bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: travel

thoughts from the intersection of socks and mindfulness

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Every morning before school, my kids eat breakfast, scribble out some homework, and start loading on backpacks, jackets, and sneakers.

For the past seven years, I endured the shrill last minute morning demand of at least one child, “Mommy! I forgot socks! Will you go upstairs and get them for me?”

For seven years, I responded with either, “You go get them! Run! See if you can do it in 20 seconds! 1…2…3…” or with, “You need to remember to put your socks on! I’ll do it today but no more!” (The lies we mothers tell our kids!)

For seven years, I accepted this sockless scenario as part of child rearing, without questioning it.

The big-picture reason for this unquestioning acceptance? Confession time. I was born disorganized. One might even have diagnosed me as a walking, talking, breathing natural disaster. (Gasp!) It’d always been impossible for me to keep my house (physically and mentally) in order.

My now-disciplined mind has been well-earned through a maturing meditation and mindfulness practice, though my home continued to function in a rigid state of loose disorder. I’d surrendered to my messy surroundings, believing that chaos was a necessary cog in assembling multiple children for their daily presentation to the world.

But wait! One thing my mindful parenting practice has taught me is that I don’t have to accept chaos in my home. And I don’t have to respond to logistical panic with more logistical panic. (ie. “No socks! What am I going to do?? There are no clean socks!!!”) Mindfulness has also taught me how to think in solutions as a default.

Solutions in the form of a basket of socks by the back door.

You’re probably thinking, “Vanessa, you are not only the most disorganized, but also the lamest mother on the planet. I’ve been doing this for years and your story is downright droll.” But again, please remember how painfully disorganized I am (WAS, how painfully disorganized I WAS) and appreciate the miraculous transformation that would have to take place for me to look at my children’s morning disembarkation process and say, “My kids don’t need to be screaming. I can make our lives easier. I’m going to bring all of their socks downstairs and leave them in a basket by the door.”

And then to actually follow it up with ACTION! A trip to TJ Maxx to buy a basket! This is HUGE for a naturally disastrous person like me! To add to the miracle, it’s been over a month and the basket is still full of socks. (In other words, I’m slaying laundry duty. Yah baby!)

I’m also thinking that either God is rewarding all of my meditation work with a dose of self-motivated discipline, or He’s really tired of hearing my kids scream in the morning, too. Either way, I’m confident that it was my mindfulness practice that inspired this most excellent (and organized) footwear solution.

www.vanessagobes.com

cancer wife: (more) thoughts from the edge

May 20, 2013

 

My meditation practice is key to managing my fear.  A few weeks before learning of Mick’s diagnosis I’d been blogging about the strength of spirit I’d been feeling but wondered if that strength would hold up when tested.  I mean, meditation is great in theory.  But does it work when the shit really hits the fan?  I soon learned the answer.  YES.

 

The more I learn about life and energy through Buddhist philosophy, the more deeply I understand and appreciate other religions.  I’m reading A Course In Miracles and finding it to be a great companion to my Bu-curious ways, examining mindfulness, fear, and delusion.  The book has more fluoro sticky tags than any other in my well-highlighted library.  “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering,” says this Christian text that continues, “No one who lives in fear is really alive.”

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Meditation yields acceptance.  Acceptance yields trust.  Trust yields fearlessness.  When we are fearless, we are confident that everything will happen exactly as it should and we are okay.  When we are quiet in meditation, we open ourselves up to spirit’s guidance and can then confidently take inspired action.

 

I allow this notion to sit front row in my prefrontal cortex, so when fear begins to creep in, I comfortably acknowledge it then meditate through it.  But for me meditation isn’t all good posture and spiritual brain dumps.  Through non-doing I clearly see all of things that I need to get done.

 

1.  I need to be caring for my husband and offering him affection.  This, admittedly, is very hard for me as I am not a warm and fuzzy wife-type.  If I’m being painfully honest, I can be a little cold to my husband.  I blame this on my parents’ divorce when I was 11.  There, I said it.

2.  I need to be working on building a career.  If the worst happens, I will have no income to support my family and I haven’t earned money consistently in a dozen or so years.  Time to put that journalism degree to work.

3.  I need to spend free time with my kids and let go of social events.  Socializing when my husband is home sick is not so great.  It’s okay to pass on parties.  There will be fun times when all this is over and right now no one needs me more than my family.

 

May 23, 2013

 

Mick’s hair is everywhere.  I can’t keep up with the friggin shedding.

 

“Shave it,” I plead.

 

“I’ll do it in the Caribbean,” he promises.

We are supposed to be leaving on a trip to the BVIs and he is planning a ceremonial raze on the beach.  Unfortunately he’s got a 102 fever and it looks like he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  Sucks.  This sucks.  Meditate on that.

how i used mindfulness to kick my candy habit

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If you are an M&M lover, you might not want to read this.  I don’t want to ruin the candies for you.  But if you’re on the edge or if you’re considering better eating habits, this could help you.  So read on, my friend.

I’ve been learning more about MBSR through a publication titled “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” written by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein.   It’s a terrific workbook and I recommend it to anyone interested in exploring or further committing to meditation.  In this workbook, an eating meditation is outlined.  Now, I’ve done eating meditations before.  Thich Nhat Hanh offers beautiful versions in several of his books.  But for some reason, this was the one that changed the way I looked at food forever.

I was buckling into my seat on a plane heading home from vacation with my family.  Wedged in my seat back pocket was a big package of M&Ms.  I know they’re bad for me and filled with artificial dyes, but I’m an advocate of moderation, so I settled in for the long trip home with my shiny brown bag full of 30% more candy and my MBSR workbook.  I was reading intently while popping M&Ms two at a time (one for each side of my mouth – gotta keep it even) when I turned to the page about mindful eating.

The workbook suggested that I place three raisins in my hand and analyze them as if I was from outer space, never having set eyes on a raisin before.  Well, I didn’t have raisins, so I used my M&Ms.  I poured a few into my palm and contemplated.  Then I glanced sideways at the markers on my daughter’s tray table.  Then I looked back at the M&Ms.  The candy didn’t look like food.  The candy looked like a little pile of toys – the same colors as my daughter’s plastic markers.  Why am I eating this?  This isn’t food.  I started to wonder.

The workbook then invited me to place the food in my mouth and allow my senses to continue their exploration.  I shook them in my hand first, hearing the way they rattled against each other.    Click!  Click!  Click!  Then I tossed the load into my mouth.  They struck my teeth.  Clack!  I let them sit on my tongue then slowly began to roll them around my mouth.  The candy shells were not delicious.  They tasted like chemicals.  There was nothing delightfully crisp or irresistibly oozy about their texture.  In fact, they were surprisingly gritty.

I started to chew.  Crunch.  Crackle.  Texturally, the M&Ms sort of felt like eating grains of sand.  When the chocolate broke open, the taste wasn’t satisfying.  The flavor was actually sort of metallic.   I swallowed the lot after about 30 chews and paid attention to the way they sunk into my belly.  I was totally surprised.  It didn’t feel good.  I sucked the last bits of chocolate out of my teeth and worked my jaw a little bit, feeling the way even the muscles near my eyes participated in the chewing process.  Particles separated like tiny shards of seashells and slid, with effort, down my throat.

I sat for a little while, thinking about M&Ms and wondering why I’d never before paid more attention.  I’ve always been a candy lover.  I mean, I wake up in the morning and crave chocolate.  But these days I’ve been waking up in the morning and craving carrots.  I think it’s because of my mindful eating experiment, but I can’t be sure.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Are you a mindful eater?  If not, would you try it once and tell me what you think?

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  You know I am so grateful when you share, tweet, tumble and pin my stories.  Many thanks!!!!!