What I learned from becoming a parent is mindfulness. Before I became a parent, I would ponder over this word and try my best to be as mindful as possible but it seemed like an elusive dream just beyond my reach. After I gave birth to my first daughter, I felt lost. I felt like I couldn’t wait to get myself back. Since then, I’ve discovered that there is no getting your old self back, and, for me, that has been one of the biggest blessings. When I lost myself, I began to search. My search didn’t take didn’t take me back to the person I was before, my search led me to the person I was meant to become. Over the years, not only have I explored the depths of my soul like I never had before, but I have learned, and learn everyday, what it means to be mindful. Most of us live our lives wanting to get to the next thing- the next vacation, the next house, the next car, the next pay-cheque etc…and while there’s nothing wrong with wanting more, I’ve come to realize that all I have and all I need is in the now- in this very moment.
On a recent walk with my second daughter who is one years old, I walked passed a home belonging to a retired, elderly couple. I looked in the large, living room window and noticed the couple sitting peacefully in two opposite facing, high- back wing chairs and reading. On that day, I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the busyness of being a mother to two kids, and I was feeling like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to get things done. But in that moment, time seemed to stand still and I had a big life realization or a-ha moment. My realization was this: if I were fortunate enough to get to live as long as the elderly couple I was watching, I would have plenty of time for sitting and reading by the living room window (reading by a window is one of my favourite past times.) It dawned on me in that moment that I would never have this exact moment walking my baby on this day ever again! And I made a vow to myself to not only appreciate the present time, but to stop wishing it away in expectation for some future moment when I would have more time on my hands, or when my baby is older, or when whatever I’m looking forward to is going to happen because, inevitably, these future events will eventually happen. I learned to be able to stop in the present moment, soak in all of its blessings and challenges because true living and lasting happiness can only be attained in the now.
Nowadays, when I walk pass the home with the large, front-facing living room window, and I notice the elderly couple sitting and reading in their high-back wing-chairs, I stop, smile, and continue to walk my baby because there really is no place I would rather be than right here in this moment.