Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Mindful Family: Berry to Pie

Today, July 1 is the first of 100 Days of The Mindful Family Practice.

100 Days working to have more attention, more silence, more togetherness and more understanding. The architecture for this plan was inspired by a talk given at a corporate mindfulness retreat I attended at Plum Village near Thenac, France. This idea came to me on one of those long delicious and rare train rides as I soaked in all of the goodness we learned from the sage monastics.

The Mindful Family would be a project: our project for my husband Scott and our two boys Baker (10) and Edward (9). After they picked me up at Terminal D in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Airport, we drove to dinner and invited them to participate. I asked them if, as the teacher shared with us, if they felt starved for attention, more togetherness and more understanding. They immediately agreed.

Following our discussion, a family vote made it real: we are all in. I asked them to come up with new commitments, promises for these 100 days:

Written June 8, 2017:

Mommy's Promise: iPhone goes away at home. 

Baker's Promise: When someone walks in the door he will stop and greet them. 

Edward will work on being calmer and go with the flow. 

Scott will be off the computer and available to the boys during the day. 

Wow. The power in the commitments was something Scott and I both felt: this is a new family. Now we have to do the hard work to study our attachments to technology and build new connections with our kids. We are all in this together.

Today it is real: Today, July 1 is the first of 100 Days of The Mindful Family Practice.

I found time in two spaces for new conversations about intention and awareness. The first was in the blackberry patch. An unexpected family outing following camp pick-up was the perfect launch to The Mindful Family Project. Wild Berry Farm offered row after row of blackberry, blueberry, squash and tomato for our mindful eyes to find. The boys, pail in hand loved it. For every berry they put in the bucket I'm pretty sure a second went in the mouth. Perfect. We walked slowly and I taught them how to look under the bramble. To leave the red ones for another day, and to check for any bugs stowing away on the berry as it went from vine to bucket. It was a lovely Texas afternoon. Scott wanted to sit out but I reminded him we were there for the boys and he made it to every last row. We are, after all, the Mindful Family.

The second Mindful moment happened as I taught Edward and Baker how to cut the lattice work for the blueberry pie. Edward made a simple weaving, but his choice to use the zig-zag crimper brought a  rustic craftsmen style to this work of art. We brushed an egg yolk across the pastry as a last touch. We slowed down: taking care not to stress the crust. We worked on breathing and enjoying the pleasure of baking a pie with berries we'd picked. It was altogether lovely.

At dinner we reviewed our promises for this chapter of our lives together. I sensed there was an urgency to eat dinner and get to the dessert course. We reminded ourselves to eat slowly. We talked about how these 100 Days will be different for us. Edward picked up my phone and took it to his side of the table. And so it begins.

The house is quiet now, two boys, exhausted from a week at camp, nestled in their beds. They're older than they were just 7 days ago: I am always awed by the growing up that happens at Camp. And if that can happen in just a week, imagine what we will experience in a 100 Day Practice. We will find 100 Days to love them, listen deeply to them, understand them and look for the spaces to be together and quiet. Today was the last day for the blackberry season, but most certainly the beginning of our season in joy.   

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