By Kate Bennett, PsyD
Mindfulness is often described as childlike curiosity: Using your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) to observe the world around you in the absence of judgement. My 15 month old daughter reminds me daily of her ability to simply be in the moment, curious about all that goes on around her. Her mindfulness, her ability to be completely present and delight in the smallest pleasures, was highlighted during our recent vacation. My daughter has an affinity for flags-American flags, Colorado state flags, collegiate flags, and in-ground flags (marking cable lines and fertilized yards)-she loves them equally and waves “hello” and “goodbye” to each. We walked by numerous flags every day in the small, mountain town of Steamboat. I did not notice a single flag until my daughter slowed down, turned, and waved. Big or small, decorative or utility, no flag was better or worse than the last; each one was unique and exciting. Not surprisingly, she also loves bikes. Again, we waved at each cyclist that rode by us-commuters, cruisers, road and mountain bikes alike-every bike that passed by was an opportunity to pause and delight in the two-wheeled, human-powered vehicle. Those bikes and flags were a reminder of just how quickly my mind mindlessly wanders away and how much I miss out on by running on auto-pilot throughout the day. Returning home from vacation, I intend to work harder at thinking less: My daughter reminded me that the best and most delightful moments in life occur simply by being-being present in the moment and curious about my surroundings.