Mindfulness Isn’t Always Pretty

“Don’t close the door and expect me to hear you!” I sharply bellowed to my teenage son from my office. “Come HERE and talk to me.”

It was an urgent moment…my heart was pounding and my patience was potato chip thin. Five minutes prior, I was intently at my desk working on a deadline. The next thing I knew, my son stormed my office in a panic and started barking orders while hovering over me and texting in my ear.

My stress response went from 2 to 10 in one whirling dervish moment. Then, as quickly as he came, he left and closed the door behind him, leaving me all whipped up and bellowing after him.

Why the drama? There wasn’t a life-threatening situation at hand. We weren’t even in the middle of a heated argument. Here’s what happened: Last week he advanced to a national school competition (hooray!), and he just got a text from his teacher, urging everyone in the group to book a particular flight ASAP. When we did a quick check, we saw there were only 4 seats left. Uh-oh. The urgency ramped up.

Did I handle this moment with zen-like calm? Definitely not. Did I see the joy and humor in the scramble? Not a shred. I do remember swearing a few times, though.

But then, twenty minutes into the frantic dash, I had a moment. I became aware of my stressed out, knee-jerk response. I noticed it. Hmmmm.

What came next was a small gift. I started to relax, just a little. I even laughed once. Interestingly, my son relaxed a little, too, and laughed, too. The stress meter started to go down. And, bonus, we got him on the flight.

This, to me, is what mindfulness looks like in real life. It’s not some super-human ability to stay calm, present, and on-point. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a day-to-day, moment-by-moment practice of trying, and often falling short, to be aware of my thoughts and actions. This awareness gives me freedom to enjoy my response or choose something different. That’s all.

Some moments I do it better than others. That’s why it’s a practice. But for me, the effort is always worth it.

Leave a Reply