Thursday, August 4, 2011

add a little zen to your life

A recent Parents Magazine article caught my eye. It was called “Lessons from a Zen Mommy,” by Bethany Saltman, a Zen Buddhist who has lived in a monastery and devoted one week of every month to silent meditation, but is now living in the noisy real world with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.

Those of you who know me know I do not lead a Zen life whatsoever, but after reading this, making a few changes might not be a bad idea. In the article Saltman gives readers four Zen ideas to think about and ultimately adopt into their lives.

  1. Do what you're doing while you're doing it. Stop multitasking! We can't do everything at the same time even though society and our children practically demand it. How many times have I heard Charlotte say, "No phone Mommy!" If you're like me, stop multitasking and just pay attention to one thing, or person, at a time. Give those little people the attention they deserve! You'll feel better about yourself.
  2. Leave no trace. Take responsibility for yourself and your mess. And teach your child to do the same. Kevin has taught many Leave No Trace programs for nature but I've never thought to apply that principle to the household. Is your home an extension of your thoughts, messy and unorganized? I'm not saying your home has to be spotless, mine sure isn't, but perhaps I need to pick up the mess I leave behind each and every day. I teach the girls to pick up toys and that's an important skill to learn.
  3. Take just the right amount. Limit acquiring too much stuff. We all know our kids have too many toys, but how does it get like that? What example are we for our kids if we go shopping every weekend or let them bring a "toy" home every time we go out. (This can be applied to my eating habits as well. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat.) With the Internet lurking around the couch, it's hard to resist logging into one more time and clicking three times to order something you probably don't need. If this is a lesson you are teaching your children, practice it in your life first!
  4. Practice patience. Don't beat yourself up over things. We all want to be perfect, but even after a lifetime that's not possible. Of course I'm getting better in the patience category, but the girls test me each day. I have to remember to breathe and remind myself that the girls are learning so much every day and I need to be a strong example for them. They are learning by watching me. Of course I loose it sometimes, but that's natural, so don't go beating yourself up about it. Just remind your kids how much you love them and how the problem can be solved without getting frustrated.
I sure hope you got something out of that. I thought Saltman wrote a very good article. I like to read articles that remind me what I need to do in order to continually examine myself and grow. Count your blessings and realize how fortunate you are. My new job has given me such insight into my own life. It's made me realize how extremely fortunate I am to have a loving, healthy family and most of all, a place to live and food to eat. 

A mom friend of mine has five children and is adopting a 2-year-old girl from China. In the middle of this process, she was approached because a 14-year-old girl in China has 4 weeks to be adopted or she will be "unadoptable" and who knows what would happen to her. Yes, my friend is taking both girls into her family and making it a family of seven children. I think this is amazing and it makes me want to be a better person and lead a better life. How can you lead a better, healthier, fuller life??

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