Mindfulness or the art of paying attention
Updated: Jul 7, 2019
The struggle is real... with four kids at home full-time and with the oldest being 7 and the youngest almost 2(you can do the math but you'll soon figure out that they are pretty close in age)I thought finding time for this new trending thing called mindfulness was gonna be quite the challenge! Good thing for me I love a challenge, so I decided to do what I do best and borrow a whole lot of books on the subject at the library and have been exploring this concept for the past few weeks...
Turns out we have been practicing this "mindfulness thing" for quite some time now... we have been slowing down and noticing our surroundings ever since we moved to the woods. We have been stopping on our daily hikes to watch the insects on the ground, we have been interrupting our meals to watch the chickadees feed from the feeder we hung just outside our dining nook window. We have been pushing bedtimes a few minutes later to watch the wild turkeys in search of insects right outside our RV.
I used to be so stuck on schedules and routines... supper done by 5:30, bathtime done by 6:30 and everybody must be asleep by 7....hurry up, why aren't you asleep yet??? One thing I have learned while we travelled full time for two months was to embrace the unexpected! It is often in those moments that you can create space for memories that will last a life time!
"I get so busy sometimes chasing extraordinary moments that I don't pay attention to the ordinary moments. The moments that, if taken away, I would miss more than anything."- Brene Brown
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to these moments. It is the vulnerability to be fully present in the moment without thinking about what you should be doing. Kids have this all figured out! We went for a bike ride a few days ago and I really wanted to put this mindfulness thing into practice...(needless to say that the screws that attached the baby seat on my bike came loose and what was suppose to be a 30 minutes ride ended up taking about an hour...) We had to stop a few times for water breaks(of course) but instead of rushing the kids to get back home I decided to give them room to be themselves. They picked up wild flowers, stopped to observe a new kind of bird we had not seen before, they waved at cars and tractors that passed us by, they helped each other cross the little creek so that even the younger ones could have a nice bouquet of flowers... my mama's heart was full as I was fully in the moment!
I thought you had to carve time out of your schedule to practice mindfulness, I thought you needed an app that reminded you when to do it and guide you through it. Turns out you already have everything you need to do it, you just have to BE... be present and notice. And what's more, as these little pockets of noticing will eventually be part of your daily life you will find yourself refreshed and refuelled. I love how Brooke McAlary uses the term "buffer" in her book Slow. As mothers it is often hard to find time to "refuel" and "refresh" ourselves and (maybe it's just me) but I sometimes respond to my kiddos' demands or react to something as silly as a spilled glass of almond milk a bit more harshfully than I would like. That is where, for me, mindfulness has been a real blessing as it gives me this "buffer". I now do not feel as if every little thing is a BIG thing... I decided to embrace the chaos that is life with young kids and not only survive these years but thrive in them and mindfulness has been a great tool.
One last thing...If you decide to join me in practicing the art of noticing you will probably find yourself in a vulnerable place before you start experiencing the "benefits" of the practice. You will be made aware not only of your surroundings but also of your inner feelings. This can be a bit uncomfortable but I assure you that “Great things never came from comfort zones.”- Neil Strauss and that "True self-discovery begins where your comfort zone ends."- Adam Braun. Do chose courage over comfort and see what happens!
Here are a few books I have read and loved on the subject: