First off, let me say that in no way am I an expert on this. Being a dad has not been plain sailing and the advice I can offer often came to me after some tough times. I had to (re)learn how useful breathing techniques and meditation can be and had to use Sri Sri’s yogic wisdom in real-life situations with children—both as a school teacher and as a father—to be able to share something of value with you today. The tips I have to offer are also probably not very original, but they are heartfelt and they worked for me. One of the things about regular meditation I’ve found is that it makes you sharper in your ability to find your own solutions—as opposed to just applying a general theory or idea. The more easily we can "take five" with our daily meditation, the more clearly we perceive our situation, however stormy. Speaking of storms, I’ll tell you my story (briefly—don’t worry!) as a father, and along the way I’m going to unashamedly plug some books and courses that helped.
Life and death and hospitals…
Natasha was born two months early. Her Mum—my wife at that time—had an unpleasant illness called pre-eclampsia (later on developing into full-blown eclampsia and a coma), and Natasha had to be taken out ASAP… and straight into an incubator. A cesarean section really is like Robin Williams (the American comedian and actor) says, like a “magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat”. Blink and you miss it! Afterwards, I went to see Natasha in the incubator; she was lying with her back turned away from me, so I called her name gently. She heard my voice, turned around, smiled for a few seconds, and then went back to sleep. Apparently, scientifically, it’s not possible for a newborn to smile, but take a look!
The next two months were among the most dynamic and nerve-racking of my anyway-none-too-sedentary life. I had a company to run, had to take over my wife’s responsibilities there too—so was like a double CEO—had to come to hospital at every free moment, had two dear ones in life-and-death situations, preparing and bringing special vegetarian food and milk as the hospital did not provide that. There were moments when I felt like breaking down, when doctors suddenly called me and said that there is "a situation at the hospital", they "don’t know what’s going on", or "can’t tell you over the phone"… Everyone who has stared at monitors and listened to rhythmic "beeping" for vital signs knows what I mean… What got me through that period was breathing techniques and meditation. Each time I meditated, I got back my focus and got back to my responsibilities with renewed dynamism. And I was very lucky to speak to Sri Sri a couple of times as well./p>
So here comes tip no. 1 for fathers: Learn pranayams and meditation, and if you have learned them, use them, especially when things are tough. It won’t turn life into a bowl of cherries, but you will be able to just pick yourself up and keep going—no matter what.
Read the next sequel to this piece on Tips for Dads - (Children between years 2 to 4)
Written by Patrick Trompiz