Mindful Madness: Real-World Mindfulness
So you've sat with me in my office and learned about mindfulness. Or maybe you're not yet a client but have read different perspectives on it somewhere in internet-land. The question you have is this:
"It's all well and good to meditate when I have alone time but I don't get alone time. How am I ever supposed to meditate?"
It's a good question. In fact, it's a really great one. I stumbled across it myself last week during my own practice and knew it would come up for you, too, eventually. This story is for those of you that have encountered that problem already or those of you that like to plan ahead (hey, some of us have control issues):
I've maintained some form of meditation practice for a couple years now, the consistency of which varies with the season. For the past few months, I've been back on a daily meditation bent as a commitment to self-care. Monday came around last week and it was getting close to bedtime for Ben. I hadn't meditated yet but was really feeling the itch and so I decided to try a meditation while he was finishing up playing. Well, of course, I only got 3 minutes into my meditation before he wanted all of my attention.
Now, we've introduced him to the concept of meditation but he's two -- needless to say we've still got a long way to go.
I decided to stick to my plan and to engage with it mindfully: gently noticing "Daddy, daaaaaddy" being hollered at me repeatedly and letting it go, drifting on by. Watching the mental image associated with him yelling "Daddy, wake up!" float down the river. Embracing the hysterical laughter that came from me during this experiment. Being fully present in the exact space I was in.
It wasn't peaceful, no. By no means. It was loud and chaotic and silly -- that's having a two-year old. But mindfulness isn't always about being relaxed and peaceful; that's nowhere to be found in the definition. It's all about being in contact with the present moment and attending to things non-judgmentally and without holding them too tightly. That's the real essence of mindfulness: letting your reality be real, right now.
So what's the take away? Being mindful isn't always peaceful but there a sense of beauty within it, regardless. Knowing that Ben wanted all of my attention, for whatever his reason, was awesome. Listening to him talk was so cool while also knowing that it raised frustration for me trying to be relaxed. Recognizing that our house is a safe place for both of us brought me a sense of pride and peace.
Like I said, there's always something to be recognized in the moment that you didn't realize was there before. Don't be mindful just to relax, be mindful to experience the life you're actually living.
Engage this week. Give it a shot.
Until next time,