Wanderers of Mind

Before us, we have this day. This moment. And we are told, over and over, that it is in this precious moment that we find joy. We battle, most of us, with distraction, procrastination, daydreaming and, well… facebook, that keep us from the fullness of the present.

What we’re told is true – this now is what memories are made of, it is fleeting and beautiful and the only thing that is ever really our own. Its flavour is worth savouring.

But a lot of us find that difficult sometimes. We vow to try harder, do better…. to be here more.

The thing is, we are natural wanderers of mind.

Today my toddler tripped – running in circles with both hands down his pants threw him a little off balance – and despite landing somewhere soft he screamed as teething toddlers do, with rage at the insult of it. All the while my five year old HAD to tell me, right at that very moment, a remarkably long Lego related tale. The frustration of being talked over sparked a tantrum mid screaming fit – much flailing ensued – which my Lego enthused boy responded to by talking all the louder. Apparently as a parent you’re not supposed to hide in the cupboard at these times. Nor in the moments when you’re cleaning out the pantry with the kids and turn around to find said kids feeding each other between their mouths like birds do.

Life has moments of exquisite muchness and it also has moments when it’s a bit much. The scrubbing toilet moments, the kitchen dirty again moments, the folding laundry moments, the moments when you’re tired but there’s no time to be.

And it’s normal to want to wander when those things happen. Presence is effortless in the joyful times, the easy ones. The sound of laughter is grounding, a hug from someone you love holds you where you want to be… but other times, you drift a little.

Maybe we need to be more at ease with ourselves. Maybe we need to aim for presence, but acknowledge the preciousness of escape. Maybe the impossible standards we set for ourselves cause more problems for us than our wandering minds.

Perhaps we can acknowledge that life in all its beauty and madness doesn’t captivate us sometimes, and be ok with that. There is so much richness to be found in the moment – whatever that moment is – but there is richness to daydreams as well. There is connection in social media, ideas on the internet, other worlds in books.

Without the “should be’s”, we can venture there for a moment or two, then come back with a new perspective. One of gratitude for our kids or our work, our partners or homes. We might find new ideas, or the urge to question.

Wandering is inevitable, it is part of our journey, but we come back to the present so much easier if we don’t make baggage part of it.

Perhaps, instead of aiming for total presence, we should aim to create more moments that keep us here effortlessly. To infuse our days with more silliness, sing to the radio more, dance in the kitchen, add a little fun to the work we do.

I wish you a beautiful day today – a beautiful now. One that captures you easily and allows you to marvel in all that makes up your present moment… but I also wish you beautiful daydreams and escapes that bring laughter where you wouldn’t have otherwise found it.

Enjoy the journey, wanderer.

wanderer

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Maintaining the Mind

We are where we are, for the most part, due to choices, and for the rest often due to energy and intention. That’s not to say that experiences don’t come into our lives for a reason, that there isn’t learning to be found in them, but it is ultimately our own perception that unwraps the present.

My focus at the moment is maintaining my mind, but like most of us my attempts at sabotage are impressive.  Perhaps at our core we are both order and chaos. It is the order that encourages meditation, reflection and peace, and the chaos that seeks to sustain itself, so convinces us otherwise, with tiredness, procrastination, and all the ‘busy’ we surround ourselves with.

Things have been hectic lately. Possibly more so than usual or possibly the same, I might just be unwrapping it differently. Ultimately I am only ever in this moment, and more often than not this moment feels good. It’s all the other moments I keep jumping to that trip me up and stop me noticing the present before me.

I realize that the solution to this is meditation – it’s training my mind to drown out the noise of all the ‘stuff’ and focus. That focus can be on what I want, on the idea of the greater good, or even just on the fullness of the moment.

When I do this I find clarity, joy and an immense amount of perspective. It’s not that the puzzle falls into place so much as I realize that it was never out of place to begin with. It doesn’t have to take long, five or ten minutes once or twice a day even. It’s pretty impressive that such a tiny investment of time can have such great returns, proven returns even, with numerous studies and even quantum physics affirming that our thoughts and intentions shape our reality.

But how many of us actually do it?

More often than not we externalize. We maintain our houses, our cars, our finances, our jobs, our families, our pets, our bodies – but how many of us honestly can say that we invest the time to maintain our minds and spirits – the greatest influencers of our experience?

I read an analogy once about teaching children give and take. It suggested having two jars half filled with marbles. When you did something kind for them, you would place one of your marbles in their jar, and when they did something kind for you they would do the opposite. If either jar became empty there was no more to give. I like that. It’s a visual way of showing that we need to take care of each other.

Maybe we need to do it for ourselves too.

Giving doesn’t need to take away from us, doing something for another doesn’t need to drain us, and intense times in our lives don’t need to stress us. But they often do – because if we’re not putting anything back we’re prone to losing our marbles ;)

We are physical beings, and that’s good, but we’re more than that too.

Today, I’m going to nurture the ‘more’. I’m going to maintain my mind.

Today I’m going to take that ten minutes twice a day for me. I’m going to take it back from the internet, the television or the hamster wheel of thoughts that might otherwise be in its place.

I’m not going to let tiredness be an excuse, because rest is so much more restorative when I’m at peace.

I’m going to remember that there are many ways to give, and that my joy, like other’s, is infectious. I can give more to those around me when my jar is full – and I have the ability to fill it.

In doing this I will be more aware of this mind that I’m maintaining. I will naturally use words that are kind, and unwrap the world before me with the perspective of the present.

I don’t need to do anything fancy to make this happen. I don’t need to lose myself in techniques and how-to’s, I just need to reclaim that little bit of time and be aware of my breath, be aware of the now, and hold onto a positive feeing. My only goal in that time is to silence the ‘stuff’ and connect to that ‘something greater’. Some call it God, some call it their higher selves, and some just call it their subconscious. It doesn’t matter what I call it and it doesn’t even matter if some of the ‘stuff’ gets through the silence. It matters that I’m there. It matters that I’m choosing my highest good in that moment.

I deserve this today, and tomorrow too. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’m going to do it a bit at a time, because that’s the way that things usually get done.

I might try to talk myself out of it again, to sabotage it with tiredness or busyness or ‘stuff’, but that’s ok, because I’m going to come back to this.

 Today I’m going to remember not to lose my marbles.

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Happy Birthday to Us

 “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

My Baby Boy,

This day, almost a year ago, I was awaiting the birth I didn’t want, for the child I desperately did. Like many things in life, it didn’t go quite to plan. Like many things in motherhood, it required more courage than I’d expected.

But we did it. And amidst the beautiful madness there you were – absolutely perfectly… sticky. And ours. You opened your sleepy eyes and looked at me, and you owned that room, baby boy. You owned us.

My hand shook as I shielded you from the harsh light. I’d wanted dim light and a blissful water birth, I’d wanted gentle and empowering. I’d wanted peaceful and natural and perfect. But you were so beautiful that I didn’t care about what wasn’t. I didn’t care about the people bustling around the theatre, or the tugging at my tummy.  

And that made it a different kind of perfect. A different kind of empowering.

You were born that day, but you weren’t the only one.

A mother was born, a mother that had never existed before. A mother of one had been in her place, but you birthed a mother of two.

This mother had only ever existed in the other mothers dreams, in her plans, in her hopes. Oh she had hoped. And there she was, bursting with newness and joy, seeing things differently, as you saw them for the first time.

A father was born, a stronger one than before. One who had tapped into all his strength to sit beside his wife and tell her everything was ok with a look. A father of two was born that day, and that courage made him bigger – big enough to love you both, to guide you both, to be a man that you would be so proud to call your Dad.

And at home with Grandma, waiting for a phonecall, was a small boy who had spent three and a half years as an only child. He loved the idea of you with all his little heart. You took the word ‘brother’ and made it mean something to him. He wore it so proudly for you. You didn’t wake when he came to visit you that first time, and I’m not surprised. Hearing his voice through sleep was probably a lot like hearing it through my belly, familiar as a hearbeat, comforting as the lullabies he sung my bump every single day.

A big brother was born that day, and you changed his world.

You see baby boy: when you were born, a family was born. It wasn’t just changed, it was absolutely turned on its head and recreated – because you deserved nothing less.

And when we gazed at you those first days and fell so deeply in love with you we fell in love with each other more too. Your stickiness stuck us together.

This past year has been a blur of tiredness, cuddles, laughter, tears and beautiful firsts. My heart has burst with joy for you every time I see your eyes light up at a new discovery. I have loved in ways I never knew as I watched my boys look at each other like they were looking at their own personal superheroes.

On Sunday I’m going to wish you happy birthday, baby boy. And I’m going to wish us a happy birthday too. Our family – one year old. That was the gift that you gave us that day for the first time, and that we are going to keep on giving eachother every day.

I hope you like your present little one. Your presence is ours.

Happy Birthday to us xx

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2012

This is my mandala

Some days feel like madness, but they’re not.

The same clothes, washed and hung, to be folded and dirtied again. The dishes that were scrubbed earlier covered in food, soaking in the sink again. The floor, just vacuumed, collecting dust and dirt from hurried footsteps, begging to be cleaned again. The children that were just so freshly washed, now dirty and giggling as their faces are wiped again.

It looks like a hamster wheel, my day, the endless repetition of chores. But it’s not.

It’s my mandala.

Buddhists believe that change is the only constant in life. That you can only be truly present in this moment by understanding its fleetingness. They call it impermanence.

They symbolize it by creating mandalas – intricate patterns of coloured sand that consume their time and focus. Then they take that finished product, that breathtaking creation, and they destroy it.  

Much like my children do to my clean house.

Sometimes we need to find meaning in our actions, we need to remind ourselves why the mundane can be grand. We need to be here, be present, whatever our task is for today.

We need to make this moment our meditation.

The beauty of my mandala is my children’s smiles. The intricacies of it are the nuances of my family that only I can tend to. The symbolism of it is love – crazy, messy, beautiful love. And the fact that I will wake tomorrow and do it all again is my impermanence.

Your mandala might be different to mine. It might be your work that never seems to get finished, or your goals that are constantly pursued. But by being present in its creation you make it your meditation – and it is beautiful indeed.