As the days fly by, I’ve found myself getting off track and distracted - caught up in work during the days, watching sad news in the evenings and not really feeding my soul what it needs.
So, this weekend I made a decision to focus on me, a decision, which I hope will increase my mindfulness day by day. I’m making a promise to myself to consciously do one thing every day that breathes life and vitality into my mind, body or soul. It can be something big, or something small- but that one thing has to make me more happy, more fulfilled and make me feel and be more, well, like me.
Through the current meditation experience that I am pursing, I’m learning more about relating and connecting. One main theme that spoke to me is that: Our true self is “the face we had before we were born.” But that face is always still there, though sometimes hidden or forgotten in the hustle of our current situation, or our egos as we aim to survive and thrive in our everyday reality. If my true self is the diamond within, my aim through this pregnancy journey is to bring that diamond out to the surface, to live from my center and connect with others through my true self.
So on Saturday I extended my meditation practice into my daily life, by promising and committing to myself to mindfully do one thing everyday that brings more joy and light into my life. Here’s how it’s been going so far:
On Saturday, Kevin and I took the time to become "local tourists" and take the SF Urban Jungle and City Heights hike. This hike is something we registered for, and were gifted for a wedding gift (thank you Shobha)- so we finally made the time to book it and experience it together. It was fantastic and a great way to connect together, through things we both enjoy: being active, learning new things, and getting outside. We topped off this soul-building experience by enjoying brunch at Apple Fritter in San Mateo- indulging in cheesy eggs & greasy hash browns for me and a cheeseburger and fries for Kev, plus a sampling of the tastiest apple-filled bear claw you will ever taste.
On Sunday, I extended my heart and took the day to sew a quilt with Kevin’s grandmother (Nana). Even though I’ve been quilting a bit on my own now, and have successfully (in my mind) created a sewing project without direction or a pattern, Nana was insistent, and how could I resist. I was tired and cranky Sunday morning, but I told myself this was not really for me, this was for her- and I felt one-thousand times better after the 3+ hours we spent sewing together. Not only did we spend quality time together, but I have almost finished another cute quilt (pictures to come when it’s complete) and I was astonished by the effort and care Kevin took to help us! While he desperately wanted to just sit and watch football (a wife senses these things), he was instead constantly on his feet, lifting and moving the sewing machine for us, ironing the seams after each piece was complete and running out for sandwiches at lunch- never complaining once. So not only was I privileged to experience the joy in Nana’s expression because her sewing machine was used after 20 years of sitting idly-- I was enamored by the true nature of my husband- the generous, kind and patient man that he is.
The work week can be more challenging for me to make quality time for myself and to really focus inward. I can get frustrated at work and tired after my walk home- especially now after Daylight Savings Time- when the sun goes down around 5pm. I’m likely to curl up on the couch and be lazy - and with my on and off back pain, I’ve been challenged even to stand up to make dinner. So I’m being more gracious with myself during the week and making these “one mindful things” smaller and more bite-sized.
On Monday I got back to spinning at the gym at lunch and it was phenomenal. What once used to be my weekly Monday lunch routine has fallen off my radar as “more important” meetings or other things have consumed my calendar. But I decided this week, no more, I’m getting back to this one thing on Mondays that breaks up my day, increases my endorphins and does something great for my body. Afterwards, I was sweaty and I was sore, but I was happy. This class (with my favorite 24hr fitness teacher, Angie, by the way) will be back on my calendar every week for as long as my preggo body can muster it!
Tuesday night I did something quite small, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for over a week now, and haven’t taken the time to do it. I painted my nails- and I love them. I feel prettier and more feminine for it- even today when I didn’t wear a speck of makeup to work. There is something nice about polished nails that makes me feel put together. For the most part, I’ve kept my nails bare during my pregnancy. The last time I had a manicure was prior to our honeymoon when I was 2-3 weeks pregnant and since then, I’ve avoided most all nail polish, even at home. Partially concerned over the chemicals and fumes, but also being budget-conscious by avoiding manicures or pedicures. But lately, my nails have been so beautiful, long and strong and I’ve felt color fading from my skin as the days shorten- I’ve been desperate for some polish. So I sat down last night and painted my nails, and they look beautiful and I feel great about it. Now writing about it and reflecting on it, it seems a little trivial and potentially silly, but it made me feel good. And anything that makes a pregnant woman feel good is a great thing, in my book.
Wednesday nights are easier for me these days, as I have a commitment to myself and my new community at my Fit4Baby class, which has been amazing for my body and my soul over the past 4 weeks or so. This class is a major highlight of my workweek. And although I never find it easy to get back out the door after work when it’s dark outside, this class is way worth it. It brings strength into my body through movement, light into my heart when we connect to our babies and joy into my life when we share our experiences with one another. I plan to keep this Wednesday routine (and one more day a week when I can squeeze it in) because it is a perfect way to end the day mindfully <3 thank you to my instructor, Jamie, for making this class and community happen!
I hope to keep this “one thing” practice up through the pregnancy and beyond because I truly do find it bringing more mindfulness into my life. No matter what or who comes at me during my days now, I feel that I am operating more from my center and core-being, and I want this feeling to only grow.
Do you have a daily practice that helps you stay centered? I would love to hear how you stay mindful and operating from your heart!