Seeking Mindfulness

Most people, upon hearing that I am about to turn thirty, jump to the same question: when are you going to have kids?  It's a perfectly logical question, I suppose, but truth be told it is one I often struggle with.  Hear me out.

You may call me a daydreamer, but I often fantasize about traveling to remote places of the world and helping those in need.  Or living somewhere very culturally different to the West for a year or two.  And let's not forget about my ongoing need to realize my true passions in life and fulfill my own potential.  

Why can't you do those things at the same time as starting a family, you ask?  (It's okay, I ask myself this question, too.)  The truth is, I am not sure how to balance these priorities in my life.  And they really are all priorities.  I may not need to move halfway around the world, but I do need to feel like I am making a difference.  Like I am not falling into the life that is expected of me, but instead, that I am creating the life that I want to lead.  How do I balance finding inner peace-of-mind, gratitude and life balance, while surrounded by faster, better, more, more, more, here in the west?  And if we do start a family, how do I impart these important things on a little one?

We read so many books, watch so many documentaries, and can recount all kinds of a-friend-of-a-friend stories about people who move to India and return a changed person.  A more centered, grateful and happy person. Which I suppose is part of the appeal.  But how then do we manage to make these necessary changes without an intercontinental move?  I think immersion in this case, as in so many others, is very important and helpful in achieving your goals of inner piece and mindfulness. 
And therein lies my struggle to find this without disrupting my life, along with many other goals that I have.  I dream of using my creativity to impact the lives of others, and often brainstorm ways to combine my two passions, both in a way that is true to who I am, yet unique to me and only me.

My solution will be a work in progress and will likely (hopefully!) evolve over time, but I have a few action items that I plan on taking to get me started.

The first priority must be focusing a bit more time and effort into meditation.  It may not be meditation in a small tribe of Monks, but rather an old stone building in downtown Denver, however the concept remains the same.  Clear away the clutter and achieve the ability to calm my own mind.  I think this small step is the most important, as it is so much easier to tackle difficult challenges when you can control the thoughts and noise of your own mind.  So for me, that means attending regular meditation sessions until I am able to achieve successful meditation at home, or anywhere, on my own.

Priority number two is one that I have already made some progress on, at least in terms of research.  I may not know how to combine my own caged creativity with giving back to the community just yet, but that doesn't mean I can't start giving back a bit more.  After a lot of research over the past few months, I have found a nonprofit organization that feels like a good fit for me to start volunteering my time with.  It requires a minimum of 2 days a month, which should be very easy to begin incorporating into my schedule of work and play.  Hopefully it will grow from there.

And my final priority to get me started down this path, is making my friendships a more vital part of my life. Having moved around the country a fair bit over the last ten years has meant that my friendships are also scattered around the country.  I plan on nurturing those existing friendships a bit more, and focusing on creating a more stable network of friends locally in an effort to feel more settled and happy here in Colorado.

I hope to continue adding to this list, as I progress through this journey, and I'm sure I will learn a lot along the way.  One thing that I find extremely important when it comes to all of these things, is believing that I am enough.  I heard this quote from a motivational speaker recently, and realized that I fall victim to this more often than I realize.  So just a little reminder to myself every day, that I am enough.  Simple, yet powerful.

Do you think it's possible to master the art of mindfulness while living in the chaotic West?  I do, too.  With a little patience and a lot of effort.  Who's with me?  :)