Mindfulness: Free the Past and the Future by Sez Kristiansen, author, Inspired Mama (Book Excerpt)

My son started daycare as soon as I took up work again. I felt our connection slip away, so I decided to make “Mama and Mathias time” once a week. Sometimes it was just a morning, while other times it was a whole day; I devoted time to just being with him and doing whatever he wanted.

Have you ever followed a toddler down a road with no agenda, no time frame, and nowhere to go? It takes you to places and moments you could never imagine. It also takes a lot of patience.

At first, I simply could not understand why we had to stand and look at a crack in the concrete for twenty minutes, but once I let go of my conditioned need to “be somewhere” and surrendered to curiosity, it was magical. I could really see, with the eyes of a child, the appeal of this crack in the ground. Once I got down to his level, I saw a stream of ants filtering in and out, and the determined growth of a dandelion. Perhaps my son was thinking, “Where are they going? Does an ancient ant city lie below? Is the dandelion their marker so they know where to find their home again?” If you play with these possibilities for even a moment, your perspective changes, and you can see that it is much more than “just” a crack in the road. This is a great example of mindfulness and how it can change your view of the world. As you rush through your days to get to places you need to be, you miss the magic in the minutiae. This is what mindfulness is in its essence: slowing down, drawing all your senses into the moment, and feeling truly alive.

“Mindfulness” has been simplified into a misleading buzzword that means to be focused or aware. But it is much more than that. To be mindful means to be fully aware of all the elements in the present moment, observing the smells, touch, sounds, sights—everything that is happening—without labels, without expectations.

You want to be mindful of your thoughts, because you know that they tend to run off on their own trajectory. You want to be mindful of your actions because they can cause a great deal of harm to both yourself and others. You want to be mindful of your speech and how you use your energy. Being consistently mindful sheds light on moments you might otherwise miss because of your consistent need to be somewhere, do something, or achieve something.

For mothers, mindfulness is an incredible tool (especially if meditation isn’t an easy option): It shows you how you can balance your personal life with motherhood. Balance is not a scale weighing one element against another; it is an inner pendulum that falls into equilibrium with deep connection to the present moment. So, when you are at work, be at work. When you are with your children, be with them. When you are in a moment of self-care, be fully present for the experience of self-nourishment.

When I first started practicing mindfulness in a Buddhist school, I did not know the impact it would have on my life, let alone on my relationship with my children. I practiced being present a few times a day, first by associating it with the action of making a cup of tea. I was triggered into mindfulness whenever I made a cup of tea by putting a sticky note that said “mindful” on my teacup. The message reminded me that I was to make the tea with as much sense-awareness as possible. I smelled the loose tea leaves, imagining the hands that picked them and the sunlight and rain that crafted the perfect environment. I poured the hot water as carefully as I could, watching the swirls of steam and imagining what it would be like not to have such easy access to this life-giving water. After a couple weeks, I started relying less on the reminder and began to be more “awake” in all my moments.

Life takes on an incredible awakeness when you live with mindful awareness. It’s as if the world comes alive and all the elements that make up a moment are vibrating in front of you. You suddenly notice the small things—like a paper bag dancing in the wind or the sunlight as it catches a window. These small and yet extraordinary moments start to make you realize the beauty in simplicity, and you become truly grateful for them.

You can even be mindful in a stressful situation with your children or your spouse. Mindfulness can make the moment less reactive and more responsive. You think a little more about how you want to reply rather than allowing a reactive habit to take over.

Just as you can exchange one habit for another, you can make mindful awareness your default state by practicing a few times each day: as you wipe the table after dinner, make a warm drink in the evening, or sit in silence after the house is quiet. Each of these can do an enormous amount of soul-nourishing when practiced as conscious rituals rather than default habits.

The trick with mindfulness is not to judge any moment as good or bad, but to see the moment as it is. You can do this by stepping back into your place of consciousness and using your senses to experience the moment. Try this practice a few times each day and see how your energy changes throughout the week.


Sez is an internationally acclaimed poetess and author, born in Southern Africa under two generations from six different cultures. She has travelled extensively and lived in some of the remotest parts of the world, including many years spent in Sri Lanka, deepening her spiritual practice.

After two children, Sez settled into a more conventional life and became a designer for some of the biggest fashion brands in Europe. After years of struggling with anxiety and chronic depression due to the societal pressures of being a mother and a working full-time in the fashion industry, Sez redesigned and downsized her entire life to fit the freedom and wanderlust she once resonated so deeply with.

Sez now lives in a hand-built cabin in the Nordics with her Viking husband and children and continues to travel adventurously throughout the world with her young family.

Sez empowers people with transformational mind, body and soul guides that inspire her readers and listeners to live truly unique, Heart-centred and untethered lives, driven by their own blueprint of freedom.  For book information, please visit the following…
Inspired Mama – Sez Kristiansen





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