I’ve always lived for the moment – as a teenager, then as a student at university and during my days as a travelling teacher. My dad would say to me, “Caroline, Life’s not one big party!” but I always lived like it was, that was until I had responsibility.
I was well into my thirties, a marriage, a mortgage and a baby, which I left as late as I possibly could! I found all this to be a challenging time – being tied down. I wasn’t young free and single anymore; wasn’t quite sure that I had imagined my life to be like this and although I wasn’t unhappy I had this resentment. I was generally agitated and snappy, I was not the thrill-seeking, gorgeous and fun-loving Cazza that everyone wanted to party with – I’d talk about the good old days; the grass was always greener and so I continued the daily trudge, not looking as good and most certainly not feeling as gorgeous as I used to feel.
When my daughter was born I was overjoyed, I loved being a mum and I’ll never forget my best friend Clare saying how wonderful I was – a real natural and she often recalls a moment when I lifted up my daughter and how I was bursting with joy – yes, I remember magical moments but I also remember the times when reading stories skipping through the pages, turning two at a time because she was too young to notice and always in a rush, dashing to the baby group, always late, stressed making dinner. I was a whirlwind! My husband used to say that it was like I was running the country.
It was only when I attended an eight-week mindfulness course that I realised I had missed some really precious moments, moments that have now passed because I was too caught up in my head. I suppose that’s the reason I’ve been known by my friends as Little Miss Schemer – always doing something new, a band promoter, a personal trainer, a life coach. On reflection, I can now see that I was always somewhere else but never present.
Today I am PRESENT and to whoever is reading this I want you also to bask in the present because it really is all that we have. I urge you not to miss out on your time with your children, I know that it is cliched and older people always say it, but the children really will be old in the blink of an eye.
If you take the time to study and practice mindfulness you will not only enrich your own life but will enrich your children’s lives too. Is that not what we set out to do? What’s the point of taking your children to fancy places and encouraging them to participate in all the activities if you are not leading by example and not being present? We want our children to value what they have, but this won’t happen if WE are not engaged in the moment. We need to lead by example and, of course, life is not always plain sailing but can be difficult, however, by adopting a mindful approach to the tricky situations and the challenges that life presents, we are teaching our children to deal more effectively with the challenges that they will inevitably face.
That is something that I want my daughter to learn most of all, I want her to be able to manage life’s challenges and recognise her present moment, to notice the times when she is perhaps spending too much time ruminating, because no matter what you are having to deal with, there is beauty in the world, whether this be the birds singing, the old man that walks his dog past your house at the same time every day, or the garbage man that always hollers hello when you don’t even know his name and not forgetting the magical beauty of each breath. Mindfulness is an anchor to the present, as best you can – ground yourself, take a deep breath and don’t let precious moments pass you by.
Check out our online course Mindfulness for Parents, where you can learn to meditate and live your life more mindfully.