Sara Whitman

Mindful Living

Filed By Sara Whitman | May 17, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: buddism, personal growth

It is hard to let go. To be totally present in the moment, not look forward, not look back, just be.

Buddhists call it mindful living. Being aware of the present, all of the present. For me it's like listening in on a chaotic family meeting. I have so many different voices pulling at me. Different parts of who I am, all clamoring for attention.

There is the Tough Guy, who just wants to go out and have fun, break rules, live wild and on impulse. There is the Worrier, always fraught about something, or someone. There is the General, who wants to go go go, be bigger, better, faster than anyone else. Often talked over, the Athlete is annoyed at what terrible shape I'm in. The Mother, who wants to care take, make everything nice for everyone, and is still upset about not making homemade baby food.

Give it up, sister, it's been a long time.

Then, of course, there are the lurkers, the ones that you have to listen hard to hear. The Little Girl, who's pain scares all the rest. The Needy one, who paces back and forth, wishing only to be held, for the noise to stop.

I know. I sound like Sybil, don't I? It's not as if they are real separate beings, just very real voices that drive me on a daily basis. Sometimes, one gets in charge and moves me in an off kilter direction - like the General. The General's direction is to get a real job, earn some real money, and move on with life.

Not such a bad idea. Except that the Mother hates it, the Athlete knows it means no time to work out, and the Tough Guy is completely against anything that would mean structure. The Worrier... well, the Worrier worries. How will it work out? What will happen to the kids? Will it strain the marriage?

The Little Girl knows it means more layers to work through to be heard.

The catch is to be mindful of them all. Take pieces of each, because each is incredibly valuable. I love being spontaneous, a mother, and I don't think I'll ever give up worrying. I do want to be successful, although I'm not sure what it looks like.

And I want the Little Girl to be heard, held, and comforted.

I've been trying to sit with all of them, to listen, and to find the good in all of them. It's not easy to do. The fire needs more wood, or the ocean looks calm enough to take a boat out onto and the dog would love to take yet another walk.

But I'm trying.

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mizz t. casa | May 17, 2009 2:35 PM

i'm trying to mindfully eat.

The process you are going through is amazing. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sara, one for the biggest "a-ha" moments I had when I first started studying Buddism was the "3rd option". We love to be either/or in the West, but Eastern thought led me to this 3rd possibility:

1. Attachment - clutching, holding tight, not letting go, obsessing........

2. Aversion - the opposite of attachment; shunning, pushing away, rejecting...

3. Bare Awareness - allowing it to rest in your palm, without attachment NOR aversion. (awareness of present WITHOUT judgement).

Problem is, all of the "wisdom" I learned in my late 20's was absent during a crisis in my late 30's since I no longer maintained a REGULAR Spiritual Practice. A Buddhist friend remarks how "we forget" - thus we need to "practice" each day.

I admire you, your family, and your willingness to share and "be open".