Growing up in a mindful home
Adèle’s daughter Olivia joins us on the blog and gives us a behind the scenes sneak peek into growing up mindfully in the Basheer household.
I’m rewinding the clock for this post.
The irony of looking back to the past while discussing the topic of mindfulness - a practice of focusing on ‘the present’ - is not lost on me. But! Reflecting with that ever-trusty ‘benefit of hindsight’, I can see how in our family, the practice of mindfulness was weaved throughout my childhood growing up. Or should that be… glowing up.
Dad jokes aside; whether I realised it at the time or not, these mindful activities without a doubt provided this sort of ‘gratitude glow.’ It’s not quite the kind of glow that has replaced the need for my go-to skincare oils and dewy face masks. Instead, it’s the type that helped me see each day with a brighter, calmer outlook… no matter what was going on.
Below is a quick look at three particular mindfulness ‘practices’ that made waves throughout our day-to-day family life, and which have stuck with me to today.
1. Is meditation for me?
During primary school years, I vividly recall Mum organising my brother, Dad and I to sit together in a circle for meditation. While my elder brother sat there in perfect stillness, articulating ‘Om mani padme hum’ on cue, I chose those 10-15 minutes to move just about any muscle of my body that would oblige. Never had the urge to cough, itch, blow my nose, blink my eyeballs, been so strong.
Meditation ‘wasn’t for me’.
Or so I long thought. Except, I now recall countless nights of Mum reading me meditations to sleep. The book was Earthlight by Maureen Green. With my eyes closed, Mum would guide me through a journey to my Worry Tree which held all and any of my concerns and fears. I loved this visualisation, and those earlier coughs and itches were miraculous no-shows during these sessions. Funnily enough, this year for the first time since those early days, I’ve found myself actually focusing on a similar visualisation.
*The takeaway? There are all sorts of meditations out there. Whether it involves chanting, breathwork or visualising, experiment with different styles until you find something that best suits you.
2. Be mindful of your mindset
My very first high school maths test. That night, I came home crying. “I failed, I definitely failed” were the kind of high-pitched wails Mum’s poor ears had to endure. Her response? There is no such thing as failure. There are only results. She’d say it, I had to repeat it. Over and over until my overworked tear ducts and mindset embraced the meaning of those words.
*The takeaway? Don’t do maths! (Kidding! I went on to love the subject, despite never having had to bring out trigonometry since). Be mindful of your mindset. When things don’t go as planned, check-in with how you’re talking to yourself. How can you adjust your mindset to see the situation in a different, constructive light? Repeat: there is no such thing as failure. There are only results.
3. Three good things
Finally, the most simple, yet perhaps most impactful on my years growing up: three good things.
I’m not sure if it was my brother and my unwavering, monotonous response of “Good” when asked “How was school?” that prompted this activity in our household. At the dinner table each night, we’d each have a turn at saying three good things that happened in our day. That’s it. And suddenly, dinner chat was served with a whopper of positive mindsets.
The things didn’t have to be great - just ‘good’ was enough. And focusing on merely three of these things, provided this sort of approachable, achievable structure to the whole thing. Anyone can recognise just three good things. In fact, I remember more often than not, we’d suddenly have an extra fourth… fifth… sixth good thing wanting to be babbled out.
It sounds all too simple. Because it is. But by turning our focus to notice just three good things that happened in our day, we started to be grateful for the little things that would’ve otherwise gone unnoticed.
That’s what I liked about this ‘game’. It essentially asked for ‘three grateful moments’ of the day – without the pressure that can sometimes come with explicitly looking for gratitude. It also filled any silence that otherwise would’ve been taken up by the harrowing sound of chewing. But that’s a whole other benefit.
*The takeaway? At the end of the day, ask yourself ‘what are three good things that happened today?’. Write them down. Add the game into your family dinner chat. Remember that these things don’t have to be momentous. Look for just three, good things.
We hope you loved reading Olivia's insight into the joys of growing up in a mindful home. If you'd love to bring more gratitude into your world, we have a gorgeous Gratitude Journal that's bound to get you glowing.