Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mindful Driving with Children

Sometimes A Light Surprises

A Child's Traveling Game

 The older I get the more I am aware that I am missing blocks of time, and conversations.

No I don't have early onset dementia 

I start out attentive to the conversation, the drive, the stillness and then my mind begins to wonder.  By the time I realize my mind has wondered I have missed:
  •  part of the conversation, 
  • moments in time 
  • I don’t know what was just said and/or 
  • I have to look around to know where I am

My meddlesome thoughts create a fog that obscures the wonderful scenes before me: obscures the moment that is now.

It is hard work to stay present in life

 Driving to work, meditating or during silent praying I find myself:
  • reworking conversations, or events from the previous day: creating in my mind 'do-over' moments or
  • practicing difficult conversations I am preparing to have that day  or
  • anything really - I just get lost in my thoughts or people watching.

I get distracted

I want to make it clear that all of these mental activities have their place and are productive when I make space for them.  Not when they are undisciplined and take up unwanted space.

I spend 1 ½ hours in my car driving to and from work each day, in a year that is 336 hours a year or 48 seven hour days that I spend driving in an unproductive fog.

This year I started driving with two other women and getting to know them brought about an unintended consequence.   

With my thoughts grounded in the activity of getting to know them I started to notice the scenery around me.  I was surprised to find how beautiful my drive for the past 27 years has been.

Since that revelation I have started traveling with my camera so that I can capture those moments when 
“… a light surprises the child of God who sings.  It is the Lord who rises with healing in his wings.  When comforts are declining he grants the soul again a season of clear shining to cheer it after rain to cheer it after rain.” # 603 in the Mennonite Hymnal A Worship Book.

 A Traveling Game to Help Children 

Stay Present On Road Trips

When I travel with my grandchildren to encourage mindful practices we play the following traveling game.
  •  We pick 10 things we should/might see on our trip and a lot 5 points each time you see one of these things and
  • 50 points for each wonderful and amazing thing you see and share with everyone in the car.
In this way, everyone in the car looks for wonderful and amazing things and we have seen some very interesting things.

Grandma Snyder
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