Joanne Te Paiho, July 2010

Tena Koutou. MINDFULNESS is a word that keeps popping up around me at the moment, described by some, as a framework to live our lives by, almost like a Mantra. My own personal definition of MINDFULNESS is to continue to remain aware of ourselves and our actions in our everyday walk with others, and to remain aware of what others may be going through around us and for us all to stay grounded in the Present Moment.

Because this column is based around Parenting, let's take a look for a moment at how we might incorporate some of this MINDFULNESS into our Parenting role. When our Tamariki or Children, decide that they don't feel like listening or doing as they are told and we are feeling ourselves about to boil over, maybe this is a time to practice some of this mindfulness stuff. We might need to slow ourselves down, take a breather, start counting, whatever it takes to shift ourselves from this reactive stance to a place of responding positively and with thought. Often when we reach boiling point, there is no thinking going on, only a heck of a lot of reacting happening. Remaining mindful of what's going on for ourselves and trying to stay connected to the present moment, may help to understand some of the angry emotions we might be experiencing.

MINDFULNESS may also be about reminding us to be aware of others around us. Maybe you are aware of a Whanau member who is struggling to control their emotions around their children. Mindfulness may encourage you to reach out and offer your support to them and their children. How might this way of being impact upon our Whanau and friends? What might this role model offer to the little people around us? They may observe us being more patient, more in control of ourselves, and even a little happier. It's amazing how staying in the present moment and caring for others brings about a shift in our own mood. It would seem that my discovery of MINDFULNESS is that it is a verb (a doing word), something to be practised within ourselves and around others. So the next time you feel your temperature rising around your little people, remember to take a step back, ground yourself in the present moment and practice some of this MINDFULNESS stuff.

Nga Mihi