“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When Mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” Thick Nhat Hanh
This quote struck me, when I read it, both for the presence that I often feel is missing when the multitude of household media draw our attention away from each other, as well as for my own lack of presence,at times, with my children. In our household it’s not uncommon for a mundane conversation to be interrupted by the buzz of an incoming email that can’t go unchecked. Nor is it unusual for one child to receive half or even a third of my attention because I’m busy with one of the other kids, the house, or that one thing that I had hoped to be able to do for myself. There is nothing important or vital being interrupted. We are generally good at attending during moments of consequence. But I know how insignificant I feel when it is my mundane conversation that has been interrupted by an essential email. During the next week, try to increase your mindful presence with your family and those you love. Don’t try to be mindfully present all the time, it is unlikely that you’ll succeed, but choose a few times each day during the week to give your full and undivided attention to those you love. If the cell phone rings or there are other disruptions, notice them, let them pass and return your attention. If the conversation truly is dull and tedious, notice that and return your attention to your loved one. At the end of the week, notice if there have been any changes in the quality of your interactions with your family and loved ones. Did they “bloom” when you were present with them?