illustration by learnshedlive.com
In my younger days it would cause me such panic and distress to have these thoughts but today I am grateful to have them and be able to smile. What has happened to me to change my reactions? Well a few things have happened and the deepest one was learning to change my perspective.
As parents we all know that our children can take us off our set plans in a matter of seconds and to those of us who tend to be control freaks, such as I have been it can really cause turmoil inside and outside of our bodies and our minds. It is by trial and error that as we mature we learn the skills to cope with such change in circumstances.
I had a wonderful conversation with my daughter on Friday night, she slips into my bedroom and lays on my chase lounge fluffs the pillows and begins to talk. I was on my IPad researching and web browsing not really anything important but I was sort of hoping the "talk" wouldn't be very long and then she said something..."I'm going to follow my own rules, I am going to build my own life, not what someone else has "designed" for me." At that moment I shut off my pad and looked at her and really listened.
That "talk" I was hoping to just rush through lasted until 2:30 in the morning. It touched on so many topics, history, race, relationships, politics, fashion, family, money the works. But of all the words that were exchanged and all the opinions the one thing I hold on to was having the opportunity.
The opportunity to sit with my daughter and just talk. The opportunity to be present in the moment and just listen.
illustration by kazoo books.com
Everyday we are bombarded with the need to have more, do more, be more, get more... I recently signed up for The Mindfulness Summit its 31 days full of tools and talks on how to be more Mindful.
Several years ago when I first started to practice Yoga and Meditation I had to really take some time to grasp exactly what Mindfulness was. Prior to that my last relationship was full of lessons and talks on just that I just wasn't paying attention.
So to keep it as simple as possible and to share how I keep this tool in use on a daily basis this is how I remember what Mindfulness is:
-Mindfulness is remaining in the moment as if your life depended on it, as if this was all there was, without judgment, without looking for an outcome, just being, breathing and taking it all in.
As if your life depended on it, can you imagine that? Can you imagine living and interacting with others as if your Life depended on it? As if there was no other time but right now?
That is what I practiced as I listened to my daughter speak. I may not get that moment again. I may not get her strolling in my room to "talk" again. I must Pay Attention.
illustration by collettebeck.com
I went to visit my grandmother and bring her groceries. I walked in the door she asked who I was then smiled, took my hand and said hello, I paid attention. I looked her in the eyes and saw the joy she had in that moment, even if it was gone shortly after. I put the groceries away, gathered her dirty laundry and was on my way out the door to the laundry room and she says, "where are you going?" I tell her I am going to wash her clothes and she seems sad as if she was loosing something so I stop. I put the bag down and sit with her. I hold her hands, kiss her cheek, hug her tight and then she smiles. I get up and walk to the door I tell her I will be right back and she says ok. She is content, she feels safe, she knows I am not leaving her. I paid attention.
Do we always know the "why" behind our actions? Oh I am sure we think of course we do, we aren't crazy. We work long hours to make money to provide our families with security. We go to school to get better educations to get better jobs to make more money to provide for our families. It's always a cycle of doing something "more". There is nothing wrong with more if you also know how to balance it with less.
How can we do that? How can we find that balance? Well as a woman and a mother who always likes things in order and who in the past was sometimes just going from one task to another once I began to do the following Life became more pleasurable:
-Breathing, something we do without even thinking. Only when we are sick do we even acknowledge its true importance. Take a few minutes out of your day to just Breathe. Deep and long close your eyes and release all that stress of Life.
-Looking, really See what is in front of you. The trees, the grass, the cars, people. You will notice just how many of us are looking down. No one is making eye contact any more and you will begin to experience a sadness and a loss. This will bring you to...
-Appreciate, small things. The sound of kids laughter, finding that piece of gum lost in your bag, catching the bus just before it closed its doors. That last flower in your garden that doesn't want to give way to the next season.
-Tasting. When was the last time you really tasted that Ice Cream you bought and ate as you watched television? How about that great meal at that fancy restaurant it took you over a month to get reservations? How did it taste? Was it mouth watering and did the scents fill the air or where you too busy talking that you didn't notice? Were you rushing to the next drink or dessert to Pay Attention?
-Grateful for the chance. Any chance to live another day. To be able to try something new or to do better than the last time. To see and be with those I love and not be quick to move on the the next.
-Smile. I love to smile, I have the parentheses around my mouth to prove it. But to smile just because is such an amazing feeling. To smile because you can walk, talk and listen. Smile because you can hear, even what you are hearing is unpleasant. Smile because you can and should and because you Pay Attention to Life.
illustration by artisticstateofmind.nl
Hope you guys go check out The Mindfulness Summit, there is something for everyone there and I hope you start Living your best life and Paying Attention. Please comment and tell me what tools and practices you use to Live a more purposeful life.
Always stress free xo