This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by hosted by Kelly of Becoming Crunchy and Zoie of TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindfulness mean to them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
The Places that Scare Me
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
There are parts of me I don’t like. There are parts of me I feel ashamed of and want to hide. Whenever I touch those spaces, I want to run away from them. I squirm in discomfort anytime I’m made to confront the places that scare me.
The corridors of my mind that I inhabit have corners I cannot turn and doors I have to keep locked if I’m to avoid these feelings. Sometimes the darkness escapes its special rooms and chases me until I can get on the other side of a thick enough door.
But, the longer I do this, the more trapped I become. Those dark beasts control more and more while I become the prisoner.
I feel that I spent most of my life learning to run away from feelings. I hid from things that made me uncomfortable while at the same time I have the tendency to poke them a bit. Yoga teacher training helped me begin to notice this. Having kids forced me to look at those areas on an almost continual basis, but the mind is adept at finding new ways to hide away.
It wasn’t until I admitted to having postpartum depression for the second time that I simply stopped struggling. It really was like transition in birth. I came across new territory and for the love of my children; I surrendered and stepped into the flow of grace.
Instead of struggling, fighting, and running away, I decided to just be with the feelings. If judgment arose, I would be with that, too. When judgment about judgment about having judgment arose, I would be with that, too. It’s slow, laborious, and painful. It’s also liberating.
This is what mindfulness means to me.
It means being fully present in the moment. It means fully accepting everything that arises-even the dark parts that scare me. It means giving lovingkindness to myself and others.
It means staying when I want to turn away. It means nurturing when I want to fight. It means holding on when I would let it all burn.
It means breathing through moments even when I think I won’t make it. It means allowing joy to arise even when I think I don’t deserve it.
Mindfulness can look like nothing. It can be a pause in activity for the blink of an eye. It can look like deep cleansing breaths. It can mean a timeout for me to get my bearings.
Dedicating single breaths, moments, hours, and sometimes entire days of outwardly appearing non-productiveness to this task has made me a better mother, wife, and person. I’m less likely to react. When I do react, I notice much faster and can take steps to repair any harm I have caused.
Gentle parenting is mindfulness is being fully alive is loving everyone is seeing that all of us are the same.
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Visit the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- An Alternative Approach to Parenting Mindfully Through Present Moment Awareness Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers an experience of present moment awareness as a pathway to mindful parenting.
- Define: Mindful Alicia C. at McCrenshaw describes the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings for Engaged Buddhism and attempts to describe how she can apply them to her non-Buddhist life on her new journey toward mindfulness.
- This is what mindfulness looks like in my life Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes what mindfulness looks like in her life in the form of poetry.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Becoming a Mindful Mother Erin at it’s OK shares her definition of mindfulness, and her struggle to develop a regular practice.
- How Meditation Makes Me a More Mindful Mother Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her methods for sneaking meditation into each and every day in an effort to dig deep and be the most mindful mother possible.
- A Simple Practice Kat at My Mental Oddities outlines a simple practice with children
- Our Family Mission Statement Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how living mindfully means living intentionally. She created her Family Mission Statement to help her family stay focused on their goals and values.
- I REALLY Miss Being Mindful! Tracie at Purposeful Practices shares what it’s like to find and then lose your mindfulness practice.
- My Job Made Me a Mindful Mother Amy at Anktangle tells a story about how a mindfulness practice she used to utilize in her job as a nurse still impacts the way she mothers her son today.
- Now Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shows how mindfulness is all about living in the moment.
- Stepping into the Unknown To Rachael at The Variegated Life, mindfulness is a way of stepping into the unknown.
- Derailed Kelly of Becoming Crunchy explores what mindfulness looks like in her new, somewhat more hectic life.
- Mindful Mama: The Places That Scare Me Zoie at TouchstoneZ learns to stop struggling by being present with uncomfortable realizations.