Mindfulness can be seen as the practice of “being in the moment” – but what does this actually mean? Does it mean that if we’re mindful we should never think about the past or the future, never try to plan or to reflect on our past experience?
Actually, being in the moment means being mindfully aware of what is going on right here and now, in our experience, and this includes any thinking we do about the past or future. I never put much thought into this notion until I became a mother.
It began when my son, Ethan, began displaying poor sleeping habits. Ethan was a great sleeper from the start, but when he turned six weeks of age, sleep became a thing of the past. He developed ‘sensitivity to dairy’ and ‘reflux.’ So in his discomfort, sleep eluded him and kept both my husband and myself up during the night. I attempted to try to solve the problem and found a product called Colic Calm, which did help slightly, but didn’t come close to “solving” any issue. Our frequent and pleasant trips to the beach were soothing, but again, did not seem to tire him out enough to solve his problems.
It just so happened that around this time, I began implementing meditation into my daily routine. After realizing how stressed, tired, and over-reactive to Ethan’s behaviors I was becoming, it dawned on me that I needed to start doing something for myself as well. I suddenly found myself calmer. Collected. I found myself able to concentrate on what was currently happening. Instead of obsessing about Ethan not staying asleep in his crib, I found comfort that he slept in my arms. My meditation sessions grew longer and I found myself looking forward to cuddling him, rocking him, and enjoying the silent moments we got to spend together. The house suddenly relaxed.
After a few weeks of this, my son’s reflux dissipated. While I do believe that there were other factors that played in this sudden resolve, I also believe that children are amazing balls of energy that cannot help but absorb the energy around them. Ethan’s behaviors were a direct result from all the anxious and nervous energy I was bringing into the house.
Through these phases and through other personal phases of my life as a mother, I have found that patience and mindfulness help ease the tribulations that parents often go through. I’ve learned to be in the moment. To take deep breaths. To relax a little more. To live in the moment because, in the end, a life is measured by moments like these.