God Bless Thee, Merry Mindful Folk
Can I be mindful, instead of having a mind full (of stuff)?
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”― John Milton, Paradise Lost
It’s December 23rd, evening. I am getting mentally prepared to take a long drive to Los Angeles tomorrow, where my husband and I will spend Christmas with some of my siblings. As grownups we no longer hang the stockings for Santa Claus who always left us gifts. Instead we have to find the spirit of Santa Claus in our hearts. Then, we can be kind, generous, and joyous to each other, and to the world beyond the family. Growing up in a Catholic home, we were taught that the ultimate gift was Jesus. He was born to the world as a human like us, a miraculous gift from God and the Spirit, the third, Incarnate part that completed the holy, mysterious Trinity.
Separated now from the institutional Church of my girlhood, I still belong to a larger Church, the one that includes all people and living things, and the earth we are fortunate to inhabit. I’m seeking Meaning, Unity, and Wisdom in my life and the world.
I’ve had a busy December, complicated by the flu virus and an unfortunate fall that I took, smashing my face on the sidewalk (but not breaking anything). My ongoing clients have kept me busy, and I have new projects and many “catch-up” items to work on, networking meetings and colleagues to attend to, So now, finally, December 23rd, I have stopped the busy-ness of business.
“Merry and Mindful”
“Merry Mindfulness” comes from a reflection written and shared by Sally Mitchell, owner of Body Flows in Sonoma, at a SEVA Conscious Business Networking meeting. I hope you will read it and enjoy it, too. Here is how Sally explained the words “merry” and “mindful:”
The word “merry” comes from the word “merriment” which means happy, joyful, fun, full of praise, and grateful.
The word “mindfulness” is defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of numerous mindfulness meditation for stress reduction books and audios, as “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about know what is on your mind.”
Sally asks how we can stay merry and mindful in our business and our personal lives, during the often stress-filled and emotionally charged holiday season. Great question! While I lack training and experience in “merry mindfulness,” I make it up with an open heart and mind, and a willingness to practice even if I stumble a bit.
New Experiences Not Re-runs
I’m about to make the highly symbolic, long drive back to childhood memories and they are not always happy ones. I’ve made this “drive”, literally and metaphorically, many times. However, I can choose to experience these present moments of family togetherness as new as they really are. I needn’t interpret them from the deep patterns inside of me. Each moment is unique and will never repeat itself. If I stay mindful, it will keep me balanced, aware and safe from emotional bombshells of dysfunction.
Plus, I can be merry…silly…wear an ugly Christmas sweater…laugh loudly…smile broadly. And I can appreciate irony…love the unloveable…believe the unbelievable. My beloved Grandma Katie was masterfully silly. I can channel some of her spirit for comic relief.
It will be a short trip to LA. I come home in a couple of days, back to my business “busy-ness.” I can practice “merry mindfulness” to worry less about the future, and to keep a mental picture of the wonder that is right in front of me. That picture is gratitude. I have the opportunity to have my own business. I can work in ways that make sense for me, and to be of service to the world. And I don’t have to take it all so seriously. I’m merely a tiny player in the vast Universe, after all!
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
So, what do you think of “merry mindfulness?” Let me know!