Sunday, September 7, 2008

Picking Up Sticks

I would like to share an example from my own life on how mindfulness has helped me. Hanna, the tropical storm, blew through this past weekend and thankfully she didn't pack much of a punch but when you live on five acres the amount of debris can add up. When I went out that morning, as the wind was slowing down, I walked around and looked over the array of branches, limbs, leaves, and a few small trees that had been strewn around the yard and instead of grumbling and seeing a wasted Saturday afternoon my first thought was, "Well I know what my exercise routine will be today". It took my husband and I about three hours together in muggy weather to pick up, rake, and sweep but it seemed like no time. Here is how mindfulness helped, besides enabling me to start the morning with a upbeat attitude, it helped get me out there instead of dragging around and building up a mental image of an unending job. More importantly it enabled me to not see it as an overwhelming job but that I just had that one stick right there in front of me to pick up, once it was taken care of, I could see I had that next one stick to pick up .... Periodically I would look back and see a clean patch and feel a since of accomplishment. Also, as we were clearing away the yard, I noticed that it was the dead, weak and overburdened limbs and trees that were toppled over and could see that nature was just spring cleaning and making room for all the new growth to come and how the solid growth remained to show the way. In order to stay strong and keep growing we too need to clear out all old habits and attachments that many of us aren't even aware we are clinging to. Travel lightly and you'll get further with less effort. It is also a reminder to make sure the top of our tree (see Grow Your Roots Deep) is not heavier than the trunk and roots can hold up.

Kids, especially, are overburdened with expectations, schedules and stress. We try to cram more and more into their developing minds and bodies, don't want them to miss out or get behind. One lesson from Kids Awareness Program will be to help them know that they just have that one thing to do at this moment and how to practice living moment by moment. The best way for them to succeed at whatever they choose is to learn to be there as they are doing it.

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