The art of being mindful.

“Thus we are sucked away into the future — and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.
– The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Being mindful is an art. It requires practice and patience. It is not something that happens instantly or that one can perfect in a moment.  Trust me, I know. I’ve tried throughout the week to be mindful. Some moments I was fabulous at it, others not so much. I read this week’s book of the week fairly quickly so I had a lot of spare time on my hands in which to practice mindfulness as a result of it and I can honestly say I will endeavour to continue practicing. It’s amazing how much one sees when they are focused on living in the present moment.

I want to be clear that it does not make all moments good. There were in fact many moments this week when I was attempting to practice mindful living that made me question my decision. There are things we just don’t want to do, things we would much rather rush through to get them over with. When I did them with a sense of purpose I perhaps did not enjoy them but found the pace of life to be more liveable and the tasks less overwhelming. As the pace of life slowed my sense of living increased and I truly felt this week that I was able to accomplish more, see more and relax a little into the day. This feeling of relaxation is a miracle unto itself.  I have not really been relaxed since therapy started in our home. The busyness and constant activity has been a little overwhelming. I am grateful to have found some moments of peace in the midst of it all. It wasn’t constant and I do need practice but it’s a start and that’s a good thing.

I realize this way of living is counter to pretty much everything we are told in society today. I see so many people living out of the moment, sitting at tables with friends while texting another or making plans for the future and forgetting to enjoying today. It’s not natural for us. We’re constantly looking for ways to maximize efficiency and get things done. If you find yourself falling into this trap may I recommend this book to you? My hope is that we all find a way to be mindful. The moment in which we are living has been given to us by God. Each breath, each interaction is a gift unto itself. Let us not wish away our lives but instead enjoy the life we are living.

This week I’m going to read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

The hair dryer that wasn’t…

 hairdryer

About 6 months ago I bought a new hair dryer. My hair dryer had died and I needed to replace it. It happens from time to time. Usually every 2-3 years around these parts so I wasn’t concerned. This morning my new hairdryer died in a small puff of heat never to be heard from again. It is unsurprising. Things are made to be discarded and thrown away anymore. New things are enticing, exciting and make money for companies and stores. They are pretty and nice to have around. As things get older and worn, when the chips start to show and the fabric begins to pile we look for newer, better versions. Now I’m not opposed to new things. I love a new sweater when fall comes along and I enjoy getting trinkets for around the house. Sometimes new things are nice but it seems to me that we’re told we should always want the newest of things, the shiniest of objects, the most pristine, clean looking items you can find and that’s not necessarily the best way to live.

This desire for the newest and best of everything has leached into our lived far more than we realize. We’re always looking for something better it seems. We want a better job, better friends, better family, better circumstances. We think things should always look pretty and when things get tough it seems easier to cut and run. This leads to chronic dissatisfaction. No one is happy. It seems as though people are always looking for something else, something better and can I let you in on a little secret? Life while you are living it is almost never pristine. It’s not clean and shiny. Life is a messy, dirty, wonderful kind of chaos that happens while you are living it. If you’re always looking for something more, your not living something now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately particularly regarding faith. As I’ve been searching for new books to read and challenges to discover. I’ve come across a lot of books about God which promise happy days and sunshine if you just believe. They say if you follow God everything will be new and lovely and all kinds of wonderful. I have never met this God. The God I know is a worn in sweater kind of God. The wrap you up in memories and moments kind of God. The stick with you till the end and even further kind of God. I don’t need a flashy faith filled with empty promises. I need something more. Something that carries me beyond sunshine and roses into the strange places I sometimes wander into. I’ll grant you this God is more challenging. Instead of giving me stuff, he’s giving me himself. Instead of promising me a life of ease and prosperity, he’s offering relationships and growth. This God is hard work, good work and it’s a God worth working for.

Eager to Love

photo-4 copy 6

It was a tough day today. I’m happy to be sitting here at the end of it with my pyjamas on ready to launch into an episode of Castle.  It’s mindless entertainment and I know I should be doing other things but today I embrace that which is easy.  Still it is Wednesday and I […]

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Does thou shalt not kill apply to spiders?

Eeek

One of my favourite sensations is the feeling of a hot shower on a crisp fall morning. The frosty air melts away into a pool of delicious warmth. I enjoyed one this morning and it was heavenly. Too short but heavenly nonetheless. As I exited my shower and wrapped a towel around me I was […]

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Where it takes me

I have turned the last page on The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation by Thomas Merton.  It was wonderful.  I was absorbed in the concepts and thoughts, the suggestions and ideas.  I found myself really contemplating (haha) the text and ideas at hand and it was good for me.  I’ve always been drawn to more […]

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Are you afraid of the dark?

I walked out into the hall carefully shutting the door behind me. Only 10 minutes since I’d gone to bed but there was something (or rather someone) nudging me to go try and be alone in the dark for a while. “I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in […]

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52 weeks – 52 books

Since the process of assessment and therapy for X began I’ve found myself floating further and further away from myself as my thoughts were consumed with the ‘A’ word and all that goes with it.  Autism can be all encompassing.  Pair it with breastfeeding and a mother is sure to lose herself entirely to obligations, […]

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You matter

fruit fly

You matter. You may not think you do, but you do. You are important in this world. What you do impacts others and makes a difference in their lives. Don’t believe me? Think of the noble fruit fly. The tiny, insignificant bug that wreaks havoc on the average home. A bug so small you’d think […]

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Envy rots the bones.

Like a tiny parasite, envy grows within you at first without you even noticing.  It buries itself deep within your heart and feeds on all those things that you admire and like about those around you.  As you feed it, it grows bigger and bigger.  Then it is everywhere and it’s true nature becomes known […]

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When therapists attack…

window

Okay, they don’t actually attack.  Maybe ‘take over’ is a better description.  My son’s therapists have moved in and essentially claimed every area that is not our (my husband and I) bedroom as an acceptable place to do therapy.  The type of IBI that X. is currently engaged in is all about learning within the […]

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