By Cynthia Dawn

Spring is a miracle every time. 

As the earth thaws and new life emerges from the darkness of a fertile ground, we are reminded of our own unlimited potential that lies beyond our comfort zone. Renewal is our birthright. 

Seventeen years ago, I gave birth to my daughter; she was born on the first day of spring and my life forward of that precious moment has been transformed in the best of ways. Motherhood is a total surrender; the symbiotic dance begins when baby is in utero. In communion with our visceral connection, a physiological transformation also takes place as cells from our baby cross the placenta and enter our body to merge with our own existing tissues. 

Something shifts; we re-birth ourselves. 

Internal embers beckon us to wake up, be in the present moment, disrupt cultural and familial patterns that no longer serve us, and create new traditions and more harmonious ways of being. As new life emerges, if we’re open to it, so does an auspicious love with the power to propel us exponentially forward on our lifelong journey to the best version of ourselves. 

Mindfulness is a practice that has been key for me on my journey as Mother. I do believe that much of the mindfulness scene has been exploited over this past decade; in some cases, it’s even been a sort of McMindfulness fast mood drive-thru approach. But the benefits of a true practice remain profound. Among them are stress and anxiety management, mental clarity, emotional intelligence, enhanced brain and immune system functions, better sleep quality, and improved relationship with self and others. 

As we slow down and train our attention to come back to the present moment and our bodies again and again, there’s a calming effect on our central nervous system; this also has a positive impact on our children. And when we can regulate our own CNS, we help our children to regulate theirs.

We’re a surrogate central nervous system to our children.  

In the beginning, our babies are born completely reliant upon us for survival. In addition to the obvious physical needs, a baby’s central nervous system is not developed yet. Humans are pack animals; we are intricately intertwined and connected so our very survival depends on our attunement to one another. 

When my daughter was born, I had been meditating regularly for more than a decade. I maintained a morphed version of my practice and sometimes when she saw me sitting, she would come sit next to me or plop right into my lap. She was clearly interested and that inspired me to find ways to share an appropriate meditation practice with her. Mindfulness was ideal because it’s all about the short moments practiced again and again in fun, simple and creative ways. It was play for us! Interestingly, it also helped me reconnect with my own inner child. 

Photo: Robyn Harold


Introducing kids to mindfulness practice is easier than you might think since they naturally reside in a state of theta brain waves. On an average, children can sit one minute for every year of their age. We began with short moments of listening, breathing, seeing, movement, feeling, and more. Attention is a muscle that needs to be trained regularly so consistency is necessary to form the new neural pathways. 

We expanded upon our experience by creating mind jars, mantra rocks, mandalas, dreamcatchers, and Intention Trees© (more about this special project below). We also included focused activities like yoga, finger knitting, wet on wet water color, clapping rhythms, cooking, dancing, and paddleboard yoga. Eventually we began hosting classes, workshops, retreats, hangouts, and Mindfulness Adventure Camps. Golden moments for me as a Mother and Mindfulness Facilitator are those precious times with my daughter, as well as the other children and families. 

Today, I’m in awe of how my daughter’s seventeen-year-old self continues to integrate mindfulness into her life with her own authentic expression of reset and a healthy, positive mindset. It’s truly an invaluable tool and bolster for her as she navigates the tumultuous teenage landscape as a highly-motivated student and impassioned high-level athlete pursuing her dreams with tenacity and an adventurous spirit.

Neuroscience supports that children are not fully developed until the sophisticated wiring of their brain develops at about twenty-five years of age, so we continue to be in process together. 

Process is the new perfect

Let’s be honest, my threshold for moment to moment awareness pendulates a lot. There are times when I’m in that here and now calm space and others when I’m a hot mess. 

But I notice that when I stay committed to the practice and the process, ease and joy arise in my life like rose tinted clouds at dawn.

I believe children are our greatest renewable resource.

Invest in them and let them see you investing in yourself; self-care is vital and self-love is everything. Reset. You can’t give what you don’t have. The real gift of mindfulness is a deeper intimacy with ourselves.

The Story of the Intention Tree

One of our most beloved rituals and co-created projects, The Intention Tree© was inspired organically while I was on a morning nature walk with my 2 ½ year-old daughter. It was the holiday season and I wanted to create a meaningful and authentic gift for some special families. Inspired through the gifts of nature, the Intention Tree © seed took root and created itself organically.

My daughter and I gathered sticks and branches from the frozen ground, put them in our treasure bag and headed for home. We transformed a mason jar into a vase, right-sized the tree limbs, then artfully arranged them in the mason vase. Next, we created small ornamental tags using my daughter’s art paper, watercolor paints, colored pencils, stamp pads and hemp string. We hung thirteen tags on the limbs and I wrote the verse that is the content of this book; she created the illustrations a few years later.

Cynthia Dawn is an Author, Mother, Mindfulness and Meditation Facilitator, and Digital Creator who loves a good travel adventure, saltwater swims, and fresh acai bowls. Follow her at @cynthia.d.a.w.n on Instagram and Cynthia Dawn on Facebook. To order The Intention Tree© or request a Mindfulness Session or Private Consult, send a private message.

Pick Out Something Special 40% OFF first order! Code: holisticdiva

Good Travel. Adventure. Saltwater Swims Start Here.