The Gift Worth Giving Myself

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I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. But this past December I was thinking about changes I’d like in my life. The one that kept coming to mind was mindfulness.

For me, this means improving my overall mental health. Slowing down to become more aware of my actions and reactions. Being present in my surroundings. Taking time to enjoy this beautiful life.

Mindfulness is a work in progress. It isn’t always easy. I’m used to rushing all the time. I hurry to finish one chore, just so I can get to the next.

This past weekend I decided to deadhead the roses, cut back overgrown plants, and scoop up leaves. We have a large yard, so I knew I couldn’t get it all done. But I wanted to try.

I went from one plant to the next, snipping as fast as my fingers could squeeze the pruning shears. I stopped myself.

Go back, Jenny. Pay attention. Look at that gorgeous flower. It just started to bloom. Notice the bright yellow color, the shape of each blossom, the thorns on the stem. Be thankful for this small miracle, right here in my own backyard. What am I doing this work for, if I can’t stop to enjoy it?Β 

When I gazed at that rose and sniffed its sweet scent, I took a deep breath. I felt relaxed and rooted to the earth, right where I was, engaged in what I was doing. It almost felt like I was stopping time, just for a moment.

Mindfulness isn’t complicated. It comes to me in simple ways. Such as when I brush my teeth with my electric toothbrush. I close my eyes and notice how it feels like a massage to my gums. How the brush gently shakes in my hand. The taste of the toothpaste. The smell of the mint.

Last night at dinner I ate slower. Sometimes I feel as if I’m shoveling the food in, just to finish, so I can hurry and clean the kitchen. I forced myself to take the time to notice the texture of the chicken and taste of the spices. How creamy the sour cream was on my baked potato. The crunch of the lettuce leaves. The soft but firm feel of the broccoli when I bit into it. I was thankful I had this delicious food to make.

Toward the end of our meal, my husband said, “Why did I eat so much faster than you?” I told him about my mindful experiment. It wasn’t that he was eating faster, it was that I was eating slower.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to pay attention as much as I can. I’m hopeful it’ll get so natural, that it’ll become part of my routine. Not that I won’t be zipping around, trying to get everything done. I know there will be times I’ll forget to notice life going on around me. It takes practice.

I’m going to be mindful of being mindful.

Slowing down to pay attention to life is a gift to myself. Attention really is a rare and pure form of generosity.

I’m worth it. We all are.

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41 thoughts on “The Gift Worth Giving Myself

  1. Wonderful post! I’ve been doing my best lately to focus on mindfulness and gratitude. It may take a little more effort than just barreling full speed ahead through life, but the benefits are immeasurable.

    Keep up the good work! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am working on mindfulness as well! And it is such a work in progress! I rush to get house work and errands done and am either exhausted before the end of the day or feel a sense of regret for not spending more time in something important. So, I really get that sensing to slow down and take a moment. I have a 15 month old daughter that more and more I find myself taking a slow morning or afternoon just admiring her growth and all she can and is learning to do, to holding on to the hugs and cuddles longer and feeling the relaxation I do need. It truly does create better mental/emotional stability. Enjoyed this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for visiting my blog and the nice comment! Mindfulness is definitely a work in progress. It’s great that you’re taking steps to be more mindful. I know that’s not easy with little ones. When my girls were little, it seemed like I rarely slowed down to just enjoy the moment. Looking back, I wish I would’ve done that more. There’s always so much to do when the kids are small, it’s exhausting. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but time rushes by way too fast, and our kids grow up much too quickly. So I’m really happy for you, that you’re mindful of being present, enjoying the moment. It’s great to connect with you!

      Liked by 1 person

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