When I gave birth to my son, my family and friends said, “Enjoy every minute because it goes really fast.”
They weren’t kidding. Noah turns 3 years old this month and I’m already wondering where the time went.
But I feel fortunate. For the last few years, I have put into place a practice called mindfulness.
Mindfulness means you are in the here and now…you are paying attention to what’s in front of you.
Back in the day I was quite the opposite. It seemed that whenever I was at work, my mind was on all of the things I needed to do at home and when I was at home, my mind was on the things I needed to do at work.
Even at the time, I questioned why my mind was somewhere else. I never really came up with a good answer. I just knew that I really didn’t like the distraction in my head.
Once I was able to learn and practice the true concept of mindfulness, my world changed for me. Not that one completely stops thinking about other things (because we still need to plan for the future), but that piece of me shrunk enormously.
For me, mindfulness is not something that is automatic. I don’t automatically get immersed in the moment and think about nothing else.
But instead, I am highly aware of where my thoughts are at any given moment. And when my head is somewhere other than where I am right now, I pull myself back into the moment.
If I’m playing with Noah and I find myself thinking about my upcoming weight loss program, I make sure I put those thoughts aside and totally focus on what we are doing together.
I observe the way he plays and takes in information. I’m in awe of the way his mind works.
I look at his feet and think about how cute his toes are. I stroke his hair and smell the top of his head. (Yes, I smell my child. I want to remember this too.) All of my senses keep me mindful.
It is important to me that I do this. I don’t want to miss a single moment with him because time really does move by quickly.
And the truth is life is not going to wait for you to pay attention! It’s going to roll along whether you’re paying attention or not.
So the next time you find your mind wondering to places other than where you are, pull your awareness back into the present moment.
Your future self will thank you. (And so will your child.)