcome to share this Baby Flow Wheel diagram with parents in your classes if it is useful.