Wherever you are, be all there.

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(image Mindful Mummy)

When I first came across this quote by Jim Elliot I loved it straight away. It struck an instant chord with me so I pinned it on Pinterest and that was that. Only it wasn’t…..the quote stayed with me all day long and kept resurfacing to remind me that, actually, I wasn’t there. Instead of listening while Luca was jumping around excitedly chatting to me about his dinosaur Bill, I was worrying about whether he would ever manage to sit still and focus when he started school later in the year. While Matteo was eating his lunch (and dropping most of it!), I was thinking about the floor and the fact that I could no longer put off cleaning it. At the park with the boys I was checking my phone, frantically trying (mid push on the swing) to catch up with a backlog of texts and emails. And then, when I finally gave the present my undivided attention and wanted to capture it with a photo, I couldn’t because my phone memory was jammed full. As I hurriedly scrolled through trying to delete all the unnecessary pictures, I missed the boat entirely and it was too late. The moment had passed.

Unlike many people, I have only had a ‘modern phone’ for just over a year thanks to my husband’s constant cajoling. Before that I was the proud owner of an old (some might say prehistoric) Nokia with very basic functions. People would often ask me how I could manage without a camera, internet access, apps etc….to the point where I found myself pre-empting the comments and making excuses in advance for not having a newer phone. ‘The kids would only break it’. ‘I really don’t need constant internet access’, and such like. I think the truth is I knew deep down that having so much tempting possibility at my fingertips could end up taking over everything else. But, after the birth of our second son, Paul’s persuading really took hold. When he returned from work I would tell him what Matteo had done that day and the conversation would go something like this:

Me: He smiled for the first time today and it was just gorgeous. I wish you’d been there.

Paul: Did you get a photo?

Me: Er no, the camera wasn’t charged.

Me: Oh and Luca was trying to play with him earlier, it was the sweetest thing.

Paul: Did you video it?

Me: No, I don’t know where the video camera is.

So, finally, I accepted that maybe there were some merits in having a smartphone….and it was an instant hit. Suddenly I could keep up more easily with friends and family on Facebook and Whatsapp, capture all those special moments with photos and videos and download all sorts of apps to help make life a bit easier. I was delighted and wished I had done it sooner. But, over the following days and weeks, the phone became a bigger and bigger feature in my daily life. I carried it with me everywhere, panicked if it wasn’t in sight and the day that Luca said wistfully, ‘mummy, can you put your phone down,’ I realised that I had to find a better balance. I didn’t want to go back to the days without a smartphone because I had come to rely on it so much but I also didn’t want to be so obsessed with it that it became yet another distraction in my life. I decided there must be a way to successfully combine a more mindful lifestyle with a fast-paced and technology-driven world. And that’s when I came up with my 3 mottos:

1. Have daily ‘phone-free’ time.

For me this is, for example, during meal times or when I am playing with the boys. It’s so tempting to constantly check that you haven’t missed something on Facebook or Twitter but, if you rarely have time away from them, you end up watching everyone else’s life and missing your own!

A man and woman talk at the bar. (Newscom TagID: cncartoons024468.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
A man and woman talk at the bar. (Newscom TagID: cncartoons024468.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
2. Capture at least some images mindfully.

It’s great that we can take and share photos so easily nowadays but sometimes the mental image is just as powerful, if not more so, than the digital image….and we need to remember that as we are about to reach for the camera.

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(image from Pinterest)

3. Enjoy the children as they are right now.

I’m sure most parents would agree that children are as much a source of worry as they are joy but I am sure they would also agree that, in the end, the majority of the worries were unnecessary and unfounded. When will they walk? When will they talk? Will they make friends at school? Will they grow up to be polite and respectful adults etc. etc. It’s important to openly embrace and enjoy the little person they are right now, without all the fears for the future, because the time will pass quickly and we will never have these moments with them again. Let’s make the most of them!

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(image Mindful Mummy)

So remember….wherever you are, be all there!


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