Are You Present?

I am re-reading the lovely book “Everyday Blessings:  The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting,” by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn.  This book affects me deeply each time I read it, and each time I peel another layer of myself back in the process. 

I wanted to share one beautiful passage with you all:

“As I see it, all parents, regardless of the ages of our children at any point in time, are on an arduous journey, an odyssey of sorts, whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not.  The journey, of course, is nothing other than life itself, with all its twists and turns, its ups and its downs.  How we see and hold the full range of experiences in our minds and our hearts makes an enormous difference in the quality of this journey we are on, and what it means to us.  It can influence where we go, what happens, what we learn, and how we feel along the way.”

This passage also jumped off the page at me:

“Mindful parenting is hard work.  It means knowing ourselves inwardly, and working at the interface where our inner lives meet the lives of our children.  It is particularly hard work in this era, when the culture is intruding more and more into our homes and into our children’s lives in so many new ways.”

I think the first part of this statement is critical though. If we do not know ourselves inwardly, we cannot work at the interface described.  We cannot keep culture at bay and imprint our own family values and traditions on our children if we do not know what these are.

Parenting is often noisy, repetitive, challenging, sleep-deprived, joyful, busy, exhausting.  Yet, at this time and in this place, we must learn to find the moments of stillness, the moments to be present, the moment to step back and see through all the movement to the frozen frame of the faces of the ones we hold dearest in our hearts.  We must find moments to think and to ponder and to dream.  This could be just several minutes in the morning, a few more minutes at quiet time, a moment for tea in the afternoon and a few moments before bed.  Find a blank notebook, and start writing your thoughts down.  Write about how you want to parent, your own areas of challenge as a parent and as a couple, write about what you want your children to value, write about the family traditions you would like to start; small this year and adding every year after.  Write your own biography.  Learn about yourself along this journey, and love yourself for all the positive things you do, all the mistakes made along the way, all the times you have had self-control, all the times you have been joyous in your family life, all the moments of authenticity so your children know who you are.

Dream those big dreams for peace for your household and peace for the world.

Good night, dear reader, and peace onto you and yours.


2 thoughts on “Are You Present?

  1. Thank you so much Carrie for this beautiful and inspiring post. I love this book too and just like you, I feel like I am learning a little more everytime I re-read it.

    I love the idea of writing things down together as a couple. I wrote my own biography and this was one of the most powerful experience of my life. I will encourage my husband to do so too!

  2. Pingback: Doing the Work of Being a Parent « Sarah Jenkinson

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