Long story short: Gather ye
rosebuds petals while ye may!
That’s the super-abridged version of what it means to practice mindful living.
But since when have I ever kept things brief?
Come, Holy Spirit, come! Help me to say what I long to say about these stunningly beautiful trees.
First, the bad news: The springtime blossoms are being rapidly shed. Were it that easy to lose those last stubborn pounds! But no, with every gust of wind I’m that much sadder…my favorite week of spring is nearly done.
What’s a lover of nature to do?
Keep on loving, that’s what! God always provides, and I know—that is, I hope—there will be a tree just like these in my backyard in heaven…and that tree will never lose its pink!
One week ago today, I was happily celebrating “Mother’s Day Weekend”…
(because I’m all about milking those special days for all they’re worth)
…while trying valiantly to safeguard my heart.
You just can’t fill a momma’s tank in a single day. Not my tank anyway! Mother’s Day?! As if there could ever be such a thing! More like, Mother’s Life!
‘Cause I don’t know about you but I’m giving it my all.
Which brings me back to those blossoming trees.
Do you ever get sad seeing those scattered petals, thinking “There isn’t time enough to enjoy the blossoms! There isn’t time enough for anything!”
That’s what I’d like to talk about.
Mindful Living 101
In direct opposition to the “There’s not enough time” school of thought is the “Being fully present to the time you have” philosophy. I have a few thoughts to share—words to ponder, as it were, as you go about your Pentecost Sunday (or whatever day you actually read this) with hands open wide for all the graces God will give you.
At least, I hope that’s how you’re mindfully living your life.
If not, what’s holding you back, girlfriend?!
I have two big boys that have moved out of the house. This makes me extra-appreciative of my two little men!
Seven Tips for Practicing Mindful Living
Here’s what I do to pull my head out of the clouds—some tips and tricks to pause the mental “review & regret” playback of my past actions and how I attempt to quell the worry over events that have not taken place.
Being present is the Number 1 Way (that I know) to be happy. It means being here…it means being now.
1. Talk to strangers
Unexpected advice, perhaps, and no doubt easier for an extrovert like me, but you should try it on the days you feel blah. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line and you never know how God will use it!
I do this a lot in the Sam’s Club line. For some reason, this mom-of-many spends a ton of time at Sam’s Club! Last week, there was an older woman ahead of me with a gorgeously decorated sheet cake. I told her as much—“That’s a beautiful cake!”—and she happily shared that it was for her husband’s anniversary on being ordained as a pastor.
Little moments that make a difference—in my life and (I like to think) in hers.
Tip Number 2: Snap a picture or two
(not necessarily at Sam’s Club)
Okay, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here, but why not grab your phone and take a couple pictures as you go about your day? Because there are days when I don’t take pictures and then there are better days when I do.
I remember the days where I took pictures, and it’s fun to look through my phone a week or a month later and think, “We had a lot of fun at the park that day!”
It’s a good way to build up the habit of going to the park again. Little steps to being better.
3. Play a game.
It’s hard not to be mindful when you’re playing a game, unless you’re really good at multitasking. I draw so much inspiration from my boys’ violin teacher, who can take a roly-poly 5-year-old ….
And with a game, justlikethat, she has his attention.
Games are a great way of being present. They tell your children, “I’m here. I care.”
4. Read a good book.
Too obvious? Well, it would be impossible for me to talk about what’s worked for me without sharing one of my tip-top tips: Read good books.
This past year, I read and re-read two pivotal tomes: Deep Work by Cal Newport and Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat. I’ve written about these books before and I’m sure that at some point I’ll review them in full. These books have led to a substantial overhaul of how I live out my day.
Deep Work has helped me to put away my phone and pull away from all the “online shininess”, especially when there’s work to be done. Solve for Happy is an equation to do just that: to make peace with your life; with your gifts; with your failures.
I check these books out from the library; I renew, return and repeat the process. I have them on Audible as well. I am ADDICTED.
5. Along a similar line, try the Unwinding Anxiety app to learn scientifically proven mindfulness tips. I am on my fourth month of building solid new habits by using this program; in fact, I reached out to them to become an affiliate, I love this app so much.
I pray my rosary while the dog smells the smells.
It’s a fairly decent trade-off.
7. Finally, try to lean into Scripture as much as possible.
If your thoughts keep going astray, try meditating on a line from the Bible.
We’re memorizing one verse at a time, as a family, and when my thoughts are extra muddled, I mouth the words of the verse we are learning. Currently we’re working on Romans 8:38-39….and I’m going to try writing it down without looking it up. Here goes! “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor present things nor future things, nor powers, nor height nor depth nor any other (forgetting the EXACT words here) living creature can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Not bad, eh?
I think I almost nailed it. 😉
And that, my friend, is my loving counsel, composed on Pentecost Sunday 2018. I hope this list is helpful, and if you have any tips that help you to be mindful, please share them in the comments.
God’s love & blessings,