By Alexandra Browne-Hill
Baby Lola came to play with me while her parents went to work. At 5 months old, Lola’s eyes broadcast a wisdom beyond her age and it is difficult to miss my grand-daughters zest for life. Life is crazy busy and I admit to being an over achiever. On the other hand Lola is a good natured busy body, thriving on discovery and studying all events deeply. Her looks piercingly size up everyone.
My plans of putting her into bed during the day while I went into achievement mode were scuttled right from the beginning. Lola had no time for sleep. With a screech of brain brakes, I was forced into a new thought paradigm.
Focusing on the future and over-shifting the mind into perpetual manifestation creates a challenge of its own. One forgets to connect to the present. Although both Lola and I are go-getters, my focus is always planning for tomorrow.
Hers is about happenings in her present world, in all its fullness right now.
Children have a way of pointing out the delights of learning something new, or observing something previously unnoticed. As Lola lay on her blanket outside and under our backyard tree, I watched her sweet face relax into a tiny smile while she soaked in the sights of the leaf movements and the antics of the birds. I began to follow her example. She looked up at me and beamed with eyes that contained many questions, completely mesmerised from second to second.
My thoughts drifted to my own children and the race for living that I had dragged them through, fun and not. I do not recall having enough of these times with my own. I had thought that I had become more present following the death of one of my teenage children, regretting my failure to be totally with him more. I can see that even still, I miss the mark.
My rounds of practice in mindfulness and being present are guided by Lola today. There is something special and restful in suspending thoughts and activity to simply be with her. It is freeing and energising, joyful and peaceful. I know myself to be forward looking, moving like a firecracker lit and thrown up high, exploding into creative arrangement at high speed. Yet this is rarely in cohesion with my present and never results in a sense of peace.
Lola sums me up and patiently waits for me to continue naming the enthralling experiences she finds in front of her in her NOW moments. Her tiny presence recalls me to the exact second of present time which has no past and no future. I cannot regret the past nor be constantly in the future while I learn how to sit quietly, happily in this second where I find my peace. Lola reaches out and takes my finger, squeezing it as she grins her shining smile into my eyes.
There is now and it is perfect.
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By Alexandra Browne-Hill