It's a very "crunchy," granola, new age, zen kind of word that's becoming more and more hip these days. And I LOVE it. It's my "One Little Word" for 2015.
Truth be told, I was first introduced to the idea of mindfulness when I was in college. I wore vintage, second-hand t-shirts and corduroy. I burned lots of incense. I wrote in my poetry journal daily and adorned myself in shells, beads, and hemp. I listened to Cat Stevens. A friend shared her love of Thich Nhat Hanh with me and I began reading his works.
Hanh is a Vietanmese, Buddhist monk who teaches (and practices) the art of mindful living. His life is filled with such peace and gratitude that I find it inspiring. As a "twenty-something hippie," I longed to better understand and incorporate mindfulness into my life. I wanted peace and stillness, and to experience more gratitude. Absolutely. Now, as a "mid-thirties mama," I just want to make it through one day without thinking about killing my rowdy children!
So, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a
moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding
environment. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for
just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and
social benefits. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of a "mindfulness stress
reduction program" that has been implemented in prisons, hospitals, and universities across the country. (Wish he could come to my house!) In regard to mindfulness, he says this:
"It's about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment
by moment by moment."
As women and as mothers, we can do that. We
can slow down. We can breathe deeper. We can be more present. We can
live in a moment. We can have grateful hearts and more consciously rejoice in our
blessings. Author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson says, "Joy is
what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things
really are." If we are not regularly practicing gratitude -- which can be obtained
through mindful living -- and if we are not allowing ourselves to truly know
joy -- which can be experienced through mindful living -- we are missing out on the two values that will actually carry us through the inevitable tough times. And we know about tough
times. Don't we?
I was having a particularly rough day. Lilly was giving me heartburn -- weeping and
wailing because she didn't like her outfit or how I had done her hair. Camren kept calling me a traitor and a fat donut and a Cheetos
head. At one point he told me he hated me. Bridget was cutting teeth and was clingy and fussy. She had pulled books
off of bookshelves and had spilled a bag of chips all over the floor. I had endured a
depressing IEP meeting, burned dinner, and had forgotten to sign the school
field trip permission slip. It was cloudy and rainy and just plain
dreary outside! UGH! It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!
found myself in the Chick-Fil-A drive thru later that evening. The line
was a little long and the service was a little slow, giving me time to sit in my car and catch my breath. I happened to glance over my
shoulder at my baby in her car seat. This is what I saw:
quickly grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. I posted it online with
the following caption: "Was in line in the drive-thru when I looked
behind me and saw pink glitter shoes, a Barbie, and a laughing baby.
Such a seemingly small and insignificant moment to capture, yet it
brightened my cloudy day and filled my heart with happiness. Big moments
matter, absolutely, but I believe the small moments are the ones I'll
come to miss the most one day."
I had lived in a moment. I had been mindful -- seeking after "the good." I had looked for the glitter.
And I had found it.
(Want to read part one of my glitter series? Read it here.)
(Want my free printable? Get it here.)