“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~ Henry Ellis
As parents, one of the single most difficult things for us to do as our children mature is to learn to let them go and allow them to have their own experiences—successes and failures alike. We walk the razor’s edge, grasping at making sure they remain safe and well cared for while at the same time allowing them the independence we know they so desperately need on order to make good decisions as adults. How do we strike the appropriate balance as parents between letting go and holding on? The solution lies largely with each child, but bringing the concept of mindful living into our lives helps to make these decisions easier as they happen.
Mindfulness need not be viewed as a foreign concept or one held only by particular or peculiar religious traditions. It isn’t mystical or strange; it simply means being aware of each moment as precious and living and experiencing it fully as it happens. Most mindfulness techniques start with focus on the breath as something that is easy to pay attention to and something that is controllable. Traditions differ in ways to keep a meditative focus but all hold true that mindful living helps us make better decisions and reduces our attachments in life to things and circumstances that are beyond our control, as are many situations that we encounter as parents.
“We can’t plan life. All we can do is be available for it.” ~ Lauryn Hill
Practicing mindfulness will help us be more aware of what we can change in different situations in our life and what is beyond our control. It helps us let go of those things that lack urgency or the importance that requires our grasping and frees us from the worry of wanting to control the outcome of situations in which we are helpless to do so. It can also help us be more present for our children when they need us, allowing us to engage them more fully in conversations and helping us know when to provide the guidance they need and when to allow them freedom to make their own choices.
For more information on how you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life, check out these great resources: