Perfect and Complete, Lacking Nothing

by Rachael on June 23, 2011

Welcome to the first Mindful Mama Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants wrote about what mindful practices mean to them, how they parent mindfully, obstacles to mindful practice, and their experiences along the way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I’ve found more time in the day.

I found it a few weeks ago, while chanting the Four Bodhisattva Vows during sesshin. Instead of allowing my to mind wander off, I kept it on the vows. The Buddha Way is unattainable; I vow to attain it … Do you have any idea how looong it takes to chant these words? When my mind is — when I am — really inside the vows, they seem to go on and on, forever….

And sometimes, it’s kinda boring, and I’d really rather just get over with it.

Which leads me to wonder, what am I really doing with my time — with my life? I keep trying to get elsewhere: some time in the future when at last I will have it all worked out. Except that in truth, elsewhere doesn’t exist, and now is exactly when I always want to be: the sun rising early and setting late, the trees and the grass so, so green. Nevertheless, again and again since sesshin I’ve been seeing how frequently (like, all the time) my mind wanders off, leaps ahead — seeking security in my ceaseless planning planning planning, seeking entertainment, seeking something better. And whenever I try to keep my mind inside the experience of now, how very excruciatingly slowly time seems to pass.

But I thought that I did not want time to speed away! Because now is also when the Critter is not yet three years old, at the park with me, laughing and laughing and laughing as I push him on the swing.

And not only is the Critter the only two-year-old Critter I’ll ever have, it may be that the Critter is the only two-year-old child I’ll ever have.

We had planned to have two children, and then our family would be complete. But plans are plans are plans and meanwhile (as John Lennon sang), life happens. And meanwhile, whether or not we do have another child, our family is complete. Just as it is now.

Those big brown eyes

And so I practice being now. Which means putting my mind inside my physical experience of the world: on my breath, for example, or the pressure of the soles of my feet against the floor. It means looking into the Critter’s big brown eyes (just like his Daddy’s) as often as I can catch them in mine. It means letting go of my incessant planning as I lie down at nap time to nurse the Critter to sleep and marvel that so much of yet another day has already passed

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Mindful Mama Blog CarnivalVisit TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa June 23, 2011 at 9:48 AM

I’m always amazed at what a challenge it can be to just exist, flowing along with my experiences. It seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world, but something inside wants to swim against the current. As you so eloquently point out, however, these experiences are only with us once, and so I, too, (try to) practice being with them, now. Thank you for a lovely reminder of the importance of this practice.
Melissa recently posted… On Becoming an Aspiring Mindful Mama

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Patti @ Jazzy Mama June 23, 2011 at 11:02 AM

“And meanwhile, whether or not we do have another child, our family is complete. Just as it is now.”

These are the words I really needed to read today. I am always looking ahead to the possibility of another baby instead of really embracing each moment with the babes I have already born.

Thank you for this.

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Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction June 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

When my son was younger someone summed up the experience of parenting a young child as this: “The days are long but the years are short.” We spend our days waiting for the next big thing, Friday, the weekend, the vacation, etc. and wishing away our days while looking back and wondering how time flew by so fast.
Your post is a good reminder: we only live in the ‘now.’
Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction recently posted… Mindful Running

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One Rich Mother June 23, 2011 at 7:22 PM

So true. I find I have a harder time staying in the moment the older I get. Thank you for the lovely reminder.

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Terri June 23, 2011 at 10:55 PM

This is a great reminder of why and how to stay in the now. I am constantly planning and letting my mind wander like the chattering monkey! In the midst of all my multi-tasking I do also seek times to be completely present. I love the teachings of Thich Naht Hahn in his book Peace is Every Step and learning to wash-up mindfully, eat mindfully, answer the phone mindfully etc etc. I feel like I need to practice this much more and this post was a wonderfully gentle push in this direction. Thanks

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Amy June 24, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Oh yes! This is my biggest challenge: to be present in the current moment, to be appreciative of what this minute is bringing to me, to not be constantly looking to the future to how things can be better/different. Thanks for the reminder to work harder at this!
Amy recently posted… Wordless Wednesday: Chickens (and a Duck)

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Bethanie Miller June 24, 2011 at 7:55 PM

How hard it is to constantly be in the now. Even when nursing, as diligent as I may try to be, my mind is off planning, hashing, stressing. This is definitely something I need to be mindful of.

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Amanda @Let's Take the Metro June 25, 2011 at 2:26 PM

I have the tendency to do this far too often in the form of, “When Heidi and Piper are older, I’ll get to do this and this and this with them.” I keep thinking about all the things I’d like to do with them when they have more dexterity and they can understand more or appreciate more, rather than doing things with them at their level now. I’ve already been working on this, but seeing your post has helped me remember how important it really is. Thank you.

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Zoie @ TouchstoneZ June 25, 2011 at 6:13 PM

This is a beautiful post for the Mindful Mama Carnival. Thank you so much for participating!

The time goes so fast. It is so easy to get caught up in what’s going on and then it’s gone and what seemed so important is just another blur. Making each moment be important, like it really is can keep us connected with our families and ourselves. I think the meditation that comes from the repetition of the mantras can help us transcend the traps of complacency we so easily fall into. It’s the only way I can find empathy and compassion for myself and others, at least.

I agree with you on remembering the completeness of our families as they are. I can wish for things in the past to be different. I can hope for things in the future. But, right here is all that is real. Thank you for the reminder to go hug my kids and partner as they are.
Zoie @ TouchstoneZ recently posted… I’ll Have What She’s Having

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