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A Bedtime Meditation

November 4, 2010

Bubbles falls asleep anywhere and everywhere during the day.  But at nighttime the routine is to nurse to sleep in bed.  The longer it takes for my baby to fall asleep, the longer I have to lay there thinking of what I need and want to do that evening.  A plan and a schedule form in my head and it is generally an unrealistic list.  Shower, clean the kitchen, check email, write, knit, read, get to bed early…  If I missed my yoga time in the morning I have to remember to do it in the evening.  Often I need to make lunches for the next day or do some other little chore.  My older daughter is still up at this time, playing and reading with papa and she often needs a little of my attention as well, at least for several goodnight hugs and kisses.

Recently I realized that as I lay there thinking and planning my evening, my body was tense.  My muscles were flexed, ready to jump up and get busy.  I was so ready to move onto the next thing that I was hardly aware of lying next to my beautiful sweet girl who was doing her best to drift off to sleep.  And I knew that my own body tension was likely making her task more difficult.

As I scanned my antsy body I noticed that I was lying in poor alignment, my hips out of whack and my muscles doing more work than necessary just to lie still.  I was so “in my head” that my body couldn’t relax.  So I decided to bring more awareness to my body by doing a simple body scan meditation.  Relax your toes, relax your feet, relax your ankles…and so on for every part of the body.

Bringing my attention to my body dramatically shifted my experience.  I became present in the room, with my baby, my experience, my own body, and I lost that desire to jump up and start doing other things.  By the time I was done with my simple meditation, the baby was done nursing and I could have bounced right into action.  But instead I rolled over on my back so I could keep relaxing.  I was actually enjoying just lying there and all the other things on my list felt so much less urgent than they had ten minutes before.  I took a couple minutes to enjoy being present, and then I got up and started my evening in a positive frame of mind.

I realized that I have a choice with my children’s bedtimes.  I can relax and enjoy the quiet time together or I can spend that time wishing I were free to move on to other things.  I can tell you that the choice I’ve made hasn’t made me less productive.  In fact, it has increased the number of minutes in my day.  I am now aware of the time that I spend nursing the baby to sleep, so I actually experience that bit of time.  Then I get up relaxed and ready to tackle my evening chores.

It’s amazing to me, this power to choose.  Choosing to be present in the moment.  Choosing to experience time and space and sensation as they are.  Choosing to be here now.

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