Earlier today one of our lovely suppliers of real nappies dropped an order off to me on her way to a course on mindfulness.
Intrigued by what she had told me, I did my usual Google search and what I found really interested me, in particular with regard to life with a toddler.
Mindfulness, I learnt, is being attentive and aware in a non-judgmental way. This is the essence of toddlers – when left alone by noisy toys, flashing lights and moving screens, they truly live for the moment, totally absorbed in what they are doing without any preconceptions of what should happen next.
This made me think of a quote from Oliver James in Affluenza, where he talks about Erich Fromm’s “Being” – “an active, vital, internal state in which we are able to see what is around us, to engage with the world without feeling a need to dominate or destroy it”.
We rush them from one lesson to the next, from one activity to another with barely time to breathe, let alone stop and smell the flowers.
Even walking the dog is usually accompanied by extortions from me to hurry up, to walk faster, to come this way because it is quicker.
So today, we took it at toddler pace. We cycled over to one of our favourite city walks and then the toddler set the pace.
It was slow, very slow. We walked backwards and forwards over the same bit of track quite a few times. In fact it took nearly 20 minutes to get 10 yards from the gate.
We jumped in puddles, we shied stones in puddles, we floated feathers in puddles, picked up feathers, examined the rain drops on the grass, watched the sheep, ducks and swans and even spent 10 minutes lying down watching the clouds go by.
All in all, the normal 20 minute walk took well over an hour.
Neither the dog nor I got any real exercise but the toddler was immediately more connected with the joy of being out in the sun and I returned home calmer and clearer headed than I have felt for weeks.
This may only be a toddler sized incursion into mindfulness but I thank you Aluna Fae for reminding me of the simple pleasure of being.