Keeping Up With Grandma: How Transcendental Meditation Gives Grandmothers the Advantage
I remember both my grandmothers well. One was forever pulling me up onto her lap and smothering me with kisses and hugs, despite my wriggling. The other most often seemed to stand by the stove and cook and feed me, initiating the habit I have to this day of eating comfort food.
But grannies today are neither living their lives nor maintaining their roles in the image of generations past. Today’s grandmoms still enjoy supporting their family’s needs in the same various ways—baking, cooking, sewing, babysitting and generally indulging the little ones—but they are not defined by or limited to those tasks.
Today’s grandparents are generally more active, and civically and socially involved. They may still be working full- or part-time in their career. They are engaged in sports, workouts, yoga, classes, clubs, and traveling—supported by the better quality of health that people enjoy today. They love their role as a grandparent but are not limited to it for their fulfillment, because they are able to continue enjoying dynamic lives. They’ve broken the mold of the old stereotype of grannies.
Today’s grandmoms are generally better able to keep up with the pace of life of younger generations. They are not “old-fashioned,” but usually tech-savvy and capable of using social media. My grandma had trouble with the television remote—now I know women in their 70s and 80s who run Zoom conferences.
It’s important that modern grandmas learn to respectfully listen to, communicate with (and take the lead from) their children and grandchildren. Even young children have a more profound social conscience as the online information they access makes them aware of issues like climate change, gender definition, and the challenges of society and government.
When you’ve read the same children’s book for the fifth time in a row, when you’ve exhausted the possibility of getting the little one down for a nap, when the mess of toys is house-wide and the little tyke is overstimulated and not cooperating with you, when the pubescent child argues about politics, then learning the TM technique will be very useful for you. Grandmothers who practice TM can better keep up, and in some cases can even run circles around their grandchildren.
More than 420 research studies, published in scientific journals worldwide, have shown that the benefits of the TM technique include increased calmness, energy, stamina, resilience, focus, creativity, and harmony in relationships. Women who practice Transcendental Meditation note a growth of awareness and comprehension, supported by the reduction of stress and fatigue in their bodies.
Here, in the words of three grannies, are some corroborative anecdotes:
“I have so much spontaneous fun with our granddaughter. Since her infancy, playing with her has been like floating downstream on a wide and gentle river. Easily within our grasp is so much to enjoy. Based upon the idea that children’s work is play, we get along swimmingly. Ideas for play pop up from our environment like bubbles and we just chase them down and work them for all they have to offer.
TM expands my creative vision and makes me flexible, allowing me to be open to creative possibilities, unfettered by expectations and any ideas of what I think she should be doing. We play endlessly with scraps of paper that have become almost impossibly personified. We gather bugs and leaves and nuts and sticks, berries and wildflowers, and then we examine them closely for symmetry, color, decay, worms, whatever we can find. It helps of course, that she is a very energetic and curious person, but then most children are. It is a delight to be with her.
I can’t even imagine how I would manage her endless energy and unbounded creativity without the twice-daily plunge into the endless energy and unbounded creativity of my own Self. Over the years, the TM program has helped me to accumulate the flexibility, strength, imagination, and good humor to keep up with life in general and our dear granddaughter, in particular.”
“Experiencing the world through the eyes of young grandchildren is pure delight. Their horizons are limitless and their actions are completely spontaneous. In taking care of young children and allowing them the space to explore their environment, I find vigilance is an essential attribute—for this my practice of TM is invaluable.
The growth of the ability to be both restful and fully alert at the same time allows me to enjoy and appreciate the time with my grandchildren without accumulating fatigue. When I’m with them, their ages ranging from four months to six years, I can maintain a broad awareness of what is going on with them and, at the same time, focus in on any individual need.”
“My life radically changed when my granddaughter was born. Waves of happiness and awe soared over me. I was smitten with an abundance of love. And was plunged into dynamic activity!
So many firsts for the two of us. I remember days holding an adorable infant on my shoulder while she cried until she fell asleep, and I finally could meditate after gently putting her down. Ah. The thrill of closing my eyes and enjoying the deep silence on those afternoons.
Fast forward a few years when I was constantly running after her, entertaining her, and thankful when the afternoon meditation time came that I could close my eyes and sink deep into silence and rest. It was my time after a sweet hectic day. At one point she remarked, “Gigi, you are so relaxed after you’ve meditated.” Bingo! Now I was ready for round two. Dinner, bath, and bedtime.”
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals, a division of TM for Women in the USA