My oldest child started preschool this fall. It was the first time I dropped him off somewhere consistently to play with other kids. It is also the first time I am getting a chunk of alone time consistently with my youngest. On the first day, Miles and I went to a playground to play just the two of us. I was immediately struck by what it felt like to give him my undivided attention. In his 20 months of life, he has not gotten much undivided attention from me. I loved it. He loved it. My brain went quiet. My mind, ramped up from months and months of tending to two kids simultaneously, wanted to wander, wanted to get busy, wanted to pull out my phone, but I just kept bringing it back to Miles. I watched him intently. I listened to him actively. Time slowed down. It was lovely.
The playground session encouraged me to notice all the other times in my life that I am divided. I think about home while I am at work. I think about work while I am at home. I pick up my phone while my spouse and I are talking. I fold laundry while my child tells me a story. My playground session encouraged me to show up to more moments of my life undivided to see if I could slow down time more often. To see if I could quiet my brain and watch and listen better.
12 Tiny Things addressed sensuality this past month. We asked, “What does your body really want?” To ask that question I had to approach myself undivided. Only then could I watch myself intently and listen actively. Only then could I get in touch with what I wanted and needed. My body is smart if I can tend to it. I think I want sugar, but I really want chick peas. I think I want a nap, but I really want the endorphins of a run.
Every moment is an invitation to show up undivided. Every moment there is option to stay fragmented. In trying to opt for an undivided mind, I realized how obsessed we are with busy. Sometimes it is necessary, but we can choose to be there temporarily and not complain, and then return to live in the undivided. It is daily work.
During our sensuality month, I found myself on a boat on the North Shore with my spouse and two kids. I looked up and saw the tree line agains the blue sky. I took a deep breath. I remembered being in the Boundary Waters years ago and realized how much time I spend in nature watching my children watch nature. I remembered that I like looking at nature, too. I realized all holy moments, whether mundane or extraordinary, are undivided moments.
As my child invited me to set my intention as undivided, he continued to teach me about healthy sensuality and desire throughout the month. He is good at getting what he wants. He is good at loving what he has. He brings a joyful focus and presence to moments of play, meals, and affection. On the drive home from the North Shore, Miles asked for an ugga mugga from his carseat. He was tired but needed affection to relax and fall asleep. I took off my seatbelt and leaned over to touch noses. He signed more, more, more until we caressed noses for about fifteen minutes and he fell asleep. I got a little teary by the end. It was so tender and lovely.
My kids teach me about wanting. They ask for what they want. They go get their blessings. They remind me that I can, too.
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