Living mindfully holds appeal for many of us. When we meet a person who has integrated mindfulness into his or her experience, it sparks an inner longing. The thought of less rushing and more presence is appealing. The challenge is how to get there. How do we transition from what feels like a treadmill of tasks and responsibilities to a point where we have time for the good stuff? As if that isn’t sufficiently challenging, how do we get there as a family? So many families are busy. Recognizing that endless screens aren’t healthy for any of us, we augment those experiences with activities for our children. As a result, our days tend to alternate between screens (perhaps YouTube or games for children, and Instagram or Twitter for adults) and structured activities— sports or classes for children, work or the gym for parents.
When we do find ourselves with down time, we are at a loss. Our brains are used to constant input and compel us to seek more. So we pick up the screen, and invite the same for the children. These are the moments when we miss our opportunities to live mindfully. Those teeny pockets of emptiness? That’s your opportunity. Take five minutes and live Leo Babuata’s Create Daily Challenge… and give yourself bonus points if you do it as a family. In a society where we— especially the youngest generation—are losing our ability to produce rather than consume, creating is an ideal starting point for living mindfully.
Set the bar low. This challenge is about the process, not the product. The goal is to spend time in the present: problem solving, moving thoughts around, and trying on new ideas. Don’t aim to create the next greatest thing. Your artwork may be disappointing, your invention a flop. That’s not the point. Your product is the next greatest you.
Leo Babuta’s Create Daily Challenge can be the much-needed spark that ignites your “me” or “we” time. Check it out.
Create Daily Challenge
I invite you to work on creativity and discipline in one habit, in what I’m calling the Create Daily Challenge. It’s about practicing the discipline of creating space to create something. Every day. The challenge is to create space to create daily. Who has time to create something every day? You do, absolutely. What can we create? Anything you like:
Write a book
Sketch or paint
Create an online comic
Create an app
Develop an online business
Start a real-world business
Create a movement or nonprofit organization
Map out a plan for your life, for a retreat, for a project
You are limited only by your creativity!
Basically, we’re creating space for creating anything. This challenge is made up of two elements: Practice the discipline of creating space to create, and holding that space instead of filling it with busywork or distraction.
Practice the discipline of staying in the space to do your work of creating, even when you want to run to do something else. These are related discipline practices, but both are important elements for us to work on. Simple, right? And also profound.
Start today. You’re worth the time.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #65.
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