Today’s post is dedicated to my Mother, my mentor and my motivator – and most of all, my mindfulness “master” – it is her birthday today. As long as I participate in the A to Z Challenge, “M” will always be reserved for her.
I am yet to meet someone more cheerful, kind, generous and mindful than my Mom. A life filled with difficult times and later, years of chronic illness did not stop her from deciding to be happy and mindful. I will always hear her voice saying
“Live in the moment. This moment. You lose it and it will never come back. Ever. So appreciate it. And do all things with joy”
She taught by example.
According to her, children are the best mindfulness teachers and claimed that she became more conscious, thanks to them. She was a teacher and interacted with children every day.
Ever spent time with a child and tried to multitask? Yes. You know what I mean.
A child will never allow your mind to stray. Just try it and she’ll yank you back to the present. She’ll pull those heart strings and force you to focus on her and what she’s doing or saying. And she’ll practice it herself, until she’s distracted by something, when she’ll shift her focus to it. Most times, she won’t bear grudges. She will let go and fly into your arms with the same energy – simply because she will respond to love.
I know my Mom meditated regularly – she would just sit still, cross-legged, eyes closed, face smiling. Love just shone out of her face and she was always ready to burst into a smile.
She taught me to wish abundance and happiness for everyone we knew – so that they would be so involved in their own joy, they wouldn’t have time to bug others. Ha ha. Yeah!.
My Mom was generous in life, and generous in death. She abhorred rites and rituals and wished to donate her body to a medical college rather than be cremated – she insisted that there shall be none of the death rituals on her passing – rather, if we wished to spend, the money should go to needy children – and we’ve been honoring her wishes as best as we can.
I miss my Mom every day – and through my tears, I hear her laughter. I think of her joyous attitude and feel inspired.
She was always so positive. I can’t remember a time when she did not make me feel unconditionally loved.
She taught mindful living through:
Mindful conversation and interaction with people – listening attentively when speaking with someone. Appreciating their voice, their facial expressions. Not interrupting when they spoke. Responding to them warmly. And when we had visitors, simply putting aside whatever she was doing and greeting them with a bright smile.
Mindful eating – whether we had a one-dish meal or a three-course one, she made sure she cooked with love and enjoyed each morsel, noticing its color, texture, its temperature and taste. She encouraged us to pay attention to what we were doing – eating with joy.
Mindful walking – We walked every day, and were conscious about the smells, colors, sounds and sights of nature around us. We kept up a pace for the first 30 minutes and then slowed down so we could chat as we walked, holding hands.
Mindful bedtime – No technology anywhere close to her bed. She read before going to bed, but made sure to sleep at the same time every day, thinking pleasant thoughts and feeling grateful.
My Mother taught me:
- To see the world through my son’s eyes, to see things from his point of view without coloring it with my own opinions.
- To see myself from my son’s point of view. How would I like it if I were my Mom? Would it change the way I am, the way I talk and how I say it? A very grounding exercise, and one that has made me feel sheepish quite a few times.
- To see my son as he was, not how I wanted him to be. Acceptance, especially in tough times.
- To be mindful of my expectations of my son. Are they in his best interests?
- To be aware of how I project my expectations and how he feels about them.
- To be generous, make my son’s needs a priority above my own and see how we can reach a common ground – funny how things overlap when we are calm – and become much easier to manage.
- To quiet my mind when I feel overwhelmed and meditate by focusing on the present moment, on my son, myself, my family to bring clarity to my thoughts and actions.
- To listen by being present fully
- To learn to live with chaos without losing my own sanity, to make it a habit of seeing a situation the way it is, to trust my intituion.
- To apologize without hesitation when I’ve let my son down – because apologies heal and show I care about my son’s point of view.
- To recognize that like every child, my son is special, with a unique way of seeing things and to love him unconditionally, the same way she loved me.
- To be strong and firm with my son because I understand, not because I want to control.
- To give my son the gift of presence more than presents.
Great lessons in being a mindful Mom, and I am ever grateful for the constant support she lovingly gave me. Did I practice being a mindful Mom? Most of the time, yes. My reward? A wonderful relationship with my son.
Do you practice mindfulness as a parent?