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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

10 Mindful Minutes

Against my better judgement I am admitting two things.

First, I don't read like books, unless my kids are around in which case I pretend to be a "lean - mean - reading machine" (I will validate the previous point at the end, so give me a break). Second, despite my displeasure "Re" reading, I have managed to read 10 Mindful Minutes two times in the last 5 weeks, cover to cover. I'm embarrassed because Goldie Hawn is the author of the book & everyone I tell about it feels obliged to refer to the woman as an "airhead."  Airhead or not, I have found the book incredibly useful and applicable to everyday life with the purpose of reducing stress & anxiety & helping our children to do the same.

The book starts off slow but the tools she introduces are helpful. They are simple, but in this fast and digital world, we forget. I've really been trying to give my mind a rest and focus on little things. Have you ever found yourself doing 2 or more things at once? All of the time? What about slowing down and doing 1 thing - being mindful of 1 thing. For example, if you are going on a walk, think about your steps not about your weekend or an argument or the future. Just think about your steps, or your breathe. It is not easy to do at first but it is immensely relaxing.

I've been applying the tools to my children as well, especially my almost-3 year-old who can be hyperactive. She has an amazing ability to focus which I had never noticed before. Yesterday, she seemed tense and I could sense a tantrum coming. I asked her to focus on her hands and she began uttering a fantastic description, "small, short nails, pink, dirty, lines on the inside, bend, fingers, pointing, spider, smaller than mommy's." In the last 5 weeks, I have noticed the girls are more aware of their surroundings, hearing birds or leaves rustling when I have sadly managed to tune it all out.

Now, in defense to my dislike of reading, I used to enjoy reading & my favorite book is the Awakening by Kate Chopin.  However, I find that having been raising babies for the last 3 years, I am tired by 9 and there is no way that my girls are going to let me read a book that is not being read to them during the day. As a result, the only opportunity I get for "reading" is in bed and then I fall asleep instantly.

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