We’re in the month where we’re bombarded with ideas for Valentine’s Day but one of the greatest gifts you can give each other is time to reconnect and no matter what stage your relationship may be. We hear about “being mindful” a lot these days. Why do we need to be mindful in relationships? We checked in with Toronto-based Randi-Mae Stanford-Leibold, wellness counsellor, mindfulness teacher, and author to gain more insight and understanding.
Stanford-Leibold tells us it’s so important to incorporate both mindfulness and compassion into our relationships, especially in our busy lives where we are expected to be available and connected to the world 24/7. “It becomes challenging to find the time and energy to connect with the people we love the most. When we use our energy in the workplace and business endeavours, and then offer support and care for our children and family, it becomes easy to overlook our partner,” says Standford-Leibold. “Mindfulness can support couples as they work through the changes and challenges of growing, loving and creating together.”
We asked her for 5 Mindfulness tips we can add to our daily lives…
Beautiful sacred moments are happening all around us. Some of them are short, and some are brief moments and exchanges as we prepare for the day and prepare to retire at night. Being present with our partner in these precious moments can strengthen our connection with the people we love. Being present is an invitation to allow your mind, body and soul to be in the same place at the same time with your partner. When you wake up in the morning beside your love, is one of the first precious moments of the day that you can share together. Before allowing the mind to drift into the day take a pause to be present with your partner and offer words of gratitude and love.
Invite the magic that lives within a loving, intentional hug. Explore greeting each other with hugs just because. Hugs have the ability to release the “feel good” hormone known as the love bug, oxytocin. Take a pause and look into each other’s eyes, and then step into your hug. Take a deep breath in, and a slow and gentle breath out as you settle into the embrace. Invite awareness to the feeling of your body being embraced and making contact with your partner. As you breathe deeply in this embrace together for 1-3 minutes, open your heart to love and gratitude for your partner. End the hug with a gentle whisper of loving words.
LOOK DEEPLY & BREATHE:
The act of looking deeply into your lover’s eyes has been around for centuries. Another name for this act is “Soul Gazing”, the art of listening from within and breathing deeply with your partner. Take a pause with your partner, and allow for 7 to 10 uninterrupted minutes. Sit closely, facing each other. Take deep breaths in and slow and gentle breaths out. Bringing your gaze to your partner’s abdomen as you bring awareness to the breath flowing through them and flowing through you. After a minute of breathing deeply together lift your gaze to meet your partner’s eyes. In this practice, you will engage in being fully present with each other, and open the door to vulnerability, compassion, and understanding.
COMMUNICATE WITH LOVE:
Communicating with love changes the dynamics in a relationship. Of course, we care deeply for our partner, but taking a step to speak with loving words and understanding intentionally requires being present with our full attention as we interact with our partner. Engaging with the presence of love requires that we listen with our hearts. The practice can begin by listening without interrupting and listening without planning our next phrase or comeback during a conversation. Noticing when our partner requires our support and asking with compassion. How can I support you, my love? Help me understand how you are feeling, my love.
SLOW DOWN TOGETHER:
Create space and time for you to slow down. If you live together, you can create “Slowing Down Household Rules”.
1. No tech (phones) between 7 pm to 7 am.
2. Eat a meal together once a day. That could even be meeting for lunch.
3. Go out and explore something new together and keep your phones off for the entire date.
4. Start a meditation practice together.
One of the foundations of mindfulness is engaging in the practice of beginners’ mind. Beginners mind invites us to look at life with fresh eyes as if you were seeing something or experiencing something for the first time. Inviting beginners’ mind into our relationships can allow us to rediscover and appreciate our partner in new ways. Start today by taking a pause and thinking about one thing you appreciate about your partner and let them know.
Mindfulness and compassion are wonderful elements that we can weave into our intimate relationships. They create a space for authenticity, non-judgment and support to grow and flourish. Start today and rediscover the beautiful gems in your relationship waiting for you in the present moment.
You can reach out to Randi Mae directly at www.somaandsoul.ca.