I love to watch mothers and babies. A rosy glow seems to light up the room when they’re connected and attuned to each other. A secure baby relaxes into a mother’s arms, and you almost feel their hearts beating in rhythm. I was shocked when I heard from famous infant researcher, Ed Tronick (a really smart, funny, and endearing guy), that secure infants and mothers are misattuned 70% of the time. These are securely attached babies (see blogs #33 and #34.), meaning they feel secure enough to explore when they want to explore, and be connected to a safe, caring parent when they want contact or soothing. Ed Tronick’s point is that what matters most is how well mothers and babies reattune when there’s a rupture in their relationships—like baby getting hurt or Mommy getting pissed off. I believe attunement is so central to a good life that I wrote a book about it, The Attuned Family: how to be a great parent to your kids and a great lover to your spouse. What is attunement? With adults, attunement to ourselves is being aware with caring intent of our bodies, minds and spirits. Focusing with caring intent on someone else’s body mind, and spirit is attuning to them. Try attuning to yourself.
- Breathe deeply a couple of times and let your breath out slowly. Sense into your body. What are you physically experiencing? Are you tense or relaxed? Hot or cold? What sensations do you have in your hands and feet, arms, legs, genitals, abdomen, solar plexus, heart, throat, face, and head? Just allow them with acceptance and caring intent.
- Still breathing deeply, what emotions arise with these sensations? Happy or sad? Interested or bored? Irritated or touched? Ashamed or proud? Observe and accept these fluid feelings with caring intent.
- What thoughts are moving through you? Observe them without pursuing them or adding to them, with acceptance and caring intent.
- What judgments do you have at this moment about yourself or others? Are you guilty about eating those donuts this morning? Do you think your husband is silly for caring about whether his football team won last night? Notice all judgments with acceptance and caring intent.
- Do you hunger, yearn, or want anything? Shift your body? A sip of water? A snack? Contact with a friend or family member? Do you need to yawn or stretch? Accept that you want these things—whether they are good for you or not—with caring intent.