Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day one of being mindful - being present

So, I've tried to be mindful for a day. 

The first thing I'd say is that since blogging about it yesterday, I've now realised that my rules for mindfulness aren't always what other people are talking about when they talk about being mindful. I'd always taken it to mean being more at peace in my mind and feeling less cluttered, but when talking about mindfulness many others go a step further. It's about training your mind to be more aware of your body, they say. It can also be about "seeing things and responding more wisely" according to one website

Oh well. I'm going to try and stick to my own five rules for mindfulness this week, and maybe think about complicating things further next week if this week is a raging success. Which, based on today, it may not be. My old habits, especially around constantly checking my phone, are hard to break. I think that during the course of the day I broke each rule at least twice. In fact, the only rule I can even say I achieved was being present, and that was by largely by accident. 

I had a delightful day with my children and husband; swimming lessons, followed by a trip to the zoo. We were busy and having fun, so it was easy to be present and engaged. Being present and paying attention to my surroundings at the zoo was made even easier by neither my husband nor I having a camera on hand. So, instead of fumbling around for the perfect shot while our daughter was up against one side of the glass and a serval had its paws up against the other side - with her little hand against the serval's paw - we just stood and enjoyed how amazing it looked. 

OK, so I lie. We marveled at how amazing it looked while berating ourselves for not bringing a camera, but I do have to admit that not having a camera made me feel more present. As I've written about before, a lot is lost when we live life behind a camera phone. Today was an excellent example of that - I even wonder if my kids had more fun without me constantly thinking "which of these pics would look best on Facebook?" It meant that the lovely outing won't be memorialized in pictorial form, but in the scheme of things, that doesn't matter.  It's not the first time my kids have been to the zoo, and it won't be the last. I'm also sure that the people on my Facebook feed don't have a gnawing sadness this evening caused by not having seen a hastily-taken photo of my daughter and a serval. 

Today, being present was a success, but the rest wasn't. I also think that moments are easier to be present in when they are fun and my children delightful, so tomorrow might be more of a challenge. We shall see I suppose, and I'll keep you posted ... 

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