The last month has been a busy but joyous one for our family. On August 25th, we celebrated the wedding of our oldest son to a beautiful and clever woman.
Here are a few mindful things I learned about myself and the process of helping adult children navigate wedding preparations. As always, there are so many levels we can apply life lessons. Perhaps as you reflect on these ideas, you might find a unique application to your current lived experience.
Mindful Lesson #1: Mindful Consumption
It became evident when we started planning and looking into venue rentals that the wedding industry is a HUGE industry. I was prepared to be floored by the pricing, but I was beyond floored....I was sent to the dark corner of the basement with shock.
It is so easy to loose sight of the beauty of the marriage, the promises to each other, the extension of a family, the creation of a new family unit. It feels like every Pinterest pin, every TikTok trend, is an amazingly large magazine worthy idea. These ideas easily begin to eclipse the singular beauty of what marriage is.
Mindful consumption isn't about going bare bones, or refusing to acknowledge that you want a beautiful and memorable event. Mindful consumption is about really being present for these decisions and working together as a couple, and as an extended family, to make choices that best support the long term values.
Mindful consumption often asks us to resist the pressure of outside influences in order to stay true to what we really value and prioritize. There is a tremendous amount of self respect when we move through life with mindful consumption.
Mindful Lesson #2: Staying Present
I knew this would be a hard one for me. My mind so easily gets pulled into what I'm responsible for in 2 hours, 2 days, etc.
I knew it would be doubly hard for me to stay present the day of the events if I procrastinated tasks. I made a very intentional effort to do a small amount of meaningful work in preparation each day. This helped reduce the feelings of stress as we got closer to events.
Nobody wants to be "stuck" in the kitchen on a big day, yet when we have family in town, or we want to create a memorable experience, food is going to be involved on some level.
Take a moment to reflect how preparation for large family events was modeled to you. Thanksgiving, Christmas....What are your imprints around these? Stressful? Organized? Joyful? Anxious?
In some ways, you may have very helpful imprints that support you being fully present for these kinds of events. In other ways, you may want to update some of these imprints and learn new behaviors around how to prepare for large family events so you can be more present.
Mindful Lesson #3: Observe Your Emotions
You can learn a lot about yourself during large scale, potentially stressful experiences. I was pretty challenged to hold onto myself the last couple of hours before our Open House. The kitchen was full of helpers, everyone had questions and it felt like I was the source of all wisdom and knowledge for about an hour.
I could feel myself move into the sensation of overwhelm. I argued with my spouse about something that was fairly inconsequential. I gave short pointy answers. I rushed back and forth. The good news is I anticipated there might be an hour like this where the stimulation was more than my emotional maturity could handle well.
When I felt that sensation of overwhelm coming on, I wasn't surprised. I had a little conversation in my mind that went something like: "Oh, hello overwhelm. I thought you might show up. My emotional space is pretty tight right now, but it makes sense that you are here. Lets move through this as best we can."
Sometimes the "best we can" still looks insufficient to others, but when we honestly balance self awareness with self compassion, we are more likely to discern if our "best we can" is truly a show of growth or indulgence.
How Mindfulness Helps
Creating a daily mindfulness practice, whether that be mindful walking, sitting, breathing, etc. can really support us in these stressful experiences.
We often nurture our mindfulness in places of abundance, places of stillness. When we experience high stress events, there may be moments when we feel like we are losing that space of abundance. It may feel like a collapse or constriction.
When we feel this sensation of collapse we can call on our mindfulness skills. We call on our ability to focus on our breath, to come back to our body, to reflect on our higher intentions. This is a process we learn over time.
Certified Meditation Instructor, CMI
To learn more about mindfulness, mental and emotional health, and practical gut health tips, join us at our next Chaos to Calm women's retreat -
Saturday, November 4th, 10am-4pm.