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By the end of 2014, our home didn't feel very mindful. Toys
were scattered everywhere. The kids were watching hours of TV a day. My anxious
mind raced even more than usual, skittering from worry to ideas to more worry: The kids are watching way too much TV. We
should've baked Christmas cookies this year. Should we go to Disney in February?
Amidst the chaos in my head and home, I kept circling back
to the word "mindful."
I looked around our house. I'd meant to declutter and make
room for the onslaught of gifts, but I hadn't. It was time.
I decided to start with three ways of bringing more mindfulness
into our home in 2015.
1. More yoga and more meditation
Everybody wins—or at least loosens their hamstrings a bit.
Even if it's
three minutes each morning spent wrangling my monkey mind back to focusing on
my breath, I'm going to make more time to meditate. It works. When I took an
eight-week meditation class last summer, I was so much more serene. I don't
fully understand why, but when I make time daily for yoga and/or meditation,
I'm more present and able to remain calm for longer, even when my kids are
freaking out. I'm hyper-aware that my kids are growing up quickly, and I want
to be present for as much of the time I have with them as possible.
I'm also signing the kids up for a children's
yoga class, which runs concurrently with an adult yoga class at the same
studio. Everybody wins—or at least loosens their hamstrings a bit.
When we upsized our home a year
ago, I forgot about the need for regular purging. It's a necessity for life
with young children if I expect to maintain any semblance of order. Kids bring
home so much stuff, from art projects and school paperwork to little plastic odds
and ends from birthday party goodie bags. It's constant.
I reinvigorated our decluttering
process by walking around the house with my 5-year-old, asking him if there
were any toys he could pass on or throw away. To my surprise and delight, he
allowed me to throw away several toys that no longer worked properly, and to
pass on a few pieces of clothing and toys that he'd outgrown. There will be
other knick-knacks that I will sneak out of the house while the kids are at
school, but I was so proud that my son helped me declutter. I was also happy,
after the toy orgy of Christmas, to teach him about passing on items to people
who may need them more than we do.
Before having children, I imagined
the crunchy little haven I'd create for them, free of sugar, disposable diapers
and TV. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. My kids' fingerprints—and
breathmarks—are all over my iPad. The other day, I heard the TV yawn from being
on so much.
As for me, I'm on my iPhone far
too often. Whether it's checking on work-related emails or exchanging texts with
friends, I reach for my phone almost as often as I reach for my coffee cup. And
that's A LOT. I'll be cutting down on my own screen time, especially while I'm
with my kids.
The technology habit we've been allowing
in our family is the opposite of mindful; it's mindless. And I can't help but
think that whatever peaceful new neural pathways I'm creating with meditation
are being cancelled out by my phone addiction.