What Mindfulness Means To Me

I have always been a thinker. I didn’t even know you could shut your mind off. In fact, if I wasn’t spending every waking moment trying to fix or change something, then I was wasting time. I clearly remember the household struggles, the financial problems, the marital arguments, the countless hours of worry that I logged and the lack of result. I remember it so well because I made that paramount in my life. I remember the constant worry and guilt that I wasn’t a good enough mother and that I wasn’t providing well enough. Unfortunately, those memories outnumber the memories of quality time spent with my kids.  

I did not know what mindfulness was. When I first started to hear about this abstract idea, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I researched it and watched some videos but I couldn’t quite grasp the concept. In a desperate attempt to find some peace during a very low point, I paid $99 for an online mindfulness class. At the end of the class I was outraged. I paid a hundred dollars for some one to tell me to pay attention to my breathing? It sounded like a bunch of crap to me. I decided I had been duped and demanded my money back. I wasn’t ready for that kind of knowledge.

So I looked for other ways to heal and better myself. I dove into self help books and rewired my brain to (almost) always be positive. I renewed my faith in God and He helped me create much needed change in my life. I was no longer buried under a mountain of debt and worries but I still hadn’t mastered mindfulness. So my racing mind didn’t slow down, it just changed directions. I had new life strategies and was now focused on living my best life.

Last summer when my grandson visited, I thought I was doing the right thing by reading my nonfiction at the park while he played. I thought I was doing the right thing by jotting down ideas and lists when we were at the beach. After all, I was trying to maximize my potential. I realize now that my body was present but my mind was not. I did my children a great injustice and I am making the same mistake with my grandchildren. I wish I could change it but all I can do is change my behavior going forward. This summer, I will be on top of that ship with Elijah performing in my best pirate voice. I will jump with him at the trampoline park and pray that my knee doesn’t go out and I don’t wet myself. I will help him look for lizards instead of sunbathing in the back yard. I want to remember the feel of the sun on our face and the sound of his laughter. We can take mindful walks and have mindful talks. I may even teach him a little something about business and we could pursue a joint venture. No matter what we do, I intend for the grandchildren to have memories of a happy and fun nana instead of a busy and preoccupied nana.

I am preparing to succeed by making changes in my daily life now. After all, what you practice grows stronger. Instead of keeping my notebook with me at all times, even in the bed, I have set aside designated “work blocks” for writing and managing my life. I refuse to think about it at any other time. I don’t just read about yoga but I have started practicing some mindful poses. I practice meditation sitting on my bed at night in complete silence. The breathing technique gives me something to focus my attention on so that I won’t  entertain every random thought that pops into my head. I often sing and dance along with my Youtube playlist. (I think that counts as being present.) I have morning coffee on the patio and watch the clouds and listen to the birds singing and the traffic from Hwy 98. I take walks in the yard and notice things. I just recently noticed the smell of jasmine from my neighbor’s yard. I am aware there is a couple across the street who do not enjoy being quarantined together. I am so grateful and blessed to be right here right now. I create more happiness in my life by enjoying the little things and allowing my mind to rest.

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