Mindfulness and Falling in Love

A funny thing has happened during this quarantine: I’ve slowly fallen in love with my house. That may sound strange but stay with me.

I didn’t always love my house. Too small. Too old. Not enough. Maybe you know this drill? Knowing that, you’d think that being trapped in this house with four other people would mean I’d grow to hate it more, not love it.

But just the opposite has happened, and I think I know why.

I’ve really tried to practice what I preach and use mindfulness skills to stay in the present moment to buffer against too much anxiety or sadness. Let’s be real, I say too much because we’re all going to be somewhat anxious and sad. I can’t control the state of the world, but I can control how I attach to those emotions and allow them to influence my thoughts and behaviors.

Mindfulness: the active and purposeful focusing of our attention.

Mindfulness is a popular word these days, but I am not sure everyone knows what they’re talking about when they use it. Yes, mindfulness includes meditation, but it is so much more. I meditate, but I also spend much of my day trying to really take in what is around me. This is to keep me grounded and present. Present when things are good and present when they’re going south, so that I can recognize signs and pull myself back from doing any permanent damage to the people involved.

When we’re grounded and present with our own emotions, it makes us better to ourselves and others. We choose our behaviors wisely. We choose our words for productivity, not pain. We can’t do either if we’re not tuned in to who we are and what we need at any given time.

So, I practice mindfulness.

Somewhere in all the mindfulness of quarantine, I’ve fallen in love with my house. I’ve started to really see it for what it is: a home. It’s small and cluttered and there are far too many tumbleweeds of dog hair. But, it also provides safety and space for all of us to get our tasks completed. It is efficient and well laid out with everything having its place. Best? On sunny days it is full of light in every room. Mostly though, what I’ve come to see is that it is here, inside this house, where I feel most loved.

Of course, I also feel frustrated and angry and sad and overwhelmed inside this house. But when I really pay attention, when I purposefully focus my attention, it’s love I feel above all else.

Where are you focusing your attention these days? Where do you feel most loved? Now, I challenge you to try to use the first answer to get to the second. Shift your gaze. Focus on the good.

If you want a playlist to help with tuning in or even a few guided meditations, you can find them on the Resources for Parents post here. You don’t need to be a parent to like either one.

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