Impromptu picnics with my girls are wonderful opportunities to connect, get some fresh air and practice a little mindfulness.
Recently my older daughter and I had an after-school picnic in the park. I brought along a few mindfulness books for a little story time. After reading, we talked about our days, ate snacks then did a small compassion exercise.
We started by facing each other holding hands, took some mindful breaths together and then told each other one 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. I told her I was grateful that we could do this picnic together. We then did another compassion exercise, but this time we pictured someone we knew who could use a bit of love, someone who may be feeling sad or is 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 four or five months. Her compassion provided a clear reminder for why I want to continue finding natural opportunities to integrate mindfulness and heartfulness into each 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