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Mindful Parenting is a contemplative practice through which we become more mindful of our children and, in doing so, experience a more joyful life.
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The Daily Sip: New Years and New Moments


The New Year has arrived.  Many of us welcome the new year as an opportunity to resolve to do specific things differently than we have done in the past.  Common resolutions include spending more time with family and friends, exercising more, eating better, stopping drinking and smoking, eliminating debt, and being a kinder person.  Such good stuff.  And sometimes a different way emerges; and sometimes we revert back to our habitual ways. 


All these resolutions have one thing in common -- they each seek to restore balance to our minds, hearts, and bodies.  While New Years marks a beautiful time to want to move in the direction of inner harmony and balance, we know that the milestone of the passage of another year is merely symbolic.  And we look into that symbolism for something to motivate us to make changes we deeply seek, but have difficulty bringing into being.


Mindfulness practice naturally brings about the same objective -- restoring balance.  In this way, mindfulness practice is really a way of seeing each and every moment with a fresh perspective and as the new one that it is.


Mindful parenting allows us to deepen our connection to the new moment -- to the new year -- by connecting more deeply with our child.  Today's verse is:


          My child's sounds

           Are new sounds

           My own voice

           Resonates throughout the cosmos


Today, when you hear your child make a sound, recite this verse open awareness to the fact that this sound was never uttered before.  It is beautiful in its newness.  Then, allow your child's sound to prompt you to utter your own sound. Perhaps "ahhh."  As you do, press your hands to your chest and feel the vibrations.  Breathe deeply and direct your attention into your body, to the source of the sound.


This sound, like the monent, is new.  Smile as you awaken to the moment, a forever blossoming new year.

Tuesday January 3, 2006
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The Daily Sip: Experience The Moment While Taking Pictures
Technology enables us to take photographs and videos, and lots of them, to view them instantly, and to send them all over the world in a matter of seconds.  As a result, we may be taking more pictures, and spending more time doing things with those pictures than we have in the past.
While many wonderful benefits flow from these technologies (like sharing images with family and friends), there is one casualty that is worth examining -- the movement from "being" to "observing."
When we are living life (especially those wonderful moments so worthy of capturing in photos and videos), there is great joy to be experienced by immersing oneself deeply in the moment.  But, when we take pictures of those moments ("Quick, where is my camera!") we risk jumping out of those precious of moments.  We end up enjoying, afterward, images of a moment we forwent experiencing directly. 
Mindfulness practice offers the opportunity to experience life more immediately, even when taking pictures.  The key is to open awareness to the experience of "taking pictures" while taking them.  Here is an exercise that can help.
The next time you take a picture of your children (or anyone for that matter), open awareness to the act of taking a picture by reciting this verse:
Holding this camera,I wonder
Where am I
As you hold the camera in your hands and focus on your subject(s), begin to open awareness to the moment by taking a breath.  Feel the camera with your fingertips and palms.  Feel its weight.  Is it heavy or light? Is it cool or warm to the touch?   
As the verse lingers, and as you direct energy into your body by more fully sensing the camera in your hands, allow yourself to be as fully aware as possible of your presence in the moment.  Look out at the scene you are photographing and see yourself in the larger picture.  The one that is being taken continuously and has been all the moments of your life.