Advent Meditations for Caregivers of Young Children
‘Mother’ by Mikulas Galanda
This hurried time of year can be very overwhelming for children and adults alike. Those of us who wish to bring true peace and awareness into this very special time leading up to Christmas Day can spend this next month looking inward and carving out moments of meditation, consciousness and reverence.
These weekly meditations are just for you, the caregiver. You work so very hard to give so much to your families, your students and those you care for, but in order to be the type of caregiver you wish to be it is very important to care for yourself as well.
These Caregiver Meditations can be done after you light your Advent candle each Sunday and revisited throughout the week.
Week One, Advent
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
A hopeful ray of light is always waiting for you to follow. It is found within the silence of our darkest moments. It can be seen shining through all of our worries, concerns and insecurities. As we are ‘waiting’ these four weeks of advent, we can feel the hope growing inside of us in anticipation of new possibilities for ourselves and for our world. What wishes do you have for yourself and for your life? Are you appreciating the blessings you already have? How can you be the change you want to see in this world?
Week Two, Advent
“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” - Paramahansa Yogananda
It is very easy to be at peace with yourself and others when things are going well. It is much more difficult to keep a peaceful attitude when life gets difficult, others disappoint you or cause you strife. You will find that when you lose your sense of peace within yourself or with others, it is because you have given up control to external events or individuals. When you are able to let the emotion pass but hold on tightly to your connection and commitment to peace within yourself, you will be able to remain centered throughout any situation.
This type of self-control takes discipline and practice. Begin by noticing when agitation is building up within you and catching it with a deep breath and positive mantra. Find a word that will remind you to stay in control of your reactions and hold on to peace. Say it to yourself or out loud and recommit yourself to being in command of yourself. Speak when necessary and from a place of love and see how your new approach changes the situation. Most importantly, breathe. Breathing is the key to connect our physical beings to peace.
Week Three, Advent
“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” - Pearl Buck (1892 – 1973), The Joy of Children, 1964
Caring for our homes and our family is one of the most important duties in the world. When we create joy and peace within our own surroundings, our work can then extend outward into the rest of the world.
Each moment you share yourself with a child, you feed their soul. Each time you show reverence for the sanctity of the home and family, you teach a lesson to the world about what is truly important in this life.
Having respect and reverence for even the most mundane parts of your job is the secret to finding true joy in your work. You are helping to create a more peaceful planet with each task you do. Your work is truly sacred.
Week Four, Advent
“If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.” - Bono
When our actions come purely from love, we remain grounded and rooted to our true source. We are love. This week stay firmly rooted in love with your responses, actions and decision making whenever possible. This can be quite challenging as we can often let our emotions and our mind take over.
Many of us have an image that we hold within us of the love we want to receive from others. That image may have been with us since we were quite young. We may hold this picture of who the love of our life will be, who our children will be, and how we will be loved by those people in our lives. We may have imagined, or still do imagine, the day when this love that we find will come into our lives the right way and make us ‘whole’.
And because of this beautiful dream we have for ourselves, we can often be filled with resentment and worry when the people in our lives are not meeting our love expectations that we have placed on them.
What we fail to remember is that we do not need anyone to make us ‘whole’. We already are. Nothing else is needed because love is what you are made of.
When we let go of what we think our love should be… we are able to learn that the most wonderful part of loving another person is to be able to fully and completely love ourselves first.
We wish you deep peace and hope during this beautiful time of reflection and love. Give yourself the gift of these special moments just for you.