Mindfulness and Gratitude: The Beauty of Blogging

Mindfulness: Words for a Moment with the Breath

Blogging

 Gratitude: Why I Write ~ The Beauty of Blogging

This week I am grateful to write. As a kid, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I wrote many books and stories, and even about 50 pages of a novel as a teenager {it was terrible}. I continued writing ~ journals, essays, term papers, research papers, lesson plans, letters of recommendation, thank-you notes, emails, Facebook status updates, and Tweets. But I never considered myself a writer. Even when I started this blog, I still didn’t think of myself as a writer.

In just a few months of blogging I have discovered the beauty in renewing, exploring, and sharing my passion for writing. Today I’m exploring why I write, and why I am thankful for my blog!

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.” ~Vita Sackville-West

As I conceptualized this blog and pondered the potential topics I would explore, a doubt nagged within me. Is this authentic? How mindful is it if I stop what I am doing with my children to take a picture of it, Tweet it, or take notes about it so I can write later about how mindful I was in that moment with my children? It was an uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, the catch-22 of noticing “I’m being mindful!”, which is the precise chatter of the mind that should be calming down during mindfulness practice.

But in writing this blog, I am becoming more mindful.

bedtime readingI shared this picture on Twitter the other night of my children reading together in bed, with the caption “These are the moments I wish I could stop time.” And in a way, I did. I briefly held the butterfly in the net. I didn’t leave the kids to read in bed so I could put away some laundry ~ I captured the moment, and lived the moment with my little Buddhas as we read and snuggled before bedtime.

My days don’t “slip emptily by.” It’s awfully meta to think about how blogging makes us more present in our lives when you write a blog about mindfulness! I am thankful that my blog about mindful parenting calls me to parent mindfully.

One of the reasons for writing is the “desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.” ~George Orwell

Years ago, my husband started a private blog to share updates about the kids with our extended family. Having a blog to document our lives made us more playful ~ we took and enjoyed more family adventures. We love the journey our blog started us on ~ mindfully structuring our days to include time for family, for adventure, and yes, pictures and blogging. Starting Left Brain Buddha has been another avenue for me to share the experiences and ideas I find valuable and to document the moments I do not want to miss.

“We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand.” C. Day Lewis

taking notes

Taking notes on the 4th of July!

I now keep a notepad with me to jot down insights and ideas that I want to explore in my writing. Last weekend at our local 4th of July celebration, my children watched the volunteers reenact a Revolutionary War march. They admired their costumes and listened to stories of battles. And I saw my children struggling to figure out what “war” means, what soldiers do, and why people fight. I know these things {I’m a history teacher!}, but I hadn’t thought about war from the perspective of a four-year-old. And I knew I needed to write about this, to explore what I think about war, how I will explain it to my children, and what it means for my children to live in a world with so much violence. I am grateful for my blog: it’s forcing this left-brain teacher to not explain, but to understand and to try to make sense of the world.

“Blogging is the new poetry.” ~ Unknown

hydrangeasWhen I started this blog, I signed up for Liv Lane’s How to Build a Blog You Truly Love e-course. Liv teaches us to see the beauty that is all around us, and she told us that blogging makes you see and think more deeply. I am thankful that I am paying more attention to what is around me and taking more pictures. I hope it’s also helping you, as it does me, to see the beautiful and the exquisite in the mundane.

I have never considered myself creative {hello, left brain!}, but Liv’s course also encouraged me to think of blogging as an art form. Designing images, creating inspirational quotes, playing with layouts, colors, fonts, words: blogging truly is a form of poetry.

“I write to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means.” ~ Joan Didion

The other night, I watched fireworks for the first time in seven years. It was my daughter’s first time seeing them, but not her first time sharing this moment with me. As I held in her in my arms, I remembered being in the very same place, the very day, the very hour, staring up into the stars while my daughter experienced her first fireworks from within my belly, squirming and kicking and reminding me that she was there, too. 2655 days later, I held her in my arms as we stared into the same sky.

I found myself watching her face more than the fireworks. The awe, fear, excitement ~ seeing fireworks reflected on her face was a far more powerful experience than seeing the stardust radiating around me.  I remembered one of my favorites lines from a sermon given by Rev. Justin Schroeder at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis, describing a profound realization he had while staring up into the stars one night while camping. He realized he was “stardust, looking up at stardust.”

Stardust

Stardust, looking up at stardust

I remembered to breathe. To take it all in. To be fully present, alive and in the moment. I knew I wanted to write about this, to find out what I was thinking, what I was looking at, and what it all meant. And to do that, I experienced it with my full being.

*****

I am so grateful for this gift of blogging ~ writing inspires me think deeply, experience fully, and reflect profoundly as I dance through mothering, teaching, living, and breathing.

And most of all, I am grateful that you are here with me ~ engaging, sharing, and reflecting with me. Together, bloggers {and readers and commenters!} sharing their honest voices with the world creates not just poetry, but a beautiful synergy of authenticity, laughter, beauty, courage, insight, knowledge, artistry, and inspiration. What a privilege to be a part of it.

fireworks excitement

*****

What are you thankful for? What made you smile this week?

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Sarah Rudell Beach

Sarah is a writer, teacher, and mother. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. When not working, she enjoys dancing, reading, and hanging out with her little Buddhas.
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Comments

  1. Sarah, you always express so eloquently so many of the things I feel but am unable to articulate. I want you to know that through the power of your words and my desire to “be there” for my kids, I too am becoming a more mindful parent. So glad to have taken Livs class with you. xo
    Tressie recently posted…Another 365…or 184.My Profile

  2. What a nice way to capture your gratitude for blogging! I think as mothers, there’s usually a struggle between being in the moment and capturing the moment for posterity. Most of the time I’m more of an in-the-moment mommy, but I go on benders where I take lots of pictures, too. Because the phases go by so quickly, they really do. My husband and I will sit and look at old pictures, and we’ll say, “Oh, remember that? I forgot about that!”

    I really enjoyed this post! I popped over from your comment on Carla’s post at the Orange Rhino Challenge, btw.
    Rivki Silver recently posted…Embracing ImperfectionMy Profile

    • Thanks for ‘popping over’, Rivki! It’s all about finding a balance about being in the moment and capturing the moment, I guess. :)

  3. This is beautiful.

    I, too, love the mindfulness of blogging. The capturing of the moments, and the community I share them with.
    Tracie recently posted…LongingMy Profile

  4. Oh, gosh, YES. I love everything about this. I feel the same way, that my blogging has entirely and essentially changed how I exist in the world, and I’m grateful for it every day. Wonderful. Thank you. xox

  5. I agree … writing is definitely my way of understanding the world around me. Great post! I’ve been reading. :) Just unable to comment due to time restrictions and my own writing goals. I’m grateful every day for this ability to write and connect with the world this way.
    Shawn recently posted…Project 52 | She let goMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing that, Shawn. And it’s hard to live mindfully and back away from the technology, and write and read and comment on blogs! Ahhh, to find balance…. :)

  6. Beautiful post, Sarah. I have the same appreciation for how blogging encourages mindfulness of the little moments that can be so easily overlooked if we’re not careful.
    Heather O. recently posted…The Absence of a Particular FriendMy Profile

    • Thanks Heather. I am especially grateful to create this record, almost like an online scrapbook, of my moments and thoughts.

  7. this is such a wonderful piece and so beautifully expressed!!! Loved it, Sarah!
    Roshni recently posted…Unleash the power of the female brain – a book review and giveaway!My Profile

  8. I agree that blogging has forced me to see life at a different angle than I might otherwise. Great post (and pictures!)
    Julie Chenell DeNeen recently posted…I’ve Just Lost 20 YearsMy Profile

  9. Sarah, this was stunning. I feel like I need to find synonyms for the word “resonate” because every time I read one of your posts, all I can think is, “Wow, this really resonated with me!” The paragraph on how conflicted you felt about being mindful, actually *living* your life, while being preoccupied with how to capture it via Tweets, photos, and notes, especially spoke to me. I have struggled with that so much. And while it is clear you are a left-brain thinker, there is SO much creativity in what you are doing here. That story about your daughter’s fireworks made me tear up. Lovely post…
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. recently posted…10 Things That Took Awhile to Come Back After My Baby Was BornMy Profile

    • Thanks for such kind words, Stephanie! I find the same thing with your posts, I think Wow! I could have written that! :) Another wonderful gift of blogging is connecting with the awesome people out there on the Interwebs that I never would have met otherwise. xoxo

  10. This perfectly articulates what I haven’t been able to. Thank you for these insights. It’s true, I write things down as they’re happening, snap pictures — all to blog about it later — but that helps me bring the moment to life in a whole new way. Love this!
    Amy, Using Our Words recently posted…You Can Change the Future of CancerMy Profile

  11. What a beautiful post! I too am someone who doesn’t consider themselves a writer despite doing just that in some way, shape or form throughout my working career. Since I have started blogging, everyone says to me, “well, the good thing is – you’re writing again.” It does fulfill me creatively in a way I never expected. Thanks for making us stop to reflect.
    Scarlett recently posted…August Blogging Challenge: Favorite Summer TraditionsMy Profile

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