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  • Fe Robinson

Giving yourself the present of presence

It’s the holiday season, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend more time than usual with my family. One of the things I have really appreciated is noticing the way of being of my children. There’s an intensity of focus, a singularity that is honed in on whatever it is that has their attention, and that is quite something to watch. The way a youngster can be 100% focused on one thing, and in a flash be 100% elsewhere and have let the former focus go entirely is astonishing!


Watching this time and again left me reflecting on the apparently ‘grown up’ ability to attend to many things at once. This multi-tasking is something that mindfulness teachers encourage us not to do. The Zen Buddhist concept of Beginner’s Mind points to this eloquently, do whatever you are doing as if you had never done it before, do it as if you are discovering it for the first time. There’s a good reason for this, you have never lived this moment before, never done this particular thing being the person you are right now. All is changing, continually, and life will never again be quite as it is just now. That said, I remember my incredulity when I first had this suggested to me, I was filled with panic! I am glad I gave it a go though, and continue to do what I can with it.


I’ve enjoyed the spontaneity of my children, and now I’m back at work I aim to stay with their mindful, energetic way of being on my own account. Somehow I just get more done if I give myself fully to each thing that I do, one at a time. I guess it's a good fit given my role as a psychotherapist is to focus entirely on the person or people I am sitting with, I am lucky that that depth of connection is something that has come more and more naturally over the years.


Curiosity and wonder are not experiences that we lose as we grow, they are ones we can actively cultivate. They make life brighter, lighter, and more enjoyable. Knowing that I really don’t know all there is to know, that there is always more, enables me to be more vibrant in the moment. Like for anyone, it can be tough at times, resting back into assumptions and the autopilot is sometimes just what happens. However, I have a renewed sense of possibility as the summer moves towards its end. Thanks kids, I owe you!




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