At a very early age, I was taught the lesson that life is short. I have a big extended family, and growing up, there were many weddings and funerals, so that lesson repeated itself often through family, friends, and work. I have learned that what is here today may most certainly not be here tomorrow. I have had moments of sadness, grief and situational depressed moods as I looked back on what was. As I have gotten older, I have also experienced anxiety and worry about the future and all that may be. It is by no coincidence that my faith and my mindfulness practices have become my source of strength.
As a child, I remember playing in the neighborhood as a free spirit (Hey, it was the 70’s!). Once adolescence hit, however, I wanted so badly to be older. I thought the teenage years would be the best years of my life --- until I was a teenager. Then when I was a teenager, I wanted to hurry and be on my own, to experience life outside of my family and see what the world was about. In college, I met my husband. I was then in a hurry to be done with school so I could move on to be an adult, to have a “real” life. Once married, of course I was so excited to be a mom! At age 26, the greatest life lesson came…parenthood. This is where I first dabbled in “living in the moment”. I remember sitting with my newborn baby girl, watching her every move. Every sigh. Every coo. Every sweet smile. And those giggles. I would get lost in time holding her. And 11 months later, our son was born. It was a little more challenging to stay in the moment with 2 babies under the age of one! However, those sweet moments were too precious to let go. I was a working mom and quality time was never compromised. When I was at home, I was in the moment with my family.
We all get caught in the trap of what mindfulness experts call the “striving mind”. Wanting something more. Our egoic mind seeks more. However, mindfulness teaches us that each moment, whether in seconds, minutes, hours, days, or a time period of our life, is enough if we bring awareness and intention to the moments.
This summer has proven to be one of the busiest time periods of my life. I have looked at my family and work calendars and wondered how I will manage it all. And I have gone back to what I know… I have “managed” it by letting go of managing and being fully present in each moment - offering a non-judgmental space to be aware of the beauty of my surroundings, of those I am with, of the smells, the textures, all of it. Being in the moment heightens every sense and can feel like living in technicolor!
As August continues, I encourage you to pause in each moment with awareness. Whether you are fitting in the last vacation before school, spending days enjoying the sun and water, going back to school shopping, enjoying our many local farmers’ markets, or engaging in a favorite summer activity, just pause. Drink those moments in. Extend the hours and days instead of succumbing to the rush. Watch your words of dread or regret. Ground yourself in the now.
In just a little over 2 weeks, that sweet baby girl who teaches me so many parenting lessons will be headed off to college. Oh yes, I have moments of sadness as I look back and grieve the childhood phase of her life. And I have moments of pure excitement as I think of her future and the amazing things she will do in this world. And what grounds me, what brings me back and offers me solace is this moment… and this moment… and this moment.