So, first things first: Why? Why am I embarking on a 60-day journey to be more mindful? Why am I doing it in baby steps, calling it “mini-mindfulness” (or in some cases “micro-mindfulness”) and can that even count as truly being mindful? And why for the love of God am I writing about it & putting it out there for the world to see?
Well. Starting with the first question, the answer is I used to meditate regularly—have even belonged to a sangha at one point and a 12-step meditation group at another point (& at one moment in time, to both at once). But I don’t anymore. The answer to that why-question is, simply put, that I’m a mom.
Specifically, I’m—as of this writing—mommy to a 3-year old and a 7-month old who require a lot of my attention throughout most of every day. Traditional meditation began to look like the following in my house: Sitting on the front porch steps, watching my then-toddler play in the yard on a warm fall day, I think to myself, “Gee, he’s pretty content & self-entertaining right now. Maybe I can catch a 10-minute meditation?” I assume the posture, feet flat on the sidewalk, hands resting gently in my lap, back straight, head resting loosely at the top of my neck & eyes gently gazing down. I start to breathe rhythmically, in & out, in & out ….. I feel a jolt of panic as I realize I’ve just begun to disconnect from whatever my toddler is doing & I look up to make sure he’s still okay. He is. I return to the soft gaze & gentle breathing. Then, gradually, I deepen my breathing, elongating each in-breath & doubling the out-breath to calm my central nervous system. So far, so good. I become aware that I can see him in my peripheral vision, which makes me feel simultaneously relieved & distracted. So, I pull the good ol’ mindful meta perspective out of my pocket, observing my observations. Intentionally, I think, “Isn’t that interesting?” And just when I’m subconsciously believing, “I’ve got this,” & moving on to notice the hot out-breath & cool in-breath at the tip of my nose, said toddler begins throwing rocks at our car, forcing me to break posture, state of mind, calmness & meta-Zen all in one split second to call out his name, correct him & start the whole process over again.
Even as I wrote this real-life example out, my train of thought got interrupted part way through by my teething baby who’s supposed to be sleeping … & there he goes again …. But I digress. (Yes, you’re seeing the theme.)
So, recently, during a napping session crammed between both boys in “the big bed,” (a.k.a Mommy & Daddy’s bed), I searched through Pinterest posts looking probably for my millionth crockpot recipe when it dawned on me that even my downtime now is void of meditative moments or the subtlest, faintest hint of mindfulness. And this, despite the fact that in my professional life as a Communications Coach that week, I had written a magazine article about the benefits of savoring & also coached a client on using savoring to take “mindful moments.” I typically love to use all the tools I teach my clients—the best way, I think, to prove they work—but here I was abandoning all relationship to mindfulness. In a fit of inspiration, I created a board called “Mini-Mindfulness,” plugged the phrase into my Pinterest search engine, & began to pin & peruse all sorts of great posts on ways to get promptly mindful.
… And after yet another week of not using these tools, but definitely thinking about using them, I decided to create this blog to hold myself accountable. So, there you have the long & the short of it! As I type the last of this out one-handedly, trying not to disturb my nursing little teether, I’m reminded to savor this moment in life. Thank you, readers, for that accountability reminder. You’re already doing your job.
Love this blog, Kealah!
Thanks, Susan! It’s been so fun to write, so far.