At dinner yesterday, I glanced at my kid and uttered those loaded words, "No, you can't have two pieces of apple pie." Then mindfulness emerged and I recognized my very next thought, "OMG, I'm turning into my mother" and, my reaction to that thought too, "OMG, indeed."
Mindfulness means paying attention to what's happening in and around you in the current moment. Practicing mindfulness means training your mind to cultivate this kind of awareness. Even a little bit of mindfulness helps us stay present, and every little bit of mindfulness helps us grow.
Thanks to mindfulness practice, I heard my own comment, felt my face freeze, and immediately (and invisibly) bit my tongue. Ouch -- on all counts. Then I took a breath, and another to calm my mind (a little) and attend to what was happening in and around me. My kid simply grinned (with a "thought I'd try" kind of look) and then easily focused on something else. And my inner voice softly reminded me, "There's so much to learn and the time to learn it is: right now."
Here's what I'm learning (and learning, again):
In fact, mindfulness offers a strategy to help us put that baggage down and leave it by the wayside. The point is to notice when we bear the unconstructive weight of habits and feelings, and, then speed up the time required to recognize what's happening. Eventually, we pay attention earlier and earlier in the process -- until one day we notice that the baggage is there, on the sideline, and we don't have the impulse to reach down to grab it.
My comment last night about two desserts came with baggage -- about mom, and apple pie, and all that I associate with them. Last night, I noticed the weight of my associations and related actions shortly after I picked up those familiar bags. But then, once mindful of my actions, I could let them go and reflect on my experience. Next time, who knows -- I might even have a flash of mindfulness before my knee-jerk reaction takes us all by surprise. If I keep watching, and learning, and staying present, I believe that my mothering will become more mindful -- and let me offer unlimited portions of a sweetness so very different from dessert.