I’ve been thinking a lot about being mindful — about how to be as present as I can. Then I realize I am thinking so much about being present that I am letting it distract me from BEING present! So I tried a little exercise based on one of the mindfulness practices I learned during childbirth preparation: see, hear, feel, breathe.
If you are like me and worry so much about being present that you forget to actually be present, try to stop thinking about it so much and just pay attention! Any moment you want to be fully present for, take a moment to pay attention to what you see, hear, and feel, and then take a breath.
While nursing my baby, I just looked at him. I took in all the details like the way his hair fluffed up, his sweet eyes squinting closed, his soft hand with the dimples under each finger.
Then I listened. I listened to his breathing, and the other little noises he was making.
Then I paid attention to all the places my body was touching his. I felt my hand under his hair, my arm against his warm back, his nursing.
Then I took a breath — paying attention to the in breath and out breath. I spent a few breaths with each section of the exercise, but you can switch between them with each breath if that is easier.
It was a lot easier to practice mindfulness when I focused on concrete things, rather than just telling myself over and over “be present! be present!” and stressing myself out about whether I was doing it well enough.
I will be trying to take more “see, hear, touch, breathe” moments.
Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right or “enough” — that’s the beauty of this practice. You don’t have to do anything right, you just have to do it.