When crises hit or natural/political/human disasters occur, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and want to bury our heads because it’s just too painful to imagine what others are going through. This is especially the case when you’re already under a lot of personal stress. It can feel like you’re being sent overboard without knowing how to swim.
Mindfulness can be our buoy during these times though. It not only helps us feel more centered and stable during normal day-to-day stresses but it also helps ground us to our values and goals and reminds us of what really matters in life—love, family, gratitude, helping others—so that we can continue moving forward and taking action, even if only in baby steps. Baby steps can still get us to our goal and can still contribute to a worthy cause if enough of us take these small action steps.
If you’re reeling from all the horrible tragedies unfolding in recent weeks/months/years, mindful breathing can help you return to your center—to your heart and bring you back to what really matters in your life so that you can give back to others and help those who are suffering in the world, even if in a very small way.
Something that is just as important in the long run as small action steps is showing your children what it looks like to be compassionate and give back to others and fight to end others’ suffering. What a beautiful way to transform a horrible situation into a learning opportunity that you can involve your children in helping others as well. And they will most likely remember this good deed or action for the rest of their lives. I still remember when I was in elementary school and my mom taught me about recycling and how to recycle all our soda pop cans. (Yes, we drank pop back then. 😦 ) The experience has stuck with me into adulthood and I’ve even been known to dig through a garage or two to fish out cans and paper that can be recycled.
So how can we take the current human rights crisis at the US border and teach our children to have more empathy and compassion for others?
Depending on how old your children (or nieces/nephews/friends’ kids if you don’t have children of your own) are, you can have them write letters or draw pictures for the immigrant children. If you have very little children like me, it may be more challenging, but donating toys and clothes may be needed. If anything, you can look up a song in Spanish or a Native language in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala where the majority of the separated families are from, and sing the songs with your children.
There are also local marches and protests coming up that you and your family can attend. It helps raise awareness in the community and shows your support for the children and families in crisis.
If you have older children, you can help them organize a fundraiser and send the money donated to help reunite the parents with their children through legal assistance.
If you’d like more ideas for small action steps you can take, check this article out from Motherly:
If you believe in energy work or sending healing prayers, pray for the children and their parents who are both in such difficult and painful situations. Send them your love and positive energy. Even pray for the people working with the families so that they are extra compassionate and patient. You can repeat the loving-kindness meditation as part of your morning or evening routine. This is a great one to practice with your children as well and start building their compassion muscles at an early age.
May I/you be safe.
May I/you be healthy and strong.
May I/you be happy.
May I/you be peaceful and at ease.
You can read more about loving kindness for kids from mindfulness teacher, Sharon Salzberg’s website:
The basics of it though are saying the phrases for yourself first, then for your loved ones, then for people you feel neutral about, then for people who are difficult, and then for everyone everywhere.
I do it a little differently in my practice but the same general idea of expanding living kindness out. I wish excellent mental/spiritual/physical/emotional health for myself, my baby, my husband, my parents and in-laws, family and friends, their family and friends, our neighbors and colleagues, our pets, our community, the government, our countries (both the US and Ecuador in our family), all the animals and creatures and people of the world, Mother Earth and the Universe. It only takes a minute or two but it helps me visualize radiating love and good health out from within all the way to the far places of the galaxy. I try to do this when I recognize a special number combination in the time, like at 11:11. But you can do it whenever works best for you. And each person will find the best fit for them.
Do you have any special ways you ground yourself or share love and kindness with others?
What are you planning to do to take a small action step towards your goals or for a cause close to your heart?
How will you involve your children and model empathy and compassion for them?
Here is a short video I recorded for my Owning Your Goodness Facebook page for my weekly Mini Mama Mindfulness Moment live trainings this week about this topic that may be helpful as well:
Video originally posted here: https://www.facebook.com/owningyourgoodness/videos/1252153824914854
May all beings everywhere be free from suffering.
Peace be with each of you.
With love & light,