Mindfulness (my word of the year for 2022) has been ever-present on my mind as we wind down these dark, cold, days of 2021.
Sometimes, it is relatively easy. Like, the other day when my son called…
He is in his late-ish 30s now and is (as I’ve said before) autistic. When I moved to Canada, he was 16. I’ve shared all the reasons we chose to have him stay in California with his dad, and while I regret not making another choice about where I (and my then-new husband and my son) would land, I do not regret his living with his father. Like my former therapist used to say, “It’s not like you left him with some hobo on the corner. You allowed his father to be his caregiver. You ALL chose what was best for your son!” <<< And yet, I still have dreams where I am faced with the choice, anew. Funny how the brain keeps on trying to process through painful memories – even 20 years later. *sigh* But I digress.
In the beginning, my son and I talked daily. My daughters, who were 18 and 19 at the time, didn’t need to talk as frequently. For all three, the phone calls have now dwindled down to what I imagine many other parents face… about once a week.
That my son is autistic means we have A PLAN. We have a timer – we get one hour or more together, always. Even in those early days when we talked daily. Truth be told, it was as much for him, as for me. I missed my children horribly and from the beginning held a stabbing kind of guilt and grief that I’d done things all wrong. As you can see, it is so easy to fall back into those self-defeating habits.
I haven’t even gotten to the mindfulness part!
Last week, we were talking when I suddenly realized I hadn’t heard what he said. This is *exactly* the kind of thing I want to avoid in all aspects of my life going forward! And with our children… it is even more important. Even when they’re adults!
My goal is to concentrate on **what is in front of me** instead of other junk that has nothing to do with the task at hand!
So, I asked my son to repeat himself and repeated my understanding of what he’d said. Nobody was the wiser… but dang, I felt bad.
PS: I know I need to find other places to go… rather than… First stop: Guiltsville. Ugh. I’m kinda working on that, too!
None of that has anything to do with our little pinecone friend in the featured photo. Let me tell you about that.
I was walking into my fave discount book store when I noticed the little guy nestled into the snow and thought it would make a pretty picture. So, I snapped it. I had to do some editing of the zooming-in variety – no editing otherwise – and saved it.
I’d had to bend waaaaay over to get the shot because it was (obviously) on the ground.
When I stood up, I looked around and snapped another shot of the surroundings, which… uh… didn’t include a pine tree.
It’s like it was put there just for me. 🙂
That tiny pine cone can’t even be seen from this photo… even though it’s there. It’s all about perspective and noticing what’s around you.
I mean, this doesn’t make the most alluring photo, does it? But focusing in on something small and beautiful within this scene makes all the difference!
So, that’s what I’d like to convey to you today.
Look at your surroundings instead of just rushing by.
Listen to your kids’ talk – focus on each word that is so very important to them.
Learn to focus on each and every moment.
That’s what I’m doing… we can do it together! I’m giving myself a full year to get it right. I hope you’ll join me!