It’s called a balancing act, but I’m not acting.
My name is Jaclyn Shlisky. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and Psychologist. So many hats to be worn by one person, but I’m happy to own such diverse headgear. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m a therapist and I’m real. I love the beach, taking really long walks, gazing at beautiful views and drinking a rich cup of coffee. I also get worried. I get stressed. I certainly get angry, irritated, and exhausted. Very, very exhausted (hence the love of coffee).
So how do I balance my life? It’s a little trick called mindfulness. Mindfulness to me is just a fancy word for being aware, really painstakingly and wholeheartedly aware. It takes practice at first, but after a while you start to wonder how you ever lived any other way. I’m very grateful to share my trick with you.
I’ll offer an example of mindfulness in my life, after all, as a professor of Psychology, the best way to learn is through example.
It’s morning and the sun is barely awake, envision my three beautiful children sitting at the kitchen table eating their cereal. I’m playing the role of waitress. One child knocks over her cereal. Seemingly millions of tiny Cheerios and a heap-full of milk go flying and splatter onto the floor.
In that moment, I make a choice. I choose to stay calm, be aware of the moment.. and clean up the mess Mindfully. How? First, take a look at the options: I can either clean up in an angry way, yelling at my kid for her carelessness, and probably blaming my husband for just about anything.. OR I can choose to mindfully focus on each little piece of cereal and say to myself: I’m cleaning up cereal, I’m wiping up milk, I’m cleaning up. All while staying very calm and breathing, definitely breathing. This method of mindfulness is what I like to call, “reading a script.” Repeat (aloud or in your mind) exactly what you are doing/seeing/smelling/touching/ and feeling. I am cleaning wet cereal off the floor. It smells like milk. I am calm. So which choice would you make? It’s easier to get angry. It’s hard work to stay calm. But I assure you, you can do it.
Practice staying focused and aware in each moment. Especially the funny, silly, fun, happy, exciting and wonderful moments!
I have even learned that time doesn’t always have to fly by when you’re having fun. My fun moments actually don’t fly by, at all! They last as long as I want. I stretch out those moments again using mindfulness. How? Just read that script. I am watching my kids play in the pool. I feel the cool water on my legs as I dip them in. I see their smiling faces, hear laughs and splashes. I feel calm. I feel happy. I feel whole. I feel balanced. And I am not acting.
The more you do this the more it will become your habit and one day you might not have to remind yourself to be present in the moment, to describe the scene to yourself, you will automatically do it. Days may seem fuller and your experiences richer. At least that is my experience with mindfulness and it can be yours too.