Striving for a Mindful / Meaningful Lifestyle

IMG_3830Ah, how things can change!!! I have always been opinionated, felt I could be right in many instances and be in control of most situations. Since starting this blog, this has changed. It is now my goal to live mindfully. Enough, I think, of always wanting to be right or getting upset about things I cannot control.

Turning the page has not been easy.  I started last year with: Tossing out Control, it was my first attempt, first chapter so to speak. Unfortunately, since then, I have so  much to share and write about, I have not followed on this path. I have not put the effort into it.

Tossing Out the Old is one reason I started this blog. Listening to the New is the other. It is only logical that I should go back and keep at it until I can say I am Living Mindfully. First, though, what is Living Mindfully?IMG_3834

According to author Micki Fine (M.Ed., L.P.C. )Mindfulness is about waking up to life and what it means to be fully human.”  Sounds easy, something we can all achieve, isn’t it? Putting these thoughts into practice is another story because it brings us to other questions such as : what does being human mean? what does she mean by waking up to life? and most important, are all definitions of mindfulness the same, or different people feel differently about the concept?

Obviously, I am running off with something that should only be felt not analyzed. After all, Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”. Here comes my very active personality, though, ready to think too much and dig too deeply. Breathe…IMG_3490

Let’s go with the flow, to use a cliché. After all, we must be open and curious about the world that surrounds us, without imposing our judgement on anything. Easier said than done.

Being aware of the world around us, focusing in our daily experience, letting go of preconceived ideas, embracing new ones, having an open mind to accept others and their actions as they are, that is what mindfulness will bring to our lives. It is said that once we achieve this……our stress will disappear. A very important reason to strive for this, right?

Understanding the concept and putting it into practice…..there is where the whole thing becomes a conundrum. This is what I have come up with. Living mindfully equals meaningful lifestyle. It is concentrating on the fact that we have more years behind us than ahead. There is not a lifetime to experiment, try different approaches and then change. It is the time to grab life with both hands and live it!!!IMG_3827

Accepting this has made a difference in my attitude. It is so simple I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. Now, I am. These past weeks I have started to do things I truly enjoy, even completing projects I wanted to do for a while. The results have been wonderful. Not only I have reasons to be proud, I have objects to remind me that I am actually moving forward!!! You can see on the photos I have posted here.

Believe me, my body aches and I am exhausted. On the other hand, I sleep profoundly and wake up refreshed. I smile a lot and I am not taking myself so seriously. I am more carefree. Problems, unless they are of real importance, are being left to work themselves out or let to be solved by others, plans are made for purely enjoyable activities. Not everything is peachy, living mindfully and meaningfully my way is still a work in progress, a never-ending task. Life is made of challenges and I believe I am actually winning this one!!!

We Change as We Live

I have posted on this blog for a year now. A year of tossing and listening and much more, it’s been fantastic. This has been my first experience with writing without knowing what I wanted to accomplished. Things I had learned were worth sharing, I thought., yes, but what else? Slowly, I have let the thoughts in my mind come out and develop into concrete actions. Mostly it has been a reaction to situations. Different situations, different reactions, but it has worked out wonderfully so far. What has become a constant in my life is change. Yes, constant change.

verb: change; 3rd person present: changes; past tense: changed; past participle: changed; gerund or present participle: changing
  1. 1.
    make or become different.
  2. 2.
    take or use another instead of.
noun: change; plural noun: changes; noun: Change; plural noun: Changes
  1. 1.
    the act or instance of making or becoming different.

I am sure this is due to the fact that I have become open to many things, frequently considering other options and not accepting the obvious. Thinking outside the box, people would say. Some changes have been drastic and came about by my own choice. Letting my hair go grey, for example. I decided, I accepted the consequences and I am happy with the results. These changes are not by far what I expected, but somehow they fit into my new frame of mind and make me happy. Voluntary action, purposely taken steps that have made me realized one can and should do what makes one happy, regardless.

Other changes have been subtle, coming into my life without planning or decisions on my part.  How my relationships work is one of these subtle changes. As I have developed new interests and new ideas, I have noticed that attitudes of friends and family have become different. Surprisingly enough, I have not feel in the least perturbed by any of this. Seems I was expecting the changes and embraced them.

My husband and children have taken it all in without reservations. I was not surprised by that, but still love them for it. My closest friends have been accepting and supportive. Other friends have been reserved, critical, indifferent. Mostly I was surprised at the ones who were critical, but not enough to let them interfere with my decisions. After all, one cannot live awaiting anyone’s approval!!!

One sure thing I have learned: as we live our lives, change happens. It is refreshing and welcome.

Lessons Learned and my Daughter

249318_10150265561584670_3960982_nIn December 2012, my daughter Camille moved back to the States. She had lived and worked in London for almost 10 years. A change was in her stars, she grabbed the opportunity and came to Miami. After all, her parents were here and it was as good a place as any to start anew.

Needless to say, I was thrilled. Through the years she was away, I visited London often, which was a bonus since it’s my favorite city. Still, that she would be here was absolutely wonderful. Of course, it has not been smooth sailing. It never is when an adult child moves back with her parents, but overall this has been a great idea.

First and foremost, we have time to sit back and have long talks. Skype is convenient and the best thing when you live apart, but face-to-face conversations are priceless. Being able to hug her when I feel like it, pamper her if she is sick, cook her favorite meals……it’s wonderful. These, however, are not the only things that make me so happy of having her here. What I have learned from my daughter makes me happier!!!

Camille was born in Miami and grew up in Curaçao. She left home at 17 to go for a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut; then on to Emmanuel College in Boston and finally the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. She worked in art and jewelery, traveled extensively and enjoyed every minute of her life abroad. So coming to Miami is just coming back home, in a way. How long will she stay is up in the air, but I am enjoying her stay with us.

252867_10150262107564670_4607708_nAs parents, we tend to think we are the only ones who can teach. Very seldom do we stop to think about what we can learn from our children. I think I have been like that most of my motherhood years. Of course, we are absolutely wrong!!! From the way our children answer to our queries, the way they offer opinions about our daily encounters with our jobs, housework, the neighbors, our pets and so much more, we should have deducted that they can be spot on. Everyone tells us that truth comes out of the mouths of babies. Why aren’t we paying attention and learning from those truths? In the last 18 months, I have been paying attention….and I have learned!!.

Camille’s influence has been gradual, she is insightful and observant. She doesn’t rush into anything and is careful with decisions and opinions. She is thorough and pays attention to details, has a lot more patience that I would ever have. She is not argumentative, but can get her point across….just give her time. These have given me pause, thinking before I rush to conclusions. She tells me she likes the calmer me!!!

Questioning our choices of food, such as, was one of her first observations. The ones that know me, know that I make reservations far better than I cook. Yes, I cook everyday for lunch, but nothing fancy, nothing complicated and everything quick. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite tasks……has to be done, I do it, period. There was only my husband and I so, food preparation became totally a matter of making easier dishes, whatever that took. After all, we could always go out to eat.

Everyone would be surprised to know I am enjoying cooking more, buy organic most of the time, buy fruits and vegetables in season, cook with healthy oils (olive and coconut). I have always used real butter and sugar, so that pleased her. There are no fried foods served at my table and her father has learned to eat veggies when I serve them. A great step forward for him, trust me! With all this healthy eating, we have lost weight and have more energy and feel so much better.

-1Last year, I decided to let my hair go grey. Camille was my first and most ardent supporter. She has seen me through the good and the bad days with this experiment. Now that my hair is short and I can’t wait for it to grow, she points out that it looks healthy, has shine, bounces and makes me look younger. What else can I say. She is my number one confidence booster. This process would have been a lot harder without her.

Since moving to Miami, I have made little progress in the friends department. I was sure that I have all the friends that I need already. Without missing a beat, Camille has put me in touch with women she meets who seem interesting and have things in common with me. Not everyone has turned into a friend, but I have learned to be more open-minded with people in this new adventure life has offered me. Try, she says, why not? all that can happen is that you like them!!! She should know because she makes friends so easily.

I have always been the cheer them along mother. My children could count on me to make them see the best of a situation. Sometimes, I surprised myself how I could turn something painful into a good experience because of what they learned. I still do, but never tried that for myself. Camille, having learned the lesson, cheers me along when I need it. Better yet, she has made me see that I can be my cheerleader.

I am not a morning person, never have. I think you are productive if you are organized, not because you get up early. Sunsets are more my thing than sunrises. Camille has to get up early for work. Believe it or not, I do too!! I prepared breakfast, we chat, she leaves for work and I find myself with more hours to do my work around the house, go for a walk, anything. The days seem longer and somehow, I don’t mind. What a change!!!

She is always planning a trip or two, planning outings with her friends, getting down to the pool or finding somewhere interesting to visit in Miami. She is very social and can’t just spend days without something exciting to do. Her enthusiasm is contagious. I find myself more inclined to do the same, in a smaller scale, of course. I enjoy my time with myself too much, but have learned to see the advantages of joining in the fun!!!

I could spend more time just listing every good lesson I have learned from my daughter. I am sure I could fill a book with them. Fortunately, it is so much interesting and fun to just go with her flow, listen to her clever advice about being good to myself and going places we both can enjoy. The biggest lesson I have learned from my daughter: be good to myself, nobody else knows me better and nobody else has my best interest in mind!!! Tossing the Old has been my contribution, Listening to the New has been in no small part, hers. Thank you, Beautiful!!!228913_10150265555079670_310976_n