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Lessons of Mindfulness

September 2, 2018

As I considered what to write for my first blog post, I had to look no further than my own heart. The idea of a blog has been in my awareness for some time, years really, and I imagined relevant topics on nutrition and discussions of ways to help others calm the mind and body. Today, though, with the raw realization of my changing life, no other topic could find its way to the forefront of my mind.

As I quickly folded the laundry after the days hustle, I realized my son, who was home for an approximate 24-hour holiday visit, had left behind some socks in the dryer. They were new ones he had picked out two weeks prior, just before leaving for his freshman year in college. In his haste to get back to his new-found life, he missed them at the bottom of the dryer. A simple discovery had become a significant marker of the days to come. Quick visits with departures before I’m ready to say goodbye, pieces of clothing left behind, a half-empty closet and hangers waiting to be filled up on a holiday or summer break, food to go, quick hugs and see you later. My daughter made her exit soon after and it seems logical that after leaving intermittently for 4 years now, this would have become an easy, second nature happening. And, although I have a 16-year-old son at the tail end, a knowing pervaded my thoughts that more of the same is near. An ever present quiet, unusual for our home, and all that it encompassed, left behind.

Somewhere in this wave of deep emotion, I was able to surrender to appreciation for the short, but perfect time our small family of five spent together. I knew, with great confidence, that the many years of meditation and mindfulness practice, had taught me to stay with the fullness of the moment. I could recall, in earlier days, distracting myself from these very difficult emotions and realizations of time slipping away, the inevitable nature of change. In this distraction though, I was also missing the deep joy of the present moment in this roller coaster journey we call life. I understood how all the hours and years I had spent in quiet contemplation, accepting the waves of emotion, sometimes physical pain and irritation, even the experience of deep peace, had given me the ability to be with these overwhelming life changes, to stay with these difficult feelings and to accept a new normal. But under all the layers of emotion, I realized the greatest blessing of these practices, was the ability to find the profound gratitude I felt for being given the opportunity to experience it at all.

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