Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness

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If there was a soundtrack to my life, the last week or so would have a ghostly echo pounding through a driving bass line. The ghostly echo would say one word, over and over again: “Mindful, mindful, mindful”.

My mother will tell you I’ve always believed that we have the ability in ourselves to change our thoughts, and from there, to change our actions. When I was a child she went through a phase of calling herself stupid a lot. I believe in the power of words, so whenever she called herself stupid, or said she’d done something stupid, I’d hit her really hard with my fist on her shoulder.  It became Pavlovian. She’d say stupid, I’d hit her. She soon stopped calling herself stupid, at least in my presence.

*** Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season

This post is included in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. ***

While I don’t advocate for violence, and would choose a different approach to physical assault these days, I still believe that our thoughts control our actions and with it the outcomes in our lives, and our minds can be trained to control our thoughts. I’m sure there’s a whole movement behind this, but I’m not familiar with it. I simply think that we can train our minds by conscious, mindful, choice.

Ameli is acting up, the soundtrack in my head says, ‘be mindful’. My husband and I aren’t communicating well? ‘Be mindful’. My diet is entirely desire led and not at all healthy? ‘Be mindful’. And so the ghostly echo in my head repeats, repeats, repeats.

But what does it mean, in my day to day reality?

Why do I feel like I’m drowning in things to do, yet when I have a spare moment and want to tackle one of those things, I can’t seem to figure out where to start? Why does it seem that my interactions with the people in my life are stressed out, highly strung, and impatient?

Because I am not being mindful. I am not making conscious choices. I’m being led by pregnancy induced insomnia. I’m being led by financial stress. I’m being led by the sadness I’m desperately trying to avoid: we’re coming up for Christmas and I have none of my family to share it with. I’m like a bull with a ring in its nose,  being pulled from side to side by all these ‘things’ in my life.

I have lost sight of my mindful, conscious self.

I know what to do when my child is seemingly being ‘disobedient’. I need to focus in on her, rather than shout for control I give away by shouting. I know what to do when my husband is being … husbandish. I need to focus in on his needs to see where he is being unfulfilled. I know that when my house looks like a hurricane passed through, it’s time to focus in on short bursts of major action.

I know these things, but while my head is screaming ‘what’s going on?!’, I’m unable to be useful to myself or my family, and over a period of days and weeks, I wake up more tired than I went to sleep and find myself in a rut. A dangerous, frustrated, unhappy place.

You may say, yes, but your child is being a ‘terrible two’, your husband is being…husbandish, and you’re carrying all the responsibility of running a home while being pregnant – you need to be selfish and think of YOU – shut the door and leave them to self-destruct.

But that is counter productive, isn’t it, because an hour later, when I open the door, the problems are still there.

Be mindful.

Be mindful.

Yes. Perhaps the best course of action is to find yourself a corner for ‘quiet time’. For some this will be reading your Bible. For some, time in prayer. For others, meditation, introspection, yoga. Whatever it is, but finding your ‘peaceful place’ gives you – or at least gives me – the power to then confront in a peaceful way, my family and my home.  And you can find that peaceful place in the two minutes it takes to walk to the car, screaming toddler in tow. Your peace doesn’t depend on circumstances, or other people. It is yours. It is mine. I just have to claim it.

I am then able to implement ‘time-in’ instead of ‘time-out’. I’m able to connect with my husband. I’m able to focus on my to do list and find it less overwhelming. I am able to enjoy Christmas lights and hear carols and see men in red suits and feel the tinge of pain and of longing, without letting it own me and decide my emotions, and with it my interactions with the people I do have in my life.

My mother always used to say a tidy head loves a tidy home. I hated that saying, because my room was never tidy and in retrospect, neither was my head, but now I see it in a greater sense.

Being mindful of our own human condition helps us ‘make it through’ with much more peace and calm. When I am calm, I exude calm. When I am calm, I create calm. When I am at peace within myself, I have more patience to deal with my family.

When I am conscious of my own self, I am able to be conscious for those around me without being a martyr to their needs.

Mindful… Mindful… Mindful…

This doesn’t mean it will all always go well, or always be easy, but it means that you – that I – will have a better grasp on life, and with it, a better experience of that life.

 

***

Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
  • Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
  • Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
  • The ABC’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
  • The 123’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
  • Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer’s series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
  • Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here’s how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don’t quite work for their family.
  • Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people’s needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can’t be changed and love whatever happens.
  • Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
  • Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
  • A Light in the Darkness Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about overcoming holiday blues through the miracle of motherhood.
  • Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
  • Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
  • Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
  • Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
  • Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
  • 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
  • Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
  • Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against “the gimmes” and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge.
  • Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
  • The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
  • Mindfully meditating on celebrations Dionna at Code Name: Mama hosts this guest post from Child of the Nature Isle about desiring meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
  • What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!
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27 thoughts on “Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness

  1. Pingback: 5 Tips For Being A Mindful Mama & Avoiding Stress During The Holidays — EcoCrazy Mom
  2. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    I really appreciate your article. I feel more mindful and centered just reading it.

    I have to say, when I was pregnant I found it very hard to be mindful. I was very, very, very emotional (just ask my poor husband and older son), and frantic about getting things done “in time.” Things got better after the birth! I’m glad you’re finding ways to reconnect and recharge now; I just offer you that as hope for the future. :)

    I also want to say that I’m amazed your mom let you train her out of saying “stupid.” That’s kind of hilarious.
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama’s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: Pirates, monkeys, and hobo babies

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Lauren @ Hobo Mama, That’s lovely Lauren, thank you. I agree – I am more short tempered at the moment than I normally am, and I’m finding mindfulness incredibly difficult. But it’s about trying, and keeping on trying, you know? Eventually it has to become habit, right?

    [Reply]

  3. Thank you for participating in the Mindful Mama Carnival.

    This is my constant practice, too. There are times when it is easier for me. Most of the time, I catch myself after I’ve been short with someone or fallen into negative self-talk. I truly appreciate you sharing this. Sometimes, it can seem so easy for others. It’s nice to remember that we’re all walking this path to mindfulness one step at a time.
    Zoie @ TouchstoneZ’s last blog post ..Mindful Mama Carnival Guest Post

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Zoie @ TouchstoneZ, You know, you are so right. I look at you and you seem to be so mindful all the time. It’s amazing to even think of you finding it hard ;) It’s freeing, in a sense, to hear that others struggle too! Thanks for commenting!

    [Reply]

  4. Tat

    For me, your post was a reminder that you don’t have to have your designated ‘me-time’ to find your centre. Any time can be my ‘me-time’, I just have to claim it…

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Tat, Thank you! You are right – any time can be me time – yet sometimes we still struggle to see it, you know? I ‘forget’ sometimes that it’s up to me!

    [Reply]

  5. I have to tell myself the same thing. My son is on the verge of the “terrible twos” and he does test me from time to time. But I know, I totally know, why he does what he does. And when I’m losing at at Target because he is sitting on the floor and refusing to hold my hand while we walk, I know that the problem is me, not him. I need to reconnect, to see his needs, I need to get into the moment, to just be whatever it is that he needs me to be right then instead of focusing on my needs and on getting done with my shopping list and my tasks. It honestly doesn’t take that long, and the shopping will wait.

    Your post is a lovely reminder.
    Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction’s last blog post ..Flying Through the Holidays

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction, Thank you Jenn. You are so right. Sometimes fighting them to get ‘our’ way takes so much longer than just letting them lead us to a more peaceful place!

    [Reply]

  6. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! I think we all have difficulty forcing ourselves to take the time needed to find peace. At least I do. And I agree, that once it is found, everything runs smoother. I wish you a wonderful, peaceful Christmas!

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Free Range Mama, Than, you so much! I hope you have the same!

    [Reply]

  7. Wow, I really loved this post! I struggle with many of the issues you raised, and I agree that it’s up to me to find that peaceful place. I love the idea of taking that walk to the car as a time recenter. We often take 5 or 10 minutes to get to the car, so that should be plenty of time! Happy Holidays :)
    Sylvia@MaMammalia’s last blog post ..A Light in the Darkness

    [Reply]

    Luschka Reply:

    @Sylvia@MaMammalia, I think finding ‘routine’ things to form a habit is a great idea. Kegels when then kettle’s boiling, mindfulness en route to the car etc etc ;) has to become a habit some time!

    [Reply]

  8. Pingback: Flying Through the Holidays | Monkey Butt Junction | holidays
  9. Pingback: Flying Through the Holidays | Monkey Butt Junction

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