Mindfulness. This word is used all the time, in reference to everything from eating raisins and buying smoothies to how I’m supposed to parent my children and interact with my co-workers. There are apps to help me be more mindful, and articles on how to parent mindfully. I can pay someone a lot of money to help me be mindful in my daily life. I can get emails to remind me to be mindful about any number of things including, but not limited to, mindful eating, mindful knitting, mindful meditation, mindfully reducing stress, and last, but not least, how to mindfully practice yoga.
I get the idea of mindfulness. I’m supposed to be aware of myself, my body, and my responses in the present moment, acknowledging my feelings, etc. in order to be more connected to my life.
Frankly, it sounds like one more thing I need to be doing in my day that is already filled to the brim. So, I file mindfulness away with all the other things I should be doing, along with running, being on my phone less, eating more vegetables, swearing less, etc. I could fill pages with all the things I should be doing in my life that I am not.
My days are crammed - I am a program manager of a large program at a non-profit. I live in a cooperative house with my partner, my 14 year old, our 22 month old, housemate, and his twin 8 year olds, along with a dog and a cat. I knit, I read, I do yoga. I manage my chaotic household, cook giant meals for seven + people, and fight the endless battle against the laundry. I play with kids, and make art. I work all the time. I am in the midst of yoga teacher training. What kind of space do I even have in my life for things like “mindfulness?”
I’m also decidedly not a mindful person. I’m scatterbrained and fairly fly by night. Every morning, I spend 10 minutes trying to find my shoes because I can never remember where I took them off the night before. I not only exist in a low level of joyful, happy chaos, but I thrive on it. I have ended up in a good place in my life, but feel like I’ve gotten here on a bit of a wing and a prayer. My life is not the image I have of a mindful life (which, honestly, looks more like a thin, tanned, muscular woman drinking a strawberry smoothie on the beach before going into a perfect dancer pose as the sun rises and then meditation in some tropical location, than my fat (descriptive, not pejorative), pasty white self, waking up at 5am and frantically slamming down coffee while reading Facebook, and trying to keep the toddler from jumping on the dog).
But, I keep coming back to mindfulness and wondering, what would it look like in my life?
Mindfulness For the Full-Minded is an ongoing exploration by Kat Gordon. She invites you to follow her journey toward mindfulness here.