defiant mindfulness


mindfulness, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. that in itself is an act of defiance. it is contrary to my rewired mind. to be in the moment goes against decades of militant training. to accept the present moment betrays those innocent children, scared and untrusting, confirming for them what they feared all along.

all the quotes, the truths that can bring adults comfort and perspective and push us towards wholeness: every moment is perfect, you are where you are supposed to be, breathe and allow, don’t rush towards the future, treat each moment like the perfect cup of tea, you are never alone, accept what is right here right now, let it be, let go, live the moment fully as if it was your last, there is no joy without gratitude, trust in a plan, if you can be present in the moment you’ll know what it means to live, realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have, drink the pure nectar of the moment

all of those words sneer and laugh under their breath at the children so desperate to leave the now that their minds are the first to go, mercifully followed by their souls and senses who are grateful to have a line leader to take them to the ceiling.


there was a first moment when the now froze. it was no longer a breeze of life, an ever flowing stream, a sea of grace. it was not safe, not to be stayed in, not to deem perfect, not to be something to welcome. and then there were more moments to remind me of that truth, lest i stray into birthright of childlike innocence.

and now i’m here, lovingly betraying myself with morning meditation, daily yoga, walking in silence, sitting under trees, communing with birds, staying quiet in uncomfortable moments, ignoring my plans to control things as unreachable as the weather.

making these new pathways has meant hauling a gaggle of kids along as i bushwhack my way, with no idea where i’m going other than onward. long handled blade in one hand, baby tied on my chest, toddler tied on my back, four year old holding my other hand, eight year old holding my skirt, ten year old holding the four year old’s other hand, teenager walking too slow behind, young adult confusing all the roles. ignoring the pleas to return to the paved path, as wide and smooth as an empty interstate, that could lead us to the false security of the cage.

sage fire

and then sometimes, they all become one. a breathing and allowing, slow tea drinking, accepting, deeply knowing focus on the here and now, knowing and not knowing, seeing what exists for what it is: the sky is blue. the trees are tall. the sun is shining. it is what it is. it was what it was. and the blade can only cut so far ahead at a time.

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