When I was a very young single Mom, I was busy all the time – working, preparing meals, shopping, cleaning our home and the kitty litter, doing the endless care young children require. The earlier I would set the alarm to have a precious slice of time to meditate, the earlier I’d hear little feet padding into my room to enjoy some peaceful time with Mommy before we had to get ready to leave. To encourage myself and feel less trapped, I tacked up a funny postcard of cars stuck in traffic that said, “Millions of people leave home every day.”
Then I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” Thây’s book changed my life. He taught me how time with my child is time with and for myself when I’m truly mindful. The on-going despair I felt about having so little time to meditate lifted. A new sense of miraculous possibility drew me ever more deeply into the practice. I was fascinated and grateful.
Still, I often felt impatient, then guilty, and anxious about keeping it all together. And yet, when we’re present with life just as it is, resting our hearts in loving awareness of what’s actually happening — even in the face of adversity and difficult emotions — we’re doing something so good and important on our path!
Mindfulness helps us steady our hearts and calm our minds, so when we encounter physical or emotional troubles, we can meet them with some measure of patience, stability and confidence. You may have already faced unexpected challenges that arrived in your life.
Patience is my least favorite quality to practice; it doesn’t come easily to me. I walk among rocks, lichen, moss and marvel at their patience! And I know from long experience that when we practice care-fully redirecting our attention to what’s here, now, our life blooms, even in the midst of suffering.
Image Credit: T. Goodman