I am running errands, driving to REI to return some uncomfortable hiking pants. It is a very average day.
I’m listening to a talk about mindful parenting with Jack Kornfield. He is telling a story of a mother speaking very harshly to her child. The mother in Jack’s story is threatening to “give her son something to cry about, if he doesn’t shut up…Now!”. My eyes fill with tears as I think of that little child and his little blameless soul… Without wanting to, I picture my own children and the last time I scolded them, (my own memory is nothing like the story Jack was telling, but still… we all know sometimes we loose our patience… and I’m sure after we are calm again, we all wish we hadn’t …).
I find myself parked in front of REI fighting back tears and suddenly silently praying…. praying that my children feel loved, helped, connected and respected…. I wish for them to feel this even in the moment that their mama losses her patience over the spilled milk, the grabbing of toys, the refusing to put a sweater on, over whatever…
I take some deep breaths and remind myself of all the moments, in which I just know, they felt celebrated. Then (because I have to, because my heart hurts for the inevitable pain they have and will experience), I remind myself of the theory that when children can experience conflict in a supportive relationship and “recover” from it with the support of a loving adult that this is actually helpful to them.
I remind myself of all the things I/we all know about mindful parenting. And yet my heart still aches for this little boy in Jack’s story and for the moments when my own children seem sadden by their mama’s words or tone. And my heart aches for all the children who need more kindness in their lives. And I recommit to being as kind as I can…
I remember a quote Sylvia Boorstein often shares, “Life is so difficult, how can we be anything but kind”. And I cry in the parking lot for all the times I wasn’t… And I cry a little to for all the time I was. Then I recommit to trying again and again to be kind, to be the kindness I seek.
And there I am, having a moment with my children, my own childhood, the other young one in my life now and those yet to come into it. I’m just off the interstate, in the parking lot of a shopping center having a very intimate experience.
Mindfulness can do that… bring us into contact with what is true and real, regardless of where we are or what we are doing.
You can have this too:
By (1) paying attention to your experience, (2) allowing yourself to feel the way you do and (3) caring about it. You can also have intimacy right off the highway… or wherever you may be.
Share your story with us in the comment section. And please, join me in this commitment of kindness. And whenever we might forget this commitment, together will all recommit again and again and then, yet again.
Rebekkah LaDyne is based in the San Francisco Bay Area where she teaches Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga.
She teaches group class, individual sessions and retreats. She has published 2 Instructional Yoga and Mindfulness CDs for home practice. EnjoyMindfulYoga.com