Hey There!

I’m Sarah Dowell, founder of Being Still in Chaos, mindfulness ambassador and homeschooling mother to 4 lovely young humans. Thanks so much for joining me here!

My passion is to help busy parents learn to create stillness in their hectic lives so that they can nurture meaningful connections. I’m passionate about teaching mindfulness to children, and helping parents become more mindful and able to connect with love and intention. My mission is to encourage parents of the next generation to get rid of the “too busy” mantra and start becoming more present. Right now. No excuses.

My Own Mindfulness Journey

I fell in love with yoga and the concept of meditation in the year 2000. While both the physical practice of yoga and the formal practice of meditation struck deep chords within me, I found it a real challenge to stick to either practice. I continued to learn and love the philosophies and to try-out mindfulness. But at that time of life, I didn’t feel I “needed” them. I was single, in university. Life was pretty easy.

After my first daughter was born in 2006, and I emerged from the fog of new-parenthood and sleep deprivation, I realized that I needed some serious help with this whole parenting thing. I don’t mean help in the tangible sense, although I did need that too!

I mean, no-one told me that having a child would force me to look at every single shadow aspect of my personality and live out all the “I’ll never say/do that when I have kids” situations that I judged over the years.

For sure, no-one told me that at any given moment, with only a word or two from my sweet little child, I could actually see myself transform into someone akin to Maleficent, with black wings and black horns, producing a menacing black swirling smoke and echoey, booming voice.

Who Was This New Me?

Where did all that anger come from? Clearly, I HAD needed the yoga and meditation all that time.

I love researching, so I delved deep into the subjects of gentle parenting, mindful parenting, Buddhism and anything else I could get my eyes and ears on to help me change the way I felt inside and the way I was acting. I knew who I wanted to be but was still having so much trouble getting there.

After my second daughter was born in 2010, I decided that I needed to take yoga and meditation more seriously and I became a Registered Yoga Teacher. My focus after graduating was on teaching kids and I found myself teaching my young students the concepts that I had a really hard time practicing at home. How could I teach mindfulness to these children that I only saw once a week, yet still be so mindless at home? I felt like a total fraud.

It seemed that no matter how much research I did and how much I tried to practice, I was still really struggling to make sense of how I could live a mindful life. I couldn’t seem to find time to meditate or practice yoga regularly. Who am I kidding, I could barely find time to shower! I wanted so desperately to raise my girls to be mindful and resilient and I just couldn’t pull it together. I felt angry and stressed all the time.

In between babies, I had always worked full time. Life was busy, chaotic and stressful. After my third daughter went to daycare and I went back to work, I had a profound shift in my paradigm. This was the end of the rope for me (for our family) and something HAD to change.

Why It’s So Hard To Stay Mindful

I had studied some great works on the subjects of mindful living, gentle parenting and the like and they all seemed complete in their own respects. But when I tried to understand them in the context of the busy Western life that we live in, they were almost impossible to implement. It occurred to me that our fast-paced, always-online, connected-but-not-connected lives don’t support the practice of mindfulness.

Social media sucks us into things that are so far away from what really matters. So many of us go to bed checking our phones for any last minute messages or Facebook notifications. Or worse, we spend the last few moments browsing Pinterest and drooling over all the gorgeous parenting/home decor/cooking/crafting pins that we will never live up to.

The “necessary” extra-curricular activities bog us down. Our babies are in swimming class, our two and three-year-olds are in dance class, our four-year-old is already in full-time school and karate. We spend more time trying to run the family “machine” than we do trying to know the parts of the machine and how they each work.

Each family member experiences their own ups and downs, triumphs and failures daily and by the time the kids get home from daycare, then soccer and flop into bed – all those feelings are mere memories. As parents, by the time our day’s work is done, we’re certainly not in a space to connect mindfully.

The Great Change

Thus began my quest to slow life down and make time to be more present. I made it my mission to connect meaningfully with each of my children (regularly) and to teach them how to live mindfully. Don’t be fooled, this is still very much something I’m working on. We’re working on. I’m passionate about sharing these lessons with other parents so that they too can find that place of calm in the chaos. I know parenting can be overwhelming. I want to help you feel less overwhelmed and more like the parent you know you are in your heart.

I’m so grateful that you’ve taken a few moments of your busy life to visit and I hope you will join me on my journey of becoming less busy and moving towards a more mindful presence in all that you do.

Read more about what Being Still in Chaos is all about.