Being mindful isn't always easy. I have been working on this quite a bit this year, putting down the cell phone, having the electronics turned off and enjoying the moment. Obviously the most significant moments are with my girls but lately I have been thinking that the moments also include my parents and friends. When the time comes that my parents are no longer here, I can look back and feel that I appreciated the collection of moments that life did give me and the ones with my kids with them.
The challenge is not so easy. I can turn off the physical television just fine, but it's turning off my head or turning off the desire to look something up quickly on the phone that is the hard part. I remember in the 90's when it was okay not to have the answer to something. We could go on with conversation without knowing right then who the lead singer of Wham! was off the top of our heads. We would wake people up before we would go go, now we just send a text before we head out. We have changed culturally. The intention to slow our minds down is a difficult one.
Last night, after we had gone to an appointment, then to swim, back home for dinner, then baths, we had a little time to sit. Together. Lydia was sliding on the couch laughing and Vivian was cruising on the edge. She would pull herself up and walk from one side of the couch to the other trying to catch Lydia. They were both squealing and giggling. I would take these profound deep breaths hoping to use their laughter as part of the oxygen that would pump through my body. Soaking in the moment. Hoping that their silliness would become one of those memories that would flash in my head for ever.
There is literally a difference between how I feel when I am being mindful, then when I am being thoughtless. The Buddhist principle of mindfulness is a practice I share with my students. We take tangerines and smell them. We look at their orange color and round shape. We notice their weight nestled in the palm of our hands. We peal them open and listen to the wrapper of the tangerine being removed and eventually we taste them. Enjoying every second of the tangerine. Thinking only of the tangerine. Until the sweet fruit is gone. I feel relaxed and whole when I do this with my students and fruit, but I feel fulfilled when I do this with my family as they are my very own breath of life.
Thus the challenge is a real one. One to consider everyday. Every moment. Watching them learn. Watching them grow. Listening to their laughter and making it into the life force that resonates within, even when the world surrounds you immediate demands.