Children Have Mindfulness Mastered

  • Debbie 

Yesterday was an inspiring day.

My golden retriever Faith and I went on a pet therapy visit to Camp Reach For The Sky; a day camp for kids battling cancer.  We spent several hours hanging out with the campers, who were children between the ages of four and eight.

Even though they were undergoing treatment for cancer, they had smiles on their faces. They were excited to see the dogs. They sat with us and petted the dogs. They politely asked for the bookmarks we each had, with pictures of our dogs on them, eager to collect the entire set.

When they weren’t visiting with the dogs, they were running around the park, playing games, and having fun.

It was a joy to meet each child.

To hear about their own dogs. To watch them enjoying our dogs. And to answer their inquisitive questions.

I had to remind myself, these kids have cancer.

Because you would never know it by their behavior. They were truly living in the moment. Laughing. Enjoying camp. Appreciating the dogs. Collecting bookmarks.

It was quite moving.

And such a powerful reminder that kids really do seem to have mindfulness mastered. They live life, moment to moment. They really don’t know any other way.

It got me thinking…

At what point in our lives does this mindset shift?

When is it that we stop living in the moment, and begin focusing so much thought and energy ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future? I’m not sure what the answer is.

What I do know is that even though we may be wired to evaluate the past or plan for the future, we can break that programming. We can make an effort every day, to catch ourselves when our minds wander backward or forward, and gently guide ourselves back to the present.

Practicing daily meditation is helping me get better at this. I’m becoming more aware of how much my mind wanders. I’m learning not to beat myself up over it, and to simply notice it, and come back to the now.

Let’s all take a lesson from these kids.

One could easily argue they have a lot more to worry about than most of us. Yet worried was the last thing they seemed. Instead, they were happily enjoying the day.

If you think about it, the present moment is all we ever have. And, as Dale Carnegie once said, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” Maybe ask yourself if all that worrying made any difference. Or if it simply ruined yesterday.

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