Michele Greco CPC

mindfulness-based life & business coaching

Good Stuff to do... While You're in the Pool.

{Written by request for Open Adoption & Family Services & published here for all those in the waiting stage of their adoption process)

So you’ve gone to the seminar, done all your paperwork, completed your home study… and now are in the “waiting stage”. The dreaded “waiting stage”; what to do while your life feels like it’s on hold waiting to start. First off, take a deep breath and look around you. Notice what you see and hear in this moment, really. Then, when you feel truly present, come back to read some more and I’ll share what I both realized and learned in hindsight of our adoption process.

The desire to become a parent is often a strongly instinctive one and because making this choice impacts our lives significantly, the importance of giving attention to the entire process of becoming a parent is equally important. Afterall, just as in gestation, you too are growing a baby… inside your hearts. During this time, the obvious ideal preparation for parenthood, is working to become your best, most joyful self.

As a parent you quickly learn that the best way to teach your kiddo how to be, is to teach or “lead by example”. Children learn organically this way, so working to be your best selves right now, gets the wheels in motion. Yes, this could be the part where I list off all you could do with your time and tell you there’s no time like the present to start eating better and exercising more. Before we go there, let’s start by focusing on what’s really vital: seeing through open, loving and flexible eyes. This approach to daily life is essential for well being and particularly in parenthood where each day can be filled with new and sometimes unknown adventure. So working to bring this element into our lives right now is key.

Take time to be present in the moment. If something seems to stand in your way, work on what’s ailing you. If you found your way to open adoption because of infertility, give yourself as much time and the attention you need to properly heal from that experience. If some part of you feels closed or shut down, consider how you might work to open that up and expand into your fullest most fulfilled self and life, right now. Keep a gratitude journal, recording each night what you feel most thankful for from your day, it can be anything, just get and keep your focus in appreciation.

Work on your relationship even if it’s pretty good already. Who doesn’t have room for improvement? Besides, the stronger your realtionship is going in to parenthood, the smoother the transition will be. Our relationships teach us the most valuable things about ourselves. In fact, it is the learning and growing that happen in our relatioships with our children that in part attracts us to parenthood, so why not get the growing going now.

Learning to live life in the now is the only way to live a life with less stress. Living in the future and in the past is almost always accompanied with pressure and stress since there is generally something we are holding on to that we think is important. Not only is it often not serving us, it isn’t even a part of the present moment. Being in the moment is essential to connecting in relationship in an attentive and authentic way. Start this now, clear away the agenda that is running through you and just trust that it will still be there to guide you, while you are fully present in the moment.

If the present moment is displeasing, consider how you’d like it to be. Then work hard on getting there and getting any new desired habits and routines comfortably in place. Yes it takes time and a shift in priorities to make change happen and so does parenting, so again, this is part of starting the process now. Getting the self care piece in place, if it’s not already, is very important as these habits are what will keep you a happy, healthy and patient parent later on down the line. So visualize, imagine, dream about what you want and then make choices in the present moment that support that.

Next, consider what it means to be a parent. To Love unconditionally, to nuture and inspire growth and joy, to provide attentive postive presence. These are just a few that come to mind. I encourage you to make your own list and then to look around your life and check out where you are already parenting. Is it on the job, in your family relationships or friendships? Step into this parenting side of yourself more fully and allow yourself to truly feel this part of your life experience.

What do you like about this role in your life? What don’t you like about it? What do you do well and where can you improve? How can you be motivated and empowered to shift up the areas that you would like to experience differently? If you have too few opportunities that provide a parenting experience in your life at the moment, create some. Get involved in your community, volunteer. During our wait, I volunteered for the SMART reading program and helped kindergartners and first graders in the schools improve their reading skills and share the joys of reading. It was so wonderful to work with and be around all those

Find another area you can apply yourself in a loving and helpful way. Volunteer at the Humane Society or find the “just right” volunteer experience for you by calling “Hands On Greater Portland”, they can match you up. In general, it is the time to stop putting off those things you’ve told yourself you’re going to do “someday” because today is that day.

Now, here goes the list: finally take up yoga, simplify your life, take time to meditate, learn a new language, or to play an instrument, start that hobby that you’ve been thinking about, tackle a landscaping project, cook more, try new recipes, invent your own, because this is the stuff that gets harder to make time for later. Read more, sleep more and start now visualizing and living the life you want! As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Life is a journey, not a destination”, and the journey starts now.

~Michele Greco; is an Adoptive Parent (through OA&FS in 2005) and A Certified Personal Coach, focusing on parenting & open adoption.