Yesterday my 5-year old and I decided to have a picnic in the park after-school. It was a great opportunity to just relax and talk and get some fresh air. I took the opportunity to squeeze in some story time with a few great mindfulness books. And when we finished talking about our days and eating our snacks, we did a small compassion exercise, where we faced each other holding hands, took some mindful breaths together and then told each other 1 thing we were grateful for about the other person. She said she was grateful that I let her come into our bed and cuddle with us, and I told her I was grateful that we could be doing this picnic together. We did another compassion exercise, but this time we pictured someone we knew that could use a bit of love, someone that may be feeling sad or having a hard time. I picked my mom who recently had knee surgery. My daughter picked my husband’s grandmother, who lives in Florida alone. I asked her why she picked her great-grandmother, and she said that she was all alone and that she knew we wouldn’t be able to move to Florida to be with her.
I was amazed at how my 5-year old had the capacity to empathize and understand someone’s sadness, even though we hadn’t seen her in 4-5 months. And it provided a clear reminder for why I want to continue finding natural opportunities to integrate mindfulness and heartfulness into our day. The mindfulness portion of our picnic didn’t dominate our entire date, but it provided a small opportunity for both of us to be compassionate for a few minutes and made our picnic even that much more meaningful.
The mindfulness books from our picnic were:
- “Just Breathe”
- “What does it mean to be present?”
- “Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda”