Smiling Mind gives children the opportunity to learn meditation skills that they'll have for the rest of their life.

Smiling Mind gives children the opportunity to learn meditation skills that they'll have for the rest of their life.

The boxes I had beside all of my life’s "must do" lists were being ticked off so fast I could barely keep up….or barely breathe. The study, the job, the husband, the kids, the exercise regime and so it goes on. Then in the winter my first child was one (and my second child was only months from being delivered) it happened. I meditated.

If meditation was an award I would have been crowned "the woman most unlikely". Primarily because I could not sit still for more than a minute but secondly because I thought I did not ‘need’ it. I think we all start off that way. Until the seed is planted and the fascination starts. The fascination that turns into a compulsion to know more about this seemingly simple thing that has provided clarity and calm to generations of people around the world for centuries.

The best gift we can give our kids and young people is the ability to take deep breaths, have perspective and tick the boxes that are right for them. 

I am not certain whether it was coming home to a house husband who had managed to put dinner on the table but seemed satisfied for everything else to be all over the floor or the relentless hours in the office trying to keep my eyelids from snapping shut on barely four hours of sleep a night that propelled me towards my ‘guru’.

Jane Martino.

Jane Martino.

Although I do not recall the exact tipping point, I distinctly remember the call. It was one of the most important calls I have ever made. My dear friend Nadine, who for years I had convinced (or so I thought) that meditation was not for me, heard the desperation in my voice that day. There was no more; “I am far too busy for that” or “I could never sit still for that long” murmured from my lips. Not on that day. She had always seen the irony. And soon, so would I.

My first meditation session was like many things you try for the first time that you read about or see glorified in movies – a complete reality check. There was no white light, no calm silence – and at first it was somewhat unrelaxing to realise that my body could not stop fidgeting and my mind could not stop thinking. Then came the reassurance; thinking is what the mind does. Phew! Like anything you try for the first time, you need to try it again and again to improve. So I did, and very soon my body was able to be still, my mind still created thoughts but I was able to let them pass by like clouds in the sky…and the best part? I was training my brain to focus and pay attention, which was relaxing.

And so it began. My very own ritual that quickly allowed me to switch from chaos (organised, of course) to time out. It started as just that but then grew into a healthy habit that actually allowed me to listen to my husband and not bite his head off - just maybe the dress I wore to my high school formal that still ‘fitted’ me was not the best option to wear for a friend’s engagement party?

It allowed me to sit back and really check in with myself and it made it okay to just want to be a mum for a while rather than continuing to "climb the ladder". I coped better with the sleep deprivation having three children under three is guaranteed to bring ... but the best thing? It allowed me to focus and be more in the present moment every single day no matter what I was doing – from dirty nappies and milk vomit to high-powered boardrooms in ivory towers.

As my children moved out of the nappy stage and began at school I realised that this new skill which was very slowly but very purposefully changing my life would be a neat skill for them too. And so began my quest to see all young Australians learning the art of reflection – why stop just at my family?

Don’t get me wrong, I still go around madly ticking boxes (and now the above-mentioned quest is another one of them) but now that I meditate, those boxes are on my terms for reasons that are right for me. And as a mum - now I am on the road to enlightenment I am starting to realise that is my most important job in the world - I think the best gift we can give our kids and young people is the ability to take deep breaths, have perspective and tick the boxes that are right for them.

For more information visit www.smilingmind.com.au or download the free App from the App Store.