So this past Friday I took my children to the British Museum, it’s one of my favourite places in London and thankfully they’ve caught the bug too. When we arrived I gave them a map each, so they could decide which exhibits they wanted to see and I simply followed. Like most parents I find my kids and their quirks quite fascinating, so I quite enjoy just watching them as they explore and seeing their reactions to the richness that the museum contains. Anyway as we approached the East Staircase (pictured below) I started expressing my excitement about how awesome it was, and my 7 year old comes out with; “mummy, I think you’re getting a bit carried away” lol.
Umm, yes I’m getting carried away…
There’s a lot in life to get carried away with! I found this definition of ‘carried away’: “made very emotional or enthusiastic, swept away”. I quite like the notion of getting ‘swept away’, because we often live such constrained lives; constrained by expectations, constrained by jobs, constrained by what we perceive as our own limitations. Now don’t get me wrong, I think we have to be careful about getting carried away on a wave of emotion, because it can often cloud our judgement. But what my daughter witnessed was me fully embracing and enjoying the moment, not in a rush to move on to the next thing, just completely embracing what was in front of me at that moment. What she witnessed was mindfulness. Mindfulness according to Ellen Langer, a famous researcher on the topic, is defined as:
“The ordinary everyday capacity each of us has to notice new things”
On the contrary she defines mindlessness as:
“Characterised by an entrapment in old categories; by automatic behaviour that precludes attending to new signals; and by action that operates from a single perspective”
Most of us live mindlessly most of the time, rarely present in the moment just in a hurry to move on to the next. I am a type A personality, so honestly living mindlessly comes very natural to me. I’m in the process of training myself to live mindfully and it really began this year when I decided to do away with the plan, it’s exhilarating.
Life is all about perspective
I guess it’s that glass half full analogy. We live in a society that is obsessed with everything they don’t have. I just invite you to take a minute to fully embrace what you do have, in this moment. One thing that we all have is life – that alone is cause for excitement! So yes, in answer to my daughter’s statement, I’m getting carried away, and I invite you to do the same PS: I’m currently reading this book on mindfulness that is pretty good, A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian Mindfullness.by