Two Hours Alone Without a Cell Phone
Today I took my daughter to her first group choir practice session. She agreed to go after weeks of private lessons, which, to my joy, turned into mother-daughter lessons. Mind you, she did not agree to practice with the group, but only to watch them practice. With the condition I stayed with her at all times. (You guessed it, my daughter is a bit on the shy side).
As the group of seven other girls aged 9 to 14 years old arrived, we sat patiently with waiting for the teacher. It quickly became clear that I was the only parent planning to stay the duration of the practice session. After a few minutes my daughter told me quietly that I could wait for her outside, directly outside the door, not to leave the premises, under a non-spoken threat of the evil eye and silent treatment for hours afterwards.
Thrilled that my girl trusted herself to join the group, sans mama, I happily waited outside. After a few minutes it was clear that she decided to practice with them, and not only watch them practice; I heard her angelic Soprano voice through the door.
As I sat in the empty, very stylish first floor of the modern building of the Berlin University of the Arts, I realized that my cell phone battery was empty. I had ahead of me two hours. Alone. Really Alone. Something I have not experienced since I was outside the range of service in Yellowstone National Park. Five years ago.
Wow, this is a great opportunity to do nothing …
was the first thing that came to mind. I quickly realized how out of practice I was at this task. My thoughts began to wander to my work with new mothers over the past year. I felt a warm glow of satisfaction on my growth as a Postpartum Doula, and at all the growth I witnessed in my clients, integrating their new role of Mother into their already busy lives. So many beautiful contacts made, so many touching moments, so many goals reached, even when the needed “baby-steps” seemed impossible in the first weeks of their child’s lives.
After this moment of awe and pause, I chuckled to myself how I have become a human broken record. My mantra of self-care, self-care, self-care rings through my ears and the ears of my clients. Then I thought, hey, “I better practice what I preach if I am going to stay authentic”. Authentic. Anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my favorite words, concepts and states of being.
At that moment I shut my eyes, began breathing deeply to my core and practiced some of my favorite stress relievers; the neck stretch, mindful breathing and checking -in with my physical well-being. I believe some of you will remember this technique we practiced together.
One thing lead to another and one and a half hours later, I found myself very relaxed, with a clear mind and elated that I had given myself this beautiful gift of mindfulness, meditation and stretching. I turned an otherwise “wasted two hours” into a precious time of self-care. Had my telephone been charged, I would have regrettably been checking emails, talking with friends, or even worse, applying my energies to the past or trying to predict the future.
As my daughter emerged form the room, a full thirty minutes before the scheduled end, I was thrilled. Not because I could go home early. But because I received another gift, the gift of confirmation that I am personally and professionally on the “right track”.
Suddenly my message of self-care and respecting ones boundaries was spoken by the most precious person to me on the face of this earth. My daughter very confidently and without a hint of guilt told me “it was great mom, but I’ve had enough for today. I definitely want to come back next week.” Self-care, self-care, self care.