Two Valentine's Day Gifts for you and Your Kids - Sweet Story & Love Meditation

My first gift is to teach you about the Buddhist practice called Loving Kindness or 'Metta practice'. This short audio goes into the basic instruction and covers how you could do it with children - it's kind of like a sweet well-wishing prayer/bedtime blessing really that reminds us we are ALL (big picture all) in this together. It's a visualization type meditation which is part of why our children who think in images tend to enjoy it. A beautiful may to connect and fill our own hearts up and send that warmth out to our world. Check it out here - 7 minute audio on the how to... (-:

FYI - Metta is a great practice to cultivate self-love (yes please) and compassion and the research is showing incredibly positive effects on many other areas such as physical health and immunity and on happiness scores in general. Doing this practice regularly shifts the body's chemistry to contentment  --- to a 'happy for no reason' state of being and has helped people overcome depression and anxiety and feelings of loneliness.

Meditation and Childhood - some thoughts ...

When children are young (before 6/7 years old) they are in a primary imitative learning mode and take in everything around them without the filters we have - seeing us meditating or take a couple long deep breaths when we're stressed and feeling our state change is pretty powerful for them - they are so attuned to us that what when we care for ourselves and our inner state, the good vibes ripples out to them. Now getting them to sit and meditate when they are young is a beautiful thing to do together no question but there's a timing for everything and of course young children are in the movin' and shakin' prime time … they are physical. We need a mindfulness practice - informal or formal way more than them - they are already in the present moment and benefit more from daily non-structured opportunities to enter into "deep play"(you know when there's almost a hum and the kids are fully engaged in imaginative play - ahhh … love  that. You see it turns out that deep play is actually essential to help our children integrate their experiences and decrease sense/stimulation overload - it's how they make sense of everything for themselves. A fascinating research report I read several years ago discovered that in deep play the same areas of the brain light up as in monks who meditate (how cool is that and don't asked me how they did the testing!)  AND these centres are associated with qualities such as COMPASSION. Whoa. Super cool.  The take home for me was that before 6/7 years of age creating time and space for imaginative deep play to emerge is most important at this stage of life as it's kind of how they meditate - ish. Hurrah for play!

The second gift I have for you LOVERS out there is for your younger children. It is a simple kind-hearted story from Suzanne Down - master storyteller and puppeteer! Great for children 3 - 7 years old. Nice one to do as a puppet play or just tell by heart (it's easy) in these Valentine days. 5 minute audio of the story here...