The significance of paying attention to the present moment is a message I have been receiving a lot recently. This can take on many forms: your mindset, ability to show gratitude to God, the choice of language and how you respond to others.
Over the course of being a mother thus far, I have been guided by God to appreciate the small moments, the ones that can otherwise so quickly be lost in translation or overlooked in the blink of an eye. I recently read an essay from Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn, it was the essay titled: The Work of Re-seeing. The essence of the essay is centred upon the importance of paying attention to those around you, even those you have been in love with for many years. Even in the mundanity of life, such as prepping dinner whilst others around you are also busying themselves, it is crucial to check in with the present moment, truly listen to the other person who is speaking to you and admire them for who they are right now. To quote a sentence from the book which really touched me:
“To feel their fragility and their preciousness and their newness, even when they seem familiar.”
I guess, what I’m getting at here is that, in the pace of life it is so easy to take for granted those who you hold nearest to you. It’s like that famous saying that almost seems cliche and it is used in many Hollywood romantic movies, but you really don’t know what you had until it’s gone. I believe, without sounding morbid, this is true of the present moment. Think about it, right now, you have decided to take the time to read this (which I am truly grateful for) and as you read this there will be certain loved ones that spring to mind. You will consider momentarily how much you appreciate them and what fulness they bring to your life. But, if you’re honest with yourself and dig deeper, consider how you treat them. I’m not implying that you mistreat loved ones for one second, but do you see them clearly, take out time, even for a few seconds, to admire them? I know it’s a difficult practice to uphold, but with discipline I believe it to be achievable and, as time goes on, with the regular practise of checking in with the present moment, you will find yourself increasing the periods of time in which you truly see that loved one.
I believe the same to be true of childhood. Raising children is, let’s be honest, a rollercoaster: you literally have ups and downs and it can feel like you’re riding this turbulent rollercoaster all the day long. I get it. Societal, life pressures demand us to be great at everything: job, home, friendships, family, fitness, health, wealth and the list goes on. It’s tricky to feel truly at peace when there is so much whizzing around your brain. But, these moments, the metaphorical twinkle in your child’s eyes when they are happy with something they have achieved; we can all too quickly overlook this incredible moment and be in the rat race of following our ego, thinking of the ‘next best thing’. Sometimes, because I am so busy being a mother, I forget that my little Olivia has a separateness to me. I know this may sound odd, but because I, as I’m sure you are, so intertwined in your child’s life, as you have been since day one, you forget that they are their own character, their own independent soul. As much as our children learn from us, I do believe we learn and can have the capacity to learn so much from them. This may take its form in patience, kindness, adaptability or even fun-naturedness. Whichever way you look at it, your child has made you grow also and deeper your awareness of yourself, but all you need to do is pay attention to it. Again, as quoted from the aforementioned book, J. D. McClatchy states the following:
“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”
So, I suppose, the intention of this blog article is to illuminate the importance of noticing. Pay attention to your loved ones. If you’re anything like me, I have a very focused, sharp mind and although this can seen as a positive aspect of my personality, I am aware that I need to listen more. When I say ‘listen more’, I don’t just mean listening with my hearing, but listening to the other person’s body language and what emotions they are conveying. I know that when Olivia speaks to me, I am listening, but because I have always been there every step of the way, I sometimes forget her separateness and individuality. I recognise a lot of myself in her and I want her to know that she is understood, that I empathise with and respect her wholeheartedly. This is something I pledge to uphold throughout her childhood, teenage years and so-on.
When I look retrospectively at her childhood thus far, I am flabbergasted with how much she has grown, how her personality has flourished and how she is her own person. I look back to the newborn stage and then every stage therein afterwards and remember snippets of them. I now see the importance of being present and, not only paying attention to her, but also to how I am feeling in the present moment. When Olivia was a baby, around fifteen months old, I wrote a poem about holding her hand whilst she slept. I knew in that moment that I never wanted to forget those emotions and so wrote it down. Journaling or writing poetry, whichever is your style, is a fantastic opportunity to convey your emotions and musings. Therefore, I wanted to end today’s post by sharing my poem from March 2020 with you.
Your Hand in Mine
Your hand in mind is a treasure to behold,
A memory so precious, like solid gold.
I don’t want you to ever let go,
You lift my spirits when I am feeling low.
My best friend and my miracle intertwined,
Oh how wonderful I feel when your hand is in mine.
It would mean so much to me if you could take the time to either like or comment on this post, I am always excited to hear about other people’s experiences.