August 6, 2017 2:47pm EST Florham Park, NJ I am sitting on a reclining chair in my backyard, my black toy poodle Zoe at my feet. The temperature is a perfect 78 degrees. The sun peaks out from behind the clouds every so often so that I can feel the warmth amidst a light breeze on my skin. Cars drive by with a wooosh and I hear the siren of an ambulance from the next town over. Not too loud that it bothers me, but just loud enough to make me wonder if the person they were headed to is okay. It rained last night and I can smell moist grass mixed with a bit of mildew from the outdoor furniture. I sit and sip my chai tea feeling the warmth from the spices move down my throat creating a nice sensation in my body. Breathing in sync with the swaying trees as the winds moves through the plush green leaves. Feeling grateful for a few more weeks of summer to enjoy.
2:50pm - Enter my 5 year old daughter Savanna wearing a tutu and tap shoes. “Mom! Watch my show!”
Was I annoyed? Maybe I wasn’t thrilled, but I wasn’t angry. I was just moving into a new moment; a moment with my daughter. This happens 1000’s of times each day. We have good moments, bad moments and everything in between. The beauty of mindfulness is that it can give us peace in our minds and hearts because it teaches us not to only strive for good experiences (sipping my tea alone), but to be open to ALL experience (getting interrupted during my quiet time), without labeling them. It’s this labeling that ultimately causes us to suffer. Without the label, an experience just is. It’s an opportunity to know what being alive is all about.
Those THREE minutes of intentional mindfulness were three minutes without thinking and planning. Without analyzing, judging, striving OR suffering. Three minutes of being present, noticing, and BEING. Three minutes that recharged my soul and sparked my creativity. Those three minutes set the tone for the rest of my day and enabled me to operate from a full cup.
Mindfulness is f*cking awesome. It is also just one piece of our self-care plan. It only took me 3 minutes to fill my cup because I make self-care and time for myself a priority every day. I get regular pedicures, move my body in a way that brings me joy, connect with friends, have date nights and make time to write, create and binge -watch Netflix.
Mindfulness is accessible to everyone. It is free. It is simple to learn. It just takes practice and an intention. It’s the best way to put an end to the stress of being a mom and any other challenging situation in your life. Mindfulness lets you off the hook because as long as you are breathing there is another moment for you to apologize, to make it right, or do it over. EVERY activity can be done mindfully.
Mindfulness is not being emotionless and it’s NOT about being peaceful all the time, It’s NOT about escaping your life and it’s NOT a quick fix for your life’s challenges. Like getting your body in shape, getting your mind in shape takes time and practice.
You might be thinking, “Who has time for this?” Well if you just read the first part of this blog, then YOU do. Just by reading about my mindful experience you were mindful too. You could feel the breeze, the sun, smell the grass and then the interruption. You did it. It wasn’t hard and it didn’t take much time. It also lowered your cortisol and allowed you to tap into your resourcefulness and healing abilities.
Can you imagine what your life could be like if you made mindful self-care a daily practice? On World Mindfulness Day, this is my invitation for you. Take 3 minutes every day for the next 2 weeks to be FULLY present in your life. Tune into each of your senses-Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell and Sound. Notice your breath and bring gratitude for this healing tool that operates without conscious effort. Bring compassion to your experiences and welcome everything that arrives. You can do it.
BIO: Jennifer Bronsnick, MSW, LCSW is passionate about supporting moms to be resilient. As a mother of three daughters under 8 and a survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety Jennifer knows exactly how challenging motherhood can be. She also knows that there is hope for all of us and with accurate information, support and inspiration that mothers and families can thrive. Jennifer’s years of clinical experience as a social worker and her own personal journey gives her the unique ability to guide other moms on their path to health and wellness. You can also learn more about Jennifer, the services she offers and purchase her books on maternal self-care at www.themindfulfamily.com.