My quick and dirty motherhood definition for “mindfulness”: The awareness that your child isn’t trying to break your printer by jamming toys and coins in every nook and cranny, she has just found her new perfect hiding spot.
This was my first mistake when I began yoga. I wouldn’t stay in the present. When we do yoga without attempting to cultivate mindfulness along with expertise of the postures then we aren’t reaping the full benefits. What better time to practice quieting your mind other than, well, quiet time.
So I’m trying visualization. When I begin my practice I visualize myself as a well. A perfectly simple well filled with water. (Water being energy.) I think about all the water that I give throughout my day to my kid, my husband, my friends and other obligations. Pretty soon my well is pretty empty.
Now, what happens if I don’t refill? What happens the next day when we have to give the same or even more?
We have to provide what we have left. And we will squeeze out all we can. Because we are moms. It’s what we do.
But, how pure is that residual water? How long will it sustain our family? How enjoyable is it for us to give? And how much joy does it give us, instead, to “be” a well full of fresh water?
During practice I try to focus on my breath, but hey, I’m so not even close to perfect. If my mind begins to wander I bring back the image of the well. Then I settle back in to focusing on my breath. By the end of practice, I have evoked a sense of renewed energy and state of mind. I have centered and considered my self for those moments. My well is full once again.
Throughout the day I try to come back to that image when I need to focus on the present moment. Moments like last night, when my daughter pooped in the bathtub. Ugh…