Himalayan Mindfulness

Picture a backyard on a steep slope covered with blackberry bushes as far as the eye can see, throw in three grumpy teenagers and their mother, you have our backyard.

Seizing up on the realization that I have a very limited time frame with free labor in the house, my summer project is for once and for all deal with our yard full of blackberry bushes (my daughter says I say this every year).  While ideally I’d love to have the importer of said Himalayan blackberry bushes over to clean up our yard, the next best thing is family.

Yes, there are easier ways to remove bramble, but hiring help would involve money (currently earmarked for removing DS’ wisdom teeth).  Chemicals are not an option as we have a small pond, and my first priority is to protect any life that exists in it…even if the dogs may have already eaten said life as they seem to have their heads in the pond every day. 

Photo by Molly Frances on Unsplash

So here we are, clippers and compost bags in hand (why Himalayan blackberries are compostable is a mystery to me…we are the reason I never accept our hometown’s yearly offering of free dirt from our city’s compost…do I really want to import all those blackberries back?!).

That aside, there is something therapeutic about tackling blackberries with hand clippers.   It has the same effect on me as hanging laundry or doing dishes…takes me to a place of mindfulness which I find soothing in a twisted way.  Relegating the whining to the background, I notice and rescue all the little creatures that show up in our efforts especially ladybugs.  Blackberry is quick to remind when you are not mindful as evidenced by the many scratches on my arms and pricks to my well-gloved bands, and as we climb higher up our hill, the view is just amazing putting me more into a state of Zen.

So if you’re in need of some therapeutic activity, I’m going to trademark a new mindfulness routine called Himalayan mindfulness…gardening in a mindful way.  You achieve Zen…I get my backyard back.  Win-win.

Non-Useful Musings

“Thank you, Auntie Jane, that was a very useful conversation we just had,” says my nephew as we lay side by side in hammock on my recent visit to Florida.  Bemused, I accepted the compliment in stride as evaluating all the other “non-useful conversations” we’ve had this week will just lead nowhere useful to the enjoyment of this little moment of relationship.  Seeing the look of satisfaction on my nephew’s face, my niece hops into the hammock as her brother vacates to see if she can derive the same “usefulness” from me.

Photo by Vu Thu Giang on Unsplash

Reveling in my sister’s hospitality and generosity, I have been spoiled to enjoy this particular visit alone.  Usually attended by my children who capture the complete attention of my nephews and niece with their ability to do everything amazing and teenagerly, this visit I left the competition at home and have appreciated the opportunity to connect with them.

Setting my intention for this visit, I committed to follow the little openings that life with children allow in order to get to know them all a little bit better.  Some of them are more eager to connect then others, and I had to make sure that I took advantage of every moment whether they were convenient for me or not.

I am happy to say that I have succeeded in my intention.  These delightful little souls of curiosity and joy have made me laugh, be patient and listen, but most of all remind me of the gifts of living with an open heart.  

Intentions are like donning a pair of glasses and choosing which way I want to view the world.  Do I don the ones that show every wrinkle in harsh detail or do I choose the rose-tinted lens that bring a hue of sunshine and brightness?  I wish I could say I always choose the rose-tinted lens, but instead of beating myself up for my flaws, I will celebrate my wins…and this trip was one of them.

Useful or not, from my perspective, it is indeed an honor to be “Auntie Jane.”