Today's Mindful Monday post is brought to you by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who in addition to having a lot to say about meditation and guided relaxation, gives us this great quote:
Mindfulness means paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
There is so much about mindfulness packed into that quote. I think it might be the easiest way to quickly, in one sentence, describe what mindfulness is to someone. Of course, there's always an extended explanation, and I encourage you to look into mindfulness. It can be life-changing if you're ready for it. This post isn't about that, it's about how I use mindfulness to provide the best possible care and education to my students and clients.
In my everyday life, I frequently remind myself about presence and mindfulness. It's not always an easy thing to keep up on, but I feel better about myself and about the world, when I am mindful.
So, what's this have to do with you?
Whether you're my friend, a student, or my doula client, my mindfulness practice will benefit you in the following ways:
You will have my full attention.
I won't be distracted, checking my phone, looking at my watch, or paying attention to the things going on around us. I will listen to you and engage thoughtfully with you.
I won't be "listening to answer," or formulating my response to what you're saying while you're saying it. I'll be listening to what you are saying, fully.
Wherever we are, that's where I am.
I won't be thinking about home, or dinner, or how bad traffic was (Poplar Ave, I'm looking at you!). Rather, I'll be paying attention to what's going on around me, savoring the experience, and hopefully able to help you do the same.
No judgment here!
Like anyone, I have preferences, biases, and things that make me uncomfortable. However, when I'm teaching a class or attending a birth, my feelings or the decision "that I would make" are not what's important.
My classes focus on how YOU can make the best choice for YOU - because how in the world would I know what's best for you? Sure, I can help guide you along, but it's all you, ultimately.
At your baby's birth, I can help you clarify your feelings about your choices, and help you identify different courses of action if we need to, but you're the one in charge. You are the one who will live with the memory of your baby's birthday forever. I can help you make it a more positive experience, and part of that includes allowing you the freedom and autonomy to make your own choices and advocate for your own care.
While you're bound at some point to make choices that differ from mine, you can rest assured I'm not judging you or your choice. I know and respect that you have the life experience, societal pressures, family issues, and cultural upbringing that make you uniquely positioned to "do you."
I value you and your contribution to my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and doula for a diverse group of parents, birthing various settings, all coming from different walks of life. I learn something new at every birth, and every couple I encounter gives me new insight into birth. Perhaps in another life I was an anthropologist, who knows? :)
Happy Mindful Monday! Enjoy your day, and remember - it's all one moment at a time. Stay present and enjoy the ride!
Keep reading the blog to hear more about what I've learned about birth along the way!