7 Mindfulness Lessons To Bring Into The New Year
I have spent the past two and a half months since the birth of my daughter fully devoted to her care and mine (and a few emails here and there!). In the process, I've noticed some things by observing her state of being in the world that have helped me — and could really help us all — be more present and happy in our daily lives.
If you're like me, you've been a seeker most of your life, looking for the Truth with a capital T — the truth of who you are and who you are meant to be, the truth about love and life and the sacred. Along my journey, I've lived and studied with a female Zen master in India; I meditate, move my body and set my intentions monthly according to my cycle. All of my spiritual teachers and practices focus on a common subject: trying to get back to a place where we can simply BE ...
Being with my daughter, breast-feeding her every few hours, and being fully present with her has given me a new kind of meditation and method of spiritual healing. In short, nothing has made me feel as grounded as becoming a mother.
My daughter has the art of just being going on in spades. So I am here to share her seven best practices for the good life with you so you can use them yourself this 2015!
1. Smile at everything and everyone when you first encounter it/them.
My daughter, just recently brought into this world, is basically delighted by everything and everyone who comes across her visual field. She may dislike whatever she is looking at after a few moments, and she may even cry eventually to express her displeasure. But at first, she takes in the new experience as an offering of pleasure and smiles big and bright at it.
What if you met your day-to-day experiences with that kind of happy, joyful, open-to-being-delighted stance?
We all hear that in order to receive more abundance, we have to celebrate what we are already experiencing. This always felt confusing and unclear to me, like I had to throw a special party to celebrate what I had in order to make space to receive more. But now I totally get it, it's the smiling, the joyful heart, that open and receptive energy.
2. Cry out for help when you feel alone.
If my daughter can't see me, she doesn't know that I'm there at this stage in her development.
Like her, if/when we are trying to manifest something our lives, we tend to lose faith quickly when we can't see what we want to create, when we feel like we are the only ones suffering, or when we feel scared what we want will never arrive. But take a cue from my daughter, and cry out for help! Love and support, in the form of a person or a situation, will come rushing to you to hold you and reassure you.
3. Appreciate the nourishment in front of you.
I am exclusively breast-feeding my daughter, and it is a blessing that I am able to and a privilege to do so. I feed her every two or so hours during the day, and then at night every three to five hours depending on her sleep schedule. She does not have to think about her eating schedule. It's totally awesome to watch her do her thing, and to watch my body do it's miraculous food making!
So what's the lesson here? Don't measure, don't count, don't compare, don't look for a different metaphorical "boob" in your life. Take in and appreciate everything in your life is nourishing you and feeding your soul. You will not be deprived; you will have a seat at the table of the bounty of life with this new attitude.
My baby does not have an agenda for the day. In no particular order, she spends her day eating, pooping, sleeping, playing, and repeats this cycle continuously. As adults, though, we have more trouble with this idea. We compartmentalize, we hustle, we extreme-sport our lives, we push ourselves too hard.
What if instead of agonizing over decisions about how we should spend our time, we just throw ourselves wholeheartedly in to what is unfolding before us — adult play, if you will. Let the support systems that already exist in your life support you. Allow ease and happiness to flow to you by planning less, and playing more.
5. Grow and change at every single moment.
Every day since her birth, my little one has been growing and changing so rapidly. I just know in a blink of an eye she is going to be a toddler, and then have her driver's license, and then be my age. But none of the changes happening to her stresses her out — she's not even thinking about it! Life is her own fun personal adventure. She doesn't cling to what is known, but actually embraces the unknown fearlessly.
Perhaps we all are born with a huge tank of trust given to us, and for some reason, we forget how to access it as we get older. So trust yourself more, and accept the wild ride of change you are on now.
6. Be on your own schedule.
My daughter was born nine months to the day of her conception, but not at the time preferred by the medical establishment. Instead, labor started on our own at home just the way our bodies intended. My daughter continues to march to the beat of her own drum.
It's a good lesson in remembering to be on your own timeline. Don't allow other people's agendas and accomplishments impede your own journey's rhythm.
7. Rest up.
This baby loves to sleep and she needs it to grow and stay healthy.
Well guess what? So do you! Find a way to take something off your plate. I get it: we are such powerful creatures capable of so much.That said, in order to be as active as you want to be, you need to rest like it's your job, too!
You'll enjoy everything and be more present when you've given yourself some catnaps, proper night time sleeps, and lounge time with your favorite movie or book.
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