Just imagine... A happy, successful, life where playtime is as fulfilling as work-time. Relationships become opportunities for joy, sharing and lots of close, meaningful contact that is mutually satisfying.
But seriously, we're talking about a full life for teens and young adults. Let's face it, the teenage years are not easy and they're not drama-free. Basically a lot about them suck.
Tell your kids: "You can have a full life that still sucks from time to time. You can have meltdowns and do some really dumb stuff. The difference is, unlike Bart with Rock Paper Scissors, you can learn from it all, if you choose to."
To the parents: The best way to teach is by example. Try the following exercises and share the experience with your child.
We all have moments when we are at our best and nothing can throw us off, we know what the wise and just responses for anything that comes our way. That is being mindful. Then there are the times that we aren't so mindful. Times when our antics get the 'rents to ask us: whose kid are you anyways!?
What follows is a way to get yourself to be present and aware in all circumstances so that on your worst day, you are making conscious choices that can lead to great moments of clarity.
It starts with quieting your mind at the beginning of a new day.
Take a few moments upon arising to breath in slowly and deeply, then let out the breath even more slowly. Try to focus, if you can, on the flow of your breath. Imagine letting go of any stress, tension or worries and breath in qualities such as calm, peacefulness or good health. Do this for a few minutes every day.
Repeat a meaningful phrase to yourself of something you wish to accomplish that day: For example,
a) Today, I will focus on being present for all conversations that are important to me and I will be great at it!
b) Today, I will share my thoughts deeply, honestly and with kindness.
c) Today, I will be a team player, thinking about what will help us succeed.
d) Make up your own here:
Now we shall bring this concept into our work, play and relationships.
Being mindful in work:
There are constant opportunities at work to give more than what is requested of you. Each time you give a little more than what is asked of you from a caring, humble place, you set the forces of the laws of return in motion. The law of return states that: for every action, there is an equal or greater reaction. When you plant a seed and tend to it, you receive not just one seed back but a whole crop of whatever it was that you planted. Always give more than what is asked of you. You will get noticed for this and rewarded over time.
Being mindful in play.
There are so many aspects to being mindful at play. Not just in the details of the game but also in relating to the other players in the game. How do they present themselves? Will they be assets or liabilities? How are they when they win? How are they when they lose? How are they when something unexpected throws them off? More importantly, how are you in all those circumstances? This tells you so much more than mere skill level can. Mindfulness in play is about being aware of the game, the people and a sense of proportion while seeing the metaphors for how to be in life in the act of play.
Being mindful in relationships.
There are those who are always in some sort of a "relationship" and those who have never been in a relationship.
If you are in a relationship, the two most important tools are learning to listen and and knowing how to argue well.
Learning to listen requires putting aside what you think is right and understanding things from your partner's perspective. Knowing how to argue well means focusing on what is annoying you at the time, without bringing in the past, judging the person or blaming the person.
If you have not been in a relationship, one thing is for sure, nothing will get you to grow more than a serious relationship. It challenges all your comfort zones, takes away time from serious vegging, yet has so much to offer.
All of these different parts of being mindful make for a full life.
When you are mindful in these parts of your daily life, your life is one of being there, of really living and not just killing time to go virtual. Learning to care and to matter may be one of the greatest commodities in the coming age of ideas because then your work, play and relationship times become places to feel, think and grow.
Live each day like it was the only one you have.
Care about people and learn from everything. Most importantly; write, blog, tell stories, share stories and listen to stories because all we have after we're gone are the stories we leave behind. Leave a good one. Leave stories of a life lived on purpose that was well-lived and touched others in a meaningful way. That is a full life.
When parents embrace the idea that by living a full life we can have a greater impact than all the words, all the images and all the sounds running through a young person's life today, we can truly change the world for the better.